saying goodbye to my little corner...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

if i were going to number posts, this would be post 750.

and it is going to be the very last one.

i'm surprisingly emotional about it - i've known this was going to the be last one for number of weeks, but really...

i'm not that surprised.

this space has been my haven for just over 7 years.

this space has documented each move, each baby, each birthday...

so much of my life is written down in this space.

i'm not good at goodbyes.

which is why the writing here has slowed down...

when i first sat down to "blog", i had to come up with a name for it and having fallen in love with the music of rodger and hammerstein's cinderella i picked from my favorite song, my own little corner.

there's a line, near the middle, that resonated with me - a homebody by nature,

a woman marked deeply by fear.

the words are these:

Just as long as I stay in my own little corner 

All alone, in my own, little chair. 

live quietly,

blog quietly,

don't rock the boat,

live stiffled.

live frustrated.

live closed.

but Jesus, He didn't live and die and rise again for me to stay hidden away in some corner where i could live out a faith small and weak.

He didn't say, go in to all your little corners and sit there until i come back - and lo, I am with you always while you stay hidden and safe.

no. He boldly calls us to go out - 

go. out. into all the world.

and He would be with us in the middle of our leaving our comfort zones and He would be with us in the going...

so. this is my last post in the space, because i can't sit quietly in a little corner anymore...

i am going to be over here, in the midst of the going...

maybe you'd like to come over and join me?

dear elias...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

it started with a phone call yesterday morning.

you were humming quietly while the voice on the other end sounded measured and calm.

too calm.

she told me of a family member who had passed away. a family member who i had last talked with when you were small and fit so neatly in the crook of my arm...

we hung up and i sat there quietly, looking at you rubbing that lemon half on the top of your head...

i don't know what your life will hold.

and it's your birthday and i want to remember those first moments,

those exhausted moments,

the ones that blurred my vision and filled my heart up so full.

but elias,

you have to know,

there. is. more.

our life here is nothing more than a wisp of a moment.

and you are four and your only thought right now is probably one that involves cars and trucks and how to add to your growing collection,

but sweet son, it will all go so fast.

and as it whirls by, it will be easy to forget how quickly it spins. you could miss that life really is more than getting that one more thing.

it's taken me almost 34 years to know that, and still, i sit here with my almost-birthday latte on the table top beside me...

i am the first to admit i don't live this out perfectly.

i don't know how many years that God has planned out for you,

i don't know what paths your feet will find to follow,

where He will come near to meet you and reveal Himself as sure.

but the years that you have?

live them for Him.

if you are going to spend yourself on anything,

spend them on Him.

if you are going to fall down exhausted at the end of the day,

fall down because you have poured out everything to love Him.

your soul will keep on living after your body has turned to dust,

but while you are here,

while your blood is pumping and your heart is beating and your lungs fill up with air,

let the very dust that holds you together hold together a life that has eternity and Christ Jesus in focus.

i think of my grandma today on your birthday, i think of this woman who will be burying her second son in more than a decade...

i don't know, elias, which one of us will see the face of Jesus first.

i sat in front of your baby sister this morning as i spooned food into her mouth.

her eyes were so trusting and i began to think of her in her later years - how i won't be here to hold her close and whisper how loved she is...and i began to pray.

i began to pray for the hands that will soothe her, comfort her in the moments before she is no more,

and elias, i'm not trying to be morbid.

i'm not trying to focus sad on what should be a joy-filled day...

but i want more for you than a life that is only focused on now.

your soul will only grow shriveled and selfish and voracious for a never ending supply of what is never going to satisfy.

only Jesus will.

today, you are four.


i still remember your sweet scowly face all crumpled and gasping for air in those first moments of your life.

i still remember that first moment you whispered you loved me back.

moments that are forever embedded into my heart.

i am so thankful that you are my son.

you have a heart that already knows who Jesus is,

and the prayer we pray over you every day is that your heart would become one that desires Him only.

becoming a man after the heart of God, sweet son, is nothing to laugh at, but something to respect deeply.

and when that moment of decision comes, pursue Him...

we'll be cheering you on all the way.

i love you, more than words can ever say...

