Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grace and Goodness - Sissy Comes Home

When His goodness flows, so rich and sweet, and there's life in His blood, I'll never understand...

And everyday mercies are close enough to hold

in our hands and in our hearts...

                           He wipes away little-boy tears, and He's gentle with my soul, too.

                                                           Questions are made quiet

                                                         because we don't have to know

                                                       anything more than He is good

                                                                  so very, very good

and we'll never comprehend
(this side of heaven)

the beautiful depth of His love.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Circle of Strength - Why Mom Time is Important

We gather around my table. Mamas. Sisters. Encouragers. Friends.

We're there with purpose. To support. To share. To be reached. To reach back.

The tea flows. And so does conversation. We pass a tray of fruit and of cake. Hearts go 'round, too, and we share precious things. Things that have been stored.

For times such as this.

We laugh. Stories unravel. Twine together. We listen, with our hearts, to each spoken word.

What's your favorite thing, someone whispers, about your sweet man?

And we look deep, share from inside out, and in the end, we know that flesh-and-blood blessing is very, very real.

Then then the fears come out, insecurities burried far. They're resurrected here, but this time in the light.

The enemy loses his power, to speak what is not true, because my friends will listen.
And they'll pray.

My boys tumble down the stairs, drinks before bed, then Lonny, too, and we know it's time.

Things are gathered, stories packed tight, hugs for all.

It's time.

Back to life. Back to home. Back to the wonderful things

that are even sweeter

because they've been shared

'round my old table

with a circle of friends.

Carry each other's bursens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations "The Lord has done great things for them."

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21

A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Casting Cares

A son aches, and there's nothing I can do.

There is no kiss. There is no touch. There's not a stitch or salve I can apply.

It's a part of growing. Stretching. Becoming more-a-man and less-a-boy.

But it hurts to watch him hurt.

And helpless stings the most.

God, there's hurt that I can't mend.

That is why I'm here.

There's empty that I can't fill.

That is why I'm close.

There are questions I can't answer and places I can't go.

That is why I sent my Son. So your son can come to me.

I want to mend his struggle.

I'm the One to bind his wounds.

I want to give him hope.

I'm the Giver of life.

I want him to have joy.

And life with me is abundant and full.

I release him, Lord.

He's yours.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bless The Work of His Hands

We're at the sink. Working together. Zay's standing on a small chair.

And he smiles up at me.

"I'm helping," he says. Four-year-old joy. He's a treasure.

It makes me smile, too.

The berries are round and red, filling his whole hand. He rinses them with water and carefully pats them dry. Then he arranges. Rearranges.

And smiles up again.

I admire his smallness and wonder what those hands will do. As they grow. When he's grown. This son of mine. By my side. Perched on a chair. So pleased to serve.

Bless his work, Lord. Now and then. May his heart and hands be turned to You.

We shut off the water. I pluck him from the chair.

His arms circle my neck.

And we sit down to enjoy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Servant Love - A Boy, A Ladder, And A Dusty Chandelier

Logan was home for spring break. Sprawled over his favorite wing chair. Lost in a book.

And I couldn't resist a few moments with my son.

"How ya doing?" I asked. I plunked on the sofa across from him.

He placed a marker in his book, looked up, and smiled.

"Good. It's nice to have free time. Nice to be home."

I smiled back.

Perfect. Having him here. Blending into the fold. Couldn't be better.

Then I glanced at the chandelier.

Covered with dust. Coated with grime. Luster lost in a hundred days of no-time-to-clean.

"What are you looking at, Mom?" Logan asked.

I don't know why that thing bothers be so. Maybe because it's beautiful, original to the house when she was wired with electric flow. Maybe because it reminds me of all the things I can't do, of the house I'd like to keep, but can't, and maybe never will...

"Nothing," I said. "What are your plans for the day?"

We talked for awhile. Easy and light. Then I let him be, back to his book. Back to his time.

And I returned to my stuff, too.

An hour later, I passed through that room, where I'd left my son.

But I didn't find him sprawled in the chair, deep in words...

he was on a ladder, deep in dirt.

Plucking small crystals from the chandelier. Washing them in a sudsy pail.

"Logan," I said, looking up, to the boy perched high. "You don't have much time. Why would you do that?"

He peered down. Smiled. Wiped a crystal clean.

"Because I want to help you, Mom. That's all."

Now the boy is back at college. Spring break is gone, and so is his time.

But when that chandelier sparkles and shines, throws light over the floor, catches my eye and brings delight not dread

I know that my son gave something just for me,

and I know I'm deeply loved.

