Fumbling Toward Destruction {Edited Edition}

You can go here to get the beginning to this story….which will help you understand the second part better….

So I began stumbling down this dark path, numb and despondent me, groping along as if blind. And somewhere around the age of 12 or 13, I began to have an aversion to eating. Greasy hamburgers made my stomach turn, and when placed in front of me, I begrudgingly ate a few small bites, and then threw it up.

I was so dislocated from everyone else. They were all enjoying the meal together and talking and laughing but it was like I was on the outside of a dark glass, looking in, unable to join in, this depressed bubble impermeable. I did not like mealtime–I spent my time closed off in the bathroom–isolated, all alone. Paranoia consumed me. When anyone made a comment about how little or how much I ate, the paranoia wrestled me to the ground and strangled me. I suffocated under the weight of this monster. I couldn’t breathe.

The only comfort to me was the only thing familiar–me–just the way I’d always been. The little girl me was scared and didn’t want to change, didn’t want hips, extra fat, things I didn’t recognize–I was losing me. Maybe I was trying to control a life that felt a little like it was on a runaway train. Maybe this was the way I reacted to the negative things said about me–I self-inflicted pain.

I scratched at the wounds and let them bleed out.

{I’m over at Chasing Silhouettes, Emily’s (of Imperfect Prose) eating disorder blog, if you would like to follow me there for the rest of the story? Just hover and click on the link there. I’ll be there, waiting with a warm smile, ready to continue the conversation, friends. I can’t promise tea and hors d’oeuvres, but you are welcome to bring along chocolate, or coffee, or vise of your choice…..Sharing with trembling, friends…}

WAIT! Just one more thing before you go? I am excited about this free ebook, Giving Up Normal: Surburban Girl Meets the Streets from my friend, Alene–not because I’ve read it already–it’s only recently been made available–but because I just love her heart and I know the message and reading her heart is going to be awesome! PLUS–It’s FREE! Who couldn’t be excited about that?! Please follow the link just above to get your free copy–or just show some love to this sweet, God-adventurous, generous woman!

Shared with precious Emily and others in community at….

sweet Ann in community at…
L.L…. On In Around button Laura… and Jen…

Jennifer…

Shanda…

and Michelle…

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Fumbling Toward Destruction

You can go here to get the beginning to this story….which will help you understand the second part better….

So I began stumbling down this dark path, numb and despondent me, groping along as if blind. And somewhere around the age of 12 or 13, I began to have an aversion to eating. Greasy hamburgers made my stomach turn, and when placed in front of me, I begrudgingly ate a few small bites, and then threw it up.

I was so dislocated from everyone else. They were all enjoying the meal together and talking and laughing but it was like I was on the outside of a dark glass, looking in, unable to join in, this depressed bubble impermeable. I did not like mealtime–I spent my time closed off in the bathroom–isolated, all alone. Paranoia consumed me. When anyone made a comment about how little or how much I ate, the paranoia wrestled me to the ground and strangled me. I suffocated under the weight of this monster. I couldn’t breathe.

The only comfort to me was the only thing familiar–me–just the way I’d always been. The little girl me was scared and didn’t want to change, didn’t want hips, extra fat, things I didn’t recognize–I was losing me. Maybe I was trying to control a life that felt a little like it was on a runaway train. Maybe this was the way I reacted to the negative things said about me–I self-inflicted pain.

I scratched at the wounds and let them bleed out.

{I’m over at Chasing Silhouettes, Emily’s (of Imperfect Prose) eating disorder blog, if you would like to follow me there for the rest of the story? Just hover and click on the link there. I’ll be there, waiting with a warm smile, ready to continue the conversation, friends. I can’t promise tea and hors d’oeuvres, but you are welcome to bring along chocolate, or coffee, or vise of your choice…..Sharing with trembling, friends…}

WAIT! Just one more thing before you go? I am excited about this free ebook, Giving Up Normal: Surburban Girl Meets the Streets from my friend, Alene–not because I’ve read it already–it’s only recently been made available–but because I just love her heart and I know the message and reading her heart is going to be awesome! PLUS–It’s FREE! Who couldn’t be excited about that?! Please follow the link just above to get your free copy–or just show some love to this sweet, God-adventurous, generous woman!

Also, counting God’s graces, His perfect gifts in my life along with Ann…if you would like to stay for a minute to read, or come back here after the story?….

Gratitude:

#734 me and girls reading Little Women on blanket spread in green grass, dappled with late afternoon light

#735 us all having a science lesson from Jeannie Albright’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy    about God’s creation in backyard while husband mows

#736 picnic supper on front porch with candles

#737 going out in the middle of the day to jump in sunshine with my girls

#738 the sunlight in their hair

#739 exercising with my oldest girls

#740 taking all four of my girls to town to meet Meme–that I have a way to get us there

#741 that I’m well enough to get out and do things on my own–glory to God

#742 Husband and I having the entire weekend to ourselves

#743 going out to eat mexican on a Friday night and how Husband is happy with price and quickness of service

#744 how in getting older, eating out is about all we can stand, and we want to be back home, with wine and a movie

#745 me and Husband huddled on swing in a cold-front spring morning, blanket shared wrapped ’round us, drinking coffee and listening to birds, talking about dreams without interruption

#746 spending Saturday cleaning and organizing our office area together for me and the girls to have a place to homeschool

#747 Husband sacrificing what he would like to do on a Saturday for our needs–what a man

#748 when all the work has worn me down, and I have forgotten the fact I’m hungry, Husband popping his head in to say let’s get out for awhile, get dressed, and takes me to my favorite restaurant

#749 knowing how noise and crowds get to me, him asking me do i want a booth, if i want him to sit next to me, always concerned about me

#750 Lorna’s response when she comes home, “I missed you a little bit.”

#751 wonderful Sunday morning service

#752 a few ladies telling me that they do want to do the {in}courage beach bash after all–my elation after i had given up on the idea–and a few are all we need

#753 coming home to roast filling the house

#754 beautiful sunshine and me running out to the trampoline like a little kid to jump with my girls

#755 all six of us jumping together on a Sunday afternoon

#756 being asked to share my story

#757 that God is using it to expand my territory, to open up my heart and make me go out on a limb to grab someone hurting

This was a hard story to write, friends, and I stripped bare and laid it out, but if there is something more–something I may have forgotten in my quest to get it written–to the story you would like to hear about, would you mention it in the comments, or send me an email?

Shared with sweet Ann and others in community at…

Emily…

L.L….
On In Around button

Laura…





and Jen…

Jennifer…

Shanda…

and Michelle…

Together {Five Minute Friday}

Every Friday, we link up with Lisa-Jo of the gypsy mama, and in her words–“we write like we used to run when we were kids. On Fridays we write with gusto, unselfconscious and flat out.” –we write for five minutes only with a one-word prompt– no editing, no back-tracking, and no worrying if it’s perfect!If you enjoy this at all, and would like to see more writing with gusto, click on her button at the bottom and read others’ posts!

