new life in me

023

I feel him.

I do!

And it takes me :::

by surprise.

Each and every time.

He’s in me.

This living and breathing.

this gift inside.

And I’m taken.

right now, he’s moving.

yes, right now.

And my heart leaps

in thankfulness.

And I can’t wait to meet him.

… when I see him for the first time…

to see his face.

Oh, the joy

that will come.

so

until then,

I’m his for this time.

for always.

I’m his.

while he grows in me.

while I live these days for him.

and I’m swept away.

He’s so beautiful to me.

and I think

oh, how can it be?

he’s really mine?

he’s mine.

and

I long for the day to hold his hand

and talk with him

and walk with him

and be with him.

oh, what a sweet,

sweet day

that will be.

My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.    ::: Psalm 84

giving Way

The truth is this, I said to her:

In all these prayed- about decisions so far, I’ve never felt more like

a woman.

{I have a wise friend who told me to write about that amid our conversation… and

I smiled and nodded at her, unsure.)

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So God created man in His own image… male and female He created them. And God                                                            blessed them.            ::: Genesis 1

I had mentioned to her who I had been, back then:

:::: and now

in the tumult of the Curse, bearing down on him and aching for who He had made me to be when the Garden was breathing fresh life and holiness.

Genesis 3

I told her… I had been:

less of myself

and less of Him.

And He:::

He had asked me,

in the cool of the day,

in the heat of my fragile independence

Where are you?

And I, with no good answer,

hid from Him.

I hid at my job.

I hid behind money I thought I needed.

I hid thinking over family goals and career goals and

I hid in church- works and smiles

I hid in my unbalanced marriage

all of it, thinking I could make it work :::

strained and stretched at the teetering edges

I hid behind the world

thinking I wanted to do it all.

That I could do it all.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the                                                  eyes… she took…    ::: Genesis 3

Because this world,

that’s what this spinning, upturned, downgraded world says.

Life- lies through hissing teeth:

Do.it.all.

:::::::::: bondage.

And so, one day, He told me to stop spinning.

and I whispered,

Here I am, Lord.

Nowhere to hide.

surrender.

and that word:

that word that makes a world- living woman {a woman like me} a tad nervous?

submission.

yielding.

giving way::::

and that was it.

giving way.

Giving way to He who knows me deep and wide.

He who created me from him as his helper.

I will make a helper fit for him…   ::: Genesis 2

He who breathed life- air fresh into the first lungs so that we could breathe Him.

:::::::::::::::

Giving way

to Garden– fresh life.

... and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground… and the Lord God planted a garden in Eden… and out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight… ::: Genesis 2

And the truth is this:

I’ve never felt more like a woman.

Set aside the homemaking and the homeschooling and the I’ll never have a minivan and the crafty days and the Pinterest browsing and church- supper baking and the new penchant for a good dishtowel…

This. This is not about that.

Here.

Here it is:

I’ve never felt more like a wife to this man who loves me and loves Him.

I’ve never felt more like a mother to these children who teach me while I teach them.

I’ve never felt more like a daughter

to the King of kings.

And it’s not because I quit my job {although, for me, it is}

and it’s not because I teach at home {although, for me, it is}

and it’s not because I spend more time thinking about hospitality {although it is}

and it’s not because I search through grocery sale flyers…

it’s because of

submission.

:::: obedience.

I pray, {Lord, in Your mercy and grace,} help me to yearn after more of who I am in You.

I pray, {please, Lord,} help me to love my husband more fully and wholly,

{::: He listens…}

And He.

He encourages and helps me, this independent, kicked-out-of-the-Garden- woman-wife to submit to my husband…

Because I know he toils and seeks after the One who made us.

and when I submit to him,

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.   ::: Colossians 3

the one who leads me in the Word and plays with our children and guides me in my messes and lifts my moods and shares in my prayers and relinquishes to his Father in heaven?

that, in turn,

that encourages me, demands me, to kneel down and yield myself

before Him,

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by                                                                   submitting…                       ::: 1 Peter 3

and suddenly,

our life breathes together and we walk beside one another and we laugh and we snuggle and we pursue Truth and knowledge and wisdom in a way we hadn’t known…

::::: it’s the flawless dance of Creation He intended before the fruit was touched…

And it’s beautiful.

