Tag Archives: Faith

The Delicate Art of Flying Blind

This crazy phrase. It’s been creeping around in the back of my mind and simmering just below the surface of most every thought these past few months. I just can’t shake it. I decided to look it up.

Classically it means: “To fly an airplane solely by relying on instruments”.  So, I imagine it’s dark, maybe stormy, or otherwise disorienting, and there’s very little, if any, outside guidance or support.  To make it through, you’re gonna have to rely on experience and the tools you have right where you are.   Uh huh. I get that.

The phrase came into use during WWII and was soon after jettisoned into the broader understandings we refer to today.

This “urban” definition summarizes it nicely:   “Doing something tricky (flying) without the basic faculties for doing it”
Oh, and this one: to “Feel one’s way, proceed by guesswork”

Lawd yes… that’s the one.

Y’all… these days are full of emotion and tricky business.    I mean for me.    Personally.    In addition to the headlines and general craziness of the world at large, right here — for me and the man— it’s “ramping up” a bit.

I’ll try to explain: imagine hand-crafting a boat. You’ve spent years planning, researching, acquiring materials, and working on it in your spare time because you’ve had to hold down a job to keep the project going. It takes a little longer this way but it’s worth it. You learn a lot. You’ve got a great deal of “sweat equity” invested and it’s a very personal experience. As you get to the point of near finish, you start planning The Maiden Voyage. All this time you’ve been building in the safety of the harbor, taking a few shorter test runs close to the shore, but that’s not what this boat was made for: it’s time to consider the longer journey into deeper waters.

So here we are: deepening waters.

Not long ago, our youngest home schooled student submitted the final work to complete his high school journey thereby ending a journey of my own.  Second only to raising 3 children (a lot more “flying blind”!), home schooling them was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done— but I’ll go down on the record here and now: it was worth it.    Sure, I didn’t get the family “math gene” to pass along, but they are strong-willed and wonderful, beautifully artistic and creative communicators who know Jesus, and I am oh so proud they are ours.

A page is turned.

Like many churches, ours has a Graduate Recognition Sunday. A few folks searched my heart for sadness and sure, I sniffled through a mixed bag of tears.  However, the blessedness of the moment was not lost on me. Earlier in the week that young, strong-willed, and adventurous one had surgery for a major mishap which nearly robbed us all of this moment of celebration. The Mama in me could clearly picture every other scenario alongside the one before me and I was just SO thankful we were all there. So the few times someone remarked about our “empty nest”… all I could think about was our “full next”.

It’s “pleroma”, the God-kind of full.

I know this….even on the days when the fog of fear and doubt threatens to cloud my vision. Navigation seems trickier (is it really?), and the unknowns start to pile up like mountains all around us. How will we ever ________ ??  On these days, in these moments, it really does feel like I’m flying blind….just ”Feeling my way… proceeding with guesswork”.

I have a plaque with Isaiah 42:16 written on it once belonging to my sweet mother in law. It was a gift we gave to her on the occasion of her retirement and I honestly can’t say that then I gave the verse the kind of consideration I give to it now. I see this plaque every day, several times a day and I’ve pondered this verse deeply. It’s become personal…a place of abiding with the Lord.

However, I didn’t notice this until recently: the verse on the plaque is wrong. See it there… at the end?  For some reason the makers of the plaque decided to use the word “you” when really, in every translation I can find including in the original Hebrew (thank you Biblios.com), it says “them”.     God “will not forsake them”      Them what?

Well, depending on which translation you’re looking at, the verse may read that God is not forsaking those He’s leading… which is true. I mean, if you belong to God then you belong to God always. He will not forsake you. However, other translations— including the Hebrew seem to point to how God is not going to forsake “these things”… things that He will do: lead, guide, enlighten, straighten, make smooth. This is what God will do because this is Who God IS.     To whom?

To the blind.
The dependent.
The needy.
To those Who trust and obey and submit to being led step by step through those places they do not know, through the dark, rough and unfamiliar territory.

It’s a trust thing.

For me it always boils down to a trust thing. Can the control freak in me handle “flying” blind? Can I handle that there are things I do not know, being weak and dependent on God to lead the way?          Do I trust Him?

Thankfully, God knows I’m a nervous “flyer”. He’s very patient with my weakness.  He knows I trust Him even while He’s teaching me to ever trust Him more….that’s one of His “these things” He’s not going to forsake.   It’s helpful you know, to recognize that this verse, these promises are not about us. Sure, we benefit but ultimately all the things….are about God.  

I don’t know what the makers of this plaque were thinking when they decided to use the word “you” but I’ve corrected it.  Does it really matter?  Yes, I believe it does. 

Because although I know that as a child of God He will not forsake me, I’m not dependable enough to base a promise upon. Maybe right now I’m somewhat “blinded” by circumstances and realities and can not fully see how to get to the other side.  That’s ok.  God sees and I can trust His unchanging nature and promise to lead, guide, enlighten, smooth and fly us safely to that “full next”.

Pleroma…God’s fullness. In His way and in His time.
   This blind little bird can bank on that.

Blind Spots in the Heart of Motherhood

There’s no place to hide and no point in denying that when it comes to the ones we love—especially our children, we are prone to developing “blind spots”.