Together:

GO.

I’m scared to put fingertips to keyboard and tap out “together” because I don’t understand together like I would like to.

But I do want to get this together, this community, this caring, this relationship. I want to learn it in the synapses, in the heart strings, for the endings to get the message that Jesus came for relationship with me so that I could reach out to others.

This woman, the cancer-survivor champion, she chases after me, and she causes me to reach arms out and up to God. She pours deeply into my soul.

The Life-Surrendered mama, she invests her time richly in me, makes me a better homeschooling, loving, godly mama.

The filipino girl, she makes me soar with the wings she gives with her life-breathed encouragement.

And there’s this Tennessee woman, the Tuning Her Heart woman, who looks into me and sees something of value.

And then there’s the quirky Californian-Asian girl whose love knows no bounds and always sticks by me when I’m at my craziest, and messiest and she loves me more for it.

Maybe I do understand together. They have come and wrapped arms ’round and made me understand.

STOP.

Friends, I would LOVE for you to leave your thoughts–your comments are so precious, and minister to my soul–I am probably in a corner of my home somewhere cleaning up potty-training baby girl’s messes, picking up sticky banana peels off my couch, sorting through laundry and apple cores, doing a Jillian Michael’s workout with eldest daughter, helping my second grader with grammar, or packing all four girls to go off with their grandparents’ for the weekend {yay!} ….I am sorry that I cannot answer every comment, but please let me know you were here, so I can stop by your place and leave some encouragement for you!

    

Embracing Plucked Daffodils {And Resurrection Life}

I am cold, hurting, sad and despondent and he says, “get dressed and come outside with me–it’s such a nice, warm day”. Something inside me jumps at the thought of being in the sunshine after so much grey cloudiness and rain in my life. It has been a long time coming–this spring rejuvenating joyousness–this resurrection!

As I throw my clothes on, not caring if my hair hasn’t been washed {i’m going to the sunlight}, girls all dressed and I step outside, this change is hard. Hard because my emotions don’t feel it. But I’ve been here before, and I know that the emotions are not always in sync with what my heart and soul {God’s Spirit speaking?} are saying is vital, purposeful, helpful, and joy-creating. Human emotions don’t so easily give way to the joy-creating and peace-creating moments. My emotions stand hard and stubborn as brick, and they are not easily destroyed and replaced with God’s love, gentleness, patience, and hope.

Hope is a funny thing….it’s like stepping outside to the sun’s blinding when I’ve been hibernating inside my comfort place, my isolation for too long. It all feels raw, open, it hurts and blinds and in the same breath feels like warmth to the soul, the soul slowly waking, and the Son telling me time to get up.

He turns on the radio, and says, “You ARE ready–wow! Let’s go!” And my heart is so easily led because it craves it and needs it. My heart craves, this heart that is only for him. And it is this that God is trying to show me–yes, my heart craves, and it is truly HIM that i crave, that my heart yearns to follow.

In the sunlight, always the blinding light, I am so thankful that He gives spring….and I see it. I see that the leaves, the brown, black and grey, the dead things must come for life to come forth. All of the wretched things, the things I hate the most, the things that seem so evil to me–cloudy days that offer no hope, rain that never gives any light or warmth, no life or beauty to be found, all of the loneliness and disappointment, the anguish, the desperate pleas for help, and the trudging through of the feet–all of these must be so that HOPE can come.

So that LIFE can push really hard, can push hard and long against the surface, so hard until it seems I will give way, and when I think that my weary heart and soul can take no more, there it is!
Life to be felt, touched, all warmth and sun and the SON comes in strong, like a team of wild stallions beating back ocean waves, and He calms me with His steady hand, touches me, ME who doesn’t deserve anything, feeling like a silly child for asking, for reaching out, and He gently cradles me like summer sun, blinding the eyes and letting lids drift off asleep.

And then I see, I see the brown leaves, {so happy to be picking up those brown leaves, everyone pitching in, the warm sun our helper}, and I know what they have covered up this whole time–it has been life growing underneath.

It was life cocooned up in an earthen grave, like that catepillar the girls placed in the grace garden, just like that Resurrection Man whose body was wrapped and laid in a cold tomb.

In the front yard, where he is raking strong and ferocious, we meander and follow him, walking and looking, taking in beauty, holding hands, snapping our happy day in freeze-frames.
 Then it happens: I hear him say, “No, Bella, you know Mama doesn’t want you to do that”. It is always Mama that doesn’t want the children to run and frollick and make mischief, always Mama that has a hard time with letting go and living fully the resurrection. And in an instant I see that Bella has plucked all my lovely daffodils from the front garden, the only sign of life in this deadness, the only beauty that I loved, and before I think, I say sternly, “NO, Bella!” and now her tiny shoulders droop, her joyous flower-possessing countenance falls, and straightaway, she is a mess, and so am I.

 I go to her, drawn like the pull of heartache, and kneel down beside her. I say, “It is okay, Bella. You can have Mama’s flowers“. And these words are hard for me to say, and they are pulled out like weeds stuck in the hard winter ground, that cold earthen grave where my heart is wrapped up. I hurt, I am torn, and my anger dissolving, I know that I must let go. I know that this is good for me and for her–to learn grace. I hug her and keep saying it over and over, and of course, in Bella’s usual style, she has to punish me just a bit. She can’t move past it right away, and oh, she is MY child; she definitely came from my womb, this child that has it hard letting go.
And suddenly I realize that it is not I that is supposed to be teaching her in this moment, but it is she that is teaching me, and she is teaching me well–oh, the lessons I learn from her about how to live out this life that springs forth from painful grave, me just dust returning to dust one day.
I am a broken Mama, throwing myself against the stubborness of this child, and breaking over and over and over.

God knows that this is what this sinful, hard heart of mine needs. WHY is my first reaction– when they are {mischeviously}, blithely having carefree, airy and sun-happy fun–to sternly correct and break littles’ spirits?

Couldn’t I, being fully aware of her possessing my prize, just have let my laugh carry on the wind, reaching her with a warm enveloping smile and letting her know that I will always give her what is mine?

In putting away Easter and Lent, and seeing the sin that so easily creeps back in–the exhaustion and the anxiety that tries to take over like a dark cloak–maybe what I’m really seeing clearly is that to live this resurrection–to carry Easter with me I must not hold tight, but let go.

Is it really things that bring beauty, like flowers, or is it the God-breathed moments with my daughter,  The Word Himself gently shooting shafts of light through the darkness of our hearts together?

