Saturday, April 11, 2020

An Easter Devotional for 2020

I am contributing to some devotionals at my church and thought I would share my devotional for Holy Saturday. Happy Easter! 

Scripture: Matthew 27:57-66, Psalm 22

Years ago, my walk with Christ plummeted into a bleak valley. One where I scrambled around begging for normalcy of my happy Christian stroll again. But, it was in that dark season (or era…it seems much longer than a season) when I discovered a deeper reverence of my Lord. The valley offered a dependency on holy rhythms, not because they made me happy again, but because they gave me purpose as I crawled along the valley floor. The rhythm of prayer, worship, writing a novel’s messy first draft—these motions shaped my grief and carried me along an undulating valley walk, just as we see the psalmist write about in Psalm 22. With my focus on a Savior I could not see in the darkness, my rhythms carried me through the implosion of anguish, the soberness of reaffirmation, the cry of supplication, and finally the praise and future hope in our God.

At first glance, I see Joseph of Arimathea in Matthew 27:57-66 as this great noble man—steady  in his deed for Jesus. He was greater than I could ever be. Joseph seemed to go through the motions of an honorable burial without any emotion. However, I wonder if Joseph of Arimathea was depending on holy rhythms too? After all, he was another disciple of Christ. He knew Christ face to face. How could he not be moved by his horrific death? In the darkness of Friday’s outcome, Joseph found purpose to continue on in honor of his Savior—even in the grim rhythm of burial. It was all he could do. It was a valley rhythm that kept him close to Christ, even when the light had been snuffed out. Did Joseph’s heart also cried out the anguish, soberness, praise, and future hope of Psalm 22 as he buried Jesus? How could it not?

In a way, this pandemic has drawn me into another valley. I am sure all of us can relate. There is a darkness in not knowing what is next. The first days of quarantine were overwhelming for me—just like my season long ago, just like the grief of the psalmist. But, even though we don’t know the end of this pandemic valley walk, we know the end of the psalm. There is a future hope of God in all His glory—He is with us in the darkness, He has given us holy rhythms, and the Light will indeed shine again.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

From the Atheist in My Life

My husband has built a personal aviary outside our living room window.
We sit and watch the birds each morning over a cup of coffee, delighting in the varieties, the habits, and the newcomers we haven’t seen before.

We have a camera set up on a tripod and take pictures upon pictures of woodpeckers, gold finches, dark-eyes juncoes, doves, blue jays...even sparrows. They are a bird too,  no matter how common.

I only post this pic of two doves from my phone because I am too lazy to download all the other pics off the camera.

Honestly, I am too frozen to do much of anything. I woke up today and remembered all the tragedy. There is this giant grackle feeding on all the good thoughts in my mind, leaving nothing for joy or peace.

I sat on the couch and stared at the birds this morning, my unease pouring down my cheeks...and I am not sure if it’s fear, gloom, or just anxiety...but it’s here, just in my peripheral, flapping it’s vulture-wide wings. My husband comes up to me, sits beside me with his coffee, and rubs my back.

And I think what a crappy witness I am to him. What a terrible lack of faith I have right now, when I could stand tall and strong in this spiritually-mismatched marriage amidst this global pandemic. But I can’t pretend. Not with him.

“You know, I read somewhere that even the birds are taken care of. You are too.” He smiled.
“Are you quoting Scripture?” I laughed amidst my tears.
“Hey, I am just saying what’s true. There are things in there that are true.” 

So, my atheist husband ministered to me this morning, digging deep into the Bible-rich foundation that he unanchored himself from years ago.

And I know why he did it. I am not foolish to think that he’s reconsidering anything, I cast that idea off years ago, after the millionth hope crumbled. I know that he spoke it because he loves me, and he wanted to comfort me. 

But he brought up Scripture...for me. I sit in the warmth of that. In the comfort of that.

This pandemic really is turning everything topsy turvy. Isn’t it?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Being Not Okay

I so appreciate all the humor and optimism out there.I am thankful for the online community we’ve grown these years, catching us before hitting complete bottom in all this social distancing, in all this tragedy, in all this teetering hope.I am beyond grateful for science and data and technology for teaching, equipping, and sobering.

I am so thankful for the people who’ve taken this on like champs...making the most of it, being innovative, making this work and rocking it. You are being the good for some of us who are doing a crappy job of holding it together. For this girl doing a crappy job of holding it together.
I am not gonna lie. I’m not good with all this. I am not rocking it. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ‘ˆI just wanna put that here for those of you who are doing this Spring 2020 like me—you are not alone,  either. If you aren’t quite sure how to breathe right now, be right now, neither am I.

My enneagram number 4 is getting the best of me...making the worst of me? Maybe. But, as my spiral has lengthened this day, this sign on my wall has been nagging me.
I am starting to remember something else that I have grown besides social media over these years: The knowing that, in my 4-ness, I don’t really have to be ok. It’s not always something I can talk myself out of, but I know that at least there is always Someone, Some Word, some reminder that He will meet me and tip my chin up in my un-okayness. His Word will give me a clue on how to manage all this. If that’s my only hope, I need to be ok with that.

