My Grandma Suz passed away in the aftermath of losing Eben. I won’t go into what that was here, but that it was painful is an understatement. But, seasons come and go and we are in a new season laughing about the old. Praise God for the grace to stand.
I had been going through my jewelry box and decided to wear one of the more plain pieces I had received from my mom on behalf of my Grandma. Laying the chain quickly around my neck and hearing the, “Mommy!” coming from the next room, I moved to see what was happening.
Ella was up from her nap and, seeing the necklace, wanted one of her own. The chain was sturdy, had plenty of wear left and was not particularly precious metal so I took it off my neck and placed it on hers explaining that it came from her Grandma Suz.
“Grandma Suz give me?” she said. I nodded “I want go see her! We go see her now?” I saw some explanation was needed. So, the conversation began. “We can’t see Grandma Suz anymore. She’s not here anymore. “ “Why?” Ella piped back. “Well, she died,” I said. And then the matter of fact response from my daughter came like an arrow to my heart. “Oh, she got a new room.”
We continued to talk about how Mommy would get a new room someday and Ella would get a new room someday and then she asked, “Will you paint it?” I explained that God has prepared a place for us and HE has done the work. I just agree with him. But the three-year old standing in front of me said, “NO, you have to paint it!” We both laughed, but there was great rejoicing in my heart to know I won’t have to paint it!!!
Eben too, has a new room. And I find it interesting that we are beginning the journey with boy #2, just as we can talk with Ella about Grandma Suz’s new room and rejoice in what has been, with her and for her in a whole new way.
It’s dark outside. The crickets sing their song and the candles are lit reminding me that winter is on the way. For the past weeks, I haven’t been writing much worth reading. And so tonight, in the silence, I returned to a passage once brought to my attention by a friend.
It was many years ago now. I was young and knew little of God’s love or pain. Truth be told I know little now. Hopefully, I’m learning. It had meant something to her, these words: “Why are you depressed, O my soul, Why are you upset? Wait for God! …” I didn’t understand at the time. I listened. I heard her heart and walked away.
There are moments like these that shape who we are. You don’t know when you’ll be that moment for someone. It’s God’s work that accomplishes this, so it’s not something for you to do. For me, her passion for something I was clearly not understanding made me wonder at my lack of enthusiasm. Why couldn’t my spirit hear the words? “Why are you depressed, O my soul, Why are you upset? Wait for God! …”
Years later I would enter that downcast phase. I would become depressed. My soul would be upset and I would need to hear the words in this passage.
“Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will
Still praise Him,
My Savior and my God.”
There are seasons in life. When my friend was hurting, I wasn’t sensing those same things. I was in a different place … the place God had me. Accept your season. Rejoice in the place God has you whether you feel happy or sad. Choose praise. Still praise Him.
“The Lord will send His faithful love
His song will be with me
In the night –
A prayer to the God of my life.”
photo by: laura ruth
I’ve been married 10 years today. It’s quite a short time when you think about it. I am living with God’s man for me. But, we’re so far from perfect it’s not even funny. Just this past week we fought … over a sandwich. In reality we fought over what the sandwich represented.
It went something like this:
Wife: Finding her husband has left the sandwich from a previous meal out AGAIN so it has to be thrown out she fires, “Be responsible and put your food away!” (that’s the tame version).
Husband: Feeling attacked (and rightly so) comes out with the barrage of things he’s responsible for and that weigh on him putting wife in her place.
Wife: Listens, annoyed.
Husband: “And somehow it’s all my fault!?”
Wife: Knowingly understanding the above, but thinking, “YES! IT’S YOUR FAULT!” Holds her tongue.
Husband: Weary, Obviously weighed down, not caring that a sandwich might be a casualty of our relationship.
Wife: I want you to understand that I work hard on this food. It takes time … continues her rant on the problems associated with the wasting of food and how we need to solve this problem.
We vented for probably 20 minutes about life over a sandwich. The sandwich didn’t know what hit it. It ended its day at the bottom of dark stink. We dug out. We dug in and did the work of listening and talking and trying to understand where the other person was. We’re always so much deeper than the surface would lead us to believe.
We left that conversation friends, but not lovers. The next day God did that work in me. He convicted my heart. I had not been thankful for everything. I was not being thankful for the sandwich I had to put in the trash. And, when I began to see from a different perspective I saw God shift my love for Grant.
