These Are The Days, Sacred and Holy

rolled tile roof in oak parkSometimes we just want to cry out loud Mercy at the top of our lungs. Mercy come rain over me. Mercy take me away to some physical and figurative place of peace. Mercy when will it get easier to raise a child. And this boxed in place of not enough, of  at the end of my rope and really, really still and again. It can leave a girl choosing wrongly to place a quantative value on a day. This one is good. This one is very very good. And this one was horrid. There was something to the girl and the curl and the measurement of her behavior. Good was very and bad was horrid.

But these days.  We stumble and name. Give up and give in. Give a grade or an adjective, undeserving of labels,these days. Really, these up and breathing and seeing life beating and blood flowing days. They are sacred and holy. Each one.

Because these are the days of breathing deep and living wide open. And of seeking and creating. These are the moments of loving and building. Of learning and grasping. Of holding and treasuring. Of serving and glorifying. Of offering hope and creating beauty out of the ash.

So the days when we shake a fist at the sky and rail and cry and name the day broken or less than. Well, it just shortens the days of our living, robs self of self.Bleeds them dry with the worry and the tears. Robs them of potential slivers of joy by wrapping them up in the brown-paper wrapping of plain or uninspired. Too filled with pain or sadness to be labeled glorious. Snuffs out the creative and puts a dark mask of blindness on the eyes of the living.

But with the few I have, the ones I am gifted ,granted, don’t I want to maximize the breath and the life in each. How can I put an end to the labels of the days of pain, the desert days, the days of mourning and weeping and wailing. And instead see them each as a perfectly jig-sawed piece to the whole of the puzzle. Each worn and torn frament as a vital and necessary piece of the tapestry of a pulsating life.

How do I wrangle the worn out and worn down and weary and weave them into golden glory. Re-create the mud-pie meals and make them gourmet edible delicacies after all, because its what I have. Recreate the broken and see it as healable redeemable and lovable after all. Because of His life and death. Because of His power.

Because it is life and life is it. This place of in the middle of unknowing and uncertainty, of one day soon it will make more sense and we will see better and clearer and it will be redeemed.

I know about seasons of living. The seasons of pain and the ones of pure joy. But what of the days which can’t be painted with strokes of meaning. Which seem longer than a season and in need of a new naming. The long cycles of questions and not quite clear, the blurry and bleary and tear-stained days.

What of the long periods which feel like they may never end. The repetition of the same recycled hurt and struggle. Where complete healing and total transformation seem to elude this life.

What of making and re-making these days into the best they can be and give, in spite of, despite. What of dropping the measuring sticks of worth and naming all the days as all the days. Each one  the sun up and sun down, moon up and moon down and all the in between. And we do seek extra hard and we squint and we squint some more and strain,on some of these crying out days. The loud mercy days.

I need you to help me reframe the days. To see the beautiful where I can only see hurt. To hold me where my mercies cry out loud and deafening. I need you to be his hands and feet and to catch a tear . To  help me salvage and save what is right here for the living and loving through the pain, inspite of the pain.

Despite the struggle, I need to define the beauty. And the lovely. And the worthy of praise.

When the crying out mercies seem to overshadow the new mercies where does the heart sit and find her rest, the soul her peace. Catch me brother, catch me sister and hold me in the arms of your strong Christ-love.

Catch my tear when the seemingly endless repetition of the wearing down and worn out and numbing pain send me back into the shadows. Pull me out with reminders of light and life with the strength of your Christ-love.

And sister, brother may I do the same for you. Help you frame the pain with a new lens of redemption and healing. Sit with you in the no-matter what’s that come. Hold you in the painful places of grief and loss, of despair and sorrow. Hold you as Christ would, love as Christ does and encourage you to walk forward into the days of healing.

Walk it out when I am weary, be my rod when I am crippled in my place of wandering wondering. And be my strength when I am weak.  Be my peace when I am warring with myself and wrestling with my soul. Be my gentle in my hard places, glimmers of light when hope is dim.

Be Christ for me, brothers and sisters. And teach me how to be Christ for you.

Walk with me into the days, the days of  the holy living, each and every single glorious one.

 Live out the days of breathing, as they are sacred. And as they are holy.

And live out the days, sacred and holy – together – in shared awe and wonder at it all. All. Every. Single. One.

Because these are the days of our lives. These are the days of the holy given.

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joining Laura at Laura Boggess dot com and Jen at finding heaven today and Heather at Just Write.

Shelly and Duane.

