Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Holidays

There's gold to be seen this holiday week, friends.

Just a few days ago, around 1pm when the sun was high and tarrying....the blondes and I were out back.

There were pine needles all over the porch that needed sweeping, and balls bounced about all over the grass, and piping pitched around by the boys.

It needed a tidying.

As I was straightening up and doing my duty with the broom, the oldest said....

"Mama! This looks like gold!....Come here!"

Honestly....I didn't want to stop my cleaning. I wanted to check it off the list and be done with it.

But thankfully, instead of following my bent....

I made a few more brushes with the sweeper, and headed over to where he was standing.

He positioned my body in the direction of a large potted tree, and said....

"Look!"

When I turned my head and really opened my eyes....I saw a tree all lit up at the top by an Autumn sun.

It looked like it had been painted with strokes of gold.....each leaf a blazing shimmer.

Gorgeous!

I grabbed his growing shoulders, and squeezed him tight, and told him that yes indeed....

it did look like gold.

And then I thanked that first blonde of mine...

...for making his Mommy really see, behold, notice.

Ah. What a lesson for this season.

With turkeys, and d├ęcor, and cards, and gifts, and company-cleaning, and parties, and events, and end-of-year work hustles....there's much to distract us from wander.

But let's try to anchor down, and do all that well..... while still awakening to the shining, sweet, golden moments that will be scattered throughout our days here.

The kids will remember our soft glances, and our fitting responses, and our pats, and loves, and listening, much more than what is placed on the table, or swept into corners, or placed around a tree, or bonused into your checking account.

And they'll certainly remember the moments you stopped your chore, or your work, or your long conversation, or your racing.... to enter into a  moment of really seeing, and really taking in.

Lord, help us to really breathe and behold this time of year, and always.

I pray your Thanksgiving is rich with love, heavy on grace, pardoning of family woes, and really, really blessed.

Big grateful hugs and embraces.....to you all.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapshot

Mama is worn.

It's been 16 hours since I hit the ground running this morning....groggy from going to bed too late the night before.

All three kids are tucked away in bed now.

I can breathe. :)

A calm waft of piano is streaming from an old Apple.

The thrum of the heater is intermittently running.

And 10 day old grocery store flowers are perched in a clear vase on the right of my desk.

Those flowers look like I feel, really.

Still alive...
still giving off color...
still standing up straight....

but looking like they may just be on the cusp of a wilt.

Tonight....that description fits.

Still hanging in there...
still thankful for a day well spent...
still vertical and doing duty...

but a bit drained and drooping - as is every Mama this time each eve.

It's nearing tomorrow....and the husband is still hard at work.

Long hours this week.

Which means, of course...long hours for Mama, too.

The dryer is spinning in the laundry closet.

The dishwasher is loaded full and ready for the go ahead.

And there are coats stacked high by the back door - evidence of the rare cold that rang through these parts last week.

The porch lights are on - anxious to light the way for the man of the house to return home from labor.

A basketful of clothes are waiting to be folded, over by my bedroom window.

A cheap apple cinnamon crisp candle is dimly flickering to my left.

And wooden play food is littering my writing area....cake with frosting and sprinkles from the girl's pretend play earlier today.

My mind is full and distracted - thinking of loathsome upcoming events, loved-one turmoil, and all kinds of uncertainties.

There are exactly 17 Post-It notes stuck to the wall I'm facing....blog post ideas, scripture verses, school reminders, and nonsense.

My lids are feeling more and more languid-like as I list out this scene here - so sleep should come soon and quickly.

Tomorrow holds mostly learning and laundry.

And hopefully a sermon listen, a workout of some kind, and reading.

Hopefully.

Ah. I have laid the littles down three or four times now.

But I sense a stillness from their room that tells me slumber has set in at last.

It's setting in here too.

Yes, I may be worn. But wow - I'm wrung out for such a worthy reason.

