Enough of a Good Thing

Rain, rain, rain. Sometimes you can have enough of a good thing. It’s been raining for days. And though our state has desperately needed a good, long rain, the flash floods seem to be saying, “Enough!” Sometimes, like with the rain, I feel myself growing weary of myself. Even at my best moments, when I want my life to reflect God’s glory, I catch myself thinking about myself and how God might change me. I think of how I could be more winsome, more gregarious, more fun. And it gets a little like that feeling you’d have if you swallowed a spoonful of butter. You can have too much of a good thing, and too much self can easily turn into a flood whose current takes me places I’d rather not go. Continue reading “Enough of a Good Thing”

Regarding the Clouds

My 13-year-old has been obsessed with weather since the day she was wobbly legged, teetering from one foot to the other in a toddler rain dance. She could tell me about the towering cumulonimbus with its anvil head and tornado spawning downdrafts by the time she was 5. I remember the hours I spent with her in “exposure therapy,” walking her outside under the porch roof in the middle of a thunderstorm, asking her to rate her fear on a scale of 1-10, then making her stay in the middle of her terror until the 10 backed down to 9, then 8, then 7 before heading back inside. The face-your-fear style of therapy mitigated her storm-related anxieties, but the intrigue of a good storm has continued to captivate her as she’s grown. Continue reading “Regarding the Clouds”

Letting Go of Home

Untethered, my life drifts loose, away from a familiar horizon. Since saying yes to names on a piece of paper, names listed in print under the letters B-u-y-e-r, our family home has hung suspended in a legal state called “under contract.” It’s still ours, but new names are beginning the process of calling it. Inside it still, we are disconnected and restless. The ropes that bound have given way, and we begin the gradual drift away. Continue reading “Letting Go of Home”

Exposure: the Vulnerability of Trust

“It requires heroic courage to trust in the love of God no matter what happens to us.” – Brennan Manning (in Ruthless Trust)

Philip Yancey’s grandma said, “Not to risk is not to really live.” What keeps us from risking anyway? Some may say fear, and some may say a lack of clarity, the clarity that God is calling us to a particular risk (my hunch is it’s a little of both). I was struck a few years back by a story I read in Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust. He tells the story of a man who visited Mother Teresa. The man asked Mother Teresa to pray for him. He wanted to have clarity. Mother Teresa refused to pray that for that man and said instead, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” Surprised, the man asked Mother Teresa if she had clarity. “I have never had clarity,” she answered, “What I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

Trust. Trust that God is good when it doesn’t appear to be that way (like Abraham on Mt. Moriah or Job upon the destruction of his life). Trust that God loves you. Trust that his love for you is not just some blanket, universal love of his creation but a personal and intimate love for you. Brennan Manning’s spiritual mentor told him, “You’ve got enough insights to last you 300 years. The most urgent need in your life is to trust what you have received.” Quit looking for more insight, more wisdom, he seems to be saying. Trust what you have received. That is really the great need at the bottom of all this searching. Continue reading “Exposure: the Vulnerability of Trust”

Coming Storm

It’s the feeling I get when I know what I’m in for, when my son wakes up nauseous with a fever and I know exactly what my day will look like: it won’t be what I’d planned. All plans will be set aside. The day will entail temperature taking, medication dispensing, floor wiping, bucket rinsing, clothes and sheets washing, nose wiping, tea and dry toast — you get the idea. The weather feeds this morning all say a storm is coming our way. It’s an official hurricane and expected to land on our town tomorrow. Whether it be a hurricane or the onset of a sudden illness, the feeling I get with news of an impending storm is always the same. I am braced for an altered agenda, and I am mustering reserves to respond with strength and resolve to equal the storm. All focus shifts to one thing, weathering the storm well. Continue reading “Coming Storm”