Sunday, July 20, 2014

learning to die {the painfully precious process}

The morning sun is breaking the sky open outside my window.
Indigo clouds drift slowly behind the trees, outlined with light.

Night is over.
Day has come.
We move from darkness to light...every day.
I love how creation reveals life like a work of art.

Each evening the sun goes into hiding and we are left in the dark.
All kinds of modern inventions give us artificial light through the night, but there are power outages and sometimes you can't find a match and...well...we can't really be guaranteed light until the morning comes again.
Dawn comes creeping in slowly on it's own...independent of us.  And what starts as a few clouds reflecting brightness becomes an entire world lit up and alive.

In art and literature darkness often represents death.  Light is life.

The dark and the light...
The death and the life...
They are all part of this journey...these days that unfold before us.
There is no sense avoiding either one.

As a child I was terrified of the dark.  I slept with a night light as long as it was socially acceptable and then as a teenager I just left the overhead light on and my mom would turn it off on her way to bed.  Even as a young adult I feared being alone at night.
Too many things could go wrong in the dark...
where I couldn't see...
where I felt defenseless.

Now I know the night is necessary.
If I let it...it will give me rest.
And so I've learned to trust that God rules the night just as he rules the day.
I am no more in control of what I can see than what I can't see. 
I am always defenseless on my own, but I have a Defender.

Lately I have had these dreams that there is impending danger around me but it's dark and I can't see.  I rush through the house feeling my way along the walls to the light switches but every one I flip offers no light.  I can't find a single one that is working.  At first I feel frantic and afraid but eventually I stop the rushing around realizing that it's dangerous to run in the dark...and so I wait for the light.
Morning always comes.

Sometimes life gives us days - and even months - of night...of darkness.
We rush from one thing to another - relationships, alcohol, drugs, food, self-help books, exotic vacations, expensive cars - searching for the switch that will turn the light back on but none of them work...and we usually trip and fall and get hurt in the process.  The only way to get through the dark of night is to lay down and let go.
There are all kinds of things we need to lay down...all kinds of things we need to let go of.
What are they for you?
Once we do, the rest comes...the peace comes...as we wait...for morning.

There is a time when our lives are full of light and life and we take up our shields and our swords and we go out in the big world to fight valiantly for the things that we believe in.  Then there are other times when we feel tired and alone and the darkness covers us and parts of ourself begin to die away and all we can do is lay down...let the dying happen...let the darkness pass over.
Audrey Assad sings these words...
     Bind up these broken bones.
     Mercy bend and breathe me back to life.
     But not before you show me how to die.
It's one of the most beautifully poetic songs I've ever heard about the richness of dark and dying times...it's why I've learned not to avoid them or detour around them or sprint through them as fast as I can.  They are necessary.

Jesus spent 3 days dead in a grave before he rose and offered eternal life to us all.
Death before life.
Paul spent 3 days in the dark, without sight, before he took the light of the world all over the world.
Darkness before light.

I'm learning that there is much death that must take place in my own life - my own heart - to make room for the Spirit of God to birth something new and better inside of me.  It is a painfully precious process that I am committed to...this thing we call sanctification.
This refinement of our souls.
This setting apart for a greater purpose.
This commitment to grow in divine grace.
This getting comfortable in the dark.
This learning to die before we can have true life.

This erasing of ourselves so that we might disappear into a deeper beauty...

...less of me...more of Him.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

when you're looking for answers {chicago with lucy}

I have this blown glass Christmas ornament that is hand painted.  It is so fragile and beautiful that every year I hold my breath as I remove it from the red velvet box and display it on the tree for everyone to see. 
To hold it too loosely 
or too tightly 
would be to destroy it.

That's how I feel about the past few days...
...like wrapping words around them for you might cause them to shatter into tiny unrecognizable pieces.
Here goes...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

first friday finds :: july 2014

{It's #firstfridayfinds time again and here's this month's unedited, 15 minutes worth of truth.  
Please share yours at the bottom too!  Here's how.}
It's the fourth of July and I don't think this post is going to be the least bit patriotic...I apologize.
I've only got 15 minutes so let's see where this goes...

I envy people who are not crazy.  I'm being serious.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

5 ways to reset your heart {and start your weekend off right}

Some mornings my hair dryer won't turn on.
I hit it on the palm of my hand.
Shake it a little bit.
Slide the power button up and down.
And then suddenly remember...duh...
the reset button...
...that little red button on the plug that you never really pay attention to until everything just quits working.
Sometimes life feels like it has just quit working.  No matter how many times you try to shake yourself out of it there is an oppressive feeling that won't let you turn your heart back on.  Some people call it depression or a 'funk'.  I call it a life that needs resetting.

There are all sorts of ways to reset your heart but here are five that helped me this week...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the girl at starbucks

Her freckled face was framed with curly red hair.  I noticed because as she walked past me her neck turned to allow her a longer look.  I lifted my head and smiled.  Her half-smile broke open wide and her eyes seemed to gaze longingly...taking in the whole scene of me.
It sounds strange, I know...to think that a pre-teen girl following her father into Starbucks would long for my life.  A life of juggling motherhood and sick children and work and writing and the schedule that comes along with a busy family of four.  Maybe my hair was standing straight up or I had egg on my face...or maybe it really was a longing look.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

when your vacation isn't picture perfect

I am currently 'on vacation'.  It says so in the auto-response I set up on my email account.
I could show you pictures to give you an idea of what that vacation looks like...


...or I could use my words to tell you the real story.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

interior design: the sacred places in your child's heart

We had just gotten to the part of the story where Almanzo's mother was squeezing through the dining room door in her hoop skirt to present the platter of ham for family dinner.  I don't know if it was the idea of family being together under one roof or if her mind had already wandered back on its own.  Whatever led her there, she snuggled up close to me and whispered - Mommy?  Do you think that man is still there?
It took me only a moment to find my way onto her train of thought.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

first friday finds :: june 2014

{It's #firstfridayfinds time again and here's this month's unedited, 15 minutes worth of truth.  
Please share yours at the bottom too!  Here's how.}
This week I have worn out my fingers from typing and my knees from praying...
     all in search of answers.

Have you ever set out for answers and found yourself at the end of the road just holding more questions and confusion?