Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weight.

A small thought for tonight.

When the stress and daily wear of life and parenthood, in particular, seem to be hovering over me like a wave that's about to break I've often been struck by the weight of my boys in my arms. It's one of the ways I've found to remind me of the value of these days. I think about what it feels like to have their weight against my chest. Their head in my arms. Their breathing keeping time with the rocking chair. And how someday this weight won't be able to be contained within my arms.

I've come back to this thought many times in many scenarios during my short time as a mother. I think about it as I pray for friends whose arms are empty. I think about it as I'm weary and ready to throw in the towel. I think about it when my heart beats hard from deep joy. I always want to remember the weight and thank Jesus for these days. These hard, weary, silly, joyful, wonderful days.

Friday, April 26, 2013

delight.

Have you ever done something so miserable you wanted to close your eyes as tight as possible in order to open them again and find yourself removed from that thing? Like your heart just pleaded with you to stop doing this miserable thing you were doing?

I did that once.

I moved to Kansas City.

You know how that story goes. When we moved here 5 years ago I just didn't get it. I mean, I got it. But in my heart I didn't get it. I knew it made smart financial and career sense, but it didn't make sense to leave behind my sister who was pregnant with her first child, my beautiful niece, my wonderful family, my lifelong friends and the security of a place that grew me into an adult. Or at least into the adult I was at the time. A 20 year old pre-adult. It just didn't make sense. And for the first 18 months that we lived here I grieved that loss. I was sad. And confused. And worried. And bored.

Now 5 years later we're moving back to Nampa. 5 years, changed careers, promotions, our first home, a community, and a really sweet son later.

And somehow I'm grieving this loss too.

In the last few weeks I've been thinking how to put words to the things that God has given me in the last 5 years. I've tried to fully realize what moving to Kansas City has done in my life. And I think I've come to understand that moving here allowed me to see who I really was. That has been a true gift. I suppose growing up in the same place my whole life made it hard to break away from things and circumstances in my past that formed my identity. I don't doubt that the Lord would have broken through in my life had we stayed in Nampa, but moving to KC seemed to just shatter all those barriers at once. Those barriers between what the world had told me I was and the truth that Jesus had for me.

That truth was (and is) that the Lord delights in me.

He delights in me. I wish I had written down all the times in the last 3 years since we started going to The Gathering that someone had a word for me that involved the Lord delighting in me. One time, my friend Amy had a picture for me of me in a field with light (maybe fireflies) all around me and she just felt like the Lord was saying He was so delighted with me. Things like words and pictures from Jesus felt really silly to me when we first started going to the The Gathering, but as we went along our journey with this community it became evident that these were treasures that the Lord was giving us. I think we miss out on a whole lot that God wants to speak into our lives when we don't open our hearts to hear from him and when we don't share that Good News when we do hear it. But several times throughout the last few years people used this word "delightful" to describe me. I think I probably told the first few who said that to me that they were crazy and they had it all wrong. No one had every described me as delightful before and I figured they probably had their wires crossed with someone who just looked like me. Certainly I was not the one to whom they were referring. But apparently I was. Apparently, I'm delightful. I really thought it was a joke at first. And then I started to realize that this was something that God had for me. A breakthrough of who I was to Him.

It didn't happen all at once, but I as I've grown into this community I have also grown into the reality that I am someone that Jesus delights in. That I have so much value to Him that it's the kind of smiling that you just can't stop because through and through you are so pleased. Delight is deep to me. It's like Joy. Delight feels like a condition of the soul - something that can't be shaken. It's not a fleeting feeling. I don't know why I've struggled with my self-worth so much in life, but I have and I still do. So to be reminded that my worth to Jesus is deep, it rich and it is delightful is just everything I ever needed. I crave deep roots. I crave worth. And in one word Jesus gave that to me.

My hope is that going back to Nampa won't be the end of this. My hope is that I can learn what it's like to feel delighted in in that community too. To be honest, I'm nervous! I'm nervous this identity I've found will come crashing to the ground and I'll be back to the place I started when I left Idaho. But my hope is that God is WAY bigger than that. And He is already laying a path ahead of us for really great, delightful things to come.

The list is long and it's mostly filled with people's names of the things that I'm going to miss in Kansas City. It's not time to say goodbye yet, but I wanted to say thank you for being the avenues to lead me to this point. Thank you for giving me a reason to be sad to leave. And thank you for giving me a reason to visit often.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

He wins.

9 days ago something awful happened.

If there were words to sum up my grief surrounding Newtown... I'm not even sure I'd try.

Since then, I've thought about the weight of my son in my arms.

I've thought about the wonderful life I see ahead of him.

And I've thought about the 26 stories. The ones who loved them. How 26 worlds have dramatically shifted because of a man's choice to do the unthinkable. The unspeakable.

