Dumbing It Up

26 Feb

I don’t know much
But I am sure
In my tired bones
You are the good
in everything

And maybe I can be
Ignorant
and ill-informed
and non-educated
and slow

But the place of Assurance
doesn’t reside in my brain

and intellect
won’t save me from myself

Maybe we’re all
choking on so much knowledge
drowning in information

But this is air:

I believe I am Loved
and that’s enough

Let Hope Be Born

9 Feb

This place is too evil

or so they say

Don’t bring a child into this world

They will only suffer

Society will crumble

The earth will decay

Your grandchildren will watch it burn

(If they are even born)

It’s selfish to raise children

In the midst of the apocalypse

Or so they say

Better not add to the overpopulation

Better not risk a bad seed

A bad apple

Another ignorant human

Better not risk disease

Pain

Disappointment

Better to avoid life all together

………….Or

You could wake up

To a new day

Grow beauty in your womb

Let her come out bloody and screaming

Speak life until your lips hurt

Walk justly

Seek mercy

Fight for love

Choose to hear the Redemption Song

In the middle of the caucophonos war

Tell them

NO!

What’s selfish is to give up

When all the potential for change and restoration

Lies in a brand new human

Emerging from the womb

Let hope be born

Raise your children to be brave

To love unconditionally

To see beyond the veil

To lift the curtain

Live beyond the shriveling systems

Raise your children

To see the good in everything

To stand up to the bullies

To plant flowers

Speak poetry

Love life

To not be afraid to travel the dying world

To know what they think

And who they are

Raise your babies to make the world better

Whisper

Even through the darkest, most hopeless nights….

“You are the light

You are the future

You are the very breath of God.”

Viral Jesus

12 Oct

If Jesus came in the flesh today, thousands would stand in line in hopes of getting tickets to his sold-out stadium event. Waiting in the cold, shivering from the chill and the anticipation, hoping to get a glimpse of this high profile celebrity.

After watching his Facebook Live video that went viral of him healing that famous billionaire with the rare disease no one can pronounce. 3 billion views. Is that even possible? He practically broke the internet. It’s a good thing there were motivated Christians to come beside him and help him continue to market himself. They gave him a brand, put him on a world tour that sold out in less than 12 minutes. The elite got their VIP meet-in-greet of course. And a few lucky ordinary people who shared his post
and tagged their friends.

Now the city is abuzz with this new sensation. Traffic surrounding the venue is at a stand-still. Protesters with angry signs shout behind barricades.

“Of course there are protestors,” those that are close to him whisper, “persecution is inevitable when he is making this BIG of an impact.”

The president would show up to shake his hand. Mark Zuckerburg would be there to put aside his different beliefs and vow to help him continue to use his platform for good. So much GOOD.


In a seedy 24 hr diner, on the other side of the railroad tracks…

A trucker walks in, dirty and exhausted from all the miles, needing a shower and some coffee badly. A stranger sees him immediately and buys him a cup. They chat about his work, but get to the deep stuff fast. The stranger sees things in that trucker he never saw before. All the hope and potential of a newborn. The tough, weathered trucker finds tears falling into his coffee mug as something in him releases.

A woman walks in. Or is it a man? She’s spent the night on the corner, trying to make a few hundred dollars. She avoids eye contact with the stranger. Something about him unsettles her, makes her feel shame. He doesn’t let her ignore him. He buys her some waffles and hot cocoa. They talk for hours and she finds herself pouring out her life story. The abuse. The rejection. The stranger nods.

“It’s not your fault. You don’t have to live like this.”

The conversation continues into the early morning and the woman knows her life will never be the same.

As the media broadcasts the life-changing event just up the road, few realize that maybe we have the wrong man.

coffee

The Only Cure For Despair

8 Jun

Every human is confronted with the same decisions: believe the dark thoughts or cast them out. And I am realizing that intersection faced multiple times a day is really what makes or breaks a life.

I am reminded again, you can have the whole world but lose your soul.

Money is an illusion. Adventure can be miserable. Traveling doesn’t bring you peace. Neither does having a beautiful, loving family.

The reality of human nature is this: nothing is ever enough.

We grasp at the stars with hands that can’t hold anything, it’s always just within our reach.

Happiness. Fame. Romantic love. Success. Amazing experiences.

They fade in color like anything left out in the sun too long.

