Wednesday, July 2, 2014

catch it if you can

Lightning bugs arise like steam out of the tall grass. The setting sun is draping gold silk over the trees. It's serene for a split second. Summer has been kind so far. Merciful.

The clothesline is stretched naked but for the pins drooping below. No breeze to blow dry. I don't mind; I am too moody for laundry, anyhow.

Little eyes with rings of gold and lashes long, smile at me. Bright white frames them like matted fine art.



I'm tired, but I've just enough muscle to wrangle in a moment. I catch it like a lightning bug in the palm of my hand. They're similar: both flash for a wink and then you lose sight in between.

My moment lit up and glowed verdant with life. Now it's peering into the dusk until it comes again.

I'll keep watch.

Thursday, June 26, 2014



It is still so foreign a concept to me. Still eludes me after nearly two decades as my job description.

I break it down: this compound word, this complex role, this verb on verb that creates a noun.

I am those verbs.

I am that noun.

I look at the beginning, when God created man and woman.

'God said it was not good for man to be alone."

It's hinting at me through the Bible story narrator, playing on the TV. There’s a little girl watching, wide-eyed. I have to smirk. I feel God winking at me.

Keep reminding me of your perfect plan. Tell me what you intended in the beginning, in the beauty of the Garden.

He takes me back to another beginning.

18 years ago come July, I sat my hippy self on a stone bench parked in the shade of the heart of town. I tucked my ankles under my thighs and began to write…and wait.

I was thinking about a young man who had eyes like mine. They looked familiar, like home, but a home yet to be built. My head lifted and scanned the distance all around, looking. I was waiting for him to come. Like a silly, giddy girl, I was waiting to meet him.

I knew his name, his dusty red truck, and his eyes. That was all, really. But I wanted to know more. So I positioned myself to where I could be easily seen - easily found.

I figured that's all I could do. I didn't know where he was, what he was doing, or where he was going. But I went the furthest distance I could go to find him, which was to let him easily find me, waiting for him.

I began to write in my journal, fighting to keep my attention on the pen and page. I eventually got lost in the words and wonder of what came spilling out. And just about that time, I took a breath and lifted my head to find him sauntering towards me. His hands were deep in his baggy shorts pockets; his hair was curled up around the edge of his hat.

He had found me. I blushed, a little embarrassed at being discovered.

He played it so cool, came and sat down right next to me, not saying a word. I looked him in the eye and immediately confessed, "...I knew you were coming."

We both smiled and stared into eyes, stunned. Warmth filled my belly. Who was this I was longing to meet?

What did I really know? I just knew he would find me there. Wondered if he had been looking for me, like I had been looking for him. Wondered why I was looking for him?

He had been all over town over the course of a couple days. He had circled around in his little red truck, hoping to find a putrid green Audie Fox wagon with a pixie-haired red head.

He was my stop sign, red.

I was his green light, go.

We met in the middle of stalling and seeking; intersected at a four way stop in the heart of town, the prime of our lives.

And now it's many journals and seasons later. Summers have simmered us and the winters have shown us the barrenness of our souls. I'm still learning how to meet him, help him, and love him. Learning how to keep showing up, searching out; how to be ready to welcome him - invite him into this home that I was built by God to be.

I've come at it from a dozen different angles, at different speeds. But only when my knees are burrowed into the earth, and my head is nearly resting on my back in reverence, am I able to even to do it remotely close to well.

Yet I am called his help-meet.

I'm to meet him well beyond myself, past comfort zones and into the most vulnerable voids. I'm to go as far as he will allow me, stretching myself, reaching, barely brushing with my fingertips at times - spanning a near impossible breadth. I am to meet him where our God-given free wills kiss and consummate.

I'm to meet him even if a no is given, when nothing is given, when indifference and elusiveness try to keep me at bay. I'm meant to meet him when busyness and offense try to choke out love. Even then, I keep trying to find him, connect with him, and meet with him. I keep coming, even in my own seeking, crucifying my pride, and making myself of service.

And this is how I help.

