Category Archives: 31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living

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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How To Have Real, Lasting Joy {31 Days to Holistic, Christ Centered Living, Day #13}





All six of us get out in the bone-chilling, drizzling rain and deliver loaves of pumpkin bread to the neighbors the day after Christmas.

One lady who lives alone, she comes to the door of her trailer, peeps out and just simply says, “Bless you,” and she really means it, her eyes lighting up with a smile.

Other homes we stop at, there are still snow-tipped Christmas trees twinkling in living rooms, fires are blazing in fireplaces, and most are in warm flannel and gathered up to hearths as they invite us into the coziness shut away from the cold steady dripping. There is much hugging of necks, much loud visiting and laughter, much softening of hearts.

I know mine is pliable as putty at the moment.

I can only pray it will last.

At one home–our old pastor’s home–we linger a little too long in the doorway as we catch up on all that has transpired in the past year and hint a little awkwardly at the fact that we still love one another though we are no longer apart of the same church body.

The warmth that passes between us is obvious and overwhelming. We promise to get together for a field trip since we are both homeschooling mothers, and we hug and it is hard to close the door and leave because it’s like closing the door on a chapter of our life and relationships that blossomed from that time.





But we say goodbye knowing that one door closes so that another can open and relationships change with each coming new year.

As we drive home, after handing out the bread to hungry handshands of souls that just long for fellowship and someone to care {don’t we all come empty-handed to the Father’s table after all?},

after all that, our hearts are full.

I say to the girls, “Now wasn’t that fun?”

And I’m not pushing too hard, not trying to convince myself and them–my heart is filled to the brim and slipping over the edges and I’m really speaking from a place of abundance.

Maybe this is the key to real, lasting joy?

“That was fun,” says Mr. Simmons, in a soft baratone, and the girls nod their heads.

I’m simply thankful for this moment of sheer joy overflowing, all this fullness of grace spilling.

Gratitude:







#409 text from a friend saying she misses her running buddy

#410 a peaceful, imperfect–yes, but peaceful Advent

#411 a peaceful Christmas celebration with all the family





#412 a 4 mile run with my mother and sister on Christmas eve

#413 girl time and how we all love one another

#414 an amazing Christmas feast and how I think that there will be a lot of families, children even, alone on the streets during Christmas who only dream of such a feast

#415 being truly thankful for what I have and the resulting joy

#416 eating cookies for supper with my family as we watch Miracle On 34th Street–a day of doing things that we never do

#417 Lilly covered up head-to-toe in her puppy blanket, walking around in it, it trailing behind her and all we can see of her are her little hands peeping out and puppy ears bobbing as she toddles around

#418 Lilly in her blanket, pointing to the rocker, a sign that she wants to be held and rocked by Mama for a few moments before bed

#419 watching Little Women with my four daughters and my oldest looking at me when I tear up

#420 Christmas church service on Christmas morning

#421 being back in our church body on Christmas day and one special lady coming to me to hug my neck

#422 a note from a friend assuring me that there is nothing I can do to ever make her go away

#423 knowing that God has all under control

#424 feeling like there is a dawning on the horizon! relief! joy! a new beginning!

Join me at Ann’s for more thoughts on gratefulness to God?

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

Seasons {31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living–Day #10}

I’m not so much sitting as I am reclined back, feet propped on suspended laziness under the maple tree, head resting against a pillow, listening to leaves rustle, sway and fall in the cool breeze of Autumn air, the warmth of the sun wrapping me in my cotton cocoon.

This is the dual season of fall and winter in the Deep South. The strong arctic wind blasts of snow are somewhere far away to the North. As I sit here (recline here), I notice the Spider Lillies are in bloom in our backyard. Lorna walks up to me and says, “Mama, the spider web flowers are blooming!” and my heart smiles warm.

It’s a full circle of life moment, when I recall all in one breath how my Mama, as a little girl, always enjoyed the spider lillies blooming in the fall, how Autumn has always been her favorite season, how as a small child, I brought the delicate spiny autumn inside for her to put on the sill, and how I, as a young girl, wrote poet’s lines about my favorite flower and pined for a love lost on leaves blowing in the fall.

Now my daughter knows the joy of them and their meaning–the ending of one season, sad as it is, but the beginning of something far greater than we could imagine.

God sees the bigger picture, doesn’t He?

We never fully see, but thinking that we can see, our perspective grows jaded and gloomy, like looking through a glass darkly, and we doubt and lose hope.

