Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Mercies

Lately God is showing me that He is Good. I tend to see the names of God that reflect how I view people and life and Good usually isn’t on the list. But this season seems to be about one of what I maybe would have described as his softer virtues, yet I cannot live without it and feel myself embracing goodness anew.

I am in a writing group with six other ladies and recently posted a piece on the truth that I exist in the midst of a heap of broken relationships. No one in my life can escape my brokenness. And no one in my life can escape from their own brokenness. And therefore, none of us can experience relationships of any kind apart from a broken state. And especially when we are asleep to it and are daydreaming about the sincerity of our false goodness to one another. Even the “good” relationships we have have constant struggles and obstacles and disappointments. Looking at people in my life, it’s like I saw one side of the pancake burning and then when I finally flipped it and saw my side, it was burnt too. I was also rotten to everyone. It was both sides of my relationships. And let me tell you what an exhausting moment of realization that was.

But simultaneously the piece was about the genuineness of God and the greatness of his goodness towards us. I didn’t write it to be depressing. I said it to keep my confessions true. Because no one is good to us like Jesus. And I am good to no one like Jesus. And the rest of our goodness is just broken glass reflections of his grace trying to shine through us.

So his genuine, persistent, loving goodness means everything to me while I navigate the brokenness in myself and all of my relationships in my life. After I left the week I was in when I wrote that overwhelming piece, the theme kept following me and haunting me some. You can’t realize something like that and move on, because it’s a theme that touches every conversation, phonecall, word, visit or lack of them.

And again God was good. As my mind was wrestling over this, a particular verse kept being mulled over in my mind. He kept whispering to me, “My mercies are new each morning.” It stayed in my mind over days and days and then just yesterday I glanced up to the paper Jason had posted on our bathroom mirror and smiled. It was the whole section of Scripture around that verse. “Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

God made us to take only so much for one day and then he makes us to go down and rest. Sleep is a gift of grace from Him that he designed our bodies for. I saw that Him designing my life to be broken up into what we call “days” is one of his beautiful mercies to us! If we really were able, and allowed ourselves, to see the brokenness of this world and of our days, it would be to much to bear if we never rested from that. If all our “days” were strung together in a constant awakened state and the burdens never were fresh to address on a new day, but instead went on and on.

But His mercies are new every morning.

Each night I get to sleep and rest from the weariness of life, whatever it may have been that day. Maybe one day it was just a long, but normal day, of diapers and cooking. Maybe another day it was a number of loaded conversations that worried my heart. Maybe another day it was dealing with a lack of intimacy with people and feeling alone. Or another just working through the same issues in the same relationships. And at the end of those days I get to lay down and close my eyes and rest. That is the design God made for me. And I see it as a gift of goodness to me!

And when I awake, his mercies are new. 2 Peter 1 says His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness. Ephesians says that I have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. This means that whether I need grace that day or the ability to be kind or to be patient or whether I need God’s love in the midst of my hurt or whatever it is, I have it because those are benefits of knowing Christ. His mercies are available to me every single morning. It’s not just sleep that is a gift, it is the mercy that comes as I wake up to a new day.

When I became a Christian, God did not rescue me from my trials. These are the days we’ve been given. But he did bestow upon me access to Himself and with God come the benefits of who He is and what He has done for us. With his mercies in my hand, I find forgiveness for my brokenness and I can accept it for myself. With his mercies, I can forgive others for their brokenness towards me. And I can anticipate that my brokenness and their brokenness to come will be addressed by God’s same mercies and he can redeem and restore all things. These are my mercies I can rely on each morning. And with my mornings to start again and with His mercies held tightly in my hands, I know that this outlook is in fact not depressing, but it is hopeful and it has created in me a grateful heart to a God who is genuine and ever GOOD towards me.

Thank you for this morning Lord. Carry me today with your mercies until I lie my head down again tonight.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Hardest Thing

When it’s all over and we all stand up, I know what my heart is supposed to be doing. There is just a lot going on to keep me sitting lazy. Lines form in the rows as one at a time sliced bread is dipped into either wine or juice. Children enter the room twirling and doing knee bounces to the music. I look over at my love. Head bowed. Hand on my knee. Other hand on his forehead. I turn my head down and start blocking. My to do list thoughts. My chair being knocked by the family behind me. The singing that has started around me. Though it is my favorite song, I have much to say to the Lord. I need to say it. I need to lean in. My thoughts resist. Even trite thoughts and make believe prayers fill my mind. I end them to start real life ones. The conversation feels hard. But I need to do the right thing in this moment even though it is a hard thing.

Last Tuesday as the usual group lit into a conversation about raising children, what she said struck a bell with me. Sometimes it takes up her whole morning to discipline one thing and those hours are gone, but she didn’t let the thing – whatever it was – slide. She let it take up her morning to deal with it. This was her love for her child.

I had already been thinking about this lately. That the right thing to do in my life is very often the hardest thing for me to do. Rarely does doing the right thing or the obedient thing or the selfless thing feel easy. It’s a pulling and a fighting and a submission hold of the flesh.

My daughter didn’t want to eat lunch today, like most days. Her boney legs dangled from her booster seat. She ate some after doddling a while and then finally got a bite too big and threw up the entire meal. At dinner we did all we knew to do to get her to eat. Act like ridiculous ADHD cheerleaders for every single bite. Probably like twenty seven of them. And every bite was followed by our bright eyes, as we wildly slapped her hands over and over and threw her arms up in the air multiple times. You could see she thought of quitting numerous times. But then she’d see my eyes start to light up. She’d prep her lips, clear out her mouth – as is her usual habit before each bite – and open up wide, looking at us expectantly. She finished that container. Bite by bite. Cheer by cheer. And we wanted to collapse at the end of that darn meal. But she’d eaten. One container of yogurt. And our hearts triumphed. It wasn’t the easy thing. But it was the right thing. And I knew it was how we could love her through her stressful trial of mealtime.

I feel this pushing to do the right thing all the time. And it feels awful, how difficult it seems to choose that, but nonetheless the challenge towards it comes again and again. When I am writing a friend an email reply and know they don’t need to just hear “I’m praying” but instead need to know if there is any encouragement or counsel from my heart. When my husband and I cannot seem to get our thoughts to overlap in harmony and it takes hours of talking to wind our hearts together. When the girls disobey for the thirtieth time that day and I choose not to ignore but again and again go to teach and discipline so that their hearts understand what is right and good. When I have wronged someone and I feel that maybe they would just overlook it or maybe they have even already forgotten it, but I know in my heart of hearts that I am called to confess and reconcile with them. When someone insults me, to overlook their words and do the work of seeing their pain and misery under the conversation so that I can absorb the blows. When I would rather “get something done” but little beauty girl is saying “up” and handing me books.

I don’t want to do the lazy thing. As I “sit there” and all of the distractions and wills of life call around me for my attention, I know it will be difficult to bend my knee and bow my head to die to myself. To block the thoughts that becon me to be about myself. And to say and do the things that the Spirit in me is requiring me to do. In those moments, I want to put my will in a submission hold until it passes out and does the right thing. Even though usually it’s the hardest thing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Out on a date

Jason and Kanah are out on a date right now. I know he's most likely going to blog about his daddy dates with both of the girls, so I won't steal his thunder. But I just have to say that it is the best feeling in the world to enjoy watching your bugs be loved well by their daddy. I know not all children get that joy and I just feel blessed and don't want to take it for granted one day that Kanah and Grace have such a loving, present daddy who really takes joy in their little lives. Mars Hill just had a great sermon on dads and daughters in the last of the Song of Solomon series and it would be a crazy great idea for any parents to listen to.

Friday, December 5, 2008


My lady babies keep teaching me about what they are capable of when I'm not noticing.

I was talking to my mom and Andy today while I was cooking dinner. Kanah and Grace were in the living room playing and waiting for daddy to get home. I was chopping up some onions and didn't crunch the tips of my fingers in like they show you how to do on the Food Network. Big shocker, I sliced into my thumb. Yelled a word that most Christians would be appalled at me for, and burst into tears. I got off the phone and held my hand under the sink, letting my tears annoint the pain and maybe also some of the stress of the day. Next thing I know I hear a softly mumbling Grace at my side and her arms are stretched up to me. I can't pick her up since I'm still stopping the blood so she just holds onto my legs and is quietly talking in her own language, looking up at me often, wondering about my tears. Finally I am able to pick her up and she holds me. Grace has shown me a couple times before too that she is a sympathetic little one. She seems to know what pain is and is quick to be at my side to make it better for me. And her efforts, in her own fashion, really do minister to me and I feel like she understands me.

