2016 …and my word.

I think it was 3 years ago that I first asked the Lord for a word for my new year. It has become a tradition that I look forward to. It makes Christmas passing not seem so bad ! Last year I asked Him for a word, I heard bird…hmm. I thought it was a funny word for my year , bordering on silly. The wonderful thing about asking the Lord for a name , or a word is that you don’t have to do the work. I sat back and let him lead me . From the beginning of the year , right up to the end…He was teaching and showing me birds, feathers, flying, and nests. The year turned out to be like the most beautiful tree with branches growing in every direction. I’m so grateful, and always amazed. 

      This year I started asking and listening around Christmas Eve. I know there is no time frame, but I was really hoping the Lord would see that I wanted my word before New Years! Of course He knows me inside and out , and He is a good father. I heard my word (quietly, softly) in that week that falls between Christmas, and New Years. It’s a magical week of looking back, and looking forward at the same time. A week of hope, a knowing that everything is new, a reminder of God’s gift . Beauty . Um, no , clearly I’m hearing that because I’ve been reading fashion and makeup blogs all day. Beauty. Really Lord? Can you imagine Lord , me saying to people that you gave me a word for the year and it’s … Beauty ? I actually argued with the maker of EVERYTHING , the Ancient Of Days. Lord, what vanity ! But He is so good, His patience with me is unending . I slept on the word, I rolled it around in my head. Beauty. And then He said , “imagine the things I want to teach you !” I am overwhelmed at the possibilities , but I know a few things for certain. First, I have been on the path leading to this word for several years now. The path to understanding worthiness, and self -love , even self-care ( making time for myself , even though there are 3 teenagers that all need different things from me). 

   I am diving in , I’m eager to hear and read , and talk about , and look at , and cry because of … Beauty . BEAUTY in art, in nature , from ashes , between the broken and the bliss, on the mountain , and inside my own heart. Oh the places we are going to go this year ! There will be tributaries that break off from this river of beauty , there will be eye opening revelations , and minds changed this year. And in all of it , I’m going to find the beauty.  

 

Between the lines .

What would it look like if our children could read between the lines ? If they knew the reasons that we are the way we are. The stories of our parents, our mistakes, our consequences, our triumphs,and our Christmas memories , our high school drama , and our most terrible heartbreak . Would it help them to KNOW us better? To see where we are coming from when we yell -NO, and start to panic ?  Yes ! This season , don’t close yourself off from your kids . Share with them , unfortunately , they can’t read between the lines . We need to be luminaries for them . So take off the mask , get real, light it up . The future is at stake . 

The sweet ( suffering ) spot ….

In a recent post I wrote about the sweet spot that I am experiencing . I thought about it and decided to dive in a little deeper . Please hear me say , the sweet spot was not handed to me , nor do I sit in it 24/7. My marriage has been filled with struggle , with myself, with my kids , with my husband . But this marriage is long- suffering , and that is a gift ,and a fruit of the spirit. The sweet spot is in the…. knowing . Knowing that we are never giving up. That God glory is in all of it, even the bickering that binds us . The sweet spot is having eyes to see that you can be thankful in ugly and in beauty , in love and in aggravation . If your marriage like mine is a long suffering dance of humor, and passion ,and joy and bliss and fury…then clap your hands , write a love song , bow down and thank the giver of Love , and Love himself . If you are still standing together , you’re in the sweet spot . 

Family Friday

Sometimes the glass just drops out of your hand and shatters. One minute you are laughing , drying the glass, and the next minute the glass is broken apart lying in a million tiny pieces on the floor . You were careful, you were grasping …. Maybe you even saw it coming .

The yelling , the frustration that has now turned into hurt and offense came out of nowhere. You know you are dropping the glass, it’s slipping , until it completely slides out of your grasp. Busted, broken up and different now .

Where do I find the thanksgiving in that ? It’s an excercise , a stretch … But I do. I offer thanks for the days that are shattered because it’s here in the broken, that I find you . image

Marriage

Genesis 2:19  And the Lord God said , it is not good for the human to be alone. I shall make him a sustainer beside him.

