All Creatures of our God and King, Lift up your Voice…

cslewis

 

The problem is, there has been a line drawn in the sand.
— But not from those who support either of these people- Not really.
No, the line in the sand is rather haters of one against haters of the other.
— I have not heard from a single person their belief the person they are voting for is the actual, factual, really real best candidate for the job.

 

We don’t want him, because he’s said this.

And we don’t want her because she’s done this.

We don’t like him, because these are his patterns.

We don’t like her because she’s deceived on many matters.

 

He is not a leader we want as an example to our children.

She should not be in the running but rather she should be in prison.

If he gets elected we will see a nuclear war.

If she gets put in office she will bring the end of it all.

#makeAmericagreatagain

#Istandwithher

Do you know which of these you will choose?

Do you even know which, if either, is true?

Because I do believe both of these sentiments false,

–and that our country is becoming so utterly lost.

 

Because here is the truth,

and I hope you see it too:

We are being ruled by our fears

while our faith gets the boot.

 

I’m not hearing that we have a different choice,

to “speak up, speak out, go ahead you have a voice!”

If you can’t stand behind either then why stand behind one

-you see as less threatening-

But whom you still don’t believe will get the job done?

 

Why aren’t we in prayer, on our knees, begging grace?

And mercy and kindness and love to replace

All of the hate and fear in our hearts–

Why don’t we ask Him where we should start?

 

In God we trust” is what we all claim–

But are we coming to Him at the breaking of day?

Are we seeking Him out in humility to ask–

what vote He wants us to actually cast?  

 

Or do we hold tight to our comforts and abandon our Lord?

Striving and clawing and crying for more?

For more to join us, to join in this fray–

Is this the devil working to destroy all our days?

 

Oh yes, he’s bearing witness with glee,

as he witnesses this land of liberty

and it’s freedoms all being fully enslaved

To the fears of citizens’ comforts being taken away.

 

This is not a following of Jesus,

This tearing asunder

Is allowing the devil to come in and to plunder.

So go ahead: fight against this looming day…

 

By ganging up behind a person you didn’t want in the first place.

But chant all their slogans til your blue in the face.

And become one of so many marching ants

–who only shout and cry out against a person they hate.

 

Just keep this in mind, while you struggle in step

In the midst of some mudslingers you haven’t fully met

The person you cheer and the person you despise

Were both equally created in the Maker’s Eyes.

 

They are both human, so this is both true-

The person you hate was made just like you.

In the image of God, His bearer they are –

He alone created them and He knows every mar.

 

The freedom to elect by voting was never meant

To ring every one out until they’re utterly spent

The leaders of our country were meant to be

Elected by people like you and me–

 

Not because of a fear one would be worse-

But an actual belief one was the right course-

That one would go down in our proud history

As the best person to lead our “Land of the Free.”

 

In this election, however, this just isn’t the case-

So, I’m asking, are you just trying to save face?

Or are you casting your vote for one who will serve –

The absolute best in the office this term?

 

Because, if your answer is no, if you haven’t been praying

And humbled down on your knees until they are aching- 

If you haven’t been letting your Father know-

You believe He’s still here, you believe He will show

 

Then why on this earth do you not give this to Him?

And vote how He saysgive. Him. the. win.

We can play to our fears, and hold our liberties tight–

Or we give them over to God, and let this be His fight.

 

Vote as a Christian, not just as a person

Afraid for your party to lose an election.

Let’s lay down our weapons, and while they’re gathering dust

May we actually be a nation who IN GOD WE DO TRUST.

 

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Hush, Little Baby

     Hush little baby,

     Don’t say a word.

     The man touched you, sure,

     But let’s just ignore.

What’s done is done,

Speaking won’t solve a thing.

You think you need to talk,

But we like the silencing.

     Hush little baby,

     Don’t you dare speak.

     Standing up for injustices

     Will only make you weak.

If you become woke

Then what will we do

When we can’t rule the world

With the bottoms of our shoe.

     So hush little baby,

     Don’t you even breathe.

     Those people there in chains

     They don’t want to be freed.

They made their own choices

So just let them lie

In the state of their birth’s making

Until the day when they all die.

     Hush little baby,

     Don’t say a word.

     If you choose to rock the boat then

     That’s the end of our world.

So give me your voice,

And I will teach you to deceive.

And show you how lying to yourself

Is your only way to have peace


     Oh little baby,

     Your Father hears your voice.

     I see how you’re curled up

     And don’t feel like there’s a choice.