And we feel the pull and the dull ache as all the shallow, hard, dry places where seed has been swept away and not allowed to grow are carved and etched deep,

God’s mighty hand grasping, pulling, tilling, and gently plowing so none of the soil is lost but all is repaired, refreshed and He moistens the soil and awakens it by putting in new soil.

Something new–I can only explain it as the mystery of the blood pouring down,

is birthing life in me, the light of that glorious sacrificial gospel spilling red and rich upon my heart.

Red and rich and delicate because all this frailness, this sin-wracked body that I live in, must be willing to receive like the thin webbing of those autumn flowers–and they shoot up, the blood liveliness–

that aliveness –from Earth’s fertile soil, that soil dark and dying, the depths of decaying rottenness giving life–like the life-blood shooting up from veins as nails drive into His hands and feet.

And the seed cannot reproduce less it die first.

Then, through suffering with Christ, we are awakened and all we have to do is accept the sacrifice on our behalf and the blood shoots up, alive in us, making us alive to Him.

And I’ve been grafted in–in the midst of a desert-wandering life–he has drenched me in the life-blood and called me His own.

I watch my children, all the golden halos of them, dancing in the flowers, running and laughing amongst the red webbed flowers, and I run after them, and I think this is how God sees me:

just a child brought home, all of us dancing in all this grace, soaking up the moments given, the seconds and hours and days birthed out of love for us and I stand grateful, for it is just a season, a changing, a dying so that something greater can be birthed.

And this, too, shall pass.

Gratitude:

#399 this season of desert-wandering…and knowing that God has a plan for it all

#400 these hard two weeks of trudging while Mr. Simmons works overtime…sun up to late nights cooking suppers, baths, devotions, eating suppers all together and bedtime stories and putting little ones back in bed over and over when they hop out…can i say thank you, once again, even for this? can i really lift up a thank you to God–even now–when i’m exhausted? are the worn places that i feel really making me a velveteen mama?

#401 large cartons of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes

#402 a mentor-friend, so kind and gentle, keeps writing and checking on me, offering support, advice and comfort for me to lean into

#403 a few loyal friends who keep writing, calling and just keep being there for me

#404 the way their smiles make the day seem brighter, the sun a halo on their heads

#405 a new exercise routine that has me feeling better and more like myself

#406 my sister, my mother and me all together at the movie late in the night on Thanksgiving…girl time and my mother’s “I’m glad we did this!”

#407 Older sisters wanting to give Christmas gifts to younger sisters

#408 these changing seasons…knowing that whatever comes, God is nearest in the hard times, in the pain, in the hurt. He is here.

31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered Living– Day #6: Endurance

It’s Sunday evening and we are running alongside one another, Lorna and I. She says to me, “How far are we going to run?”

“A pretty long ways,” I hesitantly tell her. “Well, how far is that?” she asks.

“Four miles,” I say, thinking how my feet fall in rhythm with hers.

“FOUR miles?!” she pants it out incredulous.

After several minutes, she stops to take a walk break, and I slow down for her. I tell her to take a deep breath, look at the beautiful sunset, the moon sort of sitting in the sky, and pick up her pace.

After about a fourth of a mile, she needs another break, and I tell her she can just as soon as we get around this curve.

“When are we going to run fast?” she questions me, just a tad impatient.

“We aren’t. This is a test of your endurance, not your speed. This is a test to see how long you can last.”

“Oh.” She thinks for a moment.

“Well, what’s the answer?”

“You tell me. Show me what you can do.”

She sighs a muffled groan and we keep on in rhythmic stride. Pink and orange sunset hangs low over wheat fields silent in winter’s first cold gales and the sun dips to kiss the trees. We run past cows grazing and she points out a baby calf to me.

On the way home we break into a fast run and she beats me to the house, my daughter with the long legs and the inquisitive mind, my daughter who doesn’t like children’s movies anymore, who reads my One Thousand Gifts book, and who is becoming a woman way too fast–

my daughter with whom I am so grateful to be sharing these moments with.

Gratitude:

#365 Bella, grabbing Lilly and enfolding her in a tight embrace, and wrapping arm around her ears when the train comes so she won’t be afraid–how they care for one another

#366 how Lilly is so submissive and leans into her big sister until the train passes

#367 time carved out to breathe–driving to meet a friend to run–feeling alive and how I tell her the thing that is really important–how much I am grateful for her

#368 another date with Husband–him taking such good care of me–getting me out of the house–sharing a sandwich and getting coffee–him sitting next to me, shielding me

#369 Husband calling everyone over without me knowing because I am sad

#370 Sunday lunch around the table the way it should be–steaming hot greens, chicken, brown rice, cornbread and rolls–everyone helping their plate and passing the butter

#371 good, rich time spent with family–hearing their voices and laughter ring off the walls of my home–all of us smiling and giggling at Lilly’s antics and sharing the best sour cream and pear coffee cake with espresso in my grandmother’s china.

