Thursday, March 25, 2010


I’ve been watching Fox news occasionally. Partly for background noise. Don’t make me explain, but for whatever reason, my kids kind of behave better if there’s more noise. Who knows. (If I'm losing you b/c you hate Fox, don't x out my page. It's not political and I don't plan on going there.)

So I’m watching a couple of weeks ago and I think it was the Hannity and Colmes show that was interviewing the lawyer of one of Tiger’s mistresses, Veronica. I’m kind of intrigued so I sit down while the kids munch away at dinner (actually who am I kidding, they’re just watching it too and ignoring their food. I don’t know how they weigh more than ten pounds).

Anyway. Veronica’s lawyer is being interviewed and is just adamant that Tiger needs to apologize to her client. She declares that Tiger has built this relationship with her and now he’s abandoned her with no explanation or goodbye or regret and she’s owed at least as much as an apology. Whoever is interviewing her is questioning how Veronica could be setting herself up as the victim when the real victim is Tiger’s wife and he is rightfully putting all of his energies towards making things right with her, since she’s the real one who’s been wronged.

Now, let me first say that I have no idea what is going on in the world. I think all this front page news about Tiger had probably seen it’s second month’s round of cover stories by the time I cared to notice in the grocery store line. So, I don’t really know all the details and I’m not claiming to be writing a report about it here. I don’t know any of the details besides the heresay that Tiger had a ridiculous amount of affairs and now he’s off who knows where, taking a break from golf. All I know is what I saw on this particular show, so don’t ask me any questions.

Anyway, I’m watching Veronica’s lawyer just get all heated. This woman is fiery. She is just demanding that Veronica deserves an apology from Tiger and he owes her that. I thought that was so interesting that at some point later I joted a little note about it in my writing moleskin, because I thought it might be interesting to include in my writing of some sort later, who knew when.

Well not but a couple of weeks later I’m in church. John Piper had been at our church for a conference and he had given our Sunday sermon. So I’m sitting there listening to the sermon and Piper’s sermon is titled, Kill Sin before it Kills You. There was so much meat in it that it might take me three more blogs to get through it all, but there was a little (HUGE) nugget just for me, just for a specific sin in my life that has to do with the fact that I am an awful lot like Veronica.

Piper’s talk zero’d in on how we have sin in our lives that is killing us inside. We allow it to kill us because we are not setting our minds on killing it. He wanted to lean into a couple of really specific examples of how to go from living out a sin to setting our minds on the Spirit in order to kill that sin. He gave lots of examples, ending on the sin of anger. Uh oh. That’s one of mine. Okay, just be cool, and take some notes. I can hear this, here we go.

He took us to Matthew 18, the parable of the unmerciful servant. The parable portrays a man who owes a giant debt and as he begs for mercy, he is granted it. And he goes away free with his debt cancelled in a great merciful act. And Piper gave this picture of a man who goes away free and grateful and praising the Lord…or was he? What happened next? He was owed a much smaller debt by another man and when this man fell on his knees before him, asking him to be patient with him, the man who had been given much mercy “grabbed him and began to choke him” and demanded to be given what was owed him.

Here is what the Spirit began to speak to me, specifically regarding my husband and my children. What do you think Jason owes you? When he does not give you what you believe you are owed, do you grab him and choke him with your words and with the hands of your heart? What do I think my children owe me? When they do not give me what I think I am owed of them, do I grab them and choke them with my words and with the hands of my heart? Am I like the man who has been given much mercy who turns around and has no mercy to extend to someone who owes me much, much, exceedingly much less? Do I not see myself in this man, who appears to be behaving so horrific and selfishly in this story? How can I not see myself in him?

Whoa. Never saw myself in that parable before. Never knew that this parable was about anger. Never had this parable minister to me like this before.

And then Veronica came to mind. This Veronica whose story seemed so far away. And suddenly Veronica isn’t so far away anymore, and she isn’t judged by me as if I could never sin like that, and suddenly I’m not laughing anymore at how ridiculous it is that she could be asking for an apology in the midst of her great sin. She came so close to me. So close. I could see myself. I am Veronica. I am demanding. I am feeling owed. I am feeling injured and hurt and victimized and needy and all queen-like in my position that all the world owes me all of itself…and then I see.