~ your mama


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

are happening.

here and at home

and in us...

can't wait to share what they are...

when you find that you just might be free indeed...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

it happens at a stop light.

i'm frazzled and they are all frazzled and to calm my nerves i try and say back those words from romans that are, for whatever reason refusing to become embedded in my memory.

it's as i'm whispering those words,

 i sit with my hands on the wheel and i'm nodding because it's me,

i've lacked all four today.

and the weight is heavy. 

that's when i looked up past the speedometer and the road to the van in front of me.

i looked up just as i got to romans chapter 8 verse 1 and there in the top left hand corner, just below the rear window was a small metal ichthys wrapped around His Name and He met me on the corner opposite that mcdonald's as i whispered out,

therefore, there is now no condemnation for those 
who are in Christ Jesus...

and there is a man on that corner most days, his sign says he's hungry and isn't there just someone who could spare a dollar?

i drive by most days without ever making eye contact...

i avert my gaze because sometimes it's just easier not to see.

and i wonder, how often do we do that with each other?

how often do we walk the hallways of our churches and don't really see? 

flash a quick smile,

shake hands and spit out a hello while barely making eye contact before we move on.

how often do we hear a sermon about reaching out to the poor and lost among us and smile and nod and assume someone else will do that job while we remain quiet and comfortable where we are?

we do we run from the hurting brother or sister instead of surrounding them and carrying them to Jesus?

we carry our hand santizers in pockets and purses and it's seeping into the way we deal with one another - and your mess is too messy for my life and so i just won't meet your gaze,

i just won't look,

i'll focus on how fast i'm going or the road i'm on...

but i wonder, when we look,

really look at the person who is stopped still in front of us,

stopped in the middle of a mess or broken heart or the deep pain of their broken humanity,

will we really see the mark of Christ on their life?

will reaching out past our fear and our aversions to the messy

be met instead with an encounter with Jesus,

and find that incrediblyin Him alone, we have been set free...

because she is *still* seven...

Monday, June 10, 2013

she stands so close to me,

our forearms touching.

her hands are absentmindedly playing with her dress.

and she asks if she can sit on my lap.

she's seven and when did she become so tall?

when did she grow to the point that she no longer folds herself into me?

it's all moving so fast.

too fast.

and she laughs at me when i whisper it,

when i ask her to stop growing.

when i ask her to make time stop,

or at least put an encyclopedia on top of her head.

her gap-tooth smile stretches wide across her face,

her freckles, all sprinkled, stand out against her fair skin -

and i want to cup these moments

and find a way to dam up the spilling of seconds that just keep ticking by.

but instead, she's one more day closer to eight,

one more day lived and passed through

and i'm not going to get those moments back.

i want those moments back,

if just to live them out better.

if just to remember to kiss the tip of her nose one. more. time.

tomorrow, i want to laugh with her more,

to read just one more chapter,

to pull her onto my lap,

before she doesn't fit anymore...

the long road home...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

eugene and wilma moved out this past week.

they unloaded their house and hitched up their 5th wheel and sold their home to a young family whose u-haul is parked right outside their front door tonight.

we've got ourselves some brand new neighbours.

some of my walls still stand bare - we moved into these four walls 372 days ago and there are spaces that still baffle me.

it will come...


and maybe home is close to my heart tonight because i don't necessarily know what the plan is anymore.

i think of all the times when i've demanded my own way of God. fighting Him at every turn - thinking that four walls meant stability and putting down roots meant being comfortable and safe and when i glance back at the road behind me, i can see the claw marks in the ground - the places marked with a desperation for control.

and they were bloody.

and they are still raw.

but if the scars have taught me anything, they've taught me to trust in a kind and tender Saviour.

what happens when the road to home doesn't lead to comfort and safety and tidy and clean? what happens if the road to home leads you deeper and darker into what pushes against everything that make sense?

we live on a quiet street with quiet neighbours and crickets that sing in the flowerbeds below our bedroom window. until this past week, our 4 were the only children on this road and the occasional grandchild who comes to spend the weekend at a grandparents house...

but then he takes that job on the street formally known as "the hole". where drugs and gangs and violence and drive-bys are the norm.

the year before? there was an opportunity to go down there, before tony ever took the position he has now, for a harvest party in "that" part of town and i shook my head - there was no way. no way i was taking my children into an area that unsafe.

i don't know what happened...when that shift occurred. when i no longer felt scared.  we go down almost everyday and most days down there are just like our days here in the middle.

there's a sign at one of the main intersections in town that splits *that side* from *this side* and each time i drive by it i feel torn...

it's a sign that is supposed to make you think, but what it does is make me sad -

which road are you going on? it asks:

the road to heaven - which apparently follows the road leading back towards mansions and comfort and the safe part of town,

or - 

and i always look at those words as i reach for the blinker that signals which direction i'm turning:

or are you on the road to hell?

well then,

i guess i'm on the road that leads to hell everyday.

and instead of wanting to escape back here at the end of a long day, i find myself longing to be down there. down in the hellish nightmare of a world i still don't completely understand. and both of us? we agree - it's where we are feeling led, but the timing? it seems so slow but our hearts are burning and if we are saying to Him that our lives are His...that where He leads is where we will go, then we wait with open hands until He clears the way.

and so my walls remain bare.

but the restlessness - it rubs my soul raw and i look around at closets that need to be sorted and baby clothes that need to be switched out...baseboards that should be dusted and light switches that should be wiped down and i get overwhelmed with the everyday...

and after a long week of doing i begin to feel overwhelmed with the list that shouts out the needing to be done.

