6/25/2020 3 Comments
It seemed I had been weeding for hours.
Maybe I had?
The backs of my arms were warm from the morning sun and my shoulders were bent permanently, or so it felt. Simon pulled me from the garden to show me the maze he made in the tall field grasses. Loops and circles of patted down trail weeds leaving the walls high to his shoulders, camouflaging his six year old self.
“Come on in, Mom!” His excited invitation opening my heart to life in his shoes, how could I deny him?
I’ll admit, my first thought was, what about ticks? Cringing slightly I followed his quick steps and listened to his explanation of each “room” he’d made. Step after step I slowly forgot my silly fear and just promised myself I’d check closely my body later.
It smelled like a time warp into the world I grew up in. The fields I trampled down, fearless and free had the same scent, the same sway from the wind, the same sharp grass blade and fluffy wheat head crumbly in my hands and tossed away by the breeze. For a few minutes the day felt warm and welcoming, my work unfinished could remain that way with no real harm done.
The days are spinning quicker than ever with just about everyone mentioning how they can’t recall if it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday. Without many (or any) real stakes in the week it can be hard to pin down the days gone by and the ones still to come.
So I grip on to the tall field grass a little longer and follow the steps of an adventurous boy marking the day as one to remember. I will not forget.
Back at my work in the garden I pray with my head down, eyes staring at the long rows of potatoes and the hundreds of weeds trying to reclaim what once was theirs. It’s typically quiet in the early morning hours, only the Red-winged blackbirds buzz-tweet on the power line overhead.
“My people” enter my mind as I shuffle on inch by inch plucking the uninvited grass and milkweed from the hills of potato plants.
“She needs to see you clearer Lord...”
“How can I reach that heart?”
“Help him to lean on you, Lord.”
“Is there a need I’m missing?”
Prayers for the people I rub shoulders with, the ones that eat around the same table and squeeze from the same toothpaste as me.
Prayers for the people living halfway around the globe contending with a virus that's taken food from tables and held passports from the pockets of their loved ones when both nourishments are needed to live.
Prayers for the people on the list that grows down the lined paper slipped into the cover of my journal, the ones I know little about but that they are human and so am I.
Each one a different prayer, each one the same need. Jesus.
And as softly as the wind over the meadow grass the Holy Spirit whispers, I’m the one who makes the flowers grow, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
A familiar verse echoing in my mind as a fresh reminder that it’s only through Jesus any of these sweet ones will come to God. It’s His call they will answer. His voice they will hear.
No perfect curriculum or system will usher them in, no research on my part to best win their heart for Christ can bait the hook. Though my duty is and always will be to love and serve, lead and pray over, correct and disciple those under my care and beyond. It is ultimately His call to them that they will answer.
And those days spent following the foot stomped trails of shirtless boys with backs sun-brown and smooth are worth so much in the Kingdom.
So when my tangled up thoughts rush me into a frantic way to draw them closer to him, I remember His call is the one they will answer to, only by Jesus will they enter in. No strategy of mine could take the place of His invitation to turn and run into His arms.
6/3/2020 0 Comments
Adopt the moments
Mr. House Wren lands on my dinner bell every morning singing wildly for the love of his life to come forward. He’s desperate to find love in these days of world unrest, certain his song is just what’s needed each sunrise.
My boys run barefoot through the garden checking on all that’s sprouting, keeping me company while I weed and tend the rows of seedlings. One boy is already starting to resemble my grandfather with his square shoulders and belted jeans. Shirtless no doubt every chance he gets. He asks me to lay on the hammock with him most sunny mornings. He likes to talk, though his name means the listener, for now I’ll listen.
I’ve been given these moments, these days, like buckets filled with opportunities to spend each drop wisely, lovingly, joyfully. Even when everything on the news and in the air is unknown, even when the days prove themselves to be evil as Jesus said they would be, the moments are still there to make something of, to build something from.
The sun still shines through the leaves on the trees while under I sway listening to the boy who still needs his mama’s arm around those square shoulders. Mr. House Wren still sings his heart out blissfully unaware of the heartache facing people every morning. The garden is still bursting with life with no desire for a pause in growth.
The moments are happening all around us and we are called to build the Lord’s house while they pass. Laboring in love for our neighbors, our households and for our own hurting hearts.
I dug these first pictures of Cassidy and Andy out of my closet this week. The same night we had our adoption consultant come to inspect our home to plumb the line between the legal end of fatherhood and the past 12 years of being her daddy. A lot of prayer surrounded this girl from the start and God’s hand upon her life is impossible not to notice.
Moments. Chances we have all been given to sing songs that inspire love, touch shoulders to bring peace and be the game changer in someone else’s life. Moments that will pass us by if we leave our bucket tipped and spilling out unattended.
Attend to the moments you’ve been given more than you attend to your news feed. The increase of wickedness will cause a beating heart to grow cold, Jesus warns us (Matthew 24:10-14). Our eyes were not meant to see such continuous evils; our hearts are at stake, we must reclaim this ground and fill it with the Word of God more than any other substance. Scripture should always surpass screen time. It is the salve to a bleeding heart and the first step in loving a hurting people. Filling up on the richness of God strengthens the heart to act in love in every situation.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105
"The Word of God I think of as a straight edge, which shows up our own crookedness. We can't really tell how crooked our thinking is until we line it up with the straight edge of Scripture." - Elisabeth Elliot
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11