Frantic.

july12 081I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. +Psalm 16

Do you ever think He feels frantic about us?

Like in the way that I, hanging clothes,

Nathanael Fisher up the hill with his fishing pole casting on the lawn,

The dog running back and forth between us,

catchy Sunday School tunes in the morning air because Nathanael likes

::::::God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me. He cares for me, He cares for me…

Picking up the basket and telling Him how beautiful this day is::::

no bugs to swat::: yet,

birds tweeting and flittering,

warm Spring all around us,

Gathering the pins and thinking about what to do next and

hoping it was something to keep me outside soaking in the sun and telling Him again how beautiful the sky blue is and I cannot wait to plant purple flowers and I hope I don’t see any ticks and I think I should make something with blueberries for dessert tonight and there is not even a wind and so that keeps the day so warm and should I just leave the basket down by the clothesline instead and maybe I will rake over there, so that…

:::::::::::::::::::::: STOPPPPPP…..

Where’s his singing and talking to himself?

Why isn’t he yelling to me to fix the bobber on his fishing line?

I was just talking to him.

just a second ago.

Where is he?

NATHANAEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Primal screaming from my gut.

Eight million more things on a hot, one-track pulse through my mind and none of them have to do with blueberries and flowers and clothespins……

Frantic like that.

Racing.feet.

Racing.heart.

Racing.mind.

Where is he??????????

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: I right here, Mama.

Why didn’t you answer me?

Where did you go?

I couldn’t hear you singing.

I couldn’t see you over there.

I love you. Come here.

now.please.

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. +Luke 15

I love you…….

Frantic where are you.

Frantic pulling you close.

Frantic let me look at your face.

Frantic answer me when I call you.

Frantic you are mine and I love you.

When my mind is reeling.

When I settle deep in the muddy waters of self.

::::self.

:::::::::::::::::::::self.

When I cast my thoughts somewhere far enough away to teeter on the rocky bank just long enough to catch myself or fall right into the mucky murk that gets sticky on the way out…

When we are absent like that?

Does He say that to us?

Where are you?

I was just talking to you.

I can’t see you.

You are mine, but I can’t find you right now.

But is He father-frantic, like that?

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… “Where are you?”  +Genesis 3

Or does He always know?

Right where we are.

For the Lord sees not as man sees… +1Samuel 16

Or is He always with us?

Right where we are.

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. +Matthew 28

Or is He never frantic, but full of love- passion?

For us? To meander back?

Even if just a moment has lapsed?

To run back?

Even if just a moment has lapsed?

… son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours… +Luke 15

Waiting for us, each day, each moment, each second, so that WE are

ourselves…

never frantic?

What is His frantic?

passion.

His calling us?

love.

His drawing us in?

peace.

You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is set on You… +Isaiah 26

He is always, always right where we are.

Frantically searches for us?

He passionately waits for us.

But

our frantic seeking Him–

when the water gets too deep and we are casting our line lonely into this world-sea of unknown?                                             ::::: faith:::::

Answered by Him.

Peace to you! … Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see… +Luke 24

still. singing.

I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously… the Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation… Exodus 15

He feels farther away today.

Barely there.

Like I think I hear music on the radio, but it must be turned so low, that I think there’s a song there, but I only kind-of hear it when there’s no whirr of a car passing, or the window’s up and not down or I’m not hitting bumps and driving through potholes or no one is talking or the heater isn’t blaring on high….

and I feel off-key.

There’s a symphony of praise and prayer and promise somewhere rising and I can’t seem to hear it or jump in and praise along…

today.

I cannot explain why the Song is barely there.

Not true. I probably can. I just am too tired and distracted to right now.

I am begging to join the orchestra of rejoicing and I cannot.

It is one of those days and was one of those nights.

The tired, unsure, this- day- is- a- day- He- has- called- me- to- live- by- faith- and- keep- moving- in- Him kind of days.

One of those My- answers- come- in- My- timing- and- you- need- just- wait- on- Me kind of days.

Wait on Me. My timing is perfect…

Beads on my forehead, wringing my hands, restless kind of day.

Alone and a bit parched of beauty.

Alone and a bit withered of joy.

It is like a

Musical Chairs kind of day.

