O. EM. ZHEE!
A five-year-old voice pierces the quiet murmur of morning, projecting itself across the classroom during before-school playtime.
That was AWESOME!
Matchbox cars are the rage right now. The track being assembled for them to race on is becoming vintage. It belonged to one of my adult sons when he was five. Curious about this strong reaction to the run of a small car down a plastic track with a jump at the end, OMG on my mind, I ask,
What does that mean? OMG?
His loud, clear voice answers, making sure I do not miss the response. I feel as if I am being lectured.
It means, ‘Oh, My Gosh’ or ‘Oh, My God.’
A seven-year-old sits at a nearby table, engrossed in the book he is reading. One ear, open to awareness and the conversation around him, keeps him in tune with what is going on with the others in the room. His selective hearing is stunning, actually. He speaks up in his own loud, clear, lecturing voice,
PLEASE, don’t say the second thing you said, because it’s taking the Lord’s name.
I meant ‘Oh, My Gosh.’
These boys are brothers. The exchange took all of a minute. It was that quick. I grabbed a sticky note from my desk to jot it down. I thought back to my own daughter who recently expressed frustration of her own at the use of the Lord’s name.
It’s so annoying the way people at school will say OMG but not the letters and using God. I mean, I know they’re not Christians, but it’s still hard.
I ponder taking the Lord’s name, my own OMG’s and what brings them. Recently, it was in my journal while processing my 18-year-old son’s return from a four-month Walkabout in the Eastern Hemisphere, with only his passport and backpack.
I OMG in texts when there is a strong and surprising connection with another. What is my motive? Am I taking the Lord’s name? How am I taking it? Is He my God? Who or what is my God?
My God is shocking, surprising, close at hand.
Oh, God. My God. Oh, My God.
There are OMG moments of shock. How will we make it? My God, why have you forsaken me? Oh, my God, how will we go on?
There are OMG moments of surprise, finding you and a new heart-friend were giving birth on the same day in ‘98 to baby boys, as you co-labor to birth more of your own stories together. OMG! Your son was born in ‘98, too? What day? Then the tears flow, because of a surprising God who misses no details of what we need. Connection.
I have taken the Lord’s name in vain while sitting in church, my ducks in a row, appearing to be righteous. I have cried out from the deep, sacred space when three letters were all I could utter, OMG. How can this be?
Recently, I have found my God close at hand. He has revealed himself to me through a continual series of OMG moments that I have yet to process. It has been a kind season. It has been a space of seeing and being seen. Just when I think there could not be any more goodness left for me, more pours out.
In these moments, when OMG is about all I can offer, I am learning to sit and to settle and to receive the goodness that is my God. I believe. Help my unbelief.
Julie McClay lives in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley with her high school sweetheart (and husband of 24 years) and 5 of their 8 children. She is learning that while it can be painful to face the past honestly while living in the moment and looking towards the future, it can be healing and lead to the hope of a brighter future. She digs through these thoughts and feelings here.
I love that you named the variety of ways these three little letters show up in your life, and honestly in my life too. It is so easy to type it out OMG without really considering what are we saying, and why and can it mean something that isn’t taking God’s name in vain, thoughtless about our choice to use His name. You’ve invited the thoughtfulness in your own words today. Thanks Julie.
Thank you for the invitation to ponder these three letters and what they mean. I would like to say that I am always thoughtful, and yet, there are times when I am careless. I love how the words of my 10 year old daughter and 7 year old student invited me to circle back to motive and curiosity.
Thank you for this piece! I struggle with this as well – the casual use of the LORD’S name. I loved that the one brother was able to share with the other brother – to please not say that. I have wanted to say that to my father in law for 41 years. What stops me?! His is not OMG – it is far worse. And yet, why can’t I say it to him? Maybe it’s time. “Please don’t say that. It’s taking the LORD’s name.” I always enjoy your writing. Please keep writing!!
The words of a child. So simple. So true. Maybe that is why they are the ones to lead us! I also wonder if using the Lord’s name is similar to using our family names. When we are a part of the family, we are more familiar. When I use the Lord’s name it is as my God, because he is. If he is not, it is taking it falsely, which is why my daughter struggles at school and you struggle with your father in law (I am guessing) with those who don’t claim God as theirs. And thank you for your affirmation of my writing. That, to me, feels like a gift. Blessings to you.
I love your awareness and naming of this “kind season”, of seeing and being seen. I am grateful with you, imagining you soaking in all that goodness…and find myself feeling hopeful as well.
Thank you for noticing. It is a sweet, hard season filled with much ambivalence. But in it there is hope and others who bear witness with me, so hope wins. I am holding that hope with you, as well. Blessings!