The home, the hearth, the hearts I tend - are worth the wear. 

Yes.

Let's head into hump day - looking for light. 

Looking for a stream of God to come searing through.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Testament and a Prayer

The clouds are close today.

They are hovering low and thick....and they are making everything outside look a tinge grey.

It's cold.

Down here in the deep depths of Texas... forties is frigid.

The low ceiling outside, and the cool mild temps - make my mind wander to England.

But one look out my back window - where palm trees mingle with pines...I'm ushered back to the bayou here.

A few days ago - sharing with you what the Lord has been sharing with me....you buoyed around me so beautifully. 

You looked at what has been tightly clenched in the center of my grip - and you handled it ever so gently.

Thank you.

Thank you for your sincere excitement and encouragement over what transpired on my weekend away.....and over what God has been revealing to us in the last few years.

Your prayers and sentiments and thrill - mean much.

Since I pushed the publish button on that post - testimony after testimony of the Lord's faithfulness over the years...has risen up in my spirit.

One.... in particular.

There must be some soul out there who needs to here the following story - because it has been so prominent in my thoughts over the last 48 hours - that I must share.

It isn't earth-shattering.....but to me....it was mountain-moving.

I certainly hope it boosts you up in some way.....

I was in my living room - five or six months pregnant with my second blonde. I was attempting to do a light workout routine under the instruction of a chirpy, fit, DVD instructor.

It was cold and dark outside - much like the today I described earlier....and I believe my first born was down for his blessed nap.

As I was doing modified lunges and leg curls - I was praying.

Fervently.

You see, for some reason - early on in my second pregnancy - I had gotten it into my head that the whole thing was going to end up in an emergency c-section.

Nothing had gone wrong thus far. The baby was growing normally. My body was responding fine. I had a fairly routine birth experience with my first - so there was no tangible reason for me to feel this way.

I just did. And I felt doomed.

It's difficult to describe - but it felt like there was some kind of hold that was over me in the spiritual realm... when it came to the impending birth of my girl.

So all I knew to do about it was pray.

I had been praying for months - praying that this baby would come into the world naturally, that there would be no complications, that whatever was telling me there would be....would vanish.


But all those months later... still...there it remained - like a pesky label stuck across my forehead.

Until....

During one grapevine exercise....I let out yet another petition asking God to please protect me and the baby from cesarean...to please release me from the negative omen I was under....

And just like that...

Before I could even get to the grapevine on the other side...

A very real, very heavy, very literal weight was pulled from my heart, mind, and shoulders - and a very sweet promise was put in it's place.....

A sudden assurance that the whole birth experience was going to be natural and normal - no c-section required. 

And that was that.

Now of course, I think it strange that after all that time and all those prayers - that in that one instance I would receive something from Heaven. Why then? Why not before? Why haven't others I know received the same thing? Why not save dying babies in starving Africa before saving me from a c-section? Why? Why? Why?

I don't know.

But I do know..... that a lie very palpable, was pulled from my heavy heart that day - and a very light, loving truth was positioned firmly in it's place.

Firmly.

And the following summer - I delivered a healthy baby girl, no cesarean needed. It ended up being my easiest, quickest, most enjoyable birth out of all three.

As I've thought about this story over the last few days....

I feel like the Lord is urging us to prevail in prayer.....to persevere and persist in our petitions.

For people. Places. Injustices. Questions. Directions. Peace.

Since their is a battle raging - I feel like we have to often times pray our help, intervention, provision, healing.....here. 

This is not easy or passive or cute.

Doing battle in prayer is wearing.

But worth it.

And the strong nudge to think about and share the above story - shows me that He is calling us to be stubborn and steadfast in our longing and pursuit to bring His Kingdom....to this one.

If there is a cloud of something hanging over your life right now....or if you have subjected to some lie of the enemy over your future...or if you have waned in your petitions for something or someone....or if you are continuing on bravely in years and years of prayer and perhaps are feeling dejected - I implore you to endure in the plea!

