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?
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11