“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”(Psalm 46:10).

Whenever I’ve read this verse, (which is usually on a FB graphic or on a coffee mug), I imagine calm seas and peaceful breezes.  We often talk about this verse when we need to have rest, quiet places to sit and read the Bible.  All of that is fine.  God does provide those things sometimes.  But I think we’ve got a false impression of what it means to “be still.”

This week I’ve been packing our house.  I’ve been trying to plan a 10-yr old’s birthday party.  I’ve been juggling house inspectors, repair men, a 3-yr old’s nap, and just hoping to be showered in time for my evening commitments.   I’ve been trying to understand inspection reports and book study questions, and applying the meaning of both to the decisions I’ve got to make for my life.  I’ve driven to and from a city over 200 miles away in one day, with plans to repeat that trip two more times before move day.  And I’ve also been dreaming.  And talking.  And doing.

Life hasn’t been still…in the slightest definition of the word.

In fact, the picture that comes to mind is the tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz.  There I am, like Dorothy, grasping tightly to my bed, watching houses and a poop-emoji-bithday-cake fly past the window.  I see boxes and bubble wrap topple and spin through the air.  The A/C guy and sprinkler repair man wave at me as they whiz by and toss the bill into my lap.  And then the buyers for our house ride by on their bike and cackle through the window, “I’ll get you, my pretty.” (yes, there is a story there).

I think when we read, “Be still and know that I am God…”, we imagine finally landing in a magical land full of color and singing and little people who just want to give us oversized lolly-pops and cheer at our arrival.

But that’s not the way life works.

Being still and knowing that God is GOD is like sitting in the spinning airborne house without fear.Tweet: Being still and knowing that God is GOD is like sitting in a spinning airborne house without fear. #BeStillAndKNOW

Being still is leaning against the bed and watching in amazement as God does all the work outside the window.  The house is still going to shake.  There might still be moments when the mayhem induces dizziness and nausea.  But in that sepia-colored movie scene, Dorothy sits still as the world spins outside the door.

We are told to be still for one purpose only:  To know that God is GOD.Tweet: We are told to be still for one purpose only.  To know that God is GOD. #BeStillAndKNOW

He doesn’t tell us to be still so that we can rest.  He doesn’t tell us to be still so that we can have a quiet cup of coffee.  He doesn’t tell us to be still so that we can enjoy comfort and earthly stability.  He wants us to know that He is God.

And when God shows up, He usually comes in big ways…like burning bushes and trembling ground, crazy whirlwinds of activity and madness.  He comes with strength and fury.  His Spirit violently blows through communities toppling over idols and uniting hearts to be on His mission.  He kicks up the dirt and moves families out of their homes to be closer to those with whom He is asking to do big things.  He rattles our hearts with meaningfully deep questions and spurs us into actually engaging with the world around us.  That’s not representative of a peaceful river scene on a Christian coffee mug.  It’s not easy.  It’s not comfortable.  It’s not still.

But He tells us to be still enough to look.

He asks us to identify Him in the movement outside our windows, to watch, and KNOW.Tweet: He asks us to identify Him in the movement outside our windows, to watch, and KNOW. #BeStillAndKNOW

He is busy out there.  He is busy exalting Himself among the nations, exalting Himself over all the earth.  That isn’t accomplished by Him being still or for life’s schedule to be calm and serene.

If He wants the earth to know Him, the world is going to get shook up a little.Tweet: If He wants the earth to know Him, the world is going to get shook up a little. #BeStillAndKNOW

Today, I might dare to step outside the spinning house, hold onto the front door posts, and lean into the twister…lean into what He’s got going on out there.  If I gain enough courage, I might stick my chin into the wind and let the fierce storm tangle my hair and wet my eyes.  I might, just might, embrace the howl of His mysterious work as it whips with sting across my face.  Will you come with me?

Let’s get to KNOW Him.