Lord, thank you for this son, and for his heart to serve. Keep my eyes open too, that I may serve others with love.

Servant love, following the example of Jesus, Teacher-King bent low to wash  dirt from dusty feet. Have you heard Michael Card's "The Basin and the Towel"? Touches my heart deep. Every time.

Link: The Basin and The Towel from Michael's Poiema cd

Monday, March 12, 2012

Save Our Ship, Lord!

My little boys are forever playing pirates.

But not today.

Today there is no play.

 No lofty sails.

Today is more like survival. On a houseboat. That is not-so-quietly sinking to the deep.

Lonny is out of town and commitments are stacked high.

Running. Pick- ups. Drop-offs.

No one is sleeping.

We're cranky. Surly. Spent.

My two vacuums bit the dust.

Toast crumbs on the floor.

One boy overflowed the potty.

Half-hour battle with plunger and old plumbing.

Math facts are not settling.

Unsavory words from yesterday's movie did.

And we're in need of a treasure chest of grace.

Save our ship, Lord. Come quick!

He is faithful.

The pirates and I...

in deep places,

 we know.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Boy, Pizza, and Sweet Time (Learning to Receive)

"I know what I want to do with my birthday money," Sam said.

"What?" I asked.

"I want to take you on a date. Out for pizza." His smile stretched wide.

"Oh, Sam, that's sweet. And a date would be wonderful. But let me pay. The gift's for you."

His money, paper bills folded small, had been in the belly of his bank for weeks.

"Well, let's get it on the calendar," he said. He went to the wall. Held the Sharpie marker that hung on a string. Peered at squares filled with scribbles. "I think one week from Monday will work."

"Sounds like a plan," I said.

And one week from Monday, at five o'clock, Sam came down the stairs. T-shirt swapped for a sweater. Smelling of soap and sporting wet hair.

In his hands he held small paper, neatly cut, crisp and clean.

"I found this coupon," he said. "When I treat for pizza, we can get bread sticks, too."

And when we got the the restaurant, an hour later, Samuel stood at the counter and ordered. Then he pushed his hand in his pocket and retrieved the coupon and a stack of smoothed bills.

I couldn't say no.

Sam counted his gift and laid the bills flat.

I thought of the Legos or books he'd let go as he stood straight and tall and counted bills  out for me.

Sam and I took our sodas and chose a tall table. He moved the chair so I could slide in.

We talked, laughed, and were lost in the blessing of one-on-one. We listened, shared and when the pizza came, I thanked him.

And we enjoyed slice after slice.

His joy became mine and pulled me right in.

I guess my sweet Sam had learned to give.

And his kind giving taught me to receive.

This prayer is borrowed from a devotion by Oscar Greene, Daily Guideposts 2012. It was fitting and echoed my heart...

Mighty Savior, May I understand how to accept the kindness of others with quiet appreciation. Amen.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Girl on the Arm and Wings of a Prayer

Grant and I stand, arms looped around one another, smiling big for the camera, before he's off.
It's Sadie Hawkins, and he's been invited to the dance.

His shirt is new. Shiny and crisp.

But that's not all that's new. There's the new twinge in my heart. An awakening in my soul. The awareness, to a new level, that we're on a fast path moving forward and it probably won't stop.
We're launching.


Later, I drive him to meet his date. "We're friends," he says. And I know for now it's true. But she's wearing heels and soft curls and together they're a dashing sight.

This is my boy. Growing big. Standing tall.
Have fun, sweet son. Laugh long. Love life.

I say goodbye and the he is off.

Girl on the arm.

On the wings of a prayer.

Lord, thank you for being with my son as he stretches deeper into life. Keep him safe. Keep him strong. May he be a man of excellence. One whose character honors You. Amen

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lizard in the Stairwell

There's a lizard in the stairwell.



He catches my eye as I move down the stairs.

Not unusual. Not here. To find a lizard. A plastic snake. An alligator with teeth frozen, stretched wide, in forever pursuit.

The lizard blends.

Camouflaged in this house.

True, his habitat is a swirl of dust.

There's a sprinkle of toys, under the cabinet where he rests, too.

And heaven forbid what lurks behind.

But there's time later.

To sweep the house clean.

To remove traces. Toys. Dust.

But for today, it's a sign of life.

A home where life pumps free.

Children play.

Family breathes.

And lizards perch

in the stairwell.

Thank you, God, for even clutter and dust, that are signs of Your gift ~ rich, sweet life.