Thursday, February 4, 2016

By Vava, Age 3

When I grow up I will be a white horse. A mama white horse.  And she will have a baby in her belly. And when the baby is born her heart will break into many many sharp and shivery pieces. And they will be all over the ground, so slippery, and they will be lava.

Friday, January 29, 2016

If I Could Do Anything?

Guys, I had the weirdest moment the other day.

I was scrolling through my news feed and  came across a motivational pic - you know the kind, big scenery, papyrus font - asking this question: if you could do or be anything in the world (and money is no object) what would that be?  Make it happen.

And normally I don't even read motivational bits but I laid back on the couch and stared up at bare branches against a white sky to think about this one.

And my mind went blank.

I couldn't think of a single thing I'd rather do. 

I shook my head and thought harder, because surely there's got to be something?  (Contentment isn't usually my preset.)

I love to write. I love to read. I love the beach. I love warm weather.  But would I prefer to be sitting on a beach, reading, writing, with no Patrick? No hilarious, frustrating goons pulling me out of my innate laziness?  No morning sickness and no meals to cook and nobody singing adorably to themselves, lost in play?

I really wouldn't.

I found myself grinning up at the naked tree in the cold sky.

This life is my favourite.

I mean, would I love to be slim and have better skin and be living this crazy life on a gorgeous island with a beautiful self-cleaning house and all my extended family and friends nearby? Yes! But would I give this up to pursue something else? Not in a million years.

This is my answer, motivational pic: I love my circus. And I'm deep-in-my-bones grateful that I get to live it every day.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I Want to Read About Going Home

It's probably the pregnancy hormones. In fact, I'm sure it is. But the other night I read a headline that just killed me. Patrick came to bed a good 20 minutes after I'd thrown down my phone in disgust, and I'd been sobbing the whole time. I couldn't seem to get a handle on my response.

This world is so warped and there is so much nauseating evil that sometimes you just find yourself crying in the dark begging God to make it all end. 

The other night Sam picked up my Bible,  climbed into a cozy chair, and announced, "I want to read about going home."

Oh my sweet boy. Me too. Me too.

Here - this is not our home. This is soaked in sin and reeks of cruelty .. wounds and bruises and putrifying sores.

I don't want to read the headlines. I want to read about going home.

But I am so glad that Jesus chose the opposite way.

He left home and plunged into this place, this gasping shame, and placed his hands right on the filthy body of humanity. He spread out his arms and took our sin and provided the cleansing stream of salvation in His own body on the cross.  He came to us. And knew far more than a headline worth of our depths. And knew our hurt. And knew our rage. And loved us. And loved us. And loved us.

And so I don't get to just hide in my house and read about heaven (although that's good). I don't get a speedy pass out of the wounds and bruises and sores that surround me (although someday I will, yes, find myself in my long home). 

Instead I get the charge to bear the same grace, the same comfort, the same mercy that has healed my same wounds.  To live the gospel and speak peace and hope and serve the hurting in Jesus' name. His hands don't hide from the agony - they reach toward it. His heart doesn't close up to avoid the pain - it opens wide in welcome.  He didn't keep himself out of this fray - he came. He came. He healed and nourished and comforted and taught and died for all of our sin. 

And he tells us all, all of us who have been so comforted and forgiven and made well in His care: go and do likewise.

And then someday ... we'll all go home.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Why

My nerd - mama heart got such a shivery rush today.

Sam read.

Our calendar has a Christmas themed picture and Sam looked up at it and sounded out the letters.  "Hhhhh ... ooooo .... hhhhh ... ooooo ... hhhhh ... ooooo. Ho Ho Ho. What is that?"

I got goosebumps. He read.

I'm so glad I got to see it.

And then he lost his first tooth and didn't it just grow in a few days ago and can you please tell me how he can be almost five years old? 

Was I actually the person who wrote about the grace of time passing just yesterday?

:)

But it's just as true, even when the days whirl by and you ache to hold on, to slow the beauty down, to savour the goodness.
And I don't want anything bad to happen and I want to freeze time and keep them safe and glad always. 

But ... sadness and hurt and suffering will come.

It will.

All that extraordinary Christmas joy - angels and heaven-sent baby and a star of wonder - wasn't the whole story.
Eight days after that glory, Simeon told Mary that Jesus would suffer - and a sword would pierce her own soul also. And He did.

Because some things are worth it.

Adult teeth are worth losing baby teeth for.  Months of learning letters is easily worth the lifelong bliss of being able to read.

And you - and I - were worth the agony of the cross.

We're the why.

We're why he came to earth, why he knew sorrow from the inside out, why he ached and suffered and His mama's soul was pierced through.

He looked at us and shouted, "worth it!"

And I'm pretty sure Mary agrees.

The most staggering Christmas gift of all is that He thinks we're worth it.

