Month: March 2016

The Promised Friday

It’s been a long week. A long seven weeks, really. Migraines and ER visits and a puking kid among personal attacks, and a host of other junk. Trust me when I say we have met some breaking points as a family. 

So I sat down to eat lunch with my babies today to realize I have not talked much about Good Friday with Elle. I’ve been cleaning up puke the last few days and am barely awake enough to know my name. So I put Bethel on as has become a lunch custom on and off. Tears stung my eyes immediately as I wondered what I’d say to explain this Good Friday to an almost three-year-old.

I’m not a very demonstrative person but couldn’t help raising my hands to the sky and singing along. She looked at me like I was nuts then put her hand in the air too. I taught Sunday school last week and the curriculum suggested I have the kids raise their arms whenever I said the word hosanna. We were talking about the triumphal entry when Jesus came in on a donkey and the people put their palms in the air exclaiming, Hosanna! I had to quickly move on after seeing 15 toddlers raising their hands shouting Hosanna to not end up a puddle on the floor. (Lord, let it be.)

So I explained that singing with your hand up is kind of like saying Hosanna. Anyway, all of that to say she had a small reference for worship and why you would put your hands in the air.

Then I continued,

“Elle today is called Good Friday. That means that one day many, many, many years ago Jesus died.”

“Jesus who lives in my heart?”

“Yes. Jesus died all those years ago so that we can live with him forever, now in your heart but one day in heaven. We’ll live with him forever there.”

“Grandy gonna be there? And Ephram? How about Mimi? Kevin?”

Lord, let it be.

“Yes, sweetie. Anyone who believes in Jesus will be there.”

“Vera Jade? Uncle Raphy? You and daddy and baby Jay”

Oh Lord,  let it be.

“Yes.”

“That’s silly. Jesus lives in my heart”.

Lord, I beg you,  let that be so.

“Yep he does. But one day we’ll all be in heaven and Jesus will be there too.

“I gonna run with Jesus on the gold streets. I’m a good runner. Why you cryin, mommy?”

“Oh, Elle. Sometimes people cry when they’re happy. Anyway, two days later there was a miracle. He came back to life! He showed up to Mary and some friends and he was back.”

“Woooooow. I Love Mary. Like at Mom moms.

“Yep. Mom mom does have a statue of Mary out front. Anyway, he came back to show people that He really was their savior and to tell them some important instructions”.

<<eyes glazed over eating popcorn>>

Its all somehow new this year. Experiencing this Good Friday with a wondering three year old after a really, really hard seven weeks. I’m stripped bare. 
Take everything, Lord. Let my babies love and fear you, everything else is meaningless. Take them over, they were yours first. Help us point them to you.

Can I just say, that’s not the end of the story? These seven weeks have been brutal. Relentless. But there have been moments of incredible beauty. Almost decade long prayers that D has prayed have been answered, (Ask him about it!). The Lord has been so strategic in confirming things that I needed to hear through precious people that I trust. He has filled bizarre, unspoken needs through friends, healed areas of my heart I thought were “good” that He wants whole. He has opened conversations about the miraculous, brought crazy, tear-stained conversations about gifts and the beauty of surrender. It is more and bigger than words at this point. I can’t wait to look back in six months and see a clearer picture of why and how but for now we are happy to be in the midst of relentlessness if it means this crazy beauty. We’ll choose both any day.

Do you have anywhere to go for Easter? Consider coming to Horizon. My hubs is leading worship, there is a greatSunday school for your kids to play and learn, it’ll be great. Are you family? A friend? We want you there-consider this your personal invitation. I swear, we’re 200 normal people, just like you. Join us.

Are you having a rough day? Be thankful your grandmother isn’t making you wear these. ūüėā

  


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The Dining Room: Painted!

Oh it’s been a crazy winter. Never ending, crazy but I’m starting to see the sun. Both of my babies were born in the spring so this intense expectation is not lost on me.

I’ve inherited an annoying trait from my mom. Growing up we’d host some kind of event/holiday/party and something major would have to be done with minutes to spare. Painting, new furniture, some kind of landscaping. I always do this but I really thought up a doozie at Christmas with a kitchen renovation. My poor husband. Now we are planning on having a joint birthday party for my kids and the house must be painted. So the last few weeks I’ve been driving a few dear people crazy with my incessant questions about colors and decorating. I took the plunge last week and got the dining room paint, it’s Benjamin Moore’s Louisburg Green! I cut in one evening and rolled the next. Here we have it:

First pictures from the listing because I somehow forgot to take a “before”. 

   
There is truly nothing wrong with this paint color except that it’s in every room of the house. Oh, and they painted around furniture so we are out of luck using our furniture!

Next up: the pictures with the new paint! Please excuse the fact that we live here…with littles.  

     This first picture is pretty dark-the second is a more true representation of the green.
 I really would like to get some light-colored decorations to brighten it up but first things first, I’ve got a living room to paint. We also are planning on D making a farmhouse table but we need civilized children for that. Give it a year or five! Probably in time for another party, haha!

Next up:the living room!

Oh, My Isaac

I should stop being surprised. This week has felt like it won’t end. I texted a friend letting her know I was praying for her test today, thinking it was Monday, because everyday this week feels like Monday. It is not Monday. It is Thursday. Oops.

