28 October 2011

unchanging grace.

it's been a long day already. i'm harrowed and spent, and i'm sure little m feels the same.

there are moments in most every day when i wonder if we'll ever get the hang of this, if i'll ever be any use at mothering. and right now, and in every now, the only remedy is Him.

on the occasions i manage to look outside of me, God's fingerprints are everywhere. the burnished oak out back. bean fields scraped clean. the soft oval of my sons' face. it's mercy, all of it, flooding straight from a Father who never retreats.

i rest on His unchanging grace.

* * *

would you keep praying for us, please? and if you don't mind, tell me how i can pray for you today.

thank you, friends.

19 October 2011

almost time.

my sister* is getting hitched come saturday, and we're a-flurry with preparations of the best sort. i've bits of dress-altering to finish up, plus loads of packing and optional baking, but just one more sleep and we truck out for some Fine Times Indeed.

[the minute i finished festooning elle's flower girl dress she paraded the length of the house in search of compliments, but the most eleven-year-old zee could manage was, eh. you're decent.]

little m began speech therapy yesterday, where he roundly ignored his therapist's requests and spent the entire session doing as he wished. it was not the most productive of ventures, but it was kind of nice not to be the only authority figure ignored in the room. i suspect we'll have a good weekend though, as he adores parties and sweets and people who are not mom, and the next string of days should be big on all counts.

and outside the leaves rattle like glass in the trees and split beneath our sneaker treads and who knew death could smell so dry and sweet?

and inside we are still learning how to navigate life with our smallest child, how to view each other with tenderness, how to practice mercy when we're defied and disregarded at every turn. [that last bit is the very hardest for me, but God keeps stacking my hours with opportunities to learn it. yay, right?]

hope your week is poured full of your favorite folk. see y'all on the other side.

*so technically she’s the mister’s sister, but whatever. she’s mine.

11 October 2011

birthday girl.

last friday elle made seven. we celebrated with a family camp-out on the living room floor, pizza and cupcakes and kit kittredge on the screen. she exclaimed over every gift and trailed me all weekend tootling on her yamaha recorder ('i put it on my list, mom, but i didn't think i'd actually get it'). we paired the recorder with a book of beginning songs in hopes that:

a. she might learn to read music


b. she might play something other than tunes comprised entirely of the note of c.

for the past three years or so elle's been an avid book-maker, crafting illustrated stories and pilfering my printing paper and ever in need of stapling services. so we assembled this author's (and illustrator's) kit for her, and oh is she ever in love.

cereal box blank books, watercolor cakes, the book book, drawing lab

she's already begun work on her first book, and though it's too early to give a full report, i've an inkling that this gift will be a giant hit for months to come.

* * *

to elle, seven things on your birthday:

-you have the best laugh this side of newark. it begins in your gut and ripples up into your throat and infects everyone in a quarter mile radius.

-you ask to be tucked in, every night, no exceptions.

-daily detritus is a treasure in your eyes, from library receipts to the tissue paper that comes balled up in new sneakers and you must keep it all. you are the pack-rattiest kid, and i waffle between amusement and exasperation each time i step into your room of happy clutter.

-you've an awful lot of spunk for your britches.

-you are chattery-sweet and need little prompting to detail every minute of your school day when you get home. (and oh, how i hope this never stops.)

-you mother everyone within hugging distance, whether they hope for it or not.

-you are tender toward God and people and my biggest wish for you is this: stand rooted in how completely God loves you, and treasure Him back fierce and full.

happy birthday, my girl.

04 October 2011

even if He doesn't.

it's one of those days where he's howling mad (this time at having lost his borrow-a-movie-from-the-library privileges) and he seethes along the walking path with a screech that liquefies my eardrums and leaves me soul-weary and spent.

but the cornstalks rattle bronze under a sky so clean it makes me ache for eternity, and the wind rushes and whispers peace till there's nothing else for it

and so i sing.

the brilliant thing about singing next to a screaming five year old is that i can belt it out as off-key as i'd like and no one is any wiser.

i work through hymns and some hillsong, matt papa, shane&shane, and then i get to a song that says this:

if You call us to the fire
You will not withdraw Your hand
we'll gaze into the flames and look for You

and it's referencing of course Daniel 3, and that trio of guys with funky names (my shack, your shack, and a bungalow) who refused to worship anyone but God. the king commissions this mammoth golden statue and assembles the people and commands everyone to bow to his image when the music sounds. and these three guys, they're captives but have worked their way into league with the bigwigs, and i'm pretty sure they know they're not dealing with the most stable despot here. but still, they won't worship the statue. and you know the rest, i'm sure. i would've demoted them, maybe hiked their taxes and plundered their cattle, but this king gives them a choice: either bow or get pitched into a fire so intense it melts your brain off just thinking about it.

and they come back with this, more or less: 'o king, we're not ultimately accountable to you, we answer to God. He can save us from your crazy-hot furnace.'

and then my favorite part: but even if He doesn't.

'but even if He doesn't, we refuse to worship anyone but Him.'

and the rest of the story is fantastic and God shows up in the fire with them and they come out untouched and His glory is made known.

and here's what i'm thinking as i'm singing and holding the unwilling hand of my flailing boy: that all along i've fully expected that we'll work through these tough spots and come out in love. i still do. we enlarged our family out of love for God and people, and i anticipate He'll work a boatload of miracles here.

but here's the other thing i'm thinking: God doesn't always show up in the way or the time frame i'm desperate for.

and even if He doesn't, even if things never get easier, even if we spiral dark and down for the next sixty years, i still choose this boy. i still choose this God. i still choose to obey.

and He'll walk with me in death valley, He'll keep me company in the flames, and His glory will be made known. good enough for me.