I realized we have food. We have a table to put the food on. We have each other. It was more important for me to be thankful for everything than to be frugal or to be wise with how I use my food. It was more important for me to love.
That night we laughed as friends and lovers do. I saw the man I married loving me. I saw a man who will fight for me, who will sacrifice a sandwich to make time for me.
photo by: Christa Kimbal
I was sitting with my brother, a few days ago now. Out of the blue he said something related to the conversation and it felt harsh. My response was, “Are you ridiculing me?” I wasn’t sure what to feel. His face never shifted and he said these words: “If that’s how you’re taking it.”
I was stunned. I had just been to a friend’s home where she told me the story of honor her husbands’ family had placed upon him as a child. There was just one thing his father disapproved of. He made it known every day, but every day his son chuckled and rejoiced in who he was, secure, loved.
When I heard that I thought, wow … it would have bothered me. I would have felt rejected. I would have felt my parents didn’t approve of me and I would have changed my ways for the sake of peace.
I told my brother this story and when it came right down to it I looked at him and said with a jaw drop, “I WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO SEEK MY PARENTS APPROVAL!”
The truth hit hard and deep. To be honest I’m still reeling a bit. I’ve spent my life seeking the approval of my parents and their friends, of people I respect … of PEOPLE! It is a dangerous place to walk.
Let me tell you what it has done for me. I have forgotten who I am. I have desired what others want for me instead of what God has given me to do. I have set aside the things of God for the things of man. I have looked love in the face and felt shame. I have been held captive by my own perceptions of how others view me. I have been a puppet. I have been.
And so, as he does sometimes so tactfully he look at me and shrugged. It was his yes you’re right shrug. And then he said this: YOU’RE ALREADY APPROVED! A wave of joy rushed over me. I AM approved.
Well, you say, Jesus had favor with people … yes! Favor. There is a difference between increasing in favor and seeking approval. One has root in relationship with God and grows naturally like a vine. The other is manipulated and coaxed, out of order and death to the whole body.
It’s painful to be brutally honest with ourselves … to be brutally honest with God. If we are trying to please people we are not slaves of Christ. I want so to be in the latter category.
We ARE approved. We are not meant to seek the approval of men. Whose approval do you seek?
Gal. 1:10 “Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people I would not be a servant of Christ!“
photo by: laura ruth
Our agenda was produce. We needed some peppers (which seem to be constantly working their price point up?) … side note, I know. We selected the perfect specimens and as we turned to leave a little girl comes up to my two year old, scoops her up in her arms, hugs her, lets her go and moves on. There were no words exchanged, no names given, no looks passed. One hug and one hug only.
My daughter stood there and looked at the girl with admiration. I watched the glow cast over her face and the longing she now had to be near this beautiful creature that had loved her so well. Probably three years her elder this little girl had treated her well and honored her, at the same time honoring her own mother who she was now diligently helping with groceries.
I was honored to see the exchange. It affected my day. It has affected my life. My mind twisted around the beauty of the purity in a child. And I have to admit I felt defeated. As I rejoiced for my daughter, I ached for myself. I didn’t feel childlike … wasn’t even feeling its possibility. And yet, I believed it could be. I knew it MUST be.
I don’t know many childlike adults. It’s as if once you hit adulthood you become jaded, cynical, mean. I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of wonderful, kind people in the world, but when it comes right down to it even a nice person has trouble trusting. What happened?
In that moment I felt helpless. Ok … children are helpless, but … I don’t want to be LIKE that!!! That’s part of the fight. I want to be grown up. Since the dawn of time we’ve wanted to know more than was ours to know. In the garden Satan tempts Eve by telling her …”God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will open and you will be like divine beings knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).” He’s saying God doesn’t know best. But he does. He’s baiting Eve and she takes it.
We MUST become LIKE children. We must learn to TRUST and RECEIVE. Only God can teach this. Only God can change a heart.
Matthew 18:3 I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!
I’ve been waiting for that perfect time to start writing. Truth be told … it never comes. I write in the corners of my mind, scrawling in my memory the words I hope to put on the page, but always seem too busy to actually put down. Carpe diem!