I owed. I injured. I hurt. And yet I have been shown an unbelievably great mercy. I have absolutely been freed of the anger and wrath of God that I so deserve because I did sin greatly against him. Yet. I have been shown mercy. Now will I not go and show mercy? Why would I withhold it now? Will I go and withhold mercy from such little sin against me? Did my own mercy mean so little to me?

Lord let me embrace your mercy with such a gratitude that I would not so selfishly and ungratefully withhold such a beautiful, undeserved, gracious gift to others. In my moment of being sinned against, enable me, strengthen me to drop a knee of humility in order to offer the gift of mercy. Not to see the gratitude in their eyes, not to make me great, not to change their behavior towards me, not for some great expectation in return.

But because of your mercy to me. Let me see past them, past their sin against me, past all of that hurt and all that I am owed, to your great cross in the distance, where you bled and died for me, little me who owed you everything and didn’t even know it or even care.

Matthew 18:27 “The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Broken Leg

I was scurrying out the door to go on this writing night when Grace came toddling up and got all up in my space to present her request.

“Mommy, can you pray for Tanah? She’s sick.” Oh precious. So I stopped to pray for Kanah’s broken leg outloud, that the Lord would heal her body so she could walk again.

Kanah heard me from the other room and said, “I am going to walk again,” which of course Grace repeated immediately, because she always does.

“Yes. You’re going to walk again! You know why?” Little Grace’s expectant face looked straight up into mine from underneath me, little braided bangs tucked up into her bun pulled back. Sweet face. “Do you know that God made your body so that it fixes itself?” I asked her, letting the wonder come into my own face. “Kanah’s leg is broken but God made her a body that would fix itself so her leg could get better!”

Grace thought that was hilarious so she let out an adorable giggle and said, “God is so funny!”

I am realizing that you really know what in the world you believe as you live out each moment of your relationships. Do I really think that God made my body? That he creatively spoke my body into being and formed it so that it miraculously has the capability to heal itself, as much as it is capable now in my "fallen" state? I do. With all my heart. And I want my little ones to cast their belief upon that too.

I really really want my children to understand that Jesus is God and He is real and loves them and is pursuing them daily. So if I really believe this and want this, then the truth of who God is is going to permeate my days and my words and my behaviors and my carefully discerned moments to point to the divine in our simple lives.

As I help them confess their sin to one another. As I help them forgive each other. As we memorize Scripture by doing sign language. As we pray toddler prayers (very briefly) for those who are sick and hurting. As we are tempted and we stop to ask the Lord to help us in our temptation and to strengthen us to obey. As I sin and stop to ask for their forgiveness, even though that’s foreign to the adult world. As we see sadness along our way in the car and we stop to pray. As we sing silly God songs. As we dance in the kitchen, praising the Lord. As I speak to my husband, with the hope to demonstrate to my children that I respect him and love him. As I kneel by their side to serve them with the humility that only Christ can give. As my daughter asks me to pray for her sister’s broken leg.

If I really have known the Lord’s love and hope for that for others, then I will be watching for those discerned moments in Starbucks and with my check out employee at Fred Meyer and with other little children in our neighborhood. I will see them, really see them, see their hearts, and as we are talking, talking, chattering about what a great sale they had on baby food today…what I need to hear above the chatter is what the Lord is saying to them. What is he saying? Does he want to use a moment like my three year olds wondering about a broken leg to teach them something phenomenal about who He is? Do I hear what he has to say? Am I listening and am I willing to say more than “Yes, honey her leg will get better” or “Yeah, great sale on that green bean baby food, wow, yeah” or “Grande dark cherry mocha please”?

And I guess I kind of seem to just be talking about evangelism. But that’s not where this ends.

