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blueblanket

Change came quietly, a blanket softly, quietly dropped, left over the back of a family room chair. Not just any blanket – the blue cotton blanket.

Thread for seams, batting and design had worn out long ago, leaving gaps, feeling thin, worn- 33 years of faithful comfort, set down quietly.

Not realizing, I reminded the boy who’d become a man to take it to his room.

“It’s worn out,” he answered.  We both agreed it probably couldn’t be fixed – the material was too thin. New thread would just tear the old material.

Later, the blanket still over the chair, the littlest, he came by. He ran his fingers along it, thinking about snatching it up. Even he realized the blue cotton blanket was too worn to pick up.

I wasn’t quite ready to think about the blanket really leaving.

I texted the oldest son, who had given me his fine new snoopy blanket in exchange for this blue blanket across the foot of my bed so long ago, the blanket he’d dropped softly, quietly in a closet 6 months before he married,”Remember the blue blanket? Before I pack it up and send it away, do you want to come by and see it?”

He texted back, “Nope. I’m fine. Thanks.”

Change comes quietly, as softly as a blanket dropped

like bones growing tall and feet filling out their daddy’s shoes

a heart falling in love

a soul conceived

the way a word from God one day becomes alive in our Soul

God’s plans might grow into something loud, sure-footed and bold, overflowing faith, hope and love – but, more often than not, the changes in those plans start from something simple, unassuming

as quiet as a blanket dropped

I miss the real-time story of the journey of the blue cotton blanket – and the relationships in that journey. It’s not the end, though – of the relationship journey. It’s a beginning . . . of a new growth spurt, a new leg of this journey He designed for me, for that boy who just quietly brought the blue cotton blanket upstairs  . . . and set it down.

Change came quietly. At first, I was dismayed I  had lost something.  I don’t know what this change will exactly be, but I know God is good all the time. I know that if He is the architect of the change, this change that has come will grow into something that fills my heart and the hearts of each son better than anything I can imagine.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).

The blue cotton blanket? I folded it, placed it in a brown shopping bag - and a friend carried it home with her to do with as she saw fit. God gives us friends who help us with the hard things.

Just as God is in the still small voice, so is He in a change that starts as quietly, as softly as a blue cotton blanket dropped.

You can learn more  here about: the blue cotton blanket or at Alisa Hope Wagner’s magazine Sanctified Together.

 

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Womanhood With PurposeBeholding Glory7 Days TimeWhitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

pinkdogwoodThe boys, from the biggest to the smallest, roll their eyes, sigh: “You’ve told this story before, Mom.”

. . . and I tell it again, whether it’s the story of the day they were born, that 97 one earned on his Sophomore research paper, that I’d coached him through on a Mother’s Day in 2009 – when he did not want to give the detail, use the 3-step-method-of citation, put topic statements on all his inside-paragraphs

or the mystery of the missing turtle head

or the “You’re a cake” lecture

or how one 5 year old brother tried to evangelize his 3 year old brother one evening when he didn’t want to say his bed-time prayers

or how the oldest brother prayed for a baby brother for 3 years – and in the sixth grade, wrote about how when God answers prayers, He answers them abundantly

“I know the story, Mom,” each moans as I tell it for the gazillionth time.

But sometimes, we need to hear the stories, over and over and over . . . until the truth in the story, the soul of the story sinks in. It’s like that with our stories – and His stories.

Because He’s told the story since the beginning of creation

Through all creation.

“Have you not been paying attention?
    Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
    Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?” (Isaiah 40:21)

How the earth is reborn in the spring, grows, drops seeds to the earth, and dies for 3 months under the harsh cold – and rises again on a spring day.

How the moon grows to its fullness, wanes and disappears, to be reborn.

The story in the petals of a dogwood of a crucifixion to save us all

Since the beginning of time

Creation has told the story of rebirth, of being made new

Of giving ourselves away like the seeds circled within the fading petals of a sunflower

whitedogwood

 He tells the story over and over and over

The story is being told all around

Since the first day of creation

it flies, burrows,

creeps and runs

nests and sits

erupts, sheds and falls

feeds, heals and refreshes

Because sometimes for a story to sink in

Like a seed into the soil

To reach deep and take root

The story from creation to salvation

the crucifixion to the resurrection

is told told over and over

In every possible way.

The whole earth isn’t just full of His glory

it tells the stories of His glory

over

and over

and over. . . . as many tellings and re-tellings and it takes. . . until the truth of the story, the soul of the story sinks in.

My stories might not be as good as His stories – but I hope those stories tell of His glory. I hope that one day, my boys will really hear what I am saying – and see that I am pointing the way to Him.

