new life in me

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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

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 things new

Image

 

Ice came coating, preserving and fast and unrelenting to wintry new beginnings.

Sapping light and energy. 

Stuck in December over here in January.

Stiff and creaking slow into

now.

Not giving and not yielding.

This ice fell fierce and release seems asleep.

A static state of deep freeze on slumbering branches and unique flakes falling beautiful suspended:: glacier cinched.

When beneath, there is breathing::: still.

Life sap still rallying::: still glaze-covered but

still quietly percolating

heartwood warm

when new births seem daunting for favoring the age- old,

and the sparkle of the sun sweet- dripping sequins on fresh, spotless snowblankets traded for the tight- gripping familiar

appreciating the beauty of the storm,

and softening to a hope- flowing burgeoning spring.

Be joyful in hope…      ::: Romans 12:12

 

 

 

 

 

 

His nearness; my good.

He was flying with open arms jetting around the island.

The kitchen island, zoom, zooming.

On little legs spinning fast and teasing his sister and chasing the dog tail and singing songs made up and laughing on full throttle.

‘Til

He fell.

Hard.

A pinky toe caught a glaring corner and the giggles turned to sobs unexpected.

I picked him up with Oh, baby, you are ok and wiped away the stubbing scratch.

Setting him down as fast as I had scooped him.

No! He wailed again. I’m not ready he wept.

Not ready? What do you mean, not ready?

I need you, Mama, hold me.

I looked at him puzzled for just a moment. He was fine. His toe was scraped, but my dragon-slaying, bulldozer-driving little one doesn’t let this stuff get him down.

Checking again, I examined his foot. Did something else happen? Did he stub so hard it’s broken?

No. All good.

Mama, hold me.

Ok, honey, I say, privileged, and forgetting the chores and remembering who I am for him.089

And so I cuddled and nestled and sang and prayed and pulled up close a cozy blanket and stroked his curls amiss and he found his peace and found my love on our limp and stammering day slipping by quickly.

{and I want to grab tight the space in time that this sunlight dances and stands still just this moment for us.}

He fluttered lashes at me from the crook of my arm and I marveled at how he has crept close to this heart of mine and how he finds refuge in my mothering and how life- things can trip us up and fell us and scrape hard and rough and how we stand up and brush off and move on and how sometimes we

Just.

Can’t pick up so fast.

And how we say:

Lord, I’m just weary today and I just stumble and falter and I need more of You.

Can I stay a bit longer? Can I snuggle in Your truth and move close to Your sheltering… just a bit more? Just a bit longer? Can I just stop quietly and take this breath forgiveness- full with You? Will You draw me close and keep me upright and love me in mercy and move me in peace and warm me in grace?

And He says My child, you’re mine, My beloved, My own and He bundles us warm quilt-familiar close and we have this refuge- real and this Father-forever and this love-tent covering and this hideaway- harboring and this shield- safekeeping… and He says

Always.

… and we can heal from our blundering and rest from our floundering and find Him, there, peace-filled protecting… where He always is…

waiting to gather us up again and again and again.

…He will care for His flock, gathering the lambs in His arms, hugging them as He carries them… leading… to good pasture… Isaiah 40 MSG

thorns.

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So to keep me from becoming conceited… a thorn was given to me in the flesh… three times I pleaded with the Lord about this… but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness”… Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12

Sometimes I wish it didn’t hurt so much.

But it does.

Some pain pressing in my flesh- jabbing.

The way I am walking in the thickets of the day and smelling the roses and lifting my head to the sunshine and piling up smooth pebbles like velvet to my fingers and lounging by the scent of the stream flowing and filling my basket-full with lovely loose daisies dripping…

until the thorn bites.

Sometimes it is out of nowhere- seen,

a flower in my hand and a song on my lips and a skip in my step and everything laced up– tied up and the world snug-warm and deep, held-near and grasped-dear… and then :::

ouch.

There it is, like stretching itself out for blood and aiming bullseye- perfect for my happy.

sleeping beneath the petals pink,

Like it belongs there.

Like a thorn that belongs on the growing stem of the otherwise most beautiful rose…

Sometimes… I think no, it doesn’t.

It doesn’t need to be .right. there… on that rose, that I am picking to admire and place with my other prize-winning pretty petals.

Because that stings. That surprises. That just does not feel good.

