Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Smelled of Heaven

I decided to go out and sit in the sun.

I needed it that day. My patience had run out before the dawn and I was pregnant weary and overwhelmed and needing light. And needing Light.

I plopped myself into a lawn chair and began to watch my two little cherubs enter into an outside world of wonder. I was calloused and showing it.

But as for them....from the moment they stepped off the concrete patio....they flew. Oh to be two again, five again. Free.

The both of them...the younger mimicking the older...spread their arms out wide, tilt their sweet heads back, knees lifted in a runners form....and yes, fly. Playing airplanes. Pretending to soar while their souls really do. Feet still on the earth's floor - but heart's climbing high towards heaven and faces showing it.

They're barefoot...unafraid of what might lay beneath their tiny feet - they frolic in faith. And they swing on skinny tree limbs and they flourish. They don't miss out. They won't let shoeless feet or thin tree branches keep them from divine discovery, from joy.

And it cuts away at my callousness a little.

As the young one guides a toy tractor along our fence post - the older one brings me a simple white flower from our landscaping. Almost out of duty, I stick my nose in the center ...not expecting to smell anything good, hope-empty, and void of expectancy. I take a careless whiff.

And I'm shocked at what my nose is telling me. With my boy still standing next to me - my eyes grow wide and I smell again. Hope arises. And I smell again. And I'm divinely reminded of beauty and goodness and grace. And I smell again. Faith is found in a simple white flower that has been planted outside my kitchen window for years. Yet, I had never sniffed of it.

It had the smell of jasmine and lilac and honeysuckle and sweetness all rolled into a white blossom. It was so unlike the headache-inducing bottled variety. It was pure. And undefiled. And beautifully pleasant.

Because of my doubt in Goodness - I was surprised by a scent. Because of their child-like faith - they weren't.

As the children realized my delight (for they had known it would smell of Him) they went over and with small hands continued to pick my faith flowers. They came and stuck them to my nose and then dropped them in my lap. Dozens of them. And dozens more. And delighted in watching their Mommy find Him.

With each whiff I heard a whisper...

"How did it get there, Kate? How do you think the sweet smell your inhaling got there? How? Tell Me, doubt-filled one. Tell Me. Where did the fragrance of flowers come from, child?"

And I almost cry. Because yes - it had to get there somehow. By Someone. Yes - the Flower Former Himself. How else could such a lovely fragrance waft from something born of seed in dirt? Yes - from Love.

Just like the fragrance of flowers can't be mocked or mimicked in a bottle...I can't describe what this simple pleasure did for my faith-less heart. I can't bottle it up into words.

And perhaps He didn't want me to. Perhaps it was meant just for me. (For He meets each one where they are - in surprising and undoing ways.)

As I look now - at those white flowers flourishing out my window....a fresh faith begins to emerge. Because the Flower Former is the Faith Filler, too. Faith is a grace gift. And I receive it.

And I believe.

And I'm unravelled. And I want to spread my arms out wide and soar and I want to run barefoot - baring soul - and I want to swing from risky tree limbs and I don't want to miss out on a thing.

Especially the faith flowers.

Because if I dare -  if I'm brave enough to adventure into a world of wonder with the Whisperer - maybe, just maybe I'll get to a place in life....where I get to be the child-like, faith-filled one....picking faith flowers for other noses void of hope and dull in grace.

Make me more like them, Father. Like the two year old and the five year old fresh from You. They know You and trust You and see You and recognize You. Yes, Father - undo me....into a woman who continues to waft in and take whiffs of.... Grace. And while my feet are still planted here on earth's soil....let my faith soar! Let it take flight and furnish other unbelieving minds with the stuff of You! In Jesus...

John 1:1-13
Matthew 19:13-14

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For Mothers....and Fathers, too

I turn down the music.

Because the voices I hear bellowing through my window - is all the music I need right now.

Two voices - two little blonde heads - two laughs in unison. It's medicine.

The sounds of young hearts content in exploration and the splashing of water and the dance of their conversation - all mingling with cricket chirps and trees blowing. It's music.

And us Mama's are wise to not forget it. Wise to take note....of the notes playing right before us, of the rhythms that are bouncing off our very own walls, of the pitches of childhood glee.

Because pitter-pattering feet....make melodies if we let them.

The squeals and the loud laughter and the excited gasps that come from our own - these are the gifts that fill our days.

The yells, and the whines, and the shrills of toddler anger - these - these are presents, too. Presents - because they mean that we're alive. Presents...because they do tend to unwrap us a tad.

The music that comes from little ones - is ointment. But we must apply it. It's meant to be rubbed in. We must do this day after day after day - and after a while we look back and we see sheets of songs lining the years and we see how we've grown and how we've changed and how we've been healed - all from the gift of tiny mouths making joyful noises in the midst of the the midst of motherhood.

So let's tune in. He knows we will find healing and strength and laughter and thanksgiving and peace, in the lullaby's that come from our little, lovely blessings.

P.S. Y'all should know....that yesterday while I was driving down the road with my two 'lovely blessings' - I turned UP the music. There was a situation in the back seat between the two blondes that was causing whines and screams - on their part, and angst - on my part. So while I'm fully aware of the precious open window moments I shared in this post today - I'm also fully aware of the days that call for a loud radio :)

Love to you all.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's a Music Kind of Monday

'Shine' - The David Crowder Band

I sincerely hope that you have a marvelous Monday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eyes that see Love

"What words will you fill me with today, Father?"