We are the desert wanderers, watching miracles happen next to us and forgetting in a day, never arriving to the promise land we’re camped right outside of.

We are dust and we can’t get back to the ground fast enough.

Meaninglessness, meaninglessness.

If we’re honest, we all face the reality of the futility of it all.

Some of us ignore the pressing truth. We numb ourselves with pictures and noise, bury ourselves in stuff and other’s drama. We curb the appetite of despair just enough to get us to the next high.

Some of us fall completely into the darkness and let it engulf is. We give up all hope and decide to leave. The world is shocked for a moment, then keeping spinning.

But some of us. Some of us touch the light on the other side, grasp it like a rescue rope.

Some of us have tasted Love and know everything else is bitter. And know matter how often we forget, we have this Hope.

A Reason.

A Meaning.

Beyond the easily combustible stuff.

Beyond fickle emotions or the next best thing.

Beyond the broken parts of our mind telling us it’s not worth it.

Beyond this world that is slowly expiring.

And it’s not even some intangible thing we have to conjure up or repeat enough phrases or read enough or attend the right church or seminar.

IT is a actually HIM.

A whispered name that stands firm when all the walls around us are knocked down.

A nest, untouched in a hurricane.

The only real reason for carrying on.

Jesus.

So we moved forward, with Light on our faces and Hope in our hearts.

Knowing what the world needs.

Knowing what we need.

Rest, Child

22 May

When I was a child, growing up in rural New Hampshire, I always loved lilacs. There was one house in particular which had a yard covered in lilac bushes, and whenever we’d pass it, I’d say to myself, one day I’ll have a yard covered in lilac bushes.

After growing up, moving to Texas and traveling, I’d forgotten about this sweet, delicate, purple flower. Until the other day when I realized the large unknown bushes lining the fence in our backyard had blossomed.

I know it seems crazy to some people, but I still believe Jesus wants to take us on a beautiful adventure, full of wonder, awe, and even danger at times. And I can’t imagine living any other way.

When I was 22, I sat in a stuffy bus that reeked of cigarette smoke, on a dark road in western China. I cried tears of overwhelming joy because I felt God whisper in the stillness,

“I want to give you the world.”

I spent a few years feeling lost and forgetting who I was. I tried so hard to “figure out life,” I forgot the inheritance that is already mine.

I bought this book the other day. I probably would never have if I hadn’t found it on clearance at Hobby Lobby. I don’t really read much anymore, my attention span is shot and my mom-brain seems to barely comprehend anything. But I remembered how reading Shauna’s words in the past felt like an instant heart-connection, like my older, cooler self was writing to a younger me.

Last night I got hit with a stomach bug, so today I am recovering. It forced me to stop, be still, leave the dishes and laundry and get groceries delivered. I sit outside alone in the quiet while my kids rest, and breathe in the sweet lilac sent while reading some life-giving words.

You don’t have to be so busy.


Stop.


Remember who you are.


Remember what you have.

Rest, child.

And I remember it’s in the stillness in each day that I find myself at peace.

I am loved, so deeply

And I’ve been given the world.

Sometimes that looks like a grand adventure in another country, or finding a new home 1,000 miles away. Sometimes it’s my beautiful, frustrating, incredible children, and all the big and small moments with them. Sometimes it looks like the right thing on sale or reading the right words.

Sometimes it looks like a tiny, purple flower.

Machines & Beating Hearts

9 Jan

Just people attached to machines.

That’s what most of us see, when we look around.

It seems like something from a late 1990’s Sci-Fi film that makes you question everything you’ve ever known. But now, 20-something years later, this is reality. I am here at my gym as I type this. People, in a building, going nowhere. Attached to their treadmills, their headphones, their screens.

I am one of them. I like that I can create my own world, inside my hand. I like the anonymity of all this, I don’t have to talk to strangers, no one speaks to me. Headphones are the universal sign that you don’t want to be bothered, and I love it.

Or do I? Where would I be without people bursting into my life and turning everything backwards and sideways?

I look up to see my husband. Sometimes I look at him and remember what a miracle we are. That two people could find each other after all the impossible things, that we wrote our story together, created a whole new life. Created new lives.

I never want to get used to seeing him. Seeing our children. Those sweet, round faces full of so much wonder and promise, everything that is right with the world and worth living for.

I think God sees us like that.

Sees me.

But I don’t think He ever stops. He never gets tired and goes through days with His eyes closed.