And there’s this glimpse of Jesus I see.

His love and his sacrifice for His own

how He redeems and fulfills and satisfies:::

and

how He submits willingly to His Father

and how He calls us to do the same.

and that,

that is not to be ignored.

And this yielding and opening and

giving way 

to Truth:::

is gracefully and simply beautiful.

And my independence?

That thing this world- woman craves and chases when my own deceitful heart gets in the way?

I remember.

I ask Him to help me remember His ultimate act of submission on the cross.

And I have no choice but to fall in – dependence on Him.

::::::::::::::::::::::::

and He nurtures and refreshes and emboldens and rallies us to press on…

::::::::::::::::::::::::

And I’ve never felt more

free.

Live as people who are free…   ::: 1 Peter 2

Yes.

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There’s this little one tucked deep- warm and growing

whom I love already

this enlarging of my heart with the enlarging of my womb

and sometimes

a flutter

I feel

my heart

leaping

joy

thinking

how this all began

those years ago

with no life

in me

and a growing belly

with my heart split bare

spilling grief thick into a hospital bed

and how it broke me wide and long

and how He said

I AM here

and how I crawled my way over

soaked sheets of tears and shame back to Him

whispering a thin

Yes

from this freezing heart

on a cold January night

and He made His yes- promise to me

that He does not leave me

heaving

this life alone

For He wounds, but He binds up; He shatters, but His hands heal.  +Job 5

and hope

felt Spring fresh

and He bound up warming this thawing heart

:::::

and now

when he and I

he and I, thought no more?

but somewhere we wrestle- wondered if He

wanted us

to give Him this?

:::: of course He did

This thing that has driven us together as we held our sweet ones on their first day?

This thing that has driven us far as we gasped for air in the Winter past?

and so he went to Him

humbled

and he spoke to Him

quiet

and quick

and my love, he

he said yes, Lord

for us

::::::::::::::::::::::::: because He tells us to

::::::::::::::::::::::::::: everything

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: all His.

                                          “Come now,  let us reason together, says the Lord:
                                           though your sins are like scarlet,
                                           they shall be as white as snow…
                                           If you are willing and obedient,
                                           you shall eat the good of the land…”   +Isaiah 1

and then:

He

said

YES

not one month after

and this momma is now smile- keeping her fourth little one close

with my wounded

bound up overflowing

heart beating fast after Him

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.   + Psalm 147

in on- my- knees awe of

what happens when we say

Yes.

To Him.

And so I sing over this little one

with no name yet

about a father who says yes

to a Father who said

Yes

And He breathes peace on us

like we have not known

and I want to say

yes

again

::::::: and again

:::::::::::::::::: and again

and He keeps us

knitted to His perfect giving mercy heart

growing

as He

sings over us.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.         + Zephaniah 3

Say.

yes.

of berries, beans and beauty and being

I said to him,

So, I should clean the blueberries for freezing today? And the beans?

I was thinking past the question already.

{You know the drill?} I do.

Other things on the agenda- oh- so- important.

Groceries.

The budget.

Email to send.

That bill to pay.

I had wimageanted to roast that defrosted chicken and make sure I put gas in the car.

Snapping beans and shucking things :::: sifting twigs and picking leaves:::

out of berries just didn’t seem to make the cut.

At least on a busy-catch-up-chore day?

{……. like today?}

On his way out, thermos in hand, steaming cup in mine, he said yes with a kiss and

if you can, take some blueberries to my Nana, too, if you get a chance?

She wants to make muffins like she used to.

