If we sit sideways in the oversized leather chair — the one that was already faded and cracked before we left our marks on it — two of us can fit.
His little body, tucked into last season’s mismatched pajamas, pressed beside mine and I wondered just what might come out of this kid’s mouth tonight.
He’s still a mystery to me, this child. He was the youngest one we adopted and has no memories of life without being a Hagerty. He smiles like Nate and pops his collar and could spend hours using his sisters’ thread to string plastic toys and legos and army men from the second story bannister.
He’s goofy and loud and all things boy, but some days the clouds hang low behind his eyes. They threaten to disrupt seven year-old boy light-footedness. He has a history that one day will be deep fodder for his conversation with God, but right now he’s not ready to talk.
I think my son is a mystery to himself, too.
Those clouds brood some days and he can’t access what feels so hard in between building lego forts and shooting his bow up at the sky, so he grumbles. Something hurts. It’s that dull ache again, but how does a seven year old process the kind of life-loss he faced before he ever lost his first tooth?
Each of my children are different in how they face their grief. One crawls into my lap, near weekly, and says “I’m just having a hard, hard day,” her once-long-ago loss so near to the surface. It’s barely a thought before I hear it. She makes the connections to her past, without me. Her grief is tangible to her. Another cries in secret while I spend months readying myself for the sliver she’ll give me of her heart when she’s ready to talk.
But this boy, he climbs trees and scouts for hawks and makes pets out of field mice. Underneath all the action is a young one that will one day discover that bravery is in a bare heart. Until then, we wait.
I wait — until he’s ready to talk.
And we take an actively passive approach — if there is such a thing — with him and the others.
We take a phrase or sentence of God’s Word, we see what those words say about who He is, and we speak it back to Him and to our own souls, in words that make it real. It sounds simple and habitual. Maybe even ritual. Sterile.
But tonight was anything but habit.
His body making new impressions on the old creases of the chair, my boy spoke his adoration. We were adoring God out of Luke 2 — the God who told His secret to poor shepherds — and here’s what he said “God, you didn’t give your secrets to just the wealthy or the kings, you told the people that nobody cared about.”
My son — who can’t yet verbalize the life-question of so many former orphans who can’t yet put together thoughts to ask God why he felt forgotten or forsaken, even despite now being in a family — could see another’s seemingly forgotten existence as noticed by God. He could try on, for another, how it felt, before he is ready to talk about it for himself.
This is adoration.
Adoration isn’t for the pious rule-followers who see discipline like a feather in their hat. It’s not for the measured and studied, careful followers for God. It’s not for the good girls and boys who keep their emotions under lock and key.
It’s for the seven year-old former orphans who aren’t quite yet ready to talk to God about the deepest parts of their hearts and the fifty seven year-old grandmothers who are learning to open their hearts up to Him, in love. It’s for the once-hardened and bitter who want a second chance to live another stage of life, soft. It’s for the unkempt who are hungry for a new experience with God, but can’t put language to these nascent sprigs inside.
Adoration is for the one who’s lived a lifetime awkwardly approaching conversation with God, but somewhere, buried deep, wants to know what it’s like to have Him hold their hand.
It’s for the ones who aren’t ready to talk, but are craving the conversation that gives their insides permission to not just form words about God but to fall again in love with Him.
Adoration is for you and me, just like it’s for my son.
Adoration is for the one who wants to be seen. And known. The one who has memorized and quoted his Word, but isn’t laying in bed after the lights are off, awake, aware of their ever-expanding love for Him.
Adoration is introduction to conversation with God, for the ones who aren’t yet ready to talk.
“So where do I start,” you say?
There’s no better time than now, to approach His Word in a new-to-you way. Starting January 1st, we’re adoring God through the Psalms. We are taking one (sometimes itty bitty) phrase, and using that as our starting point for conversation with God — and with ourselves — about God.
We’re not waiting until we feel God to tell God who He is. We’re not waiting until we like who we are to tell God (and our own soul) who He is.
We’re not waiting for the best time to start.
‘Cause the best time is now. Chopping onions and carrying a load of laundry up the stairs and riding the train into the city for the day. The time to adore God is any new minute you want to salvage, to sabotage, with His thoughts and His Words. It’s in the carpool line and tying toddler’s shoes and walking out to the mailbox.
Adoration is breathing in His Word and exhaling it back to Him, in our own words, over minutes.
That one phrase about Him from His Word, put into your own language — coming from your angle — gets to work its way into your day and before you know it you’re informing your conversation with God … you know, the one you weren’t sure you were ready to have.
Adoration is sticking that big toe in the water of God’s deep and bridging the gap between the mighty, sometimes mystical, and your everyday experience with Him. To get to the ocean-deep, your flesh has to get wet. One toe at a time.
One minute adoring God, at a time.
Is this your year to talk to God?
There’s no better place to start — especially for the one who finds themselves tongue-tied — than His Word.
[And if you don’t want to try this thing out alone, you surely don’t have to. There’s a group of us over here dipping our toes in the water.]