#372 sitting on my porch swing with my mother and talking like old friends

#373 a Sunday evening run with my daughter that’s big enough to keep up with me

#374 the beautiful sunset I take in as I run, God’s creation, that I’m seeing it all and appreciating it all for it’s simple beauty

#375 God’s amazing love and shepharding care for me

#376 that I felt like picking flowers in the backyard and arranging them in vases for the kitchen–a sign I’m getting better

#377 the branches with red and golden leaves that I took straight inside and put in a tall vase on our dining table after Husband plucked them down for me

#378 how when I am sad, but don’t show it or say it, but Husband knows anyway–that’s love

#379 how God is branching me out and making me reach out farther and higher in worship and love toward His children

#380 this recipe to Pumkin Latte cupcakes pictured here–how it makes the house feel and smell like fall! And little chubby hands reaching for yummy goodness!

Join me at Ann’s today for counting pure graces and gifts from the Father:

at L.L.’s place, Seedling In Stone:

On In Around button

at Jenn’s for Soli De Gloria:

and also, join me here as I follow the Compassion bloggers in Equador this week!

Compassion Bloggers: Ecuador 2011

31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered Living: Capturing Time In A Bottle

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? They grow so fast. 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?

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? 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 peace and joy also?

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, but I let it go. It doesn’t matter as much as this moment with this precious one and her butterfly.

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

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.

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–they stare 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 the rhythm carry me into the night until I sigh a contented sigh of having given all and lay head on pillow.

Gratitude:

#345 light streaming in, light in daughter’s eyes, a moment realizing how priceless she is

#346 baking cookies from scratch with my girls–eldest daughter learning how to do it on her own

#347 my relief at planning and knowing we will be done with schoolwork by Christmas with a long break

#348 folding laundry by drier, heater, and 1000 Gifts on audio and my wonderful friend who sent it to me

#349 hot cocoa and the conversation i have with the girls about how some children in the world would love to fill their bellies with these things–how it is sobering to us all

#350 hot tea at bedtime and reading 1000 Gifts

#351 a close friend that sticks by me, forgives all my failings, and in the midst of her crazy schedule, she needs me enough to anticipate carving out time to run with me and talk until it’s much later than we intended to stay

#352 hot chai tea and a table at the book store–me springing to buy her tea, her springing to buy us both muffins and this verse of scripture: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

#353 this verse: “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.”

#354 Husband saying, “Go!” and him tenderly caring for me

#355 staying at home instead of going out and all of us finding plenty to be content with right at home

#356 telling Husband over airways as he drives home that I was lonely without him and the girls missed him too on this Saturday, and him sounding so happy to know that he is a priceless piece to this family puzzle

#357 hard eucharisteo–not going on our anniversary trip that we had planned, but instead going on a string of small dates to the movies or to get coffee–being at home with the kids 24/7 and this stubborn heart that longs to escape learning to be thankful for my context

Please join me at Ann’s site for more gratitude lists and thanks to God:

Also, linking up with Jen at Soli Deo Gloria:

31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered Living: Jesus Saves!

I am trying to make supper, but do not have the ingredients I need, Little one keeps jumping out of the tub and running into the kitchen, sopping wet, and I know that Husband will walk in the door soon, and being the first day of the new schedule, I want to prove to him that I can do it. I glance sharply at the clock, wound tight with my endeavors to keep to the hands that race so quickly around the numbered face.

I break, sinful, weak creature that I am, and raise my voice to my daughter and scold her for almost burning the cookies–her love project.

I immediately see my fault. We’ve been here too many times before–I know this scene–I’ve messed up over and over–too much to not recognize myself in the mirror of her sad eyes.

She had gotten everything down, mixed it all up, determined, and when I came to help, she had proudly held it up to me, beaming, wanting my approval. She had done this, this love-serving, to please me. Why would I scold her when something in the plan goes off course?

I go over to her, try to drum up some emotion, try to feel this remorse, to be connected to the moment with her, but it’s too painful, and she knows, and I put my arm around her and say, “I’m sorry for yelling and being mean to you, you know?”

I know that I should open up more, let the emotion flow, share the gospel with her like I have before, about how this wretched mama needs the cross, but I don’t. Time demands of us to continue our tasks.

