Monday, September 30, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Here's one reason:
My dining room looks like this.
And when my outsides are like this, there is simply no creative room in my insides.
We're eating on paper plates, and I can't find my potholders or the spoons. But we're surviving.
Monday, September 23, 2013
As in, “You must answer every one of my objections to my satisfaction or I refuse to obey (or trust, or move from this spot.)” This is the kind of questioning we also do with God, as it seems to provide us with an excuse for continued sin. We do not understand His ways in a certain situation, therefore He cannot be trusted, therefore we can do whatever we want. This is sin, of course. God’s ways are not our ways, and we will not understand all of them. Yet, because of what He has given us—evidence of His love in Jesus—we can trust, even with some questions unanswered.
God, grant us wisdom and grace with our skeptical children! Wrap us both in your forgiving love, and stoop down to meet our needs of heart, soul, and mind. In Jesus, Amen.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
I know not how to ask or what to say;
I only know my need, as deep as life,
and only you can teach me how to pray.
help me to see your purpose and your will
where I have failed, what I have done amiss;
held in forgiving love, let me be still.
Come with the strength I lack, the vision clear
of neighbor's need, of all humanity;
fulfillment of my life in love outpoured;
my life in you, O Christ; your love in me.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
It was the dance of grief and hope.
We danced with our friends, with our children, at a messy rainbow party.
Oh children, we would be lost without God's grace in this place. We would be lost if He did not uphold us, and give us hope by His promises.
We would be lost if we had not been found.
But we have been found, rescued, redeemed by our God through Jesus. I know, it is still hard, and we are still waiting, but while we wait, we cling to the promises. We can look forward together, to the day of promises fufilled and grief ended. We cling to God-- our trustworthy, powerful, loving God-- and in anticipation of His Kingdom Come, we celebrate.
Meanwhile, we practice. I am grateful that this party helped me practice this conversation with the children. Because this week, the dance of grief and hope has come into our own home.
Years ago, when I was on my face in grief and fear, under trial with Aggie, haunted by her illness and horrified by the depth of my own sin, my Aunt Julie wrote to me:
People say, "be strong." I say, "be weak and be loved."
And her words became my heart-song. That year as God proved His love to me over and again, those words became for me my theme, my story: I am a child of God, weak and loved.
This week, Aunt Julie was called home to heaven.
I am reading "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" with my older three children right now. Last night, we read through one of the scary parts. Edmund had betrayed his siblings, and the Witch made her claim on his life. And then the lion, Aslan --strong, good Aslan-- made a deal with the Witch, and rescued him.
And the children smiled softly, almost as if they had known the story would end happily. Stories usually do. But how would Aslan rescue the traitor? They were sure he would simply attack the Witch, kill all the bad guys, and announce the beginning of happily ever after.
As they listened, they began to see that Aslan chose the way of suffering. And oh, how they fought against it. "But he can't die!" they insisted.
"Why doesn't he just bite the bad guys' arms off?"
"If I were Aslan I would scratch them up, I'd make them stop!"
Suffering? It makes no sense! It can't be!
On we read, and good Aslan, he suffered. It was brutal, ugly, and humiliating.
And then... Aslan died.
He really died.
The children looked at me with horror, and a million questions. It was late, and we really must go to bed, but there was no other option: we had to keep reading.
In the next chapter, grief got heavier, but only for a moment. Then, with the sunrise: ressurrection, joy, and renewed hope that all shall be well. The blood and love spilled in the atoning sacrifice burst forth into new life, stronger Life.
And with that, they could sleep.
All shall be well, dear children.
This morning, as I hunt for shoes and help toddlers go potty, I wonder how my dad is holding up. Prayers for him and the whole family ascend with the steam from my coffee cup. This place in the story is such a hard place to be; here in this chapter, the one with the suffering and the questions. Here we sit, thinking of cremation, funeral arrangements, and never-agains. And we do not get to see promises fufilled before our eyes, not before we sleep.
The fog of grief can so easily consume. None of us want to sit in it, here between chapters. Yet, here we are, with the hole, and the suffering, and the questions. And we ought not try to paint over the ugly parts, or to pretend the grief is not there.
But even through sad eyes, we can look to the One who gives us hope:
Jesus on the cross.
Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who will complete the good work He has started in us.
Jesus, who has gone to prepare a place for us.
Jesus, who welcomes little children, and sinners.
and you. and me.
His life, death, and life for us: this does not answer every question, but it is enough.
Toddlers, loud, happy toddlers, filled my home today. It is hard to live in toddler world with a heavy heart. But I thought of Shel and her rainbow party, and the promises of God, and I set my mind to remember my place in the story. I am in-between chapters. Death has not won. The waiting is hard, yes. But our God has not abandoned us here.
We wait, and we look forward.
So I got out the chalk, the bubbles, and in the camera. Death, you cannot have this day.
|Trace me, trace me!!!|
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
my body also will rest secure,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
|trampoline + chalk = joy!|
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
For he "has put everything under his feet."
1 Corinthians 15:19-27
"Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me! "
Where, O death, is your sting?"
Monday, September 9, 2013
Does it ever feel like you are making no progress whatsoever in your battle against the flesh?
Are you shocked to find yourself a sinner, still? Even after all you've been through, even after all God has done for you?
Do you learn the same lessons over and over, lessons of your weakness, your inadequacy, your shocking selfishness? And are you always surprised?
|Refresh me, Jesus.|
Friday, September 6, 2013
Father is stern, and he lists the complaints against the boy.
One by one, Father speaks accusations, and the little boy nods. He bites back tears, and he nods, nods.
Mother watches, cringes, prays. She aches with the truth of it, she aches with the declaration of consequences, given for his good. (TV and technology banned. Mother does share the burden.)
His tiny voice shakes as he prays, “Dear Jesus, please help me to be good.”
The trembling voice, the words, they pierce the heart of the boy’s mother. She wants to hold him, but instead she holds his prayer; the desires of her heart wrap around his. Dear Jesus, please help us to be good.
Sniffles and silence.
Then, the tiny prayer is built upon, added to- and oh, the importance of this addition!-- that which cannot be known by nature or by effort; more than a desire for improvement, for virtue; Father adds grace. He adds Jesus.
The goodness that is lacking has been covered.
Reconciled to God, he turns to his mother, and her hug is a joyful extension of grace-filled Word.
For further reading
Law and Gospel in the Home
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
- Elizabeth T. King
Monday, September 2, 2013
The Fake FamilyA laugh out loud, gritty, wonderful, motherhood post.
Just call me Mrs. Deadman
We have been relieved of the need to defend ourselves.
Slaves to Happiness
It's a viscious cycle.
Is Sunday School Destroying our Kids?
Are we raising "good little boys and girls?" at the expense of the gospel?
The Divine Overachiever
Here is the truth: we have gained more in Jesus than we lost in Adam. We lost human perfection in the first man’s fall. We gained perfect flesh-and-blood unity with God in his Son’s incarnation. We lost the fruit of the tree of life, but we gained a meal wherein we eat and drink of God and with God in the body and blood of our Savior. We were banished from Eden as Adam’s offspring but embraced by heaven as adopted offspring of the Father himself.
O, Alma Mater
"when a highly educated woman is home with her children day in and day out, she weaves the riches of her education into their lives in continuous, subtle, living ways. This is a priceless preparation for a lifetime of learning. This gift is the transmission of culture."