Can I just say that I am terribly unprepared to be a parent to teenagers? I’m fumbling constantly, falling down as I traverse this road of parenting. I am the very last person to offer advice to anyone. SO for the record, this little blog […]
White hot rage coursing through my veins at the smallest provocation. Yes, I can release venom with this same mouth that forms platitudes. And it makes my very insides hurt. Hot tears stream down cheeks as I curl up in bed clutching my aching stomach. […]
A flutter of heart beating.
It means coming. And our expectant breath exhales: “Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
In this broken, fallen world, we cry out: come.
Encountering pain, brokenness, sickness and death, we sob: come.
In all our empty places, waiting to be filled…rejecting those things we hasten to store there to quiet the longing…we whisper: come.
And because one let her empty, waiting space be turned to a full womb, a cry pierced the black. Hers. Then. In the waiting stillness, all the bleak world held its breath, and a sweet, smaller cry broke forth.
9 [a]Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
This Baby come. He pierces the heart of men. Few can trust the simplicity of His humble coming.
This Child who grows in wisdom and follows the ways of His Father even as He traverses this same tumultuous journey we stumble through.
This Man, whose piercing cry resounds again, not as a Babe in a wooden manger but as a Man upon a wooden beam placed high in the air.
Few understood the simple saving grace of this criminal’s death, our sin heaped upon Him.
But it was in this humble birth and common, cruel death that the answer to “come, Lord Jesus, come” is answered.
He lives again.
So we could live.
53 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
And do we really want to live?
We must reach out with His hands and His feet.
Reaching out right where we are planted.
Search for beauty and richness in the common.
Find the lovely and purpose in the broken.
Bring Christmas to a world that so desperately needs this message of hope,
This story of coming.
Of a light piercing the darkness.
As we again, send our heart cry of, “come, Lord Jesus, come,”
we shine His light into the night.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I remember the first time she called my attention to the passage. She told me to read it through, and I did. Exodus 17: 8-13 At Rephidim, the Amalekites came and fought against the Israelites. So Moses said to Joshua, “choose some men and go […]
She followed that teenager and that sweet mama in her thirties right down into the water, without batting an eye. She looked so little standing next to them in the water…but her head was held erect. She was doing what she’d been born to do. […]
It’s the end of Mother’s Day, and I’m clean wore out. Finally…finally the house is quiet. The frogs sounding outside my window are the only noise except for the settling sounds of this old house. The tension is leaving me slowly, so slowly. I’ve yearned all day for this quiet. More than most days. Maybe because the words have been building and need vent.
Words for you, Mama. Because this is where we meet. Me with this keyboard beneath these fingers. And you. You so unaware of this earthly mess because you are with Jesus. And I am so, so glad for you. I imagine the unearthly splendor you call home now…and I can’t wait for the day I join you.
But today, I grieve quietly, selfishly for me. Because I wanted more time. I want your wisdom and your stories and your laugh and your cool hand on my brow. I want road trips to shop and eat Chinese. I want Bible study with you. I want to share quotes and verses. And I want you to know my babies. Gosh darn it, I want you to know my babies. Mama, such a big part of my joy in parenting was sharing it with you.
I didn’t come to the cemetery today, Mama. I remember you a hundred times a day, and my most intense remembering is done here with this computer balanced on my lap. I didn’t even bring you flowers today.
God is working in me, you see.
He told me to bring flowers to a new mother.
To share some joy and encouragement with a struggling woman, so sick and in dire need but who shines Jesus light where ever she goes.
He whispered for me to share the delight of my children with Grandma Jessie in her nursing home room.
He told me to love on a sweet woman who just lost her mama a few months ago.
That’s your bouquet, Mama. Spread out like the dandelions your grandbabies gather.
Because you gathered and spread love like that too.
I didn’t cry at church today. This was the first time. A lump rose as we sang about Jesus, and I thought about you up there with Him. But I didn’t cry.
Two new voices call me Mom this year. Oh, Mama, did you know you were sowing seeds of love and compassion for the orphan in us all those years ago? It’s bearing some fruit in this house. We’re trying hard to give these babies a forever home, Mama, and I think it’s going to work out. Six kids under this roof…this roof on an acreage. Can you believe that? I go outside in the morning with your grandkids and we do chicken and rabbit and cat and dog chores. And then we walk the perimeter of this place, breathing in our little slice of God’s sweet creation. I know you would giggle til you snorted at this life I’m living now. I giggle too just thinking of it.
