Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Breakfast On The Table

 My oldest son has been making oatmeal
for breakfast on weekdays for several months.
This week he taught my oldest daughter to do it, so they can take turns.
Yesterday was her first time doing it alone (but under his observation).
We were at the end of the oatmeal jar yesterday,
with just enough for what we needed.
When the oatmeal was done,
Silas came running in to tell me it was breakfast time.
"It's breakfast! But there's no more oatmeal!" he said.
"Is the oatmeal we have cooked?" I asked.
"Yes. But there's no more for tomorrow."
"Is there enough for today?"
He nodded.
"Then that is enough. Because we pray, 'Give us today our daily bread.'
Today, there is enough. God has given us what we need."

I was amused that in one so young,
he would look at lack,
instead of the meal sitting there waiting to be eaten.
I knew He would provide more oats for our appetites,
but all he could see was the empty jar.
He just needed to eat thankfully the breakfast on the table.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A More Mechanical Question

This morning I read to my children from Matthew 24.
It is not one of my favorite passages.
There, at the end, is the warning to watch,
and the precautionary story about the two servants.
The one, found doing what his lord had asked, is promoted.
The other, beating his fellow servants, partying with a wild crowd,
is unexpectedly exposed by his lord,
who "will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The pertinent question to me is,
"How do I take the part of the good servant?
How do I avoid the part of the evil servant?"
But my children had a more mechanical question.
"Which way?" one blurted out.
Silas, the youngest, wide-eyed, took his hand
and drew a line from the top of his head down.
But Talia said knowingly, "Nuh-uh."
She demonstrated a cut straight across the torso.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Engineering Peace

My ten-year-old son was telling me his dreams and plans today.
He would like to be a military engineer, he said.
He and his cousin have been planning a project for the military.
They want to engineer a flower bomb.
"What is a flower bomb?"
"Instead of exploding like a regular bomb,
a flower bomb will explode with seeds of flowers.
We want to make it as big as a hydrogen bomb,
but it will plant flowers."

And He shall judge among the nations, 
and shall rebuke many people; 
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, 
and their spears into pruning-hooks. 
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, 
neither shall they learn war any more.
Isaiah 2:4

Perhaps my son has a future career with the Lord of Hosts,
beating atomic bombs into flower bombs.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Of Intercourse and Offspring

We are two.
Different from each other.
Different families.
Different ages.
Different dreams.
Different bodies.

We come together.
Corresponding to.
Bound together.

God breathed life into the man.
The sharing of breath.
Worship: to kiss; to prostrate oneself in homage.
The combining of lives.
The union of bodies dedicated to one another.
Heaven and earth.
Male and female.

The birth of a child --
like me, like him.
They are me.
They are him.
They are us.
I am in them.
Their dad is in them.
They are in us.
We are one.


To Your Advantage

"It is to your advantage that I go away;
for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you,
but if I depart, I will send Him to you."
~John 16:7

It seems so against reason.
But reading through John 14-17 again,
and focusing in on what concerns Jesus clues us in a little.
Jesus's concern in His teaching and prayer
is to bring us into fellowship with Himself and His Father.
To invite us to abide.
To cause us to abide -- to live with and in Himself.
While He remained, He kept them in His Father's name.
While the Holy Spirit remains, He will keep us in Jesus's name.

He prayed, "Sanctify them in Your truth. Your word is truth."
He had already told them, "When the Spirit of truth has come,
He will guide you into all truth."

How could it be to our advantage not to have Jesus with us?
Because the Holy Spirit's ministry is to unite us to Christ --
to be the medium through which we abide in Him;
to keep us;
to sanctify us in truth;
to make us one with Christ, who is one with the Father;
to unite each of us to each other.
Christ took that which is the Father's and made it ours.
The Holy Spirit takes from the Son and makes it ours.
Eternal life.
Union with the Father.
The favor of God.
The love they share.

"As the Father has loved Me, I love you. Abide in My love."

The Father's love raised Him from the dead and made Him alive again.
Christ is our Resurrection and Life.
Jesus's love raises us from the dead and makes us alive.

Breathe in us, Holy Spirit, the life of Christ.
Be our unity, be our love.
Be our sanctification.
Hold us in the love of Christ, and the favor of God.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Truth From Us

Tossed and tangled by a storm
I have a dark secret.
Some days I wake up and dread floods over me,
and it squeezes my heart,
and churns my stomach,
and twists my mind.
It whispers hateful frights in my ear.
It says I am unloved, and unlovable.
It says they'd all be better off without me.
That I'm an incompetent wife,
a terrible housekeeper,
the wrong mother for my children's needs,
an unwanted friend.

