It’s in the lines around her eyes. In the invisible trails left by tears shed in secret. I see it. I see a lot of things. hurt. betrayal. wounds of various kinds. pain. things done in secret, kept a secret. … Continue reading
We recently had an incredible surprise… We are unexpectedly expecting baby #5! Ironically, we discovered this precious little miracle within days of scheduling the appointment that makes adding to our family impossible. Paradoxically, we’d been grieving the end of our … Continue reading
“Saying no to something actually means I am saying yes to something more important.” (KV) When we first got married, my husband and I encountered one of the biggest challenges we have faced in our married life. How to … Continue reading
There is a conflict I have been consistently refereeing among my children. I call it the battle of fairness and sameness.
As a mom I’ve made it clear with each child from the beginning that it’s not my job to make life fair, nor will I attempt to reach the standard of treating each child the same. Just the thought of attempting those impossible feats exhausts me. My children are far from identical, even if they all bear a resemblance and share their Daddy’s amazingly long eye lashes. Then there is the difference between the boys and my daughter… age differences factor in, and then each incredible personality comes into play. Fairness and treating everyone the same just doesn’t work in my mind.
That doesn’t mean that each child isn’t treated fairly, or that I don’t love them all with the same profoundly deep love that boggles my ability to understand it.
However, fair for one child isn’t fair for another. And showing love to my daughter in the same way my oldest son feels the most loved would (and has!) cause her to feel suffocated and irritable. Each of them loves it when I display that I know them well enough to know these individualities. They love being called out for their unique contributions to our family, and being fussed over for something their sibling can’t do as well. And all four of them have time in the limelight.
Just not all at the same time. Or even on the same day… or in the same ways. And this is where the battle comes in.
At times they get so focused on what they aren’t getting that all they see is what someone else has, or is receiving. They completely forget what they’ve got and what they were just given. Its like they forget who they are and what they like. Not only that, but when it comes to consequences, they completely forget that they were the ones choosing a behavior to begin with. Well… don’t we all at times?
I can’t make life fair for my children because I can’t make their choices for them. Nor can I forget that they are so incredibly unique, requiring different approaches and styles of instruction. What one child earns another child might get gifted, simply because without the gift they’d never reach the prize. It’s not fair. But the child who earned it needed the exercise in growth to reach his greater potential, while the child who got a gift wouldn’t have tried without grasping encouragement in his pudgy little fingers first. One child has privileges the others don’t enjoy. The others don’t have this child’s responsibilities either… it’s not fair. They are not the same people.
Isn’t it that way with adults too? I found myself complaining to God about the unfairness of a situation. His response was profound in my heart. Child, I didn’t create you for fairness. I created you to know Me and because I wanted to get to know you. I will always do what is right for you, and I will always place the opportunities for your greatest joy within each one of your days. And I will always be cheering you on to choose the things that are designed for your perfect life with Me.
We do this among ourselves though… We walk into a room and size up the competition. If it happens to be our turn in the limelight, life is so good – it’s fair. If we happen to be repeatedly watching others succeed or gain promotions it can be as if we forget who we are and what we really love in life because we aren’t getting the attention or things we see others possess. Jealousy’s monstrous voice says if it’s not fair to me, then it should all at least be the same for everyone… At times becoming so focused on what is fair or how to keep everything the same for everyone that we forget what truly brings us joy. Each of us have an opportunity for immense joy every day if we choose it; if we will settle down and be content with being different. Letting what is fair be different for each person and enjoying those differences.
Differences designed by Creator God, for His pleasure, for our joy should we choose it, and for purpose and destiny in His perfect plan for unity within His family. Just like in my own family, in His family we are all called out for our unique contributions and skills by His love; we all have moments in the lime light. Some of us work for what others are simply gifted. Some of us enjoy great privileges that others don’t because we don’t carry the same responsibilities. Some of us have to wait longer than others, and some of us receive a prize we’ve been waiting years to claim, while others begin their wait on the same day… none of it is fair.
refuge; a place to go to find where you find protection from something dangerous or threatening, to flee to, a shelter for protective purposes.
conquer; to take control of, to defeat, to gain control of through great force or threat.
plague; a large number of harmful or annoying things, a disease that causes death quickly to a large number of people.
home; the place where a person lives, a family dwelling together in one building, a place where something and naturally located.
Jesus, how precious is Your name to me! You remind me that there is no place on earth, above it or beneath its depths, that I can hide from You. No matter where I run, You are there. And You also make it clear that the only safe place I will ever find is by hiding in You. When You are Who I turn to for comfort, conversation, and instruction; when You are where I look for answers and to find provisions, when I am normally found in Your presence, as if in my natural habitat, then I am fully hidden in You. This is where I find perfect and supernatural protection. No evil will be able to take control over or defeat me, and plagues will bypass me. Do I even know the value of these words?