I ask this question. And while its not always so clear.... numerous times over the last few weeks I've heard "Mark 12, child. Read Mark 12."

44 verses, parables, and quotes, and questions, and commandments, and examples....all pointing to love. All pointing to Love.

But this day - it's the vinedressers. It's their story that stirs me.

*(This passage is at the bottom of the post. But if you can, flip open the Scripts with your own hands and read with your own eyes, and be filled.)

I see myself there. Not in the vineyard owner (God). Not in the servants (God's faithful.) But in the vinedressers (those who reject God's message and His messengers.)

How many times have I done this? How many messengers of God have I rejected? Yes - his messengers still come by way of prophets and words and sermons - but also they come.... the eyes of a child. In those moments of escalating anger - how they open wide as if saying, "Mother, I'm watching you. Be careful - the way you live your life, Mama, can determine how I end up living mine. With Love or without Him." the eyes of hunger. The child who isn't interested in a full toy box, but in a full tummy - has eyes that not only scrounge for food - but scrounge for the faithful, as if saying, "Who will have compassion on me? Who will show me His love? Anyone?" the eyes of pain. The person who has known loss, affliction, addiction - their faces drawn and tired as if to say "Come to me in His name. Lighten my load even if just a little. All in the name of Love."

And how can I mention God's messengers - without mentioning beauty. Color. Life. Stare at a black-eyed susan....and the flower will stare back at you - as if to say, "See me. Do you see me? I exist. Beauty exists. And because of Him...I open wide my petals and give off glory that only comes from Glory."

I miss the messengers.

And then Jesus Himself....when He knocks (and He does knock) do I hear him? Or does the doubt, the distraction, the daily-grind drowned Him out? Or perhaps I hear Him - and choose to leave the door bolted shut. Rejecting - even Him.

The Cornerstone.

To my own eyes - this brings tears. I don't want to miss the messengers! I don't want anything to deafen my ears to the knocking!

And this.... it's up to me. I choose. Reject, recoil verses receive, rejoice. The choice is mine.

Oh Father - that you would open my eyes to the message. That you would open my ears to the knocking. That my mind would be tilted to the Maker. That I would catch the countenance of the chief cornerstone.

Let me not only see - but go looking. For You. In the utterances,and in the eyes - of the ones you send.

"The only way to see God manifested in the world around is with the eyes of Jesus within."
- Ann Voskamp - One Thousand Gifts

To participate in Walk with Him Wednesdays go here.


*1 Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a place for the wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 2 Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that he might receive some of the fruit of the vineyard from the vinedressers. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another servant, and at him they threw stones, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5 And again he sent another, and him they killed; and many others, beating some and killing some. 6 Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him and cast him out of the vineyard.

9 “Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

'The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord's doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes'?"

(New King James Version)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Walk with Him Wednesday

My day has dawned. And the first thing my flesh wants to do is break the fast.

My spirit however, understands that a bowl of grains will not fill me like feasting on the Word will.

So I sit. And I flip open the pages and I land softly, in the Psalms.

And as I do - before I even have the chance to take them in - I hear the words of my husband spoken the night before:

"Write your own psalms, Katie."

This - coming from a braveheart with rugged hands,  a man with no inclination to weave words....but a man who knows his woman. And her Maker. And how the two commune.

And with the pages open before me - I'm thankful for the Words and I'm thankful for the rugged yet tender man who encourages me to consume Them, and then pen some of my own.

So I do. And there - I find that it is vital for me to put words to the worries - to the doubts, to the questions, to the discoveries.

Especially the discoveries. For we shall not forget how He reveals Himself to us and grows our faith and leads us to Love. We must remember the revelations.

As I pour out my mind's thoughts - my mind heals. In between the scribbles - the Savior sits. For me. Maybe not for the braveheart...but for the braveheart's bride. The Saving One, the Stand-In, sifts the visions and voices in my head until the worries, the doubts, the questions are swept away - so that the peace, the revelations, the Jesus-joy reigns in my recollections, instead.

Feasting on the Word - starves the flesh. Penning evil thoughts - empties my mind of their power. And early morning devotions to the Father - fill.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. - Romans 12:2

Oh Lord, let my mind be lifted higher
Out of the earth's dirt. Out of the filth. Out of the worldliness.
A battle rages behind my eyes.
The doubts and anxieties foraging there - stifle me.
And I know that those fears flaming between my thoughts...
    can only be thwarted by You.
I know. Because I've tried - and tried - and tirelessly tried..
    to quiet them in my own power.
But their power overpowers mine.
But God!
But God.
Enter your mercy. Your grace.
Jesus, your presence.
And they flee.
Oh, Lord. Your immeasurable grace...
   seats my mind in a safe place
Out of this world
In with Yours.
And I praise You.
For this - Father, I praise You.

Friend, pen it out. Or if you are like my braveheart - just pour it out. He meets us in the penning and the pouring - when it's Him we are seeking there. Love to you.

Ephesians 2:1-10