timex

As I drive in silence, my watch ticks loud

Newer watches move time forward in silence

This old Timex shows wear from other wrists which held it

Maybe time ticked louder then

Loud enough to remind us when we are

what we are

why we are

The world more quiet

The ticking a constant reminder

of the time we can’t get back

A resource that can’t be bought, A commodity that can’t be begged for more

It’s hopeless if you dwell on it,

time lost, opportunities passed

But wait.

Time has a rhythm.

Like a beating heart and a swelling sea,

Slow breath in sleep and a morning run, feet on pavement

My soul longs for rhythm in daily living

A beat to dance to

A familiar cadence of work and rest

Though it ticks away, it offers peace,

Assurance of the next step

Like the inevitable rising of the sun,

each tick a promise that the next moment will come and will be different than the rest,

But just as predicable and unfailing as the last

 

 

Just Paul and me and God.

That is how it has been for the past few months as my eyes and my heart creep through each letter of 1 Corinthians word by word and verse by verse. Some days just half a verse at a time. When I resolved to let the words wash over me rather than letting my intellect dissect, this Book I am holding became more like an emotion than a selection of stories in print, rushing in steady waves of understanding and connection to its Author that I never could have gained by a schedule.Brick+door

And then I ran head first into a brick wall of truth with a heading blinking bold … Love

Sure. Love. No problem. Everyone that has seen a Bible knows this one. Love is… Love is… Love isn’t…

It turns out that knowing this verse means nothing until you allow the words to become more than just words… feelings… emotions.  Love is patient. Love is kind. Does not envy, boast, is not proud. Not rude, not angry, not selfish. Does not even remember the last time you were wrong about something. Is sad when you are sad and prefers your joy instead.

I became mentally stuck in these verses. How hard I try to do these things! Be Kind. Be Patient. Don’t get angry so quickly. A to-do list of qualities I want to embody despite the children figure-eighting my feet and spills at the dinner table and that payment due on the 20th and the ever-present hurry up.

But this brick wall isn’t brick. It is glass. A window of understanding that can’t be gained from ingesting the words but by savoring their substance.

We cannot just do love. Because love is not a formula. It is a person. Love is patient. Love is Kind. Love always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. Love delights in the Truth. Love is Jesus himself. What mother does not want to be Love to her children? Jesus is Love to us, His children. He is the embodiment of Love. He delights in the Truth of his sacrifice for us.

To be filled with LovWisteria+bricke is the only real way to show it.

Love offers Himself to us with no strings attached. Accept the unfettered gift and let Love radiate.

 

Are we there yet?

This year I will graduate college. I am 28 years old. While I realize that there has probably been some 84 year old woman out there to do the same thing while skydiving and pregnant, I want to emphasize the monumentality (is that a word?) of me finally graduating college. I have been going to college for a long, long time. And it was all pretty pointless until now. Because only now have I halfway, in some sense of the word, decided what I want to do with the rest of my life. Only don’t ask me because I won’t be able to actually verbalize it to you. It’s more of a peaceful mental state of having decided that I’m pretty sure I picked the right major for something that will absolutely be my crystal clear CALLING in the very near future whenever God decides to bestow it upon me.

So logically after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in December I am planning to continue going to school… with no time off in there. Anywhere. You see, if I take time off, I will like time off. And if I like time off too much, before you know it I’ll become a stay at home mom with no more stay at home kids and a lot of debt. And that would certainly cause some friction on the marriage front. So, the plan is to go to Grad School. That sounds cool doesn’t it? Like a really poised, intelligent and distiguished college girl who drives a Honda and has Harvard bumper stickers. (I really do have a Honda but my kind hauls around slightly younger alums- like from preschool).

So here I am. Rounding the bend on a fresh year that I am deeply excited about only because I want it to quickly be over. Because I know what is at the end. (Or at least I think I do barring any brawls at the Mighty Mites basketball games or mishaps during the usual Backseat-of-said-Honda Fight Club).

But the truth is I don’t know. And that is a hard pill to swallow. I want so many things, but I just don’t know. I don’t know if I will be able to afford Grad School. I don’t know if I can keep the side job I have and still juggle my laundry list of other titles. I don’t even know if I will wake up tomorrow and be able to start another day from the beginning again.