{when she slowed and bent time in half in a blueberry meadow under the sun on a late-Summer day}

a breath, deep, my mind was traveling away and speeding up and racing

to a cup of cold coffee

left on the table where my quiet time with Him should have- could have been.

This day was His.

…This day was His?

He would do as He pleased.

Take it, Lord.

Help me make it Yours.

                                          Always.

Certainly the added bump of blueberries should not put my day over the top… in danger of disarray?

I thought a nice visit with Nana would be good for me and the kids, they always bring a smile to her aging face and put a little spring in her aching step.

So I did those other things…

The bill, the cereal bowl, the chicken was quickening the kitchen to a home spun warmness

and the clothes were pinned to the line.

… all reminding me of something I yearned for, but couldn’t reaching-fingertipping touch?

Kids were out in the sandbox now after chores, pirating the last of the treasure and building castles knocked down by dragons

and the day was graced with a bittersweetness of time passing and standing still

and I stood with the screen door open seeking the slow-down soaking-in.

Oh! The beans… blueberries!

I grabbed the cold coffee’s cup from the table

and dumped it

down the drain…

The porch step was drenched in sunlight and so I sat there with my berry bowl and my working hands and the laughter and bantering of my little ones lovely in my ears.

{Thankful.}

Family, church, chores, schooling, dinner, phone calls, health, Bible, ordering, weather, schedule, calendar, painting, reading, sleeping, waking…

all ringing and swirling in the sun.

And the beans:::

The berries::: the

Picking,

Snapping,

Sifting,

Separating,

Sorting,

My mind wandered far…

{close?}

Picking,

Snapping,

Sifting,

Separating,

Sorting,

My heart slowed deep,

Picking,

Snapping,

Sifting,

Separating,

Sorting,

My ears listened keen,

Picking,

Snapping,

Sifting,

Separating,

Sorting,

It was the rhythm of slow beauty surfacing,

Picking,

Snapping,

Sifting,

Smiling,

With my fingers knowing their course from bowl to bean to bag

Picking,

Snapping,

My mind was wandering…

But…

It was roaming:::

::: closer to Him…

Separating,

Sorting,

Sifting,

:::: out

the necessity from the list,

Separating::

the essential from the culture-warped urgent,

Picking::

the sweet-slow from the crazy-busy,

Sorting::

the moment from the blur,

And there it was,

The thing I pant after some days long,

found there in the pick-snap of a bean and

the willed- working of the berries,

the thing we miss in this nowadays,

the thing that slipped through our fingers from an age ago,

when food was worked

and mothers sat still

near Him

while a life-rhythm

of snapping beans

and sorting real from unworthy

graced their days,

and the melody of a hymn hung on their hearts

and those hearts held close to His,

while their hands worked slow and thankful and intentional and purposeful:::

and for a blink,

I saw it there on the step…

when the bean-snapping mundane was anything but…

it was why you see a slight smile on a berry-sifting mama’s face…

those moments rendered slow and rhythmic and deliberate:::

to slow the waning wandering wicked- whipping of the day

to listen

to feel

to be

with the One who made her heart

to beat

after His.

 

He restores my soul… +Psalm 23

 

 

In the slow of things…

He takes time.

with all things.

because it’s who I thankfully think he is.

this little boy we have the gift of growing:::

alongside.

image

I say to him, Let’s go. Get in the car. We gotta get going.

And he, he puts his boots on the wrong feet and finds two matchbox cars, one red, one gold and sticks them in his frayed little boy pocket and looks for his belt long after I say :

ok. Get your boots on! If you wanna wear a belt, find it now!

He will pause, look for the dog, pet a long good bye and wave to the fish and say I love you! See you later!

He strings his cowboy belt through the loops of his khaki cargos and meanders over to pull his dinosaur coat over his arms and rests awhile before he tries to tackle the zipper zipping.

ok! Lets go! Your sister is in the car! You ready?