’round, ’round, ’round again…

and the waiting on Him comes with the wondering on Him… and then I wander around and around a bit…

Like the melody is playing and I am circling and circling

and I am not sure whether I should dance my way around

or

take it slow and concentrated and steady and measured and safe

and anticipate the music stopping

and could I,

can I just…

……let someone else take the seat and I will step away for a bit?

Like a not so party girl sit-with-my-punch-and-cookie-awhile wallflower?

That would be easy to do.

or could I, can I…

… claim the chair I think may just be mine…

and take it to myself… for Him…

would that be ok, too?

Has He already promised me things I have not truly received?

What if I decide to sing along even if I am a little off-key today?

If I’m a little out of tune and don’t have the song altogether figured out?

What if I walk in all He has?

What if I run with all that He has?

What if I just go with His flow and rest in His promises that sing like songs from His Word?

I could get knocked down and tripped up and stub my toe on something really hard

and really heavy

and cry a little bit.

or a lot.

I could fall down:::

Flat.

Man, I don’t want to be flat.

The falling down.

or the just being

flat.

even.

comfortable.

invariable.

So here I go seeking my chair… music playing… round and round…

the anticipation… the anxious of…

The waiting.

The circling.

The un-nerving excitement…

The slowing down, the speeding up…

The joy-full song playing…

My joy-full heart…

Even when it wants to slow down and step away from the music…

and out of the circle… running ’round ’round…

He sings close to me::::

Still.

He sings deep to me::::

Still.

He sings:::

barely there today but barely is enough for me to know that I am His and this is where He is:::

never barely anywhere but everywhere

forever

And He will sing my song:::: His song:::: when I cannot

And He has found my chair

before time began…

and He sees me now ’round and ’round and ’round I go ::: my own strength::: and

He says

You are in your best party dress and this song is Mine and I have given it to you to sing for Me…

Still.

be.

still.

I

am

still

with

you.                                                                 ::::: singing.

Foreigners like us.

Over the last two days, I have read Ruth three times. It is a short book, so I could fit it in here and there. It jumped off the pages to me, over and over and over again. I am praying about what the Lord wants me to learn from reading about Ruth again…

Ruth:::

A foreigner called to God.

{Aren’t we all foreigners somehow?}

She lived in a foreign land.

A fertile land.

A land fertile with idols. A land of high places. A land of the dead. A land of hopelessness.

A bit like a famine

of the heart.

of nourishment.

of love.

of truth.

of direction.

A woman of beauty who really:::

knew none.

::::But then the most beautiful thing had already happened.

God had already called her to Himself.

He knew her.

And she was beauty-

-full.

She was already His.

A strong, capable and righteous woman predestined to His divine end.

His divine::::::beginning.

“For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” +Ruth 1

When He spoke those words into her heart and she lovingly whispered them to her mother in law —

departing her life of grief and unknowing.

She laid down her gods and blindly, radically and emphatically followed the one, true God.

{Don’t we pray for that? To go radically without blinking– after Him? To leave—

to cleave to Him? Fully like that? To say to Him, where You go I will go? Where You lodge, I will lodge?}

A stranger coming home…

Home to a once-distant oh-so-beautiful-land when He showers His mercy.

We.

Made foreign by our sin and made a Savior’s dwelling place by His grace.

“I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.” +Ruth 2

Severe mercy like that.

How we are set apart to Him and He will summon and allow our trials for our gain, to pluck us from the foreign lands.

::::and bring us home.

Ruth:::

No fear in Him.

“I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” +Ruth 3

Redeemed!

Confident. Bold.

Risk-taker for love.

Righteous, whole, beaming and wide, unending and brilliant Love.

Ruth:::

Trusting His sovereignty over all things.

And going for it.

Ruth:::

A foreigner REDEEMED!

Made beautiful in Him and full of His promise. Grafted into His lineage. Just like you.

My portion of Hope.

KingsLanding 034

:::::::::”The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” +Lamentations 3:24

He purchased Hope for us.

So we could breathe hope in like oxygen to a parched lung to quench our soul’s desire::::

When He breathed His last human breath and took everything of our beat-down, broken-bleeding, barren mess with Him:::

He took it when the curtain ripped top- bottom and the Earth shook and it was finished.

He took it all:::

:::that little doubt and unbelief that seeps and creeps in the crevices of our hearts?

He answered that with His hope.

