Being Who We Are Created To Be and Walking Each Other Home

There aren’t a lot of things I remember about my early growing up years, but I remember third grade. More specifically, I remember the ten minutes after the bell had rung and we all poured out of the school like a bubbling, noisy river. I remember the walking home.

It’s not always easy to make it home in one piece when part of that noisy river is made up of boys that like to tease, taunt and poke fun. But it was easier with Beverly. She was as tall as I was short and we were in the same class. With dark set eyes and a confident stance, she had a presence that parted the noisy river and allowed us to walk on dry land. Safe. Every day she walked my way, and she’ll never know what a gift she was to this frightened third grader.  I changed schools the following year, and we never met again. But I will always remember third grade as one of the best, because Beverly walked me home.

And maybe that’s what we’re all doing. From the moment we take our first breath, till we step through the door breathing our last. Whether we realize it or not, 

We’re walking each other home

Can it be that each of us was uniquely created to be gifts and tools for someone else’s walk home? Like tiny puzzle pieces that fit where they are needed in someone’s story.  Sometimes, its only a few moments, a day or a year. Sometimes we are gifted with friends we walk with for a lifetime.  And every step is important. When we live loved, being who we were created to be, there aren’t any obstacles to parting a river. There are only opportunities.

 I have a beautiful daughter who spent time this week singing to a friend who’s lying in a bed in palliative care. For a short time in that hospital room, her music parted the noisy river of dreadful disease. They walked on a melodic path of worship, stopping just steps from heaven’s door. 

Through my kitchen window I watch a neighbor take his granddaughter to school and pick her up again everyday. They hold hands and her pony-tail swings in time to his steady gait. I doubt either of them has any idea what a beautiful picture they make, walking each other home.

A teacher spends her days encouraging students and everyday she reminds them to find the good and always be kind. She is walking them home and although she may never know it, she’s parting a river some of them will need to walk down to make it to the end.

It’s not something we go looking for. It’s not something we find to do and then check it off a list. It’s not a good deed or a charitable act. It’s who we are.  And it looks different for all of us. It’s listening to the God of the universe and living in all He’s called us to and created us for.

Its being able to love, because we know the greatest love. 

 Living loved means no comparison, no shame. No fear, guilt, masks or pretense. We are loved.  It means we step out into the day knowing who we belong to and with our hand in his, we part rivers. Most days we will never know the gift we are to those who walk a beaten path beside us for a little while or a lifetime. And I don’t think we’re always meant to know.

Let’s be who we were created to be.  Grace will cover our faltering steps, and love will always lead us, while we walk each other home.

“I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you.” John 13:34 

  Walking with you in everyday Grace, 

 

When You Crave Quiet, And Whispers Of Hope.

I have been craving quiet lately. I’ve been taking an extra few minutes before I emerge from underneath my duvet in the morning, just listening to nothing more than the sound of my breath. (It gives the impression it’s wonderful and insightful, until I fall back to sleep and wake up late!)

Dishes and laundry are usually accompanied by a playlist, but the past few weeks I have let silence be my companion. Even last week, when I was sick with a cold, I welcomed the silence a sore throat and scratchy voice afforded. I’ve listened less to social media, more to the musings of my own heart and the updates in my spirit. I think it’s because of the season.

In the quiet, we listen for the new things, the things we’ve forgotten, and the things that change us.

Everything is waking (even if we thought it would never come) and we’ll miss it if we don’t take time to stop and listen. Spring is a call to quiet, to listen to the earth as it keeps its promise, responds to the creators call and breaks open with new life.

I drove in the almost-quiet this morning to an appointment. Rain was falling in a steady, insistent beat on the roof  and the wipers were busy keeping time. While I was waiting at a stop light, a church sign caught my attention. They’re having a pancake breakfast this week, for Palm Sunday. I spent the rest of the drive remembering.

I have purchased fresh palms for waving as part of many, many services. More years than I can remember we traced little hands on bright green paper and fashioned palm fronds for Sunday school. My memories are a sharp contrast to my craving for quiet. Palm Sunday is loud, and boisterous, accompanied by shouts of  Hosanna!

{“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13}

  But on those days in Jerusalem, what began with shouts of praise and accolade, turned to cries of “crucify him” and then silence. I wonder if Mary sat and listened to nothing more than the sound of her breath and her tears? And all the things the disciples knew, but were afraid to believe. All the words He had spoken about returning and the kingdom, had they taken root? Had they gone deep enough in their hearts to offer up hope even in the midst of silence and grief?  