He adjusts his silver longhorn belt buckle, tucks his pants into his boots, says almost Mama, almost and I sigh and look at the clock on my phone and I say, well, let me help you!?

And he says no, it’s ok, Mama, I just gotta do one more thing…

and he parks his ninja turtle scooter and “takes out the keys” and stuffs them in a pocket too and…

… Finally… ?

… Walks out the door…

and he grabs my hand…

and it’s this same kind of routine…

something slower I watch him grow in to…

and I’ve started to watch him now…

and I’ve started to watch my words more…

and I’ve started to slow with him…

and revel a bit…

how he walks out the door and he holds it for me… Almost every time…

::: this little man growing…

he lets the door close and then he looks up… Every time…

if it’s raining, he puts out his hand and cups the drops…

if it’s sunny he squints in the light and smiles…

if it’s night, he listens for frogs…

if it’s morning, he listens for birds…

and he slows me to listen, too,

while I fumble in my purse or make sure I locked the door…

do you hear the wind, Mama?

do you see that butterfly?

And I have to stop and I have to not sigh and I have to put my hands down in the dirt like he does when he sees that one prettiest pebble and I have to take time to stroll with him and see how he sees…

And it’s beautiful.

And so I wait in the moment of it…

While the world whirs by…

and nothing crashes down because I stop for a time…

The moment only seems more lovely, with sharper hues and sweeter breath…

and how can I not take a little time to slow with him?

to find the small things of joy?

errands can wait five more minutes…

we can catch three more snowflakes…

I can say goodbye to our cat, too…

Because time…

it’s so fleeting… and

It does not wait…

so why not slow… it… down…

I gotta slow it down…

I wanna slow it down…

while this little boy helps his mama grow.

:::

He has made everything beautiful in its time.   ::: Ecclesiastes 3:11a

Just for her

 

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I watched him wrap it up with a smile, just for her.

A dress, royal purple, glittering with silver and satin.

He slipped it into a bag with a heart felted on the front.

He wrote a note from his father-heart straight to her daughter-heart and set it down, left it waiting just for her.

She awakened slow and early and stumble-tripped down the hall stretching wild with hair and thoughts of a brand- new day dawning

She eyed it wide and happy and knew it was just for her.

Giggles spilled as the dress spilled sparkly and she held it close and waltzed a few steps in the sun.

:::Why did you give me this Daddy?

:::Read what I’ve written to you, Pumpkin.

And she saw the words, written just for her:

I was wondering if you would like to go out on a date with me tonight? For cocoa and pie? Just me and just you? This dress is for you to wear if you want to. I will see you later. I love you, Pumpkin. Love, Dad.

:::Sure, I wanna go… Yay, Daddy….. yay.  {smile.smile.smile.}

and he chuckled and mussed that wild hair and he calmed her sometimes-uneasy heart like only he can.

No one else can do that for her like he does.

                               {This thankful, joy-filled observer I am.}

How her eyes are shaped like his and they dance and glimmer alike when they hear good news.

How they walk with the same quite- confident stroll and how:::

when they are nose to nose and head to head, they are headstrong and heart-strong the same.

And I watch her grow and see her more like who he is

{and it’s this grateful surprise for me}

because I think he’s amazing

and she:::

:::she just amazes me.

And they walk out the door with this chitchat that’s theirs alone

his just-for-her love wells true

and he opens her door

and he smiles at me

and she waves at me

and I stand rooted in the moment, like I want it to keep it written-saved on a tiny prettiest- paper tied tight with a shimmering ribbon and slip it out and read it when my mommy-heart grows weary…

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

and she bursts joy as she bursts through the door

and I hear the conversation never did stop and there were sweet leftovers to enjoy

tomorrow and maybe even the next day,

and I say, leftovers, no, this will last forever::::

the way He spoke His Fatherly love deep into her needy heart…

the way He dressed her in royal purple and took her hand in His

the way He carried her away with laughter and chivalry

the way He wrote His Love Note for her to treasure and keep

the way He invited her to come away with Him and sing and dance and eat and drink ’til she was full

all of this, He did:::

just for her

How she begins to grow and know this father she has,

How she begins to grow and know this Father she has.