My eyes snap to the stove’s clock again. My head is spinning, like Earth rotating so wildly fast that it feels as if it’s standing still, the thoughts running fierce and intense like an ultra-marathoner.

“Didn’t I say I wanted to learn to live this holistic, Christ-centered life? Didn’t I say I wanted to learn and didn’t we make a schedule, Husband and I, to help me sleep better, wake earlier, be more present with the children, and didn’t we say reading time for everyone, Bible at the supper table every night and I want to nurture and I have desires deep down to please my family and make them happy.

Isn’t this what I’ve wanted since I first read “Stepping Heavenward” years ago and an idea came into my head?

That everything doesn’t have to be blinking lights, screens, and fast food–that we can really be present with one another, really talk, really serve–offering it all up to God as a whole–every intricate part of our lives–this is what holistic living means. That we can live slow.

What did it say–the quote I read in Ann’s book by bedside’s soft light?

“I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted and, behold, service was joy!”–Tagore

When my fourth was born, the milk would not nourish her and she was losing weight and it about drove this mama mad and the post-partum depression went untreated, and has caused stress-disorder in my body, says the doctor. So now I swallow down a pill every day to get back on track.

I stand there feeling like the schedule is on a runaway frieght train, and I will cave under all the pressure. My neck tightens and my throat begins to close in.

This is why I stay in the room, closed off all the time, the voice tells me. “May as well give up; you can’t do it,” the black angel says from his perch on my shoulder. “No point in making yourself this frustrated and causing a panic attack and causing everyone to be unhappy too–you should just throw in the towel.” His voice sounds like reason, like wisdom. It is true that if I continue like this, I will just get more ill.

I say out loud, “Oh God, help me.” Shane and Shane sings “Burn us up” on the little player next to the stove and I stare at the flame burning in the lit candle, how it dances furiously and licks the side of the glass.

I drop my head, in hand, rub temples and talk to Him, thinking of those three brave in the fire, when the King told them to bow to the idol, to reject their God, how they stood in the face of imminent death and said,

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 NIV(emphasis added)

I want that kind of faith-to be brave in the face of death, to stare unmoving at the enemy of my soul, to say, “Burn me up” when I fear the destruction of my flesh, to not flinch in the storm of all the gospel might demand of me, what circumstances it might require me to continue to believe in the midst of.

There are martyrs who are dying for the cause of Christ overseas, there are orphans dying with no one to hold them while they are dying–they die alone. There is a child alone in the desert right now, wasting away with starvation. This makes me wonder why I can’t have faith in the middle of my daily struggles.

Why do I listen to the deciever when I know that Christ has already conquered him for me?

As I talk to God, head in hands, the miracle happens: His presence comes and breaks me.

I sob surrender to Him.

And I know at that moment that this is how I start living this holistic, Christ-centered, offering unto Him life: It is only through the cross of Christ that has conquered my enemy, Satan, and because not only did He conquer him, but Jesus is here, with me, right here in my need, clutching my hand in the fire, in my desperate moment.

All I have to do is cry out and surrender to the grace pouring over me. To the cross I cling…moment by moment.

I cannot comment back on my site–Google has denied access– in the meantime, please know that I read and bask in every encouraging word! Thank you for being here!

Please join me at Ann’s site for more reflections, ponderings on faith:

31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered living: The Key to Change

The eyes snap open, and an overwhelming feeling like child lost in the tumultuous crashing of waves, blood churning, heart pounding, remembering yesterday’s failure and not wanting to repeat it.

I’m already arguing with myself–and it’s all in my head–I don’t say it out loud–the mind bends and whirls–what I will do first–which hat to take down, which to leave on the shelf?

Part of me gearing up, a loud, “Yes!”, the other half of me screaming, dreading, “No!” I pull the covers over my head, ignore the tiny footsteps pounding on pine floors, shrieks and squeals echoing off of morning sun splashed ceilings, slamming of doors–they are my shrill, body-bolting, repetitive alarm.

Can I handle it? Today’s driving demands, they harass me, their nails go deep, they keep pounding and my body feels the weight, and the overflow of adrenaline, all of the reserves–too much of it released, surges and seeps into every part of me.

The neck begins to tense, immediate pain shooting down the jugular veins, through my frail shoulders and the head aches, and I feel as though I will break, small and helpless.

I find strength to touch the floor with feet anyway. And some days, I just say, “Lord, help me,” as I gaze at curtain shrouded sky, wanting to really see, not having much to say, knowing my prayer reaches Him, but stilling myself for what comes next.

