“The stars are so patient, mom. They don’t have a worry in the world, do they? They just wait on God to tell them when to arrive and when to fizzle out.”
She stands past my shoulder now with her straight, strawberry-blond hair that echos my genes entirely.
It was a coal-black night when we stood barefoot in the yard with tilted heads, eyes peering into the darkness, counting the stars that resemble more of tiny diamonds than the majestic fireballs they are. The howl of a coyote, the leader of the pack, passes through the field and our bones at the same time. The chill in the air is good enough reason for us to skip back inside.
I let the thought of patient stars run through my mind while I lie in bed and wonder if I could be so trusting, so steady as a tiny light in the darkness, all for the glory of God.
It’s a “golden year” under the three trees, that’s what we call it, though it doesn’t always happen, so we roughhew into our schedule a plan to stretch our lungs beneath the trees paper-thin crisps. Sun light finds its way through the cracks, and the memory is etched.
By the afternoon the fading of chores and schoolwork and guiding children rightly brings me to the same spot. I watch from the kitchen window, wet up to my elbows in bubbles and dish water, as day after day the trees change and loosen their hold on what once was theirs.
A lot can be learned through their surrender, their willingness to let God decide what’s next and when. If we could get to a place where we stand sturdy and strong like an 80-year-old maple that no storm can break, yet tender and willing to allow each season to have its way in us. Oh, how wise we would be!
There’s a hill of laundry that threatens my sanity daily but the act of sifting it down to a few straggling socks and someone’s mid-day change brings great success to this orderly heart. A young girl follows me into where the work awaits. She recites her assignments aloud to me as I fold the sleeves over and down, over and down. Towels and jeans, verbs and conjunctions. My hands and her mind straightening the wrinkles and working through the speech patterns.
Freshly baked pumpkin bread for a snack. Some slather butter, others prefer only the baked-in moisture of the pumpkin purée. Small boy hands complete with dirty nails, and I snap a picture. It’s his unsophisticated innocence that frees my heart of any legalistic tendencies I might be hanging onto. He reminds me often how to live these days well. Unashamed and open handed, dirty and all.
It’s a tornado out there beyond these doors. Not the kind that destroys the siding, or tears at the shingles, but the kind that crushes the heart and cuts through the deepest bonds of love.
Yet, for the heart that trusts its own delicate frame to The One who formed its life-nourishing rhythms - there is no crushing that kills, no confusion that shocks and no stress that renders the heart abandoned.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Because...Jesus. He is the only soul saver in the story. The only healer of your history, the only tender to your tender heart. He is The Holy one of God, who IS God and will only ever be God!
There is an enormous rest in such a right maker, truth teller, hand holder, and spirit keeper like Him. Though the days long and hard, and often the sun sets on tear-stained paths down weathered cheeks - this I know, and lean in close, my friend. The shifting of your one broken heart to His pierced-for-you hands is what will shape your future. And your broken but beating heart will find a new song to drum to. You’ll be made new and given a thump-thumping in your chest that steps to God’s own beat, a rhythm fit for a King.
So, when you find yourself under the stars of night, or the oak’s browning leaves, or even if you find yourself under your own quivering quilt, do not let your heart be troubled, take cover in Him who wishes to cover you with His love.
"Do not let your hearts by troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me." John 14:1
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11