Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Worth It?

We have snow.  

 The kids are thrilled.  They want to go out and play.

I slightly cringe.  
I know what it takes to get 3 kids snow-ready. 

But, it's the first significant snow of the season, so we focus and get through schoolwork quickly and then it's time to bundle up...

Here's the routine:
Tell potty-trained children to use bathroom.
Change youngest's diaper.
Oldest puts on her own snowbibs.  
Put on youngest's snowbibs.
Put on youngest's socks.
Put on youngest's coat.
And hat.
And mittens.
And boots.
Oldest puts on her own socks.
Put on middle's snowbibs.
Put on middle's socks.
Put on middle's coat.
And hat.
And mittens.
And boots.
Oldest puts on her own coat.
And hat.
Help oldest with her mittens.
And boots.

10 minutes pass and kids are ready.  

Now Mommy's turn.

Put my socks on.
Kids ask, "Ready yet?"
Put my boots on.
Kids ask, "Ready yet?"
Put my sweatshirt on.
Kids ask, "Ready yet?"
Put my coat on.
Kids say they are hot and ask, "Ready yet?"
Put my hat on.
Put my gloves on.
Kids ask, "Ready yet?"
Grab camera.
5 more minutes and Mommy's ready.  
Kids squeal.

I'm tired. 
Then I think about all aforementioned clothing that will need to come off in reverse order while wet and trying to stay off the carpet.

I'm ready for a nap.
Out we go.  
A question nags the back of my mind...
"Is it worth it?"...



Oh yeah, its most definitely worth it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Unwasted Brokenness

Tears stinging
Trying to breathe while hurt swirls fast
Feeling forgotten
Wounds crying
Wanting to wallow and clench my fists
Feeling numb
Heart wringing
Holding to One who never forgets
Feeling held
He comes near
He binds my grief
And whispers small, “I love you and that’s enough”
Pain subsiding
Paving roads of grief to paths of joy
Feeling Hope

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Lesson From the Bathroom Door

It's been said that every analogy breaks down at some point.  Just keep that in mind as you read, ok?

My toddler likes to play with doors.  
Close.  Open.  Close.  Open.  
Nothing unusual really.  Many children do.  

This play of hers extends even to our bathroom door.  The catch here, however,  is once she completely closes the bathroom door, she can't open it again.  

Close.  Fuss.  Mommy opens.  Close.  Fuss. Mommy opens.

You get the picture.

Today I was taking my shower, the place where all deep philosophical thinking occurs.  I heard the door handle jiggle and then a very quiet shutting of the bathroom door.  

Close. Fuss.  Jiggle.  Fuss.  Jiggle Harder.  Fuss.

And it hit me that my relationship with God is often like my two year old's insistence on closing a door she knows she can't open.  

In regard to this situation, my toddler knows three things:
1) She loves Mommy and likes to be with her (even in the loo).
2) She likes to play with doors.
3) She can't open the bathroom door by herself.

By choosing to play the door game with me in the shower, she made a choice to be separate from me.  She can't get back in on her own.  She has made her proverbial bed and now, she has to lie in it (or stand outside it as the case may be).

No matter how many times she plays this game.  No matter how much frustration I may experience at hearing a fussing child outside a door she chose to close, I will always, always reach to open it again.  Sure, we may talk about how she isn't able to open the door once it's closed and she needs to choose better next time.  But, I will always, always open it for her.

As the water rained from the shower head, and I heard the fussing from the hallway, I realized that's exactly what God does for me.  All the time.  He always opens the door.  again.  and again.

I know three things:
1)  I love God and long to spend time with Him
2)  I like to play with "doors"
3)  There are some doors I just can't open on my own

Even though I love God and I love spending time with Him, I will still choose to things that separate me from Him.  I make choices that will shut that metaphorical bathroom door.  I am separate from Him by my own decisions and I find myself alone in the hallway.  

Sometimes I fuss and cry and pout about it.  Sometimes I jiggle the handle until it might break off.  But God always, always, always chooses to open the door.  He always chooses relationship.  So He turns the handle and opens the door and I run back in to where I really want to be.

For some reason, the image of a loving Abba reaching out to turn the handle and choosing relationship again was stirring to me.  Through Christ, He does what I could not do for myself, and He makes it right again.  and again.

Out of his fullness we have all received grace 
in place of grace already given. 
-John 1:16

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Twinkle

A twinkle in the eye means joy in the heart...Proverbs 15:30

Children don't have to long for joy.  
They just live and joy follows.

I have much to learn from my children.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things that Inspire Me

in no particular order...

well-written words
well-spoken words
sacrificial love
other people's creativity
my children
my husband
the hard eucharisteo
Rosa Parks
living with intention
christmas lights
bright colors

Sunday, November 13, 2011


"Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree."

 - Emily Bronte

Perfect Timing

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.   - Romans 5:6

Certain phrases catch my attention.  No matter how often I hear them, I stop, I listen and I hear.  This scripture is one of those.  
       "At just the right time"                   "when we were still powerless"

The device of surprise is what captures me.  
So unexpected.  
So counter-intuitive.  
So God.

God's perfect timing of redemption is wrapped up in my weakness.  It's a good thing too, because

Many days, I live 
               in my own strength, 
                         for my own gain, 
                                   with my own resources.  
Many days, I am a 
                                    believer, wife, mommy, friend.

Smack dab in the middle of my self-living, being empty of power and ability, Jesus decides I am just right for the saving (and restoring).  I need not fear my own powerlessness, for that is the fertile ground in which my God will rescue me again and again.

Thanks be to God!

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shower Interrupted

When you are a mother to small children, it doesn’t take long to realize there is no sacred space...meaning no place where uninterrupted privacy is guaranteed.
When you are a mother to small children, it sometimes takes a little longer to realize there is no space that is not sacred...meaning no place where you can’t see the very face of God.
Thankful for all the sacred, interrupted, public-access spaces in my life today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On Orcas and Fears

"Mommy, will you draw an orca?"
A sincere and hopeful question from my 4-year old.

Here's the thing:  
I cannot draw.  
No really.  
I can't.  
No false humility here.  
I struggle with creating even a stick person.  

Here's the other thing:                                                          
I am a scaredy-cat.  
You name it.
I've probably been afraid of it.  
Much of the time, the fears come.  I deal.  They go.  
There are, however, a few stubborn ones that plague me.  
One of which happens to be a fear of failure.

I won't go into all the analysis on this fact, but trust me, I don't want to fail.  I want to do all things perfectly and well.  With one question, my preschooler immediately dashed all hopes of me succeeding in this request.

I have stubborn fears.  Ones that decide to be life-long traveling companions.  They pack themselves deep into my heart and create weighted travel.  As a result, I don't get very far, very fast.  Heavy baggage does that.  But I was created for a life free of unnecessary weight, where fear doesn't sit in the driver's seat.

And so, a crossroad moment...  
Will my fear of failure prevail or will I bravely draw my best version of an orca?

(Internal deep breath and a "Here goes nothing" kind of sigh) 

And when my marker rested, there was this big smile on his face. 

And on mine.  

Loving my son enough to draw an orca forced me to leave my fear-companion for the briefest of moments.  I set down my baggage to pick up a black Crayola marker and found a moment of freedom.  

What about you?  Will you dare to draw an orca?

Monday, November 7, 2011