Thankfulness in anything is a challenge today. The money doesn’t stretch enough. He works so hard. And I feel so guilty.
Where I’m supposed to be. At home, with my children. The laundry, the bills, the school, the chores.
So I pray again. Relief. Peace. Help.
The journey of thankfulness. It isn’t easy. And far be it from me to present it like it is easy. This is one of the more painful decisions I have made. And when I speak when I should be silent, get angry when I should forgive… It makes it more painful. Tears of despair instead of joy still come. Selfish thoughts still pervade. I am increasingly aware that now, I make a choice to live in chaos rather than the peace that passes all understanding.
I complain about what has been provided. I sigh at what I do not have. I cringe that I cannot bring a smile to his face in the midst of his pain. I proceed to loneliness instead of the pain of exposing my love for him. A selfish web I have woven when first I do not look to Jesus.
It sits in front of me as I wash the dishes. Unload the dishwasher. Fix breakfast lunch and dinner.
Submit and give thanks. Peace comes through submission and thanksgiving. He keeps me. Like I am special, wanted, desired. Safe. Yet I act like it is scary, unfamiliar, out of my comfort zone; in essence, I reject His love on a daily basis.
In the failure of my day and insufficiency of my own strength, I see my children giggling and playing on the living room floor; grace. The sufficiency of grace. His grace covers my failure.
Covered. Paid. Spiritually, debt free.
This week has been a depressive fog for my heart and soul. I have been largely motionless and speechless trying to sort through all that is going on around the nation and trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with all of it.
I realized today in looking over to my side amidst the chaos I was not alone. All my questions, He was listening. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t frustrated and aching.
Why my generation?
Why am I in this generation?
The children, God all the children? They are defenseless. They are meant to be guarded by the mothers and fathers, They are so vulnerable
…is this how you ache God? Is it this never ending pain of mourning for the lost? For those not even weeks old in their lifetime? Down to a toothy elementary child? God, my endless questions…I don’t think the answers could calm the anger over the selfish ways they die.
Even in the realization of the preciousness of a child, I still found myself snapping at my own that I kept. My own that I held in my arms, even moments after their birth. My own that call me mama. My own perfectly innocent children who mirror my personality so well. I am so disgusted with myself. Fill in my emptiness with the riches of your love. My failure with Your goodness. My lack of adequateness with Your grace.
I am exactly where I need to be, this I know. I am in the state of Grace. Grace…oh my God, the grace.
This week made me remember my longing to be in a different era. I’d take the 1950’s…even earlier. How about when America started? Simpler. It seemed simpler in hindsight. Something I could handle because I’d already read about the tales of freedom fighters. It’s in the fantasy of yesterday I realized…this era, this crazy De-moralized, gray generation is exactly where I am meant to be because it is exactly where You formed me, and found me. You don’t make mistakes. And You see exactly what I have begun seeing through your grace….hope. You didn’t give up for 5000 years… you’ve bestowed grace and mercy upon generations… I shouldn’t lose hope over 50. Even if I’m broke, I’ll tithe my life. You saved me.
Running. I’ll keep running.
The depth of the sorrow, the confusion. It can be thick like mud, like wet concrete. No words to explain, silence loud like a siren. The unanswered questions, the unknown reasons. We stand in the wake of destruction, left to pick up the pieces.
The magnitude of someone standing beside in such an overwhelming situation can speak volumes without words even being necessary. The longing and aching that someone was standing there filling the void.
For the last year of my life I have built up every excuse not to get out and run. Not to hear the air between my shoes and the pavement. The thud every time it hits. The rhythm of my breathing. Every selfish excuse. Today I realized how unbelievably selfish and lazy I have been. My shoes may be there unused, but I have been foolish to think I can just run tomorrow. Today someone went to do what they loved most. Trained for. Planned for. Went for. Never again. So unbelievably selfish of me.
Today I have a new reason to run. I have everything I need. Daily, I want more. More me, less of You. Forgiveness rages in like a flood. I’m covered, covered, covered by grace again. How many more agains? How much further? How much longer? How much higher?
Ephesians 3:14,20 (MSG)
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.  God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Endless. It is absolutely and vastly endless.
My heart breaks for Boston. I wish i could be there and stand beside you. But for those who can’t, I will run. 8-11-13
There is this old desk at the foot of our bed. In the first week I moved it there upon getting my new desk my intent was to put fresh flowers or some of my creations on it. Make it a nice asymmetrically pleasing center to finish off our room. But despite my best efforts, the items that have no real place to rest find themselves here, collecting dust, next to the mismatched socks, old journals and random toys my kids leave in our room. Despite my best efforts.
Despite my best efforts, for years I felt like I was in the middle of this great idea. Watching all the beauty zoom around me, in perfect order, asymmetrically pleasing, only to have mismatched socks and dusty journals in my hands, tripping over the forgotten and unwanted. Despite my best efforts to clean that space up and make it into something special, I always ran back into those socks and books. The problem wasn’t the dust. The problem was me and my best efforts.
