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Tag Archives: His Faithfulness

Rosiness in the Night

A little friend unintentionally shares something invisible with you. You’re fine for a few days, until one afternoon, you complain of a hurting tummy. But I can’t tell if it hurts as badly as you say, or if you just really don’t want to eat the dinner in front of you. So later, as the moon rises, I tuck you under your flowery sheets and tell you to get some rest and we’ll see how you feel in the morning. We whisper our “good-nights” and “sleep-tights” and tired “I-love-you’s” and I turn out the light.

 

Hours later, you shuffle through my bedroom door.

“Mama, my tummy hurts….”

 

I sigh, awakening from the fogginess of deep sleep. Your daddy rolls over and I mumble that I don’t know what to do for your little tummy. And then it happens. Right then and there. All over the floor next to my bed. I rush you to the bathroom and I stroke back your hair, tell you it’ll be okay as you let go of all that tummy-ickiness.

 

And you’re only four now. But someday, you’ll be older, and friends and family, and even I, will unintentionally share things with you that will hurt. I fidget in a panicky discomfort at the mere thought of it, but I know in my heart that I can’t always keep you safe. Can’t always protect you from things that will cause you heartache. And you alone will have to sift through the pain, praying through what needs to be addressed, and what needs to be let go. But I hope you will always come to me, in the dark of your night, looking for a little Mama-comfort. Together, we’ll pray through the ickiness and let Him make it all better. Together we’ll watch expectantly. And just as He returns the rosiness to your pale cheeks, we’ll watch and listen as He breathes your ashes into marvelous beauty.

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So here I am. Yes, I’m still around, believe it or not. I’ve struggled coming here over the last few months (in case you hadn’t noticed -grin-) for a few reasons.

 

One being, time. Life has been busier. Motherhood, a bit more intense, even as my little ones gain more independence. Seems a little backward, no? Yeah, I’m trying to figure that one out too. 🙂

 

Two being, I feel like a different person than I was four or five months ago. I feel older. I feel less sure, while feeling a little more comfortable in these awkward shoes of mine, all at the same time. I feel I haven’t much to say worth reading, or maybe what I should say is, I feel I don’t have anything which feels safe to say. Safe, whether for your benefit, or my comfort level. I think it has been best to remain quiet here as I try to re-find my own voice.

 

Three being, God has been working on me. BIG TIME. There’s been a lot of grief. A lot of distrust. A lot of vulnerability. A lot of questions. A lot of insecurity. A lot of tears. A lot of discoveries. A lot of simply trying to figure out this real, gritty, not-always-neatly-packaged life and who, exactly, is this God in the midst?

 

And during all this time, there has been much waiting. A question from me. Silence from Him. Several weeks later, an answer. Or maybe more to question. Or maybe just more waiting. And it’s unlike me to post a “How-To” post and although, it may appear differently, this post is not a prescriptive list of how to do something correctly. Just things I’ve learned. And am continuing to learn.

 

I am coming to believe that everyone is waiting for something. Those somethings maybe be more obvious for some of us. A baby to be conceived. A spouse to finally come around life’s corner, nonchalantly whistling a favorite love song. A move. That dream job to come around.

 

But there are other things too. Things unseen that can not necessarily be measured. A relationship to mend. A spouse to know God better. An answer to some deep, heartfelt question. In some ways, maybe it’s safe to say that life is one, drawn-out wait. The things we wait for change over the course of our lives, but ultimately, we’re all waiting for resolution to our deepest longings, healing for our most-scarred places . . . for our Redeemer to come and make all new, once and for all.

 

So, I’ve learned a few things in the waiting for some of these things. No exhaustive, prescriptive list. Just a few things learned, from one lady-in-waiting to another….

While Waiting For….

(Fill in your blank)

  1. Draw close to God, even though that may be the last thing you want to do. In the waiting, I sometimes feel like God is hiding Himself from me. Like He’s deliberately trying to make something harder than it should be. And if He’s hiding Himself, maybe I should just go into hiding too. I am learning that contrary to how it feels, His silence is sometimes an invitation to come closer to Him . . . to know Him a bit more intimately. To hear Him whisper.
  2.  Pray for wisdom and flexibility to His perfect plan. Sometimes His plan is completely different from what we think it will be, or even should be! This is made obvious in the waiting itself, isn’t it? 🙂 I, for one, don’t want to miss His unexpected gifts simply because I’m still looking over the fence, waiting for that other thing I’ve been expecting.
  3. Pay attention to THIS part of the story. What is He teaching me? Here, in the waiting? There is something He is trying to make known, even in the waiting. For some reason, the waiting is part of the story and perhaps He is busy writing me as I wait for Him to write the next chapter in life’s circumstance. Or maybe, He just working on some real, darn-good relationship building. 🙂
  4. Wait expectantly.  “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 I need to be alert to unexpected answers! And I need to not wait apathetically, without faith, but with anticipation that He will move . . . one way or another. Perhaps waiting is meant to be more proactive than it seems….
  5. Trust the process. My hubby is a computer programmer. He is often braving new territory, trying to figure out new ways of doing things. This sometimes means that there are no written answers to his work’s dilemmas and he has to figure it out on his own. He has taught me that sometimes, the process is part of the answer! And sometimes, the process in learning an answer to one problem, brings multiple answers to many problems.
  6. When He says, “No” to one thing, it’s because He is saying “Yes” to something unforeseen. 
  7. Keep living. Don’t give into the temptation to put life on “hold” as I wait for _____. Life is now, not later.
  8. If you’re married, trust that the Lord is using your spouse’s input and desires, even though they may be contrary to your own. There have been many times that the Lord has used my husband’s “no” as a protection for our family. Thank God there is a logical one in our marriage! 🙂
  9. Waiting is hard. As Christians, I think we sometimes feel the need to downplay our pain/grief/frustration/struggle when we don’t understand what God is doing. I think that this surrenders the opportunity of allowing others to share in the journey with us. Not only do we need our brothers and sisters to help lift us up now, we need them to celebrate with us when the waiting is no more!

Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:14


The New Horizon

Part of me wants to discard 2011 like a dirty, ol’ rag. It was a let’s-get-down-and-get-dirty kind of year for us. The kind of year where you evaluate every aspect of your life and make some difficult decisions to, hopefully, make things better. The kind of year where your heart gets tangled in a million different emotions and leaves life feeling like one, big, tangled web that somehow swirled and weaved your last bit of girlhood naiveté into a mortal cocoon. The kind of year where friends’ homes and neighborhoods are ripped to shreds by tornadoes and you read stories about riots all over the world, and those earthquakes and tsunamis that hit  so hard and you’re left trying to explain crazy things like that to your wide-eyed, inquisitive four-year-old daughter. The kind of year where your heart brims in fullness, readying to welcome your third child, only for that baby to be taken away from you. The kind of year where your life’s lens zooms in and out as you lie on a stretcher wondering if you’re going to be able to hug your living babies in the morning as that pregnancy loss gushes from your body.

 

It has been a hard year.

 

And yet.

 

Ironically, it has been one of the best.

 

It’s been the year that my husband and I learned to (mostly) stop dancing that passive-aggressive tango we’ve done all these married years and begun to truly learn one another’s steps. It’s been the year where we’ve truly listened to one another’s dreams and desires and haven’t been afraid to share them. The year that we weren’t afraid to let go of certain things in our lives that we’d held onto for so. long. simply because they felt comfortable and safe. The year that my humanity was made crystal clear. The year where the outpouring of love and support from friends was humbly overwhelming and wonderfully healing.

It is truly stupefying how God places things in your hands which sometimes feel like squirming snakes or abrasive stones, but in opening your hands, you quickly realize that they are, in reality, loaves of bread and nourishing fish.

 

So I know that when I trust the Good Father, I can trust that a year like 2011 is a gift. Whether our 2011’s were good or bad, or just plain boring, it is a full, written chapter in each of our life’s stories and not something to wipe clean off the slate, or something to desperately try to erase from our memories. Let’s find the gifts. Let’s find all the fish and the bread of 2011 and learn to be thankful for them in our new 2012. And even better, maybe we can learn from all those seemingly snarly snakes and rough stones and help others with their own confusingly full hands.

 

Today, as my eyes linger over the ornaments and stockings and twinkling lights, just for one more day,  my heart lingers over days and moments that made up my own 2011. And I am finding that those gifts walk with me into the fresh horizon of 2012.

 

Let’s have a happy, bright and hopeful New Year, everyone.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Seeking Stillness

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.

And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

(Taken from Psalm 5:3, 37:7a and 2 Peter 3:14)

The Whole Point

My phone high-pitches.

I read the words.

Outwardly I smile, while inwardly, I shrink back.

My husband.

A few words texted, telling me how he loves me, using words I’d never think to describe me.

I know he’s seen me.

In the mornings with bed hair.

 Sick over the toilet.

In my heated anger.

Birthing life.

He’s seen me in all my most human, ugly moments.

And yet, he loves me and thinks of me most as the woman he loves . . .

and has responded to his love.

I beep him back.

“Really?” I ask. “You *truly* think of me like that?”

I ask, suddenly very unbelieving of all the times he’s told me this before.

I see this link as I wait for his response.

And she was right.

I needed this today.

“He knew [I] was going to be messy.

That’s the whole point of the the cross!”

I close my eyes at the wonder of it.

Intention

I’ve gotten behind! But I must. catch. up. I must dwell on His goodness and cultivate this thing called thankfulness. If there is not thankfulness, bitterness and resentment spring forth and choke out all that is growing gratefulness.

 

So, I weed out. Water. Allow for the sunshine.

 

#684 park dates and begged-for McDonald’s breakfasts

#685 long slides, long enough (for daddies and mommies even!) to feel the thrill

#686 not having to pack

#687 everyone home together

#688 movie nights on the pull-out couch

#689 popcorn and m&m’s, even for little pearly white teeth

#690 Dove “eeeeee-ing,” showing me those freshly brushed teeth

#691 bowling and matching scores

#691 the littlest bowling shoes they had – the only cute bowling shoes I’ve ever seen!

