Love Is Slow

Love Is Slow

“Hurry sickness” is a thing.

Trust me, I know.

I rush to make green lights.

I snag aisle seats so I can get out fast.

I scrutinize grocery store lines, placing bets on the fastest one.

Evelyn Underhill said, “On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.

Ah. It’s the opposite of my instinct. Counter-intuitive. If I want to mature my soul, I must resist the urge to hurry.

Do my kids notice if I’m listening to their stories with half a heart because I’m so efficiently multi-tasking?

Do I put off a date with my husband because the calendar is brimming, and my to-do list is dizzying?

Do I feel a pang when my son wonders, “Mom, do you have time for me to tell you about the book I’m reading?”

Love is slow.

I can’t dive into conversation with humans or God and hit those deep, sacred moments if I’m nervously monitoring the clock.

It’s hard to pull out of habitual hurry. It’s so engraved in my soul I hardly notice it.

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2

John Ortberg challenges you and me to earnestly combat life-sucking hurry.

His suggestion: choose the long line at the store and the stop light.

Maybe I should plant myself in the center of the row and snake out of the building like an ordinary person .

Sounds. Like. Torture.

Not to mention a reckless waste of time.

It seems like the Kingdom of God is best measured intangibly. I’m not able to chart the effects of time spent worshiping God.

Impossible to count what happens when I meditate on His Word. Or when I join His heart in prayer for the humans that He loves.

When I spend precious minutes playing games with my kids or hanging on the couch with my husband.

It feels like faith to practice the discipline of slowing.

I long to pass the slow lane and get to work three minutes faster. Resisting that urge is a little way of proclaiming that I’m not the most important thing. The world can thrive without me.

May my soul be as a weaned child within me. May I cease the clamor and striving. Lord, help me to grow up.

May I trust You enough to go slow.

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Fool’s Bench

Fool’s Bench

The Fool’s Bench is actually a place of honor.

It’s the bench in the church lobby where we wait for our friends.

Oh, beloved friends!

That they would meet Jesus in this place. Just like I did so many years ago.

It feels embarrassing to still be standing there after the service starts and nearly everyone has scuttled to their seats.

But how could I abandon my post? If there’s a chance they’ll show up, I will stay.

This Sunday I sit in a pew and carefully save two aisle seats for my seeking friend and her guest. She has started coming to church recently, but she is conflicted.

I guard the spots protectively. Hopefully.

The pastor is preaching about how Jesus chose the humiliating task of washing feet. He exemplified the humility of love.

I smile. If Jesus can wash feet with great love and humility, I can hold spots in my pew and my heart for those who aren’t sure about Him.

There was a time when I wasn’t sure about Him.

Now I know Him. And He is mine forever. What do I have to lose?

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
Psalm 73:25

So I will wait.

And I pray for Jesus to draw these wandering, wondering ones to Himself.

Honored to remain a fool by a bench.

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Remembering to Float

Remembering to Float

So, Lord, I have these problems.

And in some ways I’m thankful.

Without hard stuff I tend to glide through life with a friendly nod in Your direction.

But when the problems come, I catch my breath and lean into You.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

So this hard stuff is my opportunity to trust You. To please You by believing that You will make a way out.

It helps that my feet can’t touch the bottom. It’s almost hard to not trust You.

But, while I’m here treading water, waiting for Your intervention, I can think of some ways that You can solve this.

May I let go. Release my solutions and timetable. Float on the water of Your unfathomable goodness.

My ears submerged, muffling the chaos. Enveloped in the other-worldly peace of Your presence.

May I be like that astonishing Roman centurion who prompted singular praise from You. (Matthew 8)

He knew that You could do a miracle without human scaffolding.

He didn’t need a plan.

You were sufficient.

You are Sufficient.

So I remember Your power and goodness. And my heart inflates with hope.

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Joy Will Come

Joy Will Come

Her husband and children died, and now she is alone in a foreign land.

So begins the book of Ruth.

Impossible sorrow.

Impossible because, really, what could redeem that kind of tragedy?

This Steven Curtis Chapman song wafts through my mind:

“Out of these ashes
Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes.”

Glimmers of hope in the wake of tragedy.

But what’s staggering about this song is that he wrote it in response to his own daughter’s accidental death. He fiercely holds on to the belief that God redeems all pain and suffering. He doesn’t claim to know what the beauty will look like. But he simply clings to the gut level knowledge that God is the redeemer. The beauty that will rise from such horrible tragedy will result in a fountain of joy. Irrepressible dancing in its wake.

Who could imagine the beauty that would arise from Naomi’s sorrow- grieving her husband and children?

Who would ever predict that it would precipitate a journey back to her homeland, tenacious Ruth in tow?

And Ruth, this Moabite girl, would be grafted into the family of God and become a colorful piece in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

It takes my breath away.

Ruth didn’t know that she was the great grandma of King David or the many times great grandma of the Lord Jesus. But maybe she hung on to the hope like Steven Curtis Chapman does.

In the darkness there is brilliant light.

The gray, dreary dawn is ready to burst into brilliant pink-orange.

Even if we don’t see it until we join Jesus in eternity.

Our sorrow is tinged with purpose and hope. And our faith simply pleases Him.

“Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.”
Psalm 30:5

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Who I Am and Why This Blog

Friends!! Now that I have my own little blog space, I’m gonna be crazy. I signed up for WordPress’s Blogging 101 class, so I’m writing my assignments for the next few weeks here. That’s what they told me to do. And it’s pretty much first drafts because I don’t have time to clean them up! Ah!! Publishing a bunch of first drafts!! This is sheer craziness!!! Here goes my first one: Who I Am and Why This Blog.

I am spiritual. I have this constant, low-grade thirst for God. Like the needle of a compass, my heart and mind always gravitate back to Him.

One reason I blog is because I think all humans are spiritual. We all know intrinsically that Someone Bigger exists. And we yearn for Him. So, I write in this context as a fellow human. We are in this together, fellow humans! We are not alone! And if the circumstances of our lives are not the greatest, it’s okay. The real stuff of life, the big picture, is not as concerned with circumstances as with our hearts.

So, being spiritual is my universal thing. What is unique about me?

I’m drinking a cup of coffee right now, and I usually am. Sometimes Diet Coke. I try for the lowest calorie source of caffeine.

We have lived in Colorado for two years now, and I’m still blown away by the beauty. The mountains. The bright white, towering clouds that usually look solid. Sometimes it snows while the sun is out, and it looks like luminous specks of glitter drifting in the sky. I’m always pointing at the sky to my kids. My 8 year old affectionately calls me “tree hugger.” I’m not sure she really knows what that means.

I have four really amazing kids, ages 8-14. I have this marvelous privilege and opportunity to homeschool them. I really can’t imagine not homeschooling them. I love each of them, and I love to be around them. At the same time, I struggle with self-doubt that I might be ruining their lives by homeschooling. I know life is hard, and I should be tough and prepare them accordingly. But, in many areas I’m as soft as marshmallow. For example, “I’ll give you a jelly belly for each line of cursive.” Sigh.

I am married to this hunky, heckuva husband. My opposite, of course!! Really, don’t people always marry their opposites? We were so excited to show people how marriage should be done when we got married 18 years ago. We are humbled now!! It’s hard!! To turn our “oppositeness” into a marriage where we celebrate each other’s strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses… we are learning!!

Why have I decided to blog publicly, and not just keep a personal journal? What a great question!!

I have contributed to a homeschool blog for almost a year now, and I’m surprised at how having a public expression of my writing has kept me accountable. I like to write. I think it’s therapeutic for me personally. I often don’t know what’s lurking in my head and heart until I struggle to find words to type on the computer.

But, the tyranny of the urgent would easily squelch the effort. I have to get up before the kids in order to have a bit of quietness to transcribe the quiet murmurs of my soul. It’s worth it to me. I doubt that there will ever be a season where I have lots of free time to write as much as I want. So, I’m glad for the opportunity to take the plunge as best I can right now.

So, yes, it’s free therapy. But, also, if anyone does read my words, maybe they will connect. My fellow humans!! And realize that we’re all in this life together. We are not alone.

The Good Life: Sparkles of Grace in Ordinary Days think it started when my young, single mom took my sister and me to Maple Lane United Methodist Church in South Bend, Indiana. I remember the  blue-green padded pews and Mrs. Kovach playing the organ. And in little, important ways I began to hunger for God.

Eventually we moved to the suburbs of Chicago. The quaint little Methodist church was exchanged for the contemporary, exhilarating mega church, Willow Creek. And my hunger to know God rekindled. There was Bill Hybels preaching his heart out and drama and music and people who gently directed me into the relationship that simultaneously satiated and whetted my appetite for Him.

Everything changed.

Well, nothing on the outside actually changed. But, in reality- on the inside- everything changed.

From those days until now, I am His.

It doesn’t always look that way. I often look like a whiny, bratty child, resisting Him relentlessly. Maybe I embarrass Him. But, through it all, He claims me. Honestly, my mind cannot grasp it. It’s unfathomable that He fiercely set His face toward the cross and poured out His blood to make me His.

So this is what I mean by the good life. I endure hard stuff. And my days overflow with what seems unimportant and trivial.

But the good life means that in and out and through it all I’m convinced that I am wholly loved. Every nook and cranny of my soul is brimming with His staggering love for me. I don’t always remember it. I usually don’t feel it. But I know it.

So, even in my darkest moments, deep, deep in the very pit of my soul I am unshaken. His love grounds me.

And it powers me. I am His. Purpose radiates! Through every mundane moment. Cleaning the bathroom. Folding laundry. Trying a new recipe. Playing games with the kids. Sitting on the couch with my husband. It’s all fraught with meaning.

blue-sky-and-white-clouds_w520There are sparkles of grace everywhere. May I have eyes to see and celebrate them. The stack of dirty dishes in the sink is a clear testimony that we have food. Books and toys and clothes strewn around the house are proof that our lives are abundant. Even the sound of arguing kids is a reminder that my kids are still home with me, and we are working out how to live in relationship with other humans.

Not to mention the brilliant shimmers of face-value grace. Like the smell and sound of rain with the windows open. Laughter. Holding a cup of hot coffee on a snowy day. Crackling fireplaces. Friends.

I invite you to join the journey! We can uncover glints of grace together as we live regular life through the lens of being completely loved.