Friday, December 23, 2011

blogging break for Christmas

I had a few posts started the last few weeks.  But we had a week long  flu-athon (even though 75% of us had the flu shot) at our house.  And we had travels for which to prepare.  And now we are gone.  So I will be back to blogging at some point soon.  In the New Year most likely.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

empty and full (MM 899-913)

"When God closes a door, He opens a window."

We hear that one a lot.  Is it even in the Bible?  I guess I should look it up, but I am too lazy, and I don't think that it is.  And it doesn't feel true for us lately.  Doors, windows, laundry chutes, they all seem shut.

We pray for God's will. "Lord, open the right doors.  Close the door if you don't want us to go through it."  Yet deep down many times we really just want the door to budge a little bit so we can at least squeeze through. 

There has been no squeezing through here.

Door after door has shut.  So we pray now for new ones, old ones, any ones. We seek, we knock.  And we have become empty.  Empty of resources, finances, energy, enthusiasm, faith, hope, strength and ultimately of ourselves.

Perhaps it is the Christmas season, though I think I began realizing it sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving. My cup was completely empty, but I handed it over anyway, and then He began to pour something into it. New (and renewed) relationships. New opportunities and connections.  New places to serve.  New people coming alongside to encourage us and some old ones as well.  New attitudes, new hope, new mercies every morning.

Contentment is a struggle of mine. It always has been, so I find it a little bit funny that at the time in my adult life when I have had the least amount of things, the least amount to fall back on, I have been give the most in areas that don't fit on a spreadsheet or a resume. 

Yes, in my emptiness I am being blessed with the full life.

899. cleansing tears off and on all Sunday morning
900. one running car
901. small group game night
902. new friends who love my kids and don't mind our small house on the northside
903. a God who doesn't mind me drinking coffee during announcements
904. Sunday naps for all four of us
905. celebrating one year of Bugaboo
906. an acquaintance's miracle preemie gaining a pound this month- pray for Baby E. to get stronger
907. daily grasping that Jesus came to serve, not to be served, and what that should mean for me
908. the power of grace
909. the gift of obedience
910. progressive dinner
911. friends who hug - forgot how important touch is beyond the family unit
912. quality Christmas music
913. God with us, every day, every moment

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

my baby is turning one

"I cried when I saw my son. I don't think it matters if it is your first baby or your tenth. There is something miraculous about being given the gift of a child - through whatever means you are blessed to have one - and seeing him for the first time.  The responsibility, the enormity, fragility of it all meshes together in that moment which is just about as sacred as any moment can get.  You know in that moment unconditional love - for this child has done nothing to earn your love and will do nothing to lose your love - you love him just because he exists and just because he is yours.  And you know without a doubt you will do whatever is in your power to do what is best for him.  And in that moment you glimpse the face of God, you hear His heartbeat, and you know just a fraction of the love He has for you.  And you are humbled and amazed and grateful. Incredibly grateful."

I wrote this about a month after Bugaboo was born.

In the morning, he turns one year old.  It may be an understatement to say that I am a little sad about this.

I love all that you are learning and doing and becoming, but I selfishly want to keep you small enough to hold. I want to keep your out-of-control-hair in the same crazy style.  I want to keep kissing your smooshy cheeks and lifting you above my head just to see you smile. My sweet baby boy, our perfect surprise, getting bigger each day.  I cannot imagine our family without you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

amidst the mess

Life is messy.

Toys. Crumbs. Lost baby socks in every random location possible.  Halloween costumes I still haven't packed away (though I am not alone on this one, apparently).  And that is just the house/mom/material type of stuff.

Things are messy here lately.  Frustrations with one thing breaking after another, all out of our control.  We get through one hurdle only to have another one placed in our path.  It seems we get over, under, or through them anyway that we can.  We survive, but with some scrapes, bruises, and bloodied up knees in the process.
Life is so messy for me lately. Questions, concerns, worries, new lessons, old lessons revisited, new friendships and connections, fears, getting out of my comfort zone ...the list of good and bad and everything in between becomes tangled.
Even in the midst of a mess, God's fingerprint is still imprinting His hope and redemption throughout it. (Heather Zempel)
And I sense this, I know this, I lean on this fact - that He is with us in the mess.  He is not afraid of the mess.  Immanuel, God with us, born in a messy stable, friends with stinky fishermen, healer of lepers and women with blood issues - He is not afraid of the mess.