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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

life learning

School starts for us here, in our little corner, next week.

Homeschool.

Home ::: School.

School at Home.

I love the sound of that.

It seems the most natural thing to this momma’s ears and heart and I have not yet even

:::::begun.

This new thing revolving deep around our family::::

The way the home is weaving into the schooling weaving into the work weaving into the family weaving into this adventure He has planned for us.

….flowing with no lines and all blurred::: organic and primal and enticing::: like the way it was meant to be lived.

Homegrown.

::::::::::But then there’s me.

…a public school teacher once upon a time, seemingly eons…

…. or a little more than a year ago.

And now, homeschooling?

I understand the test scores and the extra-curriculars and the school bus and the pressure and the reading programs and the feeling spent and the math bandwagon- changes and the vacations and the pouring yourself out for them and the mustering of patience and the pure joy when the light turns on and that smile appears on a young face and the standards to meet and the collegial discussion and the underappreciated beauty of a new textbook cracking open for the first time… I loved it.

And now there is THIS.

This new teaching for me.

This one that flutters about in my gut more than the first day fourteen years ago when I stepped into that brick school and into that yellow classroom with all of those deep, hungry, waiting to be satiated child eyes that I grew to adore and called my kids.

This is different.

This IS my kid.

::::::WHOA.

This is my baby that has her Daddy’s nose and my chuckle::: leaning full throttle into me and unknowingly depending on me to faithfully and consistently breath and speak knowledge into her so she can exhale some good words and calculate some numbers and repeat and apply the scientific method and figure an analogy and draw world history on a timeline and…. maybe even teach her a bit of this thing called life.

And that is where I stop up quick. Tall order.

But that is it.

There it is.

The reason we chose to homeschool.

LIFE.

Life that brings birth and the birth that spills need and the need that begets searching and the searching that leads to curiosity and the curiosity that commands learning and the learning that beckons knowledge and the knowledge that breeds giving and the giving that manifests love.

That’s why we are homeschooling. We want her to know LIFE like that.

Ultimately, in the teaching, in my utmost, to show her love like this.

:::: Love like His.

I want her to know that life is not built always into compartments and departments and boxes piled up and in a row.

She doesn’t have to only learn here and only dance there and think that this is just the way you do this life-thing that can huff down our necks and chase us to the next activity and slobber media and comparison all over us while we sweat deadlines and status and world-conforming notions that never bring us closer to::::

:::::love.

Uninterrupted.

Unfettered and Unfurled.

:::::the love and life that rises and falls with Him.

I want love-learning to be real and fluid::: no ending and no beginning::::

::::: Resonating.

True. In the everyday and daily.

In the learning at the grocery line and in the umpteen-million questions in the car and in the chorus- singing at bedtime and in the world-weary faces of people she meets and a sweet prayer at lunch and in the chattering woods at noontime and in the catnap and the quiet orange of dawn and in the bustle of the city on a random Monday afternoon and in the book reading on the couch and the making of a proper place setting to host a tea and the up and down emotions that plague a day…

and how in all of these things:::::

:::: All these things…

:::: He is the Creator, the Comforter, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Friend, the Father:::

The LORD.

Over all of it.

This life.

This learning.

He reigns over it all in His love.

And I am driven by that.

Because He has called me to this.

::::::And that is that.That.is.enough.for.me.

There is this love-life-learning in all things.

All things.

And I desire her to learn life through the lens of His love. To know that all things point to Him.

The mundane and the starry-eyed. The low and the abounding. The light and the dark.

In all of my imperfections, joy, weaknesses, certainty, shallow thoughts, jumpin’ up and down, tired moments, can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this-homeschool-thing, excitement, uncertainty, smiles, frustration, hugs, throwin’ my hands up in the air and in my contentment…

I want her to see Him in it all.

And what do I want her to learn?

How He loved us so much, He gave His life to give us life.

And how all that we do, our learning, our waking up and our settling down, our breathing in and our exhaling out reverberates with that kind of enduring, unfathomable mercy- love that ends and begins in life

bound by, given by and grown by grace.

Next week, in our little corner of this world, we start homeschool.

I simply cannot wait to see what He is going to teach us.

And these words… shall be on your heart… you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. +Deuteronomy 6

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