The Synapses of My Heart {31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living Day#17}



I rock Lilly, holding her close in the dark, I lay my cheek on her silky hair, sing her a lullaby. I lay her down and step just a few feet away to tuck in a little one, snuggle her in with Monkey tightly.

And then as I am about to leave, Lilly cries, and I know that cry–she is frustrated. Her blanket is twisted wrong, so I go back to her to soothe.

I wrap her in her puppy blanket the way a Mama knows how.

I shut the door, but pause and peek through the crack, watch my four year old falling asleep, her lying there all perfect angelic creature, the wheat crown of her poking up out of covers.

Something in me grows very quiet and still and sad andI wonder how I will remember all this.

I want to remember it just like this with the wooden train and dolls strewn about over pine floors, the woven rugs, the squeaky rocking chair wih it’s handmade pink crocheted blanket thrown over the back, and their golden little heads lying in dreams, their tiny hands clutching lovies.

I want to remember Bella’s voice just as it rings with sweetness now, that little lisp and those deep dimples and I want to remember Lilly’s giggles sounding like Heaven..

I let the wonder and glory just settle right down all around me.

Even the angels are in awe of God’s children, how we are made in the image of His diety, how He loved us to the earth and back, how He adores us and spins wildly over us.

This extends far below the surface of me and I am in hushed admiration too, reverence anchoring me, pausing here in the darkness, in the silence, imprinting this moment upon the synapses of my heart.

Gratitude:


3 gifts found in Christ…
#502 freedom, my chains gone
#503 amazing grace pouring over me
#504 the cross that redeemed me back to God, that gives me strength every day

#505 the way Ivy and Bella lie on yoga mats when Lorna and I are done exercising, and Ivy says, “Look Mama, I’m doing my yoga!” always wanting my approval, needing my nod and smile that says she is okay in this world

2 things blue…
#506 A young Mary and baby Jesus painted in shades of blue on Husband’s canvas
#507 my baby girls blue eyes squinting and laughing at me with so much mischievousness

#508 how I go in there to teach them the downward dog and the cobra and the little one–in her diaper–grunts at me to show her too, her head and hands sprawled on the floor, bum sticking straight up in the air

one grace borrowed, one found, one inherited…
#509 the long-awaited, very much needed vehicle that is coming through Husband’s work
#510 daughter finding her father’s weight bar hidden behind the stack of VCR tapes and his smile and thank you.
#511 my ability to do anything well with my hands, the precise line I can stroke with paint like my Daddy

#512 when we are reading Stepping Heavenward at bedtime, and I explain that when Katherine was upset at her Aunty’s injustice, it meant she felt her Aunty was being unfair, and Lorna says, “Yeah, I know how that feels.”

a gift before 9 am, gift before noon, a gift after dark…
#513 Husband making coffee for me, waking to the glorious smell of cinnamon buns, eggs and sausage
#514 a talk with my Pastor letting him know in this season of our lives we won’t be at church every week, and the grace he extended, taking the pressure off
#515 Husband and I in our room creating together, conversation as we drift off to sleep

#516 Lorna’s perceptiveness when I say Lilly is a sweet baby, “Well, she isn’t always sweet; sometimes she’s sour.”

#517 Bella coming to me with her request: “Mama, can you fix the game? I’m too little.”

3 gifts that might never have been…
#518 my wonderful Husband, so thankful that God held us together strong through the years
#519 our new church body, how much we are growing, learning, grateful we made the move and decided to stay…maybe we are finally home
#520 Husband allowing me to homeschool…though it has it’s trudging trials, in the end I will one day see all the benefits…this I know

#521 When Bella pops in my bed at 7:15 am, and asks to play a game and I answer her that she will have to wait until I get up, how she catches me off gaurd and says, “No, when you get up, you’ll need a story, and you’ll read th bible again and again and again.”

#522 How Bella says “Wakey, wakey” in a sing-song voice to get me up.