The one that will do anything just for her.

The One that did everything.

Just for her.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord… you shall be called My Delight is in Her… so shall your God rejoice over you…    :::Isaiah 62

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laundry

My dryer is broken.

One day I ran to the screeching and threw open the door to find our load of laundry torn and blackened and ruined.

Over the years, we have ordered parts for this problem, fixed it, ordered more parts, fixed it…

But this time, we are just letting it sit. Broken.

We think it may be time for a new one.

I have the woodstove, I say to my Love, and the clothes will dry pretty quickly until we get a new dryer. I don’t use a dryer for everything anyway, I say.

We will save on electricity this Winter, too, until it gets warm enough to hang the clothes outside, I say to him, so let’s not try to get a new one quite yet. We have other things we need to take care of and pay for first.

And so I started hanging clothes downstairs on drying racks and on the back of chairs and wherever I could find an elevated spot near the drying warmth of the woodfire.

{I smile when I say:: It kind of adds to the going-back-in-time-homeschooling-breadmaking-working-in-the-home thing we’ve got going on… and it makes me chuckle and makes him tease me when I laugh about it.}

So, everyday, I do at least a load of laundry. A couple of active kids, living in the woods, a husband-mechanic-woodsman-who-likes-to-get-his-hands-dirty, in and out pets and my penchant for clean towels all of the time kind of make for at least a load everyday.

So I wash. So I dry. So I fold.

{note: but I hate to put away.}

and, at the beginning, even though I was the one that said it was fine, I was bemoaning the hanging up of wet, dripping sweaters and  and sheets and blankets, as it was taking time from school, life and other things I thought I need to be or {wanted to be or was too distracted by} doing.

And then it happened slowly, or I should say:::

I realized it slowly…

how much I loved hanging up my laundry… how it slowed me down… how it gifted me time and quietude in the middle of our schedules.. silly? Maybe a little:::

Each early morning, after my load or two was washed clean and rinsed free and spun out and made new again,

The kids would start their chores upstairs and

I would carry the soaked and heavy baskets downstairs and start hanging this dripping pile of mine– the mound piled up in front of me… weighing me down…

Standing near the you-can’t-beat-the-cozy-warmth-of-the-woodstove heat, I would begin.

I would hang a dishcloth sopping with worry over here:

And a shirt stained with joylessness over there:

Maybe pants soggy with too-much-on-my-need-to-get-it-all-done-list:

and here, a pillowcase filled with doubt:

and drape some socks: a hole-y pair of weary and tired-out:

Finding their way out of my hands and into His…

… and hanging the heap up: one by one.

And the soiled hamper of my shortcomings and guilts and sins and empty-heart-spots

would start to empty out, too: one by one.

::::: and I pray.

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Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in thanksgiving… :::Colossians 4

I began to find myself praying and petitioning and praising and pinning:::

up my burdens:::

and hanging them up and giving them all:::

to Him and hope-expecting them to dry the weight of it all right out- right there in His presence.

I found time with Him in the still and warmth He mercy-gave me in the middle of my mundane.

The chores humdrum:::

that hum a hopeful, happier heart.

And, today, three months by, my wash has changed me.

::::my washing has changed me.

I look expectantly to the moments when my disheveled and sullied self stands before Him, in the early morning or in the late afternoon or the times in between when

He and I…

we spend time together… doing laundry.

And I stand amazed.

The King of Kings meets me wherever I am, even as I hang up my laundry… and He washes me clean.

Glory.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  ::: Psalm 51

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undone.

She was sitting at the table, bound:::

by a science lesson left undone and a sunny day-outside with school work-inside and some grumbling.

Grumbling had been on our breakfast plate in the morning, with a side of complaint and a drink of a little bit tired.

