Thursday, May 29, 2008

Care of the soul, or, thank heavens for the flu!

So let's be honest . . . we're moving because my husband is going to go to seminary. We believe God is leading us to do it. It's the right time for our family, the right next step for so many reasons. We are excited. Thrilled, really, looking ahead with great expectation and hope. But it is not without heaviness. Not without tears or sighs or moments of deep sadness. There have been too many sleepless nights. We are leaving confident of God's goodness and protection and guidance, but bearing scars and still not sure what to do with our hurt. These are some of the ways the Lord has lovingly shown me to cope, as I pray and try to sort it all out:

I was holding my infant, Anna, in my arms at the park one crisp evening last week. My heart was heavy, my thoughts overwhelmed me. Suddenly Joyful Anna threw herself back, lifted her arms, and just hung there looking up. I had to see what it was that captured her attention. And it was nothing really. Or everything. Sparkling, laughing, luminous green leaves shining against glorious blue. That's all. As simple and as amazing as that. And He reminded me to look up.

My sweet busy friend Katy used her personal day off work last week to throw a teaparty for the girls . . . I let Sami wear her most gawdy dress and fancy "heels" that she loves so much, we all wore pink, and we had
the best girly-day ever.

We had one of the most difficult, most stressful, most anything-that-can-go-wrong-will weekends ever. (Coming off of some of the most stressful sleepless months we've ever experienced). Sami threw up all night, Annie fell off the bed, Jim and I disagreed, the toilet overflowed, I lost my wedding ring (found it), we misplaced our luggage, we didn't sleep for three nights straight (I mean at all. you think I'm kidding?) . . . one of those weekends, know what I mean? And it all ended with Jim and I both sick, throwing up, Jim in the ER, us not sleeping another night, and still mad. So the miracle? The best thing that could have happened after all that? We had landed at my in-laws. Because God in his grace knew the one person who could take care of us, and our kids, at such a time, was my mother-in-law. AND, I believe He knew the ONLY way for us to ever get some rest, to finally be able to think straight, to be emotionally healthy again, was for us to be TOO SICK TO DO ANYTHING. And we were. For two full days my mother-in-law played with our girls, and Jim and I, comotose, were put back together. So thank-you God for the flu!

we don't need it anymore

Ok well, life continues to be interesting . . . which, after all, isn't that the point? Before I got married I'd always feared marriage because I thought it would be so boring, like life would be over once you had to settle down and have kids and own things like a lawn mower and a crockpot and a dehumidifier. . . and one time before I got married my mom said to me, "if you marry Jim you're life won't be easy, but it won't be boring". And alas, I haven't been bored yet! So I know I married right. And the good news is, we're selling the dehumidifier! And the lawn mower! And nearly all of our earthly possessions! And we're packing up our kids and we're moving! Into a dorm room! of sorts . . . it's a two bedroom dorm room, with an extra closet and a sliding glass door and two square feet of backyard. And honestly? I can't wait! It will be a lesson in simplicity, for sure. And a lot of creativity for two toddlers. And I can't even imagine what I'm going to do with a FULL house of STUFF. . . but I am finding my stuff weighing me down more and more, our three bedroom house and huge yard and closets feel like they own us. I'm tired of clutter, tired of excess, tired of all the precious time things consume. My brother wrote a song, and you can listen to it here . . . called "I saw the Light," and it's probably one of the best sermons I've ever heard though that wasn't his intention . . . "so I'm taking all my things and I'm giving them away I don't need them anymore." And that's what we're doing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Characteristics of the Crucified Life

I am on week ten of Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself, a 10 week study of the Fruit of the Spirit. I know the Lord brought this into my life at such a time as this, as each week has been exactly what I desperately needed in my life at that time. This morning I flipped back to week 1 and studied the Ten Characteristics of the Crucified Life again:
1. Few will understand
2. You must abandon your own will and your own agenda
3. Your intimate spiritual companions will be few
4. Intense times of aloneness with God are required
5. You will be constantly on the witness stand
6. You must go "outside the camp"
7. There will be times when your dignity is forfeited
8. You must forgo your rights
9. You must accept that death is painful

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

so here goes . . .

I'm blogging. I am a blogger. I've decided to start a blog.

This is difficult.

Why does beginning a blog require this much courage? These many days and weeks of pulling up my site, only to click it off without having made any changes? Every day dozens of random blog entries drift through my mind only to freeze when it comes time to send them out here into blogosphere. And those frightening white "about me" boxes just freak me out.

But today, Today, the sun is shining. Today is a good day to begin something new.

I'll begin at the place it always begins, that hazy moment, the pause between waking and sleeping, knowing and dreaming, doing and being . . . the silent groan in the morning when we sense once again our weary bodies, our loneliness, our longing to awake in His presence. But the moment collapses and we hurry, hoping, in the morning, to set things right again. Wash, brush, cover ourselves and the day can begin as though we aren't really these stinky, ugly, hurting creatures that must, coping, crawl away every night to hide. "For he giveth his beloved sleep . . ." what a good God who remembering we are dust offers us each night a reprieve. In the morning, His mercies are new. We can walk upright another day, sixteen hours or so, until our clay bodies, feeling their heaviness, their earthiness, must prostrate themselves once again.

It is a battle, in the mornings, to be still. My first urge is to rush into doing, and ignore my desperate need just to be. It is against our nature to sit in the morning, so aware of the long to-do lists, and accept His DONE to cover all my DOing for the day. To be in His presence and allow Him to tell me who I am, before the world begins to tell me all I am not. Having two children forces that time to look a bit different than it used to (I am most likely to be on the floor with the baby as Sesame Street blares to my two-year old), and my Time With Him never lasts as long as I think I need, but I have to believe that in Motherhood, time counts double and sometimes my quickest prayers seem to be the ones God answers threefold.