Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bibles and Blood and Burning

February 16
The women in my church are currently going through Children of the Day together. This week is talking about our gifts, our ministry ... and how that loving Jesus is pretty much the answer to making your gifts effective and empowering them to become a ministry.

Eep. But I just feel so ineffectual ... muffled ... muddling ... and even a bit egotistical to think I might have a gift for writing. And I still have NO idea exactly what God would have me write.

So I'm here today ... at the computer ... writing. For the sake of writing. To put thoughts into pixels to flash in the dark ... I have no idea on what screen. I just trust that God will have it shine where it needs to and I pray that it is with His light and for His glory.

nap/dinner/life interruption

February 17
No doubt, I need to be writing. And more. But a fire is kindling in my soul. The more I am in God's word the hotter the embers glow; His breath is stirring them. Life is too precious and His gift too great for me to be focusing on and ending conversations on petty notes. The weather is a fine topic, but I am becoming more consistently aware of the One to whom the weather belongs. And the love He has not only for me, but for each and every one of us. Those the world would say I have every right to ignore or lash out at.

Would I, who has been shown such grace and had blessings poured out on me like Jesus blood running dark and covering my black sins, dare to withhold these things from anyone? This life is a breath ... a vapor ... a flash ... the sizzle of that droplet you flick into a skillet - is it hot enough yet?

Today I feel lead to take my lesson from our study a step further and put it out there to be tripped over by someone who has asked a friend just such a question as Beth calls us to ponder:

"A friend or acquaintance is baffled by your love for the Bible and became a bit incredulous in a recent conversation. She asked you what you loved so much about it, but you were too caught off guard to respond thoughtfully. You sit down now to write her a letter. You don't have time for a lengthy diatribe or a quick course on Bible apologetics. You know you can't force her to understand. You simply want to convey in a paragraph what Scripture has meant to you personally." - (page 153 of the Children of the Day workbook)

Coupled with a post I had just read by Ann Voskamp (author of 1000 Gifts, which I haven't finished yet) about the 21 Egyptian Christians martyred by ISIS on Sunday ... about offensiveness of the cross ... this was my response to Beth's call:

The Bible is the very word and breath of God Himself. The special arrangement of words He wanted me to hear that convey His love, His story, and His will for me. They are the foundation of my faith - I wasn't alive to see Jesus walk on water and touch His nail pierced hands - but I have letters from those who did and who died to get them to me [did you know William Tyndale, who translated the Bible to English, was strangled and burned for doing so?]. It has proved to be a living thing in my hands; always fresh, always new, full of surprises and timeless wisdom which is not dependent on circumstance. Going a day without it causes more damage in my life than skipping my morning coffee [and if you know me and my very American life that is meaningful]. Others are willing to die to possess it, yet I hold several copies freely.

And I ran out of room. I have begged God to give me a hunger for His word more than the watering of my mouth and the desire in the pits of me that turns the house upside down searching for chocolate. Watch with me as He answers and kindles a bonfire.

I wanted to be counted as a Person of the Cross. God gave me a rebellious "I don't care what you think" spirit not to buck authority as I've done ... not to resist the chains of fitting in ... He gave me this spirit for so much more important work. To "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" [Hebrews 12:1] ... I don't want to live out this brief life hindered and entangled. Ineffectual. I want to radiate joy impossible, light inextinguishable, hope eternal, love undeserved and undying to a world that doesn't want to hear it.

A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross. I answer your message with the CROSS signed with blood, the love poured out even for me ... even for you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Let Go of the Rope

Let me preface this post by saying that I absolutely love being Momma. It is everything I dreamed of and then some. No one fooled me into thinking it would be easy. Part of becoming a mommy at the age I did was that the blinders fell off long ago; and that if you are at all like me you may even have given up on that dream of cherubic faces with something sticky and unidentifiable plastering their chubby cheek to your own - and having that dream walking and talking/crying/screaming in your home is like a gift straight out of God's own hand. In fact, it is.

No, I do not regret this season. I don't even wish it was over. If anything I wish I was more Mary and less Martha and perhaps hadn't been such a jerk to naps when I was a kid.

But I want to share, not only for myself, but just in case even ONE exhausted mommy clinging to the end of the rope and staring in horror as it unravels finds this, reads it, and feels less alone. Or is reassured that she is not evil, ungrateful, the devil in Prada (or Dearfoams), a failure, or any number of those negative things we tell ourselves when we're low.

After tearfully praying to God in the middle of the night, begging Him to make my youngest go to sleep, confessing that I'm at the end of my rope and can't hang on anymore ... I discovered He was waiting to catch me, not just give me more rope. And though He won't always miraculously knock my child unconscious ... He will send His light straight into my heart in ways I never could have anticipated that make it all ok in the morning. Something about the sun peeking over the horizon chases away the dark thoughts even if you are exhausted and now face a day of meals, snotty noses, discipline, towering Mega Blocks, "spit that rock out," chasing vultures away, and all the things that come with being you today without enough sleep, your quiet time, but thankfully some coffee and always enough Jesus.

I had mentioned we were doing Ferber ... But the flu struck before we were done. So we closed up shop. And the sniffling and coughing and night nursing and altered schedules dragged on and on. And now I'd say where in a worse place with Victoria Grace's sleep than where we started. We are to the nurse-to-sleep-hold-me-just-right-just-long-enough-don't-breathe-wrong-laying-me-down point. I spent several months here with Shelby Hope.

My own experience has been that nursing an "older" baby isn't always the wonderful bonding experience the Internet and various breastfeeding support groups portray. Sometimes it is agonizing "when can she try cow's milk?" survival. It is crouched in fear with one can behind their head hoping they won't hurt you when they pull away and forget to let go. How some moms enjoy doing this well into the toddler years is beyond me; more power to you my sisters.

And holding them to sleep. Oh those who relish this must not feel the press of things that need to be done (see, I'm a reluctant Martha), have a busy older child, and have cuddlers. My children are not cuddlers. Victoria does not gently sigh and nestle into my shoulder where she would happily spend the rest of her childhood. She thrashes. She whips her head back like she'd like you to drop her on the floor. She gets comfortable then decides she needs a different position. She swipes angrily at your stray hairs in her face because she has switched off the shoulder you tried to make comfortable for her. By the time she falls asleep she has you contorted into a position that tweaks your back and makes you feel ever ounce of her long 17 pound body sprawled across your arms.

As I listened to her breathe this morning at her third waking, trying to gauge the perfect time to lay her down (I never found it) realizing this was the 7th time I would be trying, I called out to God. At first I thought He didn't hear me because Shelby turned her light on (too early).

But later, when it was ok for Shelby to get up (she laid back down after I went and told her it was too early) she was happy. Excited! She wished me good morning, told me "I love you momma," and expressed her concern for Tordan (who was crying in her room). In her young wisdom she suggested that Tori is awake and we should go tell her good morning. And it was. God had heard me. He sent me some sunshine and let me know it was all going to be ok.

Somewhere deep inside I know my heart will ache for this season; especially when the girls are gone and our home sits too quiet on most days. But right now, I'm about ready to start Ferber again to help Tori learn to put herself to sleep without wringing momma dry. And it will be ok. God is waiting to catch me when that rope unravels.