Hannah Coe: Faithful Witness

Isaiah 43:16-21

One day, shortly after my second child arrived, a friend and mother of three leaned in close and asked, “So, how are you doing? How is your adjustment from one to two going?”

The uncensored version of my internal response is not suitable for online publication. The censored version was something like, “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS! PLEASE TELL ME IT GETS EASIER!”

I think I said something like “It’s definitely interesting,” or, “it’s a whole new world.”

I am forever grateful for a friend who invited me to be honest. Her question and genuine listening ear remedied my overwhelmed loneliness.

Mothering two children has been a wilderness journey for me. My nurturing, loving, guiding energies feel depleted. Have I made the right parenting choices? Did I keep everyone’s medicine and menus straight? Do we have enough clean laundry to make it through the day?

I miss the time I got to spend with my husband during our one-child days. There have been long stretches of time through which every moment of every day is consumed with children, home, ministry, and then children again—caring for everything but myself. It’s been a year of transition—two moves, new jobs, new baby. When will I find my normal again?

In this passage from Isaiah 43, God’s chosen people, living in the wilderness of Babylonian exile, find themselves in an unanticipated season of “open possibility.”[1] Under the crushing weight of exile, many of God’s people accepted displacement as the final reality.

We can understand why, when Cyrus of Persia invited the exiles to return home and rebuild their lives, the people had a hard time seeing the shifting political and social climate as a God-given opportunity. They did not expect God to work in such a way, still grieving the loss of what was.

Second Isaiah invites fellow believers to see God’s faithfulness and abiding love revealing itself, before their very eyes, in unanticipated ways. God had not broken God’s promise, but still claimed, loved, and sustained her children, especially in their wilderness.

God has done what God always seems to do—transformed my wilderness into a season of open possibility. Even when I keep looking for the normal that used to be, God ever and always claims me, loves me, and points me toward the “well-watered pathway.” God helps me trade in perfectionism and control for setting priorities and trusting the process.

God strengthens me to say “no”, to practice self-care, and to intentionally make space for what is most important. God emboldens me to have a soft heart that can love and be loved even when it’s risky. God delivers me from the idea that I have to do it all myself.

God whose love will not let us go, we offer gratitude and praise for your working in our wilderness. Embolden and equip us to be faithful witnesses to the working of your grace, power, and love in our hurting world.

[1] Samuel Adams, “Isaiah 43:16-21: Exegetical Perspective,” Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 2 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009) 125.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Georgia native and graduate of Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, Hannah Coe serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Missouri.  Hannah and her husband, David, are parents to Katherine and Annalina. They enjoy playing, eating, and the occasional nap.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s