The little one has crawled out of her crib, and is running around chasing her sisters, and my nerves are at bursting pressure-point, and I know they will run ahead of me all day, and I will grasp at trying to keep up.

So we start the gentle rhythm of the day–as gently as a team of wild horses gone off course, and I’m the one that’s supposed to be steering–we go outside to do work and to teach and to learn, because stress can always melt in sunshine and those faces are more endearing.

And just as if there was never anything holding it all together in the first place, like dominoes all lined in a row, just waiting for that first, airy brush of a fingertip, all caves in.

I yell at a child to just stop screaming, and I rant at another child to never, ever, hit her sister with the broom again. Teeming with impatience, I am wanting some time alone to write, to let my mind rest, and I am intently focused on helping one child with schoolwork, thinking, “If we can just get this one page done.”

And I know the clothes await folding in the drier, mocking me with their very existence, crumbs and dirt tracked in the mud room collect and call out to me from their dark hiding places, and all has gone awry and I have not been the steer-er, gentle guide that I should be.

How exactly do I do this holistic living, this peaceful home, this joy-giving life, this gratefulness, the gospel mine to tell, Christ at the center always, and how do I live this out–all these responsibilities, all these gifts He’s placed in my hands, these precious ones–how do I make sure I mother them well?

And my soul-mate, the man that God has given me the power to make or break? Oh, what a sobering thing–how do I nurture respect, love and submissiveness–oh so much at stake here–how do I make sure to bring him good, and not harm, all the days of my life?

And Satan tries to pound and drive it into my skull–that I’m not good enough. He tries again and again to let it seep down deep. That I have failed them. I feel the weight of my sin creeping over me like a heavy cloak. I am an empty hull, a broken shell, crushed under his devouring mouth.

But that’s just the first verse. Then I remember the refrain.

Jesus saves.

There is more to this gospel story–this story that God has allowed me to be apart of–and I’m so grateful. Come back tomorrow for the ending?

For now, please watch the video for a taste of how powerful a mystery God has revealed to us through the law and the fulfillment of that law–his Son, Christ Jesus. The beginning of the song is very different–it will perplex you no doubt,

but please wait for the ending–you will not be disappointed–I promise!

Gratitude:

#328 the damp coolness in the air when rain is coming

#329 Husband telling me he is proud of my work with the girls

#330 Ivy’s assessment: “C’mon, Everyone is good at something: Lorna is good at making people laugh, Daddy is good at art, Bella is good at smiling and dimples, Mama is good at reading, Lilly is good at being cute, and I’m good at eating and making messes!” and the spontaneous laughter of everyone at the table.

#331 Husband who knows just how to settle the raging storm within by being a strong, quiet anchor

#332 missing them as soon as they are fastened in Papa’s truck

#333 my little Lilly’s sweet pursing of lips into heart-shaped smile–eyes twinkling mischievously, so much life in her

#334 this post: my heart’s desire–and for Katie Davis, and for Husband and i reading together, me barely able to say the words through gut-wrenching emotion

#335 how God uses people thousands of miles away, unbeknown to them, to preach the gospel to us, just by their lives

#336 how we both get emotional reading together–how it hits at the very core of us

#337 this blog: how it slays me, how it just cuts right through the fat, all the unnecessary indulgences and whispers to me what is important: the gospel.

#338 a whole weekend of quiet while children are with grandparents and we nurture marriage, we go out, nap in hammock, cuddle and watch movies, talk and talk and talk, smiling into each other’s eyes like love-sick puppies

#339 that my favorite part of the whole weekend was us confessing what God has been doing in our hearts–an outpouring, a cleansing, a healing, hope and Husband’s leading

#340 friend who texts yes, they would love to–they have been looking forward to fellowship–friendships once broken and where forgiveness and reconciliation was humanly impossible, God restored, redeemed, fused together such a strong bond that none could break, and He called His creation good

#341 the fellowship of the body of Christ found through a friendship bonded through years of suffering and rejoicing together, found through the writings of missionaries and the supporting of those love-projects, found in the eyes of a widow, the smile of an orphan

#342 amazement at God’s great grace and favor upon me–me just a sinner–not just any sinner, but a wretched one, and the great hope of salvation and redemption

#343 this suffering that is the only way to true beauty

#344 for Ann, and her blog –one of the first posts I ever read that shook me to the core, faces hot and wet as Husband and i both read, her book, that set me on a journey that I never expected, how when they played this video in church service one morning, it would challenge my heart, and change the course of my life forever–thank you, Ann!