Sunday, March 20, 2011


The other day we were walking out of the restaurant part of Cracker Barrel and Ellie was probably 10 steps ahead of me (running out), an old man (maybe 90? definitely over 80) was walking in super slowly--like it was hard for him to walk. On her way out Ellie ran right up to him and grabbed his hand, like she'd known him her whole life. He looked down at her and squeezed her hand and they had the weirdest little interchange with no words.

I felt in an instant like I was out of the loop. Like my two year old and that man knew something that I had no idea about. It was so bizarre. All the tables around them stopped what they were doing and watched. We all paused and the world stood still while we witnessed a moment that none of us seemed to understand and then Ellie let go and ran off. A moment that felt pregnant with importance, but was completely nonchalant for the two involved.

I can't stop thinking about this. Maybe because I couldn't fit it into a place in my brain, because I just couldn't understand or explain away why it happened. And I couldn't attach a nice little story to it. It simply stood alone, punctuated my mundane day with a moment that inspired me for reasons I don't know. But I wonder if trying to explain it, trying to figure it out dumbs down the significance of it--washes away some of the mystery that makes it remarkable and beautiful.

And so I've decided I can be okay with not knowing, with never knowing.

I can let God be God, and have the secret things for himself. He can know. I won't.
In the meantime, I get to witness things that I can't explain.
And the song I'm listening to says:

"Sometimes things aren't always what they seem, words fall short in times like these."

(credits to Sandra with "Imperfect Melodies" for making the beautiful soundtrack to my blog,to Lynds for taking beautiful pictures, and to Courtney, for her good advice)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fig Leaves

How much time do you spend crafting an identity you want to hide behind? You know, working on being skinny, funny, pretty, crafty, wise, spiritual? (those are mine) How much effort is given to those things? How much effort given to hiding? I'm taking a cue from my new favorite blogger Courtney and including tons of pictures that I illegally snag off the internet (she has rights to hers).

How much time to hiding behind an identity that is fabricated to make you look like you're not as messed up as you are? Like Eve hiding behind the hand-sewn fig-leaves in the garden, wondering who would see.

John and I were talking last night, about how much I've been struggling lately since I've been sick, and I'm not able to get out of bed early, read my Bible and exercise. It came down to me saying this very bluntly (please don't email me about eating disorders or I will egg your car):
"I have to be skinny"
....and him poignantly asking:
"Why do you have to be skinny?"

This completely disarmed me. I was ill prepared to answer such a direct question and all the things I could think I wanted to say to defend myself ("Because it's healthier", "So I'll feel good about myself", "So I can be more confident") Really boiled down to nothing and sounded so fake...cause I knew the truth.
I laid in bed, thinking about the real answer, and this blog post and struggled to sleep.

The real answer is (it's hard to be this transparent)...I want people to worship me.

Let me follow that up with the fact that I sat here and stared at the computer screen wondering if I really had the audacity to type what I felt in my heart. Wondering if I could somehow soften the blow of that truth by saying something like "think I'm great" instead of using the word "worship"...but I just couldn't do it justice.

I am guilty of the same sin that caused Lucifer to fall like lightning from heaven. And it's dreadful.

Now before you all start telling me how much I beat myself up, or downplaying what I just said let me also say that I am completely aware of the fact that my Savior died for that, it is finished, and I am forgiven.

But let me explain what I'm learning about this.
We are all in desperate need of being real. Putting it on the line. I don't mean in a sort of "I'm going to expose what I want you to see enough so it looks like I'm really honest but I'm really just using even that to craft my own image" kind of real. I'm talking about, "this makes me uncomfortable" kind of real.

A woman I really look up to just did something that I know makes her feel utterly exposed, and then made the comment to me about how that is her place of faith, because if we're not there, learning how to be comfortable in the place we're least comfortable, we are hiding.

God has recently been sparing me from hiding by stripping away the things I want to hide behind.
Well-behaved kids? Good luck forcing that one.
Spiritual bible verse wisdom? Not until I can read my Bible again.
Great muscles? How about you sleep in until 8am.
Good mothering? Well we watched 3 hours of television yesterday.

It's all this glorious thing, that was originally making me so miserable, but I'm learning now to find great rest in.

"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46
We can bring our entire selves, completely real and exposed to the light. We can stand unashamed once more, in all our awful glory, with every truth we are ashamed to admit, because we have been granted a new identity.
We can be comfortable when we are anything but comfortable because we don't find our rest in what we do, or how we look, but in our Savior.

