BABIES DONT KEEP
They had this fairytale flair of cleaning.
These ‘littles’ I called my own.
“Don’t come up yet” they’d yell down the stairs.
I’d smile knowingly.
And when everything was clean and I was given the okay, the door would be flung open, magical music would be playing and proud smiles would be displayed.
The music got me every time.
It was as if they turned ‘cleaning their bedrooms’ into a Walt Disney production, with all the dramatic effects.
Looking back, cleaning was a household word.
Mom (I) was a clean freak.
Every day had its chore and every thing had its place.
Living in a parsonage, the worry over appearances took over the ease of letting life happen and loving it.
Would anything life changing have happened if I had let the dusting go one more week?
If I had allowed toys to lay around an extra day?
If the pillows weren’t perfect on the couch and the dishes weren’t all washed?
Here I sit 25 years later.
The same house. The same rooms.
Something life changing did happen. I put down the mop and my high expectations for the Pinterest perfect house and looked around.
The same rooms~now empty.
No more toys.
No more dramatic entrances into fairytale bedrooms.
No more pillows strewn all over the floor.
My kids grew up.
The vacuuming. The mopping.
The dusting. The chores.
It’s all still here.
My kids are not.
Tidying up can be done tomorrow.
Even if your children are “posing” in it, that picture or story for Instagram can wait.
Your kids cannot.
Tomorrow and the next day and then 25 years later you can take all the pictures in the world.
But the little hands will no longer be tugging.
The little feet will no longer be running.
The little laughter will no longer be ringing in your ears.
The chores will wait.
Life will not.
It will continue to move, even as your walls stand still around you.
So build a fort in the living room.
Have a pillow fight in the den.
Play Barbies in the bedroom.
Smile at the dishes in the sink.
Laugh at the dust that will be there tomorrow~
And love until it aches.
Love on those babies until it aches.
Because the cleaning and dusting and dishes will all still be here tomorrow...
But your babies won’t. 💕
WHEN YOU’VE BEEN HURT DEEPLY
The bomb dropped in their backyard. Miraculously, it did not detonate. It shook the entire house with its force, but there was no apparent damage to the naked eye.
I recently read about this event in the book ‘It’s Going To Be Alright’, a short biography of my friend’s sweet mother. I was in awe of the words as they came to life on the page.
It was 1941, WWII England.
Bombs and shelters and daily fears. The reality of which many of us know nothing about.
Days later, as her mother picked up a piece of her beautiful crystal, the entire dish disintegrated in her hand. Unbelievably, each piece looked intact, but the bombs implosion had shattered its core.
One touch and it fell apart.
Her heart was broken as her cherished wedding present had to be disposed of.
I have felt this way in my own life at times.
I will be up on the mountain. Up on the top shelf, just like that crystal. Life will be good. Happy. Beautiful.
One word. One thought.
and I fall apart.
All because of a past hurt that shook me to my core.
A hurt that broke my heart.
A hurt that I thought I was past.
A hurt that I believed I had forgiven.
And yet it revisits me.
It comes as an uninvited guest with no warning.
And I am shattered.
I don’t want to fight these feelings. I’m tired. I’m heart broken. I feel alone. The pain is too deep.
So I stay there a while, just like that shattered crystal all over the floor.
I might look like I have it all together to the naked eye.
But I am broken.
So I convince myself that I cannot be fixed. I can’t be glued together.
I will never be what I once was.
I am no longer of use in serving.
And I give up.
I can quote all the verses on forgiveness and comfort and God’s love.
I’m supposed to have it all together, but inwardly...
I dwell on the “befores”,
when everything was still okay.
Before the hurt. Before the bomb. Before I was shattered.
I stay there and wish for it back.
I allow myself to remain broken.
But I am still treasured in my brokenness. I am still loved, even as shattered pieces laying on the floor. Unable to get up.
My God will sweep me up.
He will deeply love every tiny shattered piece of me.
He will hold me in tenderness.
He remembers who I am.
He knows what I have become,
yet He loves me still.
I cannot put my shattered pieces back together again. Only He can.
He holds all those tiny pieces in a box of His making.