I think the Christian community talks a lot about evangelism and how to talk to non-believers and some of us seem to be in tune with all of that but we can really really royally MISS IT when it comes to discerning the God moments with His own people who already know him. When I’m listening to a believer in Christ, am I listening to what God might have for me to say to them? Am I thinking about Scripture for them? Am I thinking about how to respond? Am I being compassionate like Christ or listening like a frozen audience. Is this a moment to teach…correct…train…rebuke…encourage…be compassionate…pray…carry a burden…cry…embrace…or maybe serve?

How are we missing it? If the gospel is real, if Jesus really gave his life for us and is walking with us daily, then what might he have for us to be and do and say for each other? Do we see that this gospel is real…from each other?

I am just praying, hoping, pleading that God makes my life look like this. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but it’s not just for me personally. It’s to give away. And away. And away. I am not just hoarding up all of his goodness and blessing and truth. It’s to give away. And I just pray with all my might, now in this very moment, that he will help me keep giving it away. Because sometimes I see the moments but lots of times I miss them or I pass them by.

I just pray that as my children view more and more of life alongside of me, growing taller and taller, and their little hands getting fuller and fuller in my grasp, that I will carefully…discern…the compelling…Spirit….of…the…Lord for them. Help me hear you Father. I am yours to use.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You are more important

Written on Saturday

Jason was gracious to me today. I had more than a rough week, mostly internally. Just kind of a wreck inside. When a mom feels like a wreck inside and also happens to physically not be feeling great, having three children demand various treats at once and alternate endlessly needing instruction, discipline and just basic needs met feels like it might actually kill you. Fast.

So. Jason. Yes, I like starting the next paragraph with “So. Jason.” Because I must say that I don’t know how single moms do this business of raising little kids without having the life-giving intervention of a considerate husband. I salute them. I am burdened for them. I applaud them and if I knew you better personally, I would be your biggest advocate for childcare every time I met an older woman whose kids are grown and she’s painting her nails at home. Not that all of them are painting their nails, let that be noted. I sure hope I don’t “retire” one day, finding myself at home all day, while a future version of you single moms are persevering, exhausting yourselves in the mothering labor of love. I hope I don’t just run out to grab a dark cherry mocha and go straight back home, but instead I march my little serving feet straight to your house to make you take a nap. (By the way, don’t you love that drink? None more than me, for sure.) Wow, that was a big side note. But it’s kind of important in light of my feeling so pooped.

Back to Jason. Yesterday we were talking on the phone and I suddenly remembered he had a Saturday morning commitment, which made me want to die. I don’t think I burst into tears, but that was probably only because my tear tank had already been depleted. I began to despair and then Jason put me square in front of his other commitment. “You are more important.” I think I passed out. I am more important? Did you just win the husband of the year award in my mind? YES. It was going to be my turn to sleep in and then he wanted me to take the rest of the day until we all were supposed to be at an afternoon birthday party. ALL DAY? Can the mamas say, “YEAH!!”

I have written before about not knowing what to do with my free time. It’s a little silly how all over the place I feel at first, but once I set my mind on what to do with myself, I feel a lot freer. Bizarre I know. But as I like to mention, I am a C personality. We like structure. Lots.

I set out for Starbucks but stopped by two stores where I had giftcards. I bought a birthday gift for my mom (you’re going to love it, mom. it’s so you!!) and in one of the stores, I found myself gravitating to the kids section. I thought endlessly of Kanah and Grace and what they would look like in this and that. I bought them each a sun hat, picturing them poolside in a couple of weeks. There were cute little princess t-shirts that caught my eye since Grace’s half of her birthday is going to be “Sleeping Beauty”. But above the picture it said something like “Girls rule” which always creeps me out a little bit, like I’m raising her to be the kind of feminist that’s gone all wrong, so I opted to pass on those. (But I’m still on the lookout for a little bit of a purer version, so if you’ve got some advice…).

