Hope For The Dark Days

This written exactly one year ago, and me…perhaps you too?….needing reminders that there is hope! We just rearranged our living area for spring and brought back up this chalkboard with words of life scrawled line by line out in the open where we can all see it clear as day.  And a gentle nudge from this friend to you to write your own? For you? For your brood? After all…we need a map to know where we are going.

They shout and rail against each other these three of the same seed. The “she did” and “he didn’t” hurl through the air and I wince as doors slam and feet stomp hard and all this before day has dawned. I pull covers tighter and hope beyond hope that it ceases before I have to be the one to crawl out of my cozy cocoon and halt it. How are we to live in peace when even flesh and blood tear each other word by word with actions louder than megaphones? This mother’s heart is laid clean open, fractured fragile, and I wonder what will be the glue to piece it back together. Another war of words begin and I join tit for tat because sometimes when you are hurting all you know to do is hurt back and I am in this moment that one I hoped to never be.  It’s there in all this broken jumbled mess, I run. Run from shame and failure and not getting it right day after day after day gone by. How does one go from stellar mom to stellar failure in one sure blow?

We muddle through the day…barely…and I chop vegetables and tears mix with meal prep and I am brought low for there is nothing like a day gone south to remind that in all this striving and struggling to be..to live…I cannot do this. My frail body can’t begin to muster the strength, the right living I need to teach my children how to love for I am failing at every turn drenched in selfishness and my own desire to not be inconvenienced by the needs of others.

I find myself whispering Romans…this book that has become like a dear friend of mine since lent…and there He cuts through to the heart of it all and I begin to feel life filling these veins again. There is hope and a promise that I can’t but HE can in me because I am in Him and He is making me…US…new! Husband comes in to the wafting smells of shepherds pie and I think how much we need our Shepherd right now.  These frazzled sheep needing someone to lead them to cool waters and green pastures, spreading a table in front of the enemy who would seek to destroy through lies and says instead have no fear for I have overcome so you can have victory here and now.

It’s then I grab chalk and write words that speak life to the dead, words that we can’t escape because they are forefront in the room visible to all where we break bread because God knows that if we don’t write it on the door posts of our home, if we don’t tie them to our hands or carry them with us we will forget and isn’t forgetting the first step to forfeiting peace? We must talk about them from the moment our feet hit the ground running for oatmeal to the last second we are kissing wearied brows before bed for these words are truth that pierces darkness and if we do not pause to renew the mind, it will whither dry.

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This brood of ours gathers solemn over dinner and we begin to read it together, this manifesto, our new family motto:

 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” ~Romans 12

Food fills the belly, chatter commences and hope is dawning in the heart of this Mom.

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Home Church Like You’ve Never Seen

I’ve written about this several times already.

How embracing the seasons of our lives is as vital as breathing. Because I believe from experience they prepare us for the next to come. Just as winter prepares the earth for spring, and spring for summer, summer for fall and fall for winter, so the barren seasons of life prepare for seasons of plenty. And regardless of how painful, there is joy springing out of surprising places that can be missed if one doesn’t look for it. Like the tiny violet blooming near rocks on the banks of a trickling brook.

The latest season for us has been the inability to attend church regularly. A new job for my man with crazy hours all week and weekends, and the unpredictability of my health has ended up in home church more than not. And for those of you who know us, know this is not normal nor what our heart desires. Living away from family makes one realize you need a family close who cares for you, believes for you when you can’t, and carries you when you are too weak for one more step, and we have always been provided that in the vibrant and living body of Christ. I know this won’t be forever, but for now we are embracing the messy beautiful. image image imageAnd  the glorious profound moment of watching your children live worship, lead worship, even prepare for worship, takes this Momma’s breath away. These holy moments lived out in our living room are something to treasure. Something that cements their faith as they initiate and participate. imageSo dearest believers on the brink of despair….there are seasons in our lives that look different from any we’ve had before. But where two or more are gathered, there Jesus is. There the spirit moves and breathes and does His amazing work. image imageStop fighting.

Stop striving.

Embrace the here. The now.

After all, it’s all we have. image

When You Feel You Failed At Lent

Sometimes the journey of Lent isn’t wrapped up nice in a devotional with morning coffee.

Sometimes it’s about living it.

About allowing your knees to get bloodied as you crawl broken to the cross just as you are.

About realizing surrender is self denial.  That everything you can’t control is what makes Him in charge.

Because “earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.”

And that my friend is why we wait for Easter.

And why it’s OK when our Lent looks nothing like a neat packaged up meditational series of moments.  Perhaps those moments upon moments gasping for mercy….grasping for grace really are what journeying to the cross looks like.

A death to self…the reaching towards resurrection.