My heart grieves these stories.

I haven't read or informed myself very deeply into all the facts of this story. Because I don't need any sort of report to tell me what I already feel. That hearts are broken. I don't need anyone to describe the scenario that I'm already aching from imagining. When I heard the news the pit in my stomach was heavy. And I couldn't shut out the repetitive "Why?". Why God? Why now? Why at all?

Here I am with my community on a journey towards Hope. The last few months we have come together in my world and strived to rekindle the hope that God makes clear in the Bible is alive today. We have promised to not let the world steal our Hope. And we have recognized that if we don't have Hope, then the world may never be healed. But then last Friday. It felt like all that forward movement we made was ripped away in an instant.

And a few days ago I realized what I was up against. Like, fully realized.

It's a war for Hope. It's a brave road that I've decided to go down. And the devil hates it. There really wasn't ever a chance for us to proclaim Hope without a fight. Because where there's light there is no darkness. No darkness means no evil. But he's not going without a fight.

But the beauty of that is my God is stronger.
He is life in death.
He is emmanuel.

I read some really wise words from Ann Voskamp surrounding Newtown. And I think her reminder is a really powerful one. In times like these, the devil loves to see us recant. It's what he aims for, I think. But if I don't have Hope now. In the dark days. Then the devil wins those days. And I refuse for that to happen. Evil just can't win. Love wins. God wins. Hope is alive.


Did you hear me??
HOPE IS ALIVE!

I ache for these families. But I won't give up Hope. Ann says this, " There is no darkness so deep, that God's arms are not deeper still, that we cannot raise our arms in highest praise." 

So I'm raising my arms in highest praise this season. Thanking God that He sent that little baby to save us. That He lives today and He's coming again. He will redeem us. He wins.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He is good.

I don't usually know where the Lord is leading me, but I feel Him pulling me along. And that feels good. Not all the sorrow in life is gone. Not even most of it. But I feel the tow of faithfulness – His strength pulling me through all the murkiness. Waves of grace and gratitude surge in my heart because I know the He is good.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God to Thee.
How great Thou art, How great Thou art. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Usually.

Usually, I write at the end. Usually I like to sit down at the keyboard with a nice, neat package of thoughts that will knowingly end with a conclusion. Usually.

But sometimes, that's not how life goes. Sometimes life comes at me in such a way that the neat package I aim for isn't in the foreseeable future. And so sometimes, I write pre-emptively.

This is such a time.

I wouldn't call myself a pessimist. I really wouldn't. I don't only see the lousy things in life. And I really don't try to spin everything in a harsh light. But it happens. So I would just like to say that this is not my sometimes seemingly pessimistic nature talking.

Lately, I've been so engulfed by despair. There are days... weeks... months even that feel like the only things to know about are the awful things. Not even the weather has anything pleasant to offer. This is where I find myself. In a pit. A deep, dark, sad pit. I have been overcome with grief for the world and for groups of people that I don't know at all. So many stories keep coming to my knowledge - via Facebook, my news page, friends, etc. - that were full of circumstances that I just can't even begin to wrap my mind around. Those stories where you just can't even utter words because they are insanely inadequate for the amount of pain that exists. Being a mother has amplified some of these stories a million-fold because all of a sudden it's occurring to me that these stories are of people's children. Each story happens to a person with a mother. And somewhere that mother is aching for the pain of her child. And somewhere another mother is crying with her. That mother is me. Just cryin'. Cryin' all the time.

So there I was with this pit and the grief and the crying and as hard as I tried to pull myself together, I couldn't. The despair in the world right now is overtaking my emotions. It's filling up all the unoccupied spaces in my mind. And it's getting so, so hard to see the light. And then, shortly after I confided in some friends I hear resounding echoes of the same feelings. It's not just me. We're here in this life as Christ followers. Meant to be walking in a life that is full of light. We are the light on a stand! We are Hands and Feet! But the pit is overtaking us. The hope. The light. It seems, well, dim. Far away. For the first time in my life, I'm struggling to reconcile the brokenness of the world and the goodness of God. I don't even like typing those words.

There is this, however. Since saying it out loud it has been made clear that this is a cry of many hearts. Maybe a cry of an entire generation. Maybe a cry of much, much more than that. A cry for Hope. The devil would have us believe that there is no hope left to be found. He would have us thinking that Good News is a thing of the past. I know in my heart that is profoundly false. I know that I have experienced the goodness of God over and over again and I KNOW that He wins. But now, in this particular season, where bad news and hard stories just keep coming in waves it's hard to remember.