::: that little jump of your heart that giggles in expectation?

Hope.

:;; that place in your heart reserved for all that is to be and no matter what happens to you, you can still feel it right there, where it has always, always resided?

Hope.

He answered it all with that tiny one-syllable word::

Breathed out in an exhale of lightening::

:::::hope:::::

because He had hope for His beloved. On that splintering cross.

You.are.His.beloved.

::::::And He has great hope for you.

He breathed hope into the life of His Son so that He on Earth could gather us in and speak this life-giving gift called hope into our searching, longing, life-wanting, desolate hearts.

::::::::::::: And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even He who arises to  rule the Gentiles; in Him will the Gentiles hope.” +Romans 15:12

Hearts like ours need hope like His.

Oh, to hope!

Doesn’t that bind us all together and keep us hemmed in and moving and open starry-eyed dreams and just drip of things unseen?

Sometimes we fail to even name it::: Hope::: but that is what it is.

Even when I’ve left hope un-named and un-noticed when things bear up rocky and un-anchored:

When my brother passes and I dare to smile and remember at the mention of his name,

When I pray over my little ones and ask the Lord to draw them close to Him and I rest in that,

When we argue for a full two hours and we look at one another in exhaustion and forgive,

When the baby is gone and I have not carried but barely three months, but we grieve and start anew,

When I see her six pound eleven ounce bundle of pink and love and made by him and me and I fall down in darkness and I can not crawl my way off my pillow and I look up at my love when he says to me::: this will pass::: and I feel relief in his three little words,

When the last of the crickets sing in the Summertime and I look longingly at the lake and notice the flutter of leaves already and soak in the late August day…

Hope!

We are made for ::: Living!

We are made for ::: Hoping!

And

we can hope;

we can hope all things,

in Him.

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you… +1 Peter 1:3-4

Sewing His love

KingsLanding 003Today, Nathanael learned about Dorcas, or Tabitha, from Acts 9, in his Sunday School class. He told me her story. “She made coats.” “She died.” “People prayed.” “She was alive.” I was so intrigued, I had to read more.

She sewed coats.

and gave them all away.

And sewed together broken lives with her giving.

She sewed coats.

And sewed together weeping hearts with her love.

She sewed coats.

And sewed His lovingkindness into each stitch.

She gave the coats away.

She gave her love away. Like He did.

She gave her time away. Like He did.

She gave her best away. Like He did.

Coated in righteousness and graciousness and Godliness and gentleness

She labored.

for the least of these.

{Truly, I say unto you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me… +matthew 25}

She labored for Him.

Because He is all she saw

in her weaving of this life

in her tailoring of good works

She knew that showing His grace to the least

meant sharing her most

the seaming and knitting of a tattered humanity

With His given-to-her gifts

for His glory…

These things of His that she gave away…

is what made her live.

She was full of good works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

+Acts 9, ESV (bible gateway.com)

Spring-ing.

Spring is my un::favorite.

The least of the favorites.

Although there is always something I favor in each season God gives: flowers anew, mud puddles, cool lake on a hot day, ice shining on the trees, pumpkins rolling down the hill after Thanksgiving is over.

{Thanksgiving::: never over}

But I with the voice of thanksgiving… +Jonah 2:9

But Spring: it’s the un:favorite of the favorites, despite the creeping green seeping across the renaissanced Earth.

I do not know why::: really.

I never hasten Winter to leave me.

The cold is when I feel alive in my skin with snowflakes on eyelashes and bundled close in my scarf and I feel the wind on my cheeks and see the world washed white and the sleeping earth rests and I breath in fresh and crisp and listen to the silence loud in the trees and soak in the woodfire crackling and adore cozy nights in pajamas after a long day chilled outside…

I like the blanket swaddled warm on our babies and the lights dimmed settled on the couch for movies and popcorn and me and tea and books while the branches sway and creak outside in frigid air and snowy darkness and I imagine everything quiet in woods and animals nestled and how stars are crazy- visible: bright and burning on nights like these: everything sharp and arctic, raw- beautiful and invigorating…

I am comfortable in Winter. When things are hibernating a bit.

Kind of not moving and not hurrying.

Torpid like the turtle with its head in the mud at the bottom of a pond.

Sleepy like the bear who fattened himself up and dozed off in a dark den somewhere.

