Wednesday, October 24, 2012

should / be

my sister and i were talking about this the other day.

how should is a hard place.

not a grace-place.

there is no tenderness in should, no expansive arms of joy, no welcome.  should is a cold shoulder, a great gap of expectations and a yardstick to measure the falling short.

all too often i find myself living in that house.  and putting others in it too.
and the walls don't meet, and the rooms aren't comfortable, and the light glares magazine-glossy on all of our imperfections.  it is filled with the stench of disappointment and shame.

this is not the house God built.
this is not the house God built.

his name is not "you should" (or she should or we should or i should) but "I AM".

I AM is filled with grace.  it holds no expectations, no measuring-sticks that turn quickly into rods for beating the failed backs.  the rooms are large, and all are welcome.  come, they beckon.  be.

in my childhood church, there was a man who often prayed from psalm 31.  "thou hast set my feet in a large room," he would praise.  the heart-grabbing graciousness of that phrase gripped my heart.  a large room.  room for all.  room to grow.  expand.  room to be.  not a small room.  not a room of squirming, mincing steps, but a large room for whirling, dancing, joy in the sheer gladness of living.  a room with big spaces for big faith and big hopes.

not a critical room.  not a room with measuring sticks on walls and windows.  no.

a large room.  plenty of space to rest.  to just be.

God's name is I AM.  in him, there is enough.  there is more than enough.  all fullness.

this morning, three hours after her last nursing, vava woke me again.  i stumbled across the room, confused to find her in her crib - hadn't i just picked her up?  wasn't she still in my arms?  a glance at the clock and the room spun, exhaustion and nausea swimming up my veins.  again?  it was time to feed her again?

i snuggled her, crying, into patrick's arms while i set up my pillows.
and as i nursed, wakefulness flooded into me.  wakefulness for this moment.  eyes that had hung bleary over her opened, devouring words.  arms that had trembled, sleepy, grew strong.  i read psalm 31 and traveled from the small, cramped room of should to is, place of grace and love.

i don't feed my dear lovely girl because i should - but because i am.  i am her mama.  my heart flows with love for her, my bones ache with love for her.

like His grace.  for us.  through us.  to us.  from us.

God sets our feet in a large room.

19 comments:

  1. I have to say...this is beautiful! What a wonderful way to express the difference between "I should" and "I am". Congratulations on your new baby. May God bless your family richly.

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  2. Loved this!!! Really neexed to read this after a 3hr off and on teething baby--who is nothing but perfect any other time....very well written!!!
    RT

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    1. teething is so hard :( on everybody. hope those chompers take a break today and let you enjoy a few minutes of happy-baby-snuggles!

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  3. What a good reminder. Encouragement we all can use! Reminded me of this little print I came across recently: http://www.etsy.com/listing/100492855/limited-edition-grace-not-perfection?ref=af_you_favitem

    Have a nap today!
    Janna

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    1. oh wow, i love this print! thanks for sharing :).

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  4. janelle, you just gave me goosebumps. i love how you can get your thoughts out so eloquently. what a great reminder for the start of my school day. i hope that thirsty vava gave you a little sleep last night... thanks for being her special mama <3

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    1. <3 i love you, friend. she did - and i shouldn't complain, she's a much better sleeper than sam at this age, and i thought he was the best ;). can't wait til she can snuggle with you!

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  5. Oh Janelle... you have such a gift. Thank you for sharing and allowing God to touch our hearts through you. Hope you can squeeze in a nap today. x0x

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    1. janna, it's got to be all from Him. when i was clicking publish, i knew with a certainty it was all rambling and incoherent. i'm glad God pressed it to heart!

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  6. Beautiful. Love the above comments and agree with them all. Perspective at its best. Hope you do get a nap. I love you daughter of mine,

    Mama C xox

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    1. oh mama c, i love you too! and thank you for making supper - i foresee a nap in my afternoon :).

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  7. Seriously beautiful. And timely. xoxo. You rock.

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  8. Kelly LaudenslagerOctober 25, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I love this so much. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. ah miss kelly ;). me, i am grateful. <3

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  9. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. We all need this reminder. Thank you.

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  10. Haha...Love, love, love. Your description of your feelings when Vava cried took me right back to when little Mustard was crying to be fed every 2 hours. I'd wake to her crying, all cramped from having fallen asleep feeding her - in the most uncomfortable position ever. But God would meet me there, in the dark, in the middle of the night, at the end of my exhaustion. He'd meet me with my questions and fears for my 2 gorgeous babies. I could sometimes feel His presence in the room. I'm still convinced that kind of awareness is often only accessible during extreme exhaustion.(kind of like a bit of a consolation prize?)
    Anyway, I really loved the rest of your post. Lots of hugs to you, Patrick, Sam and Vava! xoxo

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  11. Janelle, I think you speak to every mother's heart. I always love it when God meets me in my most helpless and vulnerable place. It is then that I am most open to listen to Him. He speaks peace! I have been struck with the awesomeness of that statement. It is so profound. Keep blogging, dear daughter.
    There are lots of people who need to hear these things.

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