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy! Merriest of Christmases, friends!
Xo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ordinary Grace

My morning started out rather worse than usual.

Sam left the lid up and neglected to flush the toilet, and Kachi thought it was a perfect place to splash. After that mess was cleaned up,  Vava was hyper at breakfast and spilled her orange juice in a big spray all over the place.  Again, Kachi thought it was a great place to splash.  So everybody ended up in the tub, and Kachi promptly pooped in it.

And it wasn't an ordinary day. It was my last 8 hours before holiday company, so there was a lot of bedding and laundry and vacuuming to do already, without these bonus labours.

So of course Kachi would poop in the tub and Sam would put Vava in a chokehold because he wanted the toy crocodile and Vava would have a huge meltdown because I called her Vava when she was pretending to be Brown Horse a.k.a. Filly.

Right? Because life.

But it's Christmas and the world is ripe with grace.  And grace came in its usual way: moment by moment, with each tick of the clock.

(The grace of time passing is one I usually overlook. I look for bolder graces and more extraordinary miracles; interruptions in the soul.)

But time passes and messes are cleanable and chokeholds can be replaced with hugs. 

Time passes.  Time passes.

And in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son ...

He's still doing that. Sending forth His Son in the fullness of time. Into my life, into yours.  And maybe you're feeling trapped and looking for a miracle and begging Him to come, save! And maybe I'm knee-deep in the frazzled middle of a sticky morning, praying, "help!" And maybe the incredible, ordinary miracle is that we aren't trapped, we aren't stuck, because we are flowing through, flowing with ... time. 

Straight to Him. Every one of us.

And that's the promise of Christmas. God sent Him, in the fullness of time. In God's time, He is coming back. And grace moves us inevitably closer to Him with every passing minute.

Even when some minutes seem longer than others ;).

Time passes. For aching hearts and tired bodies and weary hands. Take heart this Christmas in an ordinary grace.

Time passes.

Merry Christmas, friends.
Xo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fullness of God

This afternoon, I took a nap. The littlest two were sleeping and Sam was playing with Lego, so I laid down on the couch and pulled a blanket up to my chin.

I couldn't seem to turn my mind off,  so I asked Sam if he could help me fall asleep by singing me the cozy song and drawing a heart on my face (that's how I cuddle him to sleep at night).

There just might be nothing sweeter in the world than the voice of my tender Sam singing, "go to sweep, pwe-ciss mama; go to sweep daw-wing mama," while his little paw sketches a heart around my face.

(And it worked ... I had a great nap.)

And it gave me that spiraling feeling of time folding in on itself, because for so long I've been the one taking care of Sam but suddenly he was able to take care of me.

And I wonder what it was like, for Jesus to lay aside His might and glory and lie, helpless, in the care of the mama and papa he'd created. I wonder what it was like to look up at those faces and see them full of care and love for him. To be held, Almighty God, in the trembling love-wracked arms of his own dear creation.  To receive care, to be handled and cuddled and swaddled and kissed and fed and comforted and treasured: a baby, in the arms of his children. (Did he know how scared they were? How overwhelmed and unqualified they must have felt?)

I just love that he came as a baby. That he came to us vulnerable and needy. That he knows what it's like to cry for someone else to care for him.

Take this gift, friend: our Saviour knows our weaknesses. He is touched by them. He remembers we are dust ... because He became dust, with us. 

Fullness of God in helpless babe.
He's sweet, isn't he?

Merry Christmas, friends.
Xo.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Brother

Today was Sam's first official Christmas vacation day.

It was so fantastic having him at home.  We've missed him this school year, our bright Sam,  gone every day during the good parts. Evenings and weekends just have a different flavour than the long playful hours of a toddlery weekday.

I was surprised to find him so nonchalantly independent. He and Vava wanted to make a cushion-slide on the stairs. I used to make those almost daily, last winter, so I was ready to get to work when somehow they'd already done it ... and they'd made it taller and steeper than I used to, too.

Kachi and Vava seemed to expand - growing brighter and braver - as if his unique qualities spread to them through the air, from laughter and shrieks of delight.

They adore their big brother.  I adore their big brother :).

And Jesus - well, it's kind of like he's our big brother, and he's away. And when he returns to take us home to our Father, how bright and brave our hearts will be! How we long to be like him!  And while we wait, we re-read the story of His adoption, when he adopted flesh and came into this world. We share stories of His courage and goodness and tell each other how he has loved us, and we adore him and try to imitate him in the way of small siblings the world over.

And on his birthday, we all get to blow out candles and exchange presents.

Merry Christmas, friends.
Xo.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ways to Say I Love You

When I sang the cozy song to my kids tonight, I didn't get to sing "go to sleep, precious Vava." No, she was indignant and emphatic about that.
"I not Vava! I a mama unicorn."

