One day late last summer I began reading the book, Sarah, Plain and Tall to the kids - "That's me", I said to Claire, "Emily, plain and tall!" Claire's furrowed brow questioned my reasoning as she quickly responded, "You're not plain, Mama! YOU have freckles!"
The sweetest response I'll remember forever. I love the idea of our uniqueness and the fact that my freckle sprinkled arms separate me from the "ordinary." No one else has freckled arms like mine under this roof. And no one else has piercing blue eyes like Natalie, or eyes so brown there's no difference between iris and pupil, like Jude. All different, all made in the likeness of God, The Creator. How blessed are we to be surrounded by an array of unique features!? And I absolutely love to be adding more uniqueness to our family through adoption.
The corner of our property facing the field is fenced with an angled cedar post and adorned with a pink mini rose bush. So many prayers have been whispered into the wind at this little V-shaped corner. So many cries for understanding, mercy and grace have been spoken into every season's breeze in this same spot. More times than I can count, I've asked God to, "extend our borders", in my heart meaning the fence line. And only recently have I discovered this boundry stretching request might have been answered, but in a way different from what I imagined. Adoption.
We're nearing the end of our paper chase. I can't tell if I'll dance for joy by its end or flatten on the ground in exhaustion. There's a reason they call this stage a "paper pregnancy". And although I haven't thrown up at all from it, I have cried tears, needed naps and discovered a serious vitamin deficiency,
(thank you, adoption agency, for requiring bloodwork!) The similarities are there, for sure.
Andy and I spent all of Valentine's Day together this year at the office of our social worker in Cortland answering questions about us, our childhood and our desire to adopt from Haiti. I'm not sure if we've ever spent an entire Valentine's Day together! We took full advantage of this time and enjoyed a Hibachi style lunch complete with a near beard burning! Those flames are a little close for a bearded man's comfort!
So, things are moving along in the process. We're keeping up with our 4–6-month timeframe to have everything neatly organized and authenticated by the county and state before being sent off to the Haitian government. We know the waiting process is in many ways much harder than the paper process, but we're reminded of the story of Abraham and Isaac - Neither one knowing exactly what to expect at the top of the mountain, neither one able to see the full plan up ahead, neither one with access to Google planner for God to fill in the blanks of what tomorrow will bring. But neither one backing down from climbing higher and higher, neither one turning away in fear or questioning the process. Only obedience by both faithful followers of God, keeping the pace all the way up the hill, ready to see what God would provide at the top, confident he most certainly would make provision so life could go on.
We're leaning into His plan as we navigate through these hoops and hurdles, conscious of the mountain up ahead. But the journey is far from over, with our faith pressing us forward, we will continue to step out and into His mysterious will.
More updates to come....
10/25/2021 7 Comments
“I will testify to the love of Christ...”
The song whispers in the background of my toast buttering this morning and I decide it’s exactly what I’ll do with this...
A leaf brought to me one early September day, “Look how tiny and perfect it is, mama! Like it fell before it was even grown!” Looking back, this picture quickly snapped, reflects what would be my next two months.
I spent more weeks knowing my baby was gone than rejoicing over it’s life. Three ultrasounds to be absolutely positive there was no mistake.
No heartbeat. Hemorrhage.
No heartbeat. Hemorrhage.
No heartbeat. Hemorrhage.
And day after day my body feeling like a ticking time bomb ready to give up on the potential life inside at any sudden moment. I just didn’t know how this would go. Miracle or miscarriage? Healing or hemorrhage?
I clung tightly to the lyrics of one song in particular....
“We will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day. His faithfulness will be your shield and in His dwelling you’ll stay. He will cover you with His feathers, and in His shelter you will find rest. For the darkness will turn to dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright, I will praise the one who is holding me fast, Father of light.” -Celtic worship
The dawning has come and we are still rejoicing over a God who so tenderly knows our frame. Though our aching hearts long to have had the miraculous story of that tiny heartbeat echoing through the hospital walls, our quivering hands opened to whatever God placed within them. With heart cries and questions still, we breathed in His will knowing He is Holy and to fully be trusted.