So I’m walking around, finding myself in Gymboree just moments later, and suddenly I’ve scrolled through to Jason’s cell, asking him if they are on their way over so I can see them. It’s been like an hour since I’ve left. I miss the kids. Thankfully they’re all dressed and ready and nearly there so I am pacing around, so anxious to love on them. I see them coming from all the way down the hallway. Grace and Salem are in the double stroller and Kanah is doing a prancing run alongside of Jason, her pony swishing wildly all over the place. My kids! I drop on my knees as they turn my direction and stretch my arms wild, crying out, “HI!!!!!!!” and because they didn’t expect me, they first stare blankly at this woman sprawled out before them, but their faces quickly turn into surprised expressions, coupled with cries of “Mommy!!!” Is that the sweetest gift of my life (right up there with this day off)? Yes. No doubt. I hugged them like crazy, like I’d been on a solo road trip for three weeks and never wanted to be gone from them again. Check the stopwatch. It’s only been one hour and thirteen minutes now. I must love this crew.

Now I am finally stationed in Starbucks a little while later, thinking about us running around Gymboree, buying their birthday dresses with matching headbands and swimsuits for our trip. I am enjoying my free time, enjoying thinking about them.

Being a stay at home mom is…wonderfully weary. :). I am always at the end of myself, leaning into the grace of Jesus, and praying out loud continually for God’s strength to be a loving mommy who’s not just making it, but really loving life with them and teaching them well and raising them intentionally into little people who are have beliefs and thoughts and spirits in them. And just being gifted with a couple of hours to re-group and breathe and be a woman apart from being a mom, is such a sweet re-start. And I thought it would take all day. And it took just about an hour.

Thank you, Jason. I feel loved. And freed to love more. Starting at 4:00 :).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Writing #1

I love good writing. I don't get a lot of time to read but when I do, give me a good sentence to take in with a cup of coffee on the side and I can go to sleep. Forget twenty pages before bed. Just give me one well articulated thought. Like I've mentioned, I thought maybe I'd start posting some. Maybe on Wednesdays. For no other creative idea than "W"ednesday and "Writing" start with the same letter. Let it be just that shallow. But it's reason enough. Looking forward to it.

First clip is from a book my veeery thoughtful friend let me borrow. It's been stalking my brain ever since she told me about it months ago and now the bright orange cover of Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist has been placed into my hands. Thank you sweet friend. Let me throw out the disclaimer that we're not totally matched theologically, but I think she loves the Lord so I'll let it lie there for now.

Here's the clip. It's actually about writing, and although I enjoy humor from writers about being writers, my clips won't always be focused like that. Enough. Here it is:

"And now I can feel things turning, slowly. I can feel this tiny, fragile writer person getting bigger, like a candle flame glowing. Tonight is a writing night, and I feel giddy, antsy bold in a new way. I feel like I have a secret: I am becoming something else...But little by little, when I start where I'm stuck, over and over and over, getting stuck and unstuck, something cracks through, and life reveals itself to me like a scroll unfurling, and I write about it. I struggle against myself, and I write about it. I feel afraid and crazy, and I write about it. I don't figure out the solution in any tidy way, and I don't have a sharp and clever revelation, but bit by bit, writing is starting to worm its way into the dailiness of my life and is creating a home there. It is becoming less and less of a strange distant dream and more and more of the actual way I live."

Any writers or bloggers relate? This reminds me a little of Anne Lammott's book Bird by Bird, from which I'd like to post a thousand little snippets because she's so amazing. I don't know, I just like this because writing about writing is a little like observing a grown adult learn to walk because of how frustrating and awkward and funny it can be. So I liked it :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blogging on blogging

I mostly don't have good ideas. It's true. Particularly when it comes to creativity, I kind of want to cry if I have to create something from scratch. I still remember my high school art teacher asking us to mostly do projects that were thought up by us and I would just sit there with a blank page...for class after class. It was awful. And then I would finally, with like eight teeth pulled out onto the table, create something SO not me that I wouldn't even want to look at by the time I finished it. It didn't grow me at all. Instead of giving me freedom, I just felt trapped. This is because I am mostly a type C personality. When I see a good idea I just want to wrap myself around it and be mentored by it and study it and learn all about it.

Some of you who really love me and don't want me to be self-depracating right now will say, "But Kelly! You are a creative writer!" (I can hear your voices and I appreciate your generosity). Well, let's analyze that. No, I like to write about TRUE things. Things I can observe in my head, things that have already happened, things I am learning, things that are happening to YOU. See? No creativity ;). It's already out there and I am merely putting it into typed words. Yes, how I say it does end up being "Kelly-esque" but ask me to write a fiction short story and I will freeze up and start sweating and be mad at you for expecting that nonsense from me. Believe me, I took that class. Didn't go well.