Please, Lord, take it? Take my thorn?

And then:::: I think::::

Maybe it does. Maybe it does need to be.right.there.

But, that is where He has allowed it to be.

…to know and to believe the love that God has for us… +1 John 4

He created all things.

All things. The things we can touch and feel.

The things we cannot.

He is sovereign over everything. Every

::::thing.

He thought about the stem of the rose.

He made these things. All things…

For a purpose.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: But. It hurts.

Hurts.

When there is a barb pointed-irritating where I don’t expect:::

:::just when all is well and I just plain don’t want that.thorn.there.

But of course it does fit right there.

He has allowed it there. And that.

:::::::::::: is enough.

for me.

Because all is His.

All of it. His.

Even the thorns climbing, side-stepping of the stalk to lead to the right-resplendent rose.

At the pinnacle.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. +1 Tim. 4

And the…

Thorns.

They are His, too.

Roses. They are sweet to the taste, sweet to the eye, sweet to the smell…

Everyone wants one.

And that is what the thorn grows for.

Not to harm the rose.

But,

To protect it.

Safeguard and preserve. Cover and keep. Shield and shelter.

from loss.

from iniquity.

From harm.

This thorn.

this piercing blood…

His blood.

covers me.

Perhaps, the thorn, the thing I might dread…

keeps me.

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus… +Heb. 12 

Perhaps it just keeps me…

Close to Him.

For when I am weak, I am strong.  +1 Corinthians 12

I said: Breathe.

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you…”  Isaiah 42 (emphasis mine)

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I breathe slow and snagged.

::::::::::::::::::Sometimes.

Because I am caught up.

and netted- fast

and stuck- constrained.

Snared somehow.

::::::::::::::::Sometimes.

By duty and schedule and guilt and should-be’s and too many yes’s and not enough no’s and not waking with His name on my lips and this to do and that to accomplish and good deeds and this flesh and that mop and this dust and fun and summer and planning this and finding the keys and technology and calendar and my sin and the pull of the world and the …… blah. blah. blah.

I realized this two days ago

in the car

that I wasn’t breathing.

Not filling.

Not satiating.

Not complete.

Not brimming to overflowing.

… You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows… +Psalm 23

More shallow and wanting.

I looked at myself in the rearview and glimpsed my little reminder that days are passing. That silver strand at my temple. Tempted to pull it out.

::::::::::::::Shallow, too. In a different sense.

Some weeks, they slip by unseen and I forget to breathe them in.

… So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom… +Psalm 90

It is easy to forget to breathe.

I said to myself with “Give God the Glory Glory” pouring out of the speakers and out of my backseat buckled-in smiles:::: “Give God the glory, glory….”

I said: breathe.

Like I had to remind myself. Who reminds themselves to breathe????

I did. And I even tried to take a deep breath and my too-tight, white-knuckled chest wouldn’t give me up.

I couldn’t fill myself deep and full and saturated and content.

I couldn’t do it.

So my breath came shorter and held out longer.

                            :::::::::::::::::::::::Without air.

It occurs to me amidst the hymns swirling and little ones counting buttercups along the road and my grocery list flying off the seat in the rolled down windows::::

:::::: This is a gift.

This whole 35 seconds of depthless breathing and that gray hair and this moment right now when I have to depend on Someone else for one of the most natural, rote, practiced, life-giving, filling up and out-flowing actions we do all 86,400 seconds of our day.

And that I cannot do it on my own. Praise God.

No, I cannot even breathe on.my.own.

Lord, Creator of my very breath: Can You help me breathe?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Because I cannot count on myself for even that.

(thank You.)

And that realization:::

That I cannot trust myself, but instead I can trust the mighty and sovereign God of the universe for the tiniest invisible thing is a beautiful blessing.

and I can count on Him right now.

That He commands even my evanescent breath to pour forth from these lungs that He created::: even at this very moment…

that is a grace-saturated gift from Him, to me.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in You! +Psalm 84

I can trust Him.

I can trust. Him.

If in the very small and sightless, then also in the very big.

Not only because His Word tells me so, but because He shows me so.

He goes before me.

He helps me breathe.

When I forget how, He shows me again. and again. and again.

::::::::::::::::::::::::: give God the glory, glory…..

He breathed life into me.

How can I ever forget that?

…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living creature… +Genesis 2:7