For aren’t we all just groping along, bling, trying to find the way? Aren’t we weary sojourners looking for home? Isn’t this earth full of so much darkness and death, threatening to swallow us up, taking us down to the depths of the grave?

If that is true, then aren’t these God-given moments of truth all we really have–to behold with awe and let our breath be taken with beauty, to just stand on holy ground speechless?

This letting go and living fully the resurrection life is apart of grace, a reflection of the Father’s love. This is how He meant it to be. He never meant for me to give anything or live anything that He hasn’t already lived and freely given me.

This is grace:–not only mercy and pardon, but a beautiful gift laid at my feet for the taking, laid at the feet of the undeserving, a beautiful gift paid for with His life.

I don’t do this life so gracefully–more like a child with fist clenched tight, really, but this grace part He is so generously and gently teaching.

I’m opening fist and learning and accepting His grace, all the gifts laid at my feet, and my daughter–I let her pluck the daffodil from my open hand, and she and I, we are dancing–sometimes quiet and stilled, sometimes blasting out the stereo–just dancing like crazy in this God-breathed life of grace.

*an edited post from archives

Shared with Ann in community at…

A Girl Lost In Smoke and Mirrors {What Does God Say About Beauty?}

{There are many things on my heart to say this morning, many things I long to convey, to pour out, but God has placed this on my heart for now and has surprised me by opening the door for me to share something that has laid dormant for so long, that I am really baffled as to how best to share it….Please bring some grace along with you, friends, as you read…I will need it….much love…}

I don’t like this woman that stares back at me in the mirror. This once-young body has been ravaged by the throes of motherhood–all those babies I grew and breastfed–and left a shell of skin that I don’t recognize.

The once glowing, young face has been replaced by wrinkly skin that doesn’t snap back into place when I smile or frown–the lines stay. The glow of youth now just ashen and sagging, my green having seen some pain through the years, peeking out. They’ve learned to not sparkle so much, their fierceness quieted by the hard lessons and harsh words.

My skin constantly breaks out, seemingly with no cure, and the scars bear the evidence that where beauty once so brilliant shown, now time has obviously marched right across my face and staked territory.

“Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it’s marchin’ across your face.”
                                                                 -Truvy–Steel Magnolias

I feel like I’m having a mid-life crisis and back in highschool all at the same time.

I’ve found it hard to come to grips with this, to like the skin I’m in, to be comfortable in it, and more than that, to believe what God says about me–that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.

I remember Husband’s words that women in today’s culture seek to be sexy, but the most beautiful woman is a confident woman–a woman who can wear old jeans, pull her hair back in a pony-tail and laugh, and be happy with herself and her God.

I know he’s right–I do, but I don’t feel confident and I don’t feel so wonderfully made when this body is decaying and falling apart.


Old habits die hard.

Growing up, I was always, always complimented on my outward beauty. It was the only thing I got noticed for, and was completely unaware why. I tried hard to fit in, to be apart, took a stab at jokes, tried to find a tight space in conversation to slip in a clever remark.

But I was made fun of and laughed at–this girl who looked out windows, closed eyes in blinding sun and day-dreamed too much and didn’t get the dirty jokes–told that I was a dumb-blonde, that I was so out of it and air-headed.

I knew that they were joking, just having fun, but I was the butt of the joke, and it didn’t feel like fun to me–I was the one who was paying the price for their fun. I felt deflated–worthless–nothing of value in my heart and mind. I’d look back out the window again and drift off some place where it didn’t hurt as bad to be me.

As I grew taller and began to take shape–my face becoming that of a woman, my beauty was all anyone was interested in–I had nothing else to offer. I felt stupidly clumsy, falling all over myself in front of people, not knowing what to say. It was just easier to shut off and not be interested in meeting new people. I didn’t understand this extreme social status game, me this bookish girl all in my own dream world, shyly preferring characters in stories to real people and the pain they inflicted.

Books were my closest friends. I would come home and run to the comfort of my bed where I would fling myself down and read for hours. I would look out the window at the dogwood and think of the nails that Jesus took for me, but unfortunately I did not know the grace that man came to give.

I was so empty.

This is where I took a turn down a long, dark path. This was just the beginning….

Dear, kind friends, this is only the beginning of the story–I apologize for leaving you hanging, but Emily {of Imperfect Prose} has asked me to share my anorexia story and I will be sharing that over at her eating disorder site next Monday. Please come back and read of my journey? It would be such an extravagant grace to have you back here then and if you would like, to follow me to her place to get the full story….

A little glimpse of the beauty to come and some encouragement for you today: …..

 This is what God says about my beauty, about this frail, human body:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days you have ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” Psalms 139:13-18

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction in on her tongue. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”–Proverbs 31:25,26,30 

 Prayer: 

God, I want real beauty. I want to be a servant with the worn spots of motherhood on me. Let me wear the work apron in place of fine jewels and instead of being obsessed with lashes lavished with makeup and with curling, let me have eyes that are a place of found grace when my kids have fallen into sin, not lingerie-store pushed up and out, but a soft breast for little ones to fall asleep on, and not a perfect hour-glass figure, but a wife and mother that prays on the hour for You to come love them through me, and not a mother who checks herself in the mirror, mumbling insults in front of little ears….

{please come back for the rest next Mon? I will share details from my eating-disorder journey and encouragement on what God says about a woman’s body vs. what our culture says–I promise it is freeing! He gives more grace, friends! Always more grace!}

Sharing with a trembling heart…hitting publish with shaky hands, and as Emily says, letting Jesus write through me…and counting, this week again, through all the hard times, with Ann…..

Gratitude:

#720 daughters and me doing exercise together everyday

#721 that they ask to do things with me

#722 Bella’s pleading 4-yr-old-lisp request: “Pleasth, Mama, can I go with you? Pleasth??” and how even though I want time alone, I can’t resist.

#723 me and Bella smelling the flowers together in the garden center at her prompting

#724 me taking girls out for the day to get my hair done–first time in a year {!} and to take the girls to a skating party–surviving social anxiety

#725 our whole family serving at our church this week–way out of our comfort zonethe beauty of giving versus receiving

#726 an unspoken hard eucharisteo

#727 sun in face, looking up at trees above, light dappled through leaves, tears brimming over, heart heavy and conversation just between my Father and me

#728 an impromtu supper picnic at the lake with friends–conversation, laughter, love, support

#729 my friend’s wisdom and loving encouragement…how she grounds me

#730 our family making. it. early. for Sunday service!!