(note: a day or two after this original post, I have added a word or two more. writing evolves and changes, sometimes, as the heart of the writer hears and sees more, different, and new)

the cabin in the woods 2 exterior

When Your Efforts To Help Feel Anemic

Under my roof the dryer tumbles and rumbles and hums its white noise roar. And on the screen Isaac blows all blustery hues of cool blue and fire-hot red. Water droplets on the camera lense make the picture blurry, foggy, out-of-focus. But the story behind the blur screams loud and clear, even though the sound is muted.

There is suffering and there is pain. There is hurt and there is loss. Lives are being torn upside down and inside out.

Three left my home this morning for school, one for work and one remains. He leaves later to work and live, outside of this nest now. This man/child home only for a visit.

And I have a friend I mentor, she is in middle school. I don’t know how her first week of school is going. I need to call. She goes to the top of my heart to-do list, which is not as it sounds. She is precious. She is precious to me. My heart weeps to know her heart. I feel behind in my intentional relationship building, in my loving and helping her. I will ask to have lunch with her at school this week and pray God redeems the time between the times we’ve had together, in relationship.

Never have I wanted to freeze living like I do now. Stop time. It is too wonderful to go at the current speed. To savor, it needs to be reduced to slower motioned living. But God. But God in His wisdom designed it to move at this very pace and speed. Every day I mark. Every day I burn the memories in. Its the Senior year for one and the Junior year for another. For the senior, a series of lasts.

She said you are right to mark, and remember and burn in your memory and write and photograph it all. And that the fast approaching empty nest will be a glorious other chapter for the Patient One and me.

But for now I balance a wild love for family with a burning desire to serve. To do and be both and. To serve Him by serving my family well and by loving and serving others well. Those hurting deeply. The suffering souls who long for the love of Christ to be shown by the hands and feet of Christ.

And in the breath right next to the breath about savoring and marking, she and I begin to plan our Haiti Mission trip. My heart leaves them. My heart stays with them. I may miss a volleyball game or a basketball game or the joy of a red-letter day in the life of a 2012 American Teen. Or I  may miss the chance to comfort a daughter or console a son.

Monday morning, wheels rolling north down a four lane highway I stopped behind two cars stranded and stopped in the middle of traffic. One was helping the other and I made a third car stopped in the middle of the highway. He said I am trying to help her and I asked what can I do. They had not called the Highway Patrole. The potential for injury and a collision was real. So I stopped and cars honked at me. I was  inconvenient. I was in the way. I was trying to help.

She looked scared and she looked afraid. I asked her several times what can I do? Her eyes pleading for help. He was helping re-start the car. I was trying to help console her heart. I asked her if I could help. And told her I had called the Highway Patrol. I wanted to pile three strangers in my car and take them somewhere. But they were safely waiting in the grass. So I  left once, came back again and checked on her. And said God Bless. In the strange ways of crossing paths with strangers daily, I may never see her beautiful face again. Ever. Our worlds are far apart. Our lives are lived out very differently. I hope my anemic effort to love on her in passing was enough. I long for those quick decisions  made in the middle of honking annoyance to have shown compassion.

September is Blogging Month for Compassion International. I want to make a difference with my writing. I pray that God will use my words to make an impact. How does a mother with a computer and three children, a husband, three dogs and a cat use her words to change hearts.

God can use mothers at home with children. God uses mothers at home with children. And God can use me. It is not because of anything I can do, but my willingness to be obedient and to be used by Him. That is hard to say. It is humbling. While my efforts may feel anemic, His love and His power and His Desire to use each one of  us  for His purposes is supernatural.

And when I in my weakness can’t balance my roles under this roof with my desire to serve beyond my four walls, He in His power strenthens me. Helps balance me. Calls me. Nudges me lovingly. I am weak but He is strong. I have known this. I know this.

I want to go to Haiti in September instead of January. Because now with Isaac the need feels more pressing. More immediate.  I want to call and see if the Doctor heading up the trip has room next month. But unless I hear from Him, I know not to move ahead of His plans and His call.

So I have the privilege of pulling out my little calendar and marking the volleyball and soccer games. And marking the days I plan to write for Compassion. And pray that my young  friend will let me have lunch with her at the middle school.

And  I pray for courage to stop in the middle of the busy road daily to help. To serve in the now. To look in love for ways to show compassion in the now. And to savor like a wafer thin Life-Safer, these moments with my children as we so bitter sweetly move toward an empty nest.

And I pray that I will learn my new neighbor’s first name so that I can be intentional about speaking in love to him. We passed him the other day and I told The Patient One until I learn his name, his name will have to be “Morning”.

There is work to be done at home.

And there are children, like my Compassion Sponsored Child in Peru, who need the love of Jesus today. And there is a grown child waking up in the other room who still needs his mother’s love.

Both, And.

Joining Walk With Him Wednesdays, Unwrapping His Promises and God Bumps and God Incidences.