"The LORD sets prisoners free" Psalm 146:7
We have no reason to hide, no cause to find something to cover us...we are covered!
Behind every awful moment of being exposed is a chance to find rest in the gospel.
On the other side of every colossal "failure" is a God waiting with open arms to hold the daughter he already knew was a screw up.
And on the outside of every comfort zone, is a liberty that would never have been realized had we not ventured out.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

What he sees

The above picture was drawn by my son. He is 4 and a half.
Tonight I'm looking at the picture and talking it over with my husband. How sweet it was that he wanted to draw a picture of me, how sweet that he wrote me a note. How (if you could see the rest of the picture) he drew himself with hair sticking up and his sister with pigtails. Then it dawned on me what I'm wearing in the picture. Look at it. There is a dress, floor-length, with those little sweepy things that Cinderella has on her gown, and circley puffy sleeves (I'm getting really technical with my fashion lingo here). He drew me in a princess dress. We started discussing it, and all the pictures my son draws of me, and I realized...he always draws me in a princess dress.
Mind you, I never have ever walked around the house wearing a princess dress (a wedding dress? yes...once, but princess dress? never). I walk around the house wearing jeans, or sweats, or a bathrobe...not a ball gown. Still, when my son is asked to draw a picture of me...I am a princess (a princess with no arms usually, but a princess nonetheless).
It started me thinking about God. And how this is true of our relationship with him as well. If God were to draw my picture, what would he draw? A prideful woman, who constantly demands her own way? A gossip? Maybe the incredible hulk (thinking of my propensity for anger)? No, none of those things. I'm convinced that if God were to sit down and draw a picture of me (I'd have arms) and would also look like a princess. Not because I am worthy. Not because I am smart enough, funny enough, skinny enough, patient enough, or deserving enough. But because I am his. A daughter of the king. Because his Son died for me and now, because of the righteousness that was won on my behalf, I am near, and rejoiced over.

I am a princess.

And I don't know about you, but someone thinking I'm a princess, makes me a lot more likely to act like one.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Exposed. Ever heard of that word? Let me help you with the definition, it involves things like "depriving of shelter", "making known" and "causing to be visible". Okay, we've got a working definition, now you can delve into my life.
I'll warn you, most of my posts have a neat little bow on the end when I'm finished. A happy ending to leave us all feeling a little closure. This one is hurting a little too much to have such closure....but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Three weeks ago we get a report from one of our children's teachers in Sunday school about how he had a hard time listening, had to be taken out of the room etc. (this is all coming through my sweet husband filter, who remembers few if any details about such things). So we write it off, talk to little man about obeying and go on with it, when a week later another teacher says the same thing. Mid-week I take him to BSF and find out the same thing happened and finally, today after dropping him off and one of the overseeing teachers came up to me to "talk" about how he's doing I began to crumble. She asks if anything is going on at home, like a move, or a death (really?....or a terrorist plot, or a hostage situation?) and I kindly ask her for suggestions and get some great feedback (which she had great ideas for both.) I then (after responding quite diplomatically I must say) walk outside, call my man and begin to u n r a v e l.

There was a lot of talking, and a lot of crying (both done by me) about how hard I'm trying, how much of myself I'm giving, how I don't know what else I could sacrifice, or pray about, or work through or who else I could possibly get advice from or what other tool I could implement (ultimate run on sentence.) And I say something to the effect of "I keep sowing all that I have, and I feel like I should be reaping something different with this little boy, I just don't know what I'm doing wrong," to which my husband replies something to the effect of "it's not necessarily you." Of course I didn't believe him (though desperately wanted to) and go inside.

We start talking in the lesson about God, and how he won't share his glory and how he won't tolerate us believing in idols, and yet again I start being able to see how kind he is to me. Here's a verse:

"See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed?
I will not yield my glory to another." Isaiah 48:10-11

Okay, I have this nasty little habit. It's pride. My problem is I want to build a tiny little kingdom for myself. I set myself up, to make my name great with all sorts of great attributes like being funny, pretty, skinny, and (duh) having perfectly behaved little pawns to show the world what a great mom I am. (brutally honest here folks). When this little man starts getting in the way of me building said kingdom, I start to panic. I start to pray harder "God. Please help him to start obeying" (and those are good prayers, and I might even use good spiritual words like "win his heart")...but what I'm really wanting is for God to make him obey so I can check my box, have my little ego boost and move on. Not so God is glorified.

It is in this place, of feeling exposed, of feeling completely incapable of doing anything other than humbly seeking God, asking his teachers for advice and prayers, and consistently being a mom the only way I know how that I write. God is growing me in my motives. He is growing (as a friend called it) a really thick layer of gospel skin on my outside. Reminding me that I don't find my identity in how my son behaves (or doesn't for that matter) but in Christ alone. He is showing me that I cannot punch in the proper sequence of mothering activities (which would look something like: Bible, prayer, scripture, discipline, love, self control and chocolate in my head) and pop out a nice little marketable product of a child. He is showing me that I can rest in a place of complete uncertainty in how my kids behave and how I appear to others, because I'm not resting in those things at all, but in a sure foundation on the rock eternal. He is showing me that I cannot have the goal of producing good well-behaved children who always say "please" and "thank you" and never have dirty fingernails, because it's not only impossible, but also just serves to boost my ego and flesh, and doesn't really point them to a Savior.

So in the thick of all of this, I wait. Feeling completely naked and ridiculous, but also learning to be okay with being so because I trust in the robes of righteousness that are provided for me. I guess a great deal of mothering is being Fathered, and remembering that He is the one in control and leading. I'm sure this will serve me well when our son is 18 and comes home with a motorcycle and a girlfriend named Candy, and I know learning how to fall after I've built myself up is a great deal of life. I just hope in the future I don't let myself get so high that it hurts too bad.