In the North where I live, Winter is comfort to me. I prefer it.

My boreal blanket wrapped soundlessly about me in my tiny no-green-light- town in the woods to keep me warm and comfortable.

Spring.

Spring::: Well, Spring expects something.

Spring wants water running and thirst quenched and rays beating down hard on fallow ground:::

Spring says Wake Up and Get Up and bloom and grow and ripen and rise and thrive and build and flourish and burst and stretch and…

Abound.

Whoa. Spring. Hold up.

I like some slumbersome Winter.

Nothin’ too radical like that, Spring.

Like breaking ground and shooting up leaves from a seed carcass laying on dry ground.

That.

That is hard. Takes energy. Lots of it.

{by your endurance, you will gain your lives. +luke 21:19}

Strength. Lots of it.

{…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. +eph 6:10}

Trust, too. Like that there will be enough water and the Son will shine bright enough and the growing will be painful but for the good anyway. To break out like that.

Bold, buoyant and believing.

{blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord… +Jer 7:17}

Spring::: you are a new adventure that I can have faith in, aren’t you?

Winter::: you were nice and quite snug, thanks for the rest, for the refresh.

I have to go, though. This is a new beginning.

Because that is what He says.

{The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge… +proverbs 1:7}

Abound.

Abound in good works.

Abound in love.

Abound in faith.

Abound in belief.

Abound in grace.

Abound in mercy.

Abound in forgiveness.004

Abound in Him.

{and maybe a little rebound, too? He is right there waiting…

…For the Lord will not forsake His people; He will not abandon His heritage… +psalm 94:14}

Let’s abound in Him.

Growing and flourishing and rooting ourselves deeply in all of His promises.

Oh, the gift of that.

And while we enjoy His gift of growth, we can keep looking forward…

to the season of His

Harvest, too.

Until then,

Let’s rejoice together.

In our Springtime.

“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper may rejoice together…”

