Banyan

Banyan

 

There’s a grace that digs deep

Core of strength extends lofty to the sky

Outward, stretched, fallen man reaching for a savior

Redeemed and strong his boughs grow

Boldly lifted to heights he never dreamed

He searches for more

Always reaching

Always hoping

Faith finding him ransomed

Free he soars with the heavens

From the heights he reaches down

Lowering his fingers to the earth beneath

Digging in deeper

Delving anxiously to accomplish his task

Expanding his reach, as he bores into areas still covered by turf

Grace that reaches for more

Grace that reaches for others

Grace that overcomes all

Dig deeply in me until nothing remains untouched

I Wanna’ Be Just Like You

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Flyboy turned 7 yesterday! I am always a little nostalgic on birthdays. I can never quite wrap my mind and heart around how fast it all goes. When you are a young mother, everyone tells you to treasure every moment because it goes so fast and you can’t really fathom it. I know I always thought it a strange statement. Did they really think I was trying to squander the time? Now that I’m older, and my oldest just turned 16, and my Angel in Sock Monkey Slippers is 13, and Flyboy is 7, and I’m holding my 7 week old, I get it. It really does go fast.

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We took Flyboy to a mini amusement park to have a day of adventure for his birthday. He’d been once before and I had heard so much about how awesome the Cobra Coaster was. When we got there we discovered the catch. He refused to ride the coaster without dad. Dad looked a little silly in the small car with Flyboy tucked securely in his armpit, eyes closed tight and holding on for dear life. With dad, the Cobra Coaster was awesome. Without dad, the Cobra Coaster was an insurmountable obstacle.

The go-karts were the same. He had to watch dad drive the big ones before he would even dare to enter the rookie track.

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He woke up this morning in anticipation for the epic Nerf gun battle Dad promised for today. He’s been the happiest boy on the planet since Dad taught him how to play Skip-Bo the other night (especially since he won the second game).

The big smiles serve as a reminder to me that what our kids really need is us, our time, our attention, our lives lived purposefully before them. Ephesians 5:15 “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately”  Our kids are watching us. They are imitating and we should be imitating our father. Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”  There is no greater responsibility.

Last night, Bubba Boo (our nickname for our newborn. Dad joked about naming him after his two favorite Florida boy golfers, Bubba Watson and Boo Weekly, and now he’s Bubba Boo Dandridge.) was having a colicky moment. I was walking with him, holding him close and praying for him and my other children.  My prayers so often turn to awe. I’m amazed that God chose me to raise these amazing little ones. I have the privilege of being with them everyday and showing them the love of an infinite creator who is intensely interested in them, in us. I get to assist the Lord in showing them that they have purpose and destiny. They are able to do amazing things to affect change in this world and I get to be a small part of that. That amazes me. I get the honor of knowing them. They are extraordinary people and I count that as such a blessing.

I want more than anything to be more like my Father everyday. I want to decrease as the Lord of all increases in my life. I know that if I press toward that goal, my kids will then imitate me and therefore be more like Him as well.

Lord, help me to be a godly mother. Lead and guide my husband and I as we walk through this life with little ones in tow. May they learn to be Christlike as we imitate you. I wanna’ be just like you!

Isaiah 60:1

 

We are awake before the dawn.

The sun follows in step, divine hands pulling the earth to its place among the stars. 

Arise, shine, for your light has come!

A smile greets me.

Divine love evidenced in baby breath in the still of the morning. 

Outside my window, the water is glass.

Calm serenity proven in the peace I see…I feel. 

Arise, shine, for your light has come!

My spirit feels refreshed and renewed.

My focus, eternal, in the morning, committed in the day ahead. 

Ready to soar. 

Let the glory of the Lord be risen upon me. 

Arise, shine, for your light has come!

Isaiah 60:1

Sunlight and Stark

Doing dishes is a waste of time. They just grow back!

CleanI’ve decided that doing dishes is a waste of time. They just grow back! Especially in my house with teenagers and their smaller siblings running rampant. They hide in dark corners and conspire about how to get yet ANOTHER cup when my back is turned. And it doesn’t help that the older ones have learned to cook. I come home from work to find that they’ve become creative gourmets without the aid of a full-time dishwasher. Granted, they are old enough that I can pull the “I’m the mom and YOU can do the dishes” card. But still, the reality exists that there are always dirty dishes around no matter how many times we wash them.

