When You Find Yourself Walking a Broken Road

 

Winter 10The snow? It just kept falling all big and heavy and white. And we? We just kept laughing and dancing and shaking our heads that this beauty, this land could be ours.

Thirteen years (18 if you count the dating, doe-eyed, dreaming ones), three states, three major moves, four apartments, one rental house, two months that turned into seven years living with mom and dad, five employers, three children, and one self-started business led us to this.  

To a real life winter wonderland and a place to call our own.

Winter 4 Winter 7 Winter 8 As I held my baby close watching snowflakes melt on her cheeks. As little girls laughed and dug their hands in mounds of snowy white. As husband snapped photos of tears in my eyes and I craned my head back to catch flakes on my nose and eye lashes.

As we all stood for this slice of time and wonder, wonderstruck by the beauty of this first snow of the season, by the beginning of this season in which we leave one home and create another all I could think was: this...

He knew it would come to this. This is what He had in store, set aside, waiting, planned, created for us.

The jobs, the moves, the states, the dwellings some of them, many of them, broke our hearts. But now we see how He worked it for good.  How He made a broken road and blessed it to bless us.

Winter 9Winter 13Winter 12There’s a country song that says it: “that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”*

And He did. He has. He will continue to.

He takes the broken, the lost, the forgotten, and makes it new. Makes it good. 

New, as snow on evergreen branches.

Good, as the feeling of home.

*”Bless the Broken Road” Lyrics by Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna, Robert E. Boyd, Marcus Hummon

 

What We Have to Remember When Evil Breaks Loose

 

Nativity“Tell me, Annabelle, how is she?”

“She’s different, my lord. I’m afraid her time in Lukenwalde, and that horrid Prince Silvano, has changed her dramatically.

“I was afraid it might be so.”

“Tell me, my lord, is it time? I hate to see her languish like this. She can’t even look at her gifts. She insisted I burry them in that wooden chest of hers. Hidden in darkness, they have remained there since the day she came home.”

“It saddens me to hear it, but no, ‘tis still not time.”

“Forgive me, but I can’t see the sense in waiting much longer. I know you have your reasons, but I don’t understand.”

“Trust me. ‘Tis all I can ask. I know ‘tis hard. I know you don’t understand. But trust me, dear Annabelle. Please, just trust me.”

~*~*~*~

As I watched the headlines light up the screen last Friday night all I could think was: Again? It’s happening again?

Innocent people murdered. People doing nothing but living their lives, attacked by pure evil.

I thought of the school children killed in 2012.

The marathon bombing of 2013.

The heinous acts being carried out against men, women, and precious children throughout the Middle East.

And now Paris.

I thought of what this world has come to and the evil we’re facing and how we desperately need a rescue.

And I thought of my story, of this scene I edited just a few days ago. About the king and his beloved that fill the pages of this tale I’m writing.

In this particular scene the king’s beloved, Princess Merrily, is in trouble. She needs a hero, a rescue. Her friend and confidant, Annabelle, implores the king to come. 

But the king, he’s patient and wise. He has a plan and it’s a good one. And while Annabelle doesn’t understand, the king asks just one thing: “Trust me, dear Annabelle. Please, just trust me.” 

When evil strikes like it did last Friday I think we’re all inclined to implore our King and Savior to come. To come and rescue His beloved. To come and recue this weary world. We don’t understand the evil or why He’s waiting so long.

But our King, too, is patient and wise. He has a plan. A good, good plan. To prosper and not to harm. To give hope and a future.

And our King, too, asks us to trust. 

To trust him and Him alone.

Not our government. The headlines. The next election.

Not our trendy beliefs. Our Facebook posts. Our celebrities, our leaders, our heroes.

Not the rock of dread in our gut. The voice of fear in our ears. The image of horror before our eyes. 

Just Him.

“Trust me,” He says. “Trust my tract record. My truth. My promise.”

“Trust my unfailing love for this world, for you, for my precious beloved.”

“Please, just trust me.”

 Trust that the King is coming.

When You Just Need Time to Slow Right Down

PlaqueTwo weeks have gone by since my last blog post. Chances are good no one has noticed this tiny, little fact.