Yes, despite my Creator-endowed super powers of all-seeing-all-knowing mother-ness..I’ve struggled to be fair-minded when it comes to my kids. There’s something deep down in all of us that tends towards denial.     We can hardly help it.

Blindspots

We’re their primary caregivers and first cheerleaders tasked with the dual privilege of drawing out the best in them while rooting out the worst— oftentimes in the same moments, using some of the same methods and always hoping for success in their future.     However, it’s hard to be consistent.      It’s hard to be fair.

Knowing this about myself helps.

I had no idea when I began writing  that this “Tale of 2 Mothers” was about to go viral on the interwebs. It’s an important story on a number of levels but  especially because it has gone so well in all the ways it could have gone so wrong. Beautiful how these two mothers “get it” and have modeled humility, love and respect towards one another because they both have the same goals in mind. Their children can now see what that looks like to be loved in the best of all possible worlds.

I want to be a part of that world, don’t you?

Let’s face it: there are few things that make us more vulnerable than the achilles heel of motherhood. It’s drawn out the best and the worst in me over the years. Whether it’s shrieking like a banshee at the “big kids” throwing rocks on the playground in the direction of my children,  or praising my child for sharing so generously—all that passion and pride tends to be drawn from the same murky well. 

So murky that sometimes at first,  I couldn’t see …that my kid threw the first rock or the candy they were “sharing” so nicely with their siblings was actually stolen from the grocery store the day before. (Sigh) Hard stuff.

When they were young, it was a simple matter of instruction and demanded compliance often mixed with exhausting levels of inappropriate frustration because I not only wanted them to do well, do better and succeed— I wanted to look good too. Sadly, I feared looking like a bad mother.  It’s a terrible pressure we Mommies put on our children, on ourselves…on one another.

Growing up alongside these three I’ve been privileged to share life with, over time my methods have grown softer, more understanding and less fear-motivated. I still want the very best for my now nearly-grown children but I am more able to trust that God does too and He invites— but doesn’t need— my help to do it.

As true as that is, I can’t deny the temptation I face every now and then to “stack the deck” in their favor. I can’t deny how hard it is to fight the urge to rescue them instead of letting them feel the weight of a poor decision or their sin.

It’s hard to watch them fall.
It’s hard to watch them fail.

I can’t deny how it hurts to face someone criticizing your child and refusing your apology because, let’s face it, “we have different parenting styles”.  Hard, hard, hard.  Hard because, deep down, I believe we have the same loving goals in mind despite our blind spots.

Awareness IN faith

As you know, I’ve been reading through the Gospels again and there’s this place in Matthew 20 where the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John) kneels before Jesus asking if they can sit in the places of power on either side of Him in His glorious kingdom. Jesus replies that she doesn’t know what she’s asking. She doesn’t. He gently tells her that these places are taken by those prepared by the Father.  Some indignation and awkwardness between the disciples follows but Jesus uses this as another teaching opportunity to remind them of who they are to be— it’s our reminder too.

I think about that mother and I just feel her. She honestly thought she was making the best move for her sons. She acted out of love…out of ignorance and Jesus was so gentle and kind. I’m not certain about this but it’s occurred to me that the places on the right and left of Jesus that God had already filled… might have easily been the places on either side of him as He hung on the cross. Like he said, oftentimes, we think we can “drink the cup” but don’t know what we’re asking. And God knows best…wait for it.

paradox of humility

A few weeks ago the speaker at our community girls event mentioned how she’s learned the Christian life is not about simple obedience. Instead, she said, it’s found in the joy of abiding. I absolutely agree.  I’ve learned that God really isn’t after blind obedience. He’s truly after abiding because He knows that heartfelt obedience will joyfully follow.

It’s why Jesus instructs us to abide with Him because when we get to the place where we are so deeply abiding…existing for and through Christ alone…well, obedience is no longer a problem.  THAT’s what I’m after with my children— to teach by modeling before them what it means to abide.      I pray it’s working.

I know it’s not the perfect parenting solution. I only know to lean on the perfect Savior and I surely know all about my daily, daily DAILY need for his help to do this thing called motherhood.

I’m nearly done with this season as my last one at home will be launching in a few years. But it’s my intent to be more gracious and grace filled towards other Mommies just trying their best to get it right. I want to do my best to remember that we all have blind spots… because we love and thankfully it’s because He first loves us….and I only have grace to spare.

What do you know about blindspots? Grace?

  from my heart,   Lorretta signature

Linking with Jennifer, and  the Missional Women of Faith.

faith; the portal to joy

 

Reflective Faith

 

 

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And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
    and I do not forsake them.   Isaiah 42:16  (ESV)

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Believing that He leads… even when I am blind and can not see.
Believing  He knows the way, especially when I do not know how to go.
Believing I am guided by One who has gone down this road many times before.

Seeing  as darkness slowly bends into glorious light. Shade by shade, shadow by shadow.

Noticing as my over-thought and hyper-planned, stumbling steps and fumbling along shifts almost imperceptibly. The frightened shuffle becomes an easier walk and I’m no longer thinking about the ground beneath my feet.

Relaxing into what He is doing. Trusting with the kind of trust that becomes so natural, I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

Because….
I’m not forsaken.
I’m named and claimed
and
deeply, divinely, GLORIOUSLY redeemed.

 

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