Help to take the distance out of the equation; to span the space in between simple and sacred. Help to take the miles we've tarried and make them work for us, not against us.
And I must not be God or attempt to venture into the intricate knitting of His hands. But I can desire to be like God, and search out my husband with His inexhaustible grace. I can get in front of him, stand vulnerable before him, bow low and wash his feet with prayer. I can pull him into my chest and bring him home. Give comfort, safety, rest.

I was created by Him, for him, because God said it was not good for him to be without me. I have called this into question more times than I can recall. I've scratched my head and clenched my jaw over it. I have agreed and disagreed, agreed to disagree. I've been stumped and bewildered, content and convinced. I've choked this truth down, chased it with some prayer, only to vomit it back up with my own pain. I've indicted God and His wisdom. And yet His wisdom proves true:

I am for him. I was made for him.

I have cried tears of resentment, spit rebellion, at His decree that my desire would be for my husband. Oh, the divine weakness of longing for something for a lifetime! Surely it was a curse, a cruel joke that assured me that I would never be fulfilled, that my ache would always throb. I have grappled in angst with this imposed posture upon my heart.

But, my desire IS for my Husband - my Husband in heaven. And my longings all lie open in safety before Him. I can trust Him, despite being setup for submission; in light of this command to stay on my back, to stay open, ready to receive.

Is He not the servant of all? Arms opened wide, He dangled on a cross, choosing to remain there, to receive it all and submit it all.

I can trust Him.

Stay put, heart.

Stay open, soul.

But who will meet me? Help me?  My insecurity begs.

He has met me. He has helped me. He has made Himself easily found by me. He's done for me what I must do for my husband. He's been for me what my husband must be for me.

He is for us. We are for Him. And it is good.

Very, very good.

Monday, June 23, 2014

today is a story

We've got stories to tell...
          ...testimonies to shout out over the seeking and sinking.

We've got a world of words...
          ...a universe of unspoken, longing to materialize in our mouths.

We've got chapters and books and volumes...
          ...pages and paragraphs; characters and spaces.

We've got hurts and heroes...
          ...victories and villains.

We've got mysteries that bewilder...
          ...romance to awaken and bloom brave, beautiful.

We've got pain and process...
          ...lessons, loss, and gain on a loop called life.

We've got pleasures that curl the toes...
 that flows; hope that soars; faith that defies all.

We've got real and we've got raw...
          ...words never uttered aloud; words held captive.

We've got right now - today - in this present place...
 gather and savor...
           give and partake...
                     live and disclose...

We've got stories to tell...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

just do it

That thing... 

You know what it is. 

The one you've been putting off, tossing excuses at? 

Do it. 

And do it with naked confidence.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Not long into the morning and it begins, and I think crowded. I feel tethered to meager means. The map in my mind rolls up like a scroll and I start with the shallow breaths. I feel entirely too obtuse between this rock and hard place, and my perspective is lost on that magnificent mountain obscuring my view of the wide-open space.

And then it comes, this crisp swell of spacious grace – a greater grace and reality. There it is. Right on time, like manna from heaven. It fills my lungs, floods my soul, sweeps me off my feet and places me right back in the moment I was in. 

Heaven is here. Heaven is now. 

I make crazy circles, from little to large, and back again. But right now I'm small, and He can be big as He is. 

So, that’s it.  I decide, I’m not waiting for ‘real’ life to begin… to get easier… to be kind. What is that, anyway? I have waited and have found that life does not wait for me. It happens, is happening, will carry on with no regard for my position or petitions.

By noon I hang rung-out clothes on the line. I spend my energy to save a little. I stack folded towels high, where sticky paws cannot reach to topple. I catch a glimpse of my frizzy hair, bangs swept along a perspiring brow. I’m not polished, or even showered. But I’m happy. Heaven has washed up onto my shore. I feel it. It’s a wave of contentment. It’s gratitude. It’s a modest minute gone regal: a careless head of hair, a sink full of grimy dishes, a storm door adorned with fingerprints and a back porch laundered with stinky diapers. 

Heaven - right here and now.

