I want to bask in the sun, go for walks, watch little hands pick up leaves from hardened ground. I want to push the tire swing round and round, feel the breeze as little voices squeal with delight, be drawn into childhood by the smiling sun faces, and forget there is a thing such as worry, time that ticks, things that need doing.
I wrote this to a friend, and I was so weary-worn with life, and now that life has happened (as I’m learning it always does), again I’m reminded that He gives me all things I ask. Hasn’t He given me that? Hasn’t he answered prayers that fell silent on my lips, prayers my heart did not want to pray? Stubbornly stayed quiet and forgot how? Even forgot how to hope, forgot what faith was? Hasn’t my heart been cold and listless, angry like a child just wanting and demanding and screaming at the world, “Give me what I want”?
And here I am, after all of my stubborn silence and watered down faith, once again enjoying the breeze and freedom. just seeing her swing in the sky, smile the whole country wide, cornsilk hair flowing and she’s flying and this is the way of happiness because when she’s flying so am I. And this moment is teaching me the real secret, the real secret to divine happiness, divine grace, grace that dissolves my angry, weary, hopeless heart and lets the light in.
In my heart I know what I was before I was set free. Like a caged bird I was driven half mad by the constant time-ticking, assignments due, cranky, crying baby and toddler, shuffling papers, chiming ear-piercing sing-songs, college instructors expecting live online study sessions, demands of meals to be fixed, mountain of dirty laundry, spelling words to be called out, and “Mama I have no uniform for tomorrow”, “F” math paper that needs working on, fuzzy head that won’t think, heart that won’t melt because it must be strong, and chest that won’t stop hurting because it can’t take anymore, and I didn’t know which world I was apart of. How could I, with so many conflicting duties?
I know, and remember how I yelled at Bella, like an insane woman when she would rattle paper, or sing about the chu-chu-train coming when she would hear the whiste blowing. I had no joy at all; did not like hearing my children singing or chanting, talking, did but at the same time didnt want to be in the kitchen with my family, making supper, helping with math, and spelling words–I just wanted, needed to escape, like a prisoner worn with the years of nothingness and hoplessness of being behind bars. I was cracked and stressed, the chipped edges falling away like pieces of hard clay being pounded off the rim of smooth bowl with hammer.
Just simply giving a smile to my child, so that she didnt feel the hard blow of a mother always disapproving felt like trying to peel concrete off of the ground. And the pain of that was excruciating, because this was not who I wanted to be, and she deserves a smile of grace, especially after changing diapers, helping prepare supper, lighting candles for Daddy, and making home joyful with her innocent eyes, always seeking approval, and angel voice, so quiet and reverant.
Now i can smile happy when Bella rejoices with her sing-song voice, “chu chu train coming–chu chu train coming..” She chants over and over in her little obsessive three year old imaginative world, and I laugh softly to myself, knowing that these moments fade all too soon.
So i must give God glory for all of the things He is doing in my life, even the hard things, the very, very, hard things. I am learning, what is it?<a href="“>eucharisteo–the word with the hard meaning and the even harder meaning to live, as Ann Voskamp so beautifully and cleverly pens it.
So this is my prayer, that this simple life of grace would always be known by me, that I will not forget what I have learned. I ask only to delight in the simple things in life: hand-me-down sweaters, holey jeans, socks that need mending
wildflowers picked for Mama because Mama likes pretty things, a favorite worn-out t shirt, one pair of nice shoes that took all of Mama and Daddy’s savings
laundry folded and put neatly away (or laying in the open where everyone can grab away), finding a robin’s nest in a tree, saying hello to a caterpillar making his way across the sidewalk
love-games at the supper table, lazy summer afternoons swinging on the porch, simple birthday celebrations with family
reading a good novel with my girls in bed, a low luminous white moon, a cotton candy cloud sunset, playing, talking, reading, and painting with my children…having talks about Jesus…
and laughing just because my heart is light, it feels good, and i know that it is good for their heart too…
God, Let me always be thankful for the small things. Let me slow to see You in everything. This is how I am healed, how I am made whole.
#46 how Lilly toddles and follows Elvis around, and when she gets him, she holds tight like an obsessed sumo wrestler
#47 sisters helping each other climb and laughing as they miss the mark
#48 Ivy and Lorna holding Lilly’s hand and taking care of her so lovingly
#49 Lilly’s intrigued shreak when she sees Elvis
#50 yellow flowers crushed in her palm, giving to me because she hopes i’ll like them
#51 knowing that God has given me the grace to enjoy the simple things
#52 that i’m learning to live my one life well
#53 how Bella says, in her sweet soft voice, “Mama, you gotta get me down”.
#54 that she always calls me when she is in trouble or needs help
#55 sweet and wet and glowy baby smiles
#56 her cornsilk hair streaming in the wind
#57 Bella’s quietness and how she teaches me to just slow and still
#58 how this moment makes me realize all that i have to give
#59 that i have been given this opportunity to be free
#60 that i can live the moments that make up a life and not waste them; i dont have to let them slip right through
#61 i can hold these moments and treasure them, because God is holding me, and He has said it is holy
#62 that God has given me the grace to see this season as a time of hope for the future, and not a time of waste or loss or failure
#63 girls hanging from trees like monkeys
#65 tire swing going round and round, higher and higher, blinding sun the destination
#66 that the SON is my destination; i am only here for a moment, but a weary pilgrim passing through
#67 that Jesus is real, touchable, He was with His disciples (“then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples”–John 6:3)
#68 that eucharisteo always precedes the miracle–i am learning through this book–(“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted..”–John 6:11)–if you read further, Jesus retreats into a mountain alone–i dont think this was easy for him–it was hard thanks.
#69 this word, eucharisteo, meaning hard thanks, opens my eyes to how my life has had holes in it–places that are broken that need mending
#70 that God can mend all the brokenness with His grace, love, hope, and joy when i give the hard thanks. thanks always–even when its hard.