december 18, 2009

December 18, 2009 at 11:55 am 10 comments

our friend ben thomas sang and played at our wedding.  i still love to look back at pictures of him and his big red guitar at the service and remember how much mike and I enjoy his talent.  ben put out this cd called the bewildering light  a couple years ago with songs from the perspectives of some of the familiar faces around the nativity scene (along with many other great cd’s over the years).  My all-time favorite ben song is called Zechariah and the Least Expected Places on this Christmastime cd.

I am just going to print the lyrics to bless you…

 Jerusalem and the holy temple filled with smoke

Zechariah shuns the news from the angel of hope

Stuck behind an incense cloud of religion and disappointment

God keeps slipping out from underneath rocks in alleys off the beaten path

Open both your eyes

 Prophets and kings and poets can contribute their work

Just like eggs in a nest are alive with the promise of birds


God keeps slipping out from underneath rocks in alleys off the beaten path

Open both your eyes

 Elizabeth barren her knees black and dirty like coal

Her consistent prayers float to the sky And revive her soul


God keeps slipping out from underneath rocks in alleys off the beaten path

Open both our eyes

      this song is full of lyrics I love but I find I can simply not get over the two lines I bolded for you.  Christmas is a weird time for me.  Part of it is that my love language is not gifts.  And I find gift-giving and gift-receiving not as gratifying as the rest of the world seems to.  Part of it is that the Christmas story is not new to me and so I struggle to experience it as if it were fresh again.  And trying to conjure up feelings of seasonal enthusiasm confounds me.  And the more you try the harder it gets.  But when I listen to this song I relate to Elizabeth and it becomes a prayer that revives my soul.  It reminds me that I don’t have to pretend I enjoy gift-giving traditions that honestly drain a bit.  It reminds me that I am not alone in sometimes mistakenly shunning the angel’s call to joy.  It reminds me that God is ever-new, ever-surprising, ever-redeeming.  His story is not old.  It is stunning.  it reminds me that as I contemplate how to maneuver happy holidays with 2 little kids and a husband that can’t help, 2 kids focused on getting to the presents and a husband focused on staying in bed at all costs, a family that requires an immense amount of physical labor to transport to any family party let alone a church service…

God keeps slipping out from underneath rocks and alleys off the beaten path.

He will show.  He does show.  He has shown.

I guess I get a little bit afraid of being overwhelmed with the effort of celebrating.  I wish it was a more natural and easy process.  I am jealous of other families’ ease of maneuvering even if they can’t recognize that blessing themselves.  I wonder if this is God’s best for us.

…but the Lord of creation will not be subjected to expectation.

…God, we will wait though we don’t understand your redemptive story.

Open both our eyes.

It becomes my prayer that revives my soul.  It renews my trust.  It refreshes the story so I may celebrate.

            And on that note, mike had his feeding tube removed yesterday!  He has gotten all food by mouth since spring/summer.  And he has mastered taking medicine by mouth this fall.  He still needs help getting fed but so many people filling in the schedule of covering so many dinners has made it possible to live without the tube.  It is the last weird external invasive thing we hoped to get removed.  And so far there are no complications.  It should take a few days to heal completely closed.  It is exciting to see that mike continues to reach new milestones over time and lends hope to the years to come… though mike would not say that years is an appropriate timeline of expectation.  He is “sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1) that he will be healed in an overnight, immediate way.  Thank you for your own faithfulness that upholds ours.  Please continue to pray for God’s glory in our lives as he shows up, slipping out from underneath rocks in alleys off the beaten paths.  Merry, merry Christmas!

Entry filed under: updates.

november 1, 2009 2/23/10 another corner

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jess Lucht  |  December 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Merry Christmas Michelle. I miss you and would love to catch up soon. I think about you all often. Love you!

  • 2. Barbara Gobrail  |  December 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Once again, I learn more about the expectations of the season! Michelle, God has used you to touch many! I just watched a prayer service from Washing, DC National Cathedral and the Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. God ripes us out of our expectations! The season takes on new meaning! All I can say is WOW and THANKS!

  • 3. The Naffzigers  |  December 19, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Michelle…we would love to see yall when we’re in Naperville over Christmas if possible. We’ll call you while we’re there & hope it works out to visit. Praying for you now & always!

  • 4. Matt  |  December 21, 2009 at 11:51 am

    You just made me smile – you say you don’t find gift giving gratifying and yet your gifts are so rich. Like the gift of those lyrics. Like the gift of opening yourself so we can journey along with you even when we don’t or can’t take the time to visit you and your family in person. Like the gift of your smile and warmth when I do see you.

    So thanks for filling my stocking.

    In Chirist,


  • 5. Rachel E  |  December 21, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    As always, I was happy to find an update from you here. You make me think and you make me feel, and I love how you are able to tap into both your and mine (and many others’) earthly beings and transcendent beings with the words and emotions that you share. Thank you for the gifts you share throughout the year – your honesty, your insight, your questions, your falterings, your connection with us and with your family and with your faith. Ah, yes, Mike’s expectation. Yet I have to wonder what God’s conception of time really is? What is a moment? I pray for you, and Mike, and your family for a holiday…a season, a year, a moment…of release from worry and surrend to joyful celebration. Much love to you and yours, Rachel

  • 6. Chris Klonne  |  December 22, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for being such an inspiration. Merry Christmas to you all!

    Chris Klonne

  • 7. emily bishop  |  December 28, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Again and again, I am humbled and challenged by your words….and I pray to be half the woman of grace that you are as you walk in the direction that God leads you. Thank you for continuing to give to US through your words, insight and honesty. God bless you….always….

  • 8. Matt Koupal  |  January 29, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Hey Michelle-

    You and Mike have been on my heart lately and I just wanted to know how much you are loved. Your journey is great and terrible, but you are not alone — ever.

  • 9. Stephanie Holland  |  January 31, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Praying for you, awed by your strength and perseverance. We went thru a minor trial, a period of joblessness, re-employed now, but hoping to sell our house and return to Naperville. I hope to see you when I get back and in the meantime will pray, pray, pray. God is trustworthy, that is true.
    Love, Stephanie Holland

  • 10. Matt Koupal  |  February 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm


    Still thinking about you and praying for you!



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