Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Glory Shines Dark

I was disappointed with the sunrise this morning.

The clouds overshadowed the glory and spread the foreboding message of a quenching fall.  Over the whole land, there was light…the clouds did not succeed in eradicating the rays of fire altogether…they managed to escape and somehow, someway, the land was getting brighter.  But there was not the shining, powerful glow of so many other mornings.  The sun, drenched in beauty and power, remained hidden by moisture-laden clouds come to cleanse, purify and nourish this dry world.

I sit here, most mornings, and it is almost as if the desire of my heart alone pushes the glorious orb into the morning…almost as if it dawns just for the sake of my soul.  The light cleanses and in it I see redemption and a new beginning.

But not today.

To keep reading, follow me over here.  I am guest posting at Sisters In Bloom today.  Come be part of the community!
Sisters In Bloom

Friday, February 17, 2012

They See Me

"Watch mommy!"

She climbs, unhindered, high into the tree and my breath catches.  I worry about scrapes and bruises and broken arms.  I worry she is climbing too high, that the next branch might be slightly out of reach.  But I smile.  "I see you!"

She beams.  She needs this.  She needs to hear her mother ooh and ahh over her accomplishments, praise her efforts and support her endeavors.

The truth is...we need it, too.

Sometimes it's easy to get lost in the math lessons, the history readings, the laundry folding, the food preparation.  We feel invisible or, worse yet, buried under it all.  And sometimes we just need someone to praise our efforts.  Ooh and ahh over our accomplishments.  To whisper heartfelt words of encouragement.  To say it out loud.

I see you.

We walk home, basking in the sunshine, carrying our tokens of nature, and I wonder who sees me right now.  I wonder if anyone cares that I'm constantly sweeping the kitchen floor and wiping away crumbs.  I wonder if anyone notices the long hours I spend in the kitchen or the effort put forth in the education of these minds.  I wonder if I'm truly being buried under my workload...invisible to the world as I labor and love.

"First one to the house wins!"  She voices the challenge loudly as the house comes into view.  We all take off and I, the last one there, come rushing into their joy.  My baby girl throws her arms around my leg and says it into the cool air. "I love you mommy."

And the Voice I have come to know so well speaks tirelessly and the words quicken my heart.

They see you.

We all walk into the house together.  I gather up the jacket and gloves and begin, again, in the kitchen.  I smile as I work and I know it is true.  They are watching right now.  They can't comprehend the work or the effort.  And they know nothing about selflessness or motherhood.  But they see me.

The life I pour into their souls and this home is worth the effort for a lot of reasons. But today...the reason that touched my this truth.  A mother chasing hearts and nourishing souls is a woman to be noticed.  Not by the esteemed of this world fallen...but by the hearts of these children given.  And that is reason enough.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When There Are No Words

I sit outside, under the warmth, in the midst of song and I struggle for words.  The leaves scuttle across the walk in front of me and my soul aches to etch it all, make it timeless, help me remember.

For whatever reason, words are how I make sense of life.  Maybe you too?  Maybe you make sense of it all a different way.  But as I sit in the midst of beauty, my kids playing underfoot, my fingers itch to make sense of it all, breathe life into it all, by giving this glorious moment words.  And I have none.

So I scratch it onto paper bound and sitting precariously on my lap:
How do you give words to the song?  How do you reduce the scattering to mere verbiage? How does the wind on my face permeate my pen and find life?

Perhaps the moments God truly comes near and enters in are too big for words and are best left just to be.

Perhaps the act of "just being" is worship enough and the inability to fully remember only increases the majesty of future moments.

Sometimes fear drives my pen.  I am scared I will experience moments in life and forget them.  That is how I feel right now...amidst the leaves, the birds and the sun...that it will all dissipate as soon as I enter my home, fallen and messy and work-filled, and I will forget.  

But maybe forgetting is the gift of brand new.

It may be that those moments serene that capture our hearts are best left alone to discover again another another moment, surprised by beauty.

It may be true that we should read more than we write, listen more than we talk, be still more than we are busy.

Maybe sitting at the feet of Jesus is enough.  Maybe I should try to be more like a Mary and less like a Martha.

I turn to the oh-so-familiar story as the wind rustles my pages and am comforted to see something I hadn't noticed before.

Luke says that Martha was "distracted."  But Mary?

