holding together.

"The flame is heated; I feel defeated
with nothing to show but this tired old voice
Singing the same songs: 'where did i go wrong'?
Jesus, can you hear me over the noise?"
Mandi Mapes, Maybe If I Sing lyrics

October. Really? Geez. Sometimes I look at this blog and think, "when did I stop writing about life?"....

Oh. Wait. I know. It was when life took off at such a pace that I could barely manage to keep up; it is running ahead, I'm trailing behind, winded. Blogging has become a rare and random treat in this life of kids and college and work and such. It has never lost its allure, only its position in the prioritization of my time. I had a professor this semester lament that multitaskers "never do anything good"... that may be true, but we do what we can the best we can. Rather than feel pangs of guilt for the months that pass between entries, I remind myself that I really am doing the best I can - holding it together.

And so, I longed for this Christmas break and yet, have yet to find the "break" in it. Oh, there's time. It's 8:3o and the house is quiet. I'm wearing my favorite witner pajamas and house shoes that my girlfriends make fun of... snuggled up in bed with my laptop, my journal, my bible... a blank screen laid out before me. This would be a perfect scenario if my brain and eyelids weren't simultaneously forsaking me. Even after two diet cokes with dinner, all I want to do is sleep... but I need to blog. It's cathartic. It's who I am. It's what I do.

Oh-so talented singer/songwriter Mandi Mapes also wrote (in that same song): "Maybe if I sing to a crowd of strangers, somehow maybe I could see/that the war is won, look how far we've come/did I forget all those times that you carried me?". It took me a long time to realize that I write blogs for the same reason Mandi writes songs. Because it's the only thing we know to do with what's inside of us. Like so many of her songs, so many of my blogs serve as a marker - a reminder - of all the times He carried me. "He's the reason I sing; He's my everything... "

Truly, He is ever-faithful, ever-present. I am, still, in such awe of His mercy and His grace. As Malcom Muggeridge wrote [and my journal reads as though I plagiarized], "How ever far and fast I’ve run, still over my shoulder I’d catch a glimpse of You on the horizon, and then run faster and farther than ever, thinking triumphantly: Now I have escaped. But no, there You were, coming after me. . . . One shivers as the divine beast of prey gets ready for the final spring. . . . There is no escape." I am so thankful that He who calls us is faithful. In Him, there is no fear; and that, for me, there was no escape. Romans 11:29 says it this way: "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable". He always finishes what He begins. Never has that been more evident to me than in recent days. Truly, He uses the brokenness in our lives to bring us to wholeness in Him. True to His promises found in His word, He continues to work all things for His glory and my good; using even the worst of me to reveal deeper truths of Him. So much more to write and share, you know, when my eyelids aren't forsaking me... For now, a brief synopsis of life as I know it:

My sweet babies. So precious, so precocious. The very best of friends and growing like weeds. Parker turned five on Sunday and every time I look at his sweet little face, it reminds me of God's provision in my life. He was a surprise and undoubtedly, the best Christmas gift I have ever recieved. The birth of a child is a miraculous gift in and of itself. With Chloe, we were planning and trying to have a baby. A little girl had always been the desire of my heart and God was so gracious. Chloe was - and is - the epitome of the little girl I had always dreamed of. With Parker, it was - and still is - a different, but equally wonderful feeling, knowing that even though we hadn't "planned" having another child so soon, he was part of God's plan. I tell them both all the time how thankful I am that God chose me to be their mommy. They have such a special relationship with each other and it is daily evidence of the truth that God knows what we need far better than we do. I'm painfully aware of how fast they are growing. And growing up. Perched on each side of Santa's lap this year, I try desperately to cherish the moment, rather than the realization that the day is coming where they will not want to sit on Santa's lap, or wear smocked dresses, or Christmas sweaters... Life with them is so very sweet in this season of life and particularly, this season of the year. I am blessed.

College: Stressful, time-consuming and yet, out of the myriad of poor decisions that riddle my past, returning to college to finish my degree is by far, the single best decision of my life - only I can't really give myself credit for it. I truly felt led to return to school and although I had no idea why initially, as I draw near to the end of that journey, I can see that it was never about the degree in and of itself, but the path along the way. I have learned so much about who I am, what I am capable of; I have learned to overcome fears that I had never wanted to face - like, for instance: algebra; I have learned that I am stronger and smarter and braver than I ever gave myself credit for. I have learned what it means to honor commitment, to persevere when things are difficult, and that I really can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)

Chloe and I were talking about my graduation a few days ago. I will be graduating in the Spring when she finishes first grade and when Parker graduates from preschool. I thought of the day of my baptism, late last summer; a day they both remember vividly. Just a few feet away, Chloe had called out, "Mommy!" and waved to me, smiling. The thought occured to me that both of these major life events should have, perhaps would have, occured much sooner - certainly, before I had children had my path through life been more... narrow. But in so many ways, they are so much sweeter now as they are both, in different ways, markers of God's mercy and grace in my life shared with and witnessed by my children. I could not have predicted the course of my life. If given the option of going back, I would not have chosen the course of my life. But He knew - long before I did. The Author of our beginning is the Author and Perfector of our faith; faith by which we learn to trust in Him. We trust in His promise that He makes all things beautiful in His time; He works all things together for His glory and He holds all things together.

"For in Him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...
All things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things,
and in Him all things hold together."
1 Colossians 1:17


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