We don’t know and we can’t know. But we can trust God and hold on for the ride because he does know. Sometimes there are things we want so bad we can almost touch them. Feel that they are warmth and light and good. All have striven for. And we are just… so… close…

I’m certain we get the things we want so badly when God becomes those things for us. Warmth. Light. Good. Worth striving for.

Seek first his kingdom… and the rest will just be bonus.

Heart laces

I asked for a heart repair,

stitched together with your endless grace threads,

sewn up piece by broken piece with your careful hands.

I did not ask for something new

or to share the same heart that beat life into man,

but to humbly have the pieces of mine taken from the floor of my soul

and coarsely fit back together with scars exposed.

A yearning for some glimpse of your love found within this human body.

But your ways are surely not my ways.

My requests are like teardrops in your ocean,

spilling large over my eyes but falling tiny upon your abundance.

My prayers for your mercy are bound by my humanity,

but your grace flows out limitless.

Instead of giving as I asked, you gave in the way only you can

placing within me the very heart that healed the sick,

raised the dead and invited little children to come and stay.

I chose your healing over all the rest and you were ready.

With your truth and promises,

you mend the wounds and seal the cracks

rendering empty spaces, once filled with lost hope, now overflowing

and the darkest places of sin now illuminated with its redemption in you.

I feared my heart was a hopeless, broken mess of humanity,

my condition instinctual and my behaviors impossible.

That no matter the strength of my determination

or the drive of my will

I would never see myself right enough for you.

But my eyes distort and disfigure.

The heart you see within me is the one you were so eager to give.

To take and mend. Repair and restore.

And make it the one you’ve seen from the beginning-

the heart of your daughter and the heart of your Son.

There are days that are so busy, you find yourself thinking back on their beginning and saying, “I did that this morning?! That felt like days ago!”

And there are days when you rush from school to work, grocery store to home, back to school, to practice, then to… Those are the days when you look back and can’t remember what you had for breakfast or who pulled the “A-” and who just squeaked by with the “D.”

That was yesterday for me. Today was neither of those. Today was the kind of day that had God-prints all over it, but I just couldn’t seem to match them up. One of the days where you feel this serious deficiency about something somewhere and it irritates you all day because whatever it is is just outside your reach. You can’t quite determine the piece you’re missing.

As I walked into the library this morning, I noticed the person in front of me was a woman about my age that I had seen receiving a meal at the city soup kitchen just yesterday. Assuming God had intervened in our like arrival time, I began to talk with her. With cautious words she opened up just a bit and I realized she was in a place of pain and struggle and offered her my phone number telling her she could call for meals or support or just a listening ear.

At that point she saw the cross around my neck and began to condemn me and the God I worship because, as she told me, her god did not remain on the cross but was resurrected. I enthusiastically agreed with her and explained that my cross reminds me of what Jesus did for me and that He did it to remove the sins I still face every day.

She made a cutting remark about my lack of knowledge and said she didn’t need my phone number or my help and walked away.

Do I really not know my God? Why do I wear this cross? Do I convey the message that I only acknowledge a crucified Jesus and not a resurrected Christ? Of course I am convinced of the truths God has given us through His Word, but do I overflow with that truth as I live and communicate? Or am I to blame for her hostility toward the symbol I wear around my neck? I questioned myself.

The woman caused me to wonder why God blended our paths because it was a seemingly fruitless meeting. I may never know why. But the truth of the Word says that His ways are not our ways. That in all my knowledge I still will not possess one tiny fraction of His.

Through a cosmic pairing in a library across town, I am taught that, despite the words, a conversation can lead to wisdom. To know the truth of God is to be sure of oneself. They may criticize. But the only scale upon which to gauge our lives and actions is the one spelled out through His words of truth and instruction.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.

The decrees of the Lord are firm and all of them are righteous.

Psalm 19:7-9

Non-lists of Non-resolutions

Today, on the third day of a new year, I have no pressing desire to make a resolution. No jittering anticipation over the changes I determine to make in my life. No burning need to start fresh and reach newly-listed goals. Don’t get me wrong, I loved writing “1/1/12” and flipping over a whole new year not just a whole new month. It does feel clean, like a new notebook on the first day of school or a fresh snowfall waiting for my bootprint. But the idea of penning yet another checklist of personal goals and to-do’s, the life-jobs that scroll in the back of our minds anyway, with the entirety of a year in front of it, 365 solid days to use, just doesn’t appeal to me. That life-job list that I refuse to make for myself this year only serves to make me feel like a failure. Yet another bar I set that I do not reach, falling short of yet another opportunity to find myself “worthwhile” and “constructive.”

