Monday, June 19, 2017

Chose

She says it in the sweetest little voice and she says it often.
When rain falls or ice cream fills her spoon.  

When she builds sandcastles and stands back to admire them, she whispers….

“I am so glad I get to be me.”
To her breath itself is privilege.  Do I find that privilege?

I am not fond of my not straight, not curly hair.  I get uncomfortable when I forge into meetings with insufficient wisdom.  I wish I would never worry and I sometimes forget important stuff.  But can I say,  I am glad I get to be me?

If we look at things even for the briefest moments from the Father’s  eyes, He had the choice to sculpt our faces, to craft our noses, and turn ringlets in our hair.  He had the choice to make us confident or cautious as well as creative or concrete.

He CHOSE.
And so do we.

IF we focus on the Master, doesn’t the masterpiece become more clear. It doesn’t eliminate our perceived shortcomings.  It fills those spaces with Him.

When we are not enough, He is.
When we are too much, He is.
If I miss out being glad I get to be me;  I tend to be less than grateful that He is He.


For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.   Ephesians 2:10 


Sunday, June 4, 2017

A letter to my seventy-year old self


Dear Me,

Time is a funny thing.  I feel as if twenty years will go as a whisper, when I hope they will come as a roar.

I want to remember this particular time in all its detail, hoping the pen will sear my memory.

I don’t plan to lose my memory, nor do I plan to get sick, and certainly I do not plan to become a burden to my husband or my children.  But there is something eloquently perfect in the returning of one’s self to need;  I am seeing it over and over again.  I am convinced of two things.  One, I will someday see heaven.  And two, if the heavenly Father authored it, it is for my greater good.

Four weeks ago, I saw my father pass into glory.  Fourteen years ago, I saw my mom.  Both were painful,  the latter shockingly short, the former, agonizingly long.

I remember the rules and boundaries I set for both.  I broke them all.  Like the mother that lays awake with her child through long nights, the child lays awake with their parent for long days.

The interdependence is beautiful.   Like the baby nursing from her mother, a bond is formed.  The bond formed by feeding or bathing the parent, the bond seals us until we meet again in glory.

The home is disrupted.  The schedule is destroyed.  Meal planning and Pinterest looking stops like a freight train derailed.  But the holiness, the holiness of love, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons displace all the fullness of time.

Bedside moments and cemetery seconds pierce.

I want to remember...
 
I don’t want to be too proud to accept help. I don’t want to be too busy to see decline. I don’t want to forget that time as family even in need, is the most sacred time of all.

I want to see glory, but I don’t want to miss the glimpses this side of heaven. I want to point people until my dying breath to the Savior because I have seen His grace in ways I could not have ever imagined, in joy, but particularly in sorrow.

I want my parents to know that as much as I miss them;  I firmly believe they are not missing me.  I think they are having a wonderful time, a glorious time and the second I arrive, it will be just that, a second from the time they left. 

I want my children to know that the only thing that matters is loving Jesus and serving Him.  I want them to understand that the key to Joy is Jesus, happiness is just a side effect.  I want them to see the very best in people, because that is what He sees in us.  I want them to understand no matter how badly we may be treated or hurt, we have not worn our brother’s shoes, nor drank his cup of tea, nor captured life or loss or love through his lens. 

I want my husband to know that we married forever.  So, on this side, and the other side, we walk and talk and dance always.  When it feels like we are missing out with a mess of kids in our middle, we are their glance at everlasting love.  The one the Father gives and the one they will aspire too when they look for Jesus. 

I pray I find this letter.  I pray at 70 I will write another to myself at 90.  I pray everything that is stored up in my heart is shared.  I pray I reach heaven having spilled out everything He has given me.

And I pray I remember to thank Him every single day until I can say thank you to his face for this holy place where I can look back and look forward.


Until we meet again,


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Valley

The water rushes off the mountain.  The snow that had crested reduced to water.  It pools at the bottom, so many drops now galvanized to puddles and ponds.

The characteristic of a valley, the gathering of water.  It marries other water with little regard to its source or its sorrow.

The valley, it has its purpose and its promise.

Sometimes tears bring clarity.  Clarity of thought, of purpose and pain. The mask we wear has been washed away in the journey. Honesty takes hold.  Our ability to speak and hear sharpened.  There is not filter for formality.  The valley is raw, so are the dwellers.

We see into and not around situations. Our transparency is a beacon and our pain the shared pond of tears.

We are not alone.  The suffering is not the making of misery but the shared hope of the mountaintop where we will stand again.

It is glorious there, but glory is not abandoned in the valley.  The valley has its own glory. We need each other there. We need to know the prayers of many sing to our souls. We pour out and we are refilled.  The character, the strength, the compassion, they fill us.

We fear this.  We run from failure. We avoid loss. But anything lost in the Father’s economy is found.  He does not replace, He redeems.  What was empty fills again in ways we could not imagine and in places we had not foreseen.

It is not easy, nor is it welcome.  Yet, in the loneliness our ears hear His heartbeat.  It ripples the pool of our tears. It is the profound realization that He is better known, greater loved and miraculously present.



“I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.  But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.” 
Psalm 41:7-8

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Finished

Someone said with age comes wisdom. I pray that’s true. I seem to be getting the aging thing down to a science. I am waiting for wisdom to show up.

I walked in the dark this week.  Thinking about this weekend.  This is it, the weekend upon which that the entire story rests.

Without the cross, there is nothing.  Without the empty tomb, we are empty of hope. 

I watched how the sunrise tossed just enough light to see the yellow of the forsythia and the purple of the violets.  Spring.  It announces life.

The cross, - death to life.  Sorrow to salvation.  Undone to finished.

John used the word I have come to love, the one place where we read His holy “finished.” For years, I have credited Him with organizing His day the same way I do mine.  A list of chores, success with each tick of the list.  What I can finish is who I am, how good I feel, how well I end my day.

I look hard through scripture once again humanizing the divine, attempting to find me in Him instead of Him in me.

Finished, not just done, it is Tetelestai,  paid in full.  This was not his chore, his duty, his task for the day.  This was a life offered in payment for mine and yours. 

Innocent for guilty. 
Eternal for damned. 
Holy for blemished. 

It causes me to look harder at my list.  Why is it I busy myself?  Has it become my worth to feel in charge?  Do any of the dozen things I accomplish today have any impact on eternity?

Do I work to anesthetize myself to the pain of my own need? I need to feel the weight of my guilt to understand the gift of my salvation. His life is the freedom from our death.  His resurrection the keys to our eternity.

I shift.  It is not what I do.  It is what He has done.  Finished.  Our Holy Forever.

         
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:5