It’s time to start acting. It’s time to take the moments I have wherever they are and use them. Is there something like that in your life? Honestly, after a full day of running after an almost two year old and managing a household I don’t always feel like doing much of anything. But, if God has called you to something you must be willing to take the steps that others will not be willing to take.
I don’t know what it looks like for you. My journey right now is ever changing. God is changing my schedule to fit the call he has for me. And, I have to admit I fought it a bit last night. I wanted to stay up later than I should. And, here I am, needing my energy to sustain me with the babe that gets up by 7.
He has a plan and if we surrender … what sweet harmony.
photo by: laura ruth
Running. That’s what it feels like I’m doing so often. I can be seated or standing or well, doing yoga, but the runner in me keeps going. It’s about my inner man … letting go of me and accepting what I need. The reality is that I need help. I need someone to come and rescue me. I need to be lifted out of my pit and cradled where I’m wounded and sore. I need to be still.
It is God who makes wars to cease. He reminded me he can do this with me. He can take my warring and silence it. He can heal and he can shatter. But, He is able to pull me from the ash heap unharmed and he longs for me to recognize Him in all my moments.
Here’s to recognizing GOD ALMIGHTY, the one who’s on our side!
“He brings an end to wars throughout the earth; he shatters the bow and breaks the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, ‘Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! I will be exalted over the nations I will be exalted over the earth!’ The Lord who commands armies is on our side! The God of Jacob is our protector!” (Selah) ps. 46:9-11
Photo By: Laura Ruth
“Hello. Goodbye. Hello. Goodbye … Should I make brownies?” On goes the inner dialogue. I sit and gaze at the blank page and … no words. Inevitably, I’m left with brownies. I’d better get writing!
I’ve been avoiding this. That’s the only explanation. Writing will bring the truth home, but do I want to see it on paper? And, oh, the baby’s up!
Round 2? … It hit me some weeks ago that I’d become stale. Like chips left open just long enough, I didn’t have any life left. I felt like I was moving through my days, just making it. It had become a new sort of reality I’d somehow accepted. Why didn’t I want to pray? Why wasn’t I seeking others who would challenge me? Why was I in a rut … an ugly one? Had I really made it back here? Was this what it was to backslide?
O, yes. I’ve been here before. It seems I’m prone to wander as the song says: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it … Prone to leave the God I love.” This time, the God I love reminded me he loved me through this stale cycle I’d chosen. I could see him … hear him calling, but I remained silent. Instead of responding I sat, like a stale chip, waiting for my voice to return. It felt lost somehow and I felt broken. I wasn’t sure how it happened exactly. I just stopped pressing in to listen and the slow decline began. I didn’t even notice when my stale state set in.
I was hopeful for a major life event. That usually spices up life with the Lord. I hadn’t been FEELING like I needed him. I knew I needed him … knew I needed him BAD. Some drama would bring me to my knees. But, when I’m “doing well” … what then?
Ah, revelation creeps in. Without him I can accomplish nothing (John 15:5). And that’s what I was doing … accomplishing nothing. But, this time, there was no tornado … no illness to drive me to the place I needed most. He wanted me to cry out this time in the calm. Life was throwing me no wrenches right now … would I still cry out?
Without the pain to prompt or the drama to encourage my heart to run after solace … I am still needy. On my own I’m still empty and dry. On my own, there is no “doing well.” On my own … accomplishing NOTHING is where I live. And that’s what I’ve felt these past days.
Crying out, admitting your failure … it’s not easy. I sat down and wasn’t sure where to start. And, this was not the blog I intended to write. Some days, things just turn out different than you plan.
Photo By: Laura Ruth
Napping … normally I like it. But, recently it’s come to mean I’m deprived. I haven’t met a person yet who likes it when you point out their lack. It’s a relational rule. You just don’t do it. If you think it, you keep your mouth shut and keep walking because you probably lack yourself.
I’ve been trudging through the week as if through mud. I have a list of to do’s that have barely been touched and those things I have done have felt like major accomplishments in the face of how I “feel.” If it were up to me those things would have remained on the shelf as well. But, God is moving me forward and if I’ll just listen … perhaps those things I think are impossible for today will be realized.
I want more than exhaustion and impossible and just “feeling.” And, I have little ability to do this life’s agenda on my own. Barely and almost are good words to describe this week. Perhaps it’s enough to know in my weakness, He is strong. Even when I don’t “feel” it.