These Are The Days…

There are days when the words inside my head and heart strain and push to get out, leaking through the cracks in dribs and drabs. There are days when my fingers can’t move fast enough to capture the thoughts and insights pouring out of my mind and heart. Then there are days when my brain feels as dry as a desert and there’s nothing to offer. And finally there are days like these.

Days when the weary monotony of the “have-to” list drown out the siren call of the “want-to” or even the “called-to” list. Days when the dishes won’t stay caught up and the cat throws up on the carpet and three girls want to do three different activities. All at once. With me. And somehow making the time to write finds a home on the bottom of the to-do list.

And then if I miraculously do find myself facing a blank page on the screen, my mind seems to be just as blank. Now what?

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Life is moving along at lightning speed and it doesn’t slow down for much. Except in the hard and bad times, when it seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.

And I look around me and everyone else seems to be doing stuff that really matters, and I’m not doing much of anything. At least that’s how it looks from here.

Oh, this is not a whiny post, or at least I don’t mean it to be that. It’s more of a stream of consciousness post. Bear with me. I’m going somewhere with this.

I want so much. I want to be an involved Mom. I want to be more intentional with this blog. I want to write more articles and short stories. I want to write a book (I can’t believe I just put that in writing!). I want to go to writers’ conferences. I want to take better care of my health and fitness. I want to spend more time in the Word. All those wants, and then there are the needs, like the need to find a part-time job when school starts back in order to get some bills paid off.

But what does God want of and for me?

Maybe it all comes back to this: Love God. Love others. Everything I do should flow out of my love for Him and my willingness to let Him love others through me.

So it’s summer here for a little less than six more weeks, when school starts back. I should just accept that it’s going to be a little hectic until then and write in the stolen moments like right now, when 2/3 of the children in my care are still sleeping. Should they be up? Probably. Am I going to wake them up? Not a chance!

Until my time is more free I will need to be content with loving God (reading His Word, spending time in prayer whenever possible, meditating on scripture, posting verses around the house to keep them in mind, worshiping through music) and loving others (my husband, my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my church family, my online friends, other parents at the cheer gym, the cashier at Kroger, etc.) and maybe putting the focus on others will take my attention off me and all those wants.

Because one day I’ll find myself with all kinds of free time. My kids will be grown and either moved out or off doing whatever grown kids do, and I will miss this needing. It’s hard to believe in the days when I can’t find a free moment to shower, but one day I will have the freedom to shower several times a day if I want to. No one will ask me to make their lunch or pop some popcorn, and I won’t need to break up some sibling argument.

And I have to admit that this oh-so-busy life is full, rich with moments that I wish I could properly capture and put on the page because they are truly God-given gifts. Rides in the van with one or the other of my daughters when we let down our guard and talk about things that matter, like faith, and boys, and adoption. Walks at the mall when she reaches out to take my hand even though she’s long past the age when she needs my help navigating a parking lot. Splashing together in the pool. Sitting with her on the couch snuggled up watching a movie. Spending kid-free time with my husband on a last minute 24-hour anniversary trip. Reading a book after they’re all in bed. Reading the Bible and a devotional over a cup of coffee before the kids wake up.

I see now that it’s a rich life I lead, y’all. The Lord is my shepherd and I lack nothing.

May I wander through these chaotic remaining days of summer vacation with eyes open for those rich moments and a heart grateful for the life I’ve been given.

19 Years Later

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Yep, you guessed it – I had an anniversary recently. I marked nineteen years of marriage to one of the most honest and upstanding men I have ever known, and I am honored to call him my husband. He loves me totally and accepts me as I am. He became an instant father to my then 8-year-old daughter when we married and he has never looked at her as anything but his very own daughter. It takes a very special person with an open heart to do that.

The photo above is a perfect representation of our wedding day. It was just plain fun for me and such a pleasant surprise to see how many people in our lives cared enough to show up on that blistering hot July day. I vividly remember when the doors opened for my stepfather to walk me down the aisle and I saw all the friends and family assembled there, for US. I felt so loved and I wanted to hug each and every one of them.

We left the church to go to the reception and made a stop in our wedding finery to see our friends Keith and Brennan, who owned a snowball stand. They took pictures of us holding our wedding cake snowballs before we dove back into the air-conditioned car to get to the reception.