You never know....

In the middle of some ordinary exercise of life....

a lift, a breakthrough, a victory just may ensue.

********

Before I sign off this morning....I feel certain that I should pray for each sweet soul that visits this post....

Strong God,
I lay each person who's eyes will hit this - before you now. Whatever they are needing to lift up to you, whatever is hanging around haunting, whomever they are interceding for....I ask for Your mighty hand to move in each of these situations starting today! Bring light! Bring a lift! Bring progress! Bring salvation! - to each and every one. And show them that You see them, that You are present, that You are moving, and that You are love. Thank you for all the ways You show us Yourself. Let many-a-testimony arise from this, in the name of Jesus. 
Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Post

It's been happening for years now.

This steady, consistent, perpetual - almost harping from the Lord, about a certain region of the world.

It started way back in the early summer of 2012....

This bombardment of information, and inklings, and longings and likings - that spurred up out of no where.

From people, books, sermons, videos, visions, dreams...it's been hitting us from every which way.

Even from within....receiving a sudden homesickness for a place I've never even visited.

It's like I was suddenly downloaded with a new heritage or legacy to chase.

The amount of times He has brought this country up to us...is so uncanny and so crazy - that it evokes a type of reverent chuckle in our home these days.

So going into last weekend.....my few days away to seek God, and listen in, and hone after the holy - I had a list.

A list of prayer requests and petitions and questions and topics that have been on my forefront and heavy.

 So, hearing from the Lord on this particular region - was on it.

Right there, listed along with:

Writing
Career direction
Salvation for family members
Joy.....

........

........

was England. 

As I'm sitting here typing this - my eyes are pooling with moisture out of the sheer longing and weight and nearness I feel to this place - and what the Lord did last weekend regarding it.

I also feel a bit vulnerable....after all this time....handing you this here. 

I haven't brought it up on the blog before - because I've never had a rounded out view of why the Lord is hounding us on it. (Still don't.) But I also haven't brought it up....because it's not Africa, or India, or Haiti.

It's Great Britain. London. The United Kingdom....A sprawling, thriving, first-world nation.

So I sit here now - meekly unclenching my hand....to show you something that is very real, and dear, and intimate, and precious to me - knowing all the while that it sounds ridiculous to have a Spirit-led affection and passion for such a wealthy, booming empire.

It makes me feel a bit shaky to share all this. I feel somewhat embarressed and hesitant.

But long ago, the Lord reprimanded me by telling me that I should not apologize for the way He speaks to me. I'm assuming that He doesn't want me to be apologetic over what He speaks to me either.

So share I shall....

Going into last weekend I prayed the following:

"Lord, please either make the England thing stop....or throw me another bone about it."

 And I left it at that.

On Saturday morning - I was receiving prayer from a group of very kind individuals at the church we were visiting - and they were praying somewhat prophetically over my life. Very broad things....but pretty pertinent. At one point - the lady stopped praying and looked up at me and said that she felt like the Lord was wanting to encourage me to write.

Ha!

That fit.

But being my usual skeptical and somewhat cynical self - I shrugged it off as a lucky guess.

After thanking them for their sweet time and prayers, I retrieved my purse and headed for the door.

But before I could make it across the room....one of the guys praying for me reached out and said...

"I'm sorry, but I just feel like there is one more thing the Lord wants me to mention."

With my encouragement to continue, he looked me square in the face and said....

"Does the United Kingdom mean anything to you?"

I dropped my purse on the floor - and my jaw right along with it.

I felt as though I had seen a ghost.

In that instant - I felt so known, and seen, and heard. I felt so validated. I felt so relieved that indeed yes.... all this time I had really been hearing from the Lord on that region - that it wasn't me seeking it out or digging for more at all.

It really was Him.

The guy then went on to share a few more details and sentiments about what He felt like the Lord was saying - and then I left there floating high on faith.