Well , I don’t know about you , but that makes me nervous. Gets my heart rate up , and sends me in a tailspin of anxiety. Not really, but it used to. Before I realized what covenant means, and how it is to be carried out.

Sustainer- the one who provides what is needed to exist, to continue.

Or…. The one who holds up the weight of something .

yes, in giving birth…. women sustain existence. But it’s the second definition that really resonates with me tonight.

My role is to hold up the weight of …. Thomas. To lighten his load , to raise his arms , and even sometimes let him lean on me. To be his sustainer.  None of that works successful if we are not in covenant. Both practicing the art of patience , as well as love. Cultivating humor , right alongside romance . His sustainer…. to intervene on his behalf. The marriage covenant is not a simple undertaking , it’s a Holy Vocation . I’m passionate about it , and so is my husband . We pursue love everyday. And while we stumble , and make our way through this adventure , God is there holding the universe together , sustaining us, all the while.

Sweet Spot

  
Shut the front door , shut your mouth. Wait, what ? I’m turning 42 this week . I just have to say … I’m in the sweet spot. I wouldn’t trade the memories I’ve made , and the knowledge that I’ve gained , for all the 24 year old perfect skin , in the world . I’m having the time of my life . Happy Birthday to me. I mean , year of jubilee kind of happy. I am more in love with my husband , and more in tune with my kids . I’m at peace ,and it all boils down to seeing Jesus in my reflection. The man , Jesus Christ … I know him , and after all these years he KNOWS me so well. I’ve crossed bridges, hell, I’ve burned them down. But I know a handy man, a carpenter . And he is gentle and generous , with my past, my testimony, and my future too! 

The first twenty.

You would walk for miles in the freezing cold snow, or just downstairs in our freezing house , as the case may be … To get my coffee. 
You would make me vegetable soup every single day from now on, if that’s what I asked for. 

  

You have rubbed my feet for countless hours , laid on my side of the bed just to warm it up,  gotten up early while I slept in , and smiled all the while.  You have laid your life down for me. 
20 years has gone so fast , so much laughter and love seems to have sped up time. 
I have been busy mothering , hopefully I’ve been wifing too. I realized all I want for these babies , these sons of ours , is to be just like you . And for these daughters … To be loved by a man just like you . 
Happy Anniversary , we are turning the page and opening up a whole new chapter . I love you more today than I did 20 years ago . I pray the next 20 go slow. 

   

The heart of a mother.

 

What if today , and tonight , and every day, and every night ….
You were the fertile soil where your children are planted?  You were the night sky filled with stars when you lay on their bed , and tell stories and sing?  What if yours were the eyes they looked into to see acceptance, that yes, they have what it takes ? What if your love was a hideaway from the storms, and the heartbreak that they face daily? What if your encouragement was the most important thing in the whole wide world today? What if your hand was the one steady thing the could hold onto today ? What if your laughter was a shield that they could hold up against the bitter arrows flying ?   The heart of a mother is the garden of creation . You are a laborer in the field , and a lioness in the community .  

 What if you believed it today ? 

Love

What is it about love ? Somehow the very word manages to be a living , breathing thing. Constantly changing, always inviting …. Love is asking you to go a little further , get a little lower, speak a little softer.  I have a confession…

     I’ve had a terrible habit of asking my husband ( and my kids), ” do you love me ?”  Even though , there is a mountain of evidence that they do, I needed to hear the words. They always say yes.  Sometimes , I ask again… “are you sure , no really ?” What a child I was! A scared , lonely child.   It has been a long road , beautiful and complicated. At 41 , I know that they love me. More importantly , I know that God loves me. He burned the book of my rebellion . He has called me Esther, and showed me amazing grace. Once I was able to grasp that, everything else fell into place. 

Love is alive. Living . Giving. Laying down all around me. True love doesn’t just change your heart, it changes your mind. 

Happy Birthday Adam ! 

 An impatient girl ,and a stubborn baby boy  eight days late. Bitter sweet memories of joy and pain . I could not believe that I got to be your mom. Eighteen years seemed so far away that day. I thought we had all the time in the world, but I turned around and you grew up ! I  have grown a man. I am so proud of you, so amazed by you. It’s a new chapter for all of us . Happy Birthday Snoopy, you always make me smile.