my beloved

He came home, my love, from working on a frigid day and headed to the woodshed

so to keep the fire burning.

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Our routine hello and a kiss and he said: I’ll be right back.

He was.

Right back.

What are you doing? I thought you were going to get wood.

I was, but I came back.

Why?

To see you.

You were just here.

I know. But I love you.

You have captivated my heart… :::Song of Solomon 4

I laughed. Like it was silly.

Joked about it, even.

Gave him a quick kiss

and went back to the dishwasher.

So he told me to look at him.

So he could say that he loves me.

Honey. Really?

Yes. He said.

I just want you to know that I love you.

You are beautiful… :::Song of Solomon 6

And off he went.

To keep the fire burning.

And I watched after him.

How he wanted to love me.

How he wanted to be with me.

And I filled up with tears

and love

and thankfulness

and awe.

I realized, {thank You, Lord},

For that moment,

I had rejected him

when he spoke love to me.

I had rejected

the one who loves me.

the one who pursues me.

Come with me… :::Song of Solomon 4

The one He has given me to love:::

declined his love, like it wasn’t justified.

Like it wasn’t qualified::::

I put off :::

this one who desires to love me like He does.

Yes.

I refused the one who, by His grace, desires to love me like He does.

and so with a flippant chuckle and turn of my head,

I dismissed it.

Discarded it.

And he came back through the door, heavy with wood

and me:

heavy with heart.

and I said

I am sorry.

Honey, I am so sorry.

I love you….

Honey, I love you, too.

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

And I stayed up in the night::: tossing:

Lord, do I do this to:::

to You?

Oh, Lord, do I do this to 

You?

Do I cast You off?

Do I reject You?

Do I believe You {love} me like You say You do?

Do I really believe what You tell me?

Do I soak in Your love- advances when You say I am righteous and lovely in Your eyes?

And he brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love… :::Song of Solomon 2

Do I translate that love into loving others the way You love me?

Do I?

And I knew the answer.

The truth of it….

How I can walk in condemnation when He has told me otherwise.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who live in Christ Jesus.  :::Romans 8

How I can walk in death when He has made me live.

but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead… :::Romans 6

How I can reject the Greatest.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… :::Matthew 22

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

Lord, I am so sorry.

And then, it happens, so sweetly.

How He forgives

and how He calls me back to Him.

And He quiets me

with His love.

And He lifts His love- banner over me

And He calls me His own.

again

and again

and again.

Blessed be The Lord your God Who has delighted in you… :::1 Kings 10

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy Fight

I boxed my flesh for joy in the morning.

The morning I woke upside down and floundering on the wrong side of the disheveled bed.

I woke up feeling alone and forgotten. Actually the first thing I said to myself. I’m alone.

Wallow-like in a pity- pride- pit of self and me- loathing and this human skin aching full of sloth.

It had been coming closer like that. Sliding in tiptoe- slow and cantankerous and wrinkled with empty.

I had seen it coming. I told him and I told Him and I said help me hold it off, yet I laid right down in the mud of it ’til it slip-covered me comfortable, smooth and cool.

Deep, my soul knew I am never alone and my Jesus bears witness to just that.

:::: glory.     

                         

                                                                                  The Lord will fight for you… :::Exodus 14

 

But my head? My heart? My wincing flesh? Alone.

So I wanted Him, needed Him, implored Him to step in the ring with me.

Really, He said, Enough’s enough of this, five minutes awake and three weeks of this, we are done.

I didn’t make you for this, He reminded.

 

…and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of The Lord shall give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the  hand of The Lord… :::Isaiah 62

 

He pep-talked me in His Word.

 

{Oh, read Psalm 31! Aloud!}

 

So He helped me lace up my gloves.

Man, did they feel heavy.

Or did I just feel weak?

 

                                                       … for the joy of the Lord is your strength   :::Nehemiah 8

 

The fight for joy.

Some days it just is.

And I cannot do it alone.

Alone.

I am never.

And when there is a knockout and the countdown’s on, He brings us to our feet.

When we hit the ropes, He bounces us back.

When faces stream with sweat and blood and fear grips and we dodge jabbing fists of doubt…

It’s His blood that covers us.

When we are punch-weary and worn-down beat-down and scratch-throat thirsty before we go another round…

He is our living water.

Because the canvas is His.

And He has won the fight.

Our joy.

Our joy is in Him.

Fight the good fight… :::1Timothy 6

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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

One year ago this week.

I taught at a beautiful school next to a lake, the native word for lake: kuspem… where on most days I watched the latter part of the sun rise over the water. 
 
In the Fall, as school was just beginning, I could peer down at the blue of the water and up at the blue of the sky and see the trees dotted with reds and oranges as the rays broke over a new morning. 
 
In the Winter, it would be common to see a moose or a deer walking on the ice as a yellow glow sparkled over the snow rising from behind the hill and filling the day with His beauty.
 
In the Spring, as the Winter broke its hold on the Point, the mist would rise dramatically and forcefully off the water and ice like a prism and the shining pink and orange of the sun would bounce and reflect and take my breath away.
 
As Spring turned to Summer-like weather, the loons would sing a Morning Has Broken song and I would drive by the fisherman on the lake– all the while anticipating the end of the school year thinking of my babies at home and ice cream and flip flops and swimming… things I knew were just around the corner, until I ventured back to this place on the lake and the bright eyes of my students…
 
And then there was yesterday.
 
Yesterday. When I drove my last day down the school lane and I, for a moment felt broken and weak in myself as I stopped next to the glory of the sun as it peeked over the water– sprinkled with glittery light on a calm day that felt tumultuous in me.
 
As the Lord gave me another sunrise to enjoy on my last day of thirteen years at Motahkmiqewi Skulhawossol…
 
 …and on my first day of new beginnings.
 
I wept.
 
Not uncommon for me these days as I grieve closing this chapter and stepping into the unknown as I turn the page on what He has for me.
 
I said to them,
as they served me cake,
gave me a beautiful sweetgrass basket,
hugged me,
served me lobster in the evening,
 
sang You Are My Sunshine” to me, so silly and loving,
 
but so wonderfully blessed I felt…
 
I said to them,
through my tears, as I told them thank you for this moment of many years:
 
“This. 
This is who I was, you all know.
I was this,
Before I was a wife to my Love,
Before I was a mother to my Little Loves,
 
I was this.
A teacher to your children.
I have been blessed.”
 
And I sat down and they hugged and spoke friend-love words in my ear.
 
And I was by myself at the end of it, carrying my last box and closing the trunk and He who carries me spoke His soft, powerful, voice in my ear, too.
 
Because I yearn, I pray, I desire to listen to that Voice:
 
He said::
 
“Listen to Me.  Before all of this.
 
You were a child of MINE.”
 
:::::::::::smile.
Thank You, Father.
:::::::::I am Yours. Lead on.