Our small group friends helped serve at the reception and one of them arranged for a DJ. When Jon and I left the reception to go to our hotel and change clothes for a romantic dinner, we realized we’d left our luggage in a friend’s car, so we drove by the reception hall to retrieve it. We noticed several cars that we recognized so we went up to the hall to see who was still there. The hotel staff was cleaning the room but our small group was dancing in the corner where the DJ was set up. So we stayed and danced a little bit. Wouldn’t you? Like I said, it was lots of fun.

I’m not going to lie: marriage hasn’t always been easy. If you’re married you already know this yourself. We don’t always agree and there are plenty of times one of us has to apologize to the other. I’m sure there are things we’d change about each other if we could wave a magic wand, but while we’re not perfect, we are perfect for each other. He is the peanut butter to my jelly. Our strengths are not the same ones, but we work together well. It’s a good thing we’re not alike – I don’t think I’d want to be married to contrary ol’ me.

And we’ve had our share of sorrows. We struggled with infertility and loss, and we’ve buried many loved ones in nineteen years. But we’ve also had so much joy. We welcomed a daughter in 2001 through birth and another in 2005 through adoption. We married off our oldest daughter and became Papa and Nana to our sweet granddaughter in 2010. We’ve traveled (not nearly as much as we’d like) and we’ve snuggled at home on the couch with our girls and thought, “This is the life!”

We’ve seen God’s hand in our relationship from day one, when we met in the Burger King on the Cumberland Avenue strip. We’ve sought His will as we made decisions for the family and tried our best to follow Him. And we’ve enjoyed fellowship and friendship as we served and worshiped with other believers.

So in honor of our nineteen years of wedded (mostly) bliss, here are nineteen gems of wisdom based on all I’ve learned (so far) about marriage:

1. Don’t ever marry someone and expect to change them. Period. It’s not going to happen. If you don’t like who they are RIGHT NOW, don’t marry them. But…

2.  Expect them to change, and not always in ways you like or want. Something happens after the wedding, a kind of “letting down your hair”, that reveals things you may not have realized about your new spouse. Unless it’s dangerous or illegal, better to just roll with it.

3.  Marriage retreats and marriage enrichment classes are helpful but only if both of you are there for the right reasons.

4.  It takes two people to get married but only one of them to destroy the marriage. Don’t be that one.

5.  Speaking of which, marriage is WORK. Just like a garden, you can’t just leave it alone and expect it to thrive. Weed it, fertilize it, work on it.

6.  You will have ebbs and flows of affection. I’m sorry to all you newlyweds, but it’s true. Wait it out. It’ll come back, I promise. Look back at pictures of you when you were dating and remind yourself of why you fell in love in the first place.

7.  Contrary to what The Beatles might say, love is NOT all you need. You need commitment, trust, honesty, companionship, and a whole load of other things too. And work. See #5.

8.  Don’t make the mistake of expecting your spouse to be like your parent of the same gender. Your own parents are usually your first example of marriage and it’s easy to cast yourselves in their roles, except your spouse had other parents and he or she is busy casting you in his or her own parent’s role. It’s not fair. Plus you didn’t really want to be married to your own parent, did you? That’s just weird.

9. In fact, just check all your expectations at the door. Period. Don’t come into marriage with a bunch of preconceived notions because you’ll only find yourself disappointed to be married to an actual human, who has faults and might have their own notions. Unless you’ve discussed it and agreed ahead of time, it’s not fair to assume that the man always mows the grass and the woman always cooks dinner.

10. Premarital counseling is worth the time and money. I know, I know: you and your beloved have no points of disagreement and will ride happily off into the sunset with no help from any silly counselors. Just do it anyway. Trust me.

11.  Consider yourself married until death does you part. If you allow yourself to entertain the idea of ending your marriage, before you know it it becomes a possibility, and then an option. Don’t make it an option. (unless something dangerous is going on, of course)

12.  Apologize first. Yes, even if you didn’t start it and/or even if you’re not the one who is wrong. Apologize for your part in it. Just do it. Pride will get you nowhere.

13.  Remember you are a team. You need to work together and consider your spouse your partner, not your enemy. Sometimes being a team means compromise. Okay, LOTS of times that means compromise.

14.  Be willing to be broken in front of your partner. I am independent to a fault and it would be tempting to try to handle everything by myself, but then why be married? Let your partner see you at your weak points, and let them help you.

15.  Worship together. Read the Bible together. Do a couple’s devotional. Somebody once told me that a marriage is like a triangle, with God at the top, you at one bottom corner and your spouse at the other. The closer each of you gets to God, the closer you get to each other. Cheesy? Maybe, but also true.