This morning as we left the house for school, I was determined to make it in record time.  Due to the recent flooding in our area, our morning commute had increased dramatically.  I’ve had the Waze app on my phone for some time now, but have only been using it for trips into downtown Houston, (because attempting to drive into that without help is downright scary).

When I typed in the address of the school, Waze reassured me it could lead us there in 35 minutes.  (The day before, it took us an hour and a half).  The kids and I laughed.

“Do you think it will work, Mom?”

“If this works, it will be a miracle from Jesus.”, I said.

So off we went.

If you’ve ever used Waze, you soon learn that it requires an incredible amount of trust.  It will send you in the opposite direction, down dark alley ways, through someone’s backyard, and then ask you at the drop of a hat to turn around and retrace your tracks.  But any user of the app will tell you, “you’ve got to just trust the wisdom of Waze”.

See, the app keeps track of traffic, accidents, inoperable lights…all of it.  Plus, it knows how fast you and other Waze users are moving.  So, in an instant, it knows when changes occur.  Immediately, it calculates when changing your route all together is time-efficient. And sometimes, it sends you in the opposite direction to have you arrive at your final destination faster.

This morning, Waze led us through small winding streets, on the Hwy headed south (when ultimately we wanted to go north), and zig-zagging neighborhoods I didn’t even know existed.

As we turned off one little street onto the next, we suddenly saw it: yard after yard filled with rolled up carpet, dismantled wood flooring, piles of sheetrock, and couches stacked upon one another.  Kids were waiting in their front yards for the school bus next to piles of destroyed belongings.

It took us by surprise.

The car fell silent.

All the air was sucked into our lungs by our gasps.

Eventually, someone broke the quiet.

“I wish we could do something.”

Suddenly, our commuting challenges of the past few days didn’t matter.  The unacknowledged rains of last night (the ones we slept through), now seemed cruel and  senseless.

“Kids, if it hadn’t been for Waze, I wouldn’t have even known this was back here.”

“Maybe Jesus is in Waze, Mom.”

Maybe.  I don’t think He is literally living in the phone app.  However, I think Jesus absolutely used Waze this morning to guide us down a path of humility, compassion, and gratitude…the ways of Jesus.

As we continued to follow the directions offered by my phone, we saw house after house, family after family in need.  We discussed plans to come back after school, maybe toting pizzas, or cleaning supplies, or just prayers and consolation.  The kids were no longer arguing about who ate the last breakfast bar or debating whose fault it was that we left 10 minutes late that morning.  Our hearts had been shifted.  Our perspective had been flipped.  My words came back to me: “If this works, it will be a miracle from Jesus.”

Jesus, in all His ways, miraculously turns our selfish hearts outwards towards others.Tweet: Jesus, in all His ways, miraculously turns our selfish hearts outwards towards others. #WAZEofJesus  The Holy Spirit guides us down paths previously unseen.Tweet: The Holy Spirit guides us down paths previously unseen. #WAZEofJesus

But if we don’t trust Him, in all His seemingly awkward and backwards-pointing directions, we just might miss the opportunity for a dramatic change of heart.  We might miss the hurting and the broken.  We might miss a whole world of opportunity to serve as the Church.

When we don’t trust His promptings, we find ourselves taking our route back into our own tight-gripped hands, only to be frustratingly locked in a spiritual stand still.Tweet: We find ourselves taking our route into our own tight-gripped hands,only to be frustratingly locked in spiritual stand still #theWAZEofJesus

Think of Noah.  Think of Jonah.  Think of Lot.  Think of Jesus!  “Go towards the cross…”, even when Jesus asked the Father for a different way.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit to act in specific ways–to head in a specific direction.  But I’ve been putting action off, straight-up ignoring His voice, and allowing myself to be distracted by the selfish conveniences of life.  Today’s little adventure to school not only filled our car with compassion, launching us into a plan for service, but it also helped fix my eyes on Jesus…His voice, His direction, and His ways.

(And we got to school in 35 minutes.)

