Running Errands As A Middle Aged House WIfe

 Today is Day 17

Welcome to The Art of Noticing. A 31 Day series exploring what it means to notice all that God has for us as we live richly, deeply in the  folds of the everyday. We are a little over half way there. I don’t want this journey to end. If you’d like to subscribe there is a tab for that at the top and at the bottom of the home page.

Ready. Set. Go Notice

31 days button 500x500

Running Errands As A Middle Aged House Wife
A few hours ago I did not yet know

The lady at the drive thru
Missing teeth, at Bojangles
Or the man at the Rite-Aid missing one or two too
I wish I laughed harder at his attempt at humor
I stink at faking it
It is easy to look away
But kindness rested in their gaps
And I drove away feeling the need to
Breathe prayers,
Humbled am I, the one who got the full set
And as of now keeps them
And I am not handing Diet drinks through the
Drive-thru to the lady
Who is worried more about the shade of white
When  she is bound to worry about the number
Especially the ones in the front
Dental hygiene is expensive yall
Noticing comes at a cost
And it is to stop and give thanks
For things like
Teeth
Noticing reveals the least of these
The meek shall inherit the earth
And the man at Publix carried my pumpkin to the car
Almost an hour’s wages
Heck, that’s just a guess
The rest I know
And I am humbled
And wonder how to squeeze the love of Jesus
Into a drive thru window
Convo
Next time instead of have a nice day
I can say
Tell me how I  can pray
Noticing does that to you
Cold water in the face
And all that jazz
I swear if I could have given some of mine away today
Like quarters or dollars or grace
I would have given away a  tooth
Maybe two
I swear I wouldn’t miss them
These guys were kind and gentle
Just missing  a few teeth.

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.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

And I Named My Dreams, I Named Them Big

This is Part 1 of a Series in my final blog posts for our month long blogger campaign for Compassion International.

This is one of the most difficult posts I have ever tried to write, but what follows is my heart and my words in a poetic voice, on the sights, sounds, and smells of poverty. Aligning my heart with a child in poverty. This is my voice as a child living in extreme poverty.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for grace.

The rumbles come in the night.
In my tummy.
They are funny like its talking.
Like its saying good night but it lasts for a long long time.
Like its saying hey, you forgot something.
Hey you forgot to say good night with warm food.
They talk to me every night.
It’s funny cause they sound like rumbling thunder
My tummy noise.
But it hurts too.
I named him, my tummy and tell him not to worry.
We’ll be fine.
And we’ll eat something and then you’ll stop your rumbling noise.
Its okay.
We’ll be fine.
I tell him not to rumble so loud, he might wake my sister.
And I say sshhhh. You might wake up my mommy too.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.

And I tell my tummy to be brave and strong.
Tomorrow we have much to do and much to learn at school.
And I tell him to be brave and strong and at school he’ll rumble less.
Sshhh, we are learning.
Sshhh, we are praying.
Sshhh, we are singing.
Sshhh, we are working.

And in the night the crying comes.
But I tell my eyes, be brave.
I tell my tears, don’t roll.
I tell my heart, be still.
I tell my eyes, don’t cry.
I give my eyes a name and I say don’t be sad, my eyes.
Be strong and brave.
Tomorrow we have much to learn at school.
And I tell my eyes, be dry.
Sshh, don’t cry. You might wake up mommy too.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.

And in the night the dreaming comes.
And I tell my dream, dream on.
I tell my mind, keep dreaming.
And I tell my heart keep dreaming, the hope-filled dream.
And I tell my heart dream loud.
Don’t be quiet.
Don’t be silent.
Don’t be shy.
Dream loud, my dreams.
And I named my dreams “Big”.
And tell my dreams I will share you with my sister.
I will share you with my mommy.
I will share you with my classmates at school.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.

And in the morning new mercy comes.
And I say oh new mercies how you are welcome here.
And I thank God, for His new mercies every day.
I say Praise you God for your mercies and your love.
I say I will worship you God for your mercy is great.
And I name His mercies, I call them Jesus.
And I tell God I will tell my sister.
And I will tell my mommy of God’s mercy.
And I will tell my classmates of the Savior.
I will tell it loud and happy, strong and brave.
I will tell it full of joy and hope and faith.
We’re nestled in a small small space.
It’s love. It’s home. It’s cramped. It’s mine.
But Jesus lives here too.
And He is love and He is mine.