#731 a dear woman at church asking me to sit with her and discuss homeschooling–her husband divulging his concerns for his 12 yr old daughter–the wild grace that I could have anything to offer this family–only God, only God
#732 that with all my shortcomings, that maybe God can still use me

#733 the opportunity to share my story–something I wasn’t even aware that I needed to do until I was asked–that it will be healing for me and hopefully for others…

Friends, I would LOVE for you to leave your thoughts–your comments are so precious, and minister to my soul–I am probably in a corner of my home somewhere cleaning up potty-training baby girl’s messes, sorting through laundry, helping my second grader sound out words, or talking with wonderful Husband over wine….I am sorry that I cannot answer every comment, but please let me know you were here, so I can stop by your place and leave some encouragement for you!

Shared with Ann in community at…

Emily…

L.L…
On In Around button

and Laura…




Jen…

Jennifer….

Michelle…

and Shanda…

Good-Bye To Winter {Five-Minute Friday}

On Fridays, we link up with Lisa-Jo at the gypsy-mama and we write for only five minutes with a one-word prompt, without worrying if it’s perfect–no backtracking, over-thinking, or editing. In Lisa-Jo’s words, we throw caution to the wind–in my words–FUN! Maybe you would like to join us? Click on her button at the bottom…So here goes…

Prompt: Good-bye.

GO.

Good bye to winter, that season that always brings cold through my soul.
Good bye to old ways and old habits, old days that were no good to me, but God knew
God knew something greater was forming
Good bye to despondency and guilt, depression and darkness
Good bye to the lull and the void
Good bye to days of nothingness and feeling worthless
God knows I am worth something–He knew me and formed me, knitted me
Good bye to the pain of bearing children that I feel inadequate to raise into little ladies into godly women
God knew that He would give me grace enough
Good bye to all those days that wore me down, drug me down with the weight of them and carried me to the depths
God knew that He would save me
Good bye to the days of not being strong enough to teach, shape, learn, listen, mold, love, cherish, honor, celebrate
Good bye to the babies that they were
God knew they would grow up and He would give me more than enough wisdom

STOP.

Resurrection People In The Face of Death and Brokenness

Bella calls to me in her four year old lisp, “Mama, look! I found a wasthp nesth!”

“Bella, just stop, not right now,” I shoo her away with my words, having barely glanced her way. I’m intensely focused on helping one of her older sisters with schoolwork.

But something stops me this time: this is my moment to not repeat yesterday’s failings.

Dust yourself off. Try again. Repeat.

And they grow the fastest while I’m standing at the drier folding towels.

I know I do this too often, shoo them away when I’m doing something that I deem more important than their story, or question, or just their wanting to be with me–to have my full attention.

I ask her again to show me what she found. She holds out her hand and shows me the dormant wasp nest. I tell her how neat it is. A few minutes later when she comes running, exclaiming she caught a butterfly, my interest is definitely peaked.

“Wait! Don’t move! I’m going to grab my camera.” I gazelle-sprint for the camera, and dive back to the front yard, just in time to capture her holding the butterfly.

How do I capture time? Can I really put it in a bottle, make it stop just for me? How do we live out our days best now with joy and love all around us here, right now, not when she is 18, but right where she is, growing beauty?

They grow so fast. I only have such a short time to show them. How can I be sure that I’m not carried away with daily demands so much that I’m ignoring the most glorious command–investing in these precious lives that God has given me?

How do we make faith strong here inside these walls, a firm foundation, and rise up happy in God, overflowing with the grace of His resurrection? How do we continue to be Easter people after the death is long over and we have mourned in the season of Lent and rejoiced in the bursting forth of Jesus from the tomb? How do I tap into that power for everyday, for each moment lived in this body of death?

I want to know what to do now that all the Easter decorations are being packed away and stores have moved bunnies and chocolate crosses to the clearance aisle, forgotten and alone, their symbolism powerless there on the shelf.

I need some of that power to keep on living, because Jesus wasn’t broken or ravaged in death when he came up out of the tomb–he was glorious in power from on high.

But our little guy here, in my child’s hand, he is broken. And the brokenness of this world whispers it’s death in my ear.

They look up at me, light in their eyes as they hold the butterfly with broken wing, and I shoot the moment away, shutter clicking.

We go inside and eldest daughter and I google search how to fix a broken Monarch butterfly’s wing. Our butterfly prances around on our hands, drinking from a coca-cola bottle cap. It takes a while, but I find instructions and courage enough to fix the little guy.

Lorna and Bella watch intently as I feed the winged creature by gently putting a needle dipped in sugar water up to his curled tongue, and it rolls out straight–long, thin, and straw-like. We watch in amazement. We are quiet in the moment–really present with one another.

Then I tell Lorna that her Father will be home soon, so we need to put him away and begin supper–I tell her to put the little guy–who she says is Albert if it’s a boy, and Flutter Shy if it’s a girl–into a jar with lots of large holes in the lid.

And my mind starts doing that spinning thing again–how to do it all? Pour into four little ones, clean messes, serve Husband, take the time to share a broken-butterfly-wing-moment with my daughter?

Isn’t a clean, peaceful home part of living holistically, living a whole life, sacred unto God? Isn’t that part of my job description? And time with my Lord went out the window today–how did that
happen? Isn’t that part of the recipe for joy also, for living the Resurrection life?

How can I have the power I seek without going to the One who gives it?

I look over and see the butterfly, Albert, in his jar, lying on his side. I dash over and rip the hole pricked lid off, and pull him out. The holes weren’t large enough and he is dying. Eldest daughter is really, really sad. So am I.

I know that all the messes will not be gotten up and the supper will not be nearly done when he walks in the door–things don’t feel so holistic–but I let it go. It doesn’t matter as much as this moment with this precious one and her broken butterfly, this little guy that we hoped would fly away in resurrection, but succumbed to death.

This is the sacrifice for spending time with them, investing in them, being interested in what they’re interested in: everything will not be perfect.

I cannot capture time and imprison it in a bottle, and it does not wait just for me, just for little me. I begin to see, and the glass that I see through darkly gets a little brighter and I see that this is the theme of living holistically, to putting my faith to action–yes, everyday there will be messes, none of it will ever be perfect, and time will never slow down for me.

The most important thing is that these precious ones have their rightful place in my heart–coming only after God and Husband.

I will pursue a whole, one-piece beautiful life offered to God as sacred, offered up as a sacrifice. But to live this resurrection power, I will sometimes have to let the cornbread burn while I run to get a child that has fallen and skinned their knee.

In that moment, I may not feel so powerful, I may not feel whole, things may feel like chaos, but when I am bending and I am hugging and when I am praying with them, and when I am offering our time to God in reading His word, then we are really becoming Easter people.

And nothing–nothing–comes before. Not laundry, not supper strictly held to the clock, not writing or blogging, not answering emails, not sweeping floors. At the end of my life, I will not wish that I had folded more laundry or answered more blinking lights and buzzing screens or administered more math drills or baked more perfect meals.

I will want more broken butterfly wing days.