16.  Try things your spouse likes to do, even if it’s not your cup of tea. I once took Jon white-water rafting. That’s totally outside his comfort zone but he was a great sport, and he actually enjoyed it enough to do it again a few years later. Or maybe it was just that his memories had faded.  Likewise, I’ve been camping even though for me it’s just like being at home except outside. Without A/C. Or my bed. Or a proper refrigerator and stove. And lots of bugs and other critters.

17.  God, spouse, children, everyone else. That’s the order. It’s tempting to make your kids the focus of your marriage but don’t. One day they will (hopefully) leave home and your spouse will still be there. What will you have to talk about when the kids are gone?

18.  You are your spouse’s biggest cheerleader. Don’t get into the habit of sharing his or her faults and foibles with your friends. Telling funny or embarrassing stories about your spouse is easy and everybody seems to be doing it. Praising them to others takes more thought. Ask yourself if your words are building up your spouse or tearing them down. Don’t let the things you say about your spouse leave others wondering why on earth you married that person, if that’s how you really see them. Better yet, let your spouse hear you say nice things about them.

 19.  You need friends. Yes, your spouse is your lifelong companion and the one person you know you can rely on, but you need other friends too. Your husband shouldn’t have to hear every single detail about the last book you read and what the humidity does to your hair. He’s not going to be interested in hearing about how it felt when you had an ovarian cyst. (sorry, guys) Your wife probably doesn’t care about the post-game analysis of your favorite basketball team’s lastest game. (because I don’t care for basketball. Football is a different story, but I digress.) You need friends of your own gender who share your interests because they make your life richer. You also need couple friends (for double dates), and you need friends with kids the same ages as yours (so the kids can play while the adults talk). What you do not need is close friends of the opposite gender because that kind of emotional investment can lead places you really don’t want to go.

And here’s a bonus, because I couldn’t edit my list down to just 19:

20.  If you ever feel like something is wrong in your marriage, look in the mirror first. Don’t automatically assume it’s the other person’s fault. Examine your own heart. Pray. See a counselor. Yes, maybe it really is your spouse’s fault, but you can’t do a single thing about how someone else behaves. All you can control is your own behavior.

It’s your turn. How long have you been married and what are some things you’ve learned?

In Memoriam

Once upon a time there was a small gray striped kitten with random orange patches. She was surrendered to the local Humane Society as a tiny baby and found herself one day in a cage outside a pet store with three of her furry siblings. A little girl with blond hair came along and stuck her fingers into the cage to get the kittens’ attention. The girl turned to her father and begged to be allowed to take a kitten home, and her Daddy said yes. The blond girl chose the striped kitten, who was so small she could fit into the palm of the Daddy’s hand! She rode to her new home in a box perched on the little girl’s lap.

At home, the parents told the little girl that she should give the kitten a name, so she did: Sally Hannah Juliana. The girl liked the way the last two names rhymed, and besides, Juliana was her own middle name. Over the years Sally Hannah grew and grew. She never tired of chasing laser pointers and she had a stuffed mousie that squeaked and she loved to carry the mousie around in her mouth. Sometimes she liked to run outside when the door was opened so she could roll around in the grass. She was always willing to bat around a little ball with a bell inside.

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During the day she followed the sun around as it shone through the windows so she could lay in its warmth. At night she would curl up on the bed with one of her people and keep their feet warm as they slept. It wasn’t always the same bed or the same person because she liked to keep things fair.

As Sally Hannah got older she got bigger and bigger. Her people said she weighed twenty pounds! Sally Hannah didn’t know what a pound was but if it was anything like food, she wanted as many as she could get. Sometimes she would lay on her back in the floor with all four paws in the air. For some reason this made her people giggle and take pictures. She didn’t care because it made them happy and it felt good. She also liked to look out the window and watch the birds and squirrels, who seemed to be teasing her. That was okay, though, because she had a comfortable house and nice people who took good care of her.

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Then one day Sally Hannah Juliana started feeling sick. Something inside her body didn’t feel right. All she wanted to do was sleep, and it seemed like too much trouble to walk to her food dish to eat, so she didn’t bother. Her people were worried so they took her to a doctor and the doctor put her in the hospital for a couple of nights. Once when she woke up in the hospital she had a tube sticking out of her neck and it felt weird. The people at the hospital kept doing things to her and wouldn’t leave her alone to sleep, which was what she wanted to do. Finally one of her people came to take her home and Sally Hannah was hopeful that maybe everything was going to be okay.