What am I saying here. Well, I am a bit off topic! What I was actually thinking about when I sat down was that everyone in the blogging world seems to have signature things that they write about and for a while here I think I am going to experiment with that. You know, writing about certain kinds of things on certain days and that sort of thing. That seems to be the trend and here I go "C" on myself and decide that maybe that would focus me to write about certain things.

By the way, this blog is kind of written to myself as like self talk through what I'd like to do, so if you're still reading, I'm happy to have you, but I apologize if it doesn't seem like I am really paying attention to you...

I kind of tried this before when I would title my posts "She Speaks" for things written mainly about being a woman and "Mama Speaks" about the obvious and on and on. Because I do like to write about Jesus, being a woman, being a mom, being a wife, etc. Usually my blogs center around these things, so I know I will keep writing about these as they come up.

I think the only thing about my blog, as I write about these things is that they always seem so SERIOUS to some people, maybe a lot of people. Like I know some people think I like Jesus too much. I do like Him a ton, but there's never too much of Jesus, and I only plan on liking Him more. And maybe others think my blog is too HEAVY. Some of you still reading are like Yeah, she needs to lighten up. Probably. But I probably won't. I kind of stay in the deep end of the pool down on the bottom with scuba gear. I don't surface very often and when I do I make faces at everyone like, What is this world all about? I'm going back down :). Some of my friends live down there too, so don't worry, I'm not completely alone.

But outside of scrunched eyebrow world, I'm totally skipping out on two things I'd like to write on a little more that maybe are a little easier to chew up and swallow and don't give everyone indigestion :). I really like WRITING in general and I was thinking that maybe once a week I'd post a little paragraph of some good writing. (Good idea?). I loved it today when I was sitting in the doctor's office reading Cold Tangerines and I kept laughing outloud at Shauna like she was entertaining me in the waiting room. I actually decided to make something from her book my first post on writing clips. There's one problem with posting writing. As Jason well knows, when I want to read, I take like ten minutes getting all cozy with a blanket tucked around my feet, pillows in perfect position, drink handy, pen in hand (because I even mark up for-fun books) and I read for one minute before I fall asleep. So that might be the main problem is that I might quote the same book for....six months. :)

The other one is just things LIGHT HEARTED. Just little stories (true ones of course) and tidbits and life observations that don't have to come full circle or fit into some kind of theological frame or point back to Jesus. Because I like to write like that usually. I mean light hearted like what kind of napkins are on my island or what I'm doing to get healthier, etc. (Good idea?).

So what do you think about me coming up for air in the shallow end of the pool sometimes? Does that work for Small Belle Speaks?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I love sleep. Sleep is my friend. If I could cuddle with sleep I would. I mean I love it. Jason likes to stay up late and I pretty much would cut off my pinkie (well, my left one) if he would promise to go to bed every night at 10:30 with me. Oh, just realized I wouldn't be able to type. Well maybe my (doing a look over here)...okay I don't want to give up any body parts :) but you get the picture. I reeeally like to go to bed and I reeeeally like to wake up naturally in the morning with the light, without any screaming type noises or little cries at my bedroom door or anything disturbing like that. I like it when I'm laying there until my feet get a little antsy and announce "That's enough!" and I roll out of bed all happy.

So to even write that paragraph I had to dig deep into my memory chasm to remember what that's like. My husband and I have started switching off Saturday mornings to sleep in, but I'm still asking you to feel sorry for me on my sleep in mornings because downstairs all three munchkins keep me lying there with my eyes bugged open because I hear little crashes and tantrums and dress up shoes and tools banging the coffee table until I finally give in. And this is in a house where there is a sound machine cranked up in every room. I don't even get how some families have no noise makers. I'm baffled.