Once dada got home, they played for a while and then he put on Cinderella, sitting them in his lap to watch it for the first time. The girls loved it and watched it forever. There was a long scene between the cat and a mouse that was building with anxious excitement as the mouse was almost caught a couple of times. The music grew the emotion around it and at one point in the scene Kanah started crying a little bit and then a little more. At first I just thought it was random but when she started up again right as the scene got heated, Jason and I looked at each other and realized that she was really scared of the cat or maybe scared for the mouse and it brought her to tears. I guess I was just surprised that a one and a half year old is starting to experience fear in watching a scene on television. She was able to recognize that this wasn't happy anymore but it struck a cord in her to cry. Jason said in that moment, "Kanah is our emotional one, isn't she?" She can be so firey. When she does her lion roar, it's crazy ferocious (whereas Grace's sounds like...well, just not like a lion). When Kanah throws a tantrum, it's all over the floor. She grunts when she doesn't like something or when the puzzle pieces won't go in right. And when she smiles it shows all of her teeth back to the molars. She says "hi" with a loud, clear voice and when you're on her good side, you are hugged and snuggled with all of her might. What an emotional little being, both happy and sad.

After Cinderella and then dinner, Jason took the girls up for a bath. I cleaned up the kitchen and then took a few "me" minutes. I could hear them up there but my brain soon was in its own world as I read blogs and wrote emails. Finally I heard a "MAMA!" from Jason and followed by a long series of "MAMA!" shouts from the girls. When they get done w/ their baths Jason has them start yelling for me so I can help with bedtime. I smiled from my chair in the living room. I just love being called mama. I love that some little dittles are acquainted with me in such an intimate way to call me that and to need me to come to them. I just treasured up the little shouts coming down to my ears. I got up to the bathroom where the little voices were still fixated on that one word and as I made eyes with Kanah she yelled with both a fury and a huge grin, "MAAAAMAAA!" and I thought my ears would burst.

These little girls have such determination and emotion inside of them when they set their hearts on something. And I enjoy it when their hearts are set on me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Confession on thankfulness

After thanksgiving was over I realized I did not spend one moment that day being thankful apart from an agreement in spirit during the prayer before our feast. Jason and I are always thinking through what we would like the traditions of our family to look like and although we have already begun to enjoy some of those, I think this year's day of thankfulness snuck up on me. So I confess an unthankful heart and wish to express my gratitude now.

Thank you, Lord...

For my faithful husband and precious daughters. I never, ever, ever thought I would get to enjoy a family this beautiful and it's a continual surprise how much my heart longs to be close to them and to enjoy them fully.

For this baby boy you are creating in my womb. He was a surprise from the beginning and the fact that we were going to get to be the caretakers of a little boy was an even greater surprise! And Lord you know how I like to be surprised but I always ruin them, so what a great gift of grace and I never saw it coming!

For our church. Anytime I start to get puffed up and think I know something about anything I am humbled to realize that it is because of the scripture, teaching, instruction, correction, and wisdom you have placed in my life at Mars Hill. As my friend Annie posted today from Proverbs, "He who walks with the wise grows wise."

My friends who pursue me from both near and far away. I need you in my life. I appreciate your calls, emails, play dates, and endless pursuits of me. I am a sinner who doesn't know how to love you as well as I should but I am practicing grace and I know God is blessing me through your life, words, and actions.

My families. I am blessed to have so much family in my life, both from childhood and also family I have been adopted into through Jason. I could not have survived the beginnings of motherhood without you and I still can't find enough ways to express this.

For the little things...A sunny day today. The smell of our Christmas tree. The silence in my ears right now. The comfort and safety of a home (okay, not such a little thing). My VAN ;). Hot coffee. Mint chocolate chip ice cream. My energy you give me to take care of the girls even though I am pregnant. Worship music on my ipod in the kitchen. The beautiful mountains I can see from here. So many things Lord...

Thank you Jason...

For enjoying me more than anything else in your life. I know this because your favorite place to be is at home and it blesses me to know you love me so much.

For staying faithfully persistent with me. I know I am a handful!! This is for sure! But you never give up on us, no matter what the season. I am so thankful for this diligence in you to press through trials and to always always reconcile and be close.

For loving the girls. For enjoying having them with you as you get ready in the morning. For wrestling with them right when you walk in the door even though I know you could use some rest. For taking them so I can have time. For feeding them when I just can't do it one more meal that day. For getting on your hands and knees to clean up their messes. For kissing and hugging them constantly.

For going to work everyday. I would not want to trade places with you and I treasure getting to be at home with the girls. I cannot explain how thankful I am for how you shelter me from stresses that you take on yourself to provide and protect.

For little, washing dishes, taking out the stinky diaper bags, putting up our Christmas lights, drinking water (hehe), making the girls' morning milk every night, always always being a part of bedtime and morning time, complimenting my cooking, telling me how great I look, following through on the things around the house that drive me crazy, picking up if I leave off on a task or chore, calling about the multi-chopper piece - still sorry about that one, being graceful graceful graceful with your imperfect wife who loves you very much and who is doing her best to show you that ;).

Thank you Kanah and Grace...

(Yes, I have so much to thank you girls for too! I have felt from the beginning that I should let my daughters know how they are changing my life for the better, how the Lord is using them to teach me, love me, and grow me as a woman. So here are some of the ways...)

For all your hugs and kisses. It feels so good to be loved by children. To have your arms thrown around me and for your head to be resting so heavily on my shoulder. Touch in human relationships is so brief and momentary but with you, you linger on me and show me how to be still to enjoy holding and being held. I love your weight on me.

For all of your words. For pointing to me and saying mama and waving and saying "hi" with that long, two syllable vowel. For learning to say sorry (sa sa). For the cute ways you say "bite" and "down" and "hug." Your voices are little treasures, I can't get enough.

For helping mommy to not be lazy and selfish. You help me rise in the morning, spend my days wisely, and go to bed knowing I have been encouraged by your presences to put my priorities in order.

For your hands of worship. When any music comes on (we'll have to work on showing you the difference) you raise your hands to heaven. You remind me to worship the Lord and to know when "the music comes on" in my life to praise Jesus for all I have been given, with a thankful heart.

You show mommy how to be still, how to put my lists and agendas aside, and how to practice a new way of life. I believe getting to be your mommy has actually eliminated a lot of stresses that used to be in my life because the Lord uses you to teach me the discipline of sitting and enjoying.

Even for the times you are disobedient or sinful with each other, even in those moments I sense the Holy Spirit teaching me to be humble about my own pride, stubbornness and sin. As I discipline you, I feel Him teaching me that I am not perfect either and we all need to be turned constantly in the direction of humility and to grace.

Lord, thank you for all the unspoken as well. Right now as I have taken this time to turn my heart to thanksgiving, I actually feel you transforming my heart away from a negative focus and onto your blessings. Please help me keep a heart of praise, using these lips to bless, not curse. You are a good God, giving good gifts to your children.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My current state

I just ate a snickers bar, you know a full sized one – not a leftover halloween mini, that I had to stand on my tippy toes to pull down from the top shelf of the pantry. I then broke my feet and my shoulder again to reach a bottled coke, stored in the back of a costco box on top of the freezer in the garage. I froze the liquid delight for too long and opened it to find myself repeatedly slurping the rim as it sat like a fiesty volcano on my kitchen island. Of course a little bit leaked over the side, which just made anyone who knows me a bit cringe for my sake and also know that my next move was for a napkin to wrap around the perimeter of the liquid delight bottle. Moments later I became Joey, if you know him you know what I mean, and rebuked Jason as he put the bottle to his lips and insisted he pull away from it. This was less than thirty minutes after writing a blog on the topic “romance” for my writing group. Somewhere in there I wrote about selflessness being romantic. Hmm. With Jason upstairs now, the room is quiet, except for an occasional chug. I haven’t yet stored the puzzle pieces back in the ziplock bags or picked up the wipes that always find themselves drying outside of the package. Socks are a room away from their pair and a dirty diaper lies where it was air bombed from the other side of the room hours ago. “Melmo” and “Mammy” lay peacefully and awkwardly on the floor. A dustbuster is conveniently sitting on the chair and all four remotes have been misplaced. And exercise ball is apparently part of my fall decor on one of our living room tables because it’s been sitting there so long that the layer of dust collected over weeks has fallen around it. My knees feel tight sitting here and I straighten my legs every once in a while. It reminds me of hospital bedrest and I think of my friend. I am wondering when the dittle bug in my belly is going to wake up from this sugar rush and give me something to get distracted by. I felt him for the first time nine days ago now. Jason got a text from me while in a meeting. I like it when I lay flat and can see the shape of my uterus forming. When I stand up all my belly just rounds over it and I can’t tell what is left over twin babies, what is me and what is the new baby. I’m sitting on my living room couch, purple blanket my mom gave us for our wedding gift tucked all around me, particularly tight over my feet. My toes curl over each other and are frozen there, staying warm. And this belly is tucked right at the edge of the computer. I just had my first tired moment of the night. I yawn and realize that it is exactly 10pm. I would laugh if I weren’t tired. I am amused in my head though. I do a lot of my living from in there, in my head, Jason always reminds me. I’m realizing what an introvert I am. My cold white bedsheets are starting to appeal to me, though walking from here to there makes me want to take a nap here for a while. I’d have to gather the half of my clothing I’ve already removed, turn off lights and waddle upstairs. Another swig of my coke goes down. I’ve only had half. Just had an instant of guilt for not giving my love that sip – I never finish anything I drink. Ten o three. Not lasting much longer here. Ni Ni.