I dodge 4 cats underfoot, find budding tomatoes on the vine and rub basil leaves between my fingers while I take long, deep breaths. No more shallow breathing when the air is full of truth and your mind is clear. 

My green eyes glitter over purple berries kissed with sunshine, well on their way to becoming black and sweet. I look up to see if the birds are aware. They see from on high, perceive the ripe hour. Heaven knows all about time. 

Everything is alive and now heaven feels like goose bumps on my skin from the sun poured out over me. The Son, poured out for me. 

He’s alive now I'm alive.

The husband lingers over lunch, his name on the pocket of his work shirt; three letters, simple and stitched on his chest in blue. His hands and neck are dark with work. When he walks by, my heart still stirs. Still. I just don't always show it. His white t-shirt glows next to his skin. My busy hands look porcelain to his. 

I’m distracted with his hands. I daydream of holding them, kissing them. I do hold them, kiss them - seems just as vulnerable and intimate as the mouth. Strength and tenderness both held there. 

He is stronger than I know, has borne the brunt of many storms. More steady than I, only shaky while speaking words from the heart.

I secretly recycle a holy moment in my mind, right there, midday, over a sink of messy with my back turned. Love grows there. Respect grows there.

I've been a foolish woman at times; torn down a man who stood taller than me. Thought I could wrestle him and win. He beats me by endurance, wins me with faithfulness. I have a little strength, but I have not always wielded it wisely. I have spent it on perishing things, like worry and fear. 

He prays that I would trust more, that I would feel love, more. It’s just a few words but perfectly discerned. 

Trust more. 

Feel loved more.

I grab the last basket of laundry as the day slips between the hanging towels. It blows right through with a whisper of a breeze. I let my arms fall limp, grip the earth with my dusty feet, and allow the south wind to blow my tired hair however it pleases. 

I just go with it, in the standstill. 

I’m not moving but I feel the flight of life. And it is faithful to do what it does. It just keeps taking place.

It’s in the unassuming moments that I discover how extraordinary it all really is. The finite, it waves me onward to eternity. 

This is real life, and I’m not missing it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Roaring God

“Courage, dear heart.” - Aslan
(C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

The man of God gave the call for prayer. My 12 year old made her way to the front, no prodding required. I watched her get up and go. Her eyes never hesitated, never looked for permission. She just went. She was the youngest, standing at the back, waiting for her turn for prayer.

I eventually joined her, as the wait was long, doing the mommy thing. I put my arm around her. Her eyes were glossy with moisture; she seemed sheepish. I leaned over and hugged her, kissed her head. She was shaking. I inquired. She filled me in through tears and with fumbling words.

On the wall to the left of her was a large red banner with an embroidered gold lion. She pointed to it. Told me that the Lion's eyes were glowing, catching her eye. She would glance back and forth. Then finally, the Lion roared at her. She heard it, on the inside. And when she heard it, it shook her to the core.

"I'm so small and weak, mom. He's so big!"

Oh, the revelation of a BIG GOD and a small man...

She began to weep. Told me her knees were weak. Said her legs wouldn't stop shaking, almost like she had to dance. Does His roar demand our worship? When He roars, what is our response?

My baby girl's response was humility. She was humbled in the presence of a Great God. Her response was to worship, to move before the One who moved upon her.

The man of God spoke of Daniel. Spoke of his devotion and consecration to the Lord. Probably age 13 or 14, refusing to defile himself with Babylon. She was wide-eyed through the charge. She knew. This was her portion. What grace...

He placed his hand on her head, began to impart the charge in prayer. Saw her, as Lucy, holding the mane of Aslan. Aslan, (Jesus) leading her, giving her courage. He asked her if she could have one thing from God, what would it be? She said, "Courage." She cried as she told him that she wanted to be a bolder witness for Jesus. To tell the voices in her head that say she is too young, she is just a kid, to hush up. I stood to the side, taking it all in. May I always stand to the side, Jesus. She said she saw herself, riding the Lion, in a green meadow, playing the flute (she does play the flute) and going wherever He goes. When prayer was over, she sat down, taking it all in. Me too, with heart overflowing.

