Everyone is sitting on cozy couches watching Hallmark movies. They feature leading ladies who return to their hometowns only to fall in love and find that their lives are finally falling into place. I know I should be snuggled up watching holiday movies too, baking gingerbread cookies, and singing all the Christmas songs. But instead, I am listening to “My Little Love” by Adele on repeat — and I cannot stop from playing the song over and over again, the lyrics looping in my kitchen, in my office, in my car:
I’m holding on (barely)
Mama’s got a lot to learn (it’s heavy)
I’m holding on (catch me)
Mama’s got a lot to learn (teach me)
The words of this song come to me when I wake. I hum them while I brush my teeth, I sing them in the shower and in grocery stores. I look up the lyrics and memorize them because even though Adele doesn’t know me, I’m sure the song is about me. I’m the one that’s barely holding on. I’m the one that, thirty years into living, still has so much to learn.
I am the mama hoping that the hurt in her heart doesn’t catch on to her kids. I am the mama hoping that her lostness doesn’t disappoint the light in her kids’ eyes when they discover that she doesn’t have it all together. That no matter how intelligent and brave and fun she seems, she’s really just a woman tearing at the seams.
And this isn’t just a sentiment for the mamas — this is the ache in every heart of any woman who’s got a lot to learn. It’s the ache of every woman that needs time to stand still and keep her wreckage from the world. It’s the ache of every woman desperately hoping that someone will love her while she’s learning, secretly guarding her imperfections so that she does not infect the ones she knows and loves.
But time will never stay or stand still. Kids outgrow clothes, and the sun rises just as soon as we set our eyes to sleep. We barely catch our breath before we realize we’ve grown another year older, another year colder. And what we need at this point is not pity or apologies and not even just prayers.
What we need, at this point, is the truth that the God of the galaxies is enough to hold and handle our every emotion. What we need is the assurance that His love for us will not bend or break at the first — or second or third — sign of us losing faith. What we need is for the kind of grace that never rushes us or runs out on us.
We need the promise of His presence which never fails no matter what it is that we’re facing, both within and around us. We need the promise of a God who will walk with us through the scenarios that do not make sense, the circumstances in which we are still grieving and growing, still wandering and wondering.
These words from Adele, the honest confession of holding on and still having a lot to learn, pricked my seeking soul to recall story after story of God who walked through the most uncertain circumstance with a whole tribe of imperfect people. I am reminded of God who remained with the Israelites in their wilderness.
He was a God who didn’t just lead them out of their lostness but led them through it. Through every lesson they needed to learn — all of their polarity and immaturity, all of their unbelief and wavering grief — He walked with them, loving them as they learned to serve, love, and trust Him and each other.
I imagine the women — the grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, wives, friends. I imagine their exhaustion from living in lostness, waking and rising to the same day in the wilderness, seemingly on repeat. I imagine them feeling like they didn’t know what they were doing, like they’d somehow gotten it all wrong. Feeling like, after all those years in Egypt, fighting for their freedom and singing about the sureness of God’s goodness, they still had so much left to learn as they carried out their faith, families, and future.
But God still loved them even in their learning.
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Exodus 13:21-22 (NIV)
And God loves us even in our learning. He provides for us and speaks promises over us, leading us through our darkest and hardest seasons when it feels like we are wandering around in the dark — confused, unsure, and barely hanging on.
And because of this great love — His promises, provision, and even protection — we do not have to circumvent the weight of our stories with anyone or hide the fact that we’ve not yet arrived. We can admit that we are tired and unsure and wary of the way even while we are trusting that God is holding us through it all. He leads and loves us even as we’re still learning.Leave a Comment