Create In Me

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We worked together shoulder to shoulder for a season and I found her wise. She, a bishop’s wife and mother of three. And she would spout gently like a mother dolphin. She’d spout jewels of wisdom and I, younger wife and mother would catch the droplets of sparkling gems.

We worked together in the lab of the creative. And we enjoyed fellowship of two business partners, entrepreneurs in a business for the home.

The words she said that day were one’s I thought I would never forget…the verbatim of her phrases of mini-teaching. I, the student she, the teacher, we workers in the field of creativity with meaning.

But I have forgotten though I have tried to remember. There are many years between that time and this. But the core of what  she said  I caught and held the heavy weight of wisdom in my hands. My heart vowing never to forget.
What I have not forgotten  is the sweet fragrance of her words. I smell the fragrant offering of their meaning.  The words she repeated often like a loving metronome, ticking off in repetition only to help with learning. And more importantly, the beautiful art she created for the home, from the overflow of her heart.

We create an environment in our homes. We create a place for God there. We create and make – environment.

And it wasn’t to justify  our work. It was to realize and recognize the importance of the work of creating. Aren’t we more like Him when we are creating, making, forming, sculpting, molding. Doesn’t He long for us to make, offering back to Him from what we have, the what He has given.

Doesn’t it matter. Our work as mothers. And the whispers from our home into the lives of others.

I look around at the turquoise and brown sofa with piles of pillow, square art on a rectangular sofa. And my daughter studying her vocabulary words there. She is comfortable and she is safe. By a fire in a fireplace with an old mantel which my husband chose from rubble or an antique thrift shop or a reclaimed wood store. These are the places he looks for treasures for our homes.

And my husband says is there anything better than this…and this was my dinner last night. I created nourishment, but it was more. At my hands I cooked up statements of love from my kitchen. It conveyed Comfort through the foods, chosen, prepared.

She was right you know. The books they speak, the art it speaks softly hanging on the walls. Each piece says quietly constantly it has a story to tell, are you listening. Of beauty, of another time, of a mother and daughter together in an embrace, a woman thoughtfully lingering in thought by a window.

We create an environment in which our families learn and live and love. And it’s important work. At and by our hands we create a world within the world. A place of peace and love, a place of mercy and forbearance. Of joy, pure joy and comfort by the things we set out and set before.

But most importantly by what we create with our words and arms’ embrace. The tenor of the home sets the stage for the actions of the heart.

All the pieces come together to form an environment. The blank canvas that was is now brushstroked by our very hands, as creatives, as mothers, as wives and women.

And our very lives, a blank canvas, wait and long for the touch of creativity to mark the white space with meaning and beauty and love.

To launch children out into service, out into a world in need of hope and mercy, in need of grace.

Our homes, a launching pad into the world. A place for recharging, reigniting, re-energizing, reconciling, rejoicing, and re-connecting. For regeneration.

First marked by His touch. First created by His hands. First breathed on by His holy breath.

Created in love by Him. Created in love for Him.

Created to create.

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A  Prayer For All Creatives

Recreating and creating daily, endless opportunity. Unfathomable possibility.

Releasing our hands and hearts and art over to Him.

But please first. But please preface all my work by making a new creation in me. Take my old and take my dull, take my tired and take my weary and create in me a living new offering to a world that needs art and beauty and newly born lives, relationships and attitudes of the heart.

First before all else, please cleanse me and re-create all that I have and all that I am.

Mold me first.

Shape me in your image.

Make me more like You.

Take me in your hands, making me pliable, moldable, shapeable, bendable.

Make me something you can use.

Before I create, create in me.

Before I offer up art and words and a gift back with the gifts you give, first.

First, change me so I reflect, more.

So first, I reflect You. So I am the servant and the artist and the creator of the beautiful message you desire.
Create in me so I can create for You.

First, make me new so that I can make new..

Words for healing, words of hope, words of  grace…because of Your creation in us, in me, in this world.

Thank you for the fabric you give, that we may give back. Thank you for the gifts you give that we can turn into art and worship.

But first, we offer all the gifts back to you.

And thank you for the canvas, our lives, the tools, your gifts, and the desire to create alongside You, in partnership with you, humbly by your side, and in Your Holy Shadow.

Amen.

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Joining Emily and others for Imperfect Prose. (So privileged and honored to now be a part of the Imperfect Prose team. Thanks Emily for the opportunity.) Today’s word prompt is Create.  Join me over there, won’t you.

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The Art of Growing Up

This is a bit of a heads up. That when the facet turns on it might stay on, and do more than drip. Those words and the writing and the overflow of the heart. I wouldn’t blame you if you pressed delete or unsubscribe or walked away from words when they start flowing more frequently. I have begun sometime in 2012 it seems to write daily. Certainly I hope you’re blessed and not the dictionary definition of its opposite. Yesterday I wrote here, of my word for 2013. I am inspired by it. It sort of showed up on my doorstep like a lost dog.

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It just happens. And in some seasons more intensely and profoundly than others. This growing up. This learning.

We did a lot of it in my home yesterday. And we will do more today.

And it’s more pronounced  with one of my little tribe members. But whenever we have spikes in learning and growing, I am stretched and changed too. So it’s more pronounced with ME. And I need growing and stretching and refining. God knows I need to be the one on the potter’s wheel. I am wet clay in His hands.

I need to learn to love it. Because after the trauma and drama and when the dust settles and we all exhale and the learning starts to stick, there is new growth. Buds of change on the way to maturing.

Oh how I long to learn the art of growing up with grace with them.

Some lessons hurt and sting and bite and nearly draw blood. Well that’s how it feels when there are tickets from cars with lights on top that total two hundred and something dollars. It hurts to count. And the government doesn’t like to negotiate pale blue tickets.

It’s easy to scoop them up. It’s hard to let them scoop themselves up. There is tension in the two.

And then the news, so terrible and horrific in its level of violent evil comes on. The local news. And I lock the door at the horror of it all and we huddle around the fire, feeling loved and safe. And the lessons dim a bit and I know the violations and transgressions could be worse.

What part of parenting and growing up was easy? Are we there yet?

And I think of the grace I am extended daily from The One, who made me. But he has gently and lovingly taught me and stretched me. Oh to parent like He does. I made it hard. I fought and dug my heels in and made the easy more difficult.

When the page on the paper day counter turns,  I could panic. And I could begin to count in weeks or even days, the ones remaining under my roof. Eighteen year olds grow and fly and leave. If all goes as planned.

There is much remaining on my momma’s plate to teach.

And in that there is much for me to learn.

I would do well to explore the art of release, the art of patience, and the art of careful attention to detail.

We have a few months until the Spring and I refuse to waste the days I have to learn and grow with him.

He is teaching me the art of growing up. 

And there are days I want to run and hide and hand the reigns to another. But there are days when the joy and growth explode like laughter from the belly of the child. I prefer laughter and joy.

There is beauty in the process. There is joy in the pain. And there is relief in the release. And comfort in the fact that I am never truly alone. Never am I without a helpmate.

I am learning the art of release, leaning into The One that knows and loves me all the days of these tense days of parenting.

The road to adulthood is paved with rocks and rubble at times. The road of adulthood is paved with shards of broken objects at times.

He smoothes the path and goes before and is my rearguard.

There is endless joy and loud alleluia in that.

I hope that today is full of laughter. I hope today is filled with singing.

Growing up. Its an art not a science. And on my knees is a good place to make some art worthy of offering to Him.

And honestly, we are on the verge of making ticket collecting an art form I’d rather not venture into.

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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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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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