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Life is like that. We do the same things over and over. We sleep, we wake, we eat, we read our Bibles, say our prayers, work, talk to friends, drive the same roads, cuddle with our kids, laugh, eat again, pay the bills, empty the pantry, go to the grocery store, come back home, lather, rinse, repeat…and it’s wonderful. Somehow, in the midst of the sameness, there’s always an adventure. There’s joy and comfort. We humans like consistency after all.

Our spiritual lives echo this pattern. We die to ourselves daily (1 Cor. 15:31). We read the same Bible over and over and never even begin to exhaust its bounty. We pray daily and it continues to refresh and revive us. We “repent and do the first works” (Rev. 2:5) um, more than once. The cool thing is that no matter how many times we blow it and dirty things up, there’s always a dishwasher. His grace is sufficient for me! (2 Cor. 12:9)

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Okay, maybe doing dishes isn’t such a waste of time after all.

Behind the Broken Glass

Crack in the window

I’m standing in a room alone. It’s dark, foggy, shadowy and gray. Before me, a mirror stands singularly. It’s the centerpiece of the room. It’s as if my presence there is more triviality than importance. Everything revolves around this monument of reflective glass. It haunts me.

Though it has no voice, I can almost hear it calling me into its solitary world. The room begins to spin. I hear jeers and laughter. Whispers from the past combine into dissonant noise that surrounds me, spinning, spiraling with noxious intent. They wrap me up and I find myself face to face with this fragile monster and I allow myself to look deeply.

The image before me is clear at first, just plain ol’ me with my pale, freckled skin, sharp features, ordinary hair, small, uneventful eyes, thin lips. As I stare, the image begins to change before me. From my perspective, it’s as if it’s zooming in and becoming clearer. It feels as though I’m really seeing myself for the first time. Every line, dimple and extra pound expands. I never realized how much weight I’d really accumulated with my last pregnancy. I’d never realized how pallid and sallow looking my skin had become. My long, natural hair used to be beautiful and flowing. I always thought it was lovely. Now it looks stringy, unkempt and dull. I feel as if there should be a law about letting oneself look like this. What have I allowed myself to become?  Corners

From the other side, I see this whole scene unfold. Suddenly, I’m an outside observer watching the event as if it were a movie playing in 3D. I still feel everything but reality is with me and I am aware.

As she stands before the mirror the glass shifts and shakes, contorting slowly, imperceptibly to her. Cracks and jagged, broken edges jut out in various places causing her reflection to look more like something she might see in a fun house mirror than true form.

I’m standing behind the broken glass watching her weary face, hearing her thoughts as she contemplates her new diet and exercise program (which will start TOMORROW). I feel her shame. She wants to hide, to blend in with the crowd just outside this room and pray they don’t see her at all. If she can avoid being seen until she fixes everything wrong with her, maybe she’ll be okay. Maybe the monster will release her from this prison. But some things she can’t change. What then?

From behind the broken glass, I see her. I see who she really is. She is beautiful. I see her dignity, her faith, her strength, the sparkle in her eye, the grace in her smile. She is so much more than the lies the mirror keeps telling her.

WindowI reach through the glass with both hands wide. I call to her. I take her hand and help her through to the other side.

Suddenly, the room is clear. The fog and gray are now light and clarity. I open my eyes, whole. I am home. I can still feel the glass like a distant presence. I know it’s there. I know it will fight to pull me in again but I am no longer afraid. I know now it’s broken. It has no hold on me.

Now I will look for it. When I see it appear, maybe I can have the opportunity to reach through and help another captured soul through to the other side. Behind the broken glass there is a world of freedom.

Keep it Simple

I can be so forgetful! I am stubborn and independent in nature. I have this way of going about life as if it were solely mine to live, as if I can handle everything just fine by myself. The weight and responsibility of the world rest upon my shoulders alone. The earth and all its inhabitants are at the mercy of my strength and abilities. God help us all!

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that this trait can tend to get me into trouble from time to time. If nothing else, it leads to my becoming overwhelmed and having mini meltdowns every now and then. The meltdown episodes serve as reminders that I was not designed to hold the world in orbit or pull the stars into position. Whey my best efforts drive me and everything around me into chaos, I remember to cry out for help.