Read my hubby's blog. I like his brain.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Live Justly

We had a friend over for dinner the other night who I’ll call Friend. Friend is quite an interesting character and has lots to say on more than 80% more topics than I know anything about. I welcomed him into our home at the beginning of the evening, brain-fried from a long day with one year olds. I did a lot of staring and playing with the girls while he was at our house. Somewhere between cooking and eating our hot sandwiches, politics came up and said Friend announced that he doesn’t vote. This totally shocked me since he’s so in to everything. I think he thinks it won’t matter and all that’s important is getting the gospel out there.

Pretty much ever since this conversation I’ve gone back to this in my head a number of times. I feel disturbed, yet I understand a part of what I think he’s getting at based on my own story with politics.

I grew up in a diverse political family in the south, but mostly our immediate family declared us Republicans. Some of the family influence had a heart with a fierce, “let’s get those damn yankees” type shell. Republicans are the good guys and Democrats are the bad guys. Whatever the Republicans do and say is right. Even when a clear mistake is made, abundant forgetful grace is poured out, whereas a vigilant scrutiny stands for any trippings on the other team. I'm not excluding my own thinking here. I wore my own white hat with pride.

I remember taking this similar philosophy into religion with me when I got serious about my faith in high school. I felt I had the white hat on and all the sinning non-christians had black hats and were bad people, unlike me. I had to be perfect to maintain the title Christian and if I messed up, you had to do the sweep it under the rug deal that us Republicans did with our abundant forgetful grace. Homosexuals were bad. Heterosexuals were good. Drinkers were bad (be it one beer or ten). Abstainers were good. The sexually active were bad. Virgins were good (even if it’s only technically a virgin, sweep the rest under the rug). This mentality actually made a destructive legalist out of me and warped my every relationship until around age twenty five.

There was one particular influence that had a slightly different twist on politics for me, though I'll leave out the who, at least on this post. Let's call said person Bob. (Not my uncle by the way). Bob questioned everyone, even his own team, especially his own team. Bob’s general philosophy is that America used to be perfect and now it’s completely corrupt and it sucks. Bob started out as a Republican and began slowly to notice that his party wasn’t exactly pristine. It had cracks. Big cracks. And it seemed to him like the parties were all looking the same. Whether a Democrat or a Republican were in office, similar decisions were being made, all going in a direction that seemed to Bob to lead away from what our founding fathers would have wanted. When I think of the founding fathers of this country I think that is where Bob has thrown all the good hats he knows about. Everyone who was good and just lived in the 1700’s when they created this country and everything was perfect then because government was not yet tainted by sinners like we have in office today. So he registered independent. I remember him getting excited about one independent, or true Republican, after the next. Ross Perot. Pat Buchanan. Most recently Ron Paul. I think he fluctuates between going underground altogether and endorsing the newest maverick underdog as the one savior for this country. I may sound cynical how I am writing this. I don’t think he’d like my evaluations or maybe just how I am saying it. Truth be known, Bob is probably the most influential person I’ve ever known politically and it played out in my life in ups and downs. But overall I respect his political critique.

But in the prime of teenage years, around the years that we were talking about the New World Order and antichrists and all kinds of conspiracy theories, I kind of bought into it all. I didn’t want to be a Republican. I traded my Friends of the Earth magazine in for the New American and printed out articles on what hogwash the environmental crisis is. I remember small obsessions about black helicopters and the Oklahoma City bombing being government produced and the anti-constitutional actions taken during the Waco incident. Let’s not even get into the year 2000. I would lash out at home at my family if they dismissed these political accusations. They didn’t know what to do with me and I think they thought I was a little crazy and brainwashed. I can clearly remember having a conversation with a friend about all of this outside of my house in my car. I was really worked up and crying about it all because I didn’t know what to do about it. (Future mental note – this is a good reason to not overwhelm a hormonal teenager with issues they don’t have any control over). I remember feeling like if I didn’t do something then I’d have a chip under my skin and the tribulation would be in full effect as of next week.

Around college and pretty much ever since I’ve been out from under that camp. Although ever since I have also still been impacted and do not trust either political party one lick. I still vote. I vote Republican. But I vote because someone has to do it and since I can’t pick the nominees, I can only pick what I consider to be the lesser evil. All of this influence on me early on did leave an enormously impactful stain on me that I can’t trust anyone in politics. And actually that's about right.

My most freeing season from all of this was getting into the calvary chapel in California but mainly Mars Hill in Seattle. My legalism was shattered and a Jesus grace centered approach to my life altered everything. I saw myself as ugly as I really was. And I saw Jesus as beautiful as he really was. And I saw everyone that way. He’s the only good guy. The rest of us are screw-ups and need him. And if we act like we’ve got it together don’t trust us. It’s not real. So living in the truth of being a genuine sinner in need of constant washing of grace also transformed my politics. Bob’s influence was right in this area – I can’t depend on anyone to be my savior except my Savior, Jesus. HIS Kingdom is the prize I lean foward towards at the end of the race. That is my hope. That is when peace and perfect justice will reign. That is when all lost will be found and all broken will be restored. And in the meantime we’re just juggling broken pieces, trying to not let it all fall. I also saw that in Romans 13 it says that he appoints all rulers and authorities that have ever existed and who will ever exist. This means that sometimes he appoints people I didn’t vote for. Imagine that. God uses rulers for his purposes. He doesn’t think there’s a good guy or a bad guy either. He carries out purposes and he allows decisions to be made for a nation that sometimes are evil, because he turns us over in our sin. And sometimes in turning us over we see his wrath here on earth in our very nation. But mostly we see his wrath held back by a strong patient arm of common grace. He will tread the winepress of the wrath of his fury when he comes again and I do not want to be under his feet in that day.

So if my hope is in a future Kingdom, why do I vote now for an imperfect president who God is just going to appoint anyway?

When I vote, it’s not just for a person, it’s for everything that they will be putting their hands to as they work and carry out the wishes of the people. It’s all the issues under their feet that I am concerned about. It doesn’t mean that I believe John McCain is my savior. I certainly have a zillion doubts about his ability to be that. But I see the issues under his feet and when I look at Scripture I believe the Lord has put some things under my care, as long as they are up to me.

For example, James says that “Religion God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So in my life (not focusing on politics right now), I am to be living as a believer by looking out for the widows and orphans. So today these are called social issues. The foster care system is a social issue that God cares about. Jason and I have a huge heart for this right now. So looking up the ranks at how to be the best advocate I can for the orphans in distress, I must look all the way up to the government because they supply funds for these children. If I never look this far and only bring them a $25 gift at Christmas, I am not being the best advocate I can on this issue. This is just an example.

There are many open handed issues in politics. Taxes. Health care. War. Etc. And everyone may have different convictions, even as Christians. I got on a website the other day that listed all the issues that McCain and Obama have made statements about and it also showed their voting records on these issues until now. There were like fourteen of them. In my mind, to decide who to vote for, I have to prioritize the issues. I'm not 100% a certain party. I doubt anyone is truthfully. But we can't pick and choose our issues, we have to mostly agree with one party. So for me, I it's not about how many issues I agree with on one side, but the weight for me really gets heavy if it's a moral issue that goes against the Word of God, what God says is wrong but culture might deem alright. Namely I am referring to the right to life. This is where a "closed handed" issue (something not up for discussion but already is decided by God) weighs much more to me than "open handed" issues (issues up for discussion, you have to go by your personal convictions).

So are there any political issues on the table that would actually go against the moral authority of the Bible. Yes, abortion. This is why I don’t think I could ever ever ever ever ever vote democrat. Because if I prioritize my social issues, this is number one because murder is a sin and is obviously a closed handed issue and not something I can get around. It’s not like I can say, well abortion is murder but I don’t mind if my guy supports that as long as we get out of Iraq. And also I am responsible for what I vote for. How can I allow myself to be responsible for partial birth aborted babies? Babies who look just like babies in the hospital every day except a little smaller? Why are they worth less than a little more freedom for the individual who decides they don't want them? I know it's not always that black and white, though many times it is. But even in all the complicated issues with abortion and all the excuses that seem so valid sometimes to an individual, I still cannot get around the fact that abortion, in particular the sickness and wickedness of partial birth abortion, is killing a child and stealing their right to life. All their potential joys and smiles and relationships and hugs and hopes - stolen. Murdered. Most of the time for a little more "freedom" for the one who paid for that murder.

So back to prioritizing issues, I allow the Bible and the Holy Spirit to prioritize these issues and then I feel I have a responsibility according to Micah 6:8 “He has told you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” This verse, among others, pushes me towards living as justly as I can and wherever possible, however possible, even if it’s one vote towards life, to live out Christ’s loving justice on earth.