3 graces found in your friends…
#523 my best friend driving to my house before noon to workout and have lunch together
#524 the miraculous wonder of a friendship broken and wounded being restored in Christ through grace and forgiveness
#525 my running buddy being gracious when my body is in pain on a bad day

#526 How when I tickle Bella all over, she yells, “I love you! I love you! I love you!” between giggles

#527 Ivy running inside to tell me of a great mystery she has solved, “Mama! I know who is shutting the mailbox so hard–it’s the mailman! And there are more yellow flowers out there–lots of them!” The way she forces me to see there are gifts right in front of me all the time.

a song heard, a soft word, where i saw light…
#528 everyone singing “How Great Is Our God” in corporate body worship, how it reminds me of us all singing in Heaven, and if we have someone to sing it with, how it makes the faith more real
#529 Husband’s “I’m sorry” and how it releases me and lets me exhale

#530 light streaming in through window, in shafts across a book on bedside table

#531 when we’re working outside and I get covered in ants and yell out to everyone that only sweet Ivy came to help, Lorna says, “Well, you’re an adult and they’re only little ants.”

#532 how when I tell Lorna that since I was covered in them, I couldn’t see them to get them off, Ivy pipes up with, “You have a point, Mama.” and then, “You know, I was born to care about people.”

an old thing seen new…
#533 Husband’s face, the same one I’ve seen for 11 years, and yet sometimes when I look at him, it’s for the first time and I fall in love all over again

#534 how when we are sitting at the breakfast table and I’m trying to read something beautiful to them and everyone is scuffling around, getting up, not listening, I shoot a frustrated glance at Husband, and say some exasperated words, and Ivy says, “You know we can all apologize sometimes.” And my heart is pierced straight through. Out of the mouths of babes.

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Us Just Dust

What do I do with a heart given to me stone cold?

When it wants to reel me in, make me stand at attention,

But it doesn’t know how to hold

All day, the tears pour down

But all is silence, not a sound

And the apologies won’t come

There is a steel wall that I can’t get through

As hard as I try to call him back,

I am breathless in my effort

So empty am I of love

How my soul yearns for things to be loosed on Earth as they are above

I need the help of someone bigger than me

I need His eyes to see this tangled mess

How I want the earth to shift back into place again

Just let me without feigning touch your face

God never expected us to live this way

Oh Father help me in this fallen state

Where the pain is mind-numbing

And I don’t know how to fix us

God, let the three-chord strand hold thick, You the creator, us just dust

Shared with Emily…you will surely be blessed by visiting there!

Gazelle-Sprinting

It is late afternoon. My daughter and I have already done our exercise for the day and now we are outside in the warm Southern winter sun, it glancing only briefly from behind the clouds and trees, the orange orb caressing the back of our heads in heated strokes.

I’m relaxing in my hammock under the maple with it’s bare limbs meandering upward and jagged, and I’m doing some thinking and writing. I’m enjoying my writing, but I feel a little restless and slightly off-kilter.

Then the girls come up to me, panting and ask me to play tag, blinking their request at me, their eyes full of uncertainty and it anchors me.

I look back at them and I feel energized because I’ve been practicing. I’ve worked out hard and I’m ready for anything they ask me to do.

I jump up and their faces shine excitement and the world shifts back into place.

I chase my daughter who is almost as tall as me, and she chases me all the way around our house, under the shade tree and around the perimeter of our large yard. I stay ahead of her, leaping over fallen branches, acorns crunching underneath my shoes, and this is no small feat, since my long-legged girl sprints like a gazelle.

When their father gets home and finds us in the backyard, he is easily coaxed by his little girls to join in the game.









I watch him dodge this way and that, pretending to run fast for the little one while she chases after him, and as I stand there and watch, my face flushed with the thrill of it all, I remember why I married him.

I flush with something else.

A powerful love.

It wells up inside and makes me aware of what’s between us.

The children pull him to the ground and fall on him in laughter.

It rings out and all around and envelopes us.

We all carry the high spirits inside to face the work that awaits.