I look at my daughter’s sad eyes, and I look around at all the things to be done–all the demands–and death whispers in my ear and stares me in the face–but I stare right back and I courageously choose the right thing.

I let the rhythm of them carry me, these precious ones, their smiles, their sweet dimples that beg to be kissed, their inquisitive, trusting eyes asking questions, needing me and I let this safe rhythm carry me into the night until I sigh a contented sigh of having given all and lay head on pillow.

And in my heart, I silently pray God would make us all these people of His resurrection–people who don’t forget or slink away into the shadow in embarrassment at His death and life–but that having seen, and having tasted, and having known, that we would throw ourselves wildy, whole-heartedly into inviting Him in, to letting Him walk among us, and love and serve and spread His resurrection gospel through us.

an edited post from archives….

Tracy…

and Jen…

Resurrecting A Marriage {Ponderings of Easter}

The kids are at the grandparents for the weekend and we are getting ready to leave and Husband tells me matter-of-factly that it’s not a date, asks me why I’m wearing heels. Heels click loudly on hardwood and ring through the house and I am embarrassed at my obviousness. My heart is crushed, because in my little-girl-grown-up-heart, I had so hoped he would notice, say I was pretty, look at me longingly, put his hand just there on the small of my back as he led me to the car.

Instead, an hour later, it all comes out of me hot and rushed and a little too loud how that I don’t feel loved.

Why is it that God made me that way–with a particular love-language that my husband doesn’t understand?

I look up to Father, to the One who can fill this deep, vast void in me, this canyon of waters that rushes wild and snares anything that comes along in it’s thrashing.

I look to the One who knows the ache and understands the pain of rejection.

I look to the One who gets me, who points my sin out to me gently one by one, so I’m not overwhelmed, and seeing my ugly, loves me anyway–unconditionally.

I look up and I say to Him, “Father, you know my heart. You know my heart, Father. You know my heart.”

And He does. He knows that I love my husband passionately, that I would go to hell and back for that man, that my children are my crown of glory, that I would go down to the depths before I would let one blonde hair on their halo-heads be touched by evil. God understands, because His Son is His crown, whom He loves, in whom He is pleased, and I am a co-heir with him, and I am God’s beloved, His beautiful jeweled crown.

He knows that I spend hours reading, thinking, trying to learn new ways to make home happy and peaceful and safe and a place that everyone wants to be. He knows that I search frantically for the way. He knows that on my own I am helpless in the ways of homemaking and the ways of God.

He knows that I am a screw-up. He knows that just the moment that I write a beautiful story about mothering, and hit publish, then I grind my teeth and yell at my children, and their happy chin botches up and their lip turns down and quivers and the eyes look at me, deep pools of hurt.

He knows that I forget to be grateful, I forget to do the simple act of telling Him thanks, that this home has more harsh words–words that break– than I want it to.

He knows that I run in a vicious cycle of try hard, fail, give up and try hard again, as the Pastor said on Easter Sunday. He knows I try hard at Lent and celebrating Easter and I am deficient.

He knows that Easter draws close, I close up and want to withdraw, because as his death becomes more and more real, as the thing draws heavy upon me, my human emotions and expressions simply cannot do Him justice. And I’m rendered useless in His presence.

He is the only One that really sees my heart, sees my tears, mourns with me, catches my tears and keeps each one in a bottle. He never forgets one tear that escapes the soul-windows, them leaking out pain.

Husband and I walk hand in hand into a local restaurant dating back to the 1840’s and when we sit down and after the waiter has left, he touches my knee, looks me in the eye, and he already has me.

Those soft blue eyes with such care in them, I just get lost and want to leap right in like a wild woman. He says he is sorry, and that’s all I really need to hear. And the conversation continues and we talk about the artists splayed on the brick wall, and we are a little taken with the place, and I convince him to share some World Famous Black Bottom Pie.

What I really have a hard time swallowing down, though, as we sit there and I look at him, is that I have been ungrateful. I know that I pushed until I got what I wanted–time, closeness, and it’s just the two of us in all the world if I can just get five uninterrupted moments to stare into those eyes.

But I long for the day when I serve him so well that I have abundant grace to pour out when he is in a dry season and he can’t readily give me those moments–I long to be this woman full of grace, wisdom on my lips.

God, burn me, Refiner’s fire, from the inside out–start with my mouth–and just take over and consume–love through me, serve through me.

Later when we are finally alone in the dark, and he reaches over and lays his hand on me as I lie still, lets it slide down, I feel the kindling of the moment, tiny sparks that take over and consume.

And I am this–bride waiting with candle burning brightly, always waiting for her bridegroom when he chooses to come for her.

I weep inside over who I’ve been, for when I have fallen asleep and let my wick go out, when I have missed the glory of God, quenched the Holy Spirit with the crushing words of my mouth.

I weep only on the inside and I open up completely to him, this man that has such power over me, let the grace pour over me as the love between us is made.

My heart, through my husband, is revealed to me and drawn back to God, who holds me and is the only One who can fill this scary, raving mad unquenchable void in me.

Gratitude:

#689 e-mails from beautiful sisters

#690 for mentors

#691 illness leaving our home finally, Satan’s lies defeated

#692 my best friend coming to my home for a spontaneous visit

#693 the grace of her sitting on my porch swing, pouring our hearts out

#694 the way she dotes on my girls–how she does this everytime she sees them–the thousand, countless ways she is thoughtful toward me

#695 how they call her Auntie April, because she is that to them

#696 our run through the trails later

#697 how we can say anything to one another, how we kackle silly and share unabashadly what God is showing us about our sinful hearts

#698 hours outside in the sun picnicing, Husband coming home and playing badmitton until twilight pushes us all inside

#699 how Bella runs up to her Daddy in the drive and asks him to come play–how he can’t say no

#700 Bella writing her ABC’s and her name

#701 her dimpled grin–how her whole face lights up like the heavens when she shows me so proud–how i could fall into those deep ravines of cuteness and get lost right there at the corner of her mouth

#702 how I wonder if the glory of God can be summed up in the face of this child

#703 Ivy’s loving hugs that make me feel wrapped up in a warm blanket

#704 Ivy coming and telling me she clasps her hands together and prays to Jesus in her head, and she hears Him talking to her

#705 Lorna’s “I Am From” poem–that she’s a poet at heart like her Mama

#706 that I was able after a two-year battle with illness, to take babies to doctor and store–still can’t believe I’m better–glory to Him

#707 After Bella’s shots, her concern when the nurse places Lilly on the table, and she says to my Granny upon stepping out of the room: “I bet Lilly is crying.”

