Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Eternity on my Eyeballs

I started praying this a few weeks ago after both reading it in Gloria Furman's book and hearing it in an interview she did on a podcast, though she gives original credit for the prayer to Jonathan Edwards.  "Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs."  Lord, don't let me miss it.  Don't let me get bogged down in the waves of details that consume the little moments of my days.  Don't let me go another year without seeing how the daily intersects with the divine.  Stamp eternity on my eyeballs.

For most of my college years (and let's be honest... my 20's), I would remember the eternal when I had what felt like holy moments.  Time with my journal, the right mug of coffee, the perfect song, and the Word of God.  Then the children came along and seemed to interrupt the holiness of my life (ha!).  The journal collected dust on my bedside table as I rarely had a hand free to write, let alone a coherent thought after little or no sleep.  The mug of coffee was drunk for survival not for savoring.  The worship songs were silenced as I learned that my children would wake up if they heard even the slightest noise. And the Word... Well, even the daily routines I had in the Word to fill me up were replaced by lesser substitutes as my exhausted body bristled at the thought of one more thing on the "Good Moms Must ____" list.  If I didn't feel like the moment was holy, then I completely forgot that the Holy God was present.

Perhaps these thoughts are coming together because I got a full 8 hours of sleep last night and the night before that... and the night before that.  To all your new mommas out there, try not to hate me.  I've been there, marveling at how anything could be so unfair and awesome all at the same time.  Or perhaps these thoughts are stemming from the renewed vision God has given me for His Word.  I'd always heard that it's our daily bread and we should be in the Word every day.  After all, who eats once a week or even every other day if they have the choice?  But being the fallen rebel and perfectionist I am, I kept looking for the zen moment with the coffee and the song and the journal, rejecting the here and the now as second-rate.  Plus, who has the focus to read Scripture?!?  I can barely focus enough to finish a comic strip! 

Fast-forward to 2018, when I used a coupon to buy a Write the Word journal and spent the summer writing out Scriptures about faith.  I would sit down first thing in the morning, take the opportunity to write something I was thankful for, write the passage for that day, and then PRAY. Pray for the Word I had written to permeate my heart and my mind.  Pray for my children and the burdens of that day.  Pray for my husband and the challenges that we face in what feels like an us-against-the-world battle.  Due to all four children being home for summer vacation, it was a highly interrupted, often completed in three different sittings, and sometimes abandoned practice.  But the Word of God NEVER returns void.  Did you hear that?  Never.  Not the verse you read to yourself that's taped on your dashboard.  Not the song that weaves the Word into your earbuds.  And not my broken discipline of sitting down on a semi-regular basis to just write. it. down.

It began to change my vision and and reignite my faith in and love for the Word of God in a new way.  It was during this season that I picked up Gloria Furman's book, and started praying, "Lord, please... stamp eternity on my eyeballs."  And then the fun began...

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of fun.  I would liken the past few weeks of this prayer to body surfing.  Have you ever body surfed when the flag is green at the beach?  I mean... it's okay.  Every once in a while when a big boat goes by, you get a good wave that carries you a few feet.  Your heels are lifted from the sand and you float a bit.  But the past few weeks of praying this prayer have been like body-surfing when the flag is yellow and the waves are relentless, even overpowering, yet you know that it's the biggest waves breaking in the perfect rhythm that have the power to carry you weightless to shore at a speed that leaves you a little breathless.  And you what?  You just can't get enough of it.  And in the midst of those waves, there's also a strong chance that you won't ride it but will be thrown under and knocked into the sand and sludge at the bottom.  If that makes sense to you, I've been spiritually body-surfing in yellow-flag life waves.  Sometimes I've ridden.  Sometimes I've eaten sludge.

Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.  David and I have found ourselves in the middle of a lot of hard lately.  It's easy for each of us to use our chosen coping mechanism (avoidance, fast fixes) to try to make the hurt disappear, but this prayer won't let me. When the difficulty comes up, the first question now isn't "how do I make this stop?", but rather "what is God doing here for the Kingdom?' Whoa. That is not how I think, but I'm pretty sure it's how God operates.  It's eternity...stamped on my eyeballs...and it's an answer to my prayers. 

I can't share all the details of the waves that we've been meeting out here, but let me just tell you, they're a lot more of them that we've ever met before.  And last Sunday, I drowned for a bit.  But on the whole, this prayer has me looking at the horizon, not with fear, but with anticipation that God is up to something good.  He is timing the waves, measuring them in the span of His fingertips, and is allowing us to ride them in trust, not to make us look good (because heaven know as much as I love body surfing I look super awkward out there) but to show off His power, His sovereign plan, and to draw others to Him for... eternity. And what do I get out of it?  I get to ride.  Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.

And the joy of the ride has me hungering and thirsting for more.  More time listening to the Word of God taught.  More knowledge of how the Gospel intersects with our daily struggles. More of seeing God show up in the messy situations to reveal His glory.  More first-time experiences that lead to lifetime callings.

When I began this year,  I wasn't sure what I would do with myself.  Only one baby still at home during the day, and a low-maintenance kiddo at that.  Well, it doesn't take long for time to be used up, but my heart rejoices in the places where the Lord has invested my days and the renewed vision He has given me for the most basic of all callings that He has given to each of us...Love Him.  Love others. Do it for His glory.  For eternity.

The flag is up, and it's yellow.  And rather than be filled with anxiety as I hear the waves crash, I realize that with each passing moment our enemy's days are drawing to an end and the Kingdom of God is here.  So I write the Word again, give thanks again, and pray today one more time, "Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs." And I get ready to greet the waves and enjoy the ride.