Tag Archives: Love

Merciful Days: Still doing the church thing?

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Still doing the church thing

So, after all these years, you’re still doing the church thing?

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I live with a man.  We share a bathroom sink, two kids, and a whole bunch of household chores.  I am here every day.  With him.  And the life we share.

I love to look into his eyes.  I love how his hand wraps around mine.  I love sharing life with him.  Even all the tired, boring, mundane parts.  We lean together to dream.  We lean together to make ends meet.  We lean together and face the odds.  And it is bliss.

He is good.  He is kind and generous.  He gives and loves and invests.  He is handsome and strong.  He is brilliant.  He is a natural engineer in every setting.  He finds answers when no when else has.  He fixes what no one else can.  He brings peace and stability and strength where ever he goes.  He is fun and funny.  He amazes me every day.

Life with him… in our rental apartment… with the heat at a bare minimum… and big dreams in our hearts… is glorious.

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Merciful Days: Inspection Fear

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Inspection Fear

Heat-herding curtains hanging in the stair-well. Electric blanket on the bed. Drawers of summer clothes half-way traded for tubs of winter ones.  Outdoor play pieces and summer toys piled in the garage.  It’s Fall.  Suddenly.  Sadly. Unusually early.  The cold, rainy season is here.  And amidst all these season-change-over activities, I regretfully felt inspired to clean off a bookshelf and contemplate every book we own.  This resulted in piles upon piles of books waiting for new spots on our shelves.  (Or a trip to Half-Price Books if I can get my heart to admit that I’ve been treating books like they are family members.)

It was a mess.  An unending loop of uncompleted tasks. Daunting tasks that are great excuses for not completing other ones.  Like bathroom cleaning. Bed-linen washing. Meal planning. Homework supervising. Blog writing.

I haven’t quite got the hang of having a kid in school.  And our home is showing the fruit of my inadequacies. Our home looks like my heart and mind does.  Disorganized. Unraveling. Cluttered. In-process.

On Wednesday night I found out our landlord was coming to do an annual property inspection on Friday. [Continue…]

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Merciful Days: The Unbeautiful Beautiful

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Beautiful squareSimple streamers floated in the breeze.  Free Burger King crowns sat in an awkward pile.  Sidewalk chalk sticks dotted the driveway.  This was no Pinterest-worthy project.  No hand-made guest party favors.  No cutesy photo-booth props.  No fabulous fondant wrapped cake.  And yet, it was utterly beautiful. [Continue…]

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I Hiding

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Ps 94v22This morning he raced into the kitchen screaming.

“I hiding!” He announced as he collapsed on my feet and wrapped around my ankle.

This is his new favorite “hiding” place: me.

It makes me smile.

I love that he comes to me to hide. I hope this is always his default.  I hope he always feels good to hide with me, not from me.

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Today I’m thinking about my hiding habits.

What pushes me into hiding?  And where do I run and hide?

To be honest, I think the biggest thing that makes me hide is shame.  Deserved shame when I’ve done something stupid.  Or undeserved shame from a false accusation.  Both set me running.  Away.  Far, far away.

shame [ shaym ]
  1. negative emotion that combines feelings of dishonor, unworthiness, and embarrassment
  2. capacity to feel unworthy
  3. state of disgrace or dishonor

At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves. (Gen 3:7 NLT)

Yes that would be me.  Using my own strength and resources to find a solution.  To fix.  To cover. To cover-up. To gloss over.

Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. (Gen 3:8 NLT)

Yes I’ve done that.  Even today.  Hid from Yahweh.  Even as He pursues me.  Even as He pours out mercy and forgiveness and restoration.

My response to hide away from God comes from some deep and sinful desires of my heart.  That I would be my own God and get to squirm away from any and all authority.  To be subject to no one and no thing.  Unyielding. Defiant.  Powerful.  That I could establish my own kingdom.  Where I am always right.  Where I am utterly unaffected by anyone or anything else.  Even as I type this, I feel that dark ego wanting to rise.  Oh how my self-righteousness wants that existence.

But today, as I look at the fullness of joy in my son’s simple life, I know that the pursuits of my ego are false and empty.

And I am inspired by him.  Inspired by the way he throws himself into my arms even as I’m speaking correction.  The way he absorbs love during discipline.  The way his failings send him to find me.

That is where joy is.  A life where “sorry” is spoken quickly.  Where confrontation purposes to build bridges not tear them down.  Where shame is quickly shed and forgiveness is abundant.  Where love is the highest goal.

That is the life found with Yahweh instead of hiding from Him.

