Thoughts on What We Really Need

One morning my littlest brought me the book Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, and as the four of us read a few pages on how we have been freed from sin, and how Jesus bought us out of slavery, I had to pause for the tears streaming down my face. I welcomed the flood of emotion toward God’s goodness and His nearness. I probably needed that moment even more than my boys did.

Isn’t it true that most days we forget how much we need one another? Even just a toddler to bring us a book. We get so wrapped up in what we are doing or wanting to accomplish that we start to think that everything and sometimes everyone else is just getting in the way. And yet, relationships with others are really the most important things of all.

In his book We Really Do Need Each Other, Reuben Welch wrote:
“When you are burdened and weary and sad you need Jesus but you also need someone to be Jesus to you – someone to bring his healing presence to you. And sometimes the answer to your weariness and heavy-heartedness is not “tell it to Jesus alone” but to begin to share and care with someone else.”

I’m finding how true that statement is as I reflect on life. Things like when family and friends offered babysitting or brought meals over, or even just a listening ear when we had our first miscarriage. I didn’t realize how much I needed that expression of love. And I think of a neighbor recently expressing to us her sadness and fears over an upcoming surgery she needs. Sharing tears and prayers.

And while I write these thoughts of how much we need relationships, there is a sore spot in my heart for one that is broken and undone. A relationship that is not yet restored. And while it has been very good, and I think necessary, to have separation from this friend, the sadness still hits me at times. Especially if I’m listening to any songs that have to do with restoration (usually Josh Garrels) because true restoration is such a beautiful thing. Such a healing thing. Something my heart desires. And while sometimes my emotions make me want to just throw out the past and say “Just try again! Seek restoration!”, at the same time I hesitate due to my wounded heart and failed attempts in the past. I know that restoration must be sought from both sides. And when unhealthy patterns and attitudes keep emerging, I really don’t know how true restoration can happen. I’m learning, through friends and family, that forgiveness doesn’t always mean that a friendship will continue. True restoration may not happen until Heaven, and I need to be ok with that. I need to find hope in that truth. And pray against the bitterness that wants to take root in my heart.

I want to hold on to the hope that someday things will be made right
That someday bitterness will be banished from my heart
I want to see the beauty of the souls right in front of me
And not forget my need for the healing touch
Of their love for me
And their need for me
Because I need them too

Since you all probably know how much I love and find encouragement from the music of Josh Garrels, here’s another song for you called At the Table (below). His new album Home is now available…To purchase or for free on noisetrade.
The chorus really hits my heart:

Come on home….
Home to me
And I will hold you in my arms
And joyful be

There will always…
Always be
A place for you
At my table
Return to me

Thanks for listening. How have you experienced our need for each other? What are your thoughts on restoration and forgiveness?

(The video starts with an intro to the song, but if you want to skip to the song itself, I believe it starts around 1:45)

Today It’s About Stars

orion
Before bed the other night, we all looked out at the clear night sky and I tried to capture the beauty of Orion. Though quite inadequately, as I am still not yet familiar with my new camera. The air was crisp and clear. The moon was bright, and the stars too. I grabbed my Dad’s pocket-sized star chart from the cabinet and I heard my husband tell the boys that sometimes Orion is called “The Hunter”. Immediately my mind recalled part of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “Escape at Bedtime”

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all
And the Star of the Sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.

Sometimes I forget how small we really are. So caught up in the busyness of little boys, homeschooling, and trying to keep the house clean, that I forget to let my thoughts linger for a while on the beauty of God’s creation. Even right outside our back door. In those moments, I really catch that breath of fresh air, not just in the physical sense but more importantly in the spiritual sense. Like a voice calling our attention back to the Creator.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which
YOU have
Set
In
Place
What is man that you are mindful of him,
And the son of man that you care for him?
(from Psalm 8)

I have to remind myself to slow down sometimes (most times). To remember that not every task is as pressing as I think it is. To wait patiently for the clearing of skies and revealing of stars. I often find that I learn much more in the quiet-waiting than in the busy-doing.

I’ll leave you with the above mentioned poem, because it is one of our favorites. Enjoy! And please share what you’ve learned in some quiet moments, I would love to hear about it!

ESCAPE AT BEDTIME
By Robert Louis Stevenson

The lights from the parlor and kitchen shone out
Through the blinds and windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
There were thousands of millions of stars.
There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
And that glittered and winked in the dark.
The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all
And the Star of the Sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
And the stars going round in my head.

Mother Crab

Today felt like a long day. I felt mentally and physically drained without good reason. Selfish and spiritually clouded. Acting as only a barking referee most of the day. And instead of building up, I tore down.

Once the boys were to bed, I was able to have some time in my little corner. Reading corner…Quiet area…snuggle spot…all of the above. I read aloud from my Bible. Thought, struggled, prayed, and found myself in need of repentance as I reflected on the day. How quickly I default to everything being about me. Like when the boys are fighting, I yell something hypocritical like “SPEAK LOVINGLY TO YOUR BROTHER!!!” because I am so annoyed that I have chosen to lose control over my own tone of voice. I am like Aesop’s mother crab telling her son to walk a straight path when she herself walks sideways.

But how good the Lord is to me. After time with him I later find that I am refreshed, strengthened, and excited to love my children tomorrow. Hopeful that I can love them better, and eager to show them a repentant heart in hopes that I may keep theirs.