LORD, stir in my heart and in the minds of all who love You, to hunger and crave understanding of Your ways. Wake up sleepy minds to the present power of Your promises, the relevant application of your Word this day. Savior, teach us to know You in such intimacy that all who are looking will find You when they see us in perfect peace. Amen.
“If you make the LORD your refuge; if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.”
terror; a state of intense fear, a very strong feeling of fear, one that inspires fear, a frightening aspect, a cause of anxiety.
arrow; a shaft sharpened at one end shot from a bow as a weapon or for sport.
pestilence; fatal epidemic diseases.
destruction; the act of destroying or state of being destroyed, demolition, a cause of ruin.
Savior, You are my Hero. Your presence on this earth, Your death and resurrection, the power in Your name; all that You are has given me such hope! You have not only set me free and delivered me from every danger, you protect me from all elements of every kind of evil. I have no reason to fear. Your love for me is so perfect in power and ability. Whether it is the thief and stalker at night, or the taunting and threats of the enemy during the day, illnesses hiding in wait, or impending natural disasters – all of these things You overcame and are victorious to save me and my family from. Thank you for your provision of protection and the faithfulness with which You keep me in Your perfect peace. Please, Lord, open up eyes and hearts of those who love you everywhere, to speak and believe and walk in the Truth of your word, to bring comfort to those who are hurting, broken and suffering. I love you. Amen.
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; or of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.”
I can hear it…. my fingers feel it… a melody, and a song written somewhere just beyond my reach.
My fingers touch the keys. Stiff. Longing. Untrained. Aching…
So many things well up within me. Things I don’t have the words to speak, or to write. Wonderful things. Mourning things. Things heavy with both joy and sorrow; the ache of loss a friend has to face… the triumph of a victory for a family member… desperation for one to understand and another to find relief, to find escape. To speak to all the love that is power, compassion, comfort and strength. To say clearly the perfect words each ear needs to hear, each heart needs to feel… to know.
I will my fingers to fly over the keys, to pen out the things I contain deep inside, to reach the impossible depths and retrieve the unknown language locked away… Literally just beyond my grasp!
There is mercy, favor unmerited, and grace, the power to be what we cant possibly… the link is belief. The key is faith. The force is love. And it is right here… right here.
And so, I lift my hands and rest my palms. I pray. I lift my heart’s cry to the One who hears, who knows without being told, who understands that language I cannot fathom, and who has all the answers. I pray. And I pray. And I pray.
The tears run for those who are hurting. Praises leave my lips for those who are rejoicing. A silencing ache fills my chest for those who are suffering. And for those who are lost, loosing their way… for them I let out a shout. A plea. A sound in the dark, in hopes their ears might hear and they might know they are not alone. Not even close to being alone.
I see their faces. Many I know. Many I love. Some I’ve never seen before. For everyone I let my heart speak… His words covering my own, His thoughts reaching the depths of emotion, His love flowing farther than I can imagine…
In this way, together, His hands over mine, we write the melodies and we sing the songs that bring the changes we long to see.
Holy are You, Lord. Holy are You! Above all else, and every other name. You are I AM, the One who cares. The One who loves. The One who saves. Mighty is Your name. You are like no other. Mighty is Your name!
In the background are the faded noises of busy laughter, the business of getting dinner on the table, dishes unloaded, and the day’s events downloaded by each tiny muffled voice.
A heart beat thrums steadily in my ears.
Beautiful. Life. Steady.
A grounded, rhythmic lifeline to all that seems so incredibly important, and so indefinably fragile… a heartbeat thrums steadily in the silence…
The flutter in my chest rises. I should be with them. Did I tell them I love them today? Did I yell at them too much? Do they know that I love them? What memories have we made? Will they remember that I love them? Does he know how grateful I am? Will he know how much I love him? Does he know how important he is to me? More muffled laughter and clinking plates…
Anxiety flitters around, searching for a place to land… NO. I breath in. I breath out.
A grounded, rhythmic lifeline to all that seems so incredibly important, and so indefinably fragile… a heartbeat thrums steadily in the silence… refusing a resting place for anxiety.
I breath in. I breath out. A heart beat thrums steadily in my ears. But one persistent question looks for a spot to land…
Am I doing enough?
My Bible and three books that I long to read lay tossed around me. My journal just a few inches away. Tears roll down my cheeks as I realize how much I long to do more, to soak up more, to understand more and to live from a depth that draws my family in… to envelope them in the same love and life that has begun to consume me. I long for my husband to know how truly head-over-heals in love with him I am; to show him every day the love that builds him up and pulls him closer, always closer. To shower my children with adoration in measure with the miracles that they are.
Longing. Is it all just a longing?
