I have a new philosophy in life. Applying it has begun to save me a lot of stress. It’s simple in theory. Just Don’t Look This idea came to me in the car. I have four children and one on … 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
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.”
“You are brave and strong. You are My pride and Joy. You radiate with My love. Remember, you are not who you think you are. You are who I created. I know you. You are every bit the perfect one … Continue reading
I’m standing in the kitchen, my hands dripping wet, the water still running in the sink… but I’m standing in the middle of the kitchen. I lost it. What was I doing? Tears start at that moment. They pour over … Continue reading
How do you process a brush with death when it isn’t your brush?
Twelve years ago, a month before our wedding, my fiance’s mother was admitted into the ICU with Septic Shock. She had a strep bacteria in her bood and it caused her to be placed in an induced coma and on a ventilator. At one point we were told she wouldn’t make it. We took turns by her bed around the clock, praying. God heard our prayers and the hospital staff called her a miracle. She was out of ICU by the time we got married, and our wedding party pictures were taken at the hospital with her. She was alive to meet her frist grandchild.
Five years later we were back in ICU, this time to say good-bye to my mother-in-law. She was back on the ventilator, this time the coma wasn’t induced. Her brain was infected, and it was shutting her body down. We stood around her as a whole family this time. Her husband, three sons and wives. Six grandchildren waited for their parents to come home. This time we watched her slowly slip away, peacefully. Her chest just stilling. This time, we didn’t hear the word “miracle” from anyone.
A week ago I walked back down an ICU hallway. It was a different hospital. A different mother.
This time, it was my mom.
It’s funny what your mind thinks up when you face the potential of loosing something, someone. I remembered my mother-in-law’s face, the breathing tubes, the IVs and number of bags hanging hear by. I remembered the beep of her ventilator, the numbers of her oxygen and heart rate. I remembered the smell of her room and the feel of her skin. The color of her nails, and the nail polish I’d painted on her toes for the last time. All these things flooded to the front of my mind with each step down the hall in this ICU ward.
The text from my dad had given a few details. He’d taken her into the ER the night before and she started loosing blood pressure. Nothing they were doing to her was increasing it. Her blood tests came back full of infection. They’d admitted her to the ICU, in need of immediate surgery but unable to stabilize her. Surgery would kill her. A doctor told my dad that he thought there was a 70/30 chance he could do something to help, it was a risk, but doing nothing was killing her.
The tests came back. My mother’s blood was full of a strep bacteria. She had Septic Shock.
The doctor who took a risk saved her life.
I walked into her room and her eyes met mine. She had an oxygen tube in her nose, but that was all. She had the pic-line in her neck, and some IV sites on her arm, but that was it. She only had six bags of fluids hanging near her, and there was only one machine tracking stats. She spoke to me.
My husband couldn’t wait to flee. I didn’t want to leave her side.
I was afraid that if I took my eyes off of her, left her room, that I might walk back in and see the ventilator covering her face, miss her eyes looking back and mine… not hear her voice again. I knew, just by looking at her that she was going to be fine. But I wanted to keep looking at her. To keep reassuring myself that she would be just fine.
How do you process this? How do you get your emotions to line up with your mind so that you can comprehend all that is taking place? All that didn’t happen…
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
After several days of storms, looking out my window this morning as the sun streaks through huge clouds and blue sky sneaks out, I can’t help but want to sing! It is a beautiful sight after so much darkness and … Continue reading
Motherhood is not defined by children in her care, by those she carried within herself till birth. Motherhood is not defined by those who’ve adopted, or fostered or inherited by circumstance. Motherhood is not withheld from those who have lost, or never had. Motherhood is not waiting for those who are longing to become.
Motherhood is the formal title for the ministry entered into by the woman who is willing to receive those who are in need of her, whatever form or method in which they arrive into her life.
The ministry of motherhood is a gentle art forged in the fires of sleepless nights and interrupted life. It is a ministry that keeps long hours; a ministry of sacrifice, service, and of selfless offerings. It is a ministry of coming to the end of herself, of being ministered to, being filled with that which is beyond her so that she can continue to pour into the endless depths of another human life.
The ministry of motherhood is a timeless garment, a veil of transparency worn best when cinched with a belt of humility. It is a display of beauty when accompanied by grace. For, as each eye seeking material to reproduce will at some point place on display her every flaw and imperfection, repeat her words both wise and foolishly spoken, and will do so completely beyond her realm of control. The ministry of motherhood is embroidered with the delicate art of laughing at herself when seen through the eyes of those who look to her for imitation.
