Wednesday, April 25, 2012

whole desire

i came across an astonishing little section in my reading this morning.

"They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns. And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around."  2 chronicles 15:14-15

 i couldn't even wrap my mind around what that would look like.  an entire nation seeking God with their whole desire.  

i want to seek Him with my whole heart and whole desire.  but i don't think i do.  not even for a day.  my desires are so easily diluted and diminished.  i'm eventually satisfied with nachos.  or pickles.  or a hug.

but am i driven with my whole heart, to seek God with all my desire?

what does that even look like? 

what does a day - a year - a life look like, when the whole desire to chase after God is ignited and nourished? 

is it a life of obedience?  prayer?  communion?  worship?  joy?  peace?

where do diapers and dishes fit in?  obviously, they must.  the people of Judah didn't leave their homes or responsibilities to seek after some mystical oneness with God. 

right where they were, with their babies and homes and jobs, they sought Him - and found Him - with their whole desire.

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."  C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory  

i definitely want the holiday at the sea.  

but how?


Saturday, April 21, 2012

HA, baby

dear baby,
you are growing and growing :)  they tell me that you are the size of an orange.  i feel like you must be bigger.  you're starting to pop out and make yourself known.  i am so glad.
today your big brother said hi to you.  papa and i have been telling him that you are in my belly, so today he came up really close and said "HA!" (that's his version of hi.  it's very enthusiastic.)
do you love hearing your papa's voice?  and samjam's?  and does my crazy singing make you laugh? 
we can't wait til you're in our arms and everybody can meet you.  there are so many people just waiting to love your teensy socks off.
your ever-lovin' mama

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


when i lived in zambia

(all of my best stories start this way)

when i lived in zambia, i met two adorable old ladies.  they were old then.  they're older now.  85 and 90.  sweet lives - fragrant from the first minute.

they live on their own, way out in the middle of nowhere, with a satellite phone and an old grey truck.  they share the gospel and Jesus-love with their own hands, living love as they have for decades.

the moment we met stands out sharp, vivid like rays of sunshine against stormclouds.

they were parked on the side of the road when we drove past, weary from a day's drive (i bore bruises from wrestling with the dam) and happy to see friendly faces.  they were perched on the tailgate of their truck, sipping tea from real teacups, and nibbling sandwiches.  shade from a skinny tree danced nearby, and dust swirled as we pulled up slow.

they wrinkled into smiles and kissed us hello. 

they live alone, mark said, and my heart expanded just at the thought.  alone is very alone out in the middle of nowhere.  alone without public electricity, alone without grocery stores, alone without someone else to kill snakes - very alone.

jill and i watched them with full hearts while they chatted and offered us tea.  would that be us someday - seasoned and spunky, fearless old ladies spry on the back of a pickup truck?  they were telling a tale of scaring off an intruder, laughing over the fright on our faces. 

they were from ireland, and they knew my grampie.  "john mccracken," they said, "aye, we knew him!  fancy meeting his granddaughter," they marveled.  and i loved them more.

that was it - the only time our paths crossed - and ever since, i picture them in thin flower-print dresses, daintily cardiganed and sipping tea, braver than brave and laughing at danger. 

last night, an old man at bible study read a letter from julie - a friend of ours, a nurse, another spreader of Jesus-love in zambia - and she had news of our brave old ladies.

the other day, two strangers came to their house and held them up at gunpoint.

"give us all your money or we'll shoot you," they growled. (they weren't local men, for they didn't understand any of the languages.  they would have to be strangers indeed, not to love our dear ladies!)

"go ahead," said the younger one, laughing.  "i know where i'm going, and i'll surely not be meeting you there."

the thieves beat them (beat them!  these sweets who had loved more people and spread more joy than they could ever imagine!) and stole their money, their phone. 

they lived - they lived! - and sent word that they had been robbed. 

a triumphant little adendum:  "they tried, but couldn't take our truck, you know, for it had broken down!" 

(friends went out and repaired their truck, but our indomitable ladies were too sore and bruised to make the trip to town.)

i can't imagine them doing anything afterward but making a cup of tea and having a wee bite, and praying over it calmly.  maybe even laughing a bit at their sauciness, in between bites of sandwiches.

perhaps they even ate perched on the tailgate of their truck, just because they could.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

has a l'il pony

in my quest to read through the bible in a year, i found myself plodding through acres of names in 1 chronicles.

not my fave chapters.  especially early in the morning when my brain would just as happily slip back to sleep.  but i want to succeed, so plod on i must!

luckily, some of the names are really great.  (if we ever run out of kids' names, i know where i can go to find some new ones.)  my favorite, though, is hazzelelponi.  has a l'il pony!  was she the original horse-girl?  (you know, the one in every elementary school who can't stop talking about her horse.)

i hope so :).

i'm reading 3 chapters a day, and in the 3 chapters, i could usually find just one verse that wasn't "so-and-so was the father of so-and-so was the father of so-and-so."  and i actually found a really cool one!

1 chron 6:31 - "these are the men whom david put in charge of the service of song in the house of the LORD after the ark rested there."  (obvs, not noah's ark, but the ark where God's presence dwelt.)  so it's just a heading for a list - what's cool about it?