So for these reasons, and even with the background I am coming from, I have a strong desire to keep voting. When I vote I do feel kind of sick usually. Part of me feels like, yeah, something is going to change. But most of me feels sick and hopeless. Because this world is evil and most people don’t care about the Jesus and what he’d like to see around here. But I do know there is a Kingdom which will be ushered in without the vote of the populace. In fact I know the populace has already voted it down in their living. And that Kingdom will reign with the true justice we all long for. And on that day my heart will be freed from worry and concern and I will carry the weight of all that is wrong on my shoulders no longer. Praise to His glory.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Officially freaked out

i am officially freaked out by children. not my own. other kids...out the world. the ones that aren’t my kids.

i had been all excited about the new third floor kids’ play area at bellevue square mall. that was not the disappointment of the day, by the way. that part was actually a perfect discovery and costs nothing and i will be there all the time. mom and i brought the girls there in the late afternoon and jason met us on his way from work. we rounded the corner to a large, circular play area with benches for the parents around the perimeter. the play area had about six or eight little thingamajiggers for the kids to crawl on and slide on and crawl through, etc. (i just stared at the screen for like thirty seconds searching for what to say besides thingamajiggers, but that’s all i’ve got). the only examples i can remember were a ferry boat and an iceberg. go wild with imagination. anyhow it was definitely worth more than a free pass. i would have paid for a season’s pass if it required one. seattle parents have got to stay on top of what’s out there, well “in” there, because of the rain.

so i’m getting to the freaked out part.

we kicked off our shoes and i’m sweating before i’ve taken three steps. the girls got quickly obsessed with this iceberg thing that had steps and a slide. it was swarming with kids. jason and i assigned ourselves to one of the girls. my initial euphoria began to wear off a little when i started swirling in the insanity of kids running and flying and tumbling over each other. the height limit was 42 inches and clearly there was no security enforcing any rules. i’m only 62 inches so i was easily gaging the rule breaking. we just had to stick close and make ourselves the girls’ little body guards.

when grace plays she is really focused on one of two things. she either is focused on her task of conquering a challenge. or else she is staring at someone. she isn’t super friendly, which is fine with me at these places. her stares aren’t admiration. she’s sizing them up to see if she should run to us or if she can keep exploring in peace.

kanah, on the other hand, is only about 10% explorer and 90% friend maker. she spends a lot of time sitting in this awkward position with her knees bent under her and feet angled out in a way that my legs would have to be broken to imitate. she stares too but then smiles and laughs and really wants to interact.

so eventually of course our little “most likely to have 1000 friends by second grade” made a friend. i have been calling her miranda ever since. just worked for me. she had to be like seven or eight. i literally don’t even know how she found us. in all the chaos who knows. but she kind of cozied up to kanah and smiled a lot and then would dart away, kind of skipping off to another thingamajigger. kanah would laugh and reach out her arms and then get distracted and go about her way. and then miranda would come back and cozy up close to kanah’s face and laugh with her and maybe follow her up the stairs. eventually they were both crawling around the floor, kind of chasing each other through this tunnel.

it wouldn’t have been so weird if miranda was near kanah’s age. but it kind of felt like kanah had a stalker. i’m serious, it felt weird and you’ll just have to believe me. at this point jason and i have gone from smiling and playing around to giving each other a look like, “who is this little girl and what do we do?” playtime at bellsquare for us went from playful time with our kids to full on kick some booty bodyguarding of our precious little daughters.

her behavior was just strange. she had some little charm in her hand and she’d show it to kanah, kind of prompting her to want to take it and then as kanah would finally reach for it, she’d laugh and snatch it away and crawl off for a minute before coming back. at this point i’m thinking, um, did someone drop off a demon...or is there actually a parent wanting to claim this little chump. jason and i actually did spot the mama at one point. she had a baby in a carriage and had her head buried in a book. i stared at her a long time as miranda ran all around, getting into all kinds of things, and getting mixed up in all the crowds of people. the mama didn’t look up once the whole time i stared at her. i started to understand miranda a little better but that didn’t make it easy for her to be around kanah.

miranda was very unusual. she didn’t like me. at first i tried to be nice but then got all bodyguard on her when she’d come up too close to kanah’s face. at one point she actually kissed kanah on the cheek after i’d already told her that she could play with kanah but would have to give her some space. after the kiss i gave her a direct order to not touch my daughter and that i knew who her mama was if i needed to speak with her. she scowled at me and crawled away kind of crazily.

she came back up to me, mom and kanah when we found a toy on one of the perimeter walls. she came running up and got about one foot away from my mom and shouted “no!” with an ugly look on her face. it was actually a slightly insane moment. my mom had just been sitting there. i thought maybe she was jealous about kanah but then realized my mom wasn’t even playing with kanah, i was. miranda shouted it twice and ran off again and at this point i was convinced she had similar issues as some of the foster children i’ve worked with: likes to play with children in a much younger age bracket, has wild eyes, doesn’t like discipline, has experienced much neglect, cannot focus on a task, is seemingly attached one minute and devisive the next, has wild abusive type behaviors towards children and adults alike, doesn't know how to give or receive love, etc.

so you can kind of see why i officially got freaked out by other kids that day. miranda made me look around at all the kids. some of them seemed like my girls, normal and playful, and didn’t have any of those odd behaviors listed above. but you never know who the mirandas are. there are many kids who behave oddly. and there are also many weird adults. i mean, if i had decided to read a book like miranda’s mom, there could be any number of kidnappers just walk into that insane play area and scoop one of my daughters up and walk off and no one would have any idea.

i think i’m freaked out in a good way. but i hate it. when i am at home with my girls they are so peaceful, so wonderful. i'm not saying they are perfect or not naughty or selfish, but their spirits are sweet. i know they have a sin nature, but there is a purity and goodness in them that has not been fully tainted by life yet. and i guess i just felt a little weirded out that day because it felt like one of the first times i felt the need to shelter them from the world or something. so we’ve decided to stay away from classes and pre-school and playgrounds and homeschool the girls when they’re ready. just kidding, that’s not where i am headed here. but let me just say for a moment...i hate the world and i am ready for what heaven will be like for all of us. i hate feeling freaked out for good reason. i want a good life for my girls but i know the world is gross and run by sick motives all around them. and i know that they need jesus too, so that they don’t pollute the world as well. i guess i just felt the icky-ness of humanity that day and how a seemingly carefree environment could feel like a place to be on guard. i’m just glad, i guess i’m saying, that we’ll eventually live in a place that won’t feel like that. and i can read a book on the sidelines without watching the doors or putting a sign in the street saying “slow down, children playing” or setting our alarm at night. and the mirandas out there need jesus. and it’s quite tricky as a parent to know how to love them and also be wise about our children. i love my daughters. i want to be a good mama. i want to see them as they really are too, including all of their sins and tendencies too. and that’s why i’ll be praying much more now. because i got a little more feel for the world the other day. and i'm freaked out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Joys

I went to Target with my baby girls. You both sat in the shopping cart in the back since you both can’t fit in the front together anymore without your legs getting squished. You can’t stay sitting down in the back though; it’s too exciting rolling through all the aisles. Your little arms reach straight out to feel along the racks as we pass by. If I dare to stop I turn to find about eight blue t-shirts pulled down in a pile, one of them triumphantly waving over your head. You get mad when I put them back without leaving one in the cart. We headed to your section of the store. We no longer find the littlest clothes. We have moved on to the little girl clothes. I found you some new jeans, about six months smaller than you are but they look perfect. A little purple and blue owl print shirt and a green and white polka dot shirt catch my eye. But we’re headed for the mountains today and you’re out of clothes so I’ve got to keep looking for warmer clothes. I have never bought you jackets. They looked like something for school age kids. I didn’t think I would be able to find your size but when I did it seemed like both of you could climb into it. But again it was six months younger than you little munchkins and yes it was going to fit. You were going to look like twin marshmellows...but they were going to fit. Both had little furry hoods. I had also found the sweetest plum purple peacoats, but decided daddy would think the heavier winter coats more practical. Maybe the peacoats for another day. You also needed shoes. After another pile pickup and a small tantrum over a mess of some kind of glittery white tutu skirts, we found the most perfect little white tennis shoes. These felt like your first official shoes even though you’ve been wearing them for months. Size fours. A little big but with the velcro we could make these last until summer I think.

On your first day in Whistler when we decided to go on a hike your outfits all came together and I nearly cried. You wore white turtlenecks with jeans and your new tennis shoes. Both of you really were interested in getting them on and sporting them around the living room like big girls, all proud. You would kick up the heel, step back, looking down to admire your new gear. Then we put your new jackets on and the hit of the new attire was the furry hood. Isn’t it for all women? Miss Glory began to press her lips against it like it was a new stuffed animal, kind of wrapping her lips around it and then sitting up to look at it again before she nose-dived to nuzzle it again. But when I thought I couldn’t stare any more motherly at you, your aunt asked if she could do your hair. I went and got the tiny little hair ties and watched as she brushed your hair, parted it down the middle, and made you the cutest little baby girl hairdo’s I’ve ever seen. Glory girl had bushy pigtails high up on the back of your head, one tail frizzy and full while the other one was sticking out straight in every direction. And little Beauty had low lying little pigtails since most of your hair falls straight at the bottom and is sparse on top.