So I sang the cozy song to Mama Unicorn.

And then I didn't get to sing "go to sleep, precious Sam." He was wearing his race car driver costume to bed, and he wanted me to sing to his hat.

So I sang the cozy song to his hat.

Because when it comes to saying I love you, the best way to say it is in the language of the listener.

If I had refused, and insisted on singing it my way, they might have heard the correct words with their ears, but their hearts would have heard you don't matter.

So I entered their imaginary world and played along. I sang goodnight to a unicorn and a hat, because that was how they were able to hear I love you.

It's kind of like Christmas.

I am sure God could have spoken His Word of love to us in a beautiful language that we don't understand. 

But He chose to speak to us in the simplest Word, and become one of us. A baby. He entered our world and lived as one of us and died for all of us and declared, blood-red, it is finished! And rose again in triumph to take us home to our Father.

God, veiled in flesh.
With us.
For us.

Because the best way to say I love you is in the language of the listener.

Merry Christmas, friends.
Xo.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Treasures

My kids are such precious little goons. I love the silly, sweet, surprising things they do and say.
Today Kachi told Patrick, "I love you!"  That's one of the dearest things to hear.
And Vava told me she's glad my hair is turning white because she doesn't like it brown. I'm glad someone is happy about it hehe ;).
And when we went outside to play this afternoon, Sam told Vava to get on the sled so he could pull her around the yard (her favourite).
I know these are pretty unremarkable moments, but I love them, and Patrick loves them. They're treasures to us.

Twice in chapter 2 of Luke's gospel we read that Mary treasured things in her heart. He writes that she treasured the shepherds' testimony of the angel's announcement, and she treasured Jesus' assertion that He must be busy with His Father's work.

The repetition of that phrase makes me wonder if Luke sat down with Mary, and she opened up her heart to him and poured out her treasure trove. I wonder if she unwrapped each story like a precious gem, each moment of delight and wonder and revelation.

I picture tears rolling down glad cheeks as she shared her stories of Jesus, of God's son, her boy.  I'm sure Luke would have lost track of time, just listening.   There's something so warming and filling about sharing true stories of the Lord's goodness, something so precious when we hear of Him being kind and generous and beautiful to someone.

We always want to hear things about the people we love.

I will never get tired of hearing people tell me about my kids. When I come home from an evening out, I want the babysitter to tell me everything. And when Patrick and I are alone together, you know what we talk about?  The kids.  We unwrap the tiniest details and share them with each other.

I think God loves it when we do that too; when we unwrap our treasured thoughts and memories and moments with Jesus and thank Him for His Son.  When we share with each other the things we've seen and heard and known of Him, the treasures we keep in our hearts ... we're giving good gifts to each other, and to Him.

I wish for you a few moments of treasure - sharing this Christmas. I hope you take a quiet time to unwrap your thoughts and memories of Jesus in God's presence,  and thank Him for His gift, His darling.

His treasure.

Merry Christmas, friends.
Xo.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Manger / The Throne


"The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father, David."

I wonder if those words echoed in her ears, as they rode into the city of David.
I wonder if her heart faltered, or if it beat strong with hope,
As You were born
And she placed You
In no royal crib.

I like to think that she was the sort of woman
Who could see Your throne already
Who was not blinded by the temporary manger.

The kind of woman
To whom dreams came easily
With the kind of breadth in her soul
That comes from expecting You.

I love that our story mimics Yours
And that we, too, have an inheritance
We don't yet see,
A Word from One greater than Gabriel.

And in this Bethlehem-waiting
(This smelly stable! This helpless infancy!)
We are filled and grow in hope
With the kind of breadth in the soul
That comes from expecting You.

-
He's coming!
Merry Christmas, friends!
Xo.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gifts In It

Today was a hard day.  My heart and body are weary.  It was a hard day ... but there were gifts in it.

Sam pushing the wagon, making it lighter as we walked him to school.

D. picking up Patrick so I could have the car.

Friends popping by with Christmas goodies.

Help carrying the tantruming kids to the car.

Kachi's delight in a bowl of strawberries.

Gifts spread out, just for me, in the drudgey trudging.  They shine like stars.

Merry Christmas, friends.
Xo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Bedtime Prayer, for Kachi

Kachi was so ready for bed tonight.

He'd had a full day of playing, throwing food on the floor, and chasing his siblings around.

He grabbed his blankies, soother, and crawled up the stairs.

He laid down for a clean diaper, fresh jams.

Then he snuggled down while I prayed for him.

Sweet baby boy, Jesus came for you.

Came as a baby, just like you.

And lived Christmas, and died to give - well, all the forever gifts, the good and perfects gifts. He stooped so low under that tree -

I pray you will receive them and unwrap them with all the wild joy of your bright self.

I pray you will love him and that tree forever.

Merry Christmas, love.
Xo.