At other places
Leaning in to the Weight of Waiting (for Kris Camealy)
November 30, 2016 at 6:01 am 0


Perhaps the snow this year has already lost its luster. Or instead of snow, you just have wind that goes right through your bones. Or if you're in a sunny spot, you long for what you do not have: the snow boots, the snowmen, the glint of sunlight on icicles. We're always waiting, aren't we?

I live in the midst of wait-ers. We wait for the bonus, the promotion, the sale, that will put us over some financial edge that will allow us to finally attain the good life. But the edge keeps moving back. The houses and the cars don't satisfy. If we do get what we want, we're on a walkway that moves so quickly we don't have eyes to see anymore. It takes more shopping, more stuff, more alcohol, more fancy vacations to quell the ache.

Or, we have a particular Jesus-y version of the suburban gods of accumulation: we reason if we had a better quiet time, more "authentic" worship experience, a different (bigger, better) church down the road, followed through on a Bible reading plan,  a mentor/counselor/spiritual director/therapist who really saw me, then we'd arrive.

But we still wait.

What if the waiting was actually how God comes near? Maybe waiting is (at least part of) the whole point? Maybe we need to lean into the pain of waiting and offer up our broken hearts. That's all we have to give.

I'm thrilled to be over at my friend Kris Camealy's blog today writing on these themes. Here's an excerpt:

The world is heavy these days. Every day we have an onslaught of news — of hate winning, of earthquakes and air strikes, of just feeling buried under the grind of the mundane. In our world, all that has been broken for a very long time has reached the surface. It’s as if all the things that were cheap, easy, and horribly bad for it, we’ve been feeding to our collective body and they have made our skin green and our insides twisted. We just now see it. It’s hard to pull away from online chatter, it’s hard to do the good, hard, next step: show up, make dinner, seek forgiveness (not just across party lines, or racial and class lines, but even in your own family). It’s hard to be present when you find yourself weighed down with the weight of waiting.

When all you have is a broken heart, you wonder if that’s enough. Can your brokenness be more than a defect? Can it even help heal a nation, a community, a soul?

I'd be honored if you'd read the rest here. 

Ashley Hales

Image courtesy of Kris Camealy

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Little bits of hope to read, curated just for you
December 4, 2014 at 9:34 am 0
My dear readers, Sometimes we all cling on to words to get us through. Or a mug. Or a square of chocolate. I'm hoping that these links do that for you -- that they brighten your day, give you something to turn over and think about, and that they bring you peace and joy in some small way. laura2
  • I have started following the blog of Kara Tippets, a young mom fighting for faith amidst her growing cancer. Her blog is so inspiring as it brings me back to my own struggle with believing God is good amidst my hard. This post I felt echoed some of my sentiments in this post on a simpler season. Take a look. Her words are a gift.
  • I'm heading to Anthropologie later this week to finally get myself a gold initial mug. Little things that bring a bit of joy.
  • Sometimes we just need a fresh space -- real or virtual -- to bring us a bit of hope. When the kitchen is overflowing with stuff and unwashed dishes, sometimes looking at what could be is more motivating than beating myself up about what is. This lovely space from The Makerista is just that for me. Natural light, books, bright colors and the soothing chair without kid clutter. Makes me want to work with what I have to create inviting spaces. And, to get rid of stuff!
The Makerista-Laura-Living Room-Womb-Chair-Tulip-Marble-Side-Table Image credits: Laura Roland, AnthropologieThe Makerista
Hope for a Simpler Season
December 3, 2014 at 11:49 am 16
I sit in my bathrobe and write, ignoring cooking breakfast and little voices, if only for a minute. Because writing helps bring me back to myself, tells me who I am and what I'm good at. And it's good to have something that is just yours. Something you can tuck into the pocket of your day and pull it out as needed. The reminders to pay bills pop up on my phone, but I ignore them. My eyelids are still heavy from the lack of sleep as I wait for coffee to revive me. And I'm realizing that I'm turning to all sorts of things to give me life, except the one thing I know that will restore my soul. Because it's so much easier to reach for coffee, or sugar, or sleep, or a workout, or healthy foods to give me life. They promise as much. Or I reach out for a listening ear, a caring husband, a night out. All very good things, but not things that bring living water to my parched self. Hope for a Simpler Season | Circling the Story   So this Advent, I'm promising to lean in to the daily hard, to not numb it. The hard of not being seen or appreciated like I think I should be. Not reaching for validation in food, or friends, or the shopping and Christmas lights that promise to bring magic to my dailyness. Honestly, I have this perfect image of what Advent should look like. Crafts and coloring and hot cocoa and the scent of pine trees. The family gathered around the Bible and singing carols. Hot cooked breakfasts and cozy blankets and books and tea and togetherness. But when I begin to focus on these things as the goal, we end up in tears and frustration and we don't really see each other. I end up collapsing under the weight of perfection and I feel like a failure because I'm not creating the proper "memories," whatever that's supposed to mean. Hope for a Simpler Season | Circling the Story Maybe you're like me. Maybe you, too, feel the weight of the season without the joy. Maybe you're also collapsing under the weight of perfection. Maybe you just see a mounting to-do list of all the ways that you should be creating something magical for your kids. Maybe you're burdened by the Elf on the Shelf or the Jesse Tree or something which just seems like too much work. And resentment and fear and failure builds up. I'm hear to tell you that I get it. Join the club, sister. Hope for a Simpler Season | Circling the Story But the beauty of Advent is that God comes near. He's near to the girl who is maligned because she's pregnant out of wedlock. He's near to poor, blue-collar workers who work on the edges of the city, tending sheep. He's near even in the backwoods town of Bethlehem. And if he's near to those people and in those places, He's near to you now. He's near when you're overwhelmed. Stressed out. Anxious about everything that needs doing. The trees, the lights, the cocoa -- they're great, but ultimately they're just things. Just things to point us to the ultimate reality of God coming near to our brokenness. This Advent I'm planning to really deal with the hard bits and to make it a practice to bring those hard things where I'll finally be satisfied. To a God who showers us with mercy and walks with us, and so can say, "Yeah, I get it." This Advent, I hope you, too, will lean in with me. Will you?