Friday, August 28, 2009

This I Know

Living in christian community as a body is a blessing like no other. But body life is messy business. We bump into one another. We suffer wrongs at the hands of a brother or sister in Christ and we wrong a brother or sister. We offend and are offended. And we forgive. We must forgive. We must forgive because when we stop to consider the grace that has been lavished upon us and really recognize it for what it is - well, we can't help but to forgive.

I had an opportunity to say what was in my wounded heart to a sister in Christ - and then I remembered grace.

I remembered where He found me and what He did for me. I heard Him whisper "grace" into my steely heart. While I first wrote this letter to a "sister-mother" sharing a difficult providence, I decided it fitting to write to all of you wounded sister-mothers in Christ, whose roads are different from mine but whose hearts are so very much the same.

You are beloved by God, child of light, heir to the kingdom, ransomed captive bought with the shed blood of the Son of the Most High- the perfect lamb, our great High Priest, in whom we have redemption.

I am a child of the promise, a recipient of mercy, a living stone fitted for a kingdom-undeserved, partaker of righteousness, loved by God, sinner - saved by grace, made saint, forgiven much and washed in the blood of the One who gave all.

This I know...

We are mothers. Gentleness hiding fierce warriors, battle-ready for our sons and daughters. Wielding words rather than swords, inflicting damage aimed at any who would harm them.

Let me sheath my word-sword for a moment to spill my mother's heart blood with you ~ to be what we were meant to be ~
warrior women.

Jael must have been a mother. She did what no man-warrior could. Moses' mother released her child to the enemy knowing his salvation rested with the God of her captive people. God grant me eyes of faith like that! We are from the stock of the widow who dared to approach Elijah and would not leave until her child lived. We are Bathsheba, who dared fall on her face before her husband, David, in his last days, securing the throne for her son.

We are Sarah, Rebecca, Hannah~they are our mothers, and we, their daughters.

This I know...

We are mothers of daughters and sons. We stand in the gap for them, pleading with Jesus for what wisdom has not yet granted. We are their biggest fan ~ we will always be their biggest fan. We see in them their goodness, and cover their shortcomings with love that falls like rain.

And we see the promise.

We are mothers. We know how to love more deeply than any created being. To ask us to be something apart from this is like asking us to rip our very souls from our body; we cannot, and yet, if we had to do this for our children we would find a way.

We are perfectly imperfect.
We are mothers.

May grace walk with you~my sister-mother.
May wisdom be our companion.
May we remember we are on the same journey
and may we be quick to bridge the gap
when the other
on the unknown road,
and first to cheer
when the race is completed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Divergent Roads

I am not good when it comes to diversions from the plan. I try to be. I sometimes think I am making great headway with this character flaw, and then something happens and I realize that, nope, I am not a "roll with the punches" kinda gal. Stuart Little comes to mind - the part in the book where Stuart has his date with Harriet Ames. Stuart plans out the day in vivid detail. As Stuart takes Harriet to his canoe he discovers that someone has vandalized his new boat. His plan of a peaceful afternoon on the water is now an impossibility. He is completely undone when it begins to rain and he cannot get over how beautiful the day was, in his mind. Harriet makes several suggestions, but Stuart is sulky and the date is ruined.

Today I was hit with one of those "divergent roads." Oh I know, the poet romanticizes the road and tells us how it will make all the difference if we will but take it. But I am here to say, I don't really want that road. I like my road; the one I've planned out, in my mind. It's quite nice actually. There are no hidden dangers lurking around unseen corners, no steep cliffs that one might veer off of in a fog, no jagged precipices to climb or slip and fall to a sudden death. Yes, my mind road is quite safe. Nothing unpleasantly unexpected ever happens there.

Alright, let me remove my Pollyannic glasses momentarily. I have lived enough life to know that that is not how things work. I know my road will diverge, and it will be uphill - sometimes straight uphill, in the searing heat, with no shade and only ravenous animals and maybe a really wicked blizzard. (I suppose that conflicts with the searing heat, but you get my meaning.) I know life is full of difficult providences and these provide opportunities for my faith to root out my fear. I know that things rarely go as planned, and I believe that is ultimately a good thing. But I am here to state, for the record, that I don't like it. I am sorry if that is a disappointment to some, but I recognize my Stuartness and I claim it.