Not the beautiful display piece I want the world to see.
But the beautiful brokenness that He alone holds together.
That He alone sees.
I am put back up on a shelf. Not on display, but tenderly held and protected under the shadow of His wing.
Because I am so cherished that I cannot be thrown away.
I am a beautiful reminder of love.
Just like the cherished crystal.
He holds me there.
He tells me I’m okay. I am loved.
I am not alone
Because I am His.
And just as He forgave~despite all the reasons not to,
and SO loved,
through His strength I can do the same.
I can be beautiful again.
My life can serve a purpose.
But only in His box.
All my brokenness.
All the shattered pieces.
Protected and held by Him.
I may not ever know the reason behind the hurt, and even though I don’t understand the pain~
I know He does~
And He can, and will use it for His good.
And maybe someday, someone will read about it, just like I read about the beautiful, broken crystal.
And in the reading they will be reassured and know~
It’s Going To Be Alright.
CAN TIME PLEASE STAND STILL?
I have a confession to make.
A hard one for a pastor’s wife to admit, especially on a public forum that’s supposed to be encouraging and uplifting.
This past year I’ve been scared.
And the scared has made me sad.
I’m not even really sure what I’m scared of or why the sadness comes with it, and I’m not sure how to fix it.
But I know God can.
I think the ‘sad’ is from wanting to hold on to the past.
I think the ‘scared’ is from life moving too fast.
My mama heart doesn’t like to see so much changing.
My baby grandchildren growing up. My own children so “adult”.
When these feelings began to emerge, I determined that I was going to make the most of every day.
Enjoy, and find the joy, in every minute.
But my determination did not make time slow down.
Time is going by too fast for me.
I’ve always heard older people talk about it, and its true.
I am now old.
And I’m talking about it.
Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a dream.
What happened to today, or yesterday?
What happened to last month or last year?
Where did the last 20 years go?
I recently read very similar thoughts in a post. The author mused~
”I find myself mourning the past, but in future tense.”
Part of it might be my mom’s death at an early age. Ten years from now I will be the same age she was when she entered heaven’s glory.
Fifteen years ago we lost her.
It seems like yesterday.
Those years flew by for me, so when I think of the next ten ahead~ I want time to stand still. I want to savor every second.
In light of the magnitude of heartache in this world, its such a silly thing to be sad about. I’m almost ashamed to admit it.
It isn’t something I dwell on.
These feelings often hit me out of nowhere and I don’t know how to process them.
Because, as much as I want to, I can’t make time stand still.
But I can BE STILL and know that He is God. He is the Alpha and Omega. He knows my beginning and He knows the exact moment I will take my last breath.
And the joy that is ahead, the joy of His presence~ it is inexpressible and full of glory.
Psalm 16:11, Psalm 46:10,
Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 43:18-19
Time is precious. It’s something we can never get back. God wants us to use it wisely but if we aren’t careful, time can turn into something we worship and in doing so, we miss out on the stillness of joy in worshiping our Savior.
Peace can make time stand still, in the stillness of His presence.
Perhaps this is a New Year’s resolution. I’m not one for making them, but I know this will be a daily process I have to resolve to do. Asking my Father to help me in forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those that are ahead. But at the same time “taking no thought for tomorrow”. Philippians 3:13-14, Matthew 6:34
Tomorrow is a different chapter. As long as God is my author, I will sit in the stillness of His presence today, this moment, and savor every second as I listen to Him read it to me. One chapter at a time. I will not go back to read and reread previous chapters. I will not read ahead. I don’t want the last page to say “The End”... I want it to say “Well Done”...
I will enjoy each page as it unfolds. As only my Savior can tell it.
Because my heart is filled with love for Him.
And tonight when I close my eyes to sleep, I will not weep for the past and I will not mourn for the future. I will simply glory in the now.
Glory in the stillness~ with Him.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 11-14
2 Corinthians 1:3-4,
DON’T MISS OUT ON THE ROOFTOPS
I stand at my bedroom window in the quiet. This room that my three daughters once shared.
It didn’t used to be this way.
I look out into the darkness.
The moon’s brilliance reflects softly off the snowy rooftops.
My bedroom used to be downstairs.