#708 an incredible few weeks of Lent and how God has lavishly blessed our time together as a family

#709 how He took us from being lost in exhaustion and t.v. to re-focusing our efforts toward our family goals–His grace to be at the supper table, enjoying God together

#710 an amazing Easter service, indescribable worship to an even more indescribable God, communion and the confession of sins at the altar, loving prayer woman-to-woman and man-to-man, the gospel like i have never seen it presented

#711 how in my failures, God meets me and when my human emotions fall short of expressing and celebrating His beauty, how He is still glorified through me, not because of me, but because He is God

#712 that the story of the cross and His blood shed never gets old–a fresh revelation of His gospel and grace all over again

#713 that God almighty Himself would wrestle with me, would reveal Himself to me, over and over, in spite of myself

#714 that His blood speaks a better word than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this Earth, speaks righteousness for me and stands in my defense–lines from a favorite song

#715 a beautiful day of Easter celebration with family, that I was able to pull off a gorgeous dinner, with all their help, in spite of my organization handicap–how we all worked together, talked, laughed

#716 the beautiful grace of my parents washing up the dishes side-by-side before they left

#717 my Husband, how even though I’m his help-meet, he is also my helper in life–how he is there for me always in every circumstance and we are a team

#718 Husband’s remark as we fall asleep, a beautiful day, a job well done, everyone was proud, he says–I don’t understand this, but accept the grace anyway

#719 this song that broke me during Easter service–one of my favorites… and here is the video–it is  not for the faint of heart, but is a real depiction of our Lord and the blood He spilled for us…the blood I praise Him for…

{I actually have two videos for you…if you only have time for one, definitely–choose the second–I watched this at church Sunday and have never heard the gospel presented quite like this–it will rock your world}

Friends, your comments mean so much to me–please leave your thoughts so that I can drop by at your place to leave some encouragement for you. I am not able to answer each comment–I am probably in some corner of my home sorting through laundry in danger of mildewing, and I hope to visit with you as soon as I get the chance! Thank you in advance for grace, friends! I love this community of grace-filled people!

Shared with Ann in community at…

and Laura…

L.L…
On In Around button

Emily…

Jennifer….

Michelle…

and Shanda…

A Mama Makes Attempts At Holy Week {Preparing for Easter}

To celebrate Easter, I do something this year I have never done before. I do Lent.

For Lent, I throw off, disentangle, make lighter. I throw off writing, emails, twitter and television–because that’s what Lent is–a quiet time of reflection, of giving up things that get in the way, of turning to the Saviour and looking Him full in the face, only to fully be reminded of our sin and just how much we need him–how much we really need Easter.

I have to ask myself–can Easter really be celebrated any other way? Can we really pack and cram all of the reflection, revelation, soul-enriching, awareness of our sin and need for a Saviour, thanksgiving and rejoicing for His life, death and resurrection into just one day? Really? Because that’s how I was raised to celebrate it–the church I grew up in never encouraged families to take more time than Easter Sunday to reflect and celebrate.

So here I am, doing Lent, leading my family quietly {maybe not so quietly?}, Husband so thankful that I have found the resources and made the effort for everyone, teaching them what I have learned.

But while I try to do Lent, while I teach children God’s ways, I utterly fail.

He comes home and finds me in the kitchen, spewing words, trying to prepare a special Christian passover meal for all of us. I am the most disorganized person I know–even though I read the ideas and recipes days before, and marinated the lamb overnight, I had taken on too much for such a huge feast in one evening–my accursed genes follow me forever.

It is the worst feeling in the world–as things begin to fall apart, it feels as if the girl that had it all together left my body and some other girl took over–some of our worst flaws we are so helpless over. As Paul said, “What I don’t want to do, I do, and what I want to do, I dont do.”

Candles lit, worship music playing, I talk through gritted teeth and tell children to just cooperate as we all prepare together. Even the best of Christian activities and the most quiet, stilling music cannot save us.

Only God–only Him on that cross can do that for me and only His presence here will save us.

Husband reminds me to instruct them politely. I nod that he’s right, and tell him that he doesn’t know what I went through with children today who wouldn’t obey and do their work and I feel like a failing Mama.

When I get all wound tight inside I can’t seem to stop, and I keep going–I tell him that I figured out why it’s so hard for me to instruct, teach, have conversations–why it wears me out so much–I’m an introvert, and my natural bent is to let someone learn on their own, without my input. I want to be alone, doing my own thing. Eldest daughter pipes up with, “Then why in the world did you decide to homeschool us?”

Oh, I wish I had stopped. This tongue of death–sometimes I wish I could cut it off. At this moment, my emotions couldn’t be any worse–I have hit rock bottom.

Here I am, consumed with the sins of discontentment, strife, impatience and ingratitude, and I see exactly why I need Easter–why I need His resurrection life so desperately.

Here I am, feeling like a failure, feeling like a victim, and I forget to have a grateful heart for what God has done.

I forget that just a few nights before, during our Lent devotion, Lorna had said she had a question. She was worried about dying and going to heaven, for an infinite amount of time, not know what would happen or what her life would be like there.

And Husband says, “Lorna, you’re right–it is a little scary, because heaven is a place we don’t know much of, it’s a place we’ve never been to and don’t understand the way there, what the journey will be like…

“You know when you were born, you were just a little baby, and you came into this big world, and you were crying and it was scary, but it was great and you were here in this new place, just looking around in wonder?” She nods.

“That’s what heaven is like–it is going to be amazing and wonderful. It is something that we don’t understand on this side of it–but this side is only one part of life–when you get there, you will have a whole new life and then you will understand.”

She told her daddy she gets it now, him at the head of the table, all of us listening to one another and learning.

How could I forget such beauty? How does my heart so easily fester and callous up?

It is late when the feast is finally ready, and we all take our seats.

In preparing the meal in such haste and fury, I am not prepared for what it will do to my heart when my youngest in angel voice shyly asks the first question: “Why are we eating unleavened bread?”

I answer, “We eat Matzah to remind us that the Israelites did not have time for yeast to rise because they had to be ready to move when God said. For us as Christians, it reminds us to live lightly, always ready to go when the call comes…like a thief in the night, Jesus is going to return and we will all go home. We eat matzah because tonight we remember Jesus…bread without yeast, to remember Jesus who was without sin.”

Eldest looks straight into my eyes as I talk, and I feel the weight of God’s glory all around us–her eyes so alive with His resurrection.

When Husband takes the bread, tears it right into, and I tell the girls, say it in unison and they do: “Because He was broken for us,” something just tears my heart wide open.

My second oldest asks her question, and I didn’t tell her to, but she addresses her Dad–“Daddy, why are we eating bitter herbs?” –her voice so reverent, reminding me that I don’t know as much as I think I do. He explains about the bitterness of sins and my heart begins to bleed out.

When eldest daughter asks her question, “Why tonight do we dip our herbs twice?” Husband explains that our fathers wept salty tears {he dips the herb into the salty water}they dipped hyssop branches into the blood of the Passover lamb and marked their doorposts that the Angel of Death would pass over.