In an event to clear my life of what I thought was pointless drivel; the chapters that could be skipped; I was missing everything. I had read the book a thousand times and never heard the words.
My best efforts got me in some of the worst situations. My best efforts helped me accomplish my list of things I never wanted to do to my family. My best efforts silenced my Lord from my life putting me back in the drivers seat. And despite my best efforts, Jesus found me anyway.
1 John 4:9-10(MSG)
This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
It may be possible that the most beautiful aspect of the grace of God is it’s unconditional and endless ability to cover my best efforts.
That old desk doesn’t look so bad anymore.
Comfort. A word I have recently realized I have sought out a lot in my journey of self. Coffee, carbs, blankets. The more recently noted; stubbornness, pride, hurt. The words singe deep. I’ve carried them so long. My morning comfort reminds me, “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from The Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)
Nothing I have is my own. It is all a part of His endless and bountiful grace on my life.
Proverbs 16:30 (MSG)
A shifty eye betrays an evil intention; a clenched jaw signals trouble ahead.
My pride and selfishness rears its ugly head. The words couldn’t be more truthful.
Just as more justification creeps in;
Proverbs 16:18 (MSG)
First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.
Forgiveness needs to happen. The beauty in forgiveness. The reminder that He forgave me and holding onto my pride would mean forsaking the one I have come to love so deeply…because He loved me first. I need to love first to let love win.
Where is my comfort then? How could I forget. February 2010. Seeing the shell of the man who was my grandfather. His whole life made sense to me that day because of an old q&a that he lived by for the etched out 80 years or so of his life. My father read the words, and they could not have made a louder realization to my spirit as I stared at the shiny box that contained the earthly vessel that was my pop pop.
“What is your only comfort in life and death? That I belong to Jesus Christ, my savior.”
The comfort of life ending in the arms of Jesus is not nearly enough. The comfort begins today. I need to let Him carry me today so years ahead when it’s time to leave, it is a seamless transition to eternity. The silence is painful. Letting my pride die is so painful. But i see that years of silence made my Grandfather the most beautiful man I know. He must have been like Jesus. Silence seems less painful.
Comfort. My only comfort.
It’s always the most difficult to taste when I have a cold. Or so I thought. Sipping raspberry leaf tea with this cold. Barely tasting it. But there is some sweetness there. Some earth taste deep inside. It’s difficult to think I lived most of my almost 25 years this way. Looking for the sweetness. Looking for something real.
My taste buds tell my brain the flavor of what I eat and drink. My spirit has told my brain for years my life tasted like nothing. Too dull. Just the same old. An endless gong of crashing and spiking, zooming and flying; all for myself. What useless investment. I saw no result. No percentage return. Nothing.
Psalm 34:8 (MSG)
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.
Run. I run fast and hard In the wrong direction. I put on my super mom cape in the morning and swear I will get everything done by night fall. But amidst the sleepy toes, humming fans, and quiet mouths of my babies; the laundry remains piled, the errands I don’t want to face remain listed, and I set down my cape another night and admit defeat…just to be covered by grace.
Taste and see. Taste buds surrendered to illness, and his mercy and grace I can still utter on my tongue. And it is good.
Well I suppose it would be grossly cliche to begin my whole journey with a perfect picture. I woke up this morning longing to sleep and melt into my blankets when I hit the final snooze…four to count. The sun crept behind fog and clouds and the creak of my son’s door reminded me of another school day, another list of errands, another wake of anxiety and emotion consumed by the word ‘grace’.
The cries of my daughter bring me to her door first to hear the sudden stop of the cry and the gleeful cheer of ‘mama’. The child who in her own first breath reminded me that I could be the woman, wife, and mom that I peered at behind a veil of fear for years too long and too ashamed to admit. But come diaper change and run down hallway I am consumed by grace again.
No brushed teeth, off to the car. ABS light on again. Anxiety creeps and the burden of adulthood sinks it’s teeth in deeper. Bills, jobs, unemployment. The speed bumps remind me of the constant moves and aches of life. The entrance the anxiety of confrontation; but left turn and up the hill through evergreens-more grace.
Quick kisses and off to school my big boy goes. Sleepy eyes, hungry tummy to be filled by breakfast, I see myself more everyday in that kindergartner. Groceries, returns, errands; all more chance for stress and business to flash before my eyes in array of colors. But amidst the groceries I feel guilty over buying, I see colored daisies. All unnatural of course, but the colors play before my eyes as if God is telling me I am beautiful, even in my rushing.
In the throng of rushing I catch myself peering at the rainbows of color. The flowers are quiet, but their colors speak. They stand there in all their serenity and remind me that in the silence, this is love, this is grace. Not the rushing. The laughter of the children, the footsteps of my nieces, the smiles and hugs and tellings of days; this is grace. This is where I need to be.