Even with a tender heart and far too many tears to count, I can say I’m thankful. His nearness is just as the song above says, a covering of His feathers, a shelter to find rest, from darkness to dawning.
3/1/2021 0 Comments
The everyday of it
"Mama, what's that delicious smell?"
A small voice rounds the corner to the kitchen where I stand at the mixer watching the sticky dough pull and stretch itself into a ball as I add puffs of flour by the cup-full.
"Hot cross buns. Wanna see?" I ask holding my hands down to him to lift up his still-too-small frame into view of the mixing bowl.
"Mmmmmm....Am I gonna get some?" He asks.
My reassurance comes in smile and wink form, he knows this means yes.
It's a Monday and I have had nothing really profound to say for months. No story inspired by God's hand to line me up with a lonesome passerby, no grocery store miracle or prayer answered with writing on the walls of my home. Just life. Life that's lived thick within this house. Thick with love and compassion and with frustration and attitudes as well.
And forgiveness. always forgiveness.
We read the story of Lazarus today during bible time. Jesus raising to life a precious friend because well, life is worth living and Jesus knew it. Heaven is better, of course and we recite to ourselves when the world is visibly full of evil that, "this is not our home". All true. All things I say and believe. But today the story of Lazarus hit me differently and I think I see something I didn't before. If Jesus, knowing heaven is our forever home and dying, (for the Christian) only profits the soul, yet He chose to raise Lazarus from the dead, did all of this, then life must be a more worthy blink of an eye than I have often given it credit. At least on a bad day that is. Everything is His, everything is grace. Good days and bad.
There's golden raisins in hot cross buns. Doesn't that sound perfect? And crisp bacon and cheddar cheese on creamy potato soup is nothing to shrug over either. Life. I spend a lot of mine schooling children and training the youngest to simply hear my words well and cheerfully.
Who am I kidding? I'm teaching the same to the oldest too! Exactly what God is still teaching me, I suppose.
I've dipped over 300 candle sets since November when I began selling them. Wow, that's a lot of wax! I don't know why, but it fills my heart to make pretty tapers for tables near and far. And when one of you wonderful purchasers texts me a picture of your beautiful table lit with the glow of something I made, I'm overjoyed! So, thank you.
I took some time this year to paint the kids bedroom walls and floors. Old barnboard planks make up most of our upstairs, which I love. And even more so now that they're freshly coated and sealed. Two weeks of painting and waiting. Two weeks of kids on couches and makeshift floor beds. Two weeks of my old sweatpants and a T-shirt belonging to my husband.
My mom snapped this picture of me trimming the floorboards of the little girls room. Not much about it is pretty and you should thank me for editing it to black and white. Nothing screams louder than an oversized safety orange T!
But back to the point, I love this picture. I love that it shows so much of life, so much of my life (and maybe yours as well). From my socks (which I believe also belong to Andy) to the boy using me as a springboard. This is a picture of what makes up most of my days; production accompanied by joyful distraction, at least it was joyful on this particular day. Mix in a thrown together hairdo and the four year old still in his PJ's and you know I've really invited you in!
So what is all of this writing about? Really nothing, which is something (if you ask Pooh). Life. The precious and delicate story we all get to be part of. The days that seem to rush in and out with all haste to be met again anew with sunrise and no more (or less) ticks of the clock hand.
Purpose. Mine and yours, to live to the glory of God and gain nothing for ourselves but to learn daily to serve better those around us. Service to others always draws the heart toward God no matter which end of the action you're on.
"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." John 12:26
"Mom, maybe we could plan a special time soon? Just you and me?"
"Yes, I think that's a perfect idea."
10/25/2020 1 Comment
This is my story. This is my song.
My own reflection in the glass of the China Cabinet caught my eye one evening after tea company left and I scrambled to rinse and dry each dirtied piece before dinner.
A picture snapped with an arm full of delicate pieces held safely against me. Some doubly handed down from Grandmother to Mother and finally to me. Treasures. History. My history. Their history.
The old hymn played on my phone while I rinsed and dried all the fancy things;
“this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long...”