Gratitude:

3 ways i glimpsed the startling grace of God…

#476 when i talked about being afraid, all the women one by one around the table, admitting they were just as fearful

#477 women opening up and being honest, how freeing it is

#478 husband telling me he will take the children to church so I can rest and have the night off

one thing i wore, one thing i gave away…

#479 a purple and red hand-sewn flower headband

#480 clothes waiting to go to a teenage girl

3 ways i witnessed happiness…

#481 Sunday worship service melting all of my hard exterior of pain

#482 having a new running partner–that I wasn’t too afraid to ask–pure grace!

#483 the comfort of Sunday lunch at my grandmother’s–like going back to my childhood

one gift that made me laugh, made me pray, made me quiet…

#484 this post…oh how it made me laugh out loud! you must read!

485. my blogging friends, little Kelly in the children’s hospital with lukemia, God waking me in the middle of the night

#486 a friend tells me i’m a beautiful person, on the inside…makes me a little speechless

3 gifts from God’s Word…

#487 this verse: “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land…Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:11-13

#488 the Psalms that quiet my soul

#489 Romans 8:28 through the end of the chapter–our family portion of scripture

a grace in the kitchen, in the weather, that might never have been…

#490 kitchen countertops, slow-going, but being finished

#491 nice, warm weather in January for me and the girls to play outside in

#492 our little Lilly Claire, our last, our surprise baby

3 gifts i saw only when i got close-up…

#493 the fanning of Ivy’s long eyelashes, the green flash

#494 the adorable soft pink of my cat, Pumpkin’s nose

#495 Lilly’s stubby toes, her lifting them up to me, wanting me to pick out the fuzz in between them

one thing in the sky, from my memory, one ugly-beautiful…

#496 a bold blue jay and Bella’s “Look, Mama! A blue bird!”, pointing her little finger up

#497 all the work-days, and lazy-days, all the days of hanging suspended in the hammock, of gardening and planting and transplanting flowers, of putting wine bottles in earth for borders, all the days of swinging on the porch and watching the kids play, of bright summer sun shared by us all

#498 laundry and watching Little Women with my girls…giving me an opportunity to get my hands dirty and serve, to make me softer around the edges, a sweet moment shared with my girls

one grace wrinkled, one smoothed, one unfolded…

#499 rain on the window, how it makes my vision a little warped, a hard washing and cleansing

#500 how Husband can soothe me….you can read about it here…

#501 Ivy and Bella’s small hands unfolding to me with a beautiful gift…dandelions for me to make a wish



…you will be blessed to follow me over and read these blogs…

Shared with Ann…

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Cultivating Time With The Father {31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living Day#16}

When I was a very young mother with two small ones, I went through a season of illness. My baby was only months old when postpartum depression took me under with the sucking force of it’s quick sand.

There were so many days that I was a ball of a mess of emotions, I couldn’t get out of bed or get dressed, I got angry with my two small children, I couldn’t handle the baby’s cries, and one time I even put the baby in her crib and walked next door to my mom’s to call my Pastor’s wife for help in a moment of pure desperation.

When Husband came home in the evening, I didn’t know what to do with the hormonal chaos that threatened to overtake me, and I blurted out too many words, making the air thick and heavy and it left us rotting and sagging, everything crumbling under the weight, our footing and our course unsure.


I was a woman lost and empty
.


I had nothing to give my family because I was void inside. I was depleted, depraved and hopeless on my own.

I was rotting in my own sin-stink, and I self-loathed and I was flailing and sinking in my attempt for a way out, an escape.

And maybe if I just whisper this, or if I shout it, maybe it really is true–

the miraculous wonder of God is that He is mighty to save and He offers a way out for us.

“Now I know that the Lord saves his annointed; he will answer him from holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call.” Psalm 20:6-9


My Pastor’s wife encouraged me in everyday liturgy, not in legalistic, religious forms, but in habits that would benefit me, that would bring me closer to God, that would make me whole and bring peace to my family’s days.

I began meeting with God in the quiet every morning with just my bible and my restless heart.

As I came to God in the stillness, He met me there and quieted my soul, melted my resistance, and He hushed my angry, weary, frustrated spirit.

