Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I have a friend who talks about how we live our life in teaspoonfuls instead of big drinks. We often are so thirsty for the big gulps, she says, that we miss the perfect teaspoons of joy right there in front of us.

She said to me that she thinks this is the way love works, too. We wish it would work instant miracles and create dramatic change - but instead love tends to chip away tiny bits of change at a time. And if we hang in there long enough, and celebrate the teaspoonfuls, eventually, sometimes, we do sometimes see some big redemptions.

My friend and I talked a lot about the story lines of our lives; about how to rightly grieve the ones we thought we would have and accept the ones that are. Even though the ones that are often include loss and heartache. It's something we don't talk as much about when we're younger and dreams are fresh and hot off the press.

Embracing heartache, I've been reminded this week, is the only way to feel joy when it arrives.

I have another friend who has been reading quotes to me from C. S. Lewis' book The Four Loves. He talks about how we don't know why, but heartbreak is often the way God chooses to bring us closer to joy.

I had yet another friend send me some scriptures this week:

from Romans chapter 4 

v.18 - 25
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, "You're going to have a big family, Abraham!"

Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say, 
"It's hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child." Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up. He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That's why it is said, "Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right." But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless.

I've been thinking about those words a lot. I wonder how Abraham waited and trusted; let alone "plunged in strong!" - and what he thought he was believing for - as his story was painfully rewritten before his aging eyes.

I wonder about the heartache that made Sarah laugh when the hoping place in her heart was spoken to, but felt struck by loss instead. I wonder about her temptation to rewrite her story herself when she felt abandoned, and how Abraham may have felt drained of all his dreams and comforts by the time his son was finally born.

I wonder if he worried that the damage to his heart (and his wife's) done by their waiting would make their hearts numb or calloused to their promise when it was fulfilled? How did their hearts not get hard and bitter? How did he not lose hope?

Their story isn't my story but it's been illuminating for me so well the truth that unless we let ourselves feel deep pain and embrace it purposefully - in the context of belief in and worship of the Promise Giver - we will never feel joy the way we are meant to either.

I have to confess I don't know how to do that. At all.

But I wonder if maybe it comes in teaspoonfuls.

I see in their all-too-human example that a story is still worth not giving up on - even when that means taking our hands off our own steering wheel and drinking hope in teaspoonfuls, when really what we are wishing for is a dramatic rescue, a big promise and to be saved from heartache.

Heartbrokenness in the face of an unexpected plot change in our lives while being simultaneously called to hope can feel cruel. We, too, worry about the damage done to our hearts and if we'll be too grizzled and broken to celebrate the joy of the happy ending? Let alone how we stay alive to teaspoonfuls that continually awaken a hope it would be easier to die to?

I see in their story that little choices - daily ones, teaspoon sized ones - in love and commitment, trust and hope, and being willing to wait for the long haul -  are powerful.

{39/365 is about this being the last year of my fourth decade. 
I am watching for God in my day-to-day life & I am writing about the gifts He gives me in this season. 
I am listening for God's daily, beautiful presence in my years.... all 39 of them and counting. 
This week I have been thinking about the gift of teaspoon sized choices. 
Please feel free to join me. }


Sarah said...

In the story that is being written for me there have been long seasons of wondering and longing for comfort, and you are right on when you write about collecting the teaspoons of beauty, hope, thumb prints of Gods presence, and faith it does make a difference. Some days it seems a meager meal, but it is a meal. Other days it can seem effortless to recall them because the story is not so hard to live. But one thing comes to mind is that no matter what story you have allowed Him to write on your life could you ever imagine your life with out His input? Collecting the teaspoons is growing in faith. Though he slay me still I will trust in Him. I recently read Hinds Feet in High Places to my sons...she understands what your writing about. If only Hannhah Hurranrd (much afraid) could comment here too!I wonder what she would say? Life takes courage and it is only courage when there is something to fear. Take heart, He may be writing your life and the story is uncomfortabe but He promised He would live the story with you, and carry you through it if need be. I can do all things through Christ...because Christ in me is the hope of glory!

WordGirl said...

My teaspoonfuls for today:

1) Being able to wake up on time to get daughter #3 to school on time.

2) A quiet(er) morning with daughters #1 and #2 home for our first "official" day of home schooling this year.

3) A few moments to pause and breathe while they do math.

4) Focusing on the anticipation of homeschooling two, instead of the fear.

I definitely think life is lived in teaspoonfuls - both the joy and the pain. (It's that we think the pain feels like a cup full when it's only a drop's worth.) I'm not to the point where I can rejoice in the pain in its midst, but I can look back and say the pain has made the joy more deeply felt. Thanks for these thoughts.

Clark said...

I love that picture of you babe. Thanks for taking me in teaspoons too. I love you and am proud of you and love your outlook on this.

Heathcote Safari said...

Oh. my. goodness.

Rita said...

Misha ... I got stuck at your photo, which is more than a teaspoon of beauty! Thank you for your tender heart!

Jessica said...

"unless we let ourselves feel deep pain and embrace it purposefully - in the context of belief in and worship of the Promise Giver - we will never feel joy the way we are meant to either."

Oh Misha, I always wait until I can find a quiet moment to catch up on your blog because I know it is going to be rich and I'll need time to ponder. Today I am finding your words not only kind but deeply moving . . . what a beautiful Ah-Ha moment to this deep question . . . teaspoonfuls of Hope . . . Yes and Yes!

amanda said...

That analogy made me smile. I'll be looking for the teaspoon fulls today :)

The Watters said...

I've been away for awhile, as we are finally getting settled in Peru. I'm trying to get caught up on some of your blogs, I just read this and was then able to share the teaspoon concept with my daughter who was having a rough day! Thanks for sharing!!