When all hell breaks loose

My online space has been quiet this summer. Not for a lack of trying–I sit down to write, but the words won’t sit down with me. I don’t know if I have too much to say, or nothing at all. I know the temptation of wanting to only write the lovely and the beautiful, but life looks ugly sometimes and some of it is too messy to put down in print. Suffice it to say, messy and I are intimately acquainted. In the past two months all hell has broken loose in my home. I don’t use those words lightly because I absolutely believe we battle more than flesh and blood, and disobedient kids, and frustrated husbands. We battle in the spirit against enemies like loneliness and fear and failure. Lately, I am fighting on all fronts and my heart weighs heavy and my spirit longs for rest.

I know you understand. You’ve been there and you know messy. You carry your battle scars and your beauty across your chest like a warrior. But even warriors grow weary. If you find yourself in a weary place today, know that we face this together. Some day we’ll trade stories and scars, but there comes a time when we need to allow someone else to fight the battle for us. Jesus calls, and I have no choice but to answer and receive His rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~Matthew 11:28  

When you want to answer yes

We returned last night from a long weekend in Portugal. Colorful, sunny, delicious Portugal. I picked up the dog from the kennel and he doesn’t appear any worse off for being the unfortunate victim of my craziness prior to leaving. I sincerely hope I am not the only person who forgets they have a dog, or an appointment, or–hypothetically speaking–a child waiting to be picked up at the bus stop. I feel like I’m rushing to catch up, only I never do.

I’ve thought a lot about rest lately, spiritual rest, the kind where your soul lies down in green pastures and is restored. Every time I sit down to write about it, I can’t. I circle round and round the idea in my head, but I can’t seem to get the words to trickle down into my fingers. The best way I know how to express it, is to say it’s a longing. I long for a deep rest of the spirit, the kind that has nothing to do with my schedule, my responsibilities, or my feeble attempts at keeping all planets revolving around me.

I woke up early on Saturday, to the sun breaking across the sky and the sea. Clouds sat above water, hugged by earth, lit in a golden glow. Each element knew exactly where it belonged, hung and held and revolving around the Son. I watched the day break and I knew I had seen the thing I long for. Rest is knowing I am not the sun or the Son. All things do not live and move through me. Responsibilities exist, lists must be made, but instead of allowing the light of the Son to shine on those places and bring me into a place of restoration, I try to become all things. I try to be the sun and the earth, the sky and the sea, when all He desires is for me to simply be.

I feel the light of the Son wooing me, calling me to come, to be, to rest. And I feel the longing again, to answer the call with a quiet yes.

Broken

I went to my favorite spot. The one where I can watch the trees dress according to the seasons. I ran first, and then I stopped at the car, zipped up my jacket, and grabbed the camera. In the two years I’ve been going there, I have never seen another soul taking photographs. I’m mystified by it. Maybe after a while we become numb to the things that bring us the most beauty. Writing here helps me fight the tendency to go numb. You help me remember to chase those things down.

While walking around the lake, shielded by a huge bank of tall grass, I could hear a horse raising hell on one of the paths. It was whinnying and snorting so loud, I could hear it clear across the lake. Once I emerged on the other side, I followed the sound with my camera and he came into view. He was gorgeous, but totally resistant. The girl riding him was struggling to stay in the saddle, she was yanking and pulling him, and giving him a good smack on his rump. But I tell you that horse did not want to be broken. He wanted it his way or no way.

I lost sight of them again, and half an hour later as I walked to the car, they passed within a few feet of me. I wanted to take another photo, but when I saw the girl’s face red with exertion I decided against it. She walked beside him now, instructing him in a low voice, jerking on his bridle while he pawed at the ground and tried to bite the mouthpiece clear off.

He was a powerful horse, and she was clearly fed up with trying to get him to do it her way, but they were at a stalemate. Neither one was ready to give up on the other; he was strong enough to pull away, and she was almost frustrated enough to let him. I watched until it became awkward, and then I hopped in the car and drove away.

I think of that horse and his girl when I feel like I’m hanging on to someone or something for dear life. I have kids and a marriage and a faith which, at times, seem to pull in every direction but the one in which I want them to go. I suppose it is the nature of wild things to want to run free. Sometimes I’m the wild thing, and sometimes I’m the girl trying to tame it.

But, you know, I don’t think I would have it any other way. If we’re not the ones doing the leading and the breaking, then we are the one being broken. And if we are willing, we are put back together in a new way, one that has strength and purpose and the ability to carry someone else on our back.

For when change is inevitable

This week we are enjoying Spring Break, and I will be spending time with my kids, my husband, and a glass of wine or five. It might be quiet here on the blog, although there is the possibility that I will need to talk about how much I love my kids, and/or the revelation I have every school break in which I realize once again, that homeschooling will never be an option for us. I think it’s more important that one, my children learn math, and two, they have a mother who is not driven to brink of insanity.

This week will be a good one. My son will turn ten, and I will lament that fact that we have two children in double digits. We will sit in the sun and I will wear big hats because the sun has become my nemesis. We will explore and I will look through the lens and appreciate learning how to see all over again. I will think about running and writing and change and new life and celebration.

I will remember Christ’s work on the cross for us, His blood and His love. And even though things on this great, green earth keep changing, my limitations grow ever clearer, and my children become more themselves every day, even in this I know God’s love for me is unchanging. Nothing I’ve said, done, thought, hated, loved, sought after, cried over, doubted or trusted in will ever change what happened on the cross.

Nothing.

So when numbers tick upward and change is a revolution I can’t win, I celebrate a God who remains the same yesterday, today and forever. He makes all things beautiful in His time, including me.

Five Minute Friday: Trust

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in Five minute Friday, but today that’s all I have to spare. Join me at The Gypsy Mama? The rules:

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

Today’s Five Minute prompt: Trust

I’ve never, not once, believed that my life would be trouble free. That I wouldn’t feel sorrow walk by and brush up against me. Maybe it’s the pessimist in me, but I do believe that I spend too much time worrying about the bad things that might happen, instead of rejoicing in the good one’s that do.

Most people find it hard to trust God when things go wrong, but sometimes I find it harder to trust Him when all is right. I force myself to look for beauty, to see it in the small things. It’s there in the big ones, the obvious ones, like family and friends and security. But, I need it to be there in the little ones too. Because when I see beauty, it proves to me that even if the big things fail or if sorrow knocks on my door, I can still trust that God has given me something beautiful.

Even if I have to squint to see it.

I think of Solomon, the lily, the sparrow, and I know that these things are small, but God has taken such care. And He takes such care with me, in sorrow and in beauty.

Thanks, Lisa-Jo, for five minutes and for reminding me to look for ways to trust Him more.