When Stuart falls apart and misses out on a lovely evening with Harriet because of his idolized plan, it is a comedic tragedy, and we laugh over Stuart's silliness and are thoughtful about what might have been. As an elementary teacher, this was a wonderful moral lesson that I fervently taught.

When I am faced with my own "Stuartness" it is mostly comedic, but in the quiet places I see it in all its ugliness and I realize I am storing up idols in my heart - idols of preconceived plans that must look a particular way and a defiant unwillingness to graciously accept a different road.

Today was one of those divergent road days. Not a Stuart-sized divergence, but a life-altering road into what looks to me to be sheer cliffs of disappointment. And so I went to my sustainer and helper. I confessed my Stuartness in His presence and sought wisdom and grace to make this journey. I prayed, "Lord keep my heart from being hardened." I wish I could say the fog lifted, the path cleared, and another road miraculously appeared. It has not. I have no answers though I fervently seek.

I do, however, have an assurance that I am not alone; that this difficulty is not unknown, and was in fact prepared for me ahead of time by the One who knows my deepest need. I have the knowledge that after this climb, if I trust in the one who leads me rather than my preconceived plan of what I pictured the road to be, I will have scaled another mountain and will be less "Stuarty" than before the trip.

I'm also pretty sure, although I cannot see it now, that the view from the top of this next hill will be unmatched.

Psalm 25:4-5
Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; on you I wait all the day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Our Later Years

I was so moved by a photograph taken a few days before my stepmom's sweet mother of 88 years exchanged her time here for her eternal home. I wanted to put words to paper to reflect my own heart as I think to the future.

What a grace to have a glimpse of such a tender moment, shared by two who have traveled their journey, side by side, for 69 years.

I am filled with such love for my own dear husband, who loves me so well. May God grant us such tender moments and love;

always love.

In Our Later Years

When that time comes
and I am old,
and if I remember no more,
and if my eyes look but do not see,

sit with me,
and hold my hand.

Stroke my cheek with your hard worked hands;
hands that have created our life
and saved me from an ordinary world.

Kiss my forehead
if you are still able,

but if you are not,
if your body is bent and frail,
unable to do what was once so common,

then just sit by my side

and touch me.

For I am more
than a collection of memories from better years,
or words once spoken out loud,
now forgotten.

Be there with me
in the last silence
sharing space and time

And I will not be afraid;

for I will have your love
and the life you gave me,

which was never commonplace.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

This is Why I'm Crazy

"We've been robbed!" I yelled as I stood in my garage early one afternoon, several years back.

My heart sank as I looked over the carnage. What a mess!

The thief or thieves were obviously in an enormous hurry - memories of our life were strewn all over the garage floor. As if a bomb had burst in a closet, kids' clothes and toys were haphazardly thrown against walls.

I sat down on the step and tried to think.

I must call my husband. He will know what to do.

I felt so violated. A supplanter had entered our garage, rifled through our belongings and stole our stuff! And it happened in the middle of the day, while the kids and I were home!

As I scanned our remaining possessions, I noticed some of the more expensive items escaped, curiously unscathed, in the attack. A television set sat in the corner, in plain sight, undisturbed. A radio, which would have been easy to swipe, was left on the shelf. My car, unlocked, remained in the garage with my purse on the passenger seat and the keys dangling in the ignition - right where I left them.

Although it was difficult to see, a closer inspection revealed that nothing of consequence appeared to be missing. Our garage door was up and our belongings littered the driveway, sidewalk, and nearby vacant field.

This made no sense.

And then I saw it.

Like an oracle, it came to me.

Earlier in the day my kids (ages 5, 7 and 8) asked to take the dog for a walk. At some point, not long after, they came inside the house for cookies.

I looked across our property and spotted our dog, a sweet, but easily excitable and somewhat skittish mutt, badly in need of training, roaming, rather happily I might add, in our neighbor's yard.

She was also pulling something that had been attached to her leash. -Oh dear saints in heaven, is that a croquet set?

Like a noxious weed, pieces of our now broken croquet set, and other nameless items, which were unfortunate enough to be in the path of destruction when our dog wigged out, dotted the landscape from our house to the neighbor's and beyond.

I'm still not sure what they were thinking -these children of mine- when they conferred and determined that, yes, this would be a good idea - let's tie our hyper dog up to our portable croquet set on wheels and when we come back she'll be waiting for us.

Brilliant plan children!

I worry about my kids. Will they ever be employable?