Because whether it’s a snowstorm  in April or a huge stone placed in front of a tomb,

the deep roots never doubt.

And maybe Spring is a call to listen to the promise in us, to the roots of hope that lay deep in our spirit. It’s the call of the creator urging new life. His body broken for us means new life can break open in us. In the silence there are whispers of hope. Those roots, they’re covered with love. Infinite, extravagant, unconditional Love. Love that lived and died and moved a stone for us. 

Sunday will be the beginning of holy week, and whatever that means for you, can we settle in to this… 

Can we walk through this week, making time for quiet? When we get to Friday can we take time to listen with only the sound of our breath and our tears? Can we let the deep roots remind us, there are always whispers of hope? Can we walk through these days hearing His heartbeat like never before: We. Are. Loved.

Let’s allow this Easter break us open to new freedom, life and light in our good God.  

     Walking with you in everyday Grace, 

 

Setting Sail And A Community Of Dreamers

When Your Dreams Need A Community

 

It was back in the days before I had time to myself. Back when bottles, diapers, preschoolers and four kids in seven years took up all the free time, and then some. Our friends  affectionately called them “the blurry years.” Late nights, early mornings and busy, lots of busy. Days of dishes and laundry. A uniform comprised of clothing that wouldn’t hold tight to spit up, finger paint and dirt. If you had looked in on our slightly chaotic world I would have been the first to tell you, this was my dream.Well, one of them at least.

I never did find a way to enjoy waking up in the middle of the night, but I loved sticky fingers, wet kisses and rocking to the rhythm of sweet baby breaths. Baby socks, stroller walks and teaching ABC’s, all of it was a dream come true for me. A gift. Along with the best husband on the planet, the six of us were a community. Our church had closed, and we were drifting in a lifeboat wondering if we would find somewhere to dock. Sometimes there were neighbors, family and friends, but mostly just us. We were living out our dream.  Encouraging, crying, laughing, praying and lending a hand.

Because sometimes our dreams only need a community of a few who will stand with us…

Back in December, I was thrilled to be included in a wonderful community of writers over at God Sized Dreams. This first post is setting sail there today. To read the rest of the story, keep me company on this maiden voyage and visit some amazing writers, click here:

When Your Dreams Need A Community 

 

    Walking with you in everyday Grace, 

 

The Before & After… On Grace, Hope, & Lent

How is it we are already in Lent? March came in like a lion in our corner of the world. No matter what the weather decides to do March means the start of a journey to new life, fresh beginnings, and hope. Can I tell you a little story about hope?

Once upon a time(a few weeks ago) there was a dresser. A nine drawer cabinet with several broken drawers. It looked like they had been yanked off their runners, and now they sat tilted and crooked in their holes. It was sitting in the back of a garage. The seller apologized to us as he moved a pile of old newspapers and tools off the top so we could get a better look. The dust was thick, the wood unfinished. We fell in love.

It was perfect.

We handed the gentleman $25.00, and loaded it into the van. 

For a couple of months we’d been looking for one just like this. You see, we had a dream. It started when we wanted to switch up our living room and use our large entertainment center for another purpose. At first, it was just musings over coffee. And then (as musings often do) it became a plan.  The main thing our space needed was a TV stand. We knew from an exhaustive search of Pinterest and DIY sites, we could create our own from a dresser. It would need to fit our decor and our budget.

This one was exactly what we wanted.

The drawers rattled on the uneven tracks as we made our way home. We set it up on a safe place and began the process of restoring it. 


 It was time for a new configuration. Some of the drawers would be replaced by shelves. It need cleaning, sanding and staining. The best husband is handy that way, and before we knew it, our vision had become a reality. 

Isn’t she lovely? I’ve taken to calling her Grace. She’s my remembrancer (and maybe yours too?)  She’s a reminder for the days when I feel yanked off-track, broken and dusty. For the moments when life piles things on top and it feels like I’m not seen or heard. For the times when I forget how much I am loved and wanted, just as I am.

Our God is the one who heals, restores, and infinitely, extravagantly  loves. 

I was admiring Grace the other morning while I was sipping coffee and pondering Lent. This year is different. I’ve been wondering if I should be adding-to, but I don’t think that’s it. So I’m not picking anything up. I’ve been listening for a prompting of something to give up.  Rather than food etc. I want to let go of the time each morning I usually give to watching a program. I want to use the time differently. 