But it wasn’t. She came home with the tube-thing in her neck and it made her drool all the time, which was messy and caused her to lick her lips a lot. She still didn’t want to eat and she wanted to rest but it was hard to find a good position with the tube there. And now instead of doctors it was her people who kept coming in and doing things to her with that uncomfortable tube, and while she loved the people, she wished they would just go away and let her sleep.

Then one morning Sally Hannah’s people came to feed her and they could see that she was feeling worse than ever. They were worried and sad. All of them petted her gently and told her how much they loved her and what a good kitty she was, with tears in their eyes. Even through her pain she could tell they really cared. And then they showed her how much they loved her because they finally, finally, let her go to sleep, which was what she had been wanting all along.

Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our Sally Hannah Juliana. She was a part of our family for nine years and was full of personality. She was never any trouble, unless you count sharpening her claws on the sofa and harking up the occasional hairball. All she desired in life was a full food dish and a soft place to sleep. She was a good kitty right up until the end, even though I know we must have made things more difficult for her by trying so hard to hang on when she was ready to go. RIP, Sally Hannah Juliana. We will miss you.

Small Things Matter: Fair Trade Friday Club

With the 24-hour news cycle nowadays it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the fact that people all over the world are suffering. I see the news stories about a famine here, and a flood there, and poverty everywhere. And I think, what can I do? 

I don’t have a lot of money to make grand gestures or give to charity. I wish I did because there are many, many worthy organizations out there doing all they can to help people and they could use support. I mean, I do what I can when I can. I just don’t always know if it’s truly helpful – know what I mean?

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A few months ago I started seeing posts about something called Fair Trade Friday Club popping up on my social media. I didn’t know what it was. I thought maybe people made a point of purchasing fair trade goods and wearing them on Fridays. But it was (and is) so much more than that. The Fair Trade Friday Club is all about empowering women who live in extreme poverty by enabling them to work as artisans and earn a fair wage.

But the artisans aren’t the only ones who benefit. Fair Trade Friday Club was born in order to help support Mercy House Kenya, an organization established to help young women who have become pregnant as a result of rape or forced prostitution. Mercy House provides a safe place to live in addition to education and health care for these mothers. As the mother of three daughters myself, I have a soft spot for Mercy House and the good work they do there.

And let’s just talk about how much fun it is to open the box and examine the lovely items, all of which are well made and carry a story.

Take this beautiful pouch, for instance. On the tag are the names of three women who contributed to its creation. Three women I can now pray for by name used their skills to make this bag and were paid fairly for their work, which enables them to support their families.

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Or these beaded bracelets. Oh my word! My box came with two of these lovelies and although I don’t normally wear a lot of jewelry I can already tell I’m going to be wearing these with everything. These were made by someone in Nepal and they are simply exquisite. The photo does not do them justice. I can’t decide whether to wear them both or to keep one and give one away.

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And this journal. Y’all, it’s so pretty I’m not sure I can bring myself to write in it.  The pages are creamy, unlined, and textured, and the cover is a sunset orange/gold with a silver print and somewhere in India are the hands that made it. Every time I use it I will be reminded to pray for the artisans who produced this beauty.

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If you love these items and you want to be a part of the great work being done by Fair Trade Friday Club and Mercy House Kenya, it’s easy to get involved. Go to Fair Trade Friday Club and sign up to receive your very own box of awesome every month. (If you sign up and find that next month’s boxes are all claimed, please sign up for the waiting list.) If your budget won’t support the cost of an entire box every month, consider signing up for the Earring of the Month club. Or if you’d like to try it out to see if it’s for you, you can order a one-time box. You can also go to the Mercy House Shop and order some of the individual items that tickle your fancy. To me (and maybe to you too) the cost of a box, or a pair of earrings, or a scarf might be a small thing. But to someone on the other side of the world that small thing matters.

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It also turns out that we can tackle poverty, one month at a time, one box at a time, and look good while doing it. I call that a win-win.

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Award Season

It happens every year around this time. Social media lights up with the happy news of  college acceptances, dances, parties, and school awards. Smiling faces beam as parents share the accomplishments of their children. And of course they should celebrate these things. When hard work pays off there should be recognition and celebration, right?

 

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While I am not an advocate of giving awards for just continuing to breathe (that’s its own reward, eh?),  I admit I sometimes get weary of watching some awesome kids get overlooked again and again while other equally awesome kids get rewarded over and over. The overlooked ones endure the season of ceremonies, parties, and graduations, never once hearing their name announced and yet they have so much to offer the world. The world just doesn’t know it yet.

So here’s to the brave ones, the kids who sit alone in the cafeteria day after day and still show up.