We had talked about it, as we have been for days, we talked about grumbling and prayerfulness and cheerfulness and singing songs that keep our hearts singing steadfast, even when it’s hard.

And we know, some days are just plain raw and hard.

And then we all got to our morning work.

:::: … and the people grumbled… ::: Exodus 15

grumbling.

I had fifteen things left undone, not to mention my grumbling heart.

And she said it quick and it flew straight as the arrow piercing my undone flesh ::: boring through with naked truth.

“You aren’t even acting like my momma right now. My momma is nice to me even when she’s frustrated with me. She talks with love to me even when she doesn’t like what I’m doing.”

un.done.

She was right. She was sincere. She was undone in little girl tears and I was undone in crankiness and conviction.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

{We had sat around the breakfast bagels in the morning, rainbow roses blooming a promise of hope in the center, we read Psalm 8, her favorite, and prayed about our plan for the day, knowing and praying the Lord may have a different plan, but that was ours, anyway.

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His plan was different, and better,

and harder [and more beautiful}.

But His plans are the ones we had prayed for when we gathered at the morning table, right?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

So, I teetered on the slippery edge of pride and wanting to spark and spit some flaming words :::

:::: I-am-your-mother-get-your-work-done-I’ve-told-you-500-times-and-this-day-stinks-and-I-had-this-all-planned-out-with-school-and-cleaning-and-spic-and-span-dishes-before-your-father-gets-home-and-we-are-doing-crafts-today-and-your-work-isn’t-done-and-I-am-tired-of-disobedience-and-I-have-a-list-a-mile-long-and-you-don’t-wanna-go-to-school-til-July-do-you? ::::

::: that whole statement rolling around in my head and starting its pompous stroll down my tongue :::

as I watched her shrink with wet rivulets like a tiny rill spilling on her sweet face and I watched her pull back her little-girl heart into a deeper place I couldn’t :::

that this momma wouldn’t:::

be able to reach:::

if He didn’t help me get this heart- thing right.

And I heard her words.

and I remembered His:::

::: you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart… ::: Jeremiah 29

And I looked straight at her.

And I stopped.

I stopped everything I was doing.

The only thing still moving was my heart, praying to turn this thing around and beat like His.

School.talking.dishes.laundry.planning.talking.thinking.talking.walking.tidying.

every.thing.stopped.                       ::::: by His grace.

because He was the only One who could tidy this undone mess up.

And I walked over to her small hands and held them and took her blue eyes to mine and breathed out slow:::

You.are.right.my.baby.girl.

And I prayed His name over my girl and over this undone house and our undone day and my undone heart:::

knowing deep, He has said::: It’s already done.

On the cross.

And so I reminded her. He forgave us our sins. On the cross, right? He came here, walking with us on Earth, to seek us out and to rescue our hearts, remember? He has already done it all….

And so I asked for her forgiveness {and for His} and we smiled and we cuddled and I felt our hearts beat closer to Him…

So we talked about these things wrapped up in a blanket and His love on the couch with her held close to my beating heart::: I told her, oh, these hearts of ours:

they beat because of Him, so they must beat for Him.

Rhythmic and pounding. Steady and resounding. That our lives, they must fill and must beat His love and His music,

because His heartbeat is the only steady one.

The Constant One. And His heart, oh, my little one, His heart?

It beats for us.

{::: amazing grace.}

I told her:

That He paid the price for us already. That He forgave us by giving His Son for us::: for our broken hearts: wavering, wobbly, wanting.

::::::::::::::::::::::: His blood shed, so our hearts could pump pure.

So that He could turn our desperately unsteady hearts to His.

So our heartbeat could, by His mercy-gift, begin to beat out His life-giving rhythm.

Beat out His words.

Beat out His work.

Beat out His grace.

Steady. Constant. Sure. Connected.

Unbroken.

So we could beat out His heart for us.  A heart pulsing forth His love.