I want to change my focus. I’m hearing a call to quiet my soul and listen intentionally for the God of the universe. I want to be still. I want my before and after Lent to look different.

I want to kneel at the cross on Good Friday having a new configuration. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.(Psa.40:2) The stains on that wooden cross mean I can be restored and renewed. His grace and forgiveness mean I can step into the light of the resurrection in His purpose and great love.

If you’re looking for something to read for the next 40 days,  a friend of mine has written a devotional and I highly recommend it! I’m going to be reading again through Lent, I’d love for you to join me!

Click here to get a copy!

40 Voices

What are you being prompted in  for Lent?  Let us know in the comments!

    Walking with you in everyday Grace, 

 

{Five Minute Friday} -Slow

My mother used to use the phrase “Slower than molasses, climbing uphill in January.” She was referring to my ability to finish a task I didn’t want to do. But I like slow. 

I like the early morning waking when there isn’t a litany of to-do’s ahead of me. I love the slow creak of the swing on a sultry summer night. There is something soothing about the slow boil of soup on the stove and time to sit, read, talk and listen as an evening slips slowly by.

There is value in slow 

I’m usually caught in the quick lane. Life is anything but idle. There are always things to be done, timelines to follow and the tyranny of the urgent. When I wake, I’m usually running ahead of myself, before my feet hit the floor. 

The slow, it seems, needs to be found, etched out, intentional. A deep breath in the middle of a five yard sprint. Minutes of time stolen from the hours, to stop and really look, listen and learn. The empty gift of an hour we refuse to let fill with a stream of crazy.  

There’s beauty in slow

The stillness, the purposed slowing of things, gives time for reflection, consideration and simply being. 

I cannot stop the waves from crashing to the shore in rhythmic insistence but I can stand beside them, still. I can walk along them, slow. I can lean into the one that sets them in motion and know who it is that stands outside of time and inside all the busy. 

I can be still.

    Walking with you in everyday Grace,

{So, full disclosure, I just couldn’t stop at 5 minutes, it was more like 9! I’m just too wordy!} 

When You Need A Reminder

They’re sitting quietly in the back of the van, which is unusual for six and nine year old boys. I take the quiet moment and use it to talk because we have things we need to discuss. I tell these sweet boys, we need to come up with a plan for our after-school time.

The last two days have been too full of crazy, and they need a reminder. I love our time together, it’s a good, fun, safe time. But, it is neither fun nor safe to argue, fight and hurt each other. When I ask them if they agree, there is only quiet and nodding heads.

 The stoplight turns red, and I peer behind me at their thoughtful faces. “So, what do you think?” I ask. What could we do to make sure our time together is great and you are in a good place when mom comes to pick you up?”

The light turns green and we are halfway down the next block before there is a small voice from the littlest in the back seat. “We could be not so rough with each other?”I smile at him in the rear-view and tell him that’s a wonderful idea!  While we weave our way home, we keep working on the plan. We chat about brothers and how love is important.

“Sometimes, I think you get so focused on what you want, you forget. It’s a good thing to remember.”

Breaking his silence, the nine year old says, “Will you remind us?” I tell him that’s a perfect idea to add to our plan. We decide before it gets out of hand, before we lose the good and safe and fun, I will remind them about behavior, about treating each other well and I will remind them about love.

Long after I have cleaned up the snack and they’ve said goodbye, I’m still thinking about our conversation. These brothers, learning to navigate growing up, are not the only ones who need reminders. My own heart needs to hear those words.

“Sometimes, I think you get so focused on what you want, you forget. Its a good thing to remember.”

Love is important. It’s what we’re called to. All of us. And the more we know and experience how much we are loved by the God of the universe, the more we’re able to walk in that calling.  We’re better able to love  others well, as we are loved. 

I need to be reminded. In the busy of the everyday, in the crush of all the things life seems to toss our way, sometimes I forget. Any chance you do as well? Maybe we need a plan. A few words from a friend that will help to shift our focus off of the crazy and back to the safe, loving arms of our good God. He loves us, completely, extravagantly, and infinitely. When we live out of that love, it changes things! Today and everyday our hearts need to hear this reminder. Wherever you are, wherever you’ve been, no matter what it looks like or who is telling you otherwise, the beautiful truth is this:

You Are Loved! 

    Walking with you in everyday Grace, 

 

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