But oh my sweet child,

I’ve heard your unspoken cries,

And I know what’s happened

In the darkest of these nights.

     Oh my sweet baby,

     Come to Me. You can cry.

     And I will hold your broken pieces,

     Until your tears are all dry.

It’s okay my sweet child,

I’ve seen all the evils done,

And that’s why I’m holding you

Because you need to be the one.

     To go into this battle,

     With your head held high,

     And search out all of those,

     Who have been told not to cry.

I need you to hold them,

Like I Am holding you.

Show them My Love,

And tell them I’m coming soon.

     Because this is not forever,

     This home is not for you,

     There is a place being prepared,

     Where everything is made anew.

All the evil and injustice,

Will never come inside.

But all the judgement will strike

Against those who silence  My  children’s  cries.

     So don’t hush little baby,

     Yes, It’s okay to cry,

     They can’t hurt you anymore,

     For I Am by your side.

Rise up, little child,

And stand on solid ground,

For I gave you to this world,

To turn it upside down.

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Forty. Seven. Three.

Seven years ago, i started a journey of forty weeks. Forty weeks and a baby. Forty weeks and a life change. Forty weeks of being on two types of nausea medications because, well, one just didn’t cut it.

My first was born in February of 2010. My middle in October 2011. My last in June of 2013. Forty months.

Forty months and three tiny humans have entered the world.

Forty months ago my oldest turned three. And i was in round two of potty training him (long story for another time), and I had a newfound walker toddling around, and I was pregnant… and staying married felt like the biggest impossibility of my life.

Now, forty months later, and my youngest is about to turn three.

 

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Three is my favorite number. Or it was. Before my children turned three. The twos may be terrible, but the threes… well, the three’s will threaten your very existence as anything resembling a sane human being.

Three year olds haven’t just discovered the word ‘no’- they’ve discovered they can center an entire universe of a household around their very selfish souls. They’ll do things they wouldn’t have dared to dream of doing six months ago, incredibly self-absorbed things. Because they need the bubbles now. And they need food now. And bedtime can happen when they say it can, and reading a story doesn’t cut it anymore. Read five. Then sing a song. While tapping out a soft shoe.

Now snuggle.

And cuddle.

And go and get that book and read it again.

Basically, three year olds are the rulers of the toddler terrorists. They set the rules and you best d*mn well play by them. Or those Candy Land cards are gonna get it. …and how do you feel about an overflowing bathroom sink?

You can’t catch all of them. So you repeat, under your breath, and maybe over their angelic sleeping faces,

You may have won this battle. But I will win the war!”

And so you struggle and claw your way back to some sort of sanity. Maybe you stand at the top of the precariously drawn cliff you just peaked and survey the wastelands you’ve wandered and struggled through over the past forty weeks.

You hope and pray you will find a way to do the right thing at the right time just once. to make a breakthrough in your child’s life. to bestow upon them some rightness in their next steps or future steps.

you close your eyes and hope one day you can be the obedient child who enters into the place you are called to be and by doing so can be Hands and Feet and Light… and do it all right.

That’s when I realized – and maybe you do too(?) – I play the three year old with my Heavenly Father.

There’s a tiredness which arises in a season of waiting. It will seep into the sinews of your soul if you aren’t careful… and when a door needs to be kicked down, you may find yourself slumped down against it, a wailing heap on the floor, begging for someone to just open it for you.

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There’s a resurgence period. When forty months leads to forty weeks of gradually regaining more to life than surviving the day to day. When dreams are remembered and passions are stirred and it all just seems to be waiting for you to take one.more.step. – smash the window… knock down the door… step through and step out of the waitful wandering…

It’s a process and that’s for certain. At times it may just feel like you are going to drown in the gradual slowness of it all. And you might just find yourself being a three year old. Again.

I have this insane calling to write a book, and how I see it at the moment is an enormous amount of time, thought, emotional and physical energy… and no promise of any recompense at the end of it all. I could finish and that could be that. Years of stories coming together in a few hundred pages may very well end at the end of writing it. It may go nowhere past that. In fact I’m kind of betting on it. … and hoping it doesn’t at the same time.

I have a dream to foster and adopt children, and bring them into a sort of refuged haven- away from any and all sorts of abuse and hardships they have faced in their short lives, and just love them in as safe a space as I can provide them with our family.

I long for a move to take me away from the heat which torments and destroys my body (literally), and a place which provides an easier year round interaction for me with my children. Because i just want to freakin’ enjoy every minute with them. And that isn’t easy when you’re constantly battling a heat and sun sensitivity causing the world to spin around you and your skin to feel as though it’s about to melt right off your body.