And, today? Well, today’s been one of those out-of-tune days, my beautiful girl. But::: we can stop marching to our own tempo and start walking in agreement with His heart for us. We can, and He will show us how. What do you say?

Let’s fix this broken moment.

Because you know what?

He has already mended it all… even our hearts!

For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ::: 2 Corinthians 4

In Him, my sweet little girl, there’s not a thing:

undone.

Remember, my little love, despite this world, despite your momma’s mistakes, despite your wonderings and wanderings…

One thing is always true, always fixed

His heart.

It’s fixed on you.

Pressing.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around Him.  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment and immediately her discharge of blood ceased… Jesus said, “Someone has touched Me…” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before Him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”  ::: Luke 8

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and:

on a morning barely light, while I stumbled over my slippers and my broken way, and gave my love a kiss and a thermos on the way out the door and I settled in to listen to the message in the quiet with my coffee and my bible and the my day-plan already spinning tired in my head:

The pastor, he spoke these words of God’s truth straight to my thought-whirling-weary heart and said something like this:

We have to “press our way through”.

We have to be “desperate enough to say I want to touch the hem of His garment”.

And I heard it.

And I replayed it.

And I inhaled it deep.

And I listened again.

And the tears welled.

That was it.

That thought.

The one that has been settling slow over three days past, that I hadn’t put into spoken word.

Like her.

That’s what I want for.

That’s what I hope for.

To be so singular in focus.

Like her.

To be like her:

To be faith-pouring- out like her.

To be proud- dumped- empty like her.

To be Him- only- truth- seeking like her.

To be on-my-knees-humbled-in-awe like her.

And her?

The way she hemorrhaged sin and blood twelve years.

How she lived lonely- lost on the fringe:

of life.

of community.

of hope.

and then was desperate.

desperate enough.

enough.

she had:::

enough.

And He knew she would come:

to bore a one-way-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel through the mobbed and dusted street to reach- touch the fringe

:::just the edge

of who He was.

Who He is.

She knew:::

it would be:::

::: enough.

To save her.

To heal her…

her once- forever- bleeding heart:::

that plagued her and followed her and chased her and shattered her and forced her to live less than who she was created to be.

And she knew.

He could make her whole.

She knew.

Just the hem…

Could hem her close to Him.

Comforted, close and kept.

So she reached.

and in her trembling before the King,

::: she found what He had called her to.

Hope.Joy.

Healing.

And, in just a while,

He would bleed for her.

Instead.

To heal:::

the hard- heaving : bound- up : fallen- down world

And, in forever- gifted grace, and abounding, love- filled mercy- words, He would say to us, like He said to her:

“Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”  ::: Luke 8

Press on.

Through the crowd.

Press on.

He loves you.

Reach for Him.

Be desperate for Him.

Taking her by the hand he said to her… “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  ::: Mark 5

all the sweet; all the salt

I am The Lord who sanctifies you. :::Leviticus 20

I’ve been making lots of muffins lately.

Walnut ones

Banana ones (awesome)

Apple ones

Chocolate chip ones (not so awesome)

Oatmeal ones

Chocolate oatmeal banana walnut ones

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Some have been quite tasty and some… well… I thought if I piled enough icing or butter on them, they might be… ok…

But, really, it’s about this:

I have been making more muffins because I love him and he. loves. muffins.

:::::::::::::: makes sense.

BUT:::

I have to work at this muffin-making-baking- homemaking thing.

And I continue to.

I do.

:::: And I know it’s a gift. I do. And I love it.

I do.

That’s not me trying to convince myself. It’s me saying what I know is true. And I am savoring it::::

savoring…

:::: all the sweet; all the salt…  

But this:

I am not a muffin-maker by nature.

I’m not.

I’m a let’s-stay-outside-as-long-as-we-can-today-and-throw-chili-in-the-crockpot-so-we-can-have-it-when-I-get-out-of-the-treestand- kinda- girl. I’m a I’ll- always- need- want- a- job- outside- of- the- home- and- if- things- get- too- busy- we’ll- order- pizza- and- get- some- rest- on- the- weekend- kinda- girl.