I felt like a seasoned mother, the way I sat still on that sofa looking you both up and down while all gawked around you. You looked so tall, even though you are only in the 3rd percentile compared to other kids. I never knew one and a half year olds could look this big. Your new outfit might as well have been a cap and gown. I’m sure I’ll sit still, glowingly, at your first day at a class, and your first day at preschool, and your first day at a sports game, and the first time you make a real friend, and the first time you ride a bike and bring home an art project and on and on. You are eighteen months and that same stillness will rise up in me so many times to come and I really don’t know if I can bear it. It is both an awe at who you have become and what you are able to do. And also a small sadness that, I suppose without my knowing, I have passed into being the mother of an older child. But it isn’t only sadness. It is also a great joy in getting to be a part of the best thing I can imagine – watching my children grow.

When you were younger I wrote in your journals something that you can find in the Bible later. Paul, a great man you will read more about, loved this group of people that Jesus gave him a big heart for. And when he talked about them, it reminds me of how I feel about you when I sat there on that couch, pigtails flying and little furry hoods flopping about. This is what he said about them and what I say about you, my little loves, “You are my joy and my crown, my glorious ones in whom is all my delight.” Getting to be your mama, to get the pleasure of knowing you, is my joy and my crown. This means that God has bestowed on me the beauty of mothering you and because he made you as beautiful and wonderful as you are in his image, you are a crown on my head. Don’t you see, loves, the honor you have in my life? I have no greater honor than being around you. Than being home with you and playing with you and hugging you when you are sad and serving all your needs, even the smelly ones. You are my joy and my crown. And you are my glorious ones in whom is all my delight. Because God created you and formed our relationship, he tells me to take joy and delight in the role he has given me in your life. And as I love you and enjoy you to pieces, he is honored because I am being the woman I was designed to be. So this is my joy and today as I delighted in who you have become, my little lady babies turned lady girls, I rejoice and praise God for you.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I saw a goat on a farm today, off of Issaquah Fall City Road. His noggin was pressed under the fence with his heiny awkwardly perched up in the air and front limbs bent underneath themselves. He was eating some grass from under the gate. But he looked so strange, in such an unusual position and all.

I don't know why it got me thinking about my hang up on "calling" lately. I think some people really live by calling and some people make up their own callings. I feel like when we try to make up our own calling we're like that goat, getting ourselves in the most silly of positions just so we can get what we want out of life. I mean, it’s so easy to make our own callings, right? Tired of where you live? Move. Hate your job? Quit. Relationships are hard? Don’t deal with them. I think the goat in me wants to live that way. But yuck. Who wants to be a goat. I want to live a life worthy of the calling I have received. That is the heart Jesus put in me when he carved out my goat’s heart eighteen years ago.

But how do we recognize a calling as being different from what we are just choosing? When should we beware of speaking for God? What if we feel called in general, like something is supposed to be in our lives, but the timing hasn’t come along yet? Does that make the calling seem less valid?

I haven't read Oswald Chambers in years. It used to be my favorite devotional, well my only devotional. I don't love them. I happened upon his September 29th entree. Here are some selections:

"We are apt to forget the mystical, supernatural touch of God. If you can tell me where you got the call of God and all about it, I question whether you have ever had a call. The call of God does not come like that, it is much more supernatural. The realization of it in a man’s life may come w/ a sudden thunder clap or with a gradual dawning, but in whatever way it comes, it comes with the undercurrent of the supernatural, something that cannot be put into words; it is always accompanied with a glow. At any given moment there may break the sudden consiousness of this incalculable, supernatural, surprising call that has taken hold of your life – “I have chosen you.” If a man or woman is called of God, it does not matter how untoward circumstances are, every force that has been at work will tell for God’s purpose in the end. If you agree with God’s purpose He will bring not only your conscious life, but all the deeper regions of your life which you cannot get at, into harmony.”

Missing home. That's what started this month or two long journey of thoughts through what our calling is right now. I felt myself caring more about the missing than the calling. I felt my rebellion. I was pushing something out of my mind, outside the sphere things I nurture in my life. Like I was loosely allowing some disorder so I could let myself taste what it would be like to think about leaving. I allowed, even welcomed, any agreement to confirm my distaste for staying. The missing felt like it fed something in me that I hadn’t allowed to eat in a while. So I gorged myself on it. I felt the tray being taken away a couple of times and I clamored for it back. I ate the missing and got sick on it. For one month. I don’t think it’s wrong to miss. Or even wrong to hope my calling changes one day and to wonder what God has. As long as I can be all here as long as he has me here. Paul prayed and hoped he would get to return places to people he loved. But in the obsession of missing I felt like that goat on the fence. Not wanting to sit upright. Stubbornly crouched, awkwardly munching on a patch underneath the other side of the fence.

The staying was too hard. Staying. Isn't the idea of "staying" sometimes the most difficult idea we can think of? Staying in a job that is so boring. Staying at home when the world seems so alluring. Staying in a marriage because God is asking you to be faithful. Staying in a city because God loves it even though you don't, like Jonah. Staying...right where you are. I see many people who can't stay. They know somewhere inside that they are running. And the staying is just the most painful thing they would have to do because...they might have to grow. They might have to learn what it means to persevere. They might have to be humble. They might have to learn patience. And that all feels painful. This is true. God told us in Hebrews that his discipline might feel painful but in the end it brings a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. But in staying these places in you that make you wonder about moving about and wondering about your calling seem hard to satisfy.

I like that Oswald described places “you cannot get at.” I have places like that. But isn’t it funny that these places can get at me. They come out of the deep and visit me and remind me of parts of me that are not yet understood and discovered. They find me and sit at my roots and have little chats with me and I wonder and wonder. How is it then that I cannot get at them? I can’t seem to ask these places questions or visit them. I can’t make them go away. There is one passage of Scripture that gets at these places in me. I can’t believe how directly it addresses this unknowing I constantly feel. This wondering about life and answers and calling and purpose.

1 Corinthians 13:12 "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

I cannot get at my whole heart. I cannot get at all the confusion in my heart sometimes. I cannot get the fullness of God. I see and know in part. The faithful Holy Spirit illuminates as needed. And I trust, fully, for the seen and unseen, for the parts I know and the parts I do not. I am fully known though I do not know fully. Being fully known, do I understand this? If I am fully known then what I am reading says I am not capable of getting it but there is someone who does. And it's God my Father. He wove my calling. I see it in part. I can't quite get at it. But instead of being a goat, Scripture gives me another way to be. John 10:27 "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."

In the mix of places in me that I can't get at and longings to do different things and the missing of familiar places, there is much confusion about this whole calling thing. But I believe Jesus. He speaks. I may not know all of me. But he knows me. I may not hear well. But his voice speaks to me and he makes me hear him. He is who I need to follow. And if I listen and walk, I cannot be snatched away. Or stay in confusion. Or get lost. Or find myself in a selfish game of calling myself. All these places I can't get at, will be in harmony.

That sounds right to me. So for now I'm going to stay.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wet Cuffs

i wasn't so sure about it
was even a little angry about it
i was ready to trade it all in for roaches and mosquitos
and heat meant only for steam rooms
and just leave without my bags
i could get all new stuff and
some scavenger would move into our abandoned abode
it kept me bitter and mentally estranged
for about four weeks,
coming before it's welcome and all
poor august wasn't so appreciative
to have it's studly reputation ruined
i mean, did it have to be such a little mouch
when it had so much attention every year already?
reminds me of my girls swooping in on each other's toys
and dashing off, gleefully holding their victory
up over their heads
just as this weather has held it's victory clouds up over
our summer clothes and laughed a little at us
i guess it's fall
because elias and i stomped the crunch out of fallen leaves today
with his smiling green smiling rainboots
while my girls toddled about in pink sweaters and
wispy curls tossed by the wind
i looked out on wavering evergreens today,
rustling in the feel of the new season
the hastas were bowing down
in submission to a damp earth
and i felt cold
from the wet cuffs of my jeans sticking to my bare ankles
which won't dry now until july
i knew i was going to be okay with it though
a couple of weeks ago
in one single day it was decided for me by two blessings
i had lost my favorite sweater
losing things - not strange for me
i've lost many things, the most recent one being
my birth certificate
along with my entire
"important documents folder"
the silly beloved little thing popped out from under
a pile of scrapbooking supplies one day
imagine that
(i claim to be organized by the way)
and later that day i found myself ordering at starbucks
a sign in orange announced the return of the glorious pumpkin spice latte
my heart was changed
i knew i could do it
wet cuffs and all i felt a renewed okay-ness
maybe it was bribery
maybe i had been outwitted by fall's finest gameplay
but by my choice or manipulation
here i am actually looking forward to what comes down to
really really bad weather for a really really long time ;)
i can almost feel the mush of pumpkin seeds on my fingertips
and the fireplace blazing a burn onto my back
and our huddled bodies keeping warm as we walk streets together
fall is here
and after quite a relational battle,
i think we're reconciled with our differences and
i have somehow, miraculously, come to feel that i like it again

Monday, September 29, 2008

Six O'Clock En Gedi

I am a visitor to my own blog. I haven't been on here in three weeks and I almost forgot what this little spot was like. On some of my friends' blogs they have a list of blogging world favorites that visitors can click on to read. They are organized by who has written most recently. I am hitting the bottom of the list. Time to write.

