Monday, September 22, 2014

in all seasons

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you...
1 Thessalonians 5:18
It's the middle of the day and I'm sitting on my back patio sipping some coffee.  The dog is settled in near my feet, soaking in the sun, there's a gentle breeze is blowing in the trees.  It's the first day of fall and the weather is perfection and all the while, I'm silently pondering,

What is this life?!


Wasn't it just yesterday that I was a single mama and a college student with barely a moment to breathe between work and school and home? 

There was a long, dark unending season of winter in my life and some days, it really does feel like yesterday. 
Somedays, it feels like another life altogether.   
And somedays, days like today, it just feels like I have developed some mild form of post-traumatic stress, where there's too much anxiousness to lay down in the sun like this dog and carelessly soak up the sun and feel the breeze on my face... for fear the sky may actually fall at any given moment now.

Hello, Chicken Little. 
Somedays I literally do not know how to live this life in this season.
Because, if I'm honest, all this peace and stability feels awfully scary to me. 
I learned so much during those years, those hard , dark seasons.  Those moments in my life when I was so utterly dependent on grace and mercy to get me through each day, at times, each moment.  Those nights spent praying and waiting for the sun to rise just so the darkness would end. 

I'm learning still - that I'm still just as desperate for His word and for His presence.  And I find myself asking the same questions, praying the same prayers, "Lord, what do I do?" 

And all these years, His answer hasn't changed - because His word has never changed. 

And through His word, He speaks.  Still.  Faithful as ever.  And He says things like:

Walk in the truth of my word.

I will lead you beside still waters. 

Be still and know that I am God. 

Give thanks in all things, and in all seasons.

I read His word and it is a soothing balm for my restless heart.  I can feel it quiet within me.  I can feel the warm sun, the breeze on my face.  I can feel. 
His presence. 

And I know, I live through this season the same way I did the darkest ones.  One day at a time, one moment at a time, knowing never once did I ever walk alone; never once did He leave me on my own. 

Learning how to praise Him on the mountaintop the same way I did in the valleys, fearlessly.

In all seasons.

Knowing that more scars and struggles are inevitable in this life, but learning, always learning and relearning, He is faithful.

God, you are faithful. 

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far weve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much Youve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful,
God, You are faithful


Thursday, September 4, 2014

big grace for small troubles

I was doing my routine morning sweep through the house when I came across two sheets of notebook paper on the coffee table this morning.  It was Parker's homework.  The pages he'd worked so diligently on just yesterday afternoon, and yet - somehow had forgotten the final step of placing them into his binder. 

My initial reaction was to glance at the clock.  7:25.  If I left at that moment, I might make it before first bell.  

But, as I've learned - time and time again - my initial reactions are not necessarily always the wisest ones.

I called my husband, voice of reason.  I'm so thankful to have a spouse whose instincts are not guided solely by emotions; who can feel the same pangs of parental empathy, but answer with an action based on wisdom; rather than reaction based on emotion.  

I still have much to learn about the difference between the two.  

{Hashtag life lessons}

When our babies are, well, actual babies - it's our instinct to shelter them from discomfort; self-inflicted and otherwise; to shield them from consequences.  But as they grow - and grow up - we have to learn when to allow them to make mistakes, to feel the weight of their own choices and at times, their own forgetfulness or carelessness.  

I knew this was one of those times.  And as trivial as some left-behind homework may seem, through teary eyes, I ran my fingers along the torn edges and felt a tremor along the edge of my heart.  

Right there, along the fault line, as deep and wide as the San Andreas.   

It's the dichotomy of our hearts: this desire for them to learn, to grow in stature and wisdoms and yet, this innate, opposition to hold them close.  

We never lose that instinct, but we learn along with them, how to quiet it.  How to be still.  

We learn and relearn to rely on our God for comfort.  In these smallest of disappointments.  So that our hearts are prepared for the inevitable bigger ones that we've yet to face.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in ALL our troubles, 
so that we can comfort those in ANY trouble 
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.    
2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV

I love that this particular translation uses the words "all" and "any".  

love that His word tells us that there is no trouble too small to be unworthy of His comfort and that He cares about the smallest details of our lives.  When we rely on His comfort in all of our troubles, big and small, then we are able to extend that comfort to others - no matter how significant their trouble is.

As mamas, as parents, we ask for His comfort and He gives it graciously so that we may lavish it on our families, and our children, when they need it the most.

I want my kids to know this:  whatever trouble you're in, His grace is bigger.  His comfort doesn't discriminate.  It is there for the taking.

In all things.  In anything.

I stack the two sheets neatly on the table.  

Next to this.