Thursday, January 30, 2014


it used to be that the joy fell with the snow
accumulated around feet and only stuck to boots and shoes
cloud cover rolled over the once-blue, once-hopeful, canopy
and eyes turned from upward to down
while muscles in the neck became accustomed to the angle of the feet
weary and wary
each new morning, mercy though it was said, felt like one clicking time clock after the next
longing for the dreary sky to become the dark sky
the one that gave permission to lock the door and twist closed the blinds and silence the rings and alerts and the chime of the inbox
and then i could sit quietly with my thoughts, just mine
and wonder how long it would feel this way
and how i could fix it
and why it had to be so hard.

but then i read ephesians 2

because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions

and i decided that i would believe it, hope.

the days are still short
and sky still heavy, grey and so rarely blue

yet now

i wake up laughing to myself, remembering something she said or something he did
i am genuinely disappointed when i am told that yet another snow day keeps me away from the little ones who are now my responsibility
i can say with all confidence i am well. and it is well. and this response no longer changes from day to day when they ask how are you? because it is a constant.
i can laugh out loud when i forget, yet again, that speed bump that lies pregnant there between my house and the stop sign.
chasing and wrestling with the littles on sunday afternoons no longer feels like an obligation but a joy and one of the most worthy investments.
i can sit at the coffee shop, eyes heavy with that obnoxious glare of the sun through icy skies, but still with a smile, though nothing has been accomplished.
i sleep more during these months, but guilt-free
i read more while snow blankets the ground, fruitful
i listen and pray and i'm available
because things slow down now
but i see that this is a perfect design
because with the changing seasons comes a fresh awareness of the inner life, the mind, the heart, the humility, the dreams
where seasons don't change are patterns free to stay?
and growth constrained?

socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living.
i think i agree.
and think that i'll also begin to say that the changing seasons are a gift
another grace
because it demands self examination and flexibility
in a way that the always-summer could never do.
and God is fully here. i know this because joy is full and it has no reason to be apart from His nearness.

Friday, January 17, 2014


expectations kill relationships, she writes,
among countless other treasures of wisdom.
we see it, the way that the small ones are surprised by every thing that crosses their senses
as they take it in, everything new
like all the waiting for a vacation and that morning finally comes
or the end of another semester of work and study and papers and late nights, the delight
a first adventure outside of the country
all of the curiosity of a first date
the speechless joy that accompanies an unexpected visit from a beloved friend
the announcement that another is expecting a baby in only 7 months when she had hoped for nearly a year that it would be so.
these feelings that the older, wiser ones know so frequently
that the younger, naive, helpless ones seem to receive so gratefully, often
because they don't have these expectations
and it is so true
i see it every day in these girls
over lunch
the stories and questions and giggles
all funny or exciting
ideas too wonderful to wait to be set into motion
and lunch lays half-eaten on the table
while the princess dresses go on
and the blankets become living room forts
and the crayons, scissors, tape are soon a masterpiece, even better than yesterday's
all a surprise
all joy
all grace
a chicken nugget that looks like a heart. surprise!
warm gingerbread from the oven. surprise!
a funny picture in a storybook. surprise!
a ball.
a clover.
a one-eyed snowman.
the humble live surprised.
the humble live by joy.

oh, for the perspective of a child.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

natalie grace

natalie: "birthday," "born on christmas"
grace: "favor," "blessing"

january 10, 2014, 5:34pm

you have no idea how precious you are
my first thought as i walked into the room, confronted by you,
all 6 pounds and 15 ounces of you, screaming,
under that bright pink, knitted hat.
you were so alert, eyes searching, more curious than fearful
while your pretty mama sat on the bed
looking as natural as any other day
and your daddy beaming,
so delighted to be the father of a daughter now as well.

and i wonder along with everyone else who you will become.

I pray, Natalie Grace,
that you will respond in humble obedience to the call of Jesus,
that as He teaches you of His grace for you
and all that He gave up when He came on Christmas,
that you will receive the wisdom and revelation to know Him best
and to understand that
no success
no performance
no education
no career
no fortune
no reputation that you can gain for yourself
will count for anything in the Kingdom of Grace,
but the work of Jesus on the cross,
His submission, obedience, humility
and the promises of the Father alone
will assure your place with Him and those who know Him when He returns things to how He intended them to be.
I pray that He would teach your little heart to know the hope to which He has called you,
abundant life in Jesus, genuine life found no where else
though people will try and try and try.
I pray that He grows you to be a strong woman (I see it in you already),
rooted, established in His love,
unshakable in spirit,
because your hope lies not here,
that your knowledge of His crazy love for you
would be that which drives you,
His wide, long, high, deep love,
this love that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be a child, a young lady, a woman who is filled with the unmistakable joy and peace of Christ,
that you'll have a ministry to the women that you come in contact with, flowing over with richest Truth to bring hope in any circumstance.
Baby, I pray that you will indeed be gracious,
to your mommy and daddy, to your big brother,
to the rest of your family, your friends, your future husband,
to the Church.
I pray that you know God and that you will love people,
through His incomparably great power.
I love you. We love you.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within is, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.