He never gets distracted by the endless buzzing of the machines he didn’t make, the noise, the bright, artificial lights.

He never stops seeing the beauty in His kids,

Despite how messy we make things.

How side tracked we get, always missing what’s right in front of us.

He never stops fiercely loving me.

Even when I connect to all the wrong things.

Even when I pick up my smart phone instead of my husband’s hand.

Even when I ignore my daughter to read some stupid comment someone who’s not even next to me said.

Even when I go all day without remembering what a miracle all this is.

Love.

People.

Life.

So breathe in, breathe out.

Because you can, without a machine.

Hold hands and look each other in the eyes. Because it’s all we’ve got.

Sometimes I want to run into the wilderness and smash my phone and live like Laura Ingles Wilder, or at least like me from a decade ago, before this all got so impersonal.

(Maybe none of this is real.)

But somehow I know what’s real, above the whirring of machines.

And I can still hear the beating of our hearts.

Better Days, Better Dreams

31 Dec

In my dreams, I am often traveling. Somewhere foreign, usually by an ocean. I am alone, or accompanied by some random person from my past that doesn’t really mean much in my present life. I am often filled with adrenaline and excitement, trying to capture a beautiful moment with my camera. I am on my way somewhere I don’t know where. In the middle of this, I will experience a pang in my gut. Looking over a fantastic waterfall over a cliff I will remember something is missing…someone.

My family. I will realize this and begin to panic.

“Why isn’t my husband here?? Where are my babies? Did I leave them somewhere? Are they hurt? How could I be so careless?”

I will wake myself up and remember they are sleeping soundly near me. I will feel relieved.

Resolutions are a funny thing. We feel because we keep track of the passage of time, another 365 days gone by is another chance to start all over. New year, new self, right? We forget time is a made-up construct to keep us sane, or to maybe give us some kind of illusion of control on this rapidly spinning planet.

Of course, I need to lose 15-20 pounds. I need to stop eating sugar and processed carbs. I need to get off Facebook and read a book. I need to listen better to my spouse and preschooler, really hear them. I need to organize my house. Stay on a schedule. Get outside more. Journal. Pray. And of course, write that book I’ve been putting off.

So what do I do? Come up with a plan. Stick to it. Use my sheer will power to be better myself, because that’s what I want and need. That’s how my life will be closer to perfection. That’s how I’ll find peace and be content. Better days will come. Right? The problem is, the more we do, the more it isn’t enough. Nothing is never enough, until you have True Peace within.

I’ve always thought my dreams are not random. When I was a small child, I had a reoccurring dream for years I was riding in a van over a bridge and the driver skidded and crashed into the rail, sending is flying over the edge straight into the deep, dark water. I felt everything. The utter fear. The panic. The knowing my life was about to end. Even the rush of the cold water, sharp in my lungs. The lack of air and the darkness. I couldn’t escape the sinking vehicle. I died.

For years, this dream haunted me. I couldn’t get past it. It was so vivid I feared it might really be my destiny. Years later in my early 20’s, I had some revelations about my life while traveling. I began to get free from things in my past that had happened to me and I could literally feel the spirit of fear break. It was like my life split wide open and the light came in.

Suddenly, anything was possible.

One night, I fell into the unsettling dream yet again. It began the same, but something changed. This time, we the vehicle was crashing and plummeting off the bridge, I screamed a name:

“JESUS!”

With that name uttered, I found myself transported outside the van, flying above or, watching it crash into the water below. I found myself flying, up and up and UP!

Above the earth. Above the clouds. Above my fear.

I woke up with a jolt and heard a still voice:

“Once you were drowning from fear. Now I’ve set you free.”

As the clock counts down to 2018, I am not gonna focus about all the things I need to change and fix about myself, all the ways I will make this year better. I refuse to look at what I don’t have.

Instead, I will rest in what has already been done. I will celebrate how far I’ve come. I will find peace in thankfulness.

I will celebrate this great adventure that has been 2017, that has been every year, really. I will know that I am enough, and everything will come out of that.

I will know true change comes from the inside out, from a revelation that I have been set free.

I will celebrate the truth that I don’t need to waste the present longing for better days. They are here, now.

Last night I had a dream I was traveling. This time it was in the snow. Everything was so beautiful, cold, clean and pure. I looked over and I wasn’t some or with some random people. I was with my husband, my daughter, my son. I didn’t even feel the need to capture the moment. We were happy.