4’s like me, 6’s like me, friends like me—know that you aren’t alone. You have a friendly chat at your finger tips, you have a God who loves you. And together, we have this great big community on here for such a time as this. ๐Ÿ’› Thank God for that! #LoveGod #LovePeople #socialdistancing #enneagramfours

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Dream Chasers

It's been a while.
But, while my blog has been bare for the past few months, my life has overflowed. I finished writing my tenth novel--one that took every piece of my heart to write. The journey of writing that story was a healing one...which, if it is ever published, and you read it, you might understand why.

In my non-writing life, I've been the mother hen ushering kids this way and that, giving pep talks, volunteering, working, wondering, considering, and everything that goes with being a human in this day and age of social media onslaught, biased news filtering, and noisy opinion-makers crowding my ears.

But, there has been a steadiness, and I find it in these things:

My mediation on what God is up to in all of it
The dreams brewing beneath the roof of my home
The hearts needing fostering during those dream chases

And today, I am inspired to declare that because I have been a dream chaser with each and every newly written book for publication, I have suddenly discovered my dual purpose in mentoring my own son--a dream chaser like his mama.

His dream is different than mine, but his heart, his passion, his motivation is probably more than I have ever felt--and if you know me and my tendency to be overly passionate about my dreams, then you know that it's a great feat for my son to outshine my dream pursuit with his own.

When I think of dream chasing on an optimistic day, I see speed gained, the tunnel light growing like the newborn sun. But when I think of dream chasing on a pessimistic swing (these happen way more than I care to admit), I think of the leap and the face flat crash, the light is snuffed like a flame extinguished between the grubby fingers of reality.

For me, even the latter is bearable. I can swallow my disappointment and focus on the present. Push aside the dream, chasing for the very real joys and triumphs of life as a mom, a friend, a wife. Yet, when it is my own son whose dream plays hard to get, whose effort is outstanding but not enough by his own measure, I am willing to bargain with God and trade my dream-coming-true for my son's.

Perhaps this is the very crux of the gospel. Christ gave up his life so that we might live outside the darkness. And in this lenten walk of mine, I know that to be true...that a parent's journey is never triumphant if their child's left in despair.

I would give up my dream so my son could fulfill his. There really is no doubt it. And in this realization, I am grateful for my own dream chasing because while I once gave it credit as growing me and teaching me perseverance in God's calling, perhaps another more selfless purpose is to align me with my son, to give me understanding of his deep passion for something bigger than himself, and to keep me his steady encourager during those optimistic days, and his gospel whisperer during his disappointments.
For the gospel is sweet, it's true, it's the ultimate dream come true, and every dream chase can find hope in what lies ahead because of the gospel. The first dream-come-true.

Friday, December 6, 2019

My Boys, My Teens, and Me

The other night, we were watching old family videos—and when I say “videos” I am talking about the little vhs tapes that actually insert in a video camera. Video videos. My husband and I sat and laughed at the 6 yr old, 3yr old and barely 2 yr old from this strange we-know-who-you-become viewpoint. There were a few things I discovered:
๐Ÿ‘‰Predictions are pointless. The 2 year old future MLB player who kept begging for Daddy to throw the “bay-ball” is now the recreational rock climber who “hates” organized sports.๐Ÿ˜‚ 

๐Ÿ‘‰Kids Show their distinct selves early on. My boys are 3 different teens, and they were 3 different little boys. The oldest was serious. The middle was playful, and the littlest brother—well, he often did his own thing. Now, imagine all that times 11. A driven oldest, an outgoing middle, and the little brother—unique in every way.๐Ÿฅณ
๐Ÿ‘‰I have learned a lot, and I haven’t learned anything. Looking at yourself 11 years ago—it’s so cringy (as the kids say)๐Ÿคฆ‍♀️What I saw from the now-standpoint: The joy around me, the precious present I had, and the ridiculous things that rattled me—like the 2 yr old wanting to throw the Christmas balls from the tree. I was appalled then—but now, I’m like—well, duh! Shame stabbed me as I saw the uneven attention I gave to my littles at certain moments. And even more when I snapped at a 3 year old who just couldn’t keep his hands off the next present for his little he should know better. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ So much worrying, acting out of laziness instead of intention, momming it the way everyone said I should. And really, those are the things that I could say about real-time me. Just bigger worries, exhaustion more than laziness, and comparing myself and my family to everyone who pretends to have it right.
๐Ÿ‘‰Lesson? Yes, I can unhook those hangups with a little more knowledge, a little experience, a reminder. ๐ŸงEleven years from now, I wonder what I will see, what I will learn...and where I will be on the other side of the view. I am just hoping there’s a little more growth, and that I will be a little less cringy.๐Ÿ™ƒ #momblogger #momlife #authorlife #memories #momofboys #andagirl