The hymn and my duties collided in that moment when I saw my reflection. Living out my story in the simplest of ways - stacking dishes and humming, slippers scuffing the cracked stone tiles that have seen more use than they’re able to handle, hands wet up to my elbows and my hair tossed on top of my head like a red bow.
We live to the quick in this house, deeply in our rough skin and sometimes rough hearts. We clash at times and bend for, and blend to each other at other times. Every day is different but the lessons and living always the same;
“Pray about it sweetie, God will show you.”
“Your dinners warming in the oven, babe.”
“Forgive him quickly and try again.”
“Leave plenty of room for others to speak.”
“God will never leave you, keep courage.”
He grabbed my hand on what was likely to be the last warm night of the year and dragged me onto our quiet road. He had shut all the outside lights off and began to walk, towing me beside him.
“I have cookies in the oven, I really can’t stay long” I reminded him.
“It’ll only take a minute.” He said. “Look up.”
Stars. Thousands of glittering specks of light tossed into the blackest sky I’d ever seen. And a slice of moon giving it’s best shot at stamping shadows all over the ground. We walked silently down the center of the road, heads tilted, necks craned and nothing but the sound of our steps beneath us and the breath within us.
“God’s so good to us, Andy.” I whisper into the darkness.
I could hear myself breath, the rise and fall of oxygen to lungs repeated effortlessly bearing awareness to my feeble life, my tiny frame in the mix of all the other small and quiet lives lived before me. And I wondered, how many people have breathed life down this road? How many people believed their one moment to breath held purpose? Their breaths of pursuit and ambition, with vision and story, hardship and labored strength were more than unconscious behavior but by great design. How many starry nights had God looked on and watched desperate hearts reach to the heavens, craning their necks to see, taking their one chance to inhale and live and seek His face?
So many came before me.
And here we are. It’s our turn to breath and to live, to walk empty roads under the starriest of nights and pour hot tea into pretty china for those who exhale beside us.
With breath in your lungs I remind you - You have purpose. Today is your day. This is your hour. This is your story. This is your song.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” -Psalm 150:6
10/12/2020 0 Comments
That's my son...
They call it “special time." My kids do, when they ask to do something alone with me.
“Mom, can we have special time?” They say.
I’ll be honest, I don’t always feel like parting the sea of normal routine and productivity to create some miraculous quiet hour for two. The mere thought of it can sometimes cause me to shudder when measured up with all that screams my name, claiming superior importance to my time.
But isn’t that how all relationships are? A weighing of what’s really important verses that obnoxious nagging to be productive and keep things looking together?
Everyone else had had a turn but him. He had waited without any complaint. So early one morning I quickly prepped two egg and cheese wraps, a to-go mug of cocoa for him and a hot tea for me and whispered in his ear, “can we have special time?”
A bike ride to a favorite tree where we sat on the side of the road and munched on our breakfasts and sipped our warm drinks.
The air was cool but we didn’t care. We talked about all that’s important to him and laughed about riding our bikes around the world someday.
It was quiet. Only the farewell cry of the departing geese and a distant crow in the pasture could easily be heard. The wind-swirled leaves skidding across our vacant road made for the best visual effects of an autumn day.
It kept playing in my head as I watched him pedal ahead of me, “that’s my son...that’s my son...”. Without the distraction of a busy morning I could see clearly who this boy was and relish in my heart his forever position as my son. His belonging to me, a gift rekindled in a moment of time allotted for him alone.
Maybe my relationship with God is quite similar when I choose to give him more than just a passing prayer while scrubbing sticky pans at the sink. Though these “work-prayers” whispered while dutifully walking out life are pressing to a healthy relationship with the Father, how much more will purposed time in prayer with God strengthen our relationship?
Could it be that the idea of special time desired by my children is exactly what we all should be desiring of God each day? I believe so.
Three weeks ago I began a designated prayer time without my hands bubbly in the sink or pushing the vacuum across the rug. I suppose you could call it “special time” with God.
Kneeling in prayer with a list of requests from friends and family and my own aching soul, I begin each day. Empty handed. No phone, no coffee mug, only the words and a heart ready to be known and heard by the Father.
