Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Only Promise

The ease of pulling a door open is unnerving when it is at your children's school. Unlocked, unarmed, easy access--it was today for me, so close to devastation. How long ago was it unnerving to find your children's school locked up? Years ago, I am sure.
Does any other parent feel like we are venturing into a new frontier? One where our simple trust in a kid-friendly environment is ever questioned? Where a parent has to cope with that unsettling seed of tragedy threatening to sprout reality and strangle their very heart?

Birth pangs. A promised labor is upon us. A darkness that's threatened for centuries is finally demonizing, revealing itself in all it's horror. How easy it is to weep, to grit our teeth and be overcome by the terror, the destruction of all that was innocent, all that was good.
The darkness of our times is not unknown by our God. He warned us. He lived it on the cross. Christ bore the sin of a crazed boy who stole the lives of innocent children and teachers, the hearts of parents and policemen. He felt the horrific storm that brews a quiet sadness inside each of us. Upon the cross He was crushed with our horror. 

The cross seems so much bigger to me today.
That grip on the school door just reminds me of the only thing worth clinging too. I realized, that as I let go of the door and stepped across the threshhold, that nothing of this world is worth clinging to in hope anymore. As it should be. Colossians 3:2 says:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 

So as I drove past my boys' school, knowing they were settling behind their desks, their BRAVE teachers conducting lessons as expected, I set my mind on things above. I prayed for angels at every entrance, I reminded my heart that I am called to raise these boys as strong warriors, that they will embark on more darkness as they grow but Christ promises an ultimate victory--A GLORIOUS return where all the darkness will tremble, crumble, and fade away in the presence of His EVERLASTING LIGHT!

This world will fade away, but what will remain is WORTH WAITING FOR!

Lean on Him. HE is the only promise in which we can truly rest.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Waiting Above

The cold weather brings a chill to my heart as the devastating story of Lyric and Elizabeth comes to a tragic end outside of Evansdale, Iowa. Two lifeless bodies discarded without care, without the fear of God. How does a mother come to terms with that? As I drive in the comfort of my car, to the bustling store with the twinkling Christmas lights, my mind is dark and my heart is heavy for children I've never met, for a parent's crushing sorrow, that I'd imagine, on most days, would be too much for a soul to bear.
Another sadness creeps into my spirit this time of year. As I listen to carols of the babe in the manger, and try to focus on the joy of the birth of a saving child, I can't help but feel the emptiness of my arms, the void of knowing my own angel baby never made her due date in late December. My December will never be forgotten.
And with this heart that is suppose to be joyous in the season, excited for the anticipation of Christmas morning in the eyes of my children, I suddenly grip a meaning of Christmas that I might have known, but never really emotionalized until now.
The Christ child fills that emptiness to the full. The hope He brought with His birth, takes away my sadness because it is an everlasting hope that one day, through His Salvation, I know my angel baby will find my arms in Heaven and I will look upon the face of my child for the first time and as long as eternity.
And I pray, and I have a hunch from their own Jesus-filled words, that Lyric and Elizabeth's mothers might mourn on Earth, but they have the peace in knowing that their baby girls are finally found...found in the arms of Christ, in a glorious place of Everlasting love...waiting with excited anticipation for their mothers' arms.

How our earthly view is so fleshy and slight, compared to the awesome sight of the Heavenly reality! This Christmas, may we be in awe of the Mighty God Who chose to limit Himself to the manger, to the ick and devastation of human flaw, to bring us the PEACE in knowing there is so much more waiting for us above.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Jostled Heart

On the way home from school yesterday, my oldest said something in a way that flung me back nine years when he was a toddlin' one year old. I don't know what it was, but his tone and garbled way grabbed my attention and I glanced over at him with reminiscent eyes. And I saw him...I saw the little one year old with pudgy cheeks and bright brown eyes wide, ready to soak in the great big world with the curious tilt of his eyebrows, and with the love-capturing stare that jolted joy through my heart as a first time mother. My apethetic mother's spirit suddenly remembered the precious gift I've been given.
I think on a time when hiding under the covers and pretending to camp with a flashlight was time well spent. When sitting infront of a high chair and feeding sweet potatoes and avocados to a hungry babe was my most important "to do" that day.
Now, I bark orders in the morning for my son to fix his breakfast, brush his teeth, get his shoes across that great big street (that would have been cause for a heart attack years ago) and get on the bus without Mama's hand, without Mama's protection. And I send him to school for more hours than I had ever been apart from him as a baby, and I send him to bed quickly at night, because my tasks are great and my time is always lacking.
Baby boy is growing fast, and time will only speed along, slipping through my fingers until I grasp the edges of his diploma and I stare at him with pride, ready to send my toddlin' baby into a world that became worth living in at his birth long ago.

Lord, Give me the readiness and stillness to treasure each moment, to not allow distraction to eat through my chances at sweet memories while there is time left to love to the fullest.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Right Where He Wants Me

Almost two weeks ago, I was swamped with doubt. My vision crumbled and my eyes stayed only on one thing: DEFEAT.

My dream of writing seemed to inch away from me as I didn't move forward in a contest, and my email was a stagnant inbox of junk requests from agents, no mentions of possible representation.

Most of all, I had broken the scales of that fine heart balance between family and writing, and began my spiral to an unhealthy view of my passion.

That Sunday, I got my family settled at home after church, and drove to a nearby park with my Bible in the passenger's seat. I needed to think--actually, I needed to pray. I desperately needed to call out to God and sort the mess in my spirit.

And while I parked under the beauty of spidery tree limbs, I leaned into God and allowed the Spirit to petition for me. I was too tired to form words, I was too tired to open the Bible....I was so tired, I actually fell asleep! For an hour and a half! Not only was my mind exhausted from all the mixed signals of life, my body was exhausted from all the life of being a mom, a wife, an aspiring writer. HA! I never fall asleep in public...I must have needed it!

When I woke up, I picked up the Bible, read a little, and then started the car and began my drive home. And that is when I truly cried to God. And that is when I heard Him:

You are right where I want you.

 He had me right where He wanted me as a writer who had submissions sent to prospective agents and editors, regardless of a subjective writing contest. And, He had me right where He wanted me as a child of God who finally became desperate enough to place IT ALL at arm's length and realize I was holding too close and not grasping the only thing that truly matters-- my relationship with Christ.
Some of you know the end of this story...or shall I say, the bright new beginning? The next week, amazing, wonderful things began to happen, and an agent I have very much respected and enjoyed meeting at the ACFW conference, offered to represent me!

I had planned on that next week to step away from writing for a heal the wound I had caused, and sort out what God really wanted for me....and you know what, God had me right where He wanted me!!! He knew that I needed to fall into Him, to find humility and peace in Him alone...and when I did, He blessed me abundantly that entire next week!

So, the following Monday, a week after I completely surrendered to my God, I decided that He's giving me more hope to pursue His gift of writing, and I became the new client of Tamela Hancock Murray with The Steve Laube Agency.

Throughout my journey, I notice a cycle that is as old as time...well, it's as old as the book of Exodus at least! I need God, I cry out, He listens and helps me, I rejoice in His provision, then I FORGET, then I stumble, I need God, I cry out, He listens....just like the Israelites.
Wow, what an amazing God we have?? What a terrible memory my heart has! I pray that I remember better this time, because as the Psalmist said,
"Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5b

And right now, I am in a bright new morning, right where God wants me.