I am stealing my lovely friend Jessi's idea to write about En Gedi. We are in week two of the Peasant Princess series at Mars Hill church, which covers the book of Song of Solomon and includes topics such as sex, dating, marriage, and gender roles. Pleeeeease get on board with this series if you have any time whatsoever. You can listen while washing dishes, playing with babies, taking a shower. Really there's no reason or activity you must do that would get in the way. Get on it for sure.

So En Gedi. A piece of the sermon focused briefly on this place called En Gedi where David went to take refuge from Saul. It was an oasis watered by a spring, located on the west side of the Dead Sea. Jason and I actually visited En Gedi when we went to Israel and it looked like a place hidden away, like some place I would probably like to sit for hours on the side of a mountain with a journal.

The verse was Song of Solomon 1:14, "My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi." The idea Mark, our teaching pastor, talked about was that we should be providing En Gedi for our husbands, that they might delight in the environment we give.

En Gedi is our safe place, our place to be restored and refreshed, a place not just for us but a place to provide for our husbands in love. When Jason gets home it's kind of...not En Gedi. It's six-ish. This is known as the witching hour for a lot of moms because dinner is in the works, the afternoon naps are wearing off, it's almost time for the girls to eat (which can be so weary w/ their eating issues and aversions), mamas are out of ideas and ready for big people time, and this is when J walks in the door. So how do I give Jason En Gedi at 6pm? If I had to give it to him any other time of day, I'd vote for that. This is literally my most weary time of the day, the time I am most apt to be ornary and irritable and to kiss him hello and then toss the girls in his direction.

Before we had kids, it was easy. En Gedi was a diet drink w/ ice, a snack (usually an interestingly random combo of cheese, crackers, and maybe something sweet), and feet propped up to watch thirty minutes of something funny. He needed a little bit of down time between work and home life to just come down from stress and enjoy being in our home. Now when he gets home, there is only one hour before the girls go to bed, so if he does that and doesn't love on them, he doesn't really get to see them weekdays.

En Gedi must have a different look in this season. Mark asked us to just ask our husbands what they think their En Gedi would be. I need to do that. I also need to show my husband I know him already by recalling what is restful to him. What things do I do or provide for him that make him glow with gratefulness? Many times it is actually just being faithful to my role as his wife and not neglecting the responsibilities I have that bring peace to our homelife.

Also when I read this verse anew I see that the lovers in this story are seeing each other as a beautiful piece of their En Gedi. "My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi." Who I am matters in the scenery of our home. Providing En Gedi also means that I check my own attitudes, making sure I am allowing the Holy Spirit to adorn me with his beauty and grace and not despise his work in making me a "blossom" for Jason.

So now a note to my beloved Jason...

Jason, I want to bring a better version of En Gedi to our home. On our wedding day, one of my handwritten vows was that I wanted our home to be a place of peace and rest for you. That was a vow I made seven years ago and I know I have not upheld it as perfectly as I could have. But I know that when I selflessly bring peace to your life as your lifelong wife and best friend, I see such relief in your eyes. It blesses our marriage. It brings us closer. And ultimately what began as selflessness brings me great joy. So please forgive me for not doing this very well. By the Holy Spirit I know I am enabled to bear better fruit. I love you sweet boy.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pro Global Warming

Today I wore a sweater on a beach. I dipped my girls fingertips into icy waters. And now I am sitting in my chilly house, tempted to turn on the fireplace...and no, we don't have air conditioning.

I live in rainy Seattle. Yes I am finally admitting it. It's rainy here. Even though it's August, our "summer" month. I used to be the one walking around pointing to the summer months of the calendar encouraging everyone to hang on just a little longer so that for eight to twelve weeks we could soak in the sun before starting over again. It's true. When it's nice here, it's the best place in the world.

But this summer has been full of rain. It's been the worst of the five years we've been here and just listening to the locals who've been here longer, they're confused too. I've gotten comments in return that I'm being negative...but...I actually think what I was doing before was self deception and now I am just being realistic :P.

So here's my thought. If this global warming thing is for real, I am all about it now. We could use a lot less rain and a lot more heat around here. Although I still think it's a farse, I'm really crossing my fingers, trying to become a believer now to keep hope for Seattle.

Sorry Texas. I vote yes for global warming.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pieces of Me

i grew up on a culdesac
where a fig tree grew
and a horseshoe trail darted into the woods
it was there i was taught to ride my bike straight
and how to climb down a riverbank
to small rocky islands
i buried a bag of coins in the garden out back
and never found it again later
i made “soup” with sally at the fence,
popped impatiens seeds with my mama
and hid from my brother in the laundry drawer for hide n seek
all my friends had two story houses
i begged my way into one at fourteen
and thought i’d arrived
a pool and a staircase
and a room that smelled of a stinky pear tree in the spring
i did somersaults four days a week, three hours a day
and begged for mexican pizza on the way home
none of us got boobs until fifteen
also didn’t have a boyfriend til then
the boys turned out to be rotten anyway
i cried through most of junior high
when my perms finally grew out
life got a little better
i spent much of my time
walking down a ramp to a room that use to be a pool
now i gathered there to meet jesus
and people who acted a little more like him than most
my heart got healed
life didn’t get much better
but my insides did
i learned my hands were made to serve
my eyes were made to see with compassion
and my mouth had a gift to give truth
i got brave and cut my hair up past my ears
a look my husband still makes much fun of
i carved out my life in the blue ridge
at lovill, then ivy hall, then banner elk
there i became much of who i am
ten years later
i lived under the face of grandfather
and i wrote on a porch where i could hear
from my purple brazilian hammock
my mind reeled from one truth to the next
and all of it came flowing out in words
over a turtle in the place i discovered
a bud for coffee
i left there after lost infatuation
and soon found love in a husband
who drove me a long ways over mountains and down long roads
to a place that made me cry
from the sight of it
pruning snapdragons and diasias
the mauve building held me in
asia put its move on me
after two years i grew a second love,
obsessing over kimchi eaters and the politeness of japan
the rains called us north
past mt shasta, past crater lake,
past any longitude i’ve ever settled in
another culdesac and a secret path
this time with evergreens all around
to cover over my loss of our first
on walks i memorized the names of fireweed and lupine
and then watched them get bulldozed down
we found a place called mars hill
and finally realized much that is now obvious and good and right
jesus being the point of it all
my belly grew again
this time a double blessing
prophesied by our pastor’s wife in zechariah
i layed flat as a board, thinking and writing
puking and practicing stillness
til they came with the gushing off the side of a hospital bed
i became in fullnesss what was begun in my heart: a mama
and i rejoiced
from the fig tree
to the impatiens
to the pear tree
to the diascias
to the fireweed
the pieces of me grew up into the “she” that i am
kelly christian chandler
who became
kelly chandler cowan
the she who has become
some of what she was intended to
some of what she was not
and all of which is intertwined to be
who i am

Monday, July 28, 2008

Do Not Hold Back

There are a number of women I know who really want to have a baby.

I was just thinking about how if someone I know had approached me with this concern at any age up until about twenty seven I would have been so distantly compassionate. At age sixteen I would have looked through them blankly, insecure about what to say in return. At twenty I would have believed we could “claim” a child for them if we had a prayer intercession for an hour or more. At twenty four I would have listened with shame in my own heart, not knowing why I didn’t have the seemingly normal desire to be a mom yet. And at twenty six I would have wistfully, naively chimed in about how we were thinking of trying too and how great it would be to try to get pregnant at the same time during a certain time of the year.

But by twenty seven, by the time I had both lost a baby and endured a season of waiting with no results, I would have finally understood to a degree what a real conversation with these friends would feel like. How deep the grief would be. How the words really begin to not matter sometimes and yet at other times how one word can carry you for days. How it feels like a mere dangling from a line of hope. And how the pain comes so suddenly, landing on your chest like a hundred pound weight when you see a stroller. Or watch a mom despise her blessings. Or watch a child say “mama” over and over. Or when we get asked for the millionth time when we’re going to “get going” on trying to have some kids.

I hesitate sometimes to speak to you mamas. Because I know how much you’ve heard. How some words heal. How some words injure. How many words come through the air so carelessly. Lord let me not be another.

Yet, mamas I feel like the Lord had something to say about this the other day. So here’s the deal. I’m going to write it down on here. And at some point you will probably get on here and read this. And I’m going to just ask you to put my words up on a shelf and ask the Lord if he has something to say to you through this. And I’m just letting it go the moment I write it and leaving it up to you and him.

But this is for the mamas. The mamas who are still childless. The mamas who long for another child but can’t. The mamas who are single and don’t know when they will marry, if ever. The mamas who want another but whose spouses don’t. The mamas who have had and lost. The mamas who want to adopt. The mamas who hurt for hurting children in the world. All the mamas really.

I’m in a Bible study with two dear friends and we were going through some passages in Isaiah. The passage I am about to mention wasn’t in our study but my eyes floated over to it and I couldn’t escape its content. That was over three weeks ago. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it though, and the Spirit only seems to add more to my reading of that word.

Isaiah 54
“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,’ says the Lord. ‘Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the same of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”

I know that this passage has content for the people it was originally intended for. It also has content for us today, because the Word of God is alive and active, making wise the simple. When I read this, some of you came to mind immediately.

