Gentleness Saves

The following is a brief and quickly written post in response to Barbara Brown Taylor's question, "What is saving your life right now?"  Explore other bloggers' answers to the same question at Sarah Bessey 's blog.  For me, this was a good prayer experience.  What would your answer be?  Consider commenting, journaling, or posting the question on your facebook page.  Here's my response:

All I can say is that we are in transition again.  It’s presence hangs like a heavy cloud just over the horizon.  The twins turning one in two weeks.  School starting, a first grader and a four year old gone three mornings a week now.  And me, on a precipice again, or at least it feels that way.  Barreling down a river toward a waterfall, I can feel the current gaining speed and we’re not ready, I’m not ready.  So I am lashing things down to our little raft, holding us all too tight and making everyone miserable in the anticipation and not knowing. 

A friend stopped by this morning and pushed it all back for a few minutes, spoke over the roar of the waters, made space for the flood I was holding back. 

After she leaves and I am standing doing last night’s dirty dishes an old verse comes to mind:

Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old. 
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? 
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:18-19

Maybe.  Maybe this is what’s saving me in the wilderness and desert of my unknowing and fear.  The promise that God is always, always, always doing a new thing, that there’s no turning back with God, that what lies beyond the fall is better than what came before.  And that maybe the ride is for enjoying.  This, saves me.

But then, when I forget again and fight and struggle and cling to my raft counting down the minutes to my own sure demise, there’s another voice that saves me.  This one whispers beneath the roar of the waters, “Be gentle with yourself.  Be gentle.  As gentle as you are with your shaking son who’s dreamed a dinosaur in his room at four am.  Gentle as you are when you lay down the other two who’re dancing and jumping and yelling in their cribs.  Gentle because you know they’ve simply forgotten how to let go and stop fighting the steep fall into sleep.  Be as gentle with yourself as I am with you.” 

I write these words that are saving me in black ink, going over it three or four times so it stands out bold and place them in the center of my refrigerator,

“Be gentle  (for love and for joy).”   


  1. Replies
    1. It's a wonderful question because, in answering it, we realize that "being saved" is always an option, if we're willing to surrender to it. I'm loving a collection of Barbara Brown Taylor's sermons this summer, "Mixed Blessings." Thanks for hosting the conversation!

  2. Wow, I love this. I think this post was just what I needed tonight. I'm writing that verse from Isaiah down and praying it. I feel like I'm in such a similar place of not knowing, being scared. Thank you for sharing this and reminding me that I'm not alone. And my twins are 2.5 now; doesn't that first birthday just feel like such a victory? :) Congratulations!

    1. Thanks! I have mixed feelings about the birthday, I love your suggestion of thinking of it as a victory. It's been a challenging and life changing year, for sure! Expecting twins was certainly a place of not knowing and being scared, but it turned out to be so much better than I could've dreamed. I need to make a big pile of stones in the middle of my living room, one for every time God has brought me to a new place that's better than I could've imagined, despite my resistance! Thanks so much for your comment:).

  3. Right before I had Noah I found myself consumed and worrying about what lie ahead. Fears and anxious thoughts running through my head about what will I do when this or that happens....and then God calmed my anxious heart with his promise, like the one from Isaiah 43. THis following excerpt comes from "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. "Do not worry about tomorrow! This is not a suggestio, but a command. I divided time into days and nights, so that you would have manageable portions of life to handle. My grace is sufficient for you, but its sufficiency is for only one day at a time. When you worry about the future, you heap day upon day of troubles onto your flimsy frame. YOu stagger under this heavy load, which I never intended you to carry. Throw off this oppressive burden with one quick thrust of trust. Anxious thoughts meander about and crisscross in your brain, but trusting Me brings you directly into My Presence. As you thus affirm your faith, shackles of worry fall off instantly. ENjoy My PResence continually by trusting Me at all times.
    I've greatly enjoyed reading your blog, Kelly!

    Kelly JOnes

  4. P.S. I figured out how to comment..AMAZING!

    1. Awesome! Maybe now we can have some of the conversations we haven't had time for over the past 3 years or so! I like the idea of God dividing time into manageable portions on our behalf, another friend and I have been talking a lot lately about how our view of time is often so twisted and unhealthy. I do believe that it's when we're in the present, not worrying about the past or the future, that we have most direct access to God's loving presence.

  5. Saving me - reminders that there is nothing I can ever do to make God love me less and nothing I can ever do to make him love me more. Simple. Extraordinary. And something I didn't understand until I had children of my own.

    1. Mind-blowing, really. And yet we keep returning to our little games of shame and fear, and guilt and goodness, when all the while God's just waiting to see us really start living in the joy and freedom that's truly ours. Peace to you Matt.