I cried out, “I’m slipping!” and your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. The LORD is my fortress; my God is a mighty rock where I can hide. (Psalm 94:18-19, 22 NLT)

Inspired today by my son’s life-filled hiding behaviors.  O that I would never do anything else but run immediately to hide in the safety of Yahweh’s arms.  To listen to His recovery plan.  To walk the restorative path He establishes.  To receive His love as He lifts me out of the fog of shame.  Selah.

A Beloved Limping Distraction

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Matt 5v46She limped across the busy four-lane road.
Her hair wild.
A coat on despite the day’s heat.
Head down.
A heavy load.
Alone.

Her passing by broke my train of thought

I fleetingly wondered where she had come from.

Where could she be going in this sketchy part of town?

And God grabbed my heart.

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I have been asked to pray for a project and consider being involved.

Today as I drove through the city, I prayed.

I prayed about the project.

And I complained.  “It’s like herding cats!” I told God, like He didn’t know. “The whole idea exhausts me!”

I prayed for someone else to do it.

I prayed about the projects I wanted to do instead.

I prayed that I could do something more valuable.

That’s when I saw her.

My foot on the clutch, waiting for the light to change.  She disrupted my selfish prayers.

And God grabbed my heart.

You want to do something “more valuable” than loving the people I love?

And then I felt His love for her.  My eyes stung with tears.

My mind saw all the people involved in the project I am trying to avoid.  And I felt how much He loves each of them.

How foolish I am.  To pray for myself and my place in a project without praying to know God’s heart first.

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Praying with a new heart now.  Without this terrible attitude affecting my heart to speak and my ears to hear.

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. (Matt 5:46 Msg)

How are you?  How are your chats with Yahweh?  Is there anything affecting the way you pray and hear Him?

Living Life

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DishesThese have been precious days.  At home with my dear parents.  With my sister and her little ones.  And two of my dearest american friends.

Last week there were 10 of us under one roof. Six adults, two preschoolers and two toddlers.

It was spectacular.

Meals were executed with joyful genius. Extra plates and chairs were procured. Daily trips to the grocery store were made.  Meal planning felt like chasing a moving target. The coffee pot never rested.  And, as my folks do not have a dishwasher, there was a constantly replenishing pile of dishes to be done.

This delightful circus wasn’t just in the kitchen.  The bathrooms, laundry, clothes line, living room, toys, wifi, and two cars were in constant use.

The little kids were amazing.  They played and laughed and shared and bickered and cried and hugged and loved.

Actually that’s pretty true of the adults too.  We played and laughed and shared and bickered and cried and hugged and loved.

We lived life.

Side by side. Face to face. Swirling in a too-hot summery melting pot. We lived life together.

It has been so glorious!  My dreams come true.  To share life with my family.

We had 15 years of distant-living to make up for.  And these four weeks being all crammed together have been an incredible blessing to my heart.

This special trip has highlighted, again, my passion for and desire to share life.  The pile of dirty dishes is worth it.  The grocery bills.  The unfinished conversations.  The lack of good solid sleep.  The raw emotions.

The mess of a-few-too-many people is worth it because the treasures of sharing life are what we crave.  To know and be known.  To see this amazing world through other eyes.  To be in Love. In Grace. In Mercy. In Forgiveness.  This is what we humans were made for.

Life is worth sharing.

They shared life together. (Acts 4:42b NIRV)

When Full Is Empty

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Ps103“Mummy!! Do you have clothes for me?” Our four-year-old’s voice was high-pitched and worried.

“Are your drawers empty?” I tried to remember if I’d put their laundry away yet.

“No, but they are not full of pink.” Her sad blue eyes spoke just as loudly as her voice.

Oh sweet daughter. I know exactly how you feel.

Sometimes things are simply not what I hoped for.

Despite abundance. Even when there is so much to be grateful for. Even when my drawers are full of (non-pink) clothes.  Even when full feels empty.

Sometimes my heart is set on something else.

Not because of ungratefulness or discontent.  But because of a desire, a hope, a dream.

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Adults love to ask little kids about their favorite color.  This question always left our gorgeous creative daughter silent.  It would stop her in her tracks and leave her unable to answer.  One day she said explained to me, “But I love every color.”  Ahhh she’s my kindred heart!

In order to honor and enjoy all the colors she loves, she decided to select a new favorite color every day.

Clearly today was pink’s day.

I LOVE to delight my kids.  I love to give them good things.  I love blessing them.

And so we found pink.

And I was reminded of a deep beautiful joy: Our Father, our Creator, loves to delight His children.

And I am thinking about all the times He blessed me with something more than what I had.  When He gave me the desires, the dreams, the hopes of my heart.

Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! | The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.  (Psalm 103:2-5, 13 NLT)