For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.

I watch Husband’s hands dipping the herbs into hope, telling us that we can wipe our tears because now we have new life in Christ–He has rebirthed us–and after all the whirlwind of my sin, my desires and my passions, my heart is finally stilled.

But it is really after the last question has been asked that it fully sinks in.

It is when he serves the lamb that my heart slows, the blood stops racing, and I close eyes and just listen as he reads:

“As the Jews needed the blood of the lamb on their doorpost for the angel of death to pass over them, so we need the blood of the lamb on our hearts for the angel of death to pass over our souls. And we have a lamb…as John the Baptist proclaimed, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). And he was a voluntary sacrificial lamb for Jesus said, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17-18)

“What does that mean? It means that Jesus planned His own sacrifice. It means that Jesus intentionally planted the tree from which His cross would be carved…willingly placed the iron ore in the heart of the earth from which the nails would be cast…voluntarily placed his Judas in the womb of a woman…set in motion the political machinery that would send Pilate to Jerusalem…the ropes used to tie His hands and the soldiers used to lead Him were unnecessary. Had they not been there, had there been no trial, no Pilate, no crowd, the very same crucifixion would have occurred. Had Jesus been forced to nail Himself to the Cross, He would have done it. For it was not the soldiers who killed Him, nor the screams of the mob. It was His devotion to us.” (~Max Lucado, God Came Near, pg. 79-81)

I just nod, eyes closed, it’s all I can do. I just relent and let Him completely take over.

Little Lilly lifts her glass to clink it against our’s as we toast the celebration of His new life, a shy, excited little smile on her face. Husband and I look at one another, the twinkle of hope in our eye.

I wonder why we don’t do Lent–this thing that was so hard starting out–all year long.

{For dessert: “New Life”}

John Piper, a man I believe to be doctrinally sound, on Lent: ““Lent” means spring. But it’s more like winter—the last blast of cold before the warm green is here to stay. It reminds us of the flint-faced Christ moving to Jerusalem. O how we need the discipline of Lent!! Break a bad habit before Good Friday! Life is too short to coast. Brake! Stand on the hood. Look! Over there! Don’t say you can’t. We don’t allow that word at our house (Matthew 19:26).”

“Lent or no Lent, not doing some things you feel like doing is the daily pattern for the disciples of Jesus. Yes, daily. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).”

From the Desiring God blog: So, How Was Your Easter?–“How can we be Easter people–24/7, 365 days of the year?”…

**A few ideas we are creating around here and some ramblings this week for Easter…thank you in advance, friends, for grace…

{I’m always conservative with Easter baskets and lean more toward Christian celebration than American tradition–if you would like to do this, too–} this year, a Christian book on Easter–one for the little ones and HERE is one for older ones. and for teens?  this study by Adam Hamilton has excellent reviews or this book by Strobel— {or you can order their own copy of Devotions for Lent–my girls love theirs–a small devotion booklet–go here to order–w/ Amazon 1-day or 2-day shipping, you could have it by Fri.–I’m also lightly sprinkling in some pastel chocolate eggs, a chocolate cross, a stuffed bunny or lamb with ribbon and hand-written bible verse around the neck. You may also place some plastic eggs filled with scripture or you may opt for natural brown hen’s eggs with ribbon and a hole-punched scripture attached {this could be a treasure hunt–you could put the scripture reference only and have your little one look them up and read together}? You could also use a filler and place moss found in your yard on top and tuck in some Lilly of the Valley here and there… A sterling silver cross necklace would make a wonderful gift for a tween or teen. The main thing is keeping it simple and centered on Who we are celebrating…

We have made our Grace Garden {go HERE to see Ann’s ideas}, and it turned out beautiful–I would like to encourage you to make your own–we had so much fun!–on Friday night, the girls will make catepillars out of wax, wrap in a leaf and tuck under the moss atop our stone tomb and then we will make our butterfly and it will sit atop our Grace Garden on Sunday morning! The girls are so intrigued with a caterpillar’s transformation right now, so this works perfect for us!

You can go HERE, Desiring God blog, to read Noel Piper {John Piper’s wife} on Lent and Holy Week–for further inspiration

You can go HERE, to Ann Voskamp’s site to get ideas and free printouts for your own Christian Passover meal…

You can go HERE if you are interested in Lent devotions for the rest of this holy week–in preparation for Easter–maybe you would like to print it out to be ready for next year?

Shared with sweet Ann and others at….

Jennifer….

kd…

”JourneyTowardsEpiphany”

Tracy…

and Shanda…

Conversations with God

Us all piled together on the couch, me and four kids in early morning sun coming through windows mounted on the tall-ceilinged walls, the warm rays bathe us and I read to them from my bible.

I read to them in Proverbs about angry kings and liars and how we are to appease the king. I stop and ask it–“Do you know what appease means?” Shaking heads all around. I explain it means to make someone happy, to make it better when they are angry or sad. We talk about how we appease God by asking for forgiveness for our sins, and how as soon as we ask, He forgives us in an instant–I snap my fingers–and He wipes it all away. As the sun grows a little warmer, Ivy wants to interrupt the reading to say something, but I make her wait. I continue to read about everything being written down in God’s book.

I ask what it was she wanted to share. “You know, if there was a king of Hickory, we would beg him to not chop our heads off!” I wonder at that–that the child knew that this is how it is with God too–that before the cross this was us, begging to not be put to death, to not be condemned eternally, and we were constantly, always aware of our sin, and fearfully making sacrifice and spilling the blood of animals in order to appease God.

The oldest, she asks, “Before Christ came and died on the cross, what happened to those people–did they go to Heaven?” I smile wide and tell her she has asked a very good question.

I ask the children if they think God sent those people to Hell because He had not yet sent His Son to die for them. “No.”

“You are right–they did go to Heaven.” I explain to them that God is always the same yesterday, today, and forever. I tell her that God does not change–He is and has always been a God of mercy and grace, even before Christ came. We read….”Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” …God does not change with the shifting shadows…I ask my children, “Who changes?”

Us.”

Oh, the satisfying nectar I am drinking in this morning as my children grasp the gospel.

I forget to show them the verse about Abraham’s faith saving him–and isn’t it all about faith saving us anyway–before and after Christ–isn’t this what God has always been trying to get through to us–not our works, but His faith rising up in us that saves us from unquenchable fire?

“It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring…”–Romans 4:13-15

We are so caught up in looking up verses on God’s character–His unchanging ways–flipping pages as fast as we can turn, giddy in our treasure hunt, we turn a page a little too fast, and it creases. I forget all about proving to them that the bible actually accounts for the souls who believed before Christ being in Heaven–in my hungry quest to show them who God is.