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory”
(Isaiah 6:3)

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Holy Friday

 

A Day that leaves me WordLess

A Day that leaves me Waiting

Outside the Tomb

empty like a mother standing in the dark anguished

Waiting

like a child huddled in a corridor listening for storm sirens to stop

waiting

Like the bud on a SpringTree

Waiting

a holy waiting of hope reborn

resurrected

Waiting

for a new paternity and brotherhood

finalized in the rolling of a stone

bigger than me

Even though I know Jesus came out of the Tomb

Every year

I

wait

Because I want to understand the magnitude

of what He did for me

so many years ago

the agonizing

death

on the

Cross

for me

my husband

my children

for all of us

 

This is a repost, but it expresses so much what I feel during Holy Week, the intensity of the passion that leaves me speechless and in awe that He loved me and you so much.
During Holy Week, my soul has trouble looking God straight in the eye. Because I cannot quite wrap my brain around what all Jesus did for me – the sacrifice to be born in a manger, to grow and live not as a king but a man. I get that. I know the worth of that sacrifice. Yet I do not fully comprehend what He endured that last 24 hours of his life.

Holy Week. Jesus enters Jerusalem as a King and leaves it as sin. He feasts with his friends and is served betrayal. Betrayed by his friend, Judas. Betrayed by his church. Betrayed by his community. Betrayed to suffer in a way that I cannot grasp – because in our culture today, people are not flogged, publicly or privately. Criminals are not publicly hung, either on a cross, a tree or a gibbet, for horrifying crimes.

I cannot grasp the pain – even in childbirth, I am given drugs to hide the pain. I cannot grasp the mental anguish, though I have felt mental anguish.  But not pain, mind numbing pain, heart draining pain that dropped me to my knees because I couldn’t bear the physical burden. Soul-dropping pain that allowed me to drop to my knees in supplication to a loving God, yes! But not the physical torture – nor the burden of every soul born or to be born. What does that weigh? How does that feel?

I cannot imagine the feeling of abandoned-ness that Jesus felt – because He, for a short time, was separated from God because He bore my sin, my parent’s sin, my children’s sin – the history of sin past, present and future. I cannot feel that because Jesus walked that walk, suffered that cross, went into the tomb and rose again – so that I would never feel separated from God.

No! My soul cannot quite look God in the eye at what His son endured for me. And, in my inadequacy to fully comprehend, I recognize my unworthiness.  Because of that crown of thorns, those 3 huge nails, that cross, and the blood spilled, on Good Friday, I try to focus on what Jesus endured, to be reminded that my entrance into the Family of God was bought at a costly price. I do understand the result of that sacrifice and the impact it has on my life.

No, when talking about this great sacrifice, I cannot quite look God in the eye. Instead, I lift my eyes to the cross – and that is where God meets me.
Beauty in His Grip Button

Beholding Glory

Where I Belong

hopehouse

“For this world is not our home” (Hebrews 13:14)

because He designed me for there, not for here.

where I’ll fit in, where I belong,

where home doesn’t break, peel the walls of my soul,

where storms don’t slip through the windows and shutters

of my weaknesses

where home really is heaven to the soul

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Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less”(2 Cor 5:3-5).

a little bit of heaven in my heart  -

because He designed me for there, not for here.

a little bit of heaven so strong I’d never settle for less.

where the floorboards are laid with love, joy, peace, longsuffering,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

where the steps to hospitality, warmth and rest are faithful

the kitchen and its cupboards overflow

the hearth is warm

sweet tea and chocolate cake don’t lead to guilt

and everyone is welcome just as they are

where people get what you’re saying

and the sincerity of your love and intentions

are believed and welcomed

where home really is heaven to the soul

because He designed me for there, not for here.

Can you hear me whispering, “WOW.”

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Womanhood With PurposeBeholding Glory7 Days Time

Essential Things Devotions
Serving Joyfully

I drive my boys nuts telling them stories they’ve heard and heard – and I thought, well, I want to tell this story again. I want somebody to hear it – because it meant so much to me to live it. That’s what friends do! Right? Listen to the same story over and over because they know their friend needed to tell it, needed to be reminded. Wrapping you in a big, heart-felt thank you for listening (reading) it again – if you’ve heard (read) it before.

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Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”
(Luke 22:42)

Jesus let go . . . to do His Father’s work

He let go so that the Father, whose arms were open wide, could wrap them around more of His children.

Jesus opened his arms wide on the cross, to suffer a mother’s terrifying, heart-wrenching nightmare, so a world of me’s could find their way into the wide open embrace of His father.

Jesus let go . . . for me

“Love your neighbor as I have loved you,” (John 13:34)

Loving our neighbors somehow seems a little distant. Maybe because neighbors today do not know your mama, your granddaddy, your great-aunt Ruby. There’s no history, no connection. So live it this way; Love people like you love your children: fiercely, uncompromisingly, self-sacrificingly.

I hold my children, encircled in the love of my heart, wrapping that love around them like hugging arms. I need to stretch this heart, to let others inside, wrapping that love around them like God does, like Jesus did, arms wide open, ready, waiting.

Letting go means loving more, like being broken in Him makes us whole.

Are you ready, willing to give that father love or mother love, or even daughter/son love to those outside your home, both those easy and uneasy to love?

5 sons. 1 daughter-in-law. 1 husband. 1 scardy cat. That makes 8 different ways for me to communicate. 8 different schedules. 8 different moods. 8 different needs. 8 different responses.  There are 5 love languages that need mastering and 7 Spiritual Gifts to interpret.