“That’s my daughter...That's my daughter...”
I hear it deep within, breathtaking and real I know my belonging once more, morning after morning my place in Him is set.
The relationship deepened, the child seen, the requests made known and the Father glorified. It will never be a waste or a weak attempt to set aside time to speak with God. Do not be fooled, each bending of knee is a reset of where you belong and to whom.
And take a bike ride with someone you love...remind them and yourself of their belonging to you.
I held down the fort for the better part of a month while Andy was working away. Grocery night was probably my quietest hour. Likely my most prayerful as well. I am thankful for it.
There’s a bend in a road that connects to ours where I must have etched a memory talking to the Lord into my heart. Every time I approach this curve I’m reminded of His faithfulness and presence. I don’t know if it’s the way the sun hits the empty field that does it, or the wild roses that bloom in early spring along the fence line, but either way I find myself nearing the corner each week with a smile and, “hello Lord”. His nearness is like an old friend.
My neighbor-friend brought me a couple zucchini picked from her garden last month. As a reward to the children beginning school three weeks before most everyone, this Mama made a lovely cake. A dusting of cinnamon and a couple crisscrossed sticks made it feel fancier than it really was. And a new recipe made in an iron pan has everyone in this house asking for seconds!
Driving home from delivering a meal to a mom in need, my heart grumbled against something not worth explaining. Then quickly the Holy Spirit spoke truth that pierced the lie forming in my sin soaked heart. He reminded me, “The essence of evangelism is wanting desperately to spend an eternity with someone in heaven who has little to offer you here on earth.” So much so, you’ll not grumble even the slightest at any inconvenience.
My ride home was quieter.
It seems fitting to me to pray outside in this corner yard where all my senses are awake and useful. An outdoor prayer closet, which isn’t a closet at all because it has no walls and no string in which to pull the light on or off. Taste and see that the Lord is good suits it well.
“I love you so much Mama, it’s making me wanna cry!” His young boy arms wrap tightly around my neck while he spills his feelings into my ear. I let him hug me long on the kitchen floor in between making lunch and scolding his behavior. I can feel him wipe his eyes under his crooked glasses. Real tears.
I can’t remember now what he had done but the scolding was merited, my face of disgust? Not so much. The apology was necessary and I quickly got to it right there in the middle of spreading honey on wheat toast.
Reconciliation. I put my ear on his bare chest and listen to his young, strong heart thump away. My arms wrap around his waist easily with room to spare, his arms around my neck, chin resting on my heat curled hair.
Brothers. They fight. At least mine do. We joke, the girls and I, at teatime how different the boys are.
“Were we like that, mom? Did we fight about everything?”
I sip and grin. “Nope. You girls didn’t”.
But those two boys do. They really do! One is like me with words and thoughts and ideas and plans. He’s even started making a daily todo list in pictures with little boxes to check off once completed.
The other is more like his dad with quiet skill, few words but tons of heart, thinking his clearest when working with his hands and zones out (or dukes out!) when words are too many.
And do you want to know what all their arguing does to me? Nothing. It annoys me, that’s it. It’s inconvenient, sure. I’d much rather make lunch without hearing one of their names whine off the lips of the offended. Of course it would bring more joy to my day if they played in laughing tones for the 13 hours they have together.
But I know this. It’s not to my demise that I sit those two boys on the bottom step daily and listen to them recite Psalm 133. “how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
I’m not shaken by the constant friction, rather I’m thankful for the opportunities to remind my household and my own heart of their Jesus calling. If things were always peaceful I’d likely not have needed to paste those verses on the inside of my kitchen cabinets. What a shame it would be if my whistling were only cheerful work tunes and not heartfelt worship anthems! All is not lost even in the midst of the battle, there's yet deep purpose in moments of grief.
Could it be that without the trials of everyday life, Jesus’ name would become scarce and unused? Shouldn’t all these difficulties birth thanksgiving in a heart connected to His grace? When I recognize my dependency on His care, knowing it stems from the awareness of my broken life, the trials seem more of a blessed gift than a disturbing intrusion.
