Tuesday, February 16, 2016

threshold of a new season

This weekend, our family will officially enter the teenage years. Lorraine will be 13 on Saturday. This day will mark the beginning of a long, long, long season of parenting teens (for us, it will last no less than 13 more years, when our youngest is 18).

I'm not sure if I should buckle my seat belt, or learn karate, or run to the store for bread and milk.  I'm not ready. I guess I'll just say a prayer, and pick up a book.

"Adolescence is, by definition, maladjustment. And getting adjusted is a strenuous and often noisy process. There are families who manage to maintain a facade of decorum, but when we get a close look at them we find a jumble of colorful and jagged detail: exposed rock, crashing streams, lightning-struck trees, mossy meadows, sudden storms, surprising blossoms, bark in a dozen or more textures-- adolescence is insistently various and energetic, and it pulls everyone in the vicinity (and most emphatically parents) into the wild and wonderful scenery.  Adolescence is also a gift, God's gift, to the parent in middle-age."  

"...God's gift: in the rather awkward packaging of the adolescent brings into our lives a challenge to grow, testing our love, chastening our hope, pushing our faith to the edge of the abyss."
--Eugene Peterson (Like Dew Your Youth)

I come to the threshold of this new season much like I went into the labor and delivery room: unsure, nervous, excited, and a bit overweight. I know there are both trials and gifts waiting for us here.  I also know that, if I rely only on my own strength, I will merely survive, at best.  But I take His hand, and I expect Him to provide as He always has: blessings mixed with trials, strength for the moment, and joy along the way, as He works all things for our good.

Bless these children as they grow up, and us, too, as we grow up with them. Uphold all parents of teenagers, and give us wisdom, strength, and a sense of humor.  Amen

Monday, February 8, 2016

keep reflecting

From the intro to his book (one of my favorites)

Here, in this painting, in these (hopefully) creative meditations, you will see the same sky and the same sun, the same story of struggle, of all and grace, of descent and ascent of death and resurrection. The same God. The same gifts.  If He's not tired of it, why should I be? If his brush is still in His hand, if His Words still roll, what can I do but stick my tongue out the corner of my mouth and diligently (but pitifully) rip him off? What can I do but meditate on His meditations?

I do get tired of it, sometimes. I get bored with the same story of my weakness, and His enough-ness.  I get tired of being taught the same lesson again and again.  I wonder if God feels like I do when I say over and over "don't hit your brother!" and "stop wrestling" and "use kind words" and "WORK IT OUT!"

I imagine him, not with tired mommy eyes and a snappy voice, but with a playful, patient smile, as He teaches and reteaches me, redirecting me, rebuking me, comforting me, over and over and over though His Word.

"I will take care of you."
"I am enough."
"This isn't how it's always going to be."
"My love is your strength in weakness."
"This is my body, given for you."
"You are forgiven."
"You are loved."

His grace is new every morning, and it is also the same, and this is a wonderful thing.
Meditate on His meditaitons.
Hear His Word, and steep in it.
See His living creations, and take time to delight in them.

God, help me not to tire of the glorious repetition of your grace in my life.

Death by living p. xi
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