Living in the Tension

A Patman family tradition...3 generations enjoying the Lea County Fair and Rodeo
3 generations enjoying the Lea County Fair and Rodeo… a Patman family tradition.

So excited. So sad. Such a sense of anticipation. Such a sense of loss. So much to gain. So much to release. These days, we are living in the tension. We feel the weight of all that we will say goodbye to…a home (already under contract!), a family nearby, a community, a church family that we love dearly. And yet, we anticipate all that we will get to experience… beautiful landscapes, a new culture, another church family to love, a different pattern to our lives, more relationships. We have a sense that living in the tension is a very faithful way to live.

We are living in the tension in other ways too. This week, we are in the process of saying goodbye to Jaron’s grandma (Geen—a name lovingly bestowed by toddler Jaron 30 years ago). We are grateful for her life and her faithfulness. Our family—Geen included—has an overwhelming sense of peace and hope as she prepares to be with Jesus. It’s beautiful. We anticipate the day when we too will be raised to new life in Christ along with her and others who have gone before us. And yet, we will miss her desperately. We are celebrating the legacy and grieving the loss of a beautiful, feisty, strong, stylish, loving, determined woman who pointed her family to Jesus. We can’t wait for her to be resting with Jesus, pain free, and yet at the same time we are very aware of the gaping hole her death will leave. The tension is real.

Imojune Patman (Geen) with two of her grandchildren, Quentin Patman Graham and Breckyn Elizabeth Graham at a family birthday party on May 22.
Imojune Patman (Geen) with two of her grandchildren, Q and B, at a family birthday party on May 22.

This tension is exactly the kind of thing that living in this already-not-yet Kingdom of God calls for. We live on this side of the cross. We know that there’s hope. We see the ways God’s Kingdom is breaking in all around us. We celebrate healing and wholeness. We walk with hope. And yet, the Kingdom has not been fully realized. We see it in the brokenness and pain and loss all around us. We experience it in our own lives. We know death.

It is in acknowledging that God’s Kingdom has begun and that it is not yet complete, in embracing the tension between grief and hope, loss and anticipation, death and life that we understand what it means to live as kingdom people today. For to be faithful to Christ in this already-not-yet Kingdom means that we must grieve deeply all that is broken in our world and celebrate passionately all that is right and good.

When we fully and faithfully embrace this tension, something happens. We are compelled to intentionally live the Hope of the Kingdom into the broken places. Our sense of anticipation gives us means to speak Life where there might otherwise only be death, to offer grace where condemnation would otherwise reign, to experience joy where others might only experience sadness.

So, as we walk this journey, we are reminded that this tension is exactly where we are called to live… where the hard and the exciting, the painful and the good are all mixed up together. We can do so confident that ultimately, by the grace of Christ, all that is Good and Right and Life-Giving will endure. That’s a work that we want to be a part of…wherever we are.

 

2 comments

  1. We are thrilled to watch the leading of the Holy Spirit in your lives. We will prayerfully walk this journey with you as you leave your family and friends here – to greet your new friend over there.
    Lovingly in Christ,
    Glenn & Donna Adams

  2. That was beautiful, and I know your grandmother would want you to preach her funeral. Anticipating the new and scared of leaving behind the familiar all mixed up together can get overwhelming but you seem to be handling it all well. Just know there are many prayers going up for you and your family. We love you! Randy and Lucille

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