What I heard him say first is that you are already mamas. You may not physically be holding a child in your arms…but you are a mama. You are a mama when God puts that calling on you. And he did this before the creation of the world. In Ephesians 2 it says that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which he prepared beforehand, that we may walk in them. I remember when I realized I was a mama. And it was about two years before the world would say I became one. The Lord had moved my spirit to start praying about motherhood, because until then my inclinations were weak and indifferent. Through a year of writing and observing he grew the heart in me that he intended to be in me and it was a mama’s heart – years before the existence of Kanah and Grace.

Also I felt that the Spirit in me specifically noted that there is some work he intends to be done for mamas (“to be”). Rejoicing and preparation. I don’t have much to say about the rejoicing and breaking into song and all that – but lo and behold, that is what it says. Even though this passage is obviously comforting a woman in pain.

When I read the verse about enlarging your tent, stretching out your curtains, and strengthening your stakes, first it reminded me of deepening your marriage. Having children has been the toughest thing hands down on me and Jason. Because I am literally wiped. We are giving our lives away daily to these little babies. It’s our joy…but it’s our all. And because I am human, I am weak and depleted without Jesus’ continual renewal.

But mainly when I read these particular verses the Lord was talking to my heart about mamas looking around with the mama eyes and mama hearts that they have now to see the world as a mother. How would the Lord use you as a mama now? Who do you see? Who is in front of you that he is saying, go and use that heart. Go and love that little one. Go and write letters on behalf of those abused. Go and disciple those teens. Go and intercede for those lost ones. What children might he put on your heart? What social issue might he have you use that heart for now? What neighbors will you embrace? What orphans, and there are many (18,000 here in WA alone) will you love on and even foster?

When Jason and I were trying for another baby after our miscarriage, I felt like it was this lone waiting room. I am convinced now that though you are waiting for something you expect and long for, you are present in heart for something else now. Because the mama heart is there. It exists. It is truely not just a waiting room. Things are happening in that room. And that heart longs to be used to love someone. I am sure that is why it was so painful sometimes. Because that mama heart was bursting to wrap around a child.

And I do not understand the mind of the Lord, yet I humbly wonder if maybe the Lord wakes up our "mama heart" seemingly prematurely sometimes because he intends to use that loving burden now for children who not in our womb.

I saw a heart-wrenching story on Dateline the other night with Jason. We never ever watch live TV. We completely just happened upon this story on the sex trade of little girls in Cambodia. Horrific. Mothers would sell their daughters into the sex trade as slaves so as to “survive.” We saw little girls as young as eight, and some perhaps younger, telling the undercover reporters “One girl 30 dollars. Two girls 60 dollars.” Out of the mouths of skinny little eight year old girls.

Jason and I were teary the entire story. We had not intended to watch this. But we had to. I tend to be rather impulsive and wild-haired and by the time it was over I was ready to both kill some people and also sell our house and send all of our money away to Cambodia. Not to mention I was ready to adopt ten daughters. I am realizing that when I get impassioned about something I need to sit on it a while to see if it passes. If it passes, it was me getting carried away with emotion but I didn’t really get burdened. If it stays, it is from the Lord for me to pursue, because his love for people and his concern for him is not like the shifting shadows (James 1). It remains.

After watching this I also began to wonder if sometimes the Lord withholds "blood" children from certain women of God so that he can enlarge our hearts for many other children who desperately need love. This makes since to me since we are the hands and feet of Christ and sometimes we cannot look outside ourselves and our own plans unless the Lord takes away our idols and our loves. Then he can give us a new heart we didn’t know we could have.

Even already having children the Lord is using this passage to speak to me too. Some children I know who have mamas and daddies, but not good ones, are under the curtain of my tent. Some children who are “grown” but are younger than me and I have a heart for are under the curtain of my tent. One child who has no mother or father and who suffers from mental disease sits under the curtain of my tent. A boy in the Philippines rests under the curtain of my tent. Some children I know who do not have believing parents are cared for under the curtain of my tent.

And Jason and I believe the Lord is asking us again to enlarge the place of our tents, to lengthen the cords and strengthen the stakes. We believe we are being called to adopt. We have decided to just begin to listen and observe the Lord’s work in our hearts as he speaks to us through his Word, his Spirit, friends, strangers, our church, and individual conversations. We are excited to meet this child one day. And we are already his/her parents in our hearts.

Seek the Lord. Ask him if this passage has a word for you. If it does:

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Birthday Bust

(This is my version of what Jason's birthday was like this year - he also did a write up, so check out his blog)

I’m not great at planning fun things for Jason. But this birthday, his 33rd, we had something great planned. He had casually mentioned that our favorite musician, Pierce Pettis, was playing at a festival on Orcas Island. So I was like, of course we have to go, so I started planning and making it happen. We were going to leave around 4:30 and head up to the ferry terminal in Anacortes, which we guessed would take an hour. The ferry left at 5:30 and then 6:50, so we figured that would leave us time to catch one or the other. The ride to Orcas on the ferry was one hour and then a 30-ish minute drive to the site of the festival on the island. Pierce Pettis (seriously, look him up, he is amazing) was going to start playing at 9:00 and after an hour or two of musical bliss to our ears, we planned to camp on the festival grounds and then return on an early morning ferry. How romantic and fun, right?

Well. Have you ever seen those signs people put up on their car windows that say “Florida or bust!” Well, not just Florida - you get the picture. Well, obviously those people always get to the destination. You never assume that the “bust” part of the sign is a possibility. Well for us it was “Pierce or bust!” and, well, it was a bust.

So the deal is that it took two hours to get to the ferry terminal, not one, and add in the traffic and our stop for a quick bite at Qdoba, and you can see how this turned into a “bust” nightmare. We went flying up to the ferry terminal line, thrilled to see that the ferry had not yet arrived because we had gotten there at like 6:48. We waited for four cars in front of us to pay and with high hopes pulled up and declared ourselves with cash to be passengers on the 6:50.

“It’s full. Would you like to wait for the 9:00?”

It didn’t sink in the first time as we made our u-turn with cash still in hand. So we drove back through a second time to kind of beg and I guess just double check we hadn’t made that disaster up in our minds. Yep, same news twice. So…I guess there’s no Pierce, no camping, and really no birthday. No way.

I actually cannot think of a birthday bust like this in either of our lives. I felt so bad for Jason. And we were both just literally stunned and depressed. I mean, if the plans had been to go to a certain restaurant and it was randomly closed and we had to go to another one, I would not be writing this blog – promise. It’s just that out of thirty three goes at it, this was literally the best birthday plans he had ever had, ever. So…all the more reason to be completely, sickeningly depressed.

So needless to say the first five minutes driving away were totally sucky. I was doing my complete nurturer thing, trying to come up with a brilliant plan “b”. Like maybe hang out in the cool town where the terminal was – Anacortes, because it’s kind of cute and I thought we could find a place to get dessert on the marina – or something. But nothing sounded brilliant to Jason. He just wanted to drive home. After about ten minutes of depression he was able to let me joke around with him about what else we could do (though he was still set on driving the two hours back). My two best ideas were:

Midnight raspberry picking at midnight with flashlights
Hit a casino

Later on I told him I was joking about one of them. He thought I was joking about the raspberries, which made me laugh really hard b/c I was actually completely not serious about the casino. J

Thankfully, unbelievably, our rotten moods took us into a long, hilarious, ridiculous rant on our most disappointing moments in all of life…which ended up being a lot of fun especially because I took it all the way back to high school. We must have taken a hundred dives off the deep end, topping each dive with more sadness and disappointment and…laughter. At one point Jason was like, maybe you are going overboard and I quickly was like, Hey – Let me be depressed!! I GET to be depressed with you right now!!! ;). I was having fun with it and actually it ended up turning our day around…by about three degrees.

I love you baby. Let’s have a do over.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What to order, what to order

So it turns out that it’s really hard to be on a diet. My diet isn’t even hard core. It is to eat generally healthy foods, stay away from coke, workout three times a week, and I can cheat when I get desperate (as long as I don’t get desperate everyday, which seems to be the tendency). This sounds like a lenient plan to some diet professionals. I know, right?

But it’s like my body is afraid to starve and I sort of go into gorge mode, thinking if I don’t eat right now when I’m hungry, I will never get to eat. And eating in that moment, whatever is conveniently in front of me, is all I can focus on. The only thing that has saved me a few times this week was my previously sliced bell peppers and handy, yummy chef salad ingredients.

And oddly enough out of all the things that are difficult about being on a diet, you wouldn’t think that beverages would be up there on the temptation scale, would you? But yes, coke and coffee drinks have been two of my biggest desperations this week. What totally sank me was when Jason came home with a 24 pack of bottled cokes. Bottled. Canned is a nice temptation but bottled…you might as well throw five pounds on the scale, throw in some snickers for that perfect flavor companion, and scratch the word diet out of my life. It’s all over. I mean, he did it to be sweet b/c a few weeks ago I had asked if we could have them at my birthday party and he had sort of forgotten, so he was trying to make up for it. But he didn’t know I was on a diet, probably because I randomly, impulsively decided I was sick of my general laziness about health, my current body physique and the comments I was getting on it, so I probably hadn’t even mentioned it to him yet.