So i dream of finishing a novel. And adopting the daughter i’ve prayed over since i was eight years old. And living somewhere i don’t have to fight and struggle with my own body just to participate in life with the children i’ve always longed for.

I think we’ve found our dream home. And we only have a little over half of what we need for a down payment. So… donations welcome. haha, 😉
In one week and three days we will celebrate our baby turning three. And yes, we actually will celebrate. Because, despite the fact we are entering his “three year old” stage- we’ve already survived the three’s twice over, and i have little doubt we will get through this too. I mean, technically, if you think about it, turning three means he’s finished his third year of life –he’s actually starting the first day of his fourth year the day after he turns three … but… semantics.

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which hours are ours?

“My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly trust in Jesus name

 

When Darkness seems to hide His face

I rest on His unchanging grace

In every high and stormy gale

My anchor holds within the veil

 

Christ alone, cornerstone

Weak made strong, in the Saviour’s love

Through the storm, He is Lord

Lord of all

 

His oath, His covenant, His blood

Support me in the whelming flood.

When all around my soul gives way

He then is all my hope and stay

He then is all my hope and stay

 

Christ alone, cornerstone

Weak made strong, in the Saviour’s love

Through the storm, He is Lord

Lord of all    

                              It is well,

                                With my soul.

                             It is well, 

                                With my soul.

                            It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Christ alone, cornerstone

Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love

Through the storm, He is Lord

Lord of all. 

 

When He shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh, may I then in Him be found.

Dressed in His righteousness alone,

Faultless stand before the throne.”

-HillsongUnited

 

there’s a lot, in death, our earthly minds cannot comprehend. attempting to cling to the grace of it all at times alludes us. it is as though we are trying to grasp the sands slipping through the hourglass. 

and the hours of the days, the days of the weeks of the months of the years of life…

they are made up of “Ours.”

and what is ours?

Our memories.

Our hopes.

Our dreams.

Our ambitions.

Our accomplishments.

and it’s all sand… the all of “ours” broken down into all the hours of a person’s human existence.

and what about THE hour? that moment in time when it all just shifts?

when the sands stand still.

the clock stops ticking.

…because it’s no longer counting down to a human existence but you are on the eternal clock now, where time doesn’t run out and there’s a blessed assurance of being in the presence of your Eternal Father for infinity times infinity. 

how do you start living your life then?

              what changes?

                                what shifts outwardly?

…when suddenly time is no longer an issue…

what do you do?

and what if this moment comes early in life? – does it change the “ours” – does it affect your hours? 

but what if it comes at the end?

when there hasn’t been an opportunity to live out the “ours” with Christ, but you enter into your final hour with Him– what have you missed?

-and do those you leave behind mourn or celebrate? … or weep tears of joy

but we rejoice in the goodness of God and His Saving Grace and His Love that endures forever. past the existence of time and after the shifting sands of hours come to stand perfect and stilled, and beyond the infinity times infinity.

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Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the pregnant woman and she who is in labor, together; a great company, they shall return here.

With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’ For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from the hands too strong for him. 

They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. 

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. 

I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.” 

Jeremiah 31:8-14

on bringing truth to light

it isn’t new. and maybe that’s where a large part of the tragedy lies. in that it isn’t new. and it hasn’t changed.

it happens. regularly. almost religiously. it’s one of the things you can count on happening. in all of it’s awfulness. it will happen. again. and again. and again. so long as the mindset of “the church” refuses to change.

we wear blinders and focus solely on what paints the picture we want to see. we’ll erase and smudge and blur out the lines of the things we don’t want to discuss or acknowledge.

and it’s a lie straight from the pit of hell- that talking about it will encourage it. Satan is smart. he is cunning. and beautiful. and tempting.

he. is. powerful. and STRONG.- he makes sin look sweet. and desirable. and pretty.

wrap it up, stick a bow on it, and don’t talk about it.

mmm, yeah, that’s right. not talking about it can be a sin. silencing voices of victims and refusing to spotlight the sin does nothing but contribute to the sin.

and this mindset permeates our entire culture.

the “let’s talk about it as minimally as possible.” pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get away from the event as fast as possible. because that’s the only way to heal. not.

sweep it under the rug and somehow it just disappears. ?

i don’t know about you, but if there’s so much as a tiny button underneath my rug, my toes will find it. and eventually i pull up the fabric and scrape the wood to remove the button and put it where it belongs. because it doesn’t go under the rug.