It was this liturgy, this rhythm of habits, a consistent gathering with God that would illuminate my path and cause me to blossom in the rich depths of the soil of His word and worship and prayer.

It was in this revolving back to God, this daily habitual clinging, that I came up out of the depression, out of the mighty quick sand’s grasp, and I was able to give to my family, to be patient with my children and begin teaching them about God, and I found truest joy.

I still huddle quiet with God in the stillness and beauty of softest morning light every day.

And on days that I don’t do so well, I don’t let it beat me into the ground. I just start over the next day and come to Him who is waiting there for me, my Beloved.

“Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:13

And I know that it is this beautiful liturgy, this constant turning to God, these revolutions over and over again back to Him that are my lifeline, my true north.

This is part of a series, 4 Ways To Radically Change Your Life In the New Year–An Unresolution…you can go here to read the original post that started it all.

I hope you will join me as I try to explore the rest of the 4 Ways this week…

Join me at Ann’s for more reflections on the practice of habits?…

And at Emily’s…

Holy Work {31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living–Day #16}

Ivy comes to me while I’m at the computer, and I seize the moment to pull her close, nuzzle her hair, breathe in the scent of her. I tip her face back and cup it in my hands, look into her eyes.

“Do you know you have the most beautiful eyes in the whole world?”

Her eyes get wide and round as she gazes into mine. She happily flutters her eyelashes at me.

“Do you know that you are a funny girl and you make Mama laugh and you are a joy?”

She smiles shy up at me.

“Do you know you are God’s child?”

She nods her head up and down, solemn.

She glances at the screen at what I’m writing, and asks, “Mama, why are we God’s child?”

I wrap my arms around her and say, “Because He made us. But do you know how you really know you are His?”

“The bible says that you are His if you confess your sins to Him, and ask Him to be your Savior, then He takes all your sin away because He died on the cross so that He could do that, remember?” Her eyes flicker remembrance and she nods.

“And then you can go to Heaven to be with Him forever and ever.”

“Oh.”

“Mama? Does God give you work in Heaven? like hard chores?”

“No. We will worship Him all the time. But He may give us some holy work to do–you know, like how the angels’ jobs are to watch over the earth? Well, He may have something like that for us to do.”

“Oh.” Her mouth turns down sad. I’m sure she must have imagined a magical play land.

“You know…Heaven has streets made of gold, and the gates are made of beautiful pearls.”

Her eyes light up, she smiles at me and bounds off, the conversation carried with her in her play, pictures of purest gold and brilliant pearls in her head.



Gratitude:

3 things about myself i am grateful for…

#437 my health

#438 the desire to be at home with my family raising my girls

#439 that God blessed me to be able to have four babies

a gift outside, inside, on a plate…

#440 picnic on a blanket with my family, me lying on my back, sun the orange orb behind my closed lids

#441 clean, freshly scrubbed couch, bare floors

#442 Southern-style chicken and dumplins cooked by my Granny

3 lines i overheard that were graces…

#443 Lorna picking Lilly up, carrying her off and snuggling her, telling her, “I just love you. You are the sweetest baby.”

#444 Lorna’s confession “Mama, I can’t stop thinking about Kelly (a little boy with lukemia at our church). He’s my buddy.”

#445 Lorna’s “You know, Mama, me and Ivy haven’t fought and we have been getting along all day! It’s because last night when we were arguing, Ivy was upset and I asked her why and she said she was sorry about all the things she ever did to hurt me and so we just cried together.”

one gift old, new, & blue

#446 my great-grandmother’s hand-made patchwork quilt that covers my bed

#447 running gear from my parents

#448 Lilly’s baby-blue eyes

something i’m reading, something i’m making, something i’m seeing…

#449 Holy Experience blesses and wrings me out everyday and flows over onto my family…also starting Forgotten God by Francis Chan

#450 a holistic, Christ-centered peaceful home for my family

#451 my husband loving me through my anxiety and worry, calming me with his strength

one thing in my bag, my fridge, my heart…

#452 new running gloves

#453 fresh pineapple

#454 forgiveness! joy! God’s radiant love!