Tonight we were at Red Robin. (Need I write more?) I was rather proud of myself for quickly, decisively ordering an ice water. I usually get a cherry coke. Jason asked if we wanted an appetizer, eyeing the onion ring tower at the table next to us. It did look good. All I wanted now was an onion ring tower. Why couldn’t I just have my onion ring tower??!! Finally, keeping my food sanity, I reminded him, No babe I can’t eat onion that onion ring tower of goodness. I am on a diet. Ah. Success. And then in a perfect follow up move, I ordered the fajita fiesta pollo salad. It was actually very healthy and vegetable-y and yummy. But all through dinner the smell of Jason’s French fries wafted through the air and I ended up eating about four. And let’s be honest, of course I dipped them in the ranch and also the honey poppy seed dressings. Oh me. Well at least it’s not as bad as me ordering a burger with fries there like I normally do. This was definitely a diet dinner for Kelly, not for real dieters – I am aware, but I am glad I stuck with my game-plan.

Last night as I was finishing up cooking dinner, (which, incidentally, was stuffed green peppers) I burned myself a little on a hot dish. It actually didn’t really hurt, but the shock of the heat sent me bursting into tears. I stared at Jason across the room and kind of laughed between sobs. He thought I had really burned myself. I hadn’t. I had just gone kind of crazy and that burn was the moment I let the crazed feelings let loose. I realize that a lot of my issue with food is that I am carrying around a bunch of anxiety. And I’ve got to just take captive this wild impulsive desperations to eat snacks that say they will make me feel better. And these wild thoughts that convince me if I don’t eat those cheese-it’s (or whatever) then I won’t eat for three days. So I know this involves the Lord, who loves me, and is kind of pointing out ever so gently – Hey Kel, let me teach you about self-control because I’ve got that down.

So that’s the deal with the first three days of my diet. I don’t exactly cruise into new challenges all chill. I feel like I made this decision to go on a quote diet and as soon as I stepped out onto that shaky ground I just started flailing and freaking out and clamoring for the sidelines. I just need to chill out. Get some self control from the Spirit. And eat some healthy treats. Who knows, I might start to crave them. And I might start to scrunch my nose at French fries (highly unlikely). And maybe one day down the road, the way I am choosing to eat now won’t even be called “me on a diet” anymore…it will just be…me eating :).

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I hope to become a writer. I guess maybe I already am. I just get nervous making that claim. For sure one of the reasons I hesitate is because I am pretty plain in word and thought apart from observing what is going on around me. What I mean to say is that I write only because I watch life go on about me and then my mind gets moving the Spirit starts pointing things out and soon I am moved to go write something down because something has come together for me.

Just today I was putting my daughter Kanah down for a nap. She goes down for a nap with her bottle in a dark room. As I was holding her I fell into a daydream until I felt her suddenly get heavier in my arms. I looked down at her and could tell she was sound asleep. I couldn’t help but wonder if God felt that about me sometimes. I allow him to carry me but I still hold back my full weight, kind of like if someone were to carry me on their back, I wouldn’t want to hurt them so I feel like I’d be tense so as to not be dead weight on them. So I wonder when he carries us through life if he’s just rocking us, waiting for us to fall into that place of dead weight on him. He wants us to fall fully on him, as heavy as we and our hearts really are and to not hold back some of the weight for us to manage.

See now that happened just today. I learned so much from her just falling asleep on me. And I didn’t come up with that little word picture. My daughter just did it. And I just experienced it and watched it with an eye opened and so I saw something there to cling to. Without the provocation of daily life like this story and of the Holy Spirit who unveils our thoughts, I am afraid my mind is a little dull. I am just a Plain Jane.

This both alarmed me while simultaneously putting me at ease. Because you see when you are a writer writer you have to do these things that you kind of don’t want to have to do to market yourself to the public, whom you fain to desire the approval of and yet also despise because you feel you must perform. So this realization made me feel like even if I got the honor of being a writer writer one day, I would be put up on a stage to do my dog and pony, only to squint blankly into a disappointed audience.

Yet it did put me at ease too. Because all I can do is be where I am and be who I am. And that’s it. If a picture, a word, a story is unveiled to me, I must pull off the veil to show others. If nothing is unveiled, I must wait. I must not pretend there is something there. And in this, there is ease. The yoke is easy. The burden is light.

So in all of this I feel I may have come up with a name for the writing group that my friend Jessi and I would like to start. “Unveiled.” I called her today with this unveiling of sorts. I suggested the name, I downplayed it, I took it back, I said we could scrap it. But really I think this is the name. I believe that we can only write and understand and feel inspired because life is unveiled to us. And as Corinthians says, this is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Lord remove the veil. And let us write about what is revealed to us even as the train is just lifted.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I couldn't put my finger on it last night. My poor husband. From a white wicker rocking chair at dusk I tried to explain that I didn't feel right. It had been a beautiful day. My spirits were lifted by the weather this week. We had had a nice day. Granted conversations weren't perfect here and there, but we had enjoyed our time together as a family. I just didn't understand my own need. I needed space. Yet I needed intimacy. I could sense a slight despair in him as he looked at me, trying to discern me asking him to leave me alone and be intimate with me in the same breath.

Sometimes I think this is being a woman. In P.S. I Love You, a movie I saw recently, the main character was talking with a friend about giving him the secret to what women want. She finally leaned in and said, "We have no idea!" and laughed. I kind of leaned in, inwardly, when she was about to say it, like, yeah what do I want? And when she said that it made all the more sense that I didn't know what she was about to say. I felt this last night. Yet it feels very real all at once. Sometimes women are almost too keenly aware I think of the longing for what we do not yet have. What as a Christian I would call our redemption. In other words: we wait for what we are going to become when God finally strips away all of the yuck of who we are and and only the new heart, the new creation remains. Romans 8 says this:

"For I consider that our present sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility (frustration), not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is not seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."

I've read this passage of Scripture many times feeling very confused with its meaning. Recently the Spirit read it to me instead of me reading it to me. And it reached my heart with its meaning and it meets me again today. In this fallen world and life the creation and all of us combined daily live in frustration. Nothing works. Everything breaks. We think we're happy, then we're not. To find something that lasts is rare. We are subjected to frustration. This frustration makes us groan. What we groan for is God to free us into what he has declared us to be. And we groan for God himself. For that intimacy with him that we will experience in heaven, which is the pinnacle of enjoyment for us.

Today on the way to church Jason prayed for my heart so that I could worship in church. The sun was out again. We had great plans for the day ahead. There was no reason to be downcast inside my heart. We dropped the girls off in nursery and sat in the back since church was so packed. We sang a couple of songs and then settled in for Mark's last sermon of the membership series, which was on the Kingdom of Heaven.

When my pastor speaks I don't know where the hour goes and I don't care. And even today, without the air conditioning and only one big fan blowing to cool down all 200 of us, I had no idea I was sweaty. I cried about five times during the sermon. Many times when I tear up at church it is because the sermon speaks directly into something I am currently learning or questioning. Today it was a little different. I think it spoke to my silent groans.

Mark went through Revelation, revealing what the Kingdom of Heaven will be like and who Jesus is today. Revelation reveals Jesus as leading an army on a white horse, with a white robe dipped in blood, and a tatoo on his thigh declaring he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords as he crushes those who insist on evil. He is shown to bring justice in a way that we initially cringe about but somewhere deep within we have a profound sense of gratefulness that there will indeed be justice in the end for all the evil that has tormented since the fall of mankind. My heart both feared him in that moment as Mark read, and desired to be under his shadow, to be the one defended with perfect justice as by a perfect Father. Within just one more chapter this same Jesus is also shown to be the One sitting on the throne declaring,

"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away...Behold, I am making all things new...It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son."

I teared most of all when I read the part I highlighted. I was completely moved. This Jesus wants to make a kingdom for us to dwell with him. He has invited us to live with him. And it is a place of perfect peace because he will have cast out everything that would mean to harm, including my own old heart. I will be redeemed and so will everyone else there. There will be perfect relationship. I will not linger on words from others that felt sideways or regret so much of what I think and say in return. I will be in perfect relationship with God and man and we will dwell there forever. I did not wake up hoping for this sermon. If you had asked me if hearing about this today would change my heart's disposition today, I would have probably felt it was irrelevant. This is because I do not know what I need. I do not know what I want. I do not know what heals even this vague groaning. What I did learn today, besides what heaven will be like, is that the Word of God revives me. Psalm 19 says that the Word revives the soul and rejoices the heart. And the ultimate truth in this is that the Word of God is not just some sentences God had man write down. The Word of God is Jesus Christ himself. "...and the name by which he is called is The Word of God." (Rev 19:13).

Thank you Jesus. Surely I did not know what I needed today or what these groans in my heart might mean. But you knew I needed you. When I inwardly groan may I know and remember that they are the mark that I am in waiting. Waiting for the blessed hope, My Redeemer and his glorious redemption of my soul. Amen.