So here is my plea. I believe that this stirring in me and the stirring I've heard in others is a stirring of Hope. I believe that Jesus wants to make things new and I believe it starts with me. With you. And because I have no solo ability whatsoever to accomplish anything even remotely close to bringing Hope to a hopeless generation I'm praying. That's it. That's the place I've arrived. I'm putting it out there on the world wide web (well, the 5 of you reading, at least. hi mom!) and asking you to join me. Even if it's just ten of us. Maybe we could pray into the Hope of Jesus being restored to a broken, sad world. Together. I think that's the idea of this life anyway. Restoration. Togetherness. You know, those things. And in doing so maybe we will stir the hearts of others. And maybe that stirring will be the thing that starts it all. Do you think that's possible? For just a few of us to start something huge? I do. I think we may never even know it, but it might start with us. Because isn't the truth that even the smallest moves we make in the name of Jesus have everlasting effects in the Kingdom?

I told you. No neat packages on this one. But I do feel like God is leading me along. My confidence is in His faithfulness. And I know this isn't a typical post, but I wanted to encourage you and ask you to lean into Hope. Pray into it. And we'll see what great things are in store.


Monday, June 11, 2012

for me.

It's been so long since I've written that they changed the interface of blogspot. Oops? That happens to me a lot. I buy products and take forever to use them, then go back to the store to buy it again months (or years) later and they've changed the packaging. I don't feel that bad about it. All in good time.

Lately, I've been thinking about God's voice and what it sounds like. And also what it doesn't sound like. One of the ways I feel God speak to me is through the wind. Often times I'll pray outside and many times the wind feels like it moves with me. Like as I speak to Jesus, He answers with a breeze. I like it. Have you ever felt that whisper that comes from Jesus? I don't think there's anything in this world like it. It takes my breath away. He always speaks in a whisper. Just for me.

And then there's the thing that's not God's voice. Ryan and I have had to identify this in our lives and recently found ourselves needing to do so more than once. The devil is tricky. It would be nice, I think, if his voice sounded like metal grinding together. Or even if it sounded real raspy and fire-breathing. That way we would know right away that we were being fooled! But alas, it does not. No. Instead it sounds a lot like me.

As I was trying to figure out ways we could save money if I worked less I kept coming back to how our quality of life just wouldn't be as good. And how realistically it just wouldn't work. Not without being miserable. And that if I'm honest with myself about the logistics of working part-time it just equals a lot of unhappiness. And do I really want to be unhappy? There was a point when that was just healthy counter-thinking. But then it turned to a really convincing place. And all at once I realized that all of that "logical" thinking was all just a bit of silliness, really. Because money doesn't make us happy. And the true reality of our circumstance is that Jesus has provided for our needs more times than I can count so why wouldn't He do that for us now? I felt so con-ed. I truly had this epiphany that said, "That sneaky devil just tried to convince me that I couldn't work part time to be with my son because of a reason that I came up with. He used me!" (I wish we could see our faces when we have these realizations. They're probably funny.)

I'm so glad that Jesus never lets us take credit for His voice. When I hear a word from the Lord, I never think it's my idea. When I hear Jesus say, "You'll be taken care of." That never feels like something of my own accord. It feels Holy and quiet and just for me.

So this is me telling the Devil that I found him out. I see his tricky game and I say back that My Jesus is greater. His love is stronger. And he will take of us.




Sunday, October 30, 2011

lessons for my boy.

I've found myself thinking about being a parent quite a bit since I've been with child and all. I thought maybe I'd write a few of things down that I hope to teach my boy someday. This could come in a few installments. And might not matter to any of you, but golly it's my blog so I get to do whatever I want. :)


1. The world might try to convince you that cynicism is normal and just a way of life and that you're naive if you're anything but cynical. It's not and you're not. There's all kinds of hope in life to find.

2. You don't need an iPhone. Or an iPad. or an iPod. or an iMac. But if you do get one, remember what a blessing it is to have such nice things.

3. Loving people well will inevitably separate you from a majority of your friends. But don't stifle the goodness you have to offer the world. Your joy will be much greater in life if you care for people.

4. Watch your dad. He's more of man than most "manly men" will ever be.

5. Work hard doing whatever you do and do it the best you know how. A simple work ethic speaks volumes. And gets promotions.

6. Turn the water off when you brush your teeth, for goodness sake. You should see how far African children have to walk to get their water. Be respectful of the incredible resources we have in America.

7. You'll learn sarcasm from your mother. Use it sparingly.

8. You will likely grow up in a world of "church" that looks very different from what your parents grew up in. I hope you learn to value what it means to bring the good news of Jesus to everyone in your life. I hope you see it modeled in us.

9. Make friends. Simple enough really. But sometimes it's easier to not have friends than it is to maintain relationships. Deep friendships bring about some of the most bountiful blessings. It's worth the effort.

10. You will be silly. I feel it is certain. You will learn most of that from your father. Embrace that. It's what people will love about you.

With love and hope,
your mother

(Sorry if that took things to a weird level for everyone. It's the metamorphosis of motherhood! )