Oh Me Of Little Faith

She tells me this is where Faith comes in.

If God had limited patience instead of limiteless patience, I would have worn Him out yesterday.

It was a hand wringing day. And I know better.

I am surrounded by nativity scenes. Hemmed in by mangers. One to my left, one to my right and one behind my doubting Thomas head.

The Trinity symbolized I see now, by my three scenes of His birth. And  I still wring the hands though He wrought a life of pain and sacrifice for me.

And even with the physical reminders of my Savior I still need to be told….and this is where Faith comes in.

She knows my deep struggle. She is what I needed God to bring my way months ago as my struggle as a parent of a child who learns like we all do, uniquely. Who is wired like we all are, by Father God, individually, with strengths and gifts. Who is growing, as we all are on this journey, at his pace marked by his beautifully and wonderfully made intricacies.

But a mother wrings her hands and a heart has been know to skip a beat or double up on beats. And she has come along to hold my hand in the dark nights of the soul.

And there is another too. Who writes a beautiful letter. He is patient and strong and godly. And he tells me things that make me cry, too busy in my doubt and worry to see on my own. Too close and too doubled over in confusion to see or own or know, truly. Words of confidence and hope. Words of affirmation and decisiveness.

The two come along side and bolster my spirits and I know they are life savers wearing flesh and blood and bones to a mother of waning faith.

And at the end of the night, when the black curtain pulls over a day marked with fatigue and anxiety she speaks into my soul. Words I don’t read until His new mercy morning arrives.

And she write these words “He is a great kid…we just all need to help him learn how to access his strengths and use them…it will come with time, patience, and persistence! HAVE FAITH!

And like the perfect storms of life, she is talking and texting and emailing me with a diligence and committment to shoring up my child’s struggles with a tender and firm spirit. And the calm before the storm comes in fact after the storm has passed.

She knows the language which sounds like Greek to my ears of misunderstanding and misinterpretation.  I am learning daily the language of ADHD. And it is Russian and Chinese and Hebrew all rolled into one. I need a translator. I need help.

It comes in the form of co-pilgrims and co-laborers.

I wrote a letter yesterday to my church  which was hard to explain to a questioning child. She looks on me with doubt and lack of understanding. I tell her, if you read my letter you will understand why I feel lead to step back for a season from serving.Because I know in the letter I have said I feel like this is an act of obedience. And there is confusion and fatigue from schism and division and I need a season of quiet and contemplation and prayer and clarity.

A pause in my serving to steady a wobbly spirit.

But I can see I have let her down. She worries that it means we are leaving the church. We are not. I am taking a pause in my service in several different capacities.

And the quiet sets in. And the last thing I want to do is disappoint a child.

But she is questioning and maybe confused. And who can read a sixteen year old girl’s mind.

So I look at the managers that hem me in. There are three. Some days I need one hundred and  three. Days like my yesterday.

I thank Him for His new Mercies, for the rain and for tears.

My husband walked in from Fishermen men’s ministry, last night.

Our friend spoke. He has months to live. He has cancer.

And when you have been in the midst of one so full of faith and full of life you radiate the Glory and the Hope that come beaming from the face of a man at perfect peace. From our friend Pete.

You bring all that home with you from a night in the presence of living, breathing, Hope.

He tells me pieces of  stories that Pete told the men. Some of it I grabbed and some of it my weary hand wringing self let fall to the ground.

A weary soul doesn’t hold tight to Hope.

But you long  to brush up against Hope like this and pray that the remnants and particules like dust fall on you and stay. Fall on a weary dusty soul. Dirty with doubt.

And I pray my daughter can wrap understanding around my walking away for a season of pause. That I didn’t throw in the towel , its only in the wash for a season of renewal. And to gain clarity of mind and heart and spirit. That in obedience to Him He will give me a language of love to explain to her rightly my decision.

Just like the language of understanding I need to learn to speak with my son in his struggles that are uniquely his own.

Its raining outside, the day weeps as I weep.

And I think that today I will play as I did when I was a child. With the manager scene. Didn’t we all. Move the pieces around and marvel. Look on the Mary and Joseph and the animals and the moveable baby Jesus.