I am generally a “checklist” sort of person. Write it down, do it, cross it off. But when your list gets longer instead of shorter, more chicken scratch additions than crossed out subtractions, you begin to feel like your time has been fruitless. I didn’t make many lists in 2011. Unaware of the relationship between my unaccomplished checklist and my feelings of failure, I simply got sick of making lists. I thought if I don’t remember it, it’s probably not that important (my husband will cringe in fear at this point because he has firsthand experience with my lack of memory). So, I made no list, I kept no record, I crossed nothing off, and if I forgot… well, I just forgot.

Last year seemed like, for the most part, an uneventful year. No births, no deaths, at least in close relation to us and our children. No immediate family crisis, no life-altering, perspective-changing calamities. It was, for me, a simple year of days in, days out, child raising, money managing, inside, outside, play in the dirt, get cleaned up, dirty dishes, wash them, everyday life-jobs that didn’t come from a list, but from the track set on repeat in my head. I had no reason to complain. There are always people in a worse place than I. So many facing disease, hunger, death, loss, pain, guilt. I didn’t have the justification to complain about any aspect of my simple life. But I did complain. Not in words about my life or my situation, but inside myself stemming from my un-knowing of my own self. The self that was lost in favor of husband, house, children, church. The self that wasn’t sure where God lives in a life and what He actually can do with it. The self that actually did have needs that required God’s attention not in relation to the needs of others, but in relation to the healing He can give. I complained in attitude, by my lack of structure and creativity in the lives of my children. I complained by tuning out life and turning on tv, by making excuses and self-condemning. My needs remained undefined and insignificant.

What I did not understand was that God defines our needs word by word and can articulate them better than we ever can. Even when we decide that our problems are insignificant because they are not as earth-shaking, life-changing as someone else’s are. God does not measure need by who has the most or the greatest. He considers them all equal because the common denominator in the healing is His intervention. Just as every human sin deserves punishment when compared to the righteous life of Christ, every human need is validated in relation to the trials and temptations that Christ endured in this world. If we think our needs pale in comparison to another human, let us consider adjusting our frame of reference from worldly values to the truth of the life of Christ. When Jesus was breaking bread and giving thanks in his last days, He didn’t look over at Peter and think to himself, Peter will also die for the faith… I am not the only one to suffer, so I really do not have the right to feel apprehension about my situation. Instead He came before God, his Father, and prayed for the burden to be taken from Him even though he knew his death was the will of God for the benefit of the eternal kingdom. Jesus knew the misery that was hours away, despaired over his situation, prayed to the Father and conceded to His will despite his human feelings. Jesus did not disregard his human need. He defined it and presented it to God in surrender. Jesus broke his own body in Thanksgiving for the divine plan it cost him his life to see completed. He gave thanks for the suffering that killed him to yield his will to God’s. Can I even begin to grasp that?

Is it possible to thank God for the plans that He has hidden from us while they seem to make no sense ? Can we begin to define our needs and consider them important to God when it seems that everyone around us has more pressing problems? Can we be thankful in the un-knowing? Say this type-A personality of mine made a non-list of non-New Year’s Resolutions, that would be on it- being thankful for that which only God knows the reason to give thanks. To pray thanks over every puzzle piece of my life, oddly shaped as they are, even though I can’t see the picture on the front of the box.

So let’s bring this back to the non-list of non-resolutions. How can we stop numbering the tasks our busy lives require we accomplish, life-jobs we deem unforgettable, goals set so selfishly high that even the self cannot attain them? Will we not feel like we are doing nothing? That, my friends, I think, is the point! Since when has my list, made by me, proved anything of me but defeat? Instead of challenging ourselves to achieve false perfection, why don’t we respond to the challenge God has set and discover His achievements and genuine perfection! Imagine if we could recall all the incidents of the intervention of God in our past. The avoided car accidents, the healing of human sickness, the unexplainable gift of finances in exactly the amount of a past due bill. What if all these things were written in a book for you to read and remember any time you wanted to feel the presence of God in your life? They can be. Grab a notebook, pick up a pen and MAKE A LIST, not of what you can do, but what God has done! Re-read it and bask in the direct involvement He has had in your life. Keep writing, remembering and giving thanks. I bet He can fill up your book with His divine checklist, completed to perfection!