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4).Tweet:

 

Day 20: Trampolines

Spring Break is officially half spent. All we’ve done is sleep in and have people over. It’s time to get out. The kids have been begging to go to JumpStreet, a trampoline park. So we added trampolines to Lent.

The older three headed to the main section of the park while Judah and I hit the “7 and under” area. I put him down in front of the trampoline, took my seat on the floor against the wall, and told him, “jump.” He looked at me with an impish smile, looked back at the trampoline, and ran into my lap. I stood him up, pointed to one of the dozen inflatable balls lying around and again said, “Go…jump.” He got up and ran to get a ball that was in the middle of the trampoline, but abruptly stopped at its edge, curling his tiny toes to keep from falling.

He surveyed the land for a bit, walked over to the space in between the brightly colored trampolines, and slowly lowered one foot on its rigid surface. Then, he slowly walked, one foot strategically placed in front of the other, down the one-foot-wide green non-bouncy strip.  Like a tightrope walker, he methodically ventured. He paused as he came parallel to the ball in the center of the trampoline, the wheels turning in his mind to plan his next move. Just then, another toddler jumped on the opposite end of the trampoline, and wouldn’t you know it, the ball rolled directly into Judah’s little body. He looked back at me with amazement as he reached his short arms around that gigantic ball and pivoted on his solid path to make his way back to me.

As he walked, the large ball impaired his field of vision, blinding the two feet directly in front of him. As he neared the end of the green runway, he miscalculated the end of the trampoline and took a sharp left turn towards me. He caught the corner of the trampoline, running four little steps on it’s bouncy taut skin. Immediately, his 2-year-old body gained momentum and speed, and he instinctively rose to the tippy tops of his toes. His eyes were too large suns peering over the horizon of that big red ball. Before he knew it, he was back on the solid floor face to face with me. He lowered the ball, looked at me and said, “whoa.”

What joy he was missing walking along the safe edges of life. Me too! I never thought I’d be publicly thanking JumpStreet, but, yes, thanks is in order. I am grateful for the reminder that sometimes joy is just on the other side of risk. I can trust God that if he tells me to “jump” and go fetch a ball that lies in the middle of an ominous unstable place, He isn’t throwing me into danger. I can trust that He’s pushing me to experience new things and the fullness of life. whoa.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”

Psalm 28:7


 

Day 21: windshield time

Today we headed to Austin. I love the space of green that exists along vast expanses of highway, in between the buildings and busyness of cities.

As we drove, the kids watched Finding Nemo and the adults had a chance to talk and catch up. I’ve been forced to ask some hard questions of myself lately, involving purpose and life goals. I have some decisions laid before me that require the investment of time and money, but first I need to know if that’s the path God wants me to walk down.  It was good to discuss my thoughts and feelings with someone who knows me like none other. It was enlightening to hear how he sees me and the purposes to which he thinks God has called me.

I’m thankful for a partner, for his insight, and his patience with his often confused and bewildered wife. We call these car ride conversations having ‘windshield time’. It was good to add this to Lent, to take the time to ponder and reflect on these questions. Processing my own goals while considering Jesus’ life and the purpose to which He was called, is humbling and recalibrating.  It’s also amusing to have the conversation with Dori in the background singing, “Just keep swimming…swimming, swimming, swimming…”

If God can speak through a donkey, he can use an animated fish, right?!

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.”

Proverbs 27:9 

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

Proverbs 19:20 

 


Day 22: familiar places and faces

Today we visited Buda Elementary. When we were discussing our trip to Austin, the girls pleaded to go to recess at their previous school so they could see old friends. It happens to also be the school where The Well gathers every Sunday for church. It was surreal to be back, comforting to be “home”, yet sad to know that we would not be staying. It was just a year ago, over Spring Break 2014, that we piled into the moving van and relocated…how timely to be back for a visit.