I think I’ll move in a little closer to the manager today and the baby who bears the weight of the world and the weight of my sin.

And today, the weight of a mother’s pain as she seeks an increase in faith.

This rainy December day, I know anew, His mercies are new everyday.

And that I can proclaim Alleluia Anyway.

ESM and Stella

Linking with Emily, Jennifer, and Duane today. Joining Joy at joy in this journey dot com for Life Unmasked.

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Bathed In Light

Sometimes, more often than not, very often, well you can determine the frequency of it in your own life, an experience in the physical happens first and then it seeps all lit up into the spiritual. Or it frames the spiritual with clarity and precision.

It takes hearing and living this seven times seventy for it to shine its light of truth on my little world.

A gifted teacher of the Word in my world who peeled back layers of understanding for me taught this, said this, focused on this principle for years. And I get it with wave on wave of new ah ha’s.

And all the strings of white lights now make sense. How I go back to the corner store, the one in another zip code where I can be dirty from cleaning house and pray to remain anonymous. As if that weren’t broken irony in and of itself; my hiding while seeking light. To try and hide the dirt and hope to not be recognized, pitiful, dirty me.

I understand why I peel back the layers of the bills, green with faces of men in government, to add more light to our darkness. Add layers of light. Find another dark corner to light up.

How the corners of the house are lit and warm and white,  hoping to reflect holy. Searching for glimpses of His glory. Looking to capture His Love in our home, His warm redemptive beauty.

And when I lay down at night and when I rise in the morning, there is all this Light. And it was born in that dark barn. It lit up the world with bright Hope. Changing us from a shadowy dark people into a place where there is living breathing Light.

Transforming us and chasing away the darkness for once and for all and forever. White, a bright symbol of a Radiant Savior, for a few weeks, blazing trails on the hearts of the broken to dwell in us for eleven other months. In celebration of all He gave in coming to us in the middle of the bleak winter of our lives.

We wonder what it is in our DNA that wants to run the cords around the home, plug into the outlets for more and more of the bright. To run from the shadows of the dark and dingy and the hiding places into the Light of New Life.

To wake to Light, to live our days in Light, to go to bed with Light.

Doesn’t our soul long for more of the bright Light that came to a lost and desperate world.

We celebrate in ways which falter and fail in their dim replica of His brilliance. What this love of Jesus, this shining Savior, this Christ light, a Bright Hope Jesus, brought into the dark world. We try to come up with things to look like holy to point to his blindingly brilliant love.

The lights are a way to shine today to symbolize what is truly eternal in His Love.

Why would we live dim dark dank shadowy hidden lives when we can walk into the Light– and stay there.

I look at the strings of lights and see the physicality of the spirituality of The Light of The World.

And I long to leave my lights up all year long, oh how I dread the grays of the Januarys of the soul. I dread the grays. Dread the dark. Its shallow breathing, heaviness. Its call to come and hide. To cower in sin and cover up.

So while we walk out Advent and step into that glorious Christmas Day, I want to soak in His Light, bask in His glory, and seek Him on all the dark days of my messy living

And I don’t have to keep the lights up all year because He came in the dark of night to bring Light to a dying world.

Nothing can dim that fact, or take from it, or lesson the brightness of His radiant glory. Even when the cords and strands go back to their dark dusty attic to lay boxed in cardboard. To wait to shine again next year. To point to Him.

Grateful dear Lord for your Light in my darkness.

Grateful that you infuse Light into the bloodstream of our very lives.

And that you call us to live in this brilliant place of radiant grace.

Where even without hundreds of chords of light streaming white, imitating in a fragile failing way Your Beauty, we will have all the Light we could ever need.

We have the streaming brilliance of our Savior.

Amen? Amen.

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Telling The Story In The Middle: A Study in Wait & Pause – Living In The Waiting

If there is a protocol for blogging or a template for writing blog posts or a committee of oversight for writing, they may tell me this one is coloring outside the lines too much. Well at least the long and winding title. In which I tried to say too much and didn’t opt for the pithy. The brief. The succinct.

And who has time to read through a long title? Today things should be brief and catchy and short and simple is always better, right?