 

so in a world where, by the tender age of eighteen, it is estimated that one in four women and one in six men have experienced some form of sexual abuse, maybe the sweep it under the rug and don’t talk about it mentality is severely messed up.

kids need to be educated on sex in a way that is healthful and empowering- knowledge is power- how do you expect a kid to tell you if something has happened to them if they can’t fully understand it themselves? do you think a child is going to feel safe to come and talk to you about something that you won’t talk with them about? as the adults we have to be the ones to teach our children in a manner that is appropriate.*

*have a loss of where to start? i recommend something like this.  

 

and second, if a child is coming to you saying, describing, something that makes you uncomfortable, you don’t get to sweep it to the side. by doing that you fail them. you fail that child. and you help to silence their voice. your job, in that moment, is to listen. to validate who they are. they are still loved. nothing has changed in how you see them. and then you seek help from professional counselors. oh, and you report the incident. you just do. i don’t care who it was or how it happened. you. report. it. you do the right thing. not the pretty thing, not the what makes you feel more comfortable thing. the right thing.

 

maybe you aren’t convinced yet. maybe it’s because you are so removed from the situation. because maybe you aren’t one of the “one in four” or “one in six” maybe you were one of the lucky ones. so maybe it’s hard for you to fully understand. so maybe you need to hear someone’s story. and maybe you can try to make it real for yourself. then maybe you will understand what happens when victims lose their voice. and an act of abuse is labeled as a mistake.

 

…so maybe you need to read this excerpt below?**

 

“I think it would be good to tell you the story of one woman’s experience of sexual abuse. The reason I believe this might be helpful is that I find many survivors can see and understand more about the experience of sexual abuse and its aftereffects when they hear about it in someone else’s life. They are outraged about hearing what happened in another’s life. When it is their own experience, they are often quick to brush it off as “no big deal.” Somehow I do not think you will say this woman’s experience was “no big deal.”

This is a true story. … This story concerns the rape of a young teenager, about fifteen years old, by her older brother. I believe it has much to teach us.

Aaron and Tanya’s dad is an extremely wealthy man who knows and loves God. Aaron, the man’s oldest child, is due to take over his dad’s business. Although Aaron and Tanya have the same father, they do not have the same mother. Tanya’s full brother, Adam, who also lives with the family, cares a lot for Tanya and is very protective of her.

As Aaron watches his half sister grow up, he becomes enamored with her and allows himself to fantasize about her. Over time he becomes so obsessed with her that he can think of nothing else. Aaron’s lust for Tanya grows so strong that it literally makes him sick. When Aaron’s cousin, Jon, asks him what is wrong, he tells Jon about his obsession with Tanya. Understanding the power of raging hormones, Jon helps Aaron plan a way to get what he wants out of Tanya.

One day, Aaron pretends to be too sick to get out of bed or to eat. Aaron’s dad, hearing about his son’s behavior, checks on Aaron to see if he can help. Aaron tells his dad that he probably would eat a little if Tanya brought him some of her special bread. The father thinks this is an easy solution and tells Tanya to bake some bread and take it to her sick brother.

Tanya, happy to help Aaron, goes to him without fear or suspicion. Once she enters his room and they are alone, Aaron tosses aside any pretense of sickness or interest in Tanya’s bread. He takes the bread and throws it across the room. Tanya is frightened and confused. Aaron grabs Tanya and tries to force her to have sex with him. She pleads with him not to force her. She reminds him that their dad would be horrified if he knew what Aaron was doing. She begs him not to disgrace her. She warns him that people will lose respect for him if he gives in to his passion.

Blind with rage and lust, Aaron hears nothing she says. Her words are meaningless to him. Using his brute strength, Aaron forces Tanya down and rapes her. As soon as he finishes, he turns livid. He acts as if he hates the very sight of her, making her feel as if she is somehow to blame. He screams at her to get up and leave. Again, Tanya pleads with him, telling him that trashing her after what he has done is as bad or worse than the rape. How can he toss her out and make it look to everyone as if she has done something vile to him? How did this get to be her fault? Aaron refuses to listen. He throws Tanya out of his room, loudly slamming and locking his door so that everyone in the house knows something horrible has happened. She knows they will assume she has done something wrong because of how Aaron throws her out.

Tanya can hardly think. Her heart is pounding. Her life has just been destroyed. She is terrified. She leaves the room, shrieking in anguish and ripping at her clothes. She feels as if her body cannot contain her feelings; they are so overwhelming.

