some thoughts on grace, failures, and the soul feeling its worth
Tonight I sat for hours with my eldest daughter on the phone. She messaged me at 11pm telling me she loved me and thanks for being an awesome dad and an amazing friend, I thought what’s up? Then she messaged me and said she was cutting her wrists. Finally I got through to her, she was distraught, overwhelmed and without hope. What saved her was the blade was too blunt to cut the artery. I called the police and then spoke with her until they turned up, she’s going to hospital as I write this. Her two daughters were with her and they are pretty traumatised. I felt completely useless, I’m 3000 kms away from her at the moment. My daughter was under protective care because her husband is a drug dealer and raped her, she has suffered under trauma for many years and I couldn’t save her. I speak with her a couple of times a week but I live in a very remote place so there’s only so much I can do. She suffers from boarder line personality disorder, bipolar and PTSD. Her mum died from cancer when she was nine and her step mum is frightened of her because she doesn’t understand mental illness and she has PTSD from years in an extremely violent relationship. My daughter is gentle, kind, compassionate and forgiving, these are great qualities until violent men take advantage of them. So I was looking at my emails and I came across this from Nadia and it was a kind of miracle. I’ve been a minister for 36 years and I can’t do joy to the world much anymore, I’ve had too much suffering and I’ve watched my kids and people I love really suffer, it’s been hard, sometimes too hard. I don’t ask God for much anymore, I’m kind of over that but tonight I asked God for help and I got this from Nadia. So Nadia wherever you are thanks, you might just be lead by the Spirit. I’ve sent it to my daughter to read in hospital, she will understand the message.
Thank you for this. I'm approaching the 2nd anniversary of my dearest partner's death and feeling so sad and also pissed off at him for dying right before Christmas.
This thought occurred this morning. You know how people say "So-help-me-God" at the end of oaths, or just for emphasis. This morning I realized it should be, "So. . . help me God."
This song is stalking me this year. Crazy Spirit. There is a choral version from England that plays in the background of a digital Advent calendar. I’ll be decorating a Christmas tree in that app and O Holy Night will come on and even though I can’t fully make out the words of the second verse I find myself near weeping. “Here is your king” and that king is just this tiny baby, a king “born to be our friend.” “He knows our need.” I just lose it. One evening I heard once again “Fall on your knees” and “Before him lowly bend” and before I knew what I was doing I was down on the floor. My body went straight past my analytical head’s resistance to all this business bowing down and just did what felt like the only possible response to what the heart comprehended.
Nadia, I will write more later, but for now, I wanted to offer a small gift to you and those in the Corners. I'm so grateful to be a part of this community. Oh Holy Night has always been my favorite Christmas song as well. I've always loved the line "Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in his name, all oppression shall cease." It is powerful knowing that that verse was forbidden for some time because it spoke against slavery. So, I feel this unity with rebels of the past, with those who spoke against what was "normal" and "just the way things are".
Today, I recorded Oh Holy Night a cappella in my room. I'm just sitting at my desk not worrying about making everything perfect, just singing, and somehow it feels right.
Thanks again, Nadia, and everyone in the Corners.
At the end of my meditation practice, I pick up my phone, partly out of reflex, but partly because I often find an answer to the prayers I just prayed. This was the answer I needed to the prayers I just prayed. Thank you. ❤
I had this in my email waiting for me to make time to read it. Today was the day. Boy did I need this today. Funny how God gives us just what we need at the right time. Today I stop beating myself up every time I fuck up. I’m letting God’s grace work in me. I know God loves me! Thank you Pastor Nadia. Merry Christmas.
A very beautifully sung song ; enough to make me want to hear the nice old songs of Christmas without some perverse jazzed up, personal interpretation (why I hate Christmas music any more).
“Pining” ; I am pining (in the 2nd definition) that I have indeed committed Spufford’s definition of “sin” in bringing hurt and sorrow upon one that I dearly love, through trying to be “faithful” though a lie (now there is a real conceptual oxymoron).
So I’ll take some intercession here from Mary ; I need it from wherever I can get it, ... if only I can learn to “fall on my knees”.
Sometimes I think God sent you just to speak to me and other times I'm sure of it. I'm struggling with enough-ness navigating an ADHD diagnosis at 54. And O Holy Night gets me right in the feels every time.
Crying. Can you move to Winston Salem, NC? Asking for a friend. In all seriousness this just what I needed today.
Oh my! Such a real and beautiful sharing. Isn’t it so kickass how much we are loved just the way we all are! And the Church said amen sister! Thank you so much for your words of raw wisdom. :)
Nadia, you always pick the most beautiful pieces for reflection, things that we have so easily grown numb to and overlooked. Who would have thought to unpack "error pining,"that hand-wringing that we do as we think, "Am I good enough? Am I good enough? Am I good enough?" as we go over and over all the ways we've royally screwed this thing up. How lucky are we that we have a God who appears and perpetually whispers within us, "Good enough, good enough, good enough." What an extraordinary thing to get to reflect on today. Thank you.
“Which makes me wonder if perhaps our obsession with self-improvement is really just a form of atheism disguised as spirituality.” Yes!! AND .. i struggle with these kinds of arguments. I’m not arguing that a bunch of middle aged white women taking supplements and doing a yoga retreat in Maui is self improvement. That’s vacation.
But, “self-improvement” I think includes 12Step programs and therapy and communities of care and all kinds of things that bring us to our knees. Sometimes this line of thinking feels unnecessarily shame inducing.
Love this. Fall on Your Knees: That moment of "sweet surrender" when God's truth gently eclipses my lie - I collapse in relief and release.
The Magnificat is truly the most beautiful prayer/song of Mary in any church tradition. My should magnifies the Lord. Indeed. Amen.
Out of the blue, I was singing this song yesterday, and your complete essay is totally on point!
“But our failings and weakness and mistakes are God’s perfect entry points. It is our lowliness and our humility, not our strength and our so-called virtues where God does God’s very best work.”
Amen! I love your expression of Mother Mary. Thank you for helping me to feel worthy in my “lowliness”. Thank you for creating a congregation for us!
toxic nostalgic! Always once a year.....UGH Nadia, your gifts to the world are amazing.
Thank you !