Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Sabbath Reflection

Yesterday I had church.

I sat in a circle with 13 three year-olds. I told them about Joseph being thrown in jail.  I told them that even when he was scared and going through hard times, God was with him and God was before him, working it out. I sang with 13 three-year olds. I watched them sing and dance and be joyful. I prayed with 13 three year-olds. I prayed that they would feel the Holy Spirit. I prayed that they would hear His voice. I prayed that He would be there for their tough times. 

I love the fact that I spend my Sundays doing this.


Yesterday I had church.

I drove home, sunroof open, the heat of the sun landing on the top of my head and warming me. I drove through a cathedral. The bumpy Chicago street I drive down every day glowed in a new way with the sunlight that poured through the trees. The heavens were as bright a blue as can be and filled me with a sense of awe that only comes from a Midwestern sky. The trees graciously bowed their branches low to cover me. They were as beautiful as the flying buttresses at Bath Abbey.

Bono was my worship leader. We sang together.

“You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains; carried the cross of my shame…You know I believe it. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

And I my eyes filled with tears when I sang, in truth, that I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. And I feel like I’m closer and closer. This great future, this great hope has been so blurry and uncertain and so elusive. But it’s coming in focus. I could feel it inside as I sang. So I sang for me. I sang for my family. And I sang for my God.

Mick Jagger brought the word. Oh yes, he did.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you might find  you get what you need.”

And he sang to me about Daily Bread, about Manna. I go back and forth so much you know. I want to be content where I am, in this place in location and in this place in life. But I know there is something else out there. And there are more babies out there who need a momma, a family, a home, but we’re stuck and don’t have room for them in our house, even though there is space in our hearts. 

But I’m trying to live in the moment. And maybe I don’t have all that I want for us in total, but I have more than I need for today.

And at home, around my dining room table, I had our Eucharist. Our potluck/ leftover /let’s feed them something lunch with all of us there. And we drank our milk and water and ate that pasta, and chili, and bread and it was His Body and Blood for us. And as I sat there, looking at the gifts I was given, I knew it was good.

And this, this my friends, is my confession.

For yesterday I saw my graceless heart. And I felt my own desires wrap around me and constrict me until I was fighting for air. 

I want to drop everything and run when someone is in need. But I’m a mom, with three really young ones, and a super busy husband who is always being shoved on the back burner anyway, and so much stuff to do. Always so much. 

Always tired. So I get the frantic message, and I respond, but I hold back not in action but in heart. Self-preservation? Yes.I want to be so full to overflowing that I have it in me to do more. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but I’m just. so. tired.

I want to love the city. To love our neighborhood. This place that was picked so intentionally. But there are days I just want to pull into a driveway and let the kids play in the yard. And I don't want to feel bad for wanting it. But I don't want to want it.

And so I'm trying to lean into grace more, though the closer I lean in, the further she seems from me. I think this must be like a trust fall. I'm scared to let go and trust that grace will be there to catch me. But I'm truly starting to learn, to know in the marrow and sinew of my being, that outside of the full embrace of grace, there isn't much.

In the murk. In the confusion. In the desert times. I still want His glory to shine through.

Thank you for hearing my confession.

And now, my friends, this is my benediction. Go in peace. And, as we say each week at the end of church, "Now go out into the world, and be the church."

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
(Book of Common Prayer)


  1. Thanks for taking us to church. God bless.

  2. Isn't it amazing the means God uses to speak to us? I mean, if he can speak through the mouth of a donkey, why not Mick Jagger?

    My son spent a year at school in Chicago. I love the city, and I enjoyed visiting it again through your eyes. I think I'll need to stop back here more often and see what you have to say about where God is meeting you in this place. Blessings.

  3. I felt like I was riding beside you in your van loving the bright sunshine and singing along with you in that moment. Great writing friend!

    Goodness, I do know your feeling. I want so much more than I have (and would love to recover what has been lost). There are children to love and I so much want to bring one home, but...

    So I, too am living in the moment and savoring all that is good right where I am; even as I want so much more, and to be so much more. Here is where I am learning to meet God again, and trying to understand through the hardship and pain, who He is and what He wants for my life.

  4. odd as it may sound, knowing that you feel the way i feel, though i would not wish it on anyone else, gives me hope. what i want for both of us is a non-stop, peace-infused, joy-filled, 24/7 mission of mercy to the world around us.

    what i experience (and what i think you may experience, too) is a daily struggle to be free from the bonds of fear and insecurity and doubt.

    yet i am so thankful that 1)there is always grace and 2) we're not alone

    thanks so much for sharing...

  5. God bless you for ministering to the 13 3yos. And to the rest of us, too. Go forth and be the church: yes.

  6. You and me, we're from the same fabric, I'm convinced. On my facebook page you will see quotes from both Bono and The Stones...
    and we both crave grace and love the world and we want it all just to be able to give it away...
    I hear you. I really hear you.

  7. Brenna--your heart is beautiful and the pictures you capture here of the sacred in the little things is what makes this life worth living. lovely, simply lovely.

  8. thank you, Brenna, for shining forth His glory in your story telling

  9. Heh, Bono and Mick make great worship leaders, one just needs to be interpreted a little differently than the other.
    Thanks for sharing.


  10. I can so relate to that tension...being where you are...but knowing there is more. May He lead you. Guide you. And fill you with His you go. And be the church.

  11. I so get this.....feel it to the bottom of my being.
    It's a beautiful struggle
    and your words stirred me to worship
    and whisked me to "church" here in my pajamas
    with the rain falling soft and chilly
    and i send thanks for the sweet inspire:)