Today we added familiar places and faces to Lent. In doing so, we treasured the past and gained hope for the future. We made sure to hug every familiar person and take in all the memories of the place…painting the paw prints on the sidewalks, Easter-egg hunts in the courtyard, and doughnuts by the nurses office, to name just a few.  I remember the first day of Kindergarten for our oldest, so many years ago, and worrying about leaving her with people I didn’t know. Now, I call them friends and trust those people more than ever. Recalling this makes me view our current home and surroundings in a refreshed light. One day, I will look back at this first year and remember the fear of starting a new adventure, only to bask in the love and memories that God is already fostering.  I’m excited for the new stories that He is writing–for us, for The Well, for Buda Elementary, and for our new family in Katy.

“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.”

Isaiah 25:1

Last night I had a dream…

It was a crowded room full of glitz and glamour.  I’m not quite sure how I fit in, or why I was among the on-slot of celebrity faces, but it was obvious that no one knew me.  I sat next to my husband at a very small round table donned with a white linen table cloth, a vase with one red rose, and candlelight.  Across the table, with one elbow next to his diner plate and the other propped on the back of his own chair sat Bill Murray.  He puffed on a cigar precariously dangling between his lips and in front of him was a small glass of dainty ice cubes and scotch.  Next to Murray in his tux appeared Ryan Gosling, who only leaned on the table to make a contorted face and an inside joke to our dinner guest before he was whisked up into the stirring pot of fame dancing around the room.  

We looked at each other in disbelief that we were in the presence of comic genius and marveled as he started to make small talk with us.  He was funny.  I wish I could remember exactly what he said, but all I know is that we were overwhelmed with uncontrollable laughter.  As the dinner ended, an invitation was made by the party’s hostess that the after-party would be taking place now.  The mob of people exited the building down stairs shoulder to shoulder, not staying for the next event.  Bill Murray’s head stood at least a foot above the crowd and he turned to us from across the noisy crowd and said,

“Well that’s pretty contradictory to the Bible or the Koran or whatever you believe…”

We laughed.  I’m not quite sure what he was referring to, except that all these people leaving were in agreement that whatever the hostess wanted us to stay for wasn’t worth it.  

We made it to the street and oddly enough all the ritzy hollywood types continued on foot, while our car, driven by my dad pulled up.  We got in, still laughing with wide smiles, and were soon accompanied by my mom and our two boys.  I don’t know where the girls were…it was a dream. 🙂  We turned onto a street filled with cars and all of a sudden found ourselves sitting in a living room with tons of people and..

Bill Murray…

The pomp and circumstance was gone, the tuxes and evening gowns were all replaced with casual jeans and t-shirts.  We laughed and cajoled as we listened to witty banter and slick one-liners.  As Paul and I relaxed on the couch, the rest of the group seemed to intensely gather at the feet of the actor, eyes wide open and attentive with their whole bodies.  At one point, he turned to us and said, 

“Watch this…”

“I think I need a glass of ice water.”

And at that, the entire room left to the kitchen, pushing and shoving to find a cup and the ice-maker.  He laughed.

“Watch this…”

He turned and from behind his chair pulled out a glass filled with fresh ice water.  He swirled the glass a little to jingle the ice against the cup.  Immediately, the room filled and the Murray disciples all gathered to hear the man speak once again.

We didn’t know what to think of his trick.  But, it seemed as though he wasn’t at all enjoying the power he had over the masses.  He seemed to almost loathe and pity his followers.  He got up from his chair and found the bathroom.

In his absence, a hush fell over the room and the anticipation of his return by the party guests was almost frightful.  Paul turned to me and said, 

“I don’t think he feels good.”

I agreed, “I think he’s tired and unhappy…maybe even sick to his stomach.”

He soon returned and a man in the crowd piped up with a story for Bill.  It was uninteresting and was an obvious attempt to impress the famous comedian.  Soon, everyone lost interest and started their own side conversations as the storyteller continued, oblivious to his fading audience.  Bill Murray turned to me and said,

“I’d much rather be spending my evening with a family watching polar bears and meerkats fight over the migration of the monarchs in Europe.” (remember, this is a dream…)  “You know, wish I had settled down somewhere.”