This has just been a bad week. Elle is getting over a gross contagious sickness and Jay just started it yesterday. D and I are holding our breath, praying that we wont get it and it seems like we have yuck all around us. I went to a doctor on Monday and he gave me news I did not enjoy and tomorrow I get to meet my second opinion to hopefully get news that I can be happy with.

Tonight it all caught up. It always does. I’ve been trucking with the laundry and the sanitizer and the scrubbing and then D called to tell me he’d be later than expected and it started a snowball of not good. With the kids in bed, the tears started rolling. The “red alert” texts started to some of my people that my sanity was teetering and I found myself in front of a devotional I recently decided to finish from a year or so ago.

Let me back up a minute. I have mentioned the If:equip, if:gathering, If: stuff a couple times on the blog before. I picked up a book by founder, Jennie Allen, called¬†Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God and my Soul.¬†The whole premise of the book is her story of what happened after she and her husband decided to pray together that God could have anything. They’d do anything, go anywhere, give anything, etc. The book was not an incredible read but it left me pondering what I’m holding back, and what keeps me there. Stuck. Clutching. Grasping.

Its a tricky thing, being a bit of a hypochondriac. Its pride in the worst way, obsessing about yourself and your health and wondering when the things you worry about will come true. It is truly sickening to deal with this, to feel like God can have anything but he has to give me my future, for the length of time I want it. I will adopt, and give away, and share, and advocate, but don’t let me miss a single dance recital, lacrosse game, wedding of one of my babies, date with my man. God you can’t have those. I won’t.

So fast forward to the last few months. I’ve been having crazy migraines. Every day almost for a few weeks. Just debilitating, wake me up at 3am migraines. They’ve stolen precious time with my kids, made me irritable and impatient, probably caused D to wonder why in the world he married me, an evil woman! I asked for prayer from my church’s prayer team and had such a wonderful experience. It had so little to do with my migraines but I felt like in those 10? 20? who knows how many minutes some crazy walls were broken when God let 3 people in on some of my junk. Just put it out there and healed some ugly. But here we are. The night before my second opinion appointment and it feels like the old everything. So I sat down to this devotional. I didn’t even want to, I wanted to watch some tv but we are having a mouse issue so I really cant stand to be anywhere but my bed once the kids are asleep (because clearly, in my world, mice cannot go upstairs. Obviously.)

I pick it up, date it, because I’m me and read the scripture preview. Genesis 22:2 “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your¬†only¬†son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him¬†there as a burnt offering on one of¬†the¬†mountains I will tell you about.'”. So the whole scripture reading is Genesis 22:1-19 and it goes through Abraham taking his son to the top of a hill to sacrifice… his son. He’s waited for this son, prayed for him, agonized and he finally has him. Vs. 6 always makes me sob, I dare you to speak it out loud in my presence “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together”.¬†Excuse me. No.

Spoiler alert: He takes him up to the mountain and an angel stops him from sacrificing (BURNING) Isaac on the alter and tells him how pleased he is to know his devotion to God. So here we are. This portion of scripture has haunted me from the moment I met it. I remember crying over it when we were trying to get pregnant with Elle and it just was taking forever and we thought we’d never get to meet her. I remember crying over it when all I wanted was to get married and I felt like God wouldn’t let me have D. (clearly I must not have cried that much over it then since I was married at 22.) I remember crying over it when I didn’t think I would be able to stay home with Elle when it was all I wanted. Every time I had some huge desire that I wasn’t willing to give up, I see this verse. So like I said, I shouldn’t be surprised. I read on in the devotion to a poem she wrote entitled “Trust Me with Your Isaac”.¬†(I hope that link works, pp 96-97). God’s not so subtle.

“For every Abraham who dares to kiss the foreign field where glory for a moment ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†grasped Is for a lifetime tilled…

The voice of God speaks not but once but ’til the traveler hears, “Abraham! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Abraham! Bring your Isaac here!”

“Bring not the blemished sacrifice. What lovest thou the most? Look not into the ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†distance, you’ll find your Isaac close.”

“I hear the tearing of your heart torn between two loves, the one your vision can ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†behold the Other bid above.”

“Do you trust me, Abraham with your gravest fear? Will you pry your fingers loose ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† and bring your Isaac here?”

“Have I not made you promises? Hold them tight instead! I am the lover of your ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†soul- the Lifter of your head.”¬†

¬†“Believe me, O my Abraham when blinded by the cost. Arrange the wooded altar ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† and count your gains but loss.”

“Let tears wash clean your blinded eyes until unveiled you see– the ram caught ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†in the thicket there to set your Isaac free.”

“Perhaps I’ll send him down the mount to walk right by your side. No longer in ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†your iron grasp but safer still in mine. “

“Or I may wrap him in the wind and sweep him from your sight to better things ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† beyond your reach– believe with all your might!”

“Look up, beloved Abraham. Can you count the stars? Multitudes will stand to ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† reap from one dear friend of God.”

“Pass the test, my faithful one; bow to me as Lord. Trust me with your Isaac– ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† see, I am your great Reward.”

So here we are. On this journey, to find my “Anything” while clearly it is under my nose.

Its a process, all things are but I look forward to the day that I am able to tell a story of when I was obsessed with my time here. When I’d chose to give God anything I have except my very life. I hope its on this side of eternity but in the meantime I’ll be nose pressed in my bible reading about how Abraham was giving his “anything” to God who already had it in His care. I hope you believe Him with me. I can say tonight, at 9:40pm, I’m in His care. And that’s a start.