Remember, God told us to become as little children.

There is a link here to Compassion International if you’d like to learn more about child sponsorship.

Linking with Eileen, Jen, and Heatherand at Seedlings In Stone

And with Emily for Imperfect Prose

Dear God

Dear God:

The Greek or the Latin may have words which feel richer and more accurate. Loftier and deeper.

But I have what I have. And you know the me that writes.

Father you know the heart, this heart of mine that writes to you. You sent your Son to be born in a stable, a humble place for the birth of our Savior. But I want my words to be an extravagant gift, here, like Gold or something from a wise man.

To pour out a thirst for compassion and a hunger to help.

But my words in this letter are what I have today, like mana. Its my gift of worship and it feels small. Thank you for giving me the love for words, and especially Your Word. May the lines of this letter bless those that read.

You amaze, you always have and always will.

I offer nothing more than the deep mutterings of a heart that you broke, spoke into, caressed, shaped, molded, bent and formed. That beats and pumps beet red life, only because of your hand.

You need nothing but you desire me. Which is so humbling that I can hardly write or speak or think the thought.

You don’t need me, but you allow me to partner with you and you allow me to receive from you tender mercy blessings from seeing the world. Granting a bold peek, into how you may see things.

That you let my hand, my very fingertips, be a splinter in the plank of the bridge to children in poverty. Its a mystery I struggle to wrap my heart and head completely around. But you already know that. Because you know me so well.

You don’t need my $38 dollars to do anything. But you grant me the beautiful relationship with a child to be a fellow human traveller between hearts. You bridge the gap between the deep South of America and the hillsides of Peru.

And you bent my heart toward a child, Erlita, in the  hillsides near Lima,  in your perfect timing. This,  is a holy mystery to me.

It pains my heart to think I could have released $38 a month every month of my entire life. Because you gave me much. You always have.

I think that the cloud of abundance is a type of poverty for me. It is a fog that blurs the view to the important.

Thank you for patiently waiting for me to release my small contribution. Thank you for loving me while I white-knuckled my blessings.

Please Lord, show me ways I can partner with you daily. Please open the eyes of my heart to the everyday need. And make me pliable in your hands to release what I am and what I have to others.

Thank you for providing through the ministry of Compassion International while I sat in my comfortable poverty of abundance.

Praise you, that you allow me  to see  that abundant living is giving. Extravagantly. Even if it’s only $38 a month. Your holy multiplication of resources is always compounded greatly in your loving power.

I am simply amazed by you. Because in the mysteries of the holy, in how you move and work in our very lives, you used a child to bust open my heart a little more. And maybe over time, it will be busted open wide. So that all you want to go in will have a wide entrance.

Because when I think of the mystery of your ways, I see that Erlita will bless me more and change me more than I can imagine or fathom.

I was alone when I got the letter that she knew my name. But you were with me and saw that holy transaction. She knew my name and she knew she had a someone in her life. Lord, you saw that I have a someone in my life. A child I desperately needed. You gave us to each other.

He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done.

-Proverbs 19:17

Lord, please shape and change me, transform me through your child Erlita. She, a child, will change  a woman in the United States. She will change a heart to ache to give and love more like You. She is changing me.

You have changed my heart through children before. But, you know this about me.

The relationship between us is in your hands. Erlita and Elizabeth, and  all relationships which you move in and create, are in Your hands.

That you allow me to have the privilege of being a partner rattles me to the core with humble thanks.

Your child still,

Elizabeth

This letter to God is part of the September Blog Month for bloggers. We are blogging for Compassion International with a goal of stirring the hearts of over 3,108  NEW sponsors for children, in 30 days.

God is at work in His world. 837 new sponsors for Compassion Children have
stepped into partnership, with 2,271 wonderful hearts yet to move and work with compassion as a sponsor.

May I ask you to learn more? You may email me if you’d like, if you have questions.

But everything you need to know is at the Compassion International website for child sponsorship. You may not feel lead to be involved, but will you please take a moment to visit and pray over the children who need a sponsor. That is a gift of love. That is an extravagant gift from your heart.

Know that I am grateful for each of you in my life, in Christ’s name…ministering for His Glory….

Linking with Imperfect Prose , Thought Provoking Thursday, Faith Barista