“It must be hard in this kind of environment…always on the road, to have meaningful relationships…”, I said, and then I woke up.

My jaw and cheeks were tight as I halfway came to.  I think my face muscles were labored from smiling in my sleep at the initial non-stop laughter and funny discourse.  And then, my heart sank.  I wanted to go back.  I wanted to sit on the couch next to Bill Murray and put my hand on his shoulder and invite him to watch Animal Planet at my house, with my kids.  After all, we had just had dinner and drinks and were hanging out on a couch.  I wanted him to become part of our family…to be..”Uncle Bill”.  

I tossed and turned, trying to fall asleep and re-enter the dream just as it had left off.  I played through the conversation in my mind–heartfelt sympathy for his desire to be settled followed by an invitation to come over to our house any time he was in town.  In my half-awake state I imagined what the evening of popcorn and nature shows would be like, the jokes he would tell and the way my kids would laugh at his crazy antics.  Then, the more I regained consciousness from my sleepy state, the more I started to apply realistic worry about fantastical “Uncle Bill” spending the night in our meager office/guest room, the fact the I don’t really know the man or his past, and worse case scenarios…what if he hurt my kids in the middle of the night?

Sleep was not coming easy at this point.  I had to sit up and shake my head.  Angie, you don’t know Bill Murray.  You’ve never met him.  He’s not coming over for family movie night.

My heart was twisted  between dreamworld and reality and I couldn’t relax enough to fall back asleep.  I thought, “God, what in the world is this crazy dream about?  Do you want me to pray for Bill Murray???”

So as ridiculous as it sounds, I prayed for Bill Murray at 2 am.  I asked God to give him peace and joy in Jesus and not his success.  I prayed that he find happiness and a family.  Then I peacefully and easily fell asleep.

This morning, as I was recounting my dream to Paul, I realized I really know nothing of Bill Murray, except that he’s hilarious.  I have no knowledge of his personal life and I just hours earlier had prayed for the man.  So I did what any other non-celebrity would do…googled it.  I learned he’s actually been married twice and has five children.  So, I’m sure he’s had a chance to watch the Discovery Channel with kiddos.

I don’t know why I had the dream, or why I am even blogging about it today.  All I do know is that it prompted me to pray for Bill Murray last night.

There are many people in this world of high stature and with lots of worldly success that I never pray for.  I never think to pray for them, because I assume they have it all.  Today I’ve wondered if anyone is praying for these people–for the people who so many gravitate towards and follow–for the people who have so much cultural and social influence.  And, I don’t mean pray for them, that they learn to love Jesus and can use their platform to spread the Gospel… I mean praying for their hearts, even if they come to know Jesus in the last minutes of their life, away from cameras and spotlights, and no one ever knows about it.  I don’t think I have ever thought to pray for a celebrity or someone I don’t know to have personal joy in someone greater than themselves, simply for their benefit.

I pause to think, do I even do this for those around me?  At first response, I think I would say, “absolutely!”  When I have a hurting friend or an ailing child, of course, I am praying for them and strictly for their sake.  But, if I really dig deep, some times–not all the time–but some times, my prayers for them are motivated by my discomfort.  Their hurt or their illness is uncomfortable for me or scary for me, and life would be more manageable for me if they were better.  I think I am learning.  I think that I am learning to more often pray for others simply for the sake of their benefit, not mine.  Imperfectly, I am learning to pray for the Spirit to work in individual hearts and not for the betterment of a group or for a movement in the masses.  I am learning to seek the Father’s will, that He be glorified, above that of my own comfort or happiness.

In the back of my mind I kind of hope somehow Bill Murray catches wind of a little blog about him and hears that he was prayed for.  It might make him feel good, it might make him mad.  I have no clue.  But if he’s reading this crazy random musing….just know, Uncle Bill, you are always welcome to come over and talk about it.