How incredibly ironic and frustrating and so very timely is the spinning chrome ball forcing me to wait as I write a post impatiently on waiting. Pausing.

There would be no reason to write on waiting and patience and finding myself in the middle of much if I didn’t know in my deep down places that it is  a core human struggle.

And in the writing, in the sharing, there is  a collective group sigh or exhale or head nod— I know this place too. Or there could be. If you can make it through this long post. If you feel up to waiting for the end.

And yet in the middle of it all  are such deeply personal and individual lessons from God for me that it feels like a sacred tutorial. He is  sanctifying my heart and soul in a season marked for me. A something I need to really get and embrace and be challenged by. And grown by.

So who tells stories in the messy middle before there is closure and a neat and tidy ending? Who leaves the reader hanging, saying why did you tell me this if you couldn’t also tell me that?

I know only that I write from the heart what I feel lead to share.

And there are things upon which I wait. And it feels like a first world problem, and yet I know He cares to speak to me in all of my living. And He cares deeply about all the details of all of our lives.

As I wait for a return to a call and an email and a text from a woman, I wonder why the delay. The Patient One says I have made her mad. I can’t think how or when or what caused the quiet from her end.

So I will tell you how it ends when I get the return from my call in which I said I need to apologize to you. I don’t know what I have done but please tell me so I can say I am sorry.

I don’t know the ending but I know the peace in the middle. I told her I needed to hear her voice. I hope she calls. I have a measure of peace. I want complete peace. Don’t we all.

I have a child with a desire to be accepted to a specific college. We wait. I pray. We feel like there is a pregnant pause in the air. And God and I are tethered to One another in a way we would not be if a child’s future didn’t hang in the balance. He knows me well. He keeps me hanging. He keeps me waiting. And I know these periods of waiting well.

Of waiting for long cycles of infertlity to end. And being lead to adoption and receiving the gift of  another biological child, a daughter after the blessed adoption of a son. He meets me in my waiting. I should long for periods of waiting with Him. They have marked my life with the beautiful. Building my family through waiting, just the way He intended it to be built.

One of the most precious people in my world, my inner inner world, is going through a painful divorce. And I want it to end. I want the pain to stop for her. I want closure and finality and decision. I long for her suffering to end.

She is in the messy middle and she texts me and calls me and I hurt for her. But God will sustain her through the dark period. I reminded her yesterday to hold on to her Joy and not to lose sight of her “what is good”. She has four beautiful children. She texted me thank you for reminding her not to lose sight of the Joy. I wasn’t sure she heard me through her pain. I should listen to my own advise.

We wait for healing in our church family and  in my small community. For a new day and a rebuilding of our body after division.

I long to receive a letter from my Compassion Sponsored child in Peru. There are, I believe, long delays in correspondences between Peru and me, typically normally. This will be the new normal through the years of corresponding with her. But much more importantly, she must be waiting on me. I am overdue a letter to her. It saddens me to think I have left her waiting. I have caused her to wonder where the letter is from me.

And I wonder if God is waiting on me too. I want to be obedient in my living and in my writing. I wonder if I haven’t heard Him clearly. What does He intend for me to do and when with this writing. I am working with a friend on a poetry project, Adagio. And we wait to discuss the next season for this our fledgling poetry project. We wait a little.

My daughter wants her room redecorated. Its in process, unfinished. A stark reminder of the physicality of waiting. I walk in to make the bed and its a work in progress. And that is it. That is really a large part of it.

We are in process, we are a study in waiting, we are unfinished business and unfinished creatures and souls daily. God is refining us. And working things out through us and in us.

I lean into the understanding of this and seek to know it all better. We are unfinished until we are perfected by Him. And the right here is full of things to embrace, to learn, to hold to, to study, to enjoy, to celebrate.

On my porch sits a Christmas tree, our second tree. I received a gift which I want to unwrap and use, a box of ornaments from my parents. But there were so many they needed their own tree. And a wide eyed teenage daughter said I really want to decorate the porch.

The tree is lopsided and propped up. I can’t figure out how to “install” the tree in the newfangled tree stand. It is a mess of beautiful. A mess of white lights waiting to go up on the horizontal tree. Maybe the tree could lay on the ground and I could color outside the lines. Hang the ornaments from a laying in wait tree. Maybe that would symbolize the waiting.