3 graces from people i love…

#455 my father saying while he’s in the hospital that he knows i have a family to take care of

#456 husband telling eldest girl to help put little ones down for naps so Mama can have a soak in the tub

#457 my Granny’s hands, serving and cooking for us in her kitchen

light that caught me, a reflection that surprised me, a shadow that fell lovely

#458 softest morning’s patch of light streaming in through window and landing across my bed in shadows

#459 catching a glimpse of me with baby in towel on hip as i carry her from the bath

#460 evening’s shadows illuminated lovely by soft candlelight as i cook

a gift in your hand, a gift you walked by, a gift you sat with…

#461 Lilly’s soft chubby hands in mine, the way they feel like silk on my face when she climbs in the bed to stroke me and wake me.

#462 walked by a lady in church, gathered up my courage and introduced myself and God used her practical caring to loose chains of fear that had bound me

#463 sitting with my husband in the sanctuary, the sacred union of marriage, how His presence cradles and soothes me.

a gift that’s sour, a gift that’s sweet, a gift that’s Just. Right. …

#464 pomegranates

#465 Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk

#466 buttery cinnamon granny smith apples

3 yellow things that strike me as fresh mercy…

#467 tiny green daffodil shoots coming up from hardened winter ground

#468 the hope for something shooting up yellow

#469 the sun coming out after the cloudy, dreary rain

something above me, something below me, something beside me…

#470 grey, cloudy skies

#471 beautiful, shiny pine floors in this old house

#472 my bible

3 sounds i hear…

#473 drip-dripping of steady rain

#474 Lilly squealing happy as she goes down the slide

#475 my phone ringing, Husband calling to check on me

Join in on the Joy Dare 2012! Are you thinking about starting a grateful, grace-counting list of your own? Lack motivation and need a little inspiration? Head here to join the Joy Dare and get the free printout with all the crazy-grace prompts you need!

“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.”–Erasmus

Join me at Ann’s for more counting graces?…

And at Jenn’s…

And at L.L.’s place for poetry and quiet reflections…

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4 Ways to Radically Change Your Life In the New Year–An Unresolution {31 Days To Holistic Christ-Centered Living, Day #15}

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, Per se.

I have always shied away from them. I am the type of girl who doesn’t make resolutions, those harsh rules that hold me to a schedule or date to start or complete something. I just decide I want to change or accomplish a category of my life, whether it’s January, July, or November, and I do it. I simply make up my mind. If I want to start up a new exercise routine, I transform my desires into reality and make it happen.

But even the most tenacious of us can have all our resolve to falter in the face of a giant mountain called fear of failure.

I think maybe this is the real reason I’m so hesitant, so rebellious about making resolutions–

because I know that I’m not able to carry this weight, once it’s strapped to my back and weighing me down, I know I will trudge and I will break under the pressure.

Strict schedules and rigid routines broke me before. They caused insomnia and anxiety so severe that the quaking damage still haunts me today.

I fear the repeated cycles and mantras will grow the head of a monster and consume me.

I know I like things light. I must have things light to survive.

This seeming confidence of tenacious resolve on my own terms and my own spontaneous schedule is really a masked fear of failure.

I woke up on New Year’s Day knowing that the year splays open before me like a stretching, yawning mile-wide gully, waiting to engulf me, waiting for me to mess up.

I woke up knowing that this year needs to be different, and knowing that changes need to be made and I have no idea how I’m going to do it and I see the failures of the past and I am afraid.

What really calms this wildly beating, rebellious heart down is to have not resolutions, but revolutions, as Ann so cleverly pens and plays with the words.

I just can’t get her words out of my head–revolutions. Not strict, set schedules and regimens that I will commit to, because I will not be able to live up to it. Not hard food and exercise lines because I won’t be able to walk the hard suspended lines without fear of looking down and falling if I have no support to hold me up, no strong muscle sinews grasping my frail wrists.