Then the shoes came off. The socks came off. Then she danced. Not in a showy fashion, but tucked away in the back. She danced so beautifully, just for Jesus. She gave what His roar demands - worship.
"Do not be afraid." - Jesus



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

your mother's pearls

There is so much I want to give, so much I want to impart, instill. Like a hammer striking a stake into the earth, I long to secure some foundational truths in my girls.

Four little women and a plethora of shoes, hair ties and nail polish, and all the female trappings strewn haphazardly through my life, my home.

What lessons do they learn?

What message do they receive?

What value do they place on their lives, their destinies, their relationship with their Maker?

A mama can only hope and pray, in the wee hours of the night, during the early morning feedings, in the exhaustion of the hustle and bustle. Feels like I swing from limb to limb at times, stretching far, reaching high, hoping we make it, hoping they all make it to wherever it is that God is taking them.

I know this much, it is greater and higher than here. It is more than what I can give, more than what I've ever had, more than any of us can even fathom or imagine. Their portion is greater, their inheritance to be more than I have ever touched or tasted. God is a God of 'more than' and for that, we are eternally receiving more.

So I teach.

As I learn, I teach.

And they teach me.

Oh, how they teach me! Life is the test and the Word of God is the answer key.

Every day scenarios, jotting out left and right, "Use me! Use me!" Life is chock-full of lessons and tests. Life is the curriculum. I bring it before the children and I say, "What do you see here?" And they astonish me. They amaze me. Out of the mouths of babes...

Then I say, "You see rightly." And other times I say, "You are not seeing this." And then I teach, instruct, train up, drive them nutty with my teacher-y tone. And I do it so weak. I do it so messy. I do it with whatever grace He has allotted me. I know there is much more for me.

God, pray I do not forfeit the very muscle you've given me to be who you've called me to be, to do what you've called me to do. I am raising little women who will one day be wives and mothers, leaders and teachers, missionaries and servants. I'm to raise heaven up and pull hell down. Lord, help and do in spite of me.

Boys. Men. Four times over we will do this. Who will you give your heart to? Who will you give your body to? Who will you give your life to?

This is the subject matter. God, first and foremost. God, above and ahead of. God, perfect and without disappointment.

He will keep you, girls. He is 'more than' able to keep you, all of you. Yes, even the most vulnerable parts of you. You are a garden locked, a spring enclosed, a fountain sealed.

You are worth the waiting for. Do not awaken love before it is time. Who you enter into marital covenant with is the biggest decision you will make in your life, outside of following Christ. And so here are a few pearls, girls. Kiss them, draw them together as a treasure, wear them, hold onto them. You are adorned with truth.

Marry a man who can tell you no, who does not fear you more than God.

Marry a man who is what he does, and not what he says he is. The words of men are fleeting. They do not stand. A man's deeds will speak for him.

What is potential if not sanctified by and set into action by God himself? It is nothing worth hoping for as it will be only hoping you will do the rest of your life.

Marry a man who fears the Lord, whose hands and heart have been dipped in the Blood, washed in the Word.

Marry a man who honors and blesses his mother, his grandmothers, his sisters.

Marry a man whose reputation speaks of his integrity, who works with diligence, whose hands and work are established by the beauty of the Lord.

Marry a man who cares for the poor, as his household will never go without.

Cleave to the man who fights for your honor, who would never compromise your name, who brings good to you, always.

Give yourself to a man who has kept himself pure, for you, as you have for him. A man who has made a covenant with his eyes, before the Lord.

Hold tight to the man who calls you higher up in the things of God, who calls you out in tenderness, who draws you low with him in acts of humility and service.

Say yes to the man who defends the innocent, the weak, the alien.

Hold fast to the man who when he speaks, men listen.

Hold out for the man who has been hand-crafted by the Lord to lead you, guide, you, speak truth to you, protect you, provide for you.

You are worth it and he is worth waiting for. God is not holding out on you, He is holding you up so that you can see all the greatness and goodness He has laid up for you.

Your worth is far beyond rubies.

You are cherished and a delight in the Lord's heart.

Believe it.

Receive it.

Live it.

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