#692 errands, together

#693 reading, side by side

#694 him telling me not to cook

#695 healthy girls and after-shots ice cream

#696 Pushing Daisies

#697 good, good reads

#698 busy busyness and the blessing of actually writing To-Do lists

#699 the days where everything was actually checked off

#700 the grace to carry some things over to the next day . . . or the next

#701 time at the piano with fresh, sweet faces

#702 a friend’s wonderful recommendation

#703 all 8 errands, run with two, amazingly patient little girls (even I was in awe that we actually fit it all in!)

#704 a stack of new piano books

#705 successful surgeries

#706 the sweetest brother and how we all hate sending him to college

#707 but he makes us so proud

#708 dinners to share with family

#709 most everyone around the table, seeing him off

#710 out-of-the-blue, prayed for phone calls

#711 open arms

#712 giving arms

#713 a God who orchestrates it all

#714 the last pool days of summer

#715 autumn, in the air, falling leaves from yellowing trees against blue skies

#716 honesty

#717 confession . . . all the trepidation and the loving anyway

#718 the cleansing blood

#719 sister-prayers

#720 finding soft, blue Henri and the hero bringing him to our back door

#721 finding 3 more Henri’s online so that it won’t happen again (and maybe she’ll be able to carry around a halfway CLEAN one!)

#722 van windows open, warm and simultaneously cool, late August breezes

#723 hummingbirds snacking

#724 a deer with antlers, scampering a good 20 feet ahead

#725 clinging to hope

#726 and that sometimes, friends will cling for you

#727 that He will wipe away every tear

#728 looking forward to that robe of white . . . just His righteousness

The fellow-thankers

 

 

Your Beautiful Life

For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.

Hebrews 3:14

We were newlywed neighbors. Just a couple doors down and about fifty years apart. When I told you that Jonathan and I had moved into that honeymoon nest of an apartment of ours, you giggled and those blue eyes of yours sparkled. The memories of your own newlywed days in that same brick row of apartments brought a certain calm happiness to your voice as you reminisced with me about barbecues with your friends on the green lawn. You told me I’d love it there.

I did.

You’d come to the doctor’s office occasionally, to see another doctor in the practice, and when I’d get a minute (somehow I always knew when you were there), I’d sneak away from that desk of mine and run over to see you. I’d give you a knowing look and ask how your doctor was treating you and you’d give me that side-long glance of yours and ask me how that doctor of mine was treating me. The difference was, you were seeing a doctor for your health and I was merely working for one.

Then, after Firefly was born, you and Billy came to visit. I remember you both, walking up that L-shaped sidewalk, Billy with that certain little gait of his, and you in all your calm vivaciousness. You graced our small living room and sat on our enormous green couch and held our new bundle of pink and said all the things a new mother loves to hear. Those seemingly small gestures of yours . . . they meant the world.

I didn’t know you as well as some others. And I feel a bit out of place here, sharing anything about your life, while the entire church reels at the aftershocks of your passing. But I can’t stop thinking about your beautiful life. You were just that kind of person. Even if a person didn’t know you intimately, what they did know of you, they just simply loved. We couldn’t help ourselves. I can still hear your “HI!, Darlin’!!!” when I’d walk through the church nursery doors . . . you, decades older than all of us young moms, but there anyway, serving children as you’d been doing in this community for longer than most of us moms have been alive. You’d greet me from across the classroom and in your spunky, “glad to see you” steps, you’d patter over to the door and you’d ask me again how to pronounce my girls’ names. And you’d sort of shake your head in disbelief . . . I’ve never been sure if that little head-shake of yours was at how I’d named my girls such unusual names, or at the fact that you could never remember just how to pronounce them. It didn’t matter.

Because Firefly, the one you had in class all last spring just loved Miss Mancy, as she called you. She couldn’t wait for Wednesday morning Bible Study so she could go see you . . . and  watch Veggie Tales. 🙂 Often, when I’d come back to the nursery to pick up my girls, we’d all be tired and hungry and I’d have a difficult time getting the little ones out the door and into the car without a bit of a meltdown. Even while chatting with all the other moms coming to retrieve their little ones . . . did you notice?

One day, I came to pick up Firefly and you came to the half-door and just said, “That Firefly.” And you sort of smacked your lips with this proud kind of look and that side-long glance on your face again. “Don’t you just LOVE her?!”

Did you know that I needed a reminder that my oldest is one of God’s own wonderful creations? Full of her own gifts and talents and that she is more than just a little person to be herded from the nursery classroom to the car? Because you made me stop dead in my tracks and I know my very soul paused in all its frenzy. That someone would love my child like that and take the time to make sure I knew…. You made me love my own little girl all the more – helped me honor that little soul of hers all the more. Yes, you served our children and it kept you young . . . but you served us in your serving.

Now, your race is done and we reflect on the beauty of your steps and thank God for the places where your tread crossed each of ours.

I hope you know.

You are sorely missed.