But I’ve noticed. And it was this tiny, little fact that had me to turning to Chris around 9:00 Saturday night saying, “What the hell has happened to me?”

I used to blog every week…twice! For over two years I never missed a Sunday.

(A little background: my eight month old is teething and when she finds she’s not in my arms she cries like the sky is falling. Thus any activity that requires, two hands, two arms, and/or my undivided attention has become a challenge, to say the least. And sleep…Oh, yes, I remember sleep! Fondly.)

Anyway…I get that it really is okay. The world has indeed kept turning. Life goes on as they say.

But what of my world? My life?

What should I make of this nagging anxiety I keep feeling over all the things that aren’t getting done?

My blog?

My book?

My laundry?

Homeschooling?

Date night?

A shower?

In the pit of my stomach I have this deep seeded fear that I’m failing. That I’m trying so hard to do and be so many things that I’m not doing any of them well.

Think Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring when he tells Frodo he feels like butter scraped over too much bread. Yes, my dear Bilbo, that’s exactly how I feel!

It all came to a roaring head when I bumped my baby girl’s precious noggin against the corner of the wall a few nights back. It was an accident, of course, but a stupid one. A should have known better one. An I need to get another load of laundry in the wash so why don’t I balance the baby on one hip and the laundry basket on the other while I head down the stairs one.

When my sweet pea started wailing something wild broke loose inside me. After a few minutes of tears she was fine but I wasn’t.

I was weary and broken and tired of losing. In a house full of people I felt so alone. I felt unseen, unheard, unmattered. I was failing them, failing me, failing everything! I mean, really, blowing it big time.

It was one of those rock bottom moments when all you can do…and the last thing you want to do is pray. You don’t want to because you’re convinced you’re so far gone it won’t really help. But you start to pray anyway because that one shred of faith and trust you have left just might turn the tide. And, really, when you’re this bad off who can save you but Jesus?

So I prayed and asked for forgiveness, for help. For less fear and more love. For less stress and more joy. For plenty of butter to cover the bread.

And what I heard from Him were two tiny, little words: Be present.

Be present.

As in not thinking of all I did wrong, messed up, forgot, didn’t do.

As in not focusing on all that’s waiting ahead, stacking up, growing dusty, going to bring down the stars if it doesn’t get done.

As in stop and be all here, all in, right this very moment now.

Be present.

As in, stop, and be present to the baby girl who won’t sleep in her crib but will sleep in your arms because God picked you to be her mama and your hers and she’s yours. All yours. Listen to her sleepy breathes. Admire that skin so creamy. She’ll out grow those arms in no time so rock her while you can. Then sit and rock some more.

As in stop and be present to the first grader as she sounds out that tricky new word. Marker ‘e’ makes long ‘a’ and these days aren’t long but fleeting. This moment here with her golden hair smashed soft against my chest as we sound out homeschool together is but a fraction, a sliver in time. Don’t miss it!

As in stop and be present at the kitchen sink, the laundry basket the dinner table. Feel the hot water pouring from the tap. Close your eyes and breathe deep the scent of the detergent that conjures memories of Mom-Mom and all her magical loveliness. Fall head over heels in love again with the man so hungry from a day of hard work that his plate is empty before yours hits the table. (And ignore the mud he tracked on the floor.)

Whatever it is you’re doing be present. Be all there.

And watch how time slows down. Watch how things get done, or don’t. Or whatever? Who cares?

Watch how things that matter, matter and things that don’t, just don’t.

Watch how the world keeps spinning and joy keeps ringing and love casts out fear.

Because the tiny, little fact that can’t go unnoticed isn’t the blog, or the laundry, or any of the stuff that seems so important, that’s not getting done.

It’s Him.

It’s here.

It’s now.

Don’t miss it! Don’t waste this gift of right-this-second-now.

Cradle it like a baby. Like a sleeping, slumbering gift. Fragile and fleeting and worth slowing down for. Worth stopping everything for.

Be present.

Unwrap the gift of now.

Open wide the abounding, sprawling, to-do-list defeating gift of Him.