So for a kind of long stretch of time I have known that naptime is not exactly the best time for getting my heart ready for the day, otherwise known as a "quiet time." Right now, as I attempt to write this, for example, Salem is screaming his head off in his crib. I've turned off the monitor, have the food network turned on softly for background noise, and I still have a knot of anxiety in my shoulders. Also, the kids all go down for naps but it's now been pushed back to about 1:30. Not really a good time to get my heart READY for the day, since my heart will not really be tested until about 3:30, which leaves only two hours of mommy time until daddy saves the day :).

I've dreaded the growing conviction that I need to get up at 6ish. But the conviction has finally swallowed me whole and it's inescapable that that's what the Lord has asked of me. Sometimes I think we kind of wait on the Lord to make sure he's really asking something and I laugh at myself thinking about how long I've been avoiding his request of me and saying, Yeah I think naptime is fine. It's sort of working. And on days it's not, it's not my fault. So I tried but it didn't work for today. And I can just do one tonight (though at least for me it's not really helpful nearly as much as the day of). So, now when Jason's alarm starts going off (he sets it early so he can snooze a couple of times) I need to get up. I have been doing a snooze with him, but then it's time. And it's kind of rough, but I have to say that I must have FORGOTTEN that like five seconds ago I was being tortured all night long by sleeplessness with Sa Sa, who thought sleep was overrated. And I must have forgotten completely life with twooooo preemie babies who were not even allowed to sleep through the night until 6 mths because of their underweight issues. Must have forgotten about that. Because when Salem started sleeping until 5, I remember feeling like doing happy dances every morning. I felt like I'd arrived. And now here I am just acting like 6 something for TIME FOR MEEEEE is somehow torturous. No Kelly. You're delirious.

And yes let's talk about how it's TIME FOR MEEEEEE. Time to wake up to the morning light and casually make a cup of coffee and break open my Bible and write in my journal and do my prayer walk around the family room and kitchen and have the Lord prepare my heart for the day. That's amazing time for me. And it prepares me to be a totally different me - the me that I want to be walking in step with the Spirit.

This morning I got up. Salem happened to be up too so I went in and changed him, fed him, and let him play in his crib, which he happily does for about 1/2 an hour. I knew Jason would shortly be in to let him visit with him while he got ready for work. The girls slept peacefully, which they usually do until around 7:30. I headed downstairs to a quiet kitchen to make coffee and cut up a grapefruit and this morning I just felt compelled to pray. So I did. If you know me, you know that prayer for me means outloud and walking. That's my favorite way. I kind of circle the family room and living room and always start with my husband, then my kids, then whoever else the Lord burdens me for. Today was a sweet time over my husband and kids mainly. By the time Jason walked downstairs lugging Salem, I felt ready, excited to see Sa Man, and ready to start my day.

My day. Yes. Well, I even took a few moments to prepare a nice little schedule for the day b/c this was the only day of the week with no plans. I was happy to lavish time on the kids, not worrying about cleaning or cooking or anything. Just time at home today. I had decided to go for a messy project - PAINTING. It was great fun. We used all kinds of brushes and animal and fun shaped sponges and even little sponge rollers with little shapes on them like stars and hands. It was great fun and a great mess but with Salem napping soundly, I loved my time with the little ladies.

From there things got a little testy. The girls just took turns throwing tantrums, getting jealous, fighting, whining, you name it. But. Yes, BUT. I have to say I felt ready. I felt prepared for them as their mommy, their counselor, their mediator, their trainer in righteousness. I cannot say this about everyday. But I can say it about today. And even though their hearts didn't change instantly and we continued and persisted in discipline and correction and sitting down together face to face to walk through what happened yet again, it was okay. Because my heart was okay. Because I do have to say when it gets all "crazy land" (which is what I like to exclaim when who knows what has gone down), it is usually because the mama is crazy inside. Not so uncommon, I will confess publicly to all of you. BUT God is good. And His gospel is real. Which means, when I tell the Lord - I need you to be my Strength today. That is what you promise me and I need that today. Please help me. When I confess that and submit myself to him, He is familiar to me in the moments of crisis and He establishes peace for me. And in that I can avoid crazy land and find myself still being who I am called to be.

A little less sleep? It's worth it.