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

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

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