Psalm 116:1-7 “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!’ Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.”

Inevitably, there will be times when I find trouble and sorrow. Sometimes it’s my own fault for trying to do everything my way. Sometimes it’s just life doing what it does…throwing a curve ball or two my way or blasting me out of the current all alone and seeing what I do next. (See the following video to understand the last reference)

I hope and pray that when trouble surrounds I remember to look up. When I call upon the Lord, He hears me. He is gracious and merciful despite my simplicity of mind. When I keep it simple and remember to remember Him, He reminds me that I can stop trying to conquer and vanquish every obstacle and simply return to my rest. I can trust His ability to carry me through everything. He protects and preserves me, meets my every need and has dealt bountifully with me. I can rest in Him.

Today I will resolve to keep it simple. I will slow down, take a deep breath, say a prayer of thankfulness, drink a cup or two (or pot) of coffee, relax and go about my day with the confidence that I can do everything I’ve been called to do in Him and that’s totally awesome!

Book Blessings

A good book is both a blessing and a curse. I love a good book! There’s something enchanting about getting lost in the pages, absorbing the verbiage. I’m completely elated by the inspiration and revelation I gain and gather up like a proud mama rounding her little ones up. I’m in love with well spoken words and poignant metaphors. I gobble up good books.

That’s where the curse comes in, I often become so engrossed that I neglect all of my domestic duties. Who wants to do laundry and dishes when there’s a book on the table calling out, begging to be the center of attention? This is especially troublesome when I get close to the end. I always reason with myself that it’s better to just finish it up so I can accomplish something. Of course, when I’m finished with one good book, it inevitably leads to beginning another…and the cycle continues.

One might think that such a pattern would enhance great knowledge and wisdom. On the contrary, I find that the more I read, the more I realize I don’t know as much as I thought I did. This realization only leads me to seek more knowledge and read another book. Maybe learning to acknowledge that I know little is wisdom after all.

Ah, and then there’s the sensory benefits of a good book. I love old books! I love the way they look. I love the way they smell. I become giddy when I walk into old libraries. I can feel the history awakening joy deep within my soul. The curse in this is that I long ago ran out of shelf space to house my expansive book collection and needed an intervention from my husband to convince me that I probably didn’t need to hang on to EVERY book that makes its way through my open hands. I’m forcing myself to avoid the bookstore and embrace the library and even (gasp) read Ebooks instead.

I know I’m not alone in this love affair. I’m sure many of you also put off mundane things for a little more time curled up on the couch with the written word. My daughter is the perfect example of this. I know that I shouldn’t plan on seeing much of her after a trip to the library. Even if she is in the room with us, she will be so engrossed in the book before her that she won’t hear anything else happening around her. I love this about her though I have to remind myself of that occasionally when I’ve repeated her name louder and louder ten times trying to pull her out of her trance to come to dinner.

As in everything else in my life, I’m attempting to learn balance. I hope to learn to accomplish great things and still fulfill my calling as a wife, mother and servant of the Lord while being able to devour every good book I come in contact with. I’m optimistic that this is an attainable goal. So I “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of  God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) With book in hand and appetite steadily growing, I will accomplish great things today. Happy reading everyone!

Adoration

I’m sitting in a quiet room, baby in my arms. Soft and warm, nuzzled tightly to my chest breathing in. Tiny sighs and squeaks eek out occasionally as lips move to reflexive smile or the impulse to nurse though his mouth is empty. He sleeps and I adore him.

My husband lies across the room still, resting after a long day’s work. I watch him. Eyes closed, peaceful and strong and I am thankful. With strength and persistence he provides for us. So diligent, so faithful. Then loving, he comes home to me with smiles, a tender embrace and kind words. Now he sleeps and I adore him.

The sun is sitting low and casting light through the stained glass into my cozy little nest. the way it alters the hue and brings sparkle and shimmer to substance fills me with wonder. I don’t stop enough to admire the beauty.

Then he looks at me. Blue eyes lit with something deep and extraordinary. I become fully awake in the joy and love behind his eyes. I’m captivated. He is mine and I adore him.