It is not so much about resolving to do, but more of a revolving, a turning back to God over and over, every time I am in need and every time that change must come and I stand at the brink of eternity and look out and I know in the deepest parts of my soul that the only way that I can carry out His calling to raise and educate four girls, to be a godly wife and daughter and sister and sister to my family in Christ–the only way I can do all of it–all of the things that only matter in eternity–is if I am turning and falling into Him every minute, every hour, every day.

I know that this intentional, habitual clinging, this intentional revolving back to God, is the only way I will survive.

This clinging to Him is the only thing that will absolve the fear and cause me to continue to revolve back to Him in grace over and over again.

So how do I keep revolving back to Him? My Revolutions for this year…
4 Ways To Radically Change A Life:

Cultivating Time With The Father–When I was a young mother, armed with not much correct theology but a passionate heart for Him, I began to cultivate a habit of meeting with Him in the quiet with my bible every morning, and it changed me, my marriage, the way I mothered. It was the one thing missing. The one necessary thing.

Cultivating A Cross-Centered Life Instead of a ME-Centered Life–Keeping His glorious gospel front and center, singing old hymns or choruses of the cross and the blood throughout the day. The suffering and victory of the cross illuminates everything. Everything!! This gives us strength!

Cultivating Humility–In God’s words to us, humility is so many times coupled with action. Serving at home, bending low to wipe mouths and noses and floors, baking a batch of cookies or pumpkin or banana bread and taking it to the neighbors, taking some food to someone down the street who has lost their job or is in need in some way. When humility is found in this type of serving, we find JOY!

Cultivating A Love For Context–whether it’s at home, with all the children, or juggling a job with crabby co-workers and coming home to children, or dealing with barrenness or loss, or failure…whatever the context…God calls us to just hush and be still and know Him and know that He has everything under control and this means that we are already right where He wants us, learning what needs to be learned, doing the next good thing.

This is going to be, hopefully, my last really long piece. I will be writing more in depth about the 4 Ways To Radically Change Your Life in 4 short posts next week. We will see how it goes. I hope you join me?

Join me at Ann’s for more thoughts on habits…

and at Emily’s…

How Everything Can Be Made New {31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living, Day #14}





My mother, sister and I set out on Christmas eve for a four mile run through the hilly country.

Black asphalt beneath the rubber of our soles winds it’s way through curves and I hear nothing but the soft rhythmic pounding of our feet. My shoes kick up loose rocks and we pass over a tiny bridge. I hear the gentle stream moving underneath and I think how this is a first for us, how this seems new for the little community of us three women.

My sister and I run together in steady stride for a little ways and then she slows. They both trickle along behind me and I circle back for them. We talk a little about what they’ve cooked for Christmas eve dinner.



They take another walk break and after a while I grow tired and want to finish up my run. Craving some alone time, I run on ahead and I look up at the sky, watch the treeline of pines along the hills on this country road.

I think of the three of us, how there is so much between us, how we have all hurt one another, how we have demanded too much, and how we’ve had a hard time sometimes forgiving wrongs.

But somehow, through all of that, God’s love redeems.

His love rushes in, a team of mighty stallions and tramples out all the thorny briars of hurt and unforgiveness that would choke out His agape, His heartbeat for us..

As I run, I look up at the sky–all laid out bare expanse of blue banged with massive puffs here and there–and I think how this past year was a year of mourning, a year of ash and sackcloth, a year of being in a dark pit I didn’t know the way out of.

In a blinding flash the entire past year’s scenes and more all dance through my head–my darling baby I ignored while doing online classes, the many failures as a wife and mother, illness, the doctors, the medicines, having to quit school, seeing my dad lying on a hospital bed with a deep cut in his chest from triple bypass open heart surgery, my baby who was mal-nutritioned now having turned two, the severing loss and grief over a 19-year friendship and the slow road of recovery that God used to redeem it back to Him, trudging my way through writing and learning to heal, the isolation, not being able to attend church normally, all the days of trying to keep my head above water,

the days that the sun felt warm, but too bright, too intrusive on my pale skin and I tried to wrap myself inside in a black sweater like a butterfly in a cocoon, not wanting to come out

I look up to the sky again, as the road beneath my feet begins to descend downhill, and I see the trees shooting up, the sky reaching further than I can see. I spread my arms wide, hands extended, reaching out–I close my eyes and just run fast, fly down the hill, wind in my hair, welcoming the bright sun on my skin.