Desperate for help, she goes to her brother Adam. Surely his loyalty to her will help her find a way to deal with this. When Adam finds out what has happened, he says to Tanya, “Don’t tell anyone. Our family will never recover from the damage this information will create. Never mind. Don’t let it upset you.” She is stunned! Don’t tell? Don’t have any feelings about this? Is he crazy? She feels she has no place to turn. What about her dad? He will help.

When Tanya’s dad hears what happened, he is furious. His reaction gives Tanya hope. Her father never seems to doubt the truth of her story. He seems to know that Aaron is capable of such a thing. But although her father shows lots of anger, he does nothing. Nothing.

The father’s passivity destroys Tanya’s hope. Somehow, protecting his oldest son and the reputation of the family seems more important to the father than dealing with his son’s appalling behavior or his daughter’s feelings. Her father acts if nothing had happened.

Tanya knows then that she is lost and alone. No one cares. She does not matter. What Aaron did to her matters to no one.

Tanya lives out the rest of her life in the shadow of that rape. She becomes numb to her feelings, almost like a walking corpse. She seems to have no will to live. She wastes away physically. Her beauty, her body no longer matter. She learns to hate herself and becomes very self-destructive. Her grief is more than she can bear.

Tanya’s story is similar to many of yours. Although she was older and was “only” raped once, her experience carries many elements common to others. She was forced. She had no choice. She was deceived. In a place and in a relationship that should have provided safety for her, she was in great danger. Her voice was silenced. Her words and feelings had absolutely no impact. She was helpless to stop both the rape and the events that happened in response to it. What she needed or wanted did not matter.

Afterward she was blamed. She was humiliated. Those who should have come to her aid left her alone. She was told not to talk about it.  She was told not to let it bother her. In essence, the message was, Do not have any feelings about it. Just get on with your life. There were no consequences for her rapist. Her father, a godly man, did nothing. He passed over his son’s crime as if it were of little consequence. The implication seemed to be that appearances, reputation, and her father’s hopes for the future of his business meant far more to him than she did.

Tanya’s response was one of shame and humiliation. She was stunned by what had happened. She was emotionally numb. She basically sat around in a stupor. She wasted away. Life held nothing for her anymore. The world was an unsafe place. Her joy was gone. She became self-destructive. Why not? She didn’t matter anyway.

If you truly grasp the horror of what was done to Tanya, as well as the profound consequences of her life, then you have a glimpse of what sexual abuse can do. If these are the results of the rape of a fifteen-year-old, then how can we expect otherwise in the life of someone who is repeatedly raped throughout his or her growing-up years?

This is not a conglomerate of many different stories. It is one woman’s true story. It actually happened as it was told to you here. This is not what could happen. This is not what it might have felt like. This is what was.

Tanya’s story is really the story of a woman named Tamar. Her story is found in the Old Testament, in 2 Samuel 13:1-22. Tamar was raped by her half brother Amnon, who was the heir apparent to King David’s throne. Her brother Absalom is the one who told her to be silent and not be upset about it. He, of course, hated Amnon, and he later murdered him. King David failed to punish either Amnon or Absalom.

Amnon’s rape of Tamar was a blatant violation of the Old Testament law (Lev. 18:9-11; 20:17). What Amnon did was deliberate and defiant disobedience of the law of God. That same law demanded death as a penalty. By failing to hold his son accountable, King David, too, failed to obey. The result of all this in Tamar’s life was that she “was desolate in her brother Absalom’s house” (2 Sam. 13:20, NASB).

How important it is for us to hear this story that God chose to place in His Word. How clearly it teaches us the terrible aftereffects of sexual abuse. Not only does the Word of God make it very clear that sexual abuse is against God, it also vividly portrays for us what the results of such sin can be in the life of a young girl.

However, for us, the story does not end there. God’s Word contains truths that Tamar never had the privilege of hearing. The same God who gave us this story says, “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through [what a description of desolation!], I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy” (Isa. 60:15, NASB). This God sent the Redeemer, who said he came to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim… release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isa. 61:1). This God responds to the cry of those who are oppressed by sending them “a Savior and a Champion” (Isa. 19:20, NASB). How Tamar needed to hear such words! How she needed such a Champion!

Let this story from the Word of God affirm your experience. God knows what sexual abuse does. He hates it. He hates it so much that he has sent Jesus to bear in his own body very similar consequences to those that Tamar experienced. In so doing, God offers redemption and healing to all.”

