Sunday, January 31, 2010

The depth of patience

When we were skiing at Sipapu Resort in New Mexico, I decided to take my middle daughter to Lift 3. My husband had told me that this was a poma lift, and that she couldn't ride the poma lift, but for some reason I simply ignored this tidbit. After all, if she didn't like it, we'd just ski down the mountain and keep taking Lift 1. We reached the bottom of Lift 3, and she dutifully tried the poma, but fell off after about 20 feet. Repeat three times. No problem, I think...we'll ski to the bottom of the mountain. However, the lift operator informed me that unless we rode the poma up, there was no way to access the rest of the mountain without hiking up the trail we had skiied down to get there.

Poor daughter of mine! She is a very new skiier, and I had just landed her in a tortuous position. We could have stayed at Lift 1 and had a fantastic afternoon, but now we were stuck. She became very frustrated and very difficult. Early in this crisis, I thought about how life is full of obstacles. Some you make yourself; some life deals you. Life is about overcoming these obstacles, and fun is what we have when there is no current obstacle.

So I set aside fun for the moment on our trip and worked on the obstacle of getting away from Lift 3. I wasn't sure we could do it without Ski Patrol and a snow mobile. I did not, in myself, have the patience to deal with my daughter and her frustration. At that point, however, I found that God did. I experienced the most remarkable, deep patience that I have ever felt. She threw herself down in the snow; I waited. She insisted on side-stepping up the mountain; I waited. She yelled at me; I waited. I cannot describe how filled I was with the patience of God. I know it did not come from me. Galatians 5 says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. When He fills you, these traits are apparent. Early in this trial, I could feel something inside of me that was clearly beyond myself. I knew it the obstacle would stretch out in front of me, and I was glad. It was amazing to feel patience and peace so completely that I almost wanted it to keep going, just to experience the depth of God's presence. Perhaps for the sake of my daughter, the ordeal only lasted two hours.

In that time, I simply meditated on His goodness towards me, in all my difficult moments of life. He patiently deals with me as I learn to overcome the obstacles in front of me. He is not like me; He is patient and He is good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do Not Arouse or Awaken Love

"Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." - Song of Solomon

This refrain appears throughout the love poem of Songs in Scripture, a poem that is sometimes erotic and always full of passion. I have never quite understood what it meant...but now I am raising teenage daughters.

In our culture, girls begin to grow into womanhood, and we tell them to wait for love until they are done with school, until they have started a career, until they have explored and had adventures. People would be appalled at a girl who married at the age of fifteen.

Yet at the same time, we awaken desire in her. We dress her in suggestive clothing, surround her with suggestive images, and fill her soul with music that awakens desire. The church is not immune from the culture we live in.

I don't know the answer, but I am engaged in the struggle. I have watched many young adult women derailed by passions not expressed in the safety of marriage, and all I know to do is ask my Father to throw His protective cloak over my girls. Now this verse makes sense to me, and I chorus with the women of Song of Solomon, do not awaken love until it so desires, in the lives of my precious daughters.