 

The rain dances off the shingled roof while shouts of laughter and giggles of delight bounce back and forth.  I sit in the coziness of my kitchen with my smoked berry and incense candle setting the mood.  What a calm Columbus Day home from school.  With the showers and dark clouds comes the dawning of Fall.  (Or at least I hope cooler weather is on the horizon.)

Autumn is my favorite season, with all it’s tastes and scents.  Whether it’s walking into the grocery store and smelling the cinnamon pine cones, or sitting in a Starbucks with a spiced pumpkin latte, once October hits, the aroma and palette of fall is hard to escape.

This morning I thought, I really should write a blog post today.  We are coming off a full and long weekend and though I should write, all I want to do today is sit with my coffee in front of the panes of glass and watch my children soak up the drops of joy falling from the sky…that, or take a nap.  I had to run a quick trip to the store earlier this morning for some basics as I was praying, “What do I even write about today? I got nothin’, Lord.”  Then I realized I completely drove past HEB, as if headed to school on a non-holiday Monday.  I was already sitting at the next stop light.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve done this before.  I’ve been deep in thought, distracted by squabbling kids in the back seat, or simply so exhausted that I miss my turn, pass my exit, or even drive past my own house, especially if it is a non-routine stop.  I hope some of you can identify with this…

As I sat at the red left-turn-only light, waiting to make my u-turn back to the store, I prayed again, “What do I even write about today?  I’m too tired to think, too tired to process, too tired to listen.”

Yep, there it is.  A clear word from the Lord.  Here we go:

How many times have I been too tired, too fatigued, too apathetic to listen to God?  (More times than I can count or realize, I suppose.) Our pace of American life lulls us into such monotony of routine that we drive right past the urgings of God.  When His Spirit speaks something that is outside the set boundaries of our schedules or beyond the lists of to-dos, we can sleep-walk ourselves past doors of opportunity.

Wake UP!  God is telling us, “WAKE UP!”  I have let my new-found awareness and ear (albeit still being fine-tuned) go…to…sleep.  Are you awake??

I know what it is to be so exhausted that eyelids succumb to the laws of gravity, even in the midst of conversation. I get it. I know it. I am in that very state right now. But I am called to WAKE UP! I either need to make the necessary changes to not be so dang tired or I have to get over the sleepiness and force myself to be aware in the midst of fatigue. Perhaps the solution requires a little of both.

There are values in our culture that oppose rest, that break the 4th commandment.  It’s admirable to work overtime.  We boast of our busyness.  Think about that for a minute.  Our sins are all equal in the sight of God.  Every sin, whether “big” or “small” (as deemed by our society) leads to death.  So are we willing to take murder with the same degree of self-righteous excuse as we do working on the Sabbath?  What if we murdered for the sake of an extra days worth of salary?   What if we murdered for the sake of ministry? Yeah, I went there…  How unsettling if we boasted of our killing?  If we boasted for killing innocent people for the “sake of the Gospel?”

Our disregard for the Sabbath, using the excuse of “ministry” as justification, is no less a sin than the genocide of populations during the crusades.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath, yes.  But Jesus also withdrew from the crowds and rested.  We have to rest.  We have to take rest seriously.  We have to regard the commandment to honor the Sabbath with the same conviction as we do the other 9 on the list.  What good is a half-eyed “christian” zombie who is too tired to hear the Spirit?  It sure doesn’t make the truth of “Jesus in me” very convincing to others, when I am too tired to listen to Him and to bear His fruits of joy, peace, and patience.  Why would anyone want what I have?  It looks and feels miserable.

Jesus, forgive me for not taking rest seriously.  Forgive me for not taking care of the body you have given me.  Forgive me for letting my lack of rest inhibit me from following You.  Forgive me for selfishly pursuing works instead of pursuing You.  Forgive me for misrepresenting the new life and joy you offer in the presence of others who have yet to taste it.

