Fanning the flame

She spit fire words into the cold air

when things did not go her way.

{Just like her momma can.}

and the tongue is a fire… :::James 3

She kindled swirling selfish thought and muddled disappointment

lighting a flame

{just like her momma can.}

a little girl caught between her world and learning about

the next world:::

And she let it burn.

And I felt the sear.

My baby girl.

She red- peppered her thoughts and let them sit slow- cooking on hot coals in her heart

til she burst them out

big and loud and scorching

and I felt the scald.

My baby girl.

And I said no.

And I said stop.

And I said

enough.

{Go.to.your.room.now.}

And she fell to an exhausted heap like smoldering ashes

to grant to those who mourn… to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.  :::Isaiah 61

with steaming tears streaming

down her little girl face

and I felt the blistering.

My baby girl.

To see her there…

I walked away:::

to teach her there.

to love her there.

Oh, my baby girl.

I think I know her heart.

But

I know He knows her heart.

Grab her, Lord.

Grab us.

Show her You, Lord.

Show us.

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

And He did.

and I heard warm words from behind a slammed- shut door like a song to my Momma ears:

Can I talk with you?

Momma, can I snuggle with you, for just a little while?

And I felt the Love.

and she said

I’m sorry, Momma.

And she talked about Him,

how I left her there

in that simmering lump of self

and how she looked to Him first, this time

and how she prayed and how

He met her 

there

and forgave her

and loved her

and settled her

and moved her

My baby girl.

and I felt the first fire fade

and a new one awaken

and fan- flicker

in her.

And she talked about discipline

and mommies and daddies

writing things on doorposts

and coming ins and going out…

and she made me smile.

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates… :::Deuteronomy 11

and she returned to her room,

where she needed to be:

with headphones singing:

let faith arise

let faith arise

open my eyes

open my eyes…

As I pour out my heart

these things I remember

You are faithful, God,

forever.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. :::Deuteronomy 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Music.

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Her eyes welled to brimming when she didn’t have music class today.

The day was warm, thawed out and heaving a lifting fog on an odd-weathered January morning. I tried to focus on pictures of glistening drips of sunlight caressing a branch that days before was burdened with heavy snow and heavier ice. And I couldn’t quite focus in. To really see its resilience in the sparkle of the sun bearing down on the winter-beat earth. The way the branch gladly bounced each time a shining drop teetered on the edge and broke free to the ground.

Instead I tried to drink it into my self.

The beauty of the second before the shadows moved just so slight and the brilliance shifted from the trees. The light. The warmth. The glow of the mist blanketing the rays. I turned around and walked back ginger-like and stiff-legged, afraid to slip and nervous I’d forget.

Kids in the car, grocery list, snacks made and woodstove fed full, we melted out of our driveway and off to school. She was excited. To see her friends, to sing and giggle, to learn notes that she sometimes can’t remember but belts out with confidence in her voice that her momma loves to hear. I dropped her off at the door and drove the circle to park and scooped her brother and had plans to meet her in the building because I spent too much time snapping morning-glory moments a while before. But she met me on the tar.

Head down and blue eyes blue.

“Oh, Momma, there’s no music today.”

And my heart said I know.

And we came home after errands and library and a lollipop and she settled in to her studies and I hung laundry and answered messages and thought about dinner and sat down up-ended and down-right hardened and tired and I listened, but I couldn’t hear it either.

And my eyes filled and my lashes fluttered wet and I finished dishes and got ready for the next thing, but I looked around for something to dance to.

Because I know it’s there.

I just can’t breathe it in right now.

I hear it when they laugh and it echoes smiling in this heart of mine. I see it when I pick up my camera and capture the way a petal falls folded on the stem. I read it when David unabashedly praises the One who made him. I feel it when a lovely momma I know spoke deep encouragement in my ear.

I know it’s there.

Somewhere.

The melodies that wrap me snug to Him and secure in faith and keep these two left feet waltzing.

But I can’t seem to touch it right now.

But I know it’s there.

And I will trust that. That it’s there.

While it’s quiet.

I will trust Him.

While it’s silent.

Today.Tomorrow.

I will wait.

For the music.

Be merciful to me O God,  for in You my soul takes refuge… I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me… my heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody… Awake O harp and lyre… I will sing praises to You for Your steadfast love is great to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds… Psalm 57

Listen up, Busy.

Image

Oh, Busy.

You clamor at me like golden gong winces in my ear.

Bang. Clang.

You chatter at me like squirrel stores away oak treasure.

Drop. Find.

You boast at me like new king proud in plush velvet robe.

Gone. Quick.

You pursue me like frothing lion clad in shadow.

Dark. Pounce.

You bait me like ganache dripping long with raspberries.

Bliss. Wink.

You serenade me like salt waves soft on moon soaked nights.

Sweet. Blur.

You overwhelm me like hurricane blows merciless.

Beat. Thrown.

Oh, but, Busy:

You are not so nectarous and alluring after all.

Oh, and this, too, Busy:

You are not so strong and forcible, either.

Oh, and one last thing, Busy:

The truth is I liked you once upon a time.

Because,

You rescued me when I walked wandering.

You blinded me when hurt arrived knocking.

You played me when I thought my good was your doing.

You tricked me when I thought my worth was your producing.

You lured me when I said false my family was not at your beckoning.

Lies.

Ha.

But the truth is not a lie, Busy.

This is Splitsville.

Day by day, thought by thought, moment by moment.

I will choose more than what you offer, Busy.

I’m choosing now what you tell me I’m missing.

And truth,

Truth brings freedom, Busy.

And the truth is:

I’m not gonna miss a thing.

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork… wake up from your sleep… make the most of every chance you get…

+Ephesians 5, The Message

Choices

1-058How do you fall down at the feet of God?