Giving Flight to My Internal Reflections

bird in blue sky
One morning I watched a bird who flew against the wind. Over and over again, he would try. Over and over again, beating his wings in vain. All his efforts rendered him stagnant and immovable, a bird suspended mid-air, but then submitting to the wind he sailed free.

“Sometimes the only way to return is to go where the winds will take you” I can hear the words from Josh Garrel’s Beyond the Blue singing to my soul.

I feel almost as if I am learning a new language, and lately God has been using the birds to teach it to me. Like the owl who visits our few trees and faithfully calls each night without receiving any answers. I have found strange comfort in his presence and solitude. And yet again, renewed hope in the beauty of the waiting. And learning, though slowly, how “to let go of all we cannot hold on to, for the hope beyond the blue.”

Beyond the Blue – Josh Garrels

Winter

frost

the dripping blue

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the frozen climb

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I am enjoying the beautiful; frost climbing the windows and bold colors of planter pots against the snow, and trying to embrace the messy; my coffee mugs have become swimming pools for various dirty toys. The green smoothie didn’t work out so well for Winnie the Pooh. Have a good weekend everyone!

P.S. Dear Grammar Police, I am currently attempting to familiarize myself with the dreaded semicolon, and all other forms of proper grammar for that matter. Please be gracious. Sincerely, The Brave Hesitant
P.P.S. You can blame theoatmeal.com for encouraging me to try.

 

*Please contact me before using any of my photos, thank you!*

Dry places and whisperings

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I have an old sweatshirt that says “healing comes to the broken places first”. The cracks on my dry knuckles like the cracks of this spiritual desert we’re in. I suppose this is a pretty broken place, so therefore, a good place to begin if the statement is true.

A friend recently reminded me that Jesus was lead, by the spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. That was comforting too, remembering that Jesus himself can relate to me in this journey. Just as I feel like God has brought us out to this desert land, he also lead his own son into difficult places. Even to a horrible death where Jesus felt his father turn his face away.

While deserts, difficulties, and reflections on the crucifixion don’t exactly sound comforting, I hear a faint message of hope whispering. Perhaps my heart is in training to learn how to hear it and remember that there is greater purpose in the struggle.

Little Things and Literature

bookmark
“This is the best book to lose yourself in…” A little message all the way from Ontario, written by an unknown hand. Random thoughts or comments scribbled, forgotten bookmarks, and names of previous owners written inside the cover, these are some of the little things that I just love about buying used books.  I’ve even found old, very old family pictures, stuck between pages, of people I have never met, that have entire stories of their own . I often wonder who those individuals are today.

book stack
I have this new-found love for reading. It began at a homeschooling seminar by Carol Joy Seid. Her enthusiasm for good literature was contagious. Then a stack of books from a sweet friend … that really did me in. Jane Eyre in particular. (Thank you A.F. You breathe a love of God and a love of books. It has inspired a new journey within me, and I am blessed to know you!) Honestly, I would have never described myself as a “reader” until just this past year or so. And now…Doors flung wide!

Reading a good story reminds me that we are always being transformed, reformed, undone or redone. We grow and change. For both good and bad, but something is always going on in us. Non-reader to reader. Tom-boy to dress-wearer to… a little of both. No boundaries to too many boundaries to better boundaries. Steel-toed boots to high heels to excitement over some new chunky snow boots for the winter.

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I’m learning to embrace it all and see the beauty in each of our little quirks and preferences. And I’m finding that our quirks give us personality. Interesting characters help tell a great story. It’s all about the journey and all the little details along the way.

Books, People, and Jesus

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I am thankful that Jesus keeps knocking people off pedestals in my heart. It’s so easy to put people there. Pastors, authors, musicians. I am so quick to cling to someone else’s way of life, or way of thinking. And I have lately found myself asking, why do I not cling like that to Jesus? This continues to be a strange, wonderful, and also heart wrenching journey.

Last summer, after leaving the church we attended, we started reading the book Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna. We don’t agree with all of it, but a lot of it hit home for us regarding our struggles with the church as an institution. But recently, God has been causing us to take a little break from reading it. We will likely continue at some point, but hopefully with continually renewed eyes.

It has been beneficial in many ways for us, and has caused us to be in God’s word more. But on the other hand, I have found myself feeling a bit hopeless. More specifically I feel like I’ve lost hope in people. Yes, I do know we are all truly flawed and selfish, but deep down, I truly love people. I value faithful relationships. I love meeting new friends, chatting with people at the store, hearing someone’s story through music or books. I think God has created people to be fascinating creatures. And I don’t like that I’ve lost some of that enjoyment of people.

While taking a break from that book, I also started reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge. (A friend recommended it, and I also seriously cannot just read one book at a time! I really enjoy having a few books to choose from.) And while I don’t necessarily agree with everything the author presents, I do think this has been a good book for me to read in this season of life. It gave me some hope again. It opened up my heart again to the closeness of Jesus. I forget that he was fully human. And remembering his humanness has helped me love him more. He left Heaven to live among us. It really is mind-boggling.

Beautiful Outlaw has also reminded me of how much Jesus loves us. Each and every one of us. And he speaks to each of us in unique ways. In just the past few years I have experienced more of him, more personally and more “in my heart” I guess you could say. Experiencing his presence in ways that are so specific and unique to who I am. Because of this, I am growing in my appreciation of the ways that others have experienced him. A few years prior, I would have thought some of it was crazy, but now I am excited and intrigued. Perhaps someday I will share with you some of those experiences I’ve had.

Thanks for listening. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as well!