"But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42, emphasis mine)

Mary didn't sit at His feet in vain...a memory that will fade into nothingness as her days stretch out into years.  A serene moment only to be pushed out by living and striving.  A promise...this moment, tranquil at the feet of our Savior..."will not be taken away from her."

Sometimes in a mad scramble to remember sacred moments, breathe life into an experience, they can almost become desecrated.

It is true that the giving of words to all lessons and moments holy in my life is an act of worship.  It is true that God is glorified when we stop and give credence to our thoughts and experiences by recording them.

But it's also true that maybe...sometimes...our words are lacking, our vocabulary too minute, our pens to slow to capture true beauty. is enough to just experience the beauty and sit at His feet.

Perhaps there are moments where, instead of penning words for worship, we ought to forsake words for the sake of worship.

Maybe, sometimes, it's enough to whisper thanks.  Say it is good.  And breathe deep of His splendor.

Continuing to count in 2012 at slow, but steady pace.  Searching for every place the Lord leads me...
69. Friends who make me a better "me"

70. The sound of rain

71. Wisps of little girl hair, smelling of sunshine

72. Sixty degrees in January

73. Homemade pizza with neighbor friends

74. Warm fire

75. Rosy cheeks

76. Clean sheets


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Missing Bible

Its absence is hardly noticeable in the stack that stands before me.

I think back 12 years and see a young girl, barely college age, walk into a bookstore. Heading straight to the shelf marked "Bibles", she looks around, her ignorance in this task falling hard on her soul as her eyes squint to make out the titles on the shelf above her.

She chooses.  It's is white, paperback, with trees on the cover. It says something about "College" in the title and was one of the least expensive on the shelf. She buys the book and, in the car, crinkles up the pages so it looks well worn.  So the others at the Bible Study might not know hers is brand new.

It was the first Bible I owned.  I read it sporadically, made notes randomly and carried it everywhere.  But it would never become well-loved and worn like the ones that stand before me today.

I smile faintly as I see the my favorite, the one I've had now for ten years, and I think of how many times I've run my hand of the words, as if I could drink in the glory from my fingertips.

My eyes roll over the titles and I know that first Bible, white with trees and the few sporadic notes among the purposefully folded pages, is missing from this stack.

Another memory flames  bright and I see a young girl, not much older than the one who sought out the Bible in the bookstore, speaking with an almost-stranger in a jewelry store.  They both sit behind the counter, the customers sporadic at best, having spent the bulk of their coin during the Christmas season that had now, quite suddenly, come to an end.

"So, why exactly did Jesus come to Earth?  Just to see what it's like?"  The questions erupted honest from her tongue and the girl, void of theological training and barely sure of simple answers herself, answered her the only way she knew how.  She spoke simply of a Savior, muttered something about Jesus standing in the gap, and spoke plainly about sin being a condition of our souls more than individual acts during our day.

She continued to pepper the poor, ill-prepared girl with questions.  She answered the best she could and drove home that night, heart aching from the empathy, spirit crushed from feelings of inadequacy.

Armed with No Wonder They Call Him The Savior by Max Lucado and the white, tree covered Bible that was one of two she now owned (due to a Christmas gift that year), she entered the jewelry story one day later.  And she lent them to the curious girl.

The book was returned...but that first was kept a little longer.  And the young girl, new in her faith and unsure about a whole lot of doctrine, knew this.  She would never ask for it back.

And I never did.

It was never returned...she moved away, got married after a whirlwind romance and I've not seen her since.  Sometimes I wonder about the Bible, where it is, if she ever picks it up...if she's ever scoured her house looking for something else entirely and come across these words of life, etched onto paper.

And today, again, I think back to that time...think back to a gift accidentally given...and know it was no accident.

I stare at my stack...the God-breathed words of our Savior layered upon my shelf...and think about the people of Vidunda.  These people have no Bible that can be accidentally given to them at a jewelry store, on the street, or anywhere else.  Because no Bible contains words they can understand.

What if they had even one verse? What if they could read, in their own language, the words of our Savior?  What if the Sword of the Lord would come alive in their hearts and in their lives and what if they, too, would have the privilege of scouring their house and finding His love letters poured out?

Make no mistake about it...Jesus is faithful and speaks to this ravished nation.  David declares in the Psalms:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
-Psalm 19:1-4

The people of Vidunda see God.

But imagine tears rolling silently down the face of a man reading these words for the first time.  Imagine how he nods his head and whispers, in his own language, "It is true." He opens the new book, gathers his children on his lap and read them a story they have only felt in their core and seen in the heavens.  Suddenly, the glory of God is manifest through words.  Life-giving words that bring healing and a Sword to a people lacking both.

