Not alone in the fire

All Your Ways are not my ways.

I have a very short list of things I know for sure.  That is one of them.

God will never let me go. He knows me…by name.  He hears my prayers.  I am not alone to fend for myself.  He never leaves me in the flames. He saves me.

What we know for sure is what helps us when the fire licks at our heels, when we feel overwhelmed,.undone, afraid. I regularly exercise my faith muscles, because I have opportunities daily to believe that God is for me.

It’s always a choice, isn’t it. We can drown in the loneliness, in the fear, in uncertainty or human failure and disappointment.  We can. 

Or we can ask ourselves what we know for sure, and sift those experiences through the screen of that truth.

I am choosing to believe what I know.  God is strong, powerful and good.  He saved me from the fire and hears me when I call.

His ways just aren’t my ways. Glad.

Breath

The chair I’m  in  is directed toward my mom’s profile.  My back is to the picture window in her hospital room.

She has almost entirely unwrinkled, perfect skin, yet she is 77.

Her Kindle is on her lap.  Every so often, she spontaneously reads aloud a passage that she thinks is meaningful enough to share.

I’ve never known anyone who loves cookies as much as she does….and she is  teeny-tiny.  We keep bringing her cookies, using them to tempt her to eat non-cookie items.  It’s working….

Every so often, one of us mentions dad. She smiles a sad smile, and I know we aren’t quite right.  We are  enough, but we aren’t him.  In this hospital room, where the fight is on against cancer and heart attacks, he is so missing.

I’ve been listening to Kerrie Roberts sing “Keep Breathing”.  I’ve listened a million times.

Hang on tighter…a little longer.  Don’t let go.  You’re not done yet.

Steady…steady.

For now, just let me be.  For now, just let me cry.

I wish I were braver, but sometimes I wish this would all just disappear.

A gazillion thank you’s for too-many-to-count loves.

For sunny lemonade stands, and plays in the garage.  For hand puppets and new crayons, and learning to value an apron. For dancing with dad, and baking peanut butter cookies.  For teaching me how to wrap Christmas presents, and to always hug my sisters. For  birthday cake, and letting Anne share the lemon filling.  For napkin rings and place-cards and manners. For books and swimming lessons and Elvis Presley movies.  For brushing hair and being proud and being worried, and being there  I know how to make a bed, iron and be content, because of you.  Thank you, mama, for all the details that concern you:  the details that are me…that are us.

Mercy, bend and breathe me back to life.

Awakening Faith

Each year I have a word that seems to focus me.  It’s a very long list.

2012’s word?  Sufficient.

I’m not.  God is.

When hope is destroyed, God is.

When I can’t even pray, God steps in.

When faith seems distant, God fans it.

When I can’t see my way, Light is given.

“Over the brokenness…into the emptiness…echoing down through the ages…it’s the sound of Your goodness….”   Kathryn Scott sings of hope filling the air in her song Deliverance

Circumstances scream at us…louder and louder.

Look beneath.  It’s the sound of God’s goodness, awakening our faith.

Giving up ground

The challenge of love is not the things I give.  It’s the things I give up.

What ground have I given for love?

Both of my children have me as their mom, but they weren’t raised exactly the same.  Because they are unique, and separate in their needs, I learned quickly to parent them each according to their personality.  Life just isn’t easy and smooth as we raise our children, and my experience confirms that.  Someone told me, as I left the hospital after my son was born, that children teach us how to care for them.  They have been wonderful teachers, and I think it’s amazing that they live with the mistakes I made, and have been extraordinarily patient with my imperfect ways.  Mothers and children give ground for each other.

I think a lot these days of my mom.  She gave and gave as I grew up, and she still does.  As we now struggle to support her walk through cancer, she helps us know what she needs.  Love here is to sacrifice what I wish for what is real.

Do I demonstrate love? When have I?

  • kept my lips shut when my mind was racing
  • given unselfish time
  • Waited  And then waited some more
  • Told you the truth
  • Said “I’m sorry”, when what I wanted to say is ” But”
  • Not had enough, but have offered what I have
  • Had all the answers, but didn’t share them with anyone.

Worth more thought.

It took forever to get here

I can tell who is calling me. Photos on my iPhone give it away.

When the phone rang this afternoon, I answered with a smile.

These days such a call is not filled with a pressing child issue, or anything of huge concern. It’s just a call. Just staying connected. Just that.

But it took us forever to get here.

It took us not wanting to stay in the past. It took us time to step up to willing. It took sequences of attempted selflessness repeated over and again…and then only to experience just a grain of true selflessness. And it took self-forgiveness. The hardest of all.

So now we laugh. We, neither one, have forgotten offenses. We just choose to lay them down. Bend and bow. And so very real now. No pretense, no deception, no posturing.

I am free. I carried my part and then laid it down.

And so did he.

I’ll Take Willing for $400

I would totally bomb out on Jeopardy.  I know it, and all of America would know it within seconds of me being a contestant.

It’s so upside down, isn’t it.  The answers are yours before you even know the question!  And they all seem so smart.  Over-achievers in Encyclopedia-land.

As the money adds up, and the competition heats up, the contestants faces get crazy-intense, and their clutch on the “buzzer” is like a death grip.

It’s probably just plain old envy.  Considering how infrequent it is that I have all the answers on anything,  I’m just jealous.  The truth hurts:-)

I was thinking about answers…and questions.  It seems as though I have both, just not always at the same time.  Sometimes, like lately, I’ll feel like I get a nudge, a direction, an arrow pointed at a particular path.  If I go with it, heeding God’s nudge, the reason is then revealed.

The results of following are usually surprising.  Laying aside expectations in favor of willingness is always for my good and God’s glory.

He will direct your paths

Who is God?