:::: I thought.

There’s never been aprons and three kinds of spatulas to choose from while I make Rice Krispy Treats with one hand and pour perfectly-timed coffee with the other hand– mulling over how the all-natural chicken is on sale this week and wow, wouldn’t he like it if I met him at the door with a kiss? since I already ran all of my errands and I will be home before him?… while I wait for the kids finish their schoolwork… and feel a certain joy I never felt before?

There’s never been too much of that kind of thing.

’til:

now.

… and now I find myself in the blessed wait for him to come home so I can serve him dinner with a touch of prayed-for leisure and make sure that he can rest a bit and hang out with the kids so he sleeps well before he walks out the door again…

so we can savor:::

one more day:::

of this moment.

:::: And, I pray, remember to be grateful for it.

(And, by the way, I did make my first Rice Krispy Treats last week, you know.

And let me tell ya. They were nothin’  like Aunt Ella’s.

They stuck to my hand more than they stuck to the marshmallow. (?) And my 9×13 pan of treats were more like an 8×8 pan of treats in the 9×13 pan by the time I was done… who messes up Rice Krispy Treats? This girl…) !

But that’s the stuff I work through now… and it sounds silly? but::: it sanctifies me.

For me, this kind of working pushes me and stretches me and encourages me to be less selfish and more giving in ways I haven’t given in to before.

It demands more of who He is and what I am not.

And I have to work through and press through and I have to give up and walk in obedience and let Him work through me:

The Lord knew I needed home-making and love-making and muffin-making and smile-making and making time ::: s l o w ::: down.

… let him seek peace and pursue it. ::: 1 Peter 3

And so now, I make lots of muffins.

And I settle in to this kitchen…

And I pack his lunch…

And the kids eat a breakfast I think about…

And I like it. A lot.

And it happens, this serving and loving and learning and crying and smiling and burning up and burning out and falling tired on my pillow::::

manifests the joy I am finding:

1. In a muffin.

2. That he finds in his lunch box.

3. That makes his day. (!?!?!?)

I am amazed and filled and humbled and thankful.

{… Like the day his lunch buddies were all jealous of his banana muffins… And when he told me all about it, like it was his best story of the day, and there was a twinkle in his eye.}

Really?

Lord, I am loving my husband more deeply because I am making more muffins?

So tonight, I made him carrot muffins.

With a few less raisins, because he’s not so fond.

But with a few more carrots, because carrot cake is his favorite, so I thought he’d like that.

And while I was making them, the kids were running around crazy, pork chops were in the oven, visitors just left, we just finished school and we didn’t get everything done, the dog wanted to be fed and let out, the woodstove needed to be filled, and I was frazzled and I watched the dirt cover the floor I just swept…

but I was making muffins… and I knew that would make him happy.

So that was that. I was happy seeing him be happy. And so he helped me with the pork chops, so I could finish the muffins.

And now, I’m learning.

I’m learning that deep down, in that no -muffin -making deepest part of myself….

I LOVE making muffins.

I never knew it, really, but I have always loved homemaking muffins.

Nothing compares to this.

Nothing can take this place.

This present place where this apron-wearing-new-muffin-recipe-searching-realizing-that-after-10-years-her-oven-at-350-is-really-like-325 girl meets the take-me-bear-hunting- chili-will-be-in-the-crockpot-when-we-get-home girl…

and those two girls can coexist in the same kitchen (!!!!)

And by His grace alone…

pursue the Lord in all these things He’s teaching more about:::::

to

love my husband well

serve my family with more intention

begin to become this woman I had no idea I yearned to be…

… and then, when I’ve washed up my last muffin tin,

I throw down the towel,

:::::::::

and we head out to the Woods.

And for when we get back?

Well…

We all think chili in the crockpot sounds good.

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God!  ::: Psalm 143