 

**(excerpt from “On the Threshold of Hope” by Diane Madnt Langberg- if you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse, i highly recommend this book and the workbook that accompanies it)

fickled expectation

expectations are funny things. fickle things. falling-short things, really.

and boy howdy do we have much too many of them all at once.

i know i do. did. will have again. unfortunately.

yes, i was one of the many who thought marriage would be something i would be good at.

my perception of wife-hood was one of which i totally thought i would rock. like i rocked those wrangler jeans in the barn days of my youth.

being a wife was something i totally thought i had covered. and yes, this is where i pause to laugh because i honestly thought: 

how could it not be?

how could i not have this covered? i paid attention. every compliment. every seeming act of virtuous wife. i studied it. i mimicked it. craved it. grasped for it. fell short of it. and kept on again.

that is, until i got married myself. and realized expectation doesn’t come in terms of “one,” it comes as a whole flock.

it’s not about having an expectation.

it’s about having expectationssssss. times infinity.

because sure there’s the expectation of the condition of the marital relationship. of how fights will go. or not go.

but there’s also the house.

the city.

the lifestyle.

a thousand little expectations all culminating and merging into one whole expectation of what marriage will be like.

you may not have any expectations for your spouse. at least not unrealistic ones. but what about the environment of living it all.

and in the midst of the reality of my fickle little friend, Expectations, i was affronted with the fact that being a mother would be another time of me falling so much shorter than i ever imagined.

motherhood and wifehood. and all the whimsical dreams of youth now brought to light.

how do we turn that stark brightness off? dim it down a little bit… a little less harsh… a little more dream-like.

Halmark-Card-me… there should be an app for that…

or at least an oil.

oh naive, simpleton, me.

children are the mirrors of ourselves. and our spouses. and you thought communicating with another adult was hard. or trying to understand your own self at times was exhausting enough… *laugh* *cough*

and then you try to lead a child version- understand the child, speak with the child. listen to the child. have patience with the child. and don’t lose your-self to your-selfishness along the way.

don’t take the frustrations of the child-learning into the husband-endearing, and don’t take the trials of the husband-loving into the child-growing.

going from tiny humans to grown human, and back again.

the meter running out all the while on that little introvert battery of yours…

for how do you really truly fill an introverted heart in an overflowing house. city all abuzz and never a moment to breath?

the rush of it all collides against and collapses into you, and all the while trying to catch, and rear, teach and love…

it could overwhelm a person entirely.

too entirely.

but all is grace.

all is gift.

i always wanted to be a mother. i just never wanted to be a city-mother. an errand-running-mother. a life lived everywhere but here, mother. 

i am not the mother i wanted to be. 

i wanted that life of sitting on palettes in front of fire place… reading books, snuggled close. pajama day? every day.

play outside on mountain knoll… climb the rocks… explore the untamed woods… do it all with the nose in a book.

you all can have the city… i’ll take the farm… the mountain ranges… the anywhere that herds of people are not. 

oh, the fickled expectations… if only life always fit like the pair of jeans from childhood. the ragamuffin days. the lay on the hillside, watch the clouds play, days. 

the scramble to the woods. the build a fort from fallen Aspen trees. the days of black and white, and everything fell just right. 

but you see what i’ve done, don’t you? equating the circumstance to the occupation of motherhood. that the mothering comes easy when the life comes easy. and when the winds of life blow hard, the air gets knocked right out of me and i lay down not knowing what to do.

expectations locked up in circumstance.

and everything begins to crumbled right dust.

so i name the grace gift of motherhood.

of wifehood.

of Him being All Good.

of chilled days.

and warm teas.

of log piles.

and Christmas trees.

of fort climbing.

and slide racing.

swing giggles.

wild and crazy.

i name the grace and pray that finds the Joy He gave in this life of mine.

to let it go and let it be… and maybe find a peace for me.

to give up on this grating desire for everything to lay perfect. quiet.

to live the upside down motherhood life- of mothering in the life.

and not letting the living control the mother i am going to be.

to name the grace even when everything seems to not be… as it should be.