Yes, Yes. I’m thankful for the inconveniences, the let downs, the arguing that points only to wisdom and grace spoken over the inhabitants of my home. Yes, I’m thankful for sunlit corners of yard where prayer flows like an artesian well and for friends who bring first fruit veggies to my door. I’m thankful for bends in the road that lead to Him and tears on the kitchen floor that do the same. I’m thankful for spiced cakes without the love of my life day after day to share them with and for the reunion of his coming home by God’s grace.
Truly, how can I be anything but?
8/5/2020 1 Comment
Why do we homeschool?
Tonight I really enjoyed reading to my boys. I mean really enjoyed it, on purpose.
I read slowly like I had nowhere else I’d rather be, no one else I had to tuck in. The story was alive and so were we. Fully present for each other.
Two freshly bathed boys, hair spiky and damp, PJ bottoms and no shirts, window fan humming along with my voice. Lamp lit and the faint sound of all the wild things that come out at night in our neck of the woods.
What is homeschooling to me?
It’s a lot like life.
A lot like bedtime tonight with my boys when listening ears were trained enough to tune into my unashamed read aloud voice and hearts and bodies were settled, secure and still, eager to pray to the God who takes care.
What is home schooling to me?
It’s a lot like that walk we took when the quarter moon rose between the dimming sunlight and a double rainbow. That moment we stood in the middle of the stone road looking up at God’s governing lights mingling together with His colorful promise, bidding us a good nights sleep.
Homeschooling doesn’t always look like systems in place, though I’m a fan and avid creator of grand schemes to make things flow through our home. Oftentimes the best home teaching happens when life is abundantly noticed, when our hearts are fully aware of all that’s around us.
I didn’t set out to home teach, it wasn’t a well drafted plan in my portfolio. I had assumed public school was best for our family and even enrolled our first child in Kindergarten way back in 2010. Two weeks of kindergarten and I wasn’t convinced anymore. We pulled her out and began the adventure.
This is my 11th year homeschooling, now with four children around the dining room table, or to be perfectly honest they could be anywhere in the house plugging away at their studies.
I’m not at all a professional at this even after a decade of trying. I tend to consider myself far less an expert than that of my faithful friends home teaching their own tribes.
So what holds me to this homeschool thing day in and year out?
Its a driving desire to raise up godly women and men, to seek truth myself and share it with those entrusted to my care, and to cultivate richness and mercy into the lives blossoming under our red roof. It’s the biblical instruction I read of in Deuteronomy that tells me to discuss the goodness of God at least four times per day.
“Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:19
And it’s the protective nature I’ve been given to keep them under the shade of truth while they’re still with me and so tenderly moldable. That's what keeps me in the game school year by school year.
But with all of the beauty and depth of a home taught living there’s practical applications to keep in mind as well. So with that I’ll share some simple and functional tips, tips I’ve learned over the past 10 years and a bit of our curriculum choices for this coming school year.
The Three P’s of Homeschooling.
Ponytails, Pencils and Play-doh.
Yes, it’s true. Though I’m sure prayer should be added to the list of important P words (along with patience and perseverance!)
Sharp pencils, hair pulled back and out of the way, and play-doh to occupy the non school aged children is quite important as well.
If I could redeem the time I’ve spent mulling over what to prepare while shuffling through the fridge and cupboards I’d likely add weeks to my life!
A simple meal plan and a few dozen muffins in the freezer leaves a little extra breathing room needed to answer those tricky algebra questions.
And a menu listed for all to see opens the option of an older child grabbing ahold of the task of serving the others. It’s a win win in my book!
A well thought out chore system that includes everyone. We continue with the “Zone” system where each child’s task is focused in one area of our home for up to a full year.
And don’t forget, a structured laundry method goes a long way!
Lastly, here are some of our choices for the upcoming school year in pictures.
If you’re a fellow homeschooling Mama with any questions about how the gears in our home stay well oiled and turning or if you have some ideas for me, please reach out! I’d love to converse!