Whistle while you work

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

Today officially began my summer with three children. All alone. All to myself. Who decided to put me in charge of these three little people? The holiday weekend made me feel like I was part of the working world. I had a great three-day break with my immediate and extended family- most of whom hold full-time jobs- and today they all went back to work. And so I stand with three needy mini-humans at my feet looking up at me as their only source of guidance for the entire day, actually the better part of the next three months.

I don’t work in a corporate office. I don’t see patients. I don’t hand out assignments and I don’t fix broken cars. But guess what? I actually do do all those things. I just do them within the same four walls where I also read, sleep, work out, watch movies and relax. My home is my office. You’ve heard it said that a mother has hundreds of jobs and if you gave her a salary it would include many zeros. But I’m not making any money over here for this… Are you?

It’s a tough job we have. We don’t get vacation even when we physically go on vacation. In order to get our children to be independent we have to spend our time teaching them to be independent. Most of our energy is siphoned away by thousands of questions and almost as many messes every day. Most of the time we don’t see immediate rewards for our toil. But rest assured, my mommy friends, and I’m sure resting is not so difficult for you at the end of the day, God sees your hard work and He loves you for it. Your reward is in Heaven even though your days are filled with work. He gives strength to the weak and rest to the weary (Isaiah 40:29). Be confident and purposeful in your work and you will receive your reward!

A Re-evaluation…

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under Heaven.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

Ecclesiastes 3

As much as I love this blog, the purpose of it was never to take time away from my children, but to archive my time with them. In my writing, as with most things I do, I want to final product to be perfect. As impossible as that might be, I work as hard as I can to make it that way no matter the time it takes. So in writing this blog, I have, at times, deprived myself of the very thing I intended to write about- time spent engaged with my children.

I have learned in this short time to love speaking my mind through the written word. Sometimes, though, as a mom I don’t even have time to gather my thoughts on a daily basis let alone organize them and write them down. I have been convicted in this way and I want to change it. I have decided that the important part of this process is being actively involved with my children daily. If my duties as a wife, mother and servant of God take my day and leave me with nothing left to give then I will be joyful that I fulfilled them.

Writing is very much a learning and growing exercise for me now. I will continue to be dedicated to writing and sharing my heart as often as my full days allow, but I will be focusing mainly on what brought me to this point in the first place- my need to be on my children’s level- and not on putting them aside to fulfill my own desires.

Thank you so much for sticking with me for 3 months…

My mom is a construction worker… #277

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1

Making a Bunny House

As women we spend time building up the things closest to us. Our homes. Our children. Our husbands. Our families. Sometimes a career. We even try to build up money to save for retirement or food in case of a crisis. We spend the majority of our days building our lives, little by little, upon what we completed the day before. Sometimes our hard work falls apart and we have to rebuild, but we do it.

Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Do you ever tear your house down? Would you know it if you did? When we speak with words of disdain or disrespect to our husbands or children, we are tearing down the house we struggle daily to construct. When we tell them they aren’t good enough or neglect to encourage them or speak words of kindness, we can quickly destroy the solid structure of our families. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26).

Lord, help me live by the law of kindness and break my heart over my unkind words.


Anger Management #278

Verse of the day:

“A fool gives full vent to his (her) anger, but a wise man keeps himself (herself) under control.” Proverbs 29:11

I have been struggling to keep my anger under control this week. When I speak my children act as if they didn’t hear anything. If you are a mom you know how frustrating that can be. I try to stay calm, get down on their level and make eye contact so they know what I expect of them. But there are still many times when my instruction is ignored, which leads me to frustration and anger. I don’t really have a solution to this problem except to pray for patience and earnestly seek wisdom and hold tight until they are old enough to move on to the next frustrating behavior they will hit me with.

I’m pretty sure being a parent doesn’t get any easier. They say having an infant is the hardest part. I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree! It gets more trying by the day. Today, in order to save my children from losing their mother to the depths of insanity, I am praying for patience beyond comprehension and an appropriate outlet for my anger. Lord, hear these prayers and come to my rescue!!