And you ask me what I want this year

And I try to make this kind and clear

Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

’cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings

And desire and love and empty things

Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words

And sing out loud

’cause everyone is forgiven now

’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

Goo Goo Dolls- Better Days

Enough For Today

14 Dec

Moments of clarity come, falling into my heart like snow, covering the dust and dirt, the anxiety and confusion, creating a new landscape of white.

I am thankful. Deep down in my bones.

My boot-covered feet crunch as I walk across our lawn to the mailbox, making new footprints in the white powder. I inhale deeply, let the cold in, let myself rest in the fleeting stillness.

I am here.

I am alive.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

The sky is already darkening, even though it’s only 3:30. I forgot how early it gets dark in the north. But I don’t mind it. The twinkling lights shine bright all over our neighborhood, a symbol that never gets cliche. My daughter points them out as we drive, never tired of the magic.

It’s hard to believe still, this is my life.

Lately I’ve been trying to get out of my head. To stop and take it all in, without the distractions, with all of my senses. My kids are brilliant at this. It’s all they know. Now, here. THIS moment.

I don’t want to miss it.

But I don’t want to obsess about not missing it either. Anxiety is sneaky and takes many forms. I am beginning to recognize the start of that spiral, when I back myself into a corner and refuse to see what’s right in front of me. My head takes me on an nightmare-ish ride.

I forget that I can stop the car anytime. I can get out and say,

“Not today. Today is a gift. Today is mine. Today is Yours.”

When the worry piles and piles in heaps till I feel like I can’t breathe, I stop and shake myself off and realIze I always had the breath, I just had to find it.

There is no lack.

This truth comes often lately, piercing through anything in my flesh, breaking open things to let the light in.

I have everything I need: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I am not waiting for the elusive one day, that day is here, now.

Even when the old familiar stresses push their way into my day, and I feel that urge to distract myself out of it, I know the only way out is thankfulness that puts me in the center of the present.

There is honey in the rock.

I take a moment to count my blessings. Because it’s anything but cliche.

It’s life.

Surprising friendships. Good people. Music that heals. A warm kitchen: nourishing food. My son’s sloppy wet kisses (heaven meeting earth.) Conversations with my daughter that leave me astounded. When she makes her brother belly laugh. My husband’s steady, faithful, unwavering love. Not dreading the holidays. New traditions. Coffee, always. Remembering why we celebrate: a baby born in the humblest of places, a moment in time changing everything forever.

Knowing we are home.

Really we don’t need much

Just strength to believe

There’s honey in the rock,

There’s more than we see

In these patches of joy

These stretches of sorrow

There’s enough for today

There will be enough tomorrow

(Sara Groves, Enough)

They’re Raising Me

17 Oct

I’ve been baking bread a lot lately. It’s strange, it’s not something I ever thought I’d enjoy. They say you’re either a cook or a baker, and I am definitely not Betty Crocker. Baking (and most crockpot recipes) bother me because you have to follow instructions carefully. You can’t really just add in a dash of this and that and taste the cake batter as you go. That’s what I love about cooking. I can use my hands and other senses to experience the whole thing, to taste as I go and make it better. It’s intuitive to me.

I’ve found with bread, once I got over the initial phase of being annoyed at having to be exact with the measurements, I could be free to form the dough the way I want.

Kneading. It’s supposed to be the hardest part, the most inconvenient, but lately it’s been my favorite. Stretching out the dough, making it softer, firmer, feeling it with my bare hands. I guess it’s a little therapeutic and maybe I need that.

Yesterday I got out of the chair, after nursing my 5-month-old Wyatt to put him on his mat to play. My big toe caught on the hem of my mom-sweatpants and my whole body came crashing onto the wood floor, baby included. Luckily my arm caught his head but i was still so shook up. I sat on the couch and bawled, even after we checked him and knew he was ok.

Aurelia comforted me, saying, “It’s ok mama, it’s ok, don’t cry.” I’ve never met a 3-year-old as good as she is in a crisis. It helps that since she was very small, her dad and I have told her to slow down and breathe whenever she starts to panic.

Today she said “Mom, remember when baby Wyatt fell and you cried? God is with you all the time.”

Some days as a stay-at-home-mom feel like eternity and my children feel so small and needy. Other days I just look at them and I wonder what galaxy they came from.

