Tuesday, June 25, 2013


There's been a mass exodus out of my life.
This month.....

Neighbors. Two families across the street moved. Ten years of learning what it looks like to be a neighbor. 5 day clubs where their children whispered "yes" to Jesus. The noise of 13 children (3 in one family, 10 in the other) eradicated. And there's this vacuum of silence.

My mom. She's giving her energy and love and time to an orphanage in India. Serving Jesus is something you never retire from apparently. She's gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or bribe my children. She'll be back, but until then, this gap.

My friend and her 3 children. Missions again. Serving Jesus is something kids can do too apparently. Her children run their race and it happens to pass through Africa and Russia, she cheers from the sidelines. Cheers are synonymous with prayer in this word picture. They're gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or tea party with us. I'll see them again in a month or more, but until then, this silence.

My friend and her family. God called her husband to a pastorate in North Dakota. When God calls the husband, the whole family has to go apparently. So she trades in trees for prairies, and she gives me her hammock to rest in while she builds a new life. She's gone and there's no one to laugh at my jokes or tell me what the heck to do with the 30  pounds of strawberries my husband brought home today. She may never be back, and oh, the gap.

And for the first time in my life I feel like Pharaoh. Pharaoh, who says, "NO." I want to chase them.
I want them back. Oh why did I let them go!
But instead of running after them, I run the other direction. I run to the mountain.

Walking in the orchard, up one row and down another, I pray.
And I find, to my amazement, that I am blessed.
Blessed to have so many friends who love Jesus. Really love Him. Love Him enough to go.
And I pray for them. Pray and walk until I am weary and content.
And as I fall into bed, I know what He's asking of me.
"Let my people go."

And I give Him the only possible answer.
"Yes Lord."
And I stick on a post-it prayer.
"But next time, send me, too."
Because there is really no point in being funny if there's no one to laugh.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What would I do without you?

Her voice floats down the stairs. The sweetness of it falls upon me like a warm hand, like a benediction.
"What would I do without you Mama?"
It's a rhetorical question. It doesn't require an answer because the answer is obvious.
The real question is, what would I do without her. Without all of them.
My in-laws took the kids to their cabin for three days last week.
Dave and I slipped back into patterns for two. Long walks with the dog before dinner. Dinner consisting of scrambled eggs and sausage. Gardening. Going out at night.
As if the last 13 years of parenting never were. Well, almost.
The truth is, my husband of 16 years is infinitely dearer to me because of the way I've seen him love our children.
My mind is more alive and interactive with his conversation than it used to be because I've learned to listen to frog stories and bird-watching details.
I am much much more appreciative of silence.
I see beauty as my children would. They've opened my eyes to things I've never noticed, never known existed.
The knowledge of them, of the gift of them, has produced a divine gratefulness in my soul, I am utterly thankful.
So our time alone together, was the old, with a new flair.
And when our kids came back, well, my cup overflowed. Because to hold them in my arms, their warm bodies wrapped close, is like a benediction. A warm hand of blessing upon my head.
I am utterly thankful.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Growing Real

It's a flower from a ballerina's wreath. Pink, so that would be Amelia's.
I don't recognize it for what it is at first. I'm drawn to it's perfect examples of pistils and stamen. I lure the kids near, eager to illustrate their book learning. Again.
They lean in and Grant's eyes narrow. "It's not real."
He's right, it's a fraud, plastic pistils and all.
"How did you know?" I'm supposed to be the adult, the one who's got this botany thing down.
"It's too perfect. Perfect things are never real. It doesn't even smell."
Rosy objects after a long inhale, "It does so smell! It smells like plastic!"
I remove flower from small nostril.

His voice, his words, play ring around the rosy all day in my mind.
"It's too perfect. Perfect things are never real."
I aim for perfection and lose some of my humanity, my realness, in the bargain.
I'm reminded once again, that God doesn't want my perfection.
That His voice will shatter my illusions when I think I've got this Christianity thing down.
That the fragrance of God is Christ, realer than real, not plastic. I don't want to reek of imitation.

So I go outside and sit in the sun. Soak in it's healing warmth. And I grow real.

Two of my fairies at their ballet recital.


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