Hosanna

The music was super-loud at church today.

Or I am becoming an old person.

Or possibly both.

In any case, the volume was such that no one seemed to mind the extremely loud babbling of a Little One.

Little One always loves the music at church, but today he loved it more than usual.  Clapping and dancing, he yelled at the top of his lungs.

DA DA DA.

Little One has been practicing lots of sounds lately.

One of the favorites is Da.

There is no Da in our house.

I actually think it means “that.”

Or maybe nothing at all.

Today, I imagine a crowd gathered to greet a humble king.

A celebration of One who upended expectations by embracing sinners and welcoming the marginalized.

I lay me down. I’m not my own.  I belong to you alone.

DA DA DA

Break my heart for what breaks yours.  Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause.

DA DA DA

That.  That.  That.

I am grateful for a Savior who treasures the Little Ones.

I am grateful for a church that doesn’t mind the loud babbling of a toddler.

Because today, I’m pretty sure DA DA DA means

Hosanna.

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Beloved

Who are you?

When you introduce yourself to someone new, what do you tell them?

I mother.  I teach.  I write.

So quickly, I jump to what I do.

My accomplishments.

I measure my worth by how well I think I’m mothering.  Or teaching.  Or writing.  Or Christianing.

And I am way harsher with myself than I would ever dare to be with anyone else.

I am my own worst critic.

I read that I’m supposed to clothe myself with compassion.  Kindness.  Humility.  Gentleness.  Patience.

And immediately I start judging.

Oh, my compassion is running low this week.  Gentleness isn’t up to par.

I go right to the what.

And I skip the why.

Why can I clothe myself with these things?

Because I am chosen.

Set apart.

Dearly loved.  (Colossians 3:12)

It’s here that I need to camp out today.

This week.

Maybe you do too.

We are not what we do.

We are not our own perceived success or failure on any checklist.  Even a really religious sounding one.

Who are we?

We are loved.

Dearly loved, passionately pursued, extravagantly welcomed.

Beloved children.

The rest is what we do, but this is who we are.

This is the core of our identity.

Beloved.

And this is enough.

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A Slippery Beast

Life with Little Ones from hard places is crazy sometimes.

It’s a kind of crazy that is near impossible to explain.

You see, trust is a slippery beast.

It’s imprinted on tiny hearts and minds through hundreds of thousands of gentle, loving interactions in the first few years of life.

Or it’s not.

Can trust be learned if this foundation is crumbly?

Absolutely.

Hope is powerful.  Healing is real.

And progress is imperfect.

You feel like you’re trucking right along…

Doing fine, doing fine.

And suddenly you slam headfirst into a brick wall.

What looks like defiance is really fear.

Forever?  Are you sure?

Will there really be enough?

It feels kind of like rejection.

Yes, Little One.  How many times do I have to tell you?

I am trustworthy.

Why don’t you just believe me already?

And then I remember that trust is a slippery beast.

Little Ones grasp and cling because they are afraid it will slip through their fingers.

It has before.

It feels kind of like failure.

We have been here.  We have done this.

We said all the right things.

And now we’re back at the beginning.

And then I remember that trust is a slippery beast.

This is not failure.

It is progress.

The crazy is less often.

Or less intense.  Or less long-lasting.

Or maybe all of these.

The brick wall is shorter than it was before.

Because, together, we have been dismantling it

Brick by brick.

Yes, trust is a slippery beast.

But we’re going to catch it yet,

Little Ones.

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Broken Together

Grief is weird.

I don’t feel emotional, but my body betrays me.

I am ravenous and I suddenly realize that my hands are on fire.

Too much washing.  I do this when I am stressed.

I’m never much for small talk, but in these days I cannot stomach it at all.

And so I push away from people and lock my eyes on

The Things That Must Get Done

Feed the babies.

Take the babies to school and daycare.

Eat something.

Drink some water.

Try to sleep.

The rest is left undone.

Sixty emails that I cannot bear to read (if they are from you, I am sorry).

Piles of papers that I do not have the energy to carry six feet to the recycling.

Crumbs on the dining room floor that I cannot bear to bend down and throw away.

It is ok.

I give myself permission to lie on the couch while the littles play.

Because I know this will not be forever.

I am a good faker, I think.

I will smile and lie to your face if you ask me how I am.

And I will fool most of you.

This is ok, I guess.

But even though I push away, even though I tell you I am fine.

I am grateful for the ones who come sit anyway.

The one who watches my littles so I can have a minute alone.

The one who arrives on my doorstep with dinner.

The one who prays and texts even when she doesn’t know what’s going on.

The ones who show up when there are no words.  And stay when I insist I am fine.

I am grateful for the ones who let mourning and hope exist in the same space.

Today, when my pastor talks about being broken together, he is not just talking about husbands and wives.

He’s talking about us too, friends.

About the sisters of my heart.

The ones who come sit anyway.

The ones who admit they don’t know what to say.

The ones who know intuitively that healing sometimes happens when we just let ourselves be broken together.

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Heart of Flesh

I yelled at Jesus this week.

Right out loud in my car.

Futilely fighting the tears, I yelled.

“You said, nothing wasted.

But all I see is waste.

Mess.  Drama.  Ugliness.”

It’s true, friends.

I want so badly to see hope win.

To see redemption.  Deliverance.

And I have a very real picture in my head of how that should look.

Today (or, preferably, this past Wednesday).

And I drive home with all of the feelings

But none of the answers.  None of the resolution.

A heart of stone doesn’t sound too bad right now.

Less to feel.  Less to lose.

And yet

These are the words that come…

I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh

(Ezekiel 36:26)

Words that breathed life to me once upon a time when I was young and knew betrayal

When I felt the waste for the first time.

Words far from my mind for many years

But near today.

Home with the babies, I slow my breathing.

And talk with a sweet friend.

She doesn’t buy all this Jesus stuff.  Not just yet.

But it is here, in this conversation, that I feel him chiseling away at my stony heart.

The Light is breaking through.

I am not pretending when I tell her about the mess.

About how it all feels like a waste.

And I am not pretending when I speak of hope.

When I tell her I still believe in deliverance.  In redemption.

We know this, together.

And there is something beautiful in this moment.

Something beautiful and strong and right.

No easy answers.  No resolution.

No altar-call moment (y’all know you were thinking it).

Just a feeling that maybe my idea of hope is too small.

That deliverance might look different than I imagine.

That I need redemption as much as the next guy.

And that though stone may feel safe,

Light can only shine

through the cracks.

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Groaning

It’s ironic—I know this even at the moment.

Sitting in a room surrounded by my people…

Thinkers, not feelers, almost to a soul

(this was once upon a time before I became a big sap).

I am defending the Holy Spirit.

Ironic because, I will just say it—

I am a little skittish when it comes to the Holy Spirit.

The Father—ok, I can wrap my mind around that idea.

Jesus—divinity and humanity all together in one—I am irresistibly drawn to this.

But wind?  Breath?

It sounds so unpredictable.  So unquantifiable.  So feel-y.

And yet.

Even then, even before I became a big sap,

I knew groaning.

My heart knew the redemption ache.

We do not know what we ought to pray for…

The need feels too big.

Our faith feels too small.

We can’t process it all.

Words fail.

But the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

This too, I have known…

My wordy, cynical, overthinking self.

When words fail, sometimes there is silence.

Giant, cavernous silence.  Silence so loud it hurts.

Or still, heavy silence.  Silence that beckons you to linger, to keep pressing in.

When words fail, sometimes there are tears.

Heaving, cathartic tears.

Or gentle, healing tears of release.

And then

When words fail, sometimes there are words.

Words that come from somewhere else.  From Someone else.

Words that tumble out of some hidden place that you know is not you

Because they are just right in this moment.

And you have nothing.

This, friends, is the Holy Spirit.

The One called alongside the called-out ones.

And so

Thinkers and feelers,

If, tonight, you know groaning,

If words fail,

Let him intercede.

He’s got this.

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Missing Life’s Beauty

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! :)

I hope you are spending today soaking in the sunrise moments with the ones you love.

If you have a minute, hop over and read more of my thoughts on enjoying life’s sunrise moments here.

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