After I knead the dough for 10 minutes, my hands are covered in flour and a little cramped. I pat it down to try to smooth out the cracks and make the heap of dough as perfect as possible. But there are always flaws.

Then comes the wait time. I am not good at that part. Instead of enjoying the fruits of my labor immediately, after all that physical exertion I have to wait for it to rise. I have to leave it alone in a warm place and trust that I didn’t mess it up.

I have to trust that it will grow and become what it was meant to be.

It’s been 5 months since I became a mother of 2, and about 2 and a half months since we moved 1,000 miles to our new home. Some days I am so, so tired. My brain is numb. I am annoyed and ungrateful.

Other days I stop and stare at the window and see changing leaves: oranges, yellows, and reds. I open the doors and the windows and feel that glorious nip in the air, inhale that wonderful, life-giving, smokey fall scent.

Sometimes I stop and talk to my daughter, and wonder at her brilliance. I make my son laugh, his mouth open wide, his whole face engulfed in joy.

Sometimes the only thing I can do is whisper “Thanks,” with tears in my eyes.

For so long it felt like we were barely surviving. Like we were wandering aimlessly in the desert. The manna was always there, but I grew so, so tired. I continued my feeble, half-whispered prayers every night and most waking moments.

“Please.”

You have to be patient and wait for the dough to rise. When it’s ready, you’ll know. When you put it in the oven, the whole house fills with a homey, fresh, comforting wintery smell. When it’s ready, it’s perfectly crisp and crunchy on the outside, and soft and comforting on the inside. The butter melts and your heart and tongue rejoices.

Motherhood feels a lot like your body being broken and made whole over and over. A holy calling in the most humble disguise. Waiting and watching. More patience that I ever thought was possible. Kid’s don’t play on our adult-made timeline.

Neither does God and his mad and hilarious recipe for our lives.

It’s better that way. I’d be bored with formulas and exact outcomes and I know it. Very little is actually in my control. It’s beautiful and freeing and it takes a lifetime to fully realize.

“Mom, God is with you all the time,” My three-year-old states this matter-of-factly, like she does her name. And I know, as much as I struggle through the beautiful, difficult chaos of raising them, they’re also raising me.

And I know I can fall back into the trust that there is grace and provision and abundance and more than we can ever dare to ask or hope.

In the changing of seasons. In a new home. In our daily bread.

We Walk On

11 Aug

I have an announcement to make: everybody feels like they are faking it.

We are all just along for the ride, and really have no clue what we are doing or where we are going. Even moments of confidence and accomplishment feel so short-lived.

Life comes at you the older you get, and parenthood adds a whole new dimension of responsibility and anxiety. These tiny human beings look at you with all the trust in their eyes because they don't know anything different. We are keeping them alive, shaping them, teaching them what love looks like. But even that we have no control over when it comes down to it.

The world is broken. People make choices and sometimes (often) choices are bad. The only thing you can do is let go and pray for the best.

Some intellects believe people of faith are weak, and actually, it's true. Only, we are ALL weak, and it's in the acknowledgment of it that we gain freedom. But the paradox of Christianity (and really all humanity) is we are also so strong. We are always pressing forward, overcoming adversity and bone-crushing sorrow. Always forging a new path. Always growing. Always making a way.

It's been in our DNA since the dawn of creation: build, create, reproduce, raise up, destroy the limits. Create civilizations, cultures, languages, inventions, art, of out seemingly nothing. Almost as if our blood was infused with the need for the New, the need to move forward, to make our lives and the world around us better.

And so we persevere. We battle the daily, hourly, voices telling us we will never be good enough and we keep living. We keep raising our kids, building a home, a new idea, a movement, a community. We keep ignoring the noise in our minds arguing the futility of it all, and we make something of our lives. We strive to create a better world for our children like our ancestors did. We use our minds and our hands. We discover and conquer. We bleed for a cause. We feel incredibly weak and extremely strong, we feel moments of stupidity and brilliance, love and rage, selfishness and compassion.

But we are human and there is so much grace for that.

If we are quiet and still, we can hear God among us, cheering us on:

You are loved. Give yourself grace.
Today is a gift.

And we walk on.

"You're a million years of work," said God and his angels with needle and thread. They kiss your head and said, "You're good, kid. You make us proud. So just give your best and the rest will come and we'll see you soon."

-Needle and Thread by Sleeping at Last

%d bloggers like this: