Month: August 2014

Why You Matter To People A World Away

Why You Matter To People A World Away

Despite my loud voice concerning my faith, I truly do hate political conversations. I hate the conflict; I feel uneducated. But today, I’m swallowing my pride and proceeding with more thoughts on the crisis in Iraq, the hunt for Christians by ISIS. Because I received […]

Hands

Hands

Swallowing a sigh, I watch her hand grip the pencil more tightly as she erases her mistake. Eraser tears through thin paper, and a small sigh escapes my thin line of mouth. Because aren’t I always sighing? Sighing at the news. Sighing at price tags. Sighing […]

More Unraveled Than You Know

More Unraveled Than You Know

The very fact that I exist, with all my idiosyncrasies, is proof enough for me that God has a sense of humor. During one of my last conversations with my mom, she chuckled at the picture I described as I told her my expectations when I reached heaven.

I just know it. There’ll be Jesus smiling at me with love…and amusement. He’ll shake His head as He wraps an arm around me and says, “Nicki, Nicki, Nicki.”

We giggled. But really, the eclectic mix that is “me” is this wild combination of  ‘space cadet’ meets ‘turbo emotion’ meets ‘chatterbox’… a combination that will either make you ruefully love me or cross the street to avoid a forty-five minute conversation with me where I change conversational lanes with as much speed and unpredictability as Keanu Reeves in Speed.

And don’t even get me started on the odd mix of ways I desire to serve God on earth, that collide painfully with the way I am wired. Case in point: I greatly long for an open door where good friends and the lonely, alike, would feel comfortable dropping in for a great dose of love and grace. But I am ridiculously insecure about the tidiness of my house, the behavior of my four monkeys and my ability in the kitchen. About five minutes into your visit, I will have apologized for something about fifteen times, and you will be forced to launch a throw pillow at my head.

Or the way I love to go, go, go. Because I simply love people. But sometimes I am done and need to retreat into my little bubble out on my little acreage. A crazy combination of extrovert meets introvert.

And the level of awkward I have attained? Unprecedented.

So mostly, I feel like this walking contradiction. And I wonder as I grow in Christ-likeness, could He be so merciful and make me less me?

But the thing is, I’ve found that the things I hate most about myself, ironically, seem to be the things that draw people in. And what I rebel against even more? The things that don’t seem to match up… Like my overwhelming desire to have an open door which comes head to head with my wild insecurity about myself and my surroundings?

These are the things that keep me seeking God closely.

When I have reached my introvert stage, and I feel that I’ve got nothing left to serve anyone, I have to trust Him to fill me back up to overflowing.

When I want to invite a whole herd of people over but worry about my house, I get to lean on Him and have Him whisper again what is really important.

These quirks of mine? They are how I know He uniquely knit me together…and how I know that I need to seek Him closely so I don’t unravel.

On my wedding night, my three sisters sang to me and my poor now-husband an improvised version of “She’s Unusually Unusual.”  One of the refrains croons, she’s unusually unusual… and that’s beautiful to me.

And you know what? It is the diversity in us all that shows the amazing capacity of God’s creativity.

He might have “broken the mold when He made me.”

But I’m beautiful to Him.

Now…go be beautiful you.

crazy

 

Worried.

Worried.

I started out tonight to touch up another blog before hitting publish. But, before I regain any of my pride, I think I had better scratch this number out instead. Tonight I had an honest to goodness panic attack. About nothing. For someone who doesn’t understand […]

More Than a Little Cracked

More Than a Little Cracked

I had preached it to her, my words loud and sure. It’s when you’re most broken that He can shine the brightest through you, hon. And I believed it. For her. For others. But rarely for myself. Because I’m the one living in this skin, […]

Fingerprints

Fingerprints

So they say it’s the little things that will matter in the end, and I nod because I know this. Of course I do. Everyone knows this.

But in this crazy, loud life I live, I too often cringe at the toys on the floor and the fingerprints on the glass. And they’ve told me, those who’ve been there, you’ll miss them. All those fingerprints. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

So I keep nodding because it’s probably true. But in my days where many moments seem out of my control, I can swipe at those fingerprints with a rag when I can’t erase wasted minutes or take back wrong words that I’ve spoken.

And the truth? Sometimes, I look at the creations my babies have made – and my heart swells with love. They bestow these gifts on me – me, so unworthy of their constant grace. But sometimes? Sometimes, I admit,  I wonder how my house will ever look like the cover of that magazine when mine has crayon hued pictures taped to cupboards and walls. Painted rocks and scrap wood and nail creations littering every surface.

So I hear the truth about how I’ll miss these things, but I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped and listened.

But she makes me listen, sitting there, hands folded in her lap.

She asks for the things off their mantle at their house, still sitting there as if they hadn’t vacated it to move to a room in the care center.

They’re important things, she impresses on me, things I don’t want thrown away.

No matter how many times I tell her that we aren’t going through the house, that if it comes to that, we’ll tell her, bring her to see, she is worried about certain precious items.

So I unlock the front door and carry my box to the mantle. Dust coats every item, and I look in puzzlement at the items placed helter-skelter before me. But I’ve been lightly chastised for bringing the wrong thing before so I place each threadbare item one by one in my box.

And when I enter the care center later, I place the box gently on the bed. I look at her uncertainly because I’m sure these aren’t the important items she is wanting.

But a smile crosses her face that betrays a sentimentality uncharacteristic of her.

I pull out a dollar store Christmas moose that I’m pretty sure my children picked out for her years ago. She nods as she says one of the kids gave that to me.  And it’s apparent she has no idea which grandchildren  gave it to her. But it’s equally evident that she recognizes the treasure in an item, no matter how cheaply made, that was cradled in excited childish hands. Hands eager to bless another.

I pull out a stack of envelopes and realize they are the Christmas cards/pictures sent from my siblings and I this past year.

Slip those in the bottom drawer so I can see them later.

And he, sitting quietly and seemingly uninterested, grins as I bring out a figurine of a little boy and another of a baseball player that looks as if a child’s hands carefully applied paint and stickers long ago.

I bring out a small tattered bouquet of plastic flowers nestled in a vase imprinted with “I love you.” The dust flies as I blow on it and wipe it clean. She smiles as if someone else finally realizes the fragile importance of this worn and faded item.

I dust off the two sets of bronzed baby booties, each flanking a picture frame. That gentle smile crosses her face as she says in voice, warm with love, those were Dennis’s first shoes. Though I’d seen those particular mementoes propped prominently wherever they lived, I look at them with fresh eyes. I see them as an especially sweet reminder of their only child’s first steps.

How different their view must be this side of things! I see that in a newfound gentleness in her, and a heartbreaking vulnerability in him. And I wonder, do they feel faded and worn like these treasures now scattered across their dresser? Or do they see how we recognize the wisdom and beauty in these long lives lived?

One thing I know is true: the closer we are to heaven the more we realize that it was the little things that mattered.

In my own home, I look around at the art work covering my fridge, the misplaced Lego pieces peeking out from under a chair, handprints on the front door and minty toothpaste fingerprints on the bathroom mirror. And I realize these are simply outer manifestations of the fingerprints marching across my soul. I realize I am surrounded by beauty.

I smile and put the Windex away.

gma jessie

(Photo taken by my sister, Jenni. Her sweet Jesse with Grandma Jessie.)