Sunday, October 5, 2014

Six Words on a Sunday

Daddy, Moriah, and Mommy
October 5, 2014

Some days are special and you never saw it coming.
Today was one of those days.

It was a Sunday morning.
Paul was already at the church building.
I was scrambling at home trying to get me and three kids ready to walk out the door to get to the church building.

Standing in the kitchen, 
slinging waffles and cereal,
Moriah walks in and says, 
"Mommy, can I talk, just me and you, in the bedroom?"

Inside, I was about to lose it.
Doesn't she realize we have places to be?
Doesn't she know I have responsibilities to take care of?
There is a reason why Sunday is the day that will test the very faith of any parent.

I stuffed the impatience
and simply spoke, "Okay."

I walked purposefully into the bedroom, 
joined Moriah on the bed, 
and waited.
She sat, legs forming butterfly wings out in front of her
and quietly said, 
"I want to be a christian."

All of a sudden, 
my "places to go, people to see, job to do" Sunday
got rearranged.

In the blink of an eye, 
my routine Sunday
become special, stand-out, extraordinary.

Six words.
That's all it took.
All it took to make a mundane day mark itself in my memory forever.

Six words.
That's all it took.
All it took to transform an average morning to an unforgettable moment.

My youngest daughter was ready to follow Jesus.
And she just needed a few moments to let me know.
5 years old and ready to walk in child-like faith with the One who knows her best and loves her most.

5 years old and Moriah is reborn on the first day of the week.
The same day the women journeyed early to the empty tomb.
The same day resurrection become a reality for everyone who might follow Christ.

Some days are special and you never saw it coming.
Today was one of those days.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dear Eliana (On Your 10th Birthday)

Sweet Eliana - 

Is a mother made in a decade's time?
That's how long it's been since you traded amniotic fluid for oxygen.
Ten years since I first saw your face above a green medical sheet 
that acted as a barrier during my emergency c-section.
Ten years since I walked hazy over our threshold for the first time as mommy.

I was so proud of the pink-striped nursery we prepared for you.
Did I ever tell you the first two colors I chose looked like a circus tent dripping in pepto bismol?
Did I ever tell you that your Daddy loves me a ton? I have proof.
See those lovely shades of pink? Those are not pepto bismol. 
He repainted. For me.
I hope you know your Daddy will go the same lengths for you.
He will work hard to help you realize your dreams 
and if there's a time when you realize you messed up, he won't rub it in.
He will go to Sherwin Williams and get more paint (metaphorically speaking).

Transitioning into motherhood was hard for me.
Not completely natural.
I was a foreigner learning a new language; a new way of life.
Nothing really seemed native in the land of motherhood.
Not at first.
But days of adjustments and months of acclimating paid off.
I found I was more at home with myself. And with you.
I still had questions. Lots of them.
Actually, I continue to have lots of questions.
About motherhood. and life. and myself. and faith.
I hope you celebrate your questions. 
Embrace them. Relish them. Carry them well.
Sometimes Jesus is seen most clearly in the uncertainty.

Eventually, life reoriented itself to a normal.
I got more comfortable with imperfection. Mistakes make for good company.
And somewhere along the way I realized God doesn't expect perfection.
I hope you are patient with yourself as you grow.
If you are, you offer yourself an invaluable gift
and God's love is easier to identify.

Baby Einstein turned to Curious George turned to My Little Pony.
Sandra Boynton ushered in Mo Willems ushered in Cul-de-Sac Kids.
Little People were replaced by Bitty Baby were replaced by Lego Friends.
Years passed. You grew. So did our family.
You became big sister. Two times over.
I watched you mother your younger brother and sister.
You've been teacher to them even when you didn't realize you were.
I hope, no matter how old you are, you will show honor to your siblings. 
You were blessed with a great responsibility as eldest. Wield it well.

Because of your care, constant and tender,
Levi and Moriah look up to you.
They stand in the shadow of their big sister with wide eyes and open ears.
And they are protective of you. Not wishing harm to come to you.
I have proof.
Here they are unable to watch as you faced your fear and got your ears pierced yesterday.
Your stress became theirs.
Lives connected by blood but hearts connected by love.
I hope your life will continue to be marked by true friendship
when one feels both the pain and joy of another as if it is their own. 
You experienced this first with your family.

Is a mother made in a decade's time?
Only in part for it seems that motherhood is more a mosaic.
A conglomeration of being made from moments of my undoing.
Undone in the face of indescribable joy, fierce protectiveness, bubbling frustration.
Undone as I mix moments of overwhelming failure and unsaid bliss.
Yet, I still stand incomplete.
Motherhood has not matured in me.
Not yet.
Maybe not ever.
But I am being made.
With every moment. Every memory.
I hope you know the joy of becoming.
Perhaps that is what we were made for.
The becoming.
Christ in you - the hope of glory.
Becoming mine. 
Becoming His.
Becoming you.

Happy 10th Birthday, Eliana!
I love you!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Soul Famine

I should have seen it coming.
This need to write, to emote, to express.
I've been here before.
Where creative famine dwells.
Where I am soul thirsty for the kind of life given in the process of creation.
Yes, I should have seen it coming.

My schedule has burst at the seams.
My calendar filled with responsibilities and the needs of others.
Family. Children. Church. Home Education. Sermons.
So full, but not fulfilling.
At least not for the part of me made for creating.
Sure, there is a creative process in what I do in my marriage or in parenting.
There is creative energy expended in leading others into the presence of Jesus.
Creative juices must flow to craft words to preach week in and week out.