We wait for Christmas Day.

But  isn’t so much of the joy in the days leading up to the day.

Fining joy in the right here right in the messy middle.

The tree on the porch and I have a lot in common. We wait.

I want to be beautiful in the waiting. And learn from the pauses.

Wait with me, pray with me, learn with me.

It would make the waiting even richer. To wait with one another, in community. As we work through and work out the days of our waiting.

The chrome colored ball has gone for the moment. But I know it will pop back up and make me pause. I hope I rest and pray and find peace in the pauses.

And the disposal is broken and the sink is clogged up and I am waiting on the electrician. Maybe I can spread some Christmas cheer while he is here.  While I am waiting for him to fix my brokeness.

Amen? Amen.

Joining Ann, Emily,Emily at Chatting At The Sky, and Jennifer

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The Mix and Mingle of Old and New – How to Welcome Surprises

There is a beautiful dance of the old, the traditions, when it reaches for the hands of the new.

And says come dance.

There is a tension between the comfortable, the familiar, the routine and fresh new thinking and living.

How do we place a foot strongly in tradition and step a foot off the curb into the new.

And at Christmas when family traditions are steeped in continuing and following familiar rhythms of life and faith.

But what if we had an expectant heart for the new.

What if the soul of the family would seek the unexpected.

Gabriel announced new, the shepherds doing the mundane were surprised by extravagant change, life-changing wonders.

Mary gave herself over to miracle  with an all in  servant’s heart. And faced a path rich in the unknowing of a baby conceived as a Virgin.

What if we lived out the hours of our Christmas Days expecting holy surprises and awestruck wonder. What if we cracked open our hearts, the very eyes of our hearts and looked for 2012 miracles.

If the God of today is the same as the God of yesterday, could this Christmas bring miracles of healing and discovery and redemption and new thinking.

I want to open wide the door and welcome Him in in all His glory and all His unbridled majesty. I want to look for wonder all around and to be an instrument of change.

Giving more, and taking less.

Serving, blessing, and sharing more extravagantly.

Can Christmas look today like it did on the first sacred year, the Day of Christ’s birth.

Doesn’t an extravagant Creator God long to lavish his children with surprise and wonder, even miracle.

If I walk out my days as if I planned them, as if my calendar and to do list dictate my every step, have I left room for the miracle to move and breathe and deliver its glory into my days.

If I live as though I know what’s coming next I don’t live as though I actually know who came. On the day of the Savior’s birth. A radical change from a God who saves and loves and longs for us to receive all that He has.

A Manger Miracle.

A Heavenly Showering of Love.

A virgin birth, amazing grace. The child of God came to earth, was God incarnate. Miracle.

An Extravagant Offering from Heaven, which changes and changed and forever will change our very lives.

I want unbridled Christmas, and I want to unshackle the very chains that are an invisible ceiling, a threshold on the movement of The Spirit in my world, our world.

And I can’t catch that which I do not have my arms wide open to receive. I have crossed my arms and held them tight to my chest; gift and the unexpected bounce off the rigid and fall to the ground.

Open to receive and expectant of Joy, oh the longing oh the desire for the holy surprises.

What power He has when we allow Him room to operate and  bless and breathe and touch.

What a power of old and new, the perfect blend of surprise, the unexpected, the life-changing touch of A Living God.

May we all be surprised by Joy, surprised by Christmas Joy.

He is not boxed in, cramped in, stuffed in a Christmas of our making, of our limited vision and design.

So may we prepare Him room, plenty of room to surprise us this Christmas.

His love knows no bounds, His mercy and Grace are unfathomable.

May Love come down and walk and breathe and heal our very lives, and the lives of the broken.

Merry & Mary very surprised Christmas Season.

And a Joyous  Advent filled with making Him room. Plenty of room.

And hoping we catch the Joy, catch the miracles, releasing them to a hurting world …all these Christmas days of our lives.

I’m bursting with God news, I’m dancing the song of my Savior God… His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before Him.  — Luke 1:46

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Joining Eileen, Jen,  and Heather today. Writing in community is a privilege and a joy.

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