God's presence is filled with song.

Hearts lifted up.  Voices lifted up.  Grandeur.  Beauty.  Worship.  Service of song.

it made me think of one night in zambia, when the village was filled with hatred and fear and violence, and the women got together to pray.  susie brought a cd, and we listened to "the anchor holds" by ray boltz.  there was something nourishing, something strengthening, and very tender about entering into God's presence with that song.  when i'm afraid, that moment comes back and i know Him again, present.  the service of song.  what a great verse, tucked away in the middle of boring old chronicles!

then the next day, i found a verse that made that one even cooler.

1 chron 9:33 - "...the singers ... were on duty day and night."  the song never ceased!  they sang and sang and the singing went on and on.  through everything.  it made me think of one of my favorite verses: "Yours [God's] is the day; Yours is also the night." (psalm 74:16) there isn't a minute that doesn't belong to Him.  day and night.

and every minute was filled with the service of song.

the service of song?  why does God want to be served with song?  clearly it matters to Him, since there is a huge stack of verses listing people who served Him this way.

but why does singing matter to God?  i feel like it makes sense that goodness matters, because He is good.  and holiness matters, because He is holy.  and love matters, because He is love.  mercy; He is merciful.  faith; He is faithful.  but - singing?

oh yes.

zephaniah 3:17 - the LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.

my God is a God who sings.
don't you just love Him?  how can you resist that beautiful heart?  He sings!  in joy - over us, His people.

*mind blown.*

Monday, April 9, 2012


this weekend, i had a lot of fun.
i spent time with family and friends and chased around after my super-busy samjam.

but there was one moment that seemed to bury the others.  it hurt.  feels like i got stabbed in the soul.

after all the insensitive comments people tossed my way before sam was born ("his family might change their minds, you know."  "do you really think you could love him as much as your own child?"  "how can his mother do that to him?" - yikes.  each of these seriously needs a rant of its own), you'd think i'd be somewhat immune to the things people can say.

apparently not.

when the topic of my pregnancy came up, a very kind and sweet and well-meaning person said, "remember, things could still go wrong."

as if i was likely to forget!  as if that aching possibility doesn't underscore every single beat of my heart!

i don't know what would cause a person to think that sort of thing is necessary to say.  (i'm imagining a new line of cards along this vein ...
"congratulations on your new home ... but beware: it might burn down!" 
"so glad to hear of your engagement ... he might be cheating on you right now."
"happy retirement!  ... remember, you're likely to die before you enjoy it much.")

all joking aside, maybe she thought i was being naively happy, to rejoice in my pregnancy?  at this, i can only shake my head.  i am happy to be pregnant, to know there is a little life growing in me, a little baby conceived in love and knit by God.  i make no apologies for rejoicing fully in the life that is.  it is!  miracle enough, even if it should end, even if this child never grows older.

and my happiness is not naive.  i know exactly how costly this joy can be, first hand.  that will not stop me from taking with both hands every ounce of bliss i am given.  the spectre of what may be will not ruin the surety of what is.

i rest in God.  my hope is not in this baby, my hope is in Him.  what He sends, i will take. 

and right now, He has given me joy.  present, growing, tiny, extraordinary joy.

and i will not worry about what might be.  i will exult in what is.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

now, for the first time, ever

i'm in my second trimester! 

here's a picture - blurry, blurry - this little one likes to move!  we absolutely couldn't get a clear shot because it was gymnastics time in there :).

dear love!

why i love supernanny.

yesterday, while sam was napping, i watched an old episode of supernanny.

i love that show.

jo is really warm and caring, but also no-nonsense.  she calls things as she sees them.  for example, in yesterday's episode, the little girl was making excuses, and jo told the mom to call her on her lies.  the mom goes (with a shocked face): "she's FOUR!"  as if four year olds don't lie. jo was like, a lie is a lie. no nonsense, little people are people too, and people lie.

in another clip, the mom was yelling at her kids who were yelling right back.  jo goes, "someone has to be the adult here.  i suggest it be you."  which is a bit of a slap in the face, but a very necessary one.

this morning, sam was kind of out-of-sorts.  he had been up a lot in the night (missing his aunt katie, i bet), and so this morning was not a great one.  i made him his favourite breakfast, and at the first bite he growled at me, and spat it out.  all over his freshly-laundered sweater.

i had made his favourite breakfast!  what more could i do?!  i wanted to growl too, but just as i was about to, i heard the following echo in my mind: "someone has to be the adult here.  i suggest it be you."

so instead of being angry with the jam, i wiped him up happily with smiles and silly talk, and gave him some sliced fruit, which he gobbled gladly.  no temper tantrum, no spitting.  all was well.

a cheerful heart is good medicine.  <3

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

sam has a beard

"sam has a beard.
a scraggly, peach-fuzzy beard.
a real one."

our sam?

"yes.  our sam."

now?  or someday in the future?

"now.  our sam.  a beard.  scraggly, all over his chin."

a food beard?

"sigh.  a REAL beard!"

(excerpt from a conversation with patrick as he was falling asleep.)