I never had this view.
I didn’t realize what I was missing.
My life was downstairs.
Down in the trenches of the crazy life of a pastor’s wife with four children.
Busy and happy.
Crying and laughter.
Moments turned into memories.
I see the snow covered rooftops of our church....our hall....our beautiful town.
I look toward my children’s rooftops. Sleeping soundly with their spouses.
They will be busy.
They will be happy. They will have crying and they will have laughter.
And I weep for the blessings my Heavenly Father has bestowed upon me.
The happiness He has allowed me to hold under this rooftop.
Some years I was so focused on the mess that I missed the moments.
So focused on the busyness that I missed the blessings.
But now I see them all.
I look at the rooftops.
The beautiful clean snow falling softly in the darkness.
I see God.
Don’t miss the rooftops.
in the craziness,
in the busyness.
They’re there in the crying and laughing. They’re all the sweet blessings God gives us each day~
that we often somehow miss.
They’re all the beautiful moments that make up our memories.
There~ under the rooftops.
Soon the snow will melt.
Winter will pass and before you can blink~the tiny laughter of little children, the busyness, the craziness~
It will all pass, and another rooftop will hold that magic inside.
Cherish those moments while you can.
You might not even realize what you are missing. Don’t get so caught up in the trenches that you miss the miracles you hold at your fingertips.
But don’t get so caught up in the memories that you miss the moments you have right now.
I hear my husbands soft breathing as he sleeps, and I smile. Old memories are deeply cherished but new ones are ahead.
Don’t miss out on the rooftops.
ALL GONE, JUST LIKE THE TURKEY ON A CHRISTMAS STORY.
Christmas came and went.
So much happy preparation for one day,
and just like that~
Maybe for you it was the best Christmas ever, or maybe it wasn’t everything you had hoped for, and sadness lingers.
Can I ask you to search your heart?
What gift did you give?
Not to those who sat around your tree, but to the One whose birthday we celebrate?
I will never forget the Christmas all my children woke up with the flu.
For months I had been preparing for this day. My whole family would be visiting. My mom always hosted, but this year it would be my first time having everyone on Christmas Day~
and it would be the best Christmas ever.
After being up till 2am (like every other parent on Christmas Eve), I fell into bed ~while visions of sugarplums danced in my head~ I was SO excited for the kids to wake up on Christmas morning and open their gifts. Instead, a few short hours later we woke up to crying and fevers and throwing up.
One after another.
All four kids.
Over and over and over.
And I cried.
This was my day.
THE day I looked forward to all year.
Why would God do this? He knew how much I loved Christmas. All the cooking and baking, decorating and shopping, wrapping and work, all the sleep deprivation and expectations of joy.
Just like the turkey on “A Christmas Story”.
What about me?
I was like a child in that moment.
Illusions that it was my birthday and not the Savior of all mankind’s.
Pouting over the gifts of expectations I would not receive.
Complaining that it wasn’t fair.
But what did I give Jesus that day?
I asked for a lot.
Maybe not audibly, but inwardly. A lot.
But I gave Him very little.
There have been many Christmases since that time where similar situations have happened.
I wish I could have a do over.
Not to prevent the awful circumstances of the day, but instead to change the way I viewed those circumstances. To give of myself to my Savior whose birthday I was supposedly celebrating.
I read a quote today that said~
“The celebrations were never meant to satisfy. The Savior does.”
I made it all about me when the day should have been all about Him, despite the circumstances.
Despite the circumstances, He came from immaculate glory to a sin cursed world. The Savior, whose hands formed the universe, were now tiny hands, tightly formed around his mother’s finger.
Tiny glory, lying in a manger of hay.
Born into the worst circumstances you could imagine.
Christmas is over. Another year is gone.
But today is a new day.
We owe everything to Him,
yet we ask everything of Him.
A new year beckons us.
A whole year before next year’s birthday celebration.
A whole year to give every single day.
Our life is a start. The best start.
Our love. Our praise. Our thankfulness.
Belated birthday wishes are always a blessing. It’s never too late.
Sing Happy Birthday in your heart today. The heart that Jesus gave everything for. ❤️