The kids who don’t get invited to the parties and proms, who are left at home to see on social media all the fun they missed.

The kids who work extra hard and study for hours for that big test, only to receive a disappointing grade yet again.

The kids who get pushed around in the school hallways or on the playground by bullies and get back up time after time.

I see you trying. You matter. You’re a winner in my eyes.

Here’s to the ones who have a less-than-ideal home life, who worry about what’s going to happen next.

The ones who don’t live in a house, who live in a shelter or with family, or even in a car.

The ones who hate for school to end because with the school year ends the hot meals they can rely on at least five days of the week.

The ones who see violence and abuse in the home, sometimes against themselves, for whom school represents safety.

You deserve a medal. And a safe home, and a hot meal, and relief from worry. You’re a winner because you persevere.

The kids for whom simply sitting still in class and paying attention require monumental effort.

The ones who struggle at reading or writing or math because they have a condition like dyslexia or dysgraphia or dyscalculia, and it’s invisible so it either goes undetected or unassisted. (yes, those are all real things)

The kids who fly so far under the radar that they fade into the background and are forgotten by both classmates and teachers.

You are special, intricately crafted in the image of your Creator. You are made to do big things. Don’t ever forget that. You’re a winner to me.

The ones who don’t make the sports team or the Honor Roll or the class play, but still keep trying.

The kids who feel like they are not good at anything because they don’t fit the world’s mold.

The ones who are talented and gifted, but not in the ways that a school or the world normally recognizes.

Keep trying, dear ones. People are noticing and applauding you, even if you don’t see it. You are uniquely gifted by the One who made you.

One day these children will grow up and it’s quite likely that none of them will remember who won what award in 3rd grade, or 6th grade, or 11th grade, unless perhaps they were one of the award winners.

For all the kids out there who are feeling left out, not worthy, and unseen in this season: I stand and applaud you. The world needs you and your uniqueness. I wish I could hang a medal around your neck just so you could have a tangible reminder of how special you are.

For everyone who loves one of those kids, keep loving them wholeheartedly and without reservation or condition. They need to know someone’s in their corner and that they have a safe place to land so they can become all that God created them to be.

And for all you teachers out there going beyond the call of duty, I honor you for the way you love “your” kids. You share your heart, your wallet, your talents, your time, and sometimes your lunch to give them the best school experience possible. I see you, and God sees your sacrifices for these precious ones. They are jewels in your crown, treasure being laid up in Heaven.

Hang in there, sweet ones. Your time is coming.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4

Hope is a Dare

Recently I took my four-year-old granddaughter to a new-to-us playground and had a fantastic time. She was absolutely enchanted with all the play equipment and cried when we had to leave. The next day I decided to take her back and as we were driving, out of the blue she started telling me why she wouldn’t be able to play there again. Basically she told me that “they” had probably taken the whole thing down so she couldn’t play there.

At first I thought it was just pessimistic thinking and I tried to cheer her up. After all, I was driving her TO that very playground and I was pretty sure that nobody had plans to disassemble it any time soon.

She continued to insist that the playground would be gone.

Somebody took it apart in the night and she could never play there again, she said.

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It was right about then I realized what she was doing: she was insulating herself against disappointment. She was afraid to hope.

My little one wanted to enjoy that park so much that she was scared to look forward to it. She was preparing to have the rug jerked out from under herself. I felt my heart break a little for this baby who already felt the need to protect herself from hurt.

Now, in fairness, we all have to deal with disappointment, and I don’t believe my grandgirl has had any more disappointment than other kids her age.

But I sure have caught myself in the same line of thinking. Afraid to hope for the best. Scared to believe that God has anything good for me. Thinking that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is.

I’ve been a settler most of my life. Not the kind that explores new territory, but the kind that “settles” for less than the best. “Good enough” has usually been my “best”. I don’t think I’ve done myself any favors with that attitude.

I don’t set my sights very high because somewhere down deep inside I don’t feel like I deserve anything better than “good enough”.

I don’t dare to hope for more because what if I don’t get it? Who wants to set themselves up for that kind of disappointment?

Ultimately I lay that failure to hope squarely at the feet of my shaky faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:11

I don’t dare to hope because sometimes I have trouble believing that God is good, and that He is on my side. I try to pretend it’s humility but it’s really a weak confidence in myself and in Him.