And as I fling arms horizontally, the new year flings wide open before me, vertically and horizontally and every way further than I can see and it’s a little scary.

My arms stretched out, inviting it, eyes closed, I sense it but I don’t give into the fear.

I just trust like a child that my foot will find the next sure footing along my downhill path and that God is redeeming it all–all the past mistakes of this long year of 2011 and all the holes and hard places in relationships, all the times I’ve been hard against Him–He’s redeeming it all and setting it right.

And at the end of my run, I leap, black frees into leaves toward home, and I am just so thankful to Him that I can be fully present to feel this freedom, this moment of redemption.





4 WAYS TO SEE AND MAKE BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS NEW, TO FORGIVE, TO SEE GOD REDEEM:

1. See the offense from the other person’s viewpoint. What makes them tick? How is their personality opposite or like mine? How would I respond if I were in their shoes? What paths have they walked in life that might cause them to see the situation differently from me? We all have a story and each of us are made different and sometimes there is no way of knowing why someone behaves the way they do. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”–C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

2. See the offense through God’s love lens–they are His children too, and He loves them just as much as He loves me. We all walk this pilgrim road together through a strange, weary land. Let us walk hand in hand. With unforgiveness in our hearts, we walk alone.

3. See the offense through Jesus’ perfect example. God made himself low and took on the form of a servant and when they spat upon him and ridiculed him, when they beat him until his flesh ripped, when they crucified him he said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He walked in humility.

4. See the offense from the shadow of the cross–I look at myself through God’s eyes without the cross and then with the cross. Without the cross, im filthy and deserve hell. Without the cross, so does my friend who walks with me and may unintentionally or intentionally hurt me. With the cross we both are redeemed to God and redeemed back into right relationship with Him and with one another. Only God’s love–the love of the cross–can create such a miracle–cause people who have hurt each other deeply to not only forgive, but to grasp hands and embrace one another in prayer and brotherly and sisterly affection.

Gratitude:

#425 how his tender kisses make everything inside of me come alive

#426 a night of laughter, talking, games, and popcorn ’round the table with some of my most precious people–my husband, my sister, and my children

#427 a toast to the New Year at 12:01 with my husband and sister

#428 an exciting church service–casting vision for 2012–much to look forward to

#429 an afternoon of Southern comfort food–chicken and dumplins, turnip greens and black-eye peas–coffee and games with my family on the first day of the New Year

#430 peace–real peace–the kind where Jesus is really the center and there hasn’t been any argument between Husband and me in the longest time and i haven’t yelled at the kids and the Prince of Peace truly reigns over our days

#431 i am so very, very glad that God exists, that He loves me, that He died for me and has gone to Heaven to prepare a place for me where i will forever be with Him in eternity.

#432 i am so grateful for all the comforts He has given me while i am in this place separated from Him–his Holy Spirit, my husband and children and family and church family.

#433 i am so, so grateful for all He’s done and all He’s given and that life is not meaningless, that im not here just to exist and then die. we have a hope and it is glory.

#434 how when i hug Lorna goodnight very tightly, lean into her, breathe in the scent of her, nuzzle her hair and tell her I love her, she leans back and looks at me, a question in her eyes and wonders aloud softly, “Mama, why do you love us so much?”

#435 how it feels to land in my girls bed as they all snuggle around me with blankets piled high and we settle in to read Stepping Heavenward. how Lorna asks me questions and i get to gently explain spiritual mysteries through a story.

#436 redeemed relationships

Join me at Ann’s for more thoughts on gratefulness to God and maybe even begin writing your own list of thanks?….

at L.L.’s place for poetry and quiet reflections?….

On In Around button

and at Jen’s…a place you will always be blessed by…