 

 

 

 

children may just teach you your own childishness

and we are all just children. the all of us here.

children.

yes, there’s a reason we’re not called God’s “adult-children.” and having children of your very own will teach that better than any writings or vocalizing on the subject.

children scream

because when those days come we get to hear God’s words through our mouths and watch our reactions in the faces of our children.

we question their refusals and rebuttals.

their disobedient acts and their flagrant disregard.

and disrespect.

their wandering hearts and their fickle emotions.

pirate tuck

we see it all.

i see it all.

i feel the hurt of it and the anguish. the desperation to get them to understand that what i ask of them is ultimately for. their. good. 

they don’t see the tomorrow that we see. a day filled with adventures and plans – which in turn requires a good rest the day prior in order to enjoy the activities of the next to their fullest.

and there is no reasoning  with a toddler.

we are asking them for something that is severely precious. anguishing to relinquish. and guarded ferociously.

their trust.

i am honestly not quite sure why we haven’t obtained it yet.

you’d think after all of the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes… the stroking of sick backs… the cleaning of sheets and clothes… and the fact that no matter how long it takes to get a meal made, they will still get fed… that we would have earned the right to be trusted by our children on all accounts.

without question.

despite all of the provisions and all of the gifting. there is a lack of trust.

of complete trust.

perfect trust.

and the belief that the child’s way will yield the best results. better than those of the parent. yes, that.

Tuck leap

you’ve seen a tired child. i’ve seen a tired child. that middle of the day meltdown where it’s so ridiculously obvious that poor kid is exhausted out of its mind- trying to control the laughter- while at the same time running down how to actually convince that child of the fact. you as the parent, or caretaker, or just keen adult observer, know this child’s needs.

most children don’t think they need sleep though. most fight it. i have one who viciously fights it.

i’m talking this kid gave up morning naps when he started to crawl. at five months.

he gave up afternoon naps when he started to walk. at eleven months.

and we did cry it out. sleeping in bed with me for nap-time. you name it, i most likely tried it.

he would scream for fifteen minutes. pause for one. then scream for fifteen more. and repeat.

for over an hour. 

he probably could have gone longer. but i couldn’t.

daddy Liam snuggle

there’s no reasoning with a baby. or a toddler. my kids aren’t at the other ages yet. but i don’t hold out much hope. because when i reflect back at my own actions with my own Heavenly Father, how much worse am i than them?

because i can understand not fully trusting another fallible human being.

but the Creator of the Universe? the One knitting together of DNA into marvels? miracles and life abounding from His touch? and my very breath evidence of His very Grace? what is the reason for not putting my trust wholly in Him and His Holiness?

why haven’t i been able to teach my heart that the more i seek the Joy in Christ, the more i will be in-Joy. en-joy my life. my children. this grace gift given at highest cost?

mirroring my attitude of child to the King back in my mind- i see all too well the screaming for my longings and fleeting desires. all the while He stands bent over stove and agonizing over what He is making for my life to become.

with calm voice and gentle hand, He repeats to me, “I am working all these things together for your good. for My purpose.” (Romans 8:28 paraphrased)

Liam toss

we teach our children to ride a bike with training wheels. looking to the day when the training wheels come off and the child flies off on two wheels and a grande feat accomplished.

one of the firsts.

and not the lasts.

us parents are already looking to the next.

we labor over the learning of letters and numbers. singing alphabets and counting to ten… so they can write their names and count their ages. for starters. 

why then do we not believe that Christ is working in us? that every refining moment has a purpose-  equipping us- readying us- for when we need those tools we will also need to know how to use them.

that is what this life is.

all moments that lead to deeper and more. all purposed and planned. diligently. intricately.

and we are meant to enjoy it all.

trusting in Him. naming the grace-gift of this life. and its moments.

even when our children are red-faced and refusing to rest their weary selves. even those moments can be a refining fire.

 

tuck's lashes

so may i encourage you as i remind myself- to not miss the opportunity to be refined. it may not be what you are wanting. but it may be what you are needing.

(a good way to tell when you are in the midst of this? when you feel like throwing a tantrum yourself. generally that means you are being told to obey a Father who isn’t acquiescing to your requests. and instead insisting that He knows what is for your best. And isn’t that just so incredibly good? Hard, yes. but GOOD.) 

when the soul needs the touch of rain

there’s just something about the rain. it makes me want to sleep under a metal roof- to hear the crescendo of every single drop as it crashes down.

the splash and shatter.

the quenching of the dry ground.

there’s something about the storm raging outside that stills the wrestling on the inside. it’s a soothing quiet in the midst of tumultuous downpour. 

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when the heart races and the mind dances with dreams of happily-ever-afters… to be calmed with the knowledge that we were placed here to live our imperfectly ordinary lives.

and that the ordinary life that lives and dies in Christ has indeed found the happily-ever-after the Fairy Tales never could quite grasp. Because the Joyfully-Ever-After will be the best yet to come, truly.