For you curious ones, who, like me, wonder and dig to find gold…here is some treasure for you…
“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:24; cf. Heb. 11:5) (emphasis added).

Elijah was not taken to a place on the border of hell, but he “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings2:11; cf. Matt. 17:3, where Moses and Elijah appear, talking to Jesus.)

…when Jesus answers the Sadducees, he reminds them that God says, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” and then says, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32), thus implying that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were living even at that very moment, and that God was their God.

…in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus does not say that Lazarus is unconscious, but reports Abraham as saying about Lazarus, “Now he is comforted here” (Luke 16:25).

–Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

If they know who God IS, they will never have to question.

I read the last verse in our Proverbs reading, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” {Prov.16:33}

“Oh! Look at that Lorna–isn’t that neat? You can cast lots, gamble, take risks, but God has already written it all down”–I scrawl words on air for her, hoping she will get a mental picture of our Sovereign God. I’m thinking, In His book, our life is…..–how do I best explain this to her?….when she interrupts–

“Our life is His story book.”

I grab her 10-year-old-still-soft-baby cheeks in my hands–“Yes, darling girl! That’s exactly it. Exactly. I love you so much.” I smile down at her, and catch a glimpse of a twinkle in her eye.

****

Bella bounces her ball, “Mama, I need to ask you a question. Is God isth nice?”–in a 4-year-old-lisp.

“Yes, He is, He is kind and loving. He is very nice.”
She smiles, dimpling, “Can you read me the story again about it, in your book, after I finish my toast?”
I look where she is pointing, to the purple bible. “You want me to read to you about God?”
She nods. I nod, and she runs off with her ball, leaving behind her a room and a Mama full of God’s wonder.
****

“I’m really sorry that I yelled and scared you. You know that’s why Mama needs Jesus, don’t you?”

I look into her eyes, search for remembrance, search for that gospel lighthouse to guide me, my true north to ground me and bring me center–to right everything gone wrong. I’m flailing in the darkness, lost at sea, groping blind.
She nods, child-understanding, her eyes so full of the emptiness of inexperience, waiting for me to fill it–to show the way. I am weighted to the floor–sobered.
“You know, Mama has sin in her heart”–I lay my hand on my heart, and she looks down to that sacred God-place, her wide eyes taking it all in.
“And I mess up over and over and over. As much as Mama tries to not get angry, I just keep messing up. And Jesus died on the cross to take away all that sin, to forgive it all, and your’s too. “
“Mama? So when we’re born, we already have sins?”
“Yes, even babies are born into this world with sin, and you and me, our only hope is Jesus–because we’re only human, we sin, we all mess up and our only hope in all this world is Him.”
I hug her, hold my Ivy-baby in my lap. I ask her, “Do you forgive Mama?” She nods up and down from my pillow-shoulder. I tenderly pick up her head. “Look at Mama. You know, when Mama asks for forgiveness, I try real hard after that not to do it again.” I stroke the silky hair on her forehead, feel her eyelashes flutter against my hand. “And I promise to try real hard, ok?” She nods, her eyes seeming larger than normal.
She’s just taking me in, all this now, right here.
Oh, she teaches me so much.
She looks up at me, green enveloping me, black lashes reaching to Heaven. And she gives, falling into me in exhale. I hold her like that and we just breathe one another for a few minutes, drinking in the stillness of this holy moment–this redemptive beauty.
I sigh and pull back and look at her, ask her if she likes our talks, if it makes her feel better? “Yes,” she says, and I mostly expect her to jump up and bound off to play but she lays her head softly on my chest, folds into me, and just soaks up grace.

****
Gratitude:
#657 me and the girls watering flowers, re-potting together…
#658 us all raking leaves as Husband drives up–the look of disbelief on his face
#659 Husband and I making supper together, comrades and partners in daily work and family goals
#660 me and the girls doing a deep cleaning and making a peace retreat, setting out a Lent tree…you can hover over the words here to see Ann’s ideas for a godly home…
#661 for Ann, who gives great ideas and inspires creativity and godliness in our home…and us fearful ones know how hard this is…i’m so grateful for the encouragement…
#662 us making home peaceful and inviting, a place of refuge for the weary
#663 time with my Granny, that at her age, she still asks why I don’t come pick her up when I need help in town…
#664 a surprise visit from my Mama and all of us going to eat together
#665 my Granny and I shopping for treasures and finding a few
#666 New books coming in the mail! And Jesus, bless my #666! Amen.
#667 girls’ fun ball chairs for school arriving via UPS!
#668 God healing me of depression completely–anxiety and insomnia also slowly healing little by little
#669 a full week of us all sitting at the table nightly and doing Lent devotions–glory to God for His goodness imparted to us! How He has lavishly blessed!!!
#670 being well enough–mental and physical energy–to take on kids and supper while Husband mows the yard–hallelujah!
#671 new worship music and DVDs to play in the house while girls and i sweep, wash dishes, and bring God glory through our beauty-making
#672 how the girls stop when they walk by the television and watch the worshipping that is happening…
#673 how God’s word, how His fullness overtakes all the shadows and dark places in me and brings light, how it really does bring me out into the light and all fear, all insomnia, anxiety, worry fleas…the marvelous mystery of His word and worship…praise to His name!
#674 how the girls brought their library books home and Lorna took them to her room to begin browsing and skimming them like a frantic reader who can’t wait to get started should–so proud of my girls–maybe i really can do this homeschooling thing…
#675 party with church folks–mingling and fellowshipping, even when it’s hard–forging ahead into God’s goodness…
#676 dancing on Kinnect with an older woman from church–making a fool of myself
#677 a weekend with Hubby, children at their grandparents’, missing them as soon as they were gone…
#678 eating at a local restaurant that serves fried green tomatoes fine dining style
#679 watching Husband bump the ketchup bottle
#680 walking hand-in-hand on downtown sidewalk towards our vehicle
#681 remembering why i married this man…
#682 trying on clothes in my favorite store for Husband to approve…feeling like a teenager again…
#683 going in a store just for Husband, one he likes to go in for art inspiration…
#684 an argument on our “date day”–always the hard cleansing before the joy comes, the remembering, the redemption–hard eucharisteo…
#685 dinner and a movie…what a long time since we have enjoyed such a thing…
#686 remembering that it’s nothing on earth that can make me happy, give me joy but God…hard eucharisteo…eucharisteo! thanksgiving to God in all things–even the hard–especially the hard…this transforms…
#687 giving testimony in Sunday morning service, me quaking and shaking, fingering my hair just a little, unsure what to do with my hands…but i told God if i had the opportunity, i would give Him glory for healing me and i would not let Satan have any place…so when the call for testimony came…
#688 for Sabbath rest, Husband and I lying in hammock, us falling asleep tangled up together like that…then picnic and badmitton with no net and tag with daughters

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