There was a time when every time I walked in my door
and glanced at my answering machine,
and there was no message,
I thought, "No one cares."
Every time.
And if there was a message, I thought, "Somebody wants something."
The Lord brought it to my attention, and made me aware that I had to stop.
He loves me, and saying 'no one cares' is a lie.

The enemy of our souls seeks to steal from, kill and destroy us.
We have an inheritance of light,
but he works to twist our hearts to darkness.
To sink us in depression.
We're afraid to tell the truth about how crushed we feel.
How beaten down, and gasping for breath;
pressed out of measure, and despairing of life.

Jesus is a Man of Sorrows.
He can hear the truth from us,
and shine light into our darkness.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Good Day To Breathe

I looked down my street
and saw boiling slate clouds behind the steeple.
Normally the steeple looks gray,
but it looked white against that backdrop.
The other direction was bright with piled gleaming white clouds.
Toward the darkness again,
three seagulls small in their distance,
riding in advance of the lightning that flashed behind them,
and the thunder that rumbled toward us.
My wind chimes played crazily when the wind picked up.
Cool air coming.
A greening sky.
We ate our dinner almost silent.
"I like the ones that snap," Talia said.
"I like the growling ones, too, though," I said.
Soft at first, the rain poured down.
Jeff and I went out on the porch and sat down on the loveseat.
One by one, the kids followed.
Three climbed onto us with their bony wiggles.
That scent -- that God-cleaned air full of cold moisture.
I leaned back and looked up at the changing light in the sky,
and the flashes,
and the storm drain across the street with the spouting insurge.
It's a good day to breathe.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Are We Allowed?

After I asked Elisa again to please get on with eating her dinner, she said,
"Mom, are we allowed to savor communion?" 
"What do you mean?" I asked, puzzled.
"Well, it seems like we're not allowed to savor it,
because I feel like we have to hurry up and eat it fast."

Maybe we should slow down, then.
It really ought to be savored.

Friday, June 1, 2012

But Today

If you didn't already know, we are a homeschooling family -- which means that my house is messier than I would like, because we have to get to work on school, and when we finish school, I am often drained. We're regularly behind on laundry. We don't have a dishwasher in the house, so I do dishes three times a day. If I skip a time or two, there are a lot of dishes to catch up on. We moved less than a year ago, and my dining room is still full of boxes we haven't unpacked. We updated the living room, the laundry room, the guest room, the fire alarms, much of the electrical in the house, and put in a new furnace. Those boxes have moved in and out of three rooms while we fixed them. Our table is in the kitchen until the dining room is cleaned out and finished. Next week, our downstairs bathroom begins its transformation. It will have its walls removed and replaced. There will be tile on two walls. Clean, white tile. The water damage behind the tub will be repaired. It will get a new floor, and eventually, paint on the cabinet and the untiled walls. A working outlet. The upstairs bathroom will also be getting a new floor. And a section of fencing will be installed shortly.

But today, we will enjoy our first full 'day off' of the summer. We finished our curriculum last Friday. And we finished our testing yesterday. On my plate for the summer: that dining room; finally cleaning out and organizing my bedroom, which has been a depository for extra mattresses and boxsprings, books on makeshift shelves (until the completed bookshelves were installed in the living room), and various other junk that did not yet have a home. I did clean and organize two of the three kids' bedrooms, but you can no longer tell. We will tackle the closets. Eventually. Set up the dining room hutch we were given, and fill it. Find places for the games, and the craft supplies, and the pictures on the walls. There is more painting to do everywhere. Oh, and I need to teach my youngest to read. And of course, the laundry will continue to outstrip us, and the dishes will be constant, and the meals will always need making, and the plants will need watering, and I am not going to go through this summer without tracking in a lot of beach sand which will need sweeping and vacuuming. Half of the family will leave toys in their wake, and every one of us will leave a trail of books through the house. I'll be ordering new curriculum soon, and wondering where I will store the years not being used. And I have those fourteen curtains I have to make for the porch windows.

Some day it will feel like we can just do maintenance and enjoy it. In the meantime, we battle the mess and try to get ahead just long enough to get something lasting accomplished. And sometimes we will close the door on the house, and go appreciate the beauty God gives us for the short season that we have and not miss out on the memories we'll treasure longer than our clean toilets.