A stream of scenes roll across my mind as this questions looms larger than life. Feelings… less than loving… rush like rapids over my lungs, and I am gasping and choking on the tears as I recall words, thoughts, attitudes, emotions, all proving me to be completely lacking. Failing.
For a fleeting moment I am trapped in this tug-of-war with anxiety…
The rhythm… steady… beautiful… life. I breath in. I breath out.
Life steadily pounds in my ears. I hear my name. Just a whisper. A life-line.
What do you want to say, Lord?
“Daughter, you measure up. You do enough. You are amazing in My eyes. I am pleased. So much more than you know, Child. I love that you are here, with Me. Waiting, listening. Daughter, you are forever searching out My thoughts, seeking My heart. I know your deepest desires and I love you for them. Daughter, you treasure Me and what I think. You keep Me in the center of all you do, even when you forget, you are quick to remember. I look at you and I see Perfection. Thank you for coming away. Thank you for valuing Me enough to step into the quiet places, to trust Me with the welfare of those babies I knit together. Thank you for loving Me. You are enough.”
In the quiet, steady, silence I can hear it. His heart beating; beating steadily for me.
Beautiful life; His living in me, His power at work through me, on my behalf.
With the children tucked into bed and the tea steeped and steaming, the house quiet and the heat filtering through vents, I peak out the window. Frost is already visible, glinting silver on blades of dying grass and bare twigs in naked trees.
The moon is low and and full, as if the light it carries is a heavy weight tonight.
Below the fog is lifting up from the wetlands and the evergreens on the foothills across the fields appear black and dense, with the flickering train light dancing airily through the bends over the river’s bridge, into the open for a moment, then back into dense black.
These moments, alone in my room after hours of being surrounded by people, these moments are the most precious and the most daunting. In the quiet I see the faces of those I’ve smiled at, loved on and been loved by, spoken to… I see their eyes… and I see so much more.
I see the weight of life, the struggling words within.
I see joy, I see futures and hope.
I hear words. Words that they shared, these beautiful people. Words accounting for things I’ve seen, and words hiding the things behind their eyes… words of secret pleading. Words of truth and words of masked uncertainty. Insecurity and expectation blend together as, in the silence, these words refill my ears.
Then the Lord invites me in.
It’s a place that inhabits my room, and opens up from within my mind; a peeling back of a veil and a stepping through in thought that I can feel in the air I sit in and draw breath from. Into this place I carry all these wonderful people, their eyes and their words. Everything that I have seen, I bring here.
Face to face and side by side, His arm around me, His presence pressing lightly down, surrounding me. I know the sound of His voice so clearly and it brings a soothing calm. I used to come here dressed in armor, ready to do battle in His name. What silly girl I was! Like going to bed with shoes on, is how I would enter this secret, intimate place.
Now, we sit in the quiet together. He already knows everything that I come to Him with. He knows each and every name, has seen each and every eye and heard each and every word. It was at His invitation that I was able to see; and together we speak the necessary words back, the healing words, the cleansing words. Words of comfort, of hope and of acceptance that each one needs. At times He invites me to pick up pen and paper and write a note that He speaks to one or another. At times I read His Word instead, and occasionally speak it out loud, back to Him. And sometimes we simply weep together, for there are some things that no words can heal.
I feel His heart beat, He is that close, and I know His smile, the astounding love in His eyes that breaks with the gut wrenching pain of some whom we have seen and heard. I have seen His jealousy, and know His patience well. His compassion is endless, His kindness so immense.
Every moment we are together changes me.
Every moment spent in His presence within this secret space fills me with something I cannot explain. I carry it back with me. Peace. Grace. Understanding? Thanksgiving. Humility. Adoration…
And before drifting off to sleep I often hear, “Thank you, Child,” and I feel the gentle embrace of His presence enfolding me within His love.
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb…” Jeremiah 1:5
Before you ever existed, before your parents came together; you were known.
It can be reasoned that if you were known before you were ever formed, then the fact that you are in existence is declaration in itself that you were considered worthwhile to create.
“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born, ever day was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:15/16
Before anyone laid eyes on you, decided who you look like or ascribed any character to you, before you were ever deemed acceptable or unqualifiable; you were seen, watched, tenderly cared for within the darkness of a womb. A destiny was assigned to you, and as you were being knit together in that secret place, every potential to achieve it was woven into your being. Before anyone knew you, your days were laid out, recorded and thought through. Plans were laid for your development, your rescues, your victories, your provisions, and your prosperity. Every opportunity was set out in each moment of your life, and the gift of free will was imparted to you.
It can be reasoned that such care and concern for you before you took a single breath declares that you are not only worthwhile to create, but desired, longed for, planned for and dearly loved into being.
Dearly loved by a Creator who desired to be loved by you, of your own free will.