::::::::::::::::::::::: before all is completed in Glory?

::::::::::::::::::::: while we are still on Earth?

Truly fall down at His feet, with our hair cascading and our eyes full of thanks and faith and our most-precious oil spilling?

:::::::::::::::::::::: in our limited knowledge and ability?

Fall down:

in complete adoration?

in overwhelming reverence?

in sweeping humility?

in unabbreviated thanksgiving?

in the world swirling feral and you really only see Him?

And the super- love He has for you?

*************************************

What is one thing He dreams for us more than some other things?

When is it that the peace comes all- encompassing…

the peace higher and elevated and lofted up above all understanding…

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…. +Philippians 4

When is it that this peace…

becomes this tangible entity that dangles from our fingertips and trills from our mouths and shines in our eyes and beats in our human hearts and bursts this untamed, lovely grace-filled laugh that echoes into eternity?

When is it that we taste His peace and savor it the most and want more of it dancing wild in our day and settling glistening on our skin and holding it soft and light and balancing delicious on our palm….

… since now, it seems, for the first time, we know we cannot lose it?

And we awake sudden, and peace is just there?

And we did not quite notice at first?

delicate and easy and caressing?

This peaceevident satiating our being:::

not even a thing we need to grip-hold-fast-tight-pray-it-doesn’t-leave when we feel it….

anymore???

And it does not feel white-knuckled sweating and fist-aching-arthritic squeezing,

We looked for peace, but no good came… +Jeremiah 8

When is it that the thing that is gripping-tight is actually His peace-grasp on us?

and this, this cradling-sway of warmth wrapped deep around us, like He has found us and secured us anchor-safe to Himself and we can just…

… be?

with Him?

that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way… +1 Timothy 2

That He is in us, and we are cleaved to Him and He has all pieces of us and we can just…

…. be

with Him.

*************************

… seek peace and pursue it… +Psalm 34

I think the thing that He craves from us, if the Lord does crave, in His love for us, is our true

obedience.

The kind of obedience that can only equal peace.

… for obedience to Jesus Christ… may grace and peace be multiplied to you. +1 Peter 1

I think that in the unfolding of the day, when it is dew-wet and sun-birthing, that when our eyes flutter light, that He waits for our choice.

I think that when we grab our bibles and whisper our praise- prayers and fumble with throwing off blankets, he waits for our choice.

I think that when we stumble hair-mussed and unclean to the coffee pot, that He waits for our choice.

I think that when we breath deep first and look at the phone and read the appointments and sigh-frown at the schedule and lock our door and peer to the left and the right, He waits for our choice.

I think that when we talk to her and see him and run that real-quick errand and finish that distracting project waiting, He waits for our choice.

I think that when we munch routinely that snack and pour that cup and lift that heavy weight and close that open door and find the key that works, He waits for our choice.

I think that when we sip on dusk falling down on a day and read that book and kiss those kids and hug that husband and slip into bed with that wife, He waits for our choice.

Each step, each breath:::: commanding a choice.

Will we choose Him in all things?

Each step…

the ones that are tiny and timid…

the ones that are scared and scarred…

the ones that are large and looming…

the ones that are…

easy?

… for the ways of the Lord are right… +Hosea 14

I think He urges us to obey, pursues us so we walk in His way, beseeches us to straighten our path, entreats us to remember Him in all things…

and above all that, as if there is one last love-move to reach over the valley of flesh and find His own…

He…

gives His obedient Son to bleed on the cross…

so that we…

can have…

His peace.

Oh, the brilliant, beautiful, undeserved love of our sovereign, all-knowing God.

His Son. His obedience. Our peace.

If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God…

by loving the Lord your God,

by walking in His ways,

and by keeping… his rules,

then you shall live…

and the Lord your God will bless you in the land…

Deuteronomy 30

this one thing

039The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. +Proverbs 16

I stubbed my toe on it this morning.

Yowl with a jump and a grabbing one-hop grimace::: shrill

Ow.OW.OWWWW.

They were watching me.

Of course.

:::::::::::::: they always are.

Stuck screeching and limping and trying not to will forth words that bend an ear and bend a heart::::

What will she do next, this drama mama we got?

Made them startle a bit:: too::: from the Cheerios and milk and this quiet little house dawning new beginnings.

I stubbed my toe on it today.

This change we got.

Walking straight on the wide road and it just popped like a rock on the way.

In the way.

Stubbed and stopped up quick-like.

So this grace-blessing gift of our road would narrow, pointing straight to Him. The less- traveled one.

::::By us, anyway.

Jolted.

by that change we got.

When we said to Him, “We are Yours and You make us and keep us and bend us and try us and lead us and love us and purge us and do with us what You will…”

And my sister says with a chuckle and a heart full of love for Him, you know what you’re asking for, right? He’ll do it. You know that. You ask Him to purge and love and mold and change and He will…. He’ll do it.

And I say Yes.

And so it comes.

Not because I told Him He could, but because He already knew He would.

Because He is all-sovereign and awesome-big and fierce-mighty and real-loving like that.

And we grope and celebrate and grasp and smile and fall and rise and wonder and wander and keep close to Him.

:::::: praying, for obedience to Him, trust in what He has for us, living in His truth…

When we stub toes and when we get up and when we push forward and when we fall back and when we kneel praying and when we look up singing and when we breathe this thing called change in and live it out for Him…

He has us.

He has this.

And when our little ones look after us, we want them to know this truth.

His promise in this ever-changing, up-ending world.

He has us. He has this. We trust in Him, He makes our paths straight.

Because this one thing remains::::

::::::::::::::::::in all of the change.

He: does not.

For I, The Lord, do not change. +Malachi 3