The ministry of motherhood is at the heart of every woman, from the time of Eve. It has touched us all. The ministry of motherhood is not always one of blood and birth, but is always of heart and soul. A mother is one who is familiar with sacrifice, her own self tearing and ripping with the tearing and ripping of another. She brings life into this world, whether by body or spirit overflow. It is a pouring of herself into the living self of another, tirelessly, relentlessly, forgivingly and patiently, with endless empathy. She is one who teaches what love is, nurtures understanding, coaxes up the learning. The ministry of motherhood weaves up that forgiving place for those she loves to retreat within, finding safety and grace. It is a ministry of understanding what lies beneath, of speaking truth in loving tones, of harboring the helpless through storms and lifting high the matured to catch wind and take flight
The ministry of motherhood is freely given, to the deserving and undeserving alike. It does not wait for her to gain an understanding; she learns her skill through the hours of setting aside herself for another. The ministry of motherhood is not merely a calling. It is the very heart of life. It catches her all by surprise, whisks away her breath and calls her into unknown waters in the blink of an eye. It is she who rises up, it is she who will claim her place, whether or not she is ready and whether or not she understands the package it comes to her in, it is she who will leave us with legacy after legacy of wonder loving grace
It is her life laid down for another that shows us the meaning of living, this ministry of motherhood. It is here that each woman finds her captivating beauty, her exquisite elegance, her ageless allure. For at whatever age a girl becomes a mother, and through whatever the circumstances her ministry is birthed, her touch, her voice, her love and her life will last, reaching down through generation after generation, and long beyond her final breath.
To my mother who gave birth to me and raised me well, to those mothers who have and continue to nurture me in spirit and to all these mothers who accept and invest selflessly into the lives of my children.
Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you, this world would not be the same without your love!
A day of sunshine in the midst of so many rainy ones. A quiet start, before the sunrise, worshiping my risen Lord. Words of promise, ribbons of hope, bolstering of joy. Alone with my Savior; loved, filled, revived and fulfilled. Prayers spoken, heart written out.
Joyful good mornings, with baskets to find and scones to fill with fresh made maple butter – the empty tomb, when butter mets way. Giggling children, chocolate smudged faces. Peaceful laughter turned to ruckus play while mommy and daddy cook away.
Daughter slips quietly into the kitchen, picks up the knife and the veggie and goes to work, happily helping along side me. Daddy scoops up toddler and trundles him off for a snooze. Son works contentedly on secret projects. The house filling with delicious smells.
Today is special in many ways. The conquering of death, for one. The penalty paid, and price freely given. And today, my children publicly declare their love and surrender to Him who died in their place. My daughter and I tuck ourselves into the bathroom before the grandparents arrive for our meal. She and I, we need to prepare.
Our faces smothered in a mask and hair pulled back, she giggles and nervously asks what will be expected of her. I ask if she is having second thoughts, “Oh, no! I just wonder if every one will be watching me,” she asks. We chat. She asks to go and play, her face now glowing, her hair all curled at the ends.
Grandparents are a treasure. At least, mine are. When they arrive we bustle and hug and laugh and fix up the meal. They joke and tease and cut food with ease. This time, a gift growing rare, a fortune to which none can compare. My grandparents here in my home now, when so many an Easter was spent at their table, when plate got shoved away from the edge, and we all clamored to help clear the dishes at the end. Being Grandma’s helper was the prized role. How grateful I am that they are here to share this day with us, one more year. I pray for many more to come.
And off we go, all tucked and pinned and pressed and fresh, filled to brim and excited. Each week we look forward to this time of worship, but today, Easter Sunday, today my children are taking a step toward being grown. Publicly declaring their hearts’ allegiance. Declaring it all on their own.
We sing and we praise, and we fill ears with words that nourish, cleanse, light up dark inner spaces. Then all gathered round the water, kids laughing, everyone clapping. Let every curse be broken and blessing be released and under the water you go, portraying your death. And up you come, risen anew – clean and made whole, declared and claimed. Death defied, conquered, no longer that wich has any claim.
My toddler claps wildly and laughs joyously and hugs my neck tight. “What are they doing mama?” Being baptized I answer. “Getting wet?” He wants to know. Yes, I tell him, in awe of his innocent face. “Getting wet in that water?” He confirms with me. Yes, I affirm, getting baptized in that water. “My turn?” He wants to know. “My turn be water-tized?”
Yes, son, yes! When the day comes that it is not just the fun of getting wet, and you are ready to align yourself with the will of your Creator, surrender your heart and choices to His leading, and publicly declare your old self dead and new self risen in Him – yes, it will be your turn. May that day come soon, little one.
We pile in and head home, the kids hardly able to contain themselves, so full of joy. And I find my daughter in the shower, singing, “I am baptized, haleluia!” And I find my son so excited he can hardly get his pj’s on straight. And I snuggle my toddler and he tells me he loves me and reminds me that it is his turn to get wet in the water-tized.