But life's duties have a way of absorbing the joy.
The joy offered when we create simply for the sake of creating.
It is that joy, the creation simply for creation's sake, that I have missed.

And when my soul is starved of creation - 
the process that birthed me and into which I was birthed,
the process that connects me to the heart of the One who formed me from dust,
when I find my soul malnourished,
it's then that I fight hardest for peace
because I have failed to be all I was created for.
I feel small and insignificant.
You see, I was created to create.
To join in a divine process.
And I need it.
Like air.
Or water.

I need time and space and places meant for me to color a canvas
but with the paint of words.
I need time and space and places meant for me to offer my art
for no other reason than it feeds me.
No matter what another might say.
No matter if another is touched or moved.

I need time and space and places I can stare at a blank screen of white 
and delight to string words together in Helvetica font
because it moves me 
it nourishes me, 
it oxygenates me,
it inspires me.

And so, that is one of the reasons I began this blog.
To set aside a place to create.
But I have been busy.
And I have been left wanting.

And with gratitude, I've returned to this place.
Not to garner accolades
but so that my soul might live again.
Deep soul breaths.
For my sake.

Whoever you are. Wherever you are. 
I pray you, too, will find time and space and places to create. 
Whatever that might look like.
For your sake.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Tell (& Show)

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

Today's Prompt: Tell


You'd think that the telling would lead to answers.
But the telling that I desire inquires and ponders.

Tell me why a parent delights in giving to their children.
Tell me why pride stonewalls forgiveness.
Tell me why fear can debilitate.
Tell me why a blue sky and cottonball clouds inspire.
Tell me why elation and weariness can coexist in the same body.
Tell me why living on purpose is elusive.
Tell me why urgency conquers importance.
Tell me why ancient words long-preserved still lead to transformation.
Tell me why hope is hard found but easily lost.
Tell me how God imagined the giraffe and the blue-bellied roller.
Tell me why the Olympics generates goosebumps. 
Tell me who loves like Christ - full of mercy and void of bias.
Tell me when those I love will no longer suffer.
Tell me who I am

The telling proves my dependence, my lack.
My "tell mes" clear space for the Unseen to show up.
And telling turns divine.
Jesus tells by showing...over and over again.
Showing Himself. Revealing Himself.
I ask for the telling. He allows for the showing.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Messenger

Lately the only writing I seem to be doing here is for FMF.
I'll take what I can get.
This weekly community has provided a place to discipline myself to write at least once every week. 
Even if my other days are filled with other tasks, there is but a brief moment at week's end to come here
and write
and exhale.
Fo that, I am thankful.

Today's prompt: Messenger


The pink peonies 
were ballerinas
dancing to the flow of the wind.

The tall stalks of grass, 
ready to go to seed,
were trumpets
heralding the pulse of the air.

The green birch leaves 
clinging to white branches
were acrobats 
that floated on the currents of the breeze.

I could have missed it, 
blinded my own busyness and care.
You are not visible after all.

Today’s grace was taking notice
of the messengers along my way
that prove Your presence
by synchronizing to Your breath.

Today, Father, 
creation testified to You.
Though invisible You are yet seen;
manifest in their inevitable response to Your movement. 


Friday, June 6, 2014

To Paul (FMF: Hands)

Linking up here and dedicating this post to my husband on this, our 16th anniversary.


Today I took your hand.
Not an extraordinary occurrence as we make moments to touch this way often.

Our hands have held through courtship, 
dating as college sweethearts and choirmates
through changes in majors and growth in personhood.

Our hands held still for pictures following our wedding
as the camera captured the glimmer of our newly donned rings in the sunlight
streaming through the Park Place stained glass.
That was 16 years ago today.
All veils of white and tuxes of black.
A lifetime stretched out before us.
And we met the future with hands clasped tightly.

Our hands held through the inception of ministry
and growing pains of marriage
as we worked our way through preferences that stemmed from our origin and nurture.

Our hands held the hands of others - 
while they mourned the coming of death to one they loved.
while teenagers bowed their hearts before Jesus.

Our hands wove tight as an emergency C-section
ushered our first born into the world,
wrinkly and fresh and red.

Our hands have held little hands 
that feared ants
built forts
smeared paint
and climbed high.

Our hands have held more love than imaginable, more life then deserved, more hope then expected.

This anniversary, while holding your hand, I also stand with a hand wide open for all yet to be grasped, caught, molded by us.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Nothing

Linking up here
Five minutes.
Whatever comes to mind.
Spilled out here.

Today's prompt: Nothing


My failures flank my mind like a retaining wall
ready to keep out Your words.
It’s all I can see some days.
The impatience this momma showed at childhood foibles.
The anger this wife spewed toward a husband.
The lack of compassion this beggar extends to those less fortunate.
The resentment harbored in this pastor’s heart for faith-siblings.
The mistakes of my youth that snare and trap me.
The defeats of the soul that echo in the chambers of my heart.

How is it I escape them?
The sins that paralyze me
and let fear win.
The dark places I worry will lead You
to turn, 
walk away, 
desert and abandon me.
The transgressions that taunt.
The debts that claim they are more powerful
than payment rendered.
Untruths that use guerilla tactics to ambush my confidence.

What sin is too far-reaching?
What choices will send You retreating?
What can keep You from me?

And I hear You whisper, 
a single word,
barely audible
above the screaming fortress of the lies,