Some days are really good…and I mourn that you aren’t hear to see it. Some days are really, really hard. And I feel like I’m not enough…and I’m too much…and I’m just never going to get this right. And then my heart cries out for the sweet love of my mama. You loved me so well.
If I’m honest, it’s not been a fabulous weekend. I’m heart sore…and it makes me grumpy. It always did, didn’t? My hurt turned into attitude. Sigh. Not much has changed there. Do you think my sweet babies will understand some day? That I was so very grateful for their love and attention on Mother’s Day…but that this is just one weekend, I can seem to get it together. I ache for you so. And honestly? It makes me a little crabby. (okay… a lot.)
And I know that doesn’t honor your memory very much, so I’ll pull it together. But right here, in this still, secret place, I’m just going to be real. I feel like the small cactus sitting on the dining room table. The soil around it is bone dry. It’s prickly and rough. Yes, I feel like that cactus.
But James…well he tells me to make sure I don’t try to water that cactus too much because it is made to withstand the desert. And we examine it, amazed at how proud and strong that little cactus stands with hardly any nourishment.
And don’t I have Living Water in me? Surely I can withstand the desert places too.
Oh, Mama. I miss you so. But I’m growing and changing and yearning and loving. I don’t do many things right most days. But the little bit of good that shines through my prickly, dry, worn out shell? Oh, Mama…that’s the fruit of a gracious and merciful Father…and a patient and loving mother.
Thank you for loving me so well that I miss you this much.
Father, This morning, as I face myself in the light of Your Word, I tremble at the truth of my own sin and failings. And I rejoice ever more at Your great grace and the stark, broken beauty of Your sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice. I […]
Simplicity. In a world that clamors noisily as the holidays approach, we are a people craving quiet and simple joys. We desire a way to pause sweet moments and soak it all in…to fast forward through the endless to-dos…the shopping and baking and wrapping. At […]
“I never celebrated Thanksgiving before.”
It was a conversation stopper for sure. We uneasily glanced at one another around the table. The eyes of our biological children dimmed with this truth. My husband shook his head sadly while I grappled with my surprise…and wondered why I was so surprised.
Moments like this reach right past my comfortable layers and pierce my heart, right where it needs pricked most. Poked and prodded out of its naive comfort.
Because I’m a bit weary. So weary. I’ve begun to take the behaviors personally, letting each misbehavior speak disrespect and purposefulness to me. Instead of searching for the need underneath. I want a rational answer for irrational behavior…a response that ‘makes sense.’
Often people sing me praises about my patience and “special” heart. But the very real truth is the only thing I’ve done right in this whole fostering journey is say “yes.” The rest of the time, I’ve been led kicking and screaming, worrying about my needs…my rights…my comfort. I’ve shot angry words through clenched teeth, arrows to tender, rebelling hearts. I’ve dismissed meeting needs in my exhaustion. I’ve sat down and opened Facebook up instead of reading a book to a child who needs extra time.
I’m not sharing this to fish for compliments or receive validation. I’m simply sketching a small piece of this life…because every good thing in it, anything “I” might accomplish or do well…is through God’s grace and love alone. When I shut down “me” enough to let Him act, the result can be quite beautiful. The rest of the time is this chaotic dance of me learning to let Him lead.
At this point in our dance, we are in a season of learning. These children, they’ve been with us for six short months. We started our learning about them about three months prior to that. We’ve just begun to uncover their truths and needs and secrets. We are needing to lean on God heavily as we trust Him to shed just enough light to meet each encounter, each tantrum, each behavior with wisdom and love.
Because the truth is, our life is as strange and frightening to these children as their past is to us. We are surrounded by family and friends who support us and want to love these children. We have holiday get togethers and presents and good food and decorations. And to us that is a lot of good...to these children? It’s sometimes just a lot. A lot to process…a lot to filter. For children with a very sensitive response to changed atmospheres…children with past food trauma…these coming months with the holidays fast approaching, will usher in a new season.
We are entering a season of sensitivity to recognizing and meeting these children’s needs while keeping intact important holiday traditions for our biological children. Honestly, I don’t know what that will look like. But I’m choosing to trust that God will show us the way. More than ever, we will be shifting our focus from the preparations and baking and presents…to just. being. present.
“I’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving.”
And never will we have such a beautiful opportunity to teach a little one what Thanksgiving is all about…while we breathe prayers of gratefulness for the opportunity to do so.
Dear Teacher, I was sitting there in my vehicle, impatiently drumming my fingers on my steering wheel, waiting for the pilot car that. just. wouldn’t. come. I decided to check my email, knowing before I did that there would be an email from you. And […]