saturdays have turned into a chaotic heart scramble and the day off we have as a family finds me twisted up in a knot taut and ready to snap.

before we left for the green of vacation last month i began to pray about our saturdays - about the heart messes that find their way into a schedule already heavy with the housework that needs to get done and as we drove further away and closer to rest it's what i kept sensing...

sundays are a day for sabbath - a ceasing of work and allowing our bodies to rest;

but could saturdays become a day for sanctuary? a space hollowed out to become hallowed - as i clean the nooks and crannies around me, could my spirit find a place to breathe in His Peace? could the day before the day of rest be redeemed and made holy too?

i'm tired of the striving.

to be honest, my soul is weary...His call to find solace and rest in Him? i wonder if i can really settle down long enough to see if it's possible - but i'm willing to try.

this saturday will find me bent over in a simple, most basic step...

i'll be lighting a candle - one in each room. a reminder that He is the True Light - the One Who shines brightly in the darkness that surrounds..

.the One Who is really and always my True Home...

when i don't just want to sit there...chapter 5 {the grace series}

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

it is not the nature of what you do that determines the 
spirituality of any action, but the Origin of what you do.
~ major ian thomas

ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you,

i don't think fast on my feet.

it always comes to me later in the quiet moments, when i've had time to process it all and sort through all the details - that's when i know what should have been said.

or, there are the rare moments that i say what i am feeling in that split second of time and i regret it for days following the incident...

there doesn't seem to be an easy middle.

i'm like that martha - all twisted up because so much needs to be done, but i don't know how to do it all...what starts out as joy-filled quickly becomes burdensome and suddenly, i'm more focused on what i lack than on Who Gives.

with that, i reveal what i truly believe about God and 
service and my own role in His story. i see myself as
irreplaceable when i think that the work won't get done
unless i do it. instead of looking to Him to provide what is
needed, martha rolled up her sleeves and took on respon-
sibility for things that may never have been meant for her.
grace for the good girl (pg. 63)

tony - his ministry involves many different facets and he seems to effortlessly move between talking with potential donors and sitting side by side with a child who is cutting and suicidal.  i respect my husband for many reasons, but it's this ability to connect with people at a soul level is one of them.

i'm the one who feels as though i'm floundering in these situations.

i found myself there today - 

found myself in that position where i'm sitting there listening to gut-wrenching pain. pain that i have felt - pain that i understand...hatred that i have wrestled with and through and her face is covered with tears and i begin to feel helpless because i should have the words...

if i've walked this path, then i should know what to say.

so i silently called out to Him,

Jesus, words! i need words! i need to know what to say! 



and her words kept coming and she kept trying to wipe those tears away and i kept sitting fidgeting inwardly there, trying not to become panicked when i slowly began to sense His answer...

just listen.

don't talk.

just be.

i didn't want to just sit and be and listen - i wanted to have the answers and the solutions and not feel so helpless...

but that wouldn't have been about Jesus - it would have been about me.

i don't believe martha simply chose cooking or housework over the Lord.
when she begged the Lord to make mary help her, what she was really saying
was "notice me Lord!" she wanted Him to see her. she longed for acknowledgment
and love, and was willing to do anything to get isn't that she wanted to be 
working. it's that she thought she had to....
(gftgg pg. 64)

and it's when i think all those *i have to's* that i begin to become resentful - begin to question what He is doing. 

it's when i begin to think that maybe, just maybe, i know better than Him.

pride is such an ugly thing and trust flies out the window.

what would happen if we just let go - let go of all the trying and doing and just simply was before Him? 

i may never be as eloquent as my husband - i'm pretty sure i won't have the answers for children who live through hell...

i may spend the majority of my days changing diapers and making cheese quesidillas for lunch and simmering spaghetti sauce for the one millionth time for dinner this month.  the laundry will be never ending, the dust will keep piling and i will sit at the end of the day wondering what difference i am making in anyone's life, let alone the very Kingdom of God - 

but then He speaks my name - He speaks to the martha deep inside who so desperately wants to get it all right...

it's not about getting all the work done for Him on my own:

if what i do is done in complete dependence upon the 
Father, then it doesn't matter what that thing is, rather who
the one is doing that thing. is it me? or is it Him? Colossians
says that by faith, it is beautifully and mysteriously both.
"to this end i labor, struggling with all His energy, which so
powerfully works in me" (col. 1:29 NIV). who am i to decide
what is extraordinary? the Father has already decided. He
says He Himself is extraordinary. so anything i do as i depend
on and partner with the Extraordinary One, i suppose that is
extraordinary too.
(gftgg  pg. 61)

it's all about trusting that He can take the little I have and turn it into something that will bless Himself. it has nothing to do with the doing, but everything to do with the trusting. 

and this is grace - that He takes what feels like nothing and turns it into a faith that is active and strong.