7/23/2020 2 Comments
Some good news
It was years in the making. An on and off process that seemed too big for my heart to handle at times. The angles to consider, the legalities to observe, the hearts to guard, the mistakes to forgive and the missed deadlines that taught me to trust God’s plan for our family even when things were far from my control.
But often I was left wondering, would this work? Could we gather all the necessary paperwork, proofs and signatures? How many notaries would we pay before everything lined up perfectly or would our mailman deliver another manila envelope declining our efforts, asking for more info, more proof, more signatures for a third and forth time?
I knew if this never lined up we wouldn’t be faulted for not trying. We had followed the rules, collected the documents, tracked down signatures up to seven times over and hired notaries on the weekends.
And really for us, for our story, this adventure was far more about a legal name than anything else. Adoption begins in the heart and that my friends, happen long ago.
The end goal was His, in His timing and under His grace. Covid-19 couldn’t stop what needed to be accomplished on this day, it was finally time and my heart was so thankful. And just like that, with masks adorned on everyone from the armed guards who kept us six feet apart to the Honorable Judge who asked for a final time if we would like him to sign the gold sealed document, it was finished.
But truthfully, thankfulness came long before a set adoption date. We knew what great things God had done for us by joining our three hearts 12 years ago. This was simply another stone in our family’s foundation.
So I write this today for you with the process that feels only like pain, I promise it’s purifying.
And though it might seem like you’re a sitting duck with no visible steps to take and vulnerable on all sides, sometimes the way we move forward is by standing still in faith.
And for you who feels as though nothing whole could ever come from your broken heart and your broken past, it’s God’s great pleasure to reset and replace the cracked and loosened bricks of your foundation. You can leave behind what once was and press into God’s redeeming power for what lies ahead. Take courage in God alone.
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
7/10/2020 0 Comments
The Bread of all lives
Should I state the obvious and start this blog with, the days are long and hot? Or have you already realized it’s a dry, sweltering July? I’m sure you have.
The pool is heavily utilized here and I find myself wishing I could send out more invites to share in the coolness of its simple 4 feet. I dream of it often but have come to realize summertime freedom isn’t without constant child training too, exactly like the cooler days of September with its sharpened pencils and scheduled time slots, there is still much to be done.
There’s no overlooking the fact that I still have a little boy with a stomping problem when he doesn’t get his way. I can’t brush aside two young girls who need to fully grasp what’s worth keeping in their bedroom and what should be tossed (hint: Dove chocolate wrappers SHOULD be thrown away). Summers ease doesn’t give allowance to leave gaps in bringing up godly women and men.
Training and nurturing the people in this home is my faithful duty, no matter the season outside, no matter my strong desire to be hostess inside.
I hear the Lord remind me that He is the bread of life. The bread of THEIR lives, the bread of ALL lives. He is the sustainer of our days and although I am given to the task of nurturing my children, the gaze my babies once held for me must eventually shift to Him. I must gently angle their faces to Jesus daily, open their eyes to who He is and what He has for them in this world and the one to come.
So I tell myself:
Be the reminder of His majesty through the pointing out of constellations in the clearness of a nights sky, be the whisperer of truth when lunch table conversations heave with weight from news articles filled with hopelessness, be the rudder in the sea of uncertain futures teaching the pressing on in faith to finish with eyes fixated on Jesus through all the storms.
Find satisfaction in the love of God each morning so His praise is readily on your lips.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90
Nothing can satisfy like the love of the Father, though our hearts are prone to dabble in finding another worthy, there’s not yet one to be found. The commander of the rising sun is the only One able to gratify our hearts longings, the only One with the immeasurable depth of love we all cry out for, the only One able to offer life giving Bread to all.
There’s sweet joy in finding and being found by Jesus. Even in the middle of a world that’s raw with wounds from the lashing opinions of its sinful inhabitants, we are continually surrounded by His grace and Spirit of truth.
Moments stilled with the touch of my thumb. Moments I recognize as His faithfulness over my life. Praise worthy pictures even in a broken land full of broken hearts. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Freeze a few moments through the lens of a camera and be satisfied by His love today.
“Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35
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.
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11