+Jesus

The barrens

Yes, I have been barren.
In many senses of that word.
                depleted…parched…unbearing…fallow…wasted and….empty.
Have we all somehow, somewhere, endured some reaching, grasping, please-let-it-stop-God-just-let-me-see-You barren moment of time?
Barren.
                                                                                        (He gives the barren woman a home… Ps113)
of time.
of hope.
of children.
of salvation.
of happiness.
                         of Joy.
of peace.
of safety.
of meaning.
                        of Faith.
of guidance.
of direction.
of calling.
of rest.
of believing.
……………………………….. of Love?
                                                 (The Lord is gracious and merciful… abounding in steadfast love…. Ps145)
Barren moments that stole my fragile breath, my living air.
leaving,
heaving for absent light.
swirling.
Close,
Creeping threads of night that shear a heart and soul stretched thin and wide and unveiled.
naked to every worldly, fleshly thing that can steal life and
whittle away
a minute
a day
a week
…a life.
Barren.
…. the things that fill lungs and mind and heart with loss and disappointment and abandonment and betrayal and
::::: everything that the Lord does not and will not author unless He weaves it together for our good and His glory…
                                       (He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted… Is 61)
                                 The moments that can take you somewhere you do not want to be:
                                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When you are nine.
You wanna take a walk down to the park?
Leave your bed.
We just had lunch.
Thanks for our favorite ice cream bon-bons.
I don’t want to watch tennis with you… I think we should pick some peonies.
Thank you for the hug. I love you, too.
      Leave your glass right there. Please. Please?
Raise the shade.
It’s sunny.
Please?
Barren.                                     Yet He saw me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When you are ten.
Door closed.
again.
In a yellow and blue flowered room, surveying a ten year old self in the mirror,
alone, fingers-in-ears singing,
trying not to internalize,
eternalize
the sounds, the shrill, the banging of the family tree being sawed off at the rotting trunk,
bleeding the sap of broken lives.
Barren.                                        Yet He did not abandon me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Same room.
Same mirror.
Different girl.
17.
I know I left that house.
For good.
I just don’t remember it.
That moment.
That day.
Even now.
That moment without a memory.
Barren.                                               Yet He held my hand.
                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Walking down the crooked path,
Leaving the Lord behind me… oh, but I knew He was there…
college,
boyfriend… that was not my husband…
21,
bible tucked in my flowered bag cinched up tight on the dusty dorm shelf,
no worship,
bed before marriage,
those idols.
                                      (The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, He saved me… Ps116)
Barren.
                                                       Yet He kept calling to me.
26.
After the first bliss of sheer joy,
On the floor, writhing,
screaming,
with the glimpse of knowing
that my womb would continue its swell without the thrumming of life,
Barren.                                                         Yet He healed me.
                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scalpels and “we’ll take good care of you, I’m so sorry” under glaring white lights.
Blinding.
Medical mumbo-jumbo in stark paper piles of reports that say words “fetal tissue” and “cutterage”
                while I howl the only word “baby” deep inside
until the word rips through my lips
Why……………………….
and l lay lost in my husband’s arms devoided
of the life I loved already.                                                      (My hope is in You… Ps38)
Poking.
Prodding.
Infertile.
Can’t see.
Broken.
This month.
No.
Barren.                                                         Yet He gave us children.
                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
33 and 8 years married.
Yoked unevenly, bound to him, he to me
with all of our family suitcases,
baggage stuffed full,
busting open with nowhere to hide the unbelief,
the ill-preparedness,
the blackness,
the pushing away of the Truth,
in some secret corner, out of the way,
where we won’t look,
where we won’t see what is happening when we only trust ourselves…
binding us,
spilling out into our marriage bed,
with Temptation and Distrust and Hurt and Accusation and Guilt…
all of them.
nestled comfortably between us.
sleeping contentedly.
(Your adversary… prowls like a roaring lion… resist… firm in your faith… 1Pet5)
The gut-wrenching wailing of sin
unmasked
when I say it is all over
when he says it is all over
and I leave him there in our mess and go back
600 miles away
running to a place I cannot remember anyway.
Barren.                                                           Yet He redeemed my marriage.
                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When those early morning calls come from your family in a span of only one year
and you start to dread the ring before 6am
and you look at one another searching each other’s eyes without searching for the phone
and the voice says:
:he drowned last night; your brother was there,too; his lungs are full of water too and he can’t talk to you right now;
:he has cancer, there’s a tumor, they are running more tests; I’ll call when I have more to tell you;
:there was an accident and they couldn’t do anything; he was just running to the store and the other person ran the light;
:his house just burnt down after he just lost his son, can you come?
broken.for.words.to.feel.anything.
Barren.                                                             Yet He used us for others, as He comforted us.
                                                ============================================
Driving in the early morning, it struck me as I passed many of the Blueberry Barrens on my way…. acres and acres of plants and rocks and hills boasting some of the finest blueberry harvesting in the country.
Barrens?
Barren?
There is nothing barren here.
My car slows to pause on the tallest hill, barrens on one side, barrens on the other.
The fog is rising in shadowy, misty white columns from the earth revealing the lay of the land beneath:
Gorgeous. It overtakes me.
Lord, I need to stop and watch.
Your earth is glorious when it is praising You…
These barrens:
The leaves heavy on the blueberry bushes: they are crimson red in the late Autumn sunrise,
More beautiful to me now then when they are blue with fruit in August…
stretching across miles of rolling soil, made perfect for bountiful crops to spring forth.
The sun pours down on the tiny leaves,
Rain soaks the sandy soil to strengthen the roots.
Shoots emerge bearing clean, white flowers,
clean, washed and white…
there they are after an arduous Winter…
dripping off the branch…
the Branch…
The flowers, nurtured, pollinated, fed,
Surrender themselves to the fruit…
The fruit,
That can only come,
After the Winter,
After the nurture,
After the thirst for the Water,
After
The growing.
If that is what happens in the barrens….
If this is what happens in the barrens…
washed.
white.
clean.
bounteous.
fruit.
beauty.
thirst.
surrender.
growing…
glory…
then…
I… am humbled.
I am nothing…
Nothing but
Blessed
as I’ve walked the barrens.
But for you, who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.  ~Malachi 4:2
Praying for you, for me, today, that we all bring Him glory with our fruit. 
That we continue to seek His strength and not our own, that we praise Him in every storm, that we ask Him when we don’t understand….
that we know, that we KNOW in the deepest parts of ourselves that He loves us, He does not accuse us, but rescues us and weaves our stories of life together to bring Him glory. That’s what it’s all about… bringing Him glory. Praise God.