The end credits will not roll with the death toll.

the trumpets will sound, and we will rise.

Christ came to earth after a lineage of ordinary people, making ordinary lives, in the midst of messiness and hardships- that’s the humanity Christ was born to. 

a line full of screw-ups, let-downs, short-comings- just typical everyday people. 

how reassuring to know that we don’t have to be the Cinderella or the Prince Charming for Christ to make our lives purposeful.

beautiful.

redeemed.

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that i don’t have to have the perfect dance steps or be dressed by birds to live the life Christ has called me to live. i get to be the “me” He created – in my normal, every-day imperfectness –

because you see, when the longings and the brokenness- the bitterness and the hurts become entirely too great, we still have the One who makes the Joyfully-forever-after here and now– He brings His kingdom to us and we are held by Him when we still and Behold Him. 

when the storms rage all around and the internal somehow finds a perfect peace? … to dwell right there in that.

Beholding the King. being held by Him. His fingerprints, on our lives.

…to take His beauty and my mess. and that is living the perfected ordinary. 

restored and ready to step out into the onslaught of the ordinarily mundane of the day, or the brutality of a fresh hardship, or the pummeled pressure of old and constant pains- remaining in His hands. shelter from the storm.

completely and beautifully ordinary. 

 

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where vision and passion mix

i dream big. it’s true.

some may say i dream too big.

that i catch a vision for something and before you know it i’ve made it something entirely too unattainable.

yes, some may say that…

call me crazy but i’m under the impression that where God gives passion, He provides a path, and will enable the impossible.

 

i have a list of “unattainable”s.

i have a vision of being a part of the ending of human trafficking. the abolition of slavery. everywhere.

for it to be done. finished. over.

… of witnessing the end of abortion. on a global scale.

and i know that there will come a day where evil and sin will be no more. the last breath of Satan will be taken and God, His truth, His love, His mercy, His justice will be all that exists.

oh sweet GLORY. knowing that brings peace.

but it doesn’t bring complacency. because His Kingdom is now, here, and we are the church.

so we are called to action.

we are called to “Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.” (Micah6:8)

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and God loves to make the unattainable attainable. by His power. working all things together for our good and His glory.

so why not dream big?

as a body we have dreamt of serving the impoverished. we are making clean water attainable, providing shoes for children’s feet, coming along side of people groups and helping them learn how to care for their children, how to make businesses that thrive and provide. we have built orphanages and adopted children. reunited children with their parents. brought them to forever homes. we are setting captives free and giving clothes and food to the homeless. providing for the widows. all. through. HIM.

so why not dream big?

why not see the places that have now been given access to clean water and dream about bringing them a system in which they can grow gardens for their communities in towers of water? towers that use 10% of water the produce would normally use to grow… saving water, providing food.

okay so maybe that’s a big leap to make right now…

but what if these same towers could be used to cripple the mega markets? because we have problems in this country too. children are facing health issues like never before and the majority of those issues can be linked back directly with what they are putting into their bodies. food off the shelves of stores that shouldn’t even be there.

foods that are illegal in other countries because of their ingredients, our children are pumping into their bodies on a regular basis.

and even when you find a product that is “good,” it turns out to be produced by a morally and ethically corrupt company.

i recently looked up my laundry detergent. ALL “free and clear” and what i found was this: the product itself was not harmful. it was actually a “10” on the scale of unsafe to completely safe to use. but then there were the moral and ethical scales of the company that it was produced by. those numbers were much lower. much lower.

it’s purchasing consciously. purchasing with a purpose. caring enough to not support a morally and ethically corrupt company that you are okay with paying a couple dollars more for laundry detergent.

so what if we decide to purchase purposefully?

 

jaymartin quote

what i learned about these “tower gardens” though is that they don’t cost more. you actually save money the first year (when you’re paying off the garden) and then you continue to save hundreds of dollars each subsequent year…

so you get to better your family’s health and the health of others’ (because let’s be honest, those babies grow a ton)- all while supporting a company whose goal is to better the health of this world.

so here’s my vision.

to start small.

to start in my own home.

to grow outwards…

to partner with schools. because how awesome would it be for pizza sauce with red40 to stop being considered a vegetable- replacing it with actual vegetables that the children have spent their time nurturing and growing?? 

and then to take a step and incorporate a way where you could “buy one, gift one” and help others around the globe live full, nurtured lives.

i think it’s a step worth taking. and an impact this world desperately needs.

access to whole foods and good nutrition. outside your door. and across the globe.