Jesus, thank you for covering me in grace and giving me new life regardless of my performance.  I am made new, daily.

Adequate rest is only half of my issue.  When I am fatigued (and it’s bound to happen regardless of good Sabbath habits, because I’m only human), I am still called to wake up.  In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples to stay alert and pray…and they couldn’t keep their eyelids peeled.  Twice He pleaded for their attention and twice they fell victim to slumber.   “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41).  The Spirit is right there, willing to reveal to me all manner of amazing gifts and revelations, but my flesh has been entirely weak.

Jesus pleads for our attention.  He desires our alertness to His words, to His Spirit.  If we are walking through life on auto-pilot, we miss His very voice and all that He has to offer us.  He sings songs over us.  He speaks truth to us.  He reminds us of our beauty, our inheritance, our value, and our worth.  These are reminders I need daily.  I’m so ashamed that I don’t pay attention to these messages that I desperately need.  I can’t believe that I own lies of value and worth that are contrary to what He says about me, yet His sweet words are ever-present for me.  The Spirit’s fragrance and taste is all around me, just like Fall and it’s hard to escape.  Yet, I have found a way to bypass it all.

Jesus, forgive me for falling asleep to Your voice.  Forgive me for coasting through the day to day, unaware of the destinations to which I’ve been blind and the reminders of your truth.

I receive the clean slate you give me and honed-in ears to start afresh.

2 Timothy 2:13 says, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”  For that, I am truly thankful.  My list may not be totally completed at today’s end, but at least I heard Him say, “I will be faithful to you.”

Today I am tired, but not alone.  My list of to-dos fills an entire 8 1/2 x 11 page of lined notebook paper.  About half-way down the list is: write blog post.  Listening to God doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible with my daily duties.  When I listen to Him, He walks alongside me and makes the stuff happen, infusing each task with His fragrance of joy and lightness of heart.  It’s the cinnamon and cardamon added to the everyday cup of joe.  The ordinary becomes enraptured with His presence.  With Him living in me, I can be tired, joyful, productive, and attentive all at the same time.

I have tried in the few hours of sitting in front of the screen to listen to God, even through my fatigue, even through trying to complete my writing task, and even with the other 15 things on my list looming in the back of my mind.  This morning, I went on a journey to write a blog post.  But I listened and stopped along the way, guided to pitstops and destinations that were not in my plan.  Here’s what happened:

– I watched the rain fall.

– I closed my eyes and opened my ears to the sounds of my children’s laughter.

– I laughed over the top of the laptop as I witnessed four kids battle one dog to a bath–in the rain.

– I embraced muddy feet.

– I happily scratched off the list…

give the dog a bath

– I stopped typing to take pictures of siblings hugging in the open grass midst a thunderstorm. photo – I savored my creamer-enhanced coffee as I sat waiting for the electricity to come back on.

-I stopped typing again to tickle a half-naked, wet, and muddy toddler boy.

-I pondered my rest and lack thereof…then prayed for forgiveness.

-I meditated on grace.

-I paused to fill a bathtub with soapy warm foam for cold little bodies.

-I tossed soggy clothes into the washing machine, counting the blessings of modern technology.

– I marked off…

do a load of laundry

– I wrapped little boys in fluffy dry towels and kissed their tender noses.

– I happily elongated the chase of a naked bathroom escapee, and marveled at his laughter, picking up random toys on the floor along the way.

– I grabbed the pencil…

bathe kids

pick up clutter

-I returned to the keyboard and gave thanks for fresh ears and propped-open eyes.

– I heated hotdogs for lunch and threw some ingredients into the crockpot.

– I drew a line through:

start dinner

– I snuggled my baby close, singing a lullaby, then laid him sleepy-eyed into his crib for an afternoon respite.

– I sat for a final session at the computer and listened.  I recounted all that Jesus had for my tired soul in one short morning…

write blog-post

photo