Yes.

So....the theme continues.

Another bone has indeed been thrown. 

And my prayers and spirit will continue to be filled with thoughts and petitions concerning that Old World. And I trust that before too awful long....the reason will be revealed.

There is a reason. Of that I am certain.

The weekend didn't leave me wanting thereafter.

Upon listening to the Sunday sermon - I suddenly had an intense hunger and drive to do two things:

1) Repent

2) And seek first the Kingdom of God

Those two desires were just plopped ever so gently right into the pit of my gut somehow - and ever since, I have been insatiably hungry and thirsty for His righteousness...

driven to scripture...

filled with a fresh faith...

and flat.out.awed.

God is real.
He speaks.
And He has plans for you and me.

Leave this post - knowing and embracing that.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Winging Away

I've been back in the swing of all things Mama for a day and half now.

I was thrust right back into ordinary life with whines and giggles and discipline and arithmetic and ailment.

It's a rare day here in the South - with clouds hovering heavy, and rain intermittently falling, and a cool, cool breeze wafting through.

The oldest asked to do his daily reading on the porch today - wanting to catch all of Autumn that he can.

The middle one is keeping her brother quiet company, playing with Matchbox cars in the rocks that line our covered front.

The youngest is wrapped up in a light blanket, with a stuffed zoo piled high to the heavens around him.

And I'm here, catching a moment's breath - eager to share with you what the Lord revealed this past weekend.

So much of what transpired from Friday to Monday can't really be adequately placed into words.

A lot of what occurred.....occurred at the heart level - where words don't always suffice, and where much of the happenings were meant to simply saturate the heart they hit.

I will try, however - to transmit the things I can. It may take me a few posts, however.

For starters...leaving was difficult.

Rushing out of the van on a curb at Departures, I grabbed my small pink suitcase out of the back, kissed the tops of three blonde heads, smooched the lips of one very fine husband - and departed my normal life.

After getting through security and finding my gate, I had to recalibrate.

Witnessing all the movement and all the people and all the sounds - I found myself thinking...

"Wow, there is a whole world out here!"

Sometimes, the walls of my rented house, and the pages of curriculum books, and the mounds of clothes and dishes - can make one forget that there is Paris, and politics, and celebrities, and stocks, and lots and lots and lots of people... everywhere. It seems dramatic, but the realization was a large one.

My life is small right now. It's hidden. It's behind the curtain and off the stage. It's just right for this moment. But....in the midst of that - I had forgotten that there really is a gigantic universe in motion just beyond my subdivision.

After meeting the gaggle of gals I was to travel with - I fastened myself into a Boeing 747 and I soared.

Flying.

Since way back - I have been smitten with taking to the air. The whole process, the whole experience - is mind blowing. I don't think I'll ever get over it.

So this time...seeing as though I was flying west - and seeing as though I had a window seat...I got to gander at all the grand things on the ground below for 4 hours.

Y'all!

The mountains. The rivers. The quarries. The structures. The geographical diversity I saw from 35,000 feet was spectacular.

The teal color of the quarries was particularly striking....as were the many mohawks of mountain peeks.

Sitting in my very, very tight coach-class seat...way up there above the cloud formations and grids below - I couldn't help but think what a Wordworth or an Emerson or a Longfellow might say... about the sites you see outside of a jet plane window.

How special it is to glide high and fast, and take in the world from an aerial view!

It gripped me. It had been a while since I soared - and the plane ride just really sent me. I hadn't even gotten to my weekend's destination - and I already felt wholly inspired.

The awakenings didn't stop there, however.

I was spoken to this weekend, friends. God still does that!

But since this little post about winging away ended up being a full length piece....I'll end it here for now, and pick things up again very soon.

My heart is pining to hash it all out here....

so it shouldn't be long.

Until then, may the tail-end of your week surprise you with joy and revelation where you need it the very most!

See you shortly, friends :)