If I can believe Him then it’s safe to hope in Him because even if things don’t go the way I hoped, He will be there to help me pick up the pieces. One of my favorite passages in scripture is in Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are brought before the King to answer for their refusal to worship the golden statue. Right before they are thrown into the fiery furnace, they lay it all out:

 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18

Paraphrase by Kim: We know that He can, but we accept that He may not save us for reasons of His own that we cannot understand. Either way, no thanks. We will not worship your man-made god.

That is faith, friends.

We know that He can, but we accept that He might choose not to. (This truth is especially wrenching when I think about my history of miscarriage and infertility.)

In the end, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were indeed thrown into the furnace, but just as they predicted God delivered them and the fire did not touch them.

He can be trusted. He has proven Himself over and over, even though He doesn’t have to.

Even when the situation seems impossible, He can see the ending.

I don’t have to be afraid to put my hope in a God who can protect three men in a fiery furnace. And that same God is for me and has good things planned for me. Why is that so hard to believe?

Hope feels like a dare to me. Hope is standing on the end of a diving board not knowing if the pool below is full of water to catch me, or an empty hole promising only a hard fall.

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The truth is that either way He will be there to catch me.

Emily Dickinson said:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

I don’t pretend to understand all of it, but it sounds like hope is hard to squelch. I can pretend I don’t care and expect the worst, yet hope can still be quietly singing the tune without the words.

My sweet girl was thrilled to see that the playground was still there, just as she left it the day before. We’ve been back since then and she has never again mentioned the possibility that it would be gone.

So maybe it takes realizing how my hopes have been fulfilled over and over to keep hoping even during those times they’re not.

And just a little bit of faith.

No More Waiting: What Happened and What I Learned

One day I know I will laugh about the whole house situation and it will be even clearer then than it is now that God just moved.

Because He did.

You remember that we were looking for a bigger house, one that would accommodate our family of now-seven. We found one that we all loved and made an offer, which was accepted. But there was a hiccup, and we didn’t know if we would actually be able to complete the contract. And I was a little wigged out by all the waiting. (Okay, a lot wigged out)

That hiccup dragged on and on, and we decided to look at some other houses (around 15 of them) just in case this one fell through. We did find another one that suited us and we felt that we would be happy in either house. And then we waited some more. A deadline was set for our original dream home and last Sunday was the day of reckoning. Just as the clock ticked down and we began to prepare an offer for the “backup home” we received word that our original contract was going to go through. Right when we were ready to give it up and move on, God moved.

I wasn’t sure how to feel. I had spent an entire weekend imagining myself in one or the other of those two homes and then telling myself to stop thinking about it until we knew something for sure. Now we did know for sure and I admit to feeling a little regret over the home we didn’t buy.

Our prayer had been for God to put us in the home He wanted us to have, and we believe that’s what He has done.

At any rate, we are moving again, almost exactly a year to the date we moved to Virginia. God has a sense of humor.

He also has an exquisite sense of timing. Even when we thought He’d dropped the ball and forgot about us, He still had a plan. His timing is just different from ours, that’s all.

So what did I learn from all this worrying and scurrying?

First of all, I learned that worrying does absolutely nothing to move things along. It tricks you into feeling like you’re doing something, yet nothing changes. All worry does is fray nerves, steal sleep and breed impatience. It preoccupies your mind and takes your eyes off God. In Matthew 6:27 Jesus says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Of course not! There comes a time when you have to admit you are helpless, then you lay it down and you let it go.

There comes a time when you have to(1)

Secondly, I discovered that it’s possible to have peace in the midst of the storm. Now, I know buying a new house is not exactly on par with a life-threatening illness or natural disaster so please forgive my first world problems. But when the Bible talks about peace that passes understanding, I know what that means. It means peace that is out of your control, peace that has no logical reason for existing. It means when you have every right to be falling apart, God sends a supernatural peace your way.

Thirdly, there is overwhelming relief in laying down my burden at His feet. I had to do that over and over again. Every time it came to my mind, every time my squirrelly brain started up with the “what if?” chorus again, I closed my eyes and pictured myself opening my hands and laying my concerns at the foot of His throne. Simplistic? Maybe, but it worked for this girl.

And lastly, I found that waiting won’t kill me. I am terrible at it and I make so secret about that, but I survived. I’d go so far as to say that I came out better than I started. You have no idea how much it pains me to say that.

God once again proved Himself to be faithful, although He didn’t need to prove anything to me.

It’s about to get all crazy up in here again as we box up seven people’s worth of stuff and move it to the new place in June, but I’m confident that God is going before us to prepare the way. At least this time we’re moving seven miles away instead of 400.

If anyone needs me, you can find me behind a wall of cardboard boxes.