This is why we preach to the nations the glorious deeds of our Lord.  This is why we work tirelessly in our endeavors to see God proclaimed among the nations.  It is why He came. Jesus, himself, quoting Old Testament scripture, said it was so.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
Luke 4:18-19 

Today, the One Verse bloggers embarked on this project: to find every Bible we own and blog about the experience.  The other bloggers' stories are linked up at My Journey to Authenticity.  What about you?  What if you scoured your house for every  Bible you own? What would you learn?  What stories would rush forth and demand to be told?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Nourishing Sisterhood

A game board rests on the floor, the pieces weary from the constant interruptions.  The game is taken up again, occasionally, when someone remembers its presence and calls us back to the task.

One woman speaks.  “Remember that meltdown I had a week or so ago?”  We all smile and nod and listen as she confesses the same truth we all know to be true in our own lives now and then.  “It turns out, it wasn’t as big of a deal as I originally thought.”  We all laugh and smile and someone tells her she has an excuse for dramatics since her husband is out of the country.  We all giggle like girls and embellish upon what could be excused by this truth.  And I think we all hurt a little inside as we say it, but we keep smiling…keep upholding her in love as we walk this journey together.

Then we talk of mothers and how we overcompensate for our own and their shortcomings.  It grows quiet for a moment and I think we all are contemplating our own weaknesses and how our children might overcompensate for the ways we continuously fail them.  I think someone whispers something about grace…or maybe it’s just my soul whispering it inside my own self…but I know we all hear its song.

A sister mentions her mother-in-law and we all groan a little and laugh and smile and, in loving jest, remember our own moments of angst with the mothers of our husbands.  Then we look to the mothers of boys in the room and say the things their daughters-in-law might say about them and we all laugh at the thought and know that, even then, we will be there to hold each other’s hearts.

We talk of being grandmothers and how we will love our children and theirs and the legacy we want to leave and I think we all wonder what that day will look like.  We remember forward to a time when we might all sit in the same way, on the floor, and tell stories of a new generation.

We speak of Biblical wonders, of falling hard, of receiving grace, of failure and of triumph.  We look into these weary, loving yes and we whisper it silently.  I know.

You see, only another mother knows what it is to be up all night in sacrifice.   Only another mother knows the crushing pain of guilt as we fall hard every day in our endeavors.  Only a sister can see inside your soul and know, even without speaking, the hurt that lingers and the joy that abides.  We know and we empathize and our empathy is the most forceful of its kind because it flows from a heart of having lived it too.

I think briefly how tired I might be tomorrow as someone runs to the kitchen for chocolate and another gets out a new game.  We joke about who is winning and who has lost but we all know it doesn’t matter because the game is not why we are here.  The game is not what dragged us out in the rain late on a winter’s night away from our families.  The game is not what anchors the mother with the nursing baby to this carpet, rocking her cherished, the fourth one she’s birthed.

It’s this.  It’s the loving, the living the laughing and crying.  And I forget about being tired and think about being real.  We eat chocolate in the warmth, our faces aching from the joy, and are nourished.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Real

It's Friday again!  I,  miraculously, had five minutes today.  Five Minute Friday is the brainchild of  The Gypsy Mama.  The idea of writing straight, for five minutes, letting our minds run wild void of the worry of editing and re-writing.  It's fast, fun and oh so freeing. In her words:
Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.  We write because we want to, not because we have to. We write for fun, for joy, for discovery.

We just write without worrying if it’s just write or not.

Today's word:  REAL

My daughter's birthday is tomorrow.  Today we baked a cake...created beauty and made a mess in the process.  This is real.

Real is understanding our messes are what make beauty tangible.  Real is living life beside our children and letting them see us fall...and watching as we cry out to the Lord to be lifted up again.

Real is never pretending and always embracing the messy kitchen that is life.  Real is setting aside perfection for the sake of grace, striving after our God for the sake of redemption.

Real loving...real living...real mothering means never being afraid to pull out all the dishes, spill cocoa all over the counter and eggs on the floor.  Because, at the end of it all...after the messiness dissipates, all that's left is the rising splendor, baking our mistakes and spills into miraculous beauty.

Real memories invade our souls as we make messes and grace raising up our own for His glory. Childhood is fleeting and sometimes we forget the memories and the mess will, someday, be all that is left of now.