Prayer for 8. Dinner for 6. Clean socks for 5.

I can get absorbed in my family. In my reactions to my family. Into the mysteries of my family. My. My. My. My.

 “If anyone would come after me, they must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24)

Yes, sometimes, I need to let go of my to embrace His . . .His children, His love, His spirit, His word, His Fatherness, His schedule.

Letting Go of my to be His laborer

Today, in the grocery store my cart  filled with Mama Rosa’s cheese pizzas for my littlest guy, I hummed, focused on feeding the my’s in my life. Shrieking noises wafted over the aisles. My cart and I continued on. High-pitched squeals moved closer, not happy squeals – out-of-control squeals. Chicken to make soup for my biggest teen. Futile mother shouts encroached. Salsa for my Joyful one, mechanical pencils for my fire and power son. Running feet closed in, noise moving  passionately invading my reverie. Pelegrino for my thirst.

As I was just reaching for enchilada sauce, a little boy appeared with the shrieking voice. You know the kind of sound – the sound a little 4 year old makes when he thinks he is playing a game of tag and keeps slipping from your touch, evading. At least, I think he was 4.

Racing down the aisle, weaving between customers, he stopped in front of  my cart. Grabbing hold, he stepped to stand on the end, just like my boys did when they were little, wanting to ride. But he was not my boy.

I could just see the headlines, “Boy flips cart, critically injured.” Or maybe, “Woman accused of imminent child-theft” all because he was suddenly wanting to ride my cart.

Treading carefully – because he wasn’t mine to scold, I told him he needed to step off the cart. He did. I kept looking for his mother, expecting her to call him. Nothing. In a quandary, I calmly pushed the cart forward.  He decided to go with me like he was my boy.

“You need to go back to your mom. You shouldn’t be here with me,” I suggested.

“Do you think I’m going to hell?” he asked, making eye contact, stopped still in front of me.

My world stopped. Letting Go of my concerns, I looked at him squarely in the eye. Wanting to say so much, wanting to say it so right, but only having grocery-store aisle time, I finally said, looking back at him straight in the eye, “You can go to heaven if you want to.”

“Can I go home with you?” he asked. If my spirit had arms, which in this case, I think it did, well those spirit arms pulled him into my heart, into the circle of my family. Prayer for 9 now. Still 5 pairs of socks for matching, but prayer for 9.

That little boy, standing in front of my cart, in sudden stillness, revealed his brokenness, revealed a cry to be made whole – at little years old.

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me,
and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19: 13-14)

His mother and grandmother came around the corner then. He took off, lots of noise, lots of energy followed by lots of parental hollering.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24)

Letting go of my thoughts, my reverie, my concerns, my challenges. I prayed. That God would send laborers across this little boy’s path. That his eyes would be opened to the truth – that he is a child of God. That heaven is his for the asking. That angels would encamp about him and protect him. That healthy boundaries would be set for him. No matter how much little boys balk at having healthy boundaries set, they cry out for someone to love them enough to set them.

Letting go of my

To wrap God’s love around His

All because Jesus let go first for me.

cleocc

I raked away winter leaves and shoveled holes for one yellow, one pink-coral peoy and 2 yellow forsethia. I never liked yellow growing up, but a fondness has grown for it in the last 15 years.

I painted my thinking room metropolitan grey. I don’t have file cabinets, so it can’t be an office – and a room needs at least 2 walls of bookcases to be called a library – so I call the room where my grandmother’s dining room table has become a library table and two chairs that pre-date me – with an ottoman – it’s a quiet place to write, to read – and just tothink, to be.

I need  some time to be this week.

Don’t know why, but I just do.

Because sometimes like a fresh, spring shower – life just needs slowly soak into my soul.

I want to soak each drop of these blessings falling like a spring rain.

My second son announced his engagement to a lovely young woman. She’s come into our family with such grace.  I’ve prayed since the boys were born that our sons’ wives would have a heart for our family. She does. We are so blessed.

My heart’s still rummaging through the memories of last week and my post “Miracle Grow for the Soul” - where I mention a challenge. In the on-set of the challenge revealed, I could have just collapsed like deck of cards. For about 10 minutes I wanted to. Then I gave it to God – and He led me through step-by-step through what was one of those WOW mothering moments. I want to let it soak in, those moments, the messages, the love, the grace, the reveal.

My scardy cat, Cleo – is frightened of everything except Sadie, our 1 year-old golden retriever. Sadie is only scared of Cleo. Despite our cat-dog drama, I love cats. They know all the best places to nap – and to just be – and I’m taking a lesson from Cleo.

This week – I’m going to just be – in the daily, with my family, straightening my thinking room – and be with God, just let all this seep in, kind of like what the Tennessee red clay needs after buckets and buckets of rain – time to just absorb. Please stop by Miracle Grow for the Soul – and read where my a part of my heart lingers this week.

“Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest” (Mark 6:31).

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