You Remember Too

September 22, 2006

My husband comes in shaken. He saw it all.

A popular beach shop and a once favorite restaurant mark the mile.
We drive by and I am heartsick again.

…two women cross a street, it is too dark.

…a driver forever seeing them too late in nightmares.

…a grandfather buries his wife and his daughter

…a young father returns from vacation with his motherless child to a house he will sell because the memories are too painful.

years pass… and we remember.

I heard the lines again, and I know You remember too.

“… if hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait for one hour
Watching for our Savior…”

The song was playing 5 years ago as we traveled home… on the radio, in the gas stations, again and again I listened and wrestled with questions and sovereignty.

We make the last turn towards home, and the song plays again. I remember. How can I forget?

If You remind me, surely You remember, too.

And not just here… not just now…

Time heals? What about the memories that scar our minds?

Another night passes…
Another day begins…
The moon hides, the tides change, we rotate and revolve…

How does life go on? Yet it does. And, where are You?

You see the sparrow that falls, but You didn’t catch it.

And, what of the crippled sandpiper caught again by the wave… Do You see?

Unable to run, he struggles for his daily bread, is caught and is tossed again and again.

He fights to escape and flies.

…and all for a nibble of something I can’t even see.

You see. You know.

I see and am surprised how one bird’s plight brings a wave of grief for another that I know to be suffering today.

Precious struggling ones…

We are the grieving father, the cripple, the man in the tree, the woman at the well. We are caught in sin, trapped in our legalism and tradition, blind and lame. We are the leaper in a cruel world of Pharisees and Romans. How can we escape from the madness of this fallen world?

Oh, Wordsworth, I agree, “The world is too much with us!” This hard, hurtful, dying, aching, painful atmosphere surrounds and suffocates us.

We limp along.

If I know and I choke back the tears, You know.

I am moved, and You comfort me with the knowledge that You know and You are good.

Oh, groaning, frustration, bondage, decay…

Though in pain, we are filled with hope and eagerly wait for our adoption, redemption of these bodies… patiently because in our weakness You help us.

And, in the end, somehow we will say with you, “It is good.”

I see beauty amid the mess of it all.
My camera catches the moment
and I see a glimpse of what was lost.

Is something left from Eden?

You stepped into our world to heal the broken heart and rescue us from the inescapable grip of death.

You know our pain.

“A bruised reed he will not break,” Is. 42:3, Mt. 12:20

Sweet, Gentle Savior, we are so vulnerable.

Dear God of all Comfort, be near to the family of Kara Butler and Cheryl Yarger tonight. I remember. I know they remember. You remember. Thank You for hope. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for the Comforter You left with us. You take away the sting.

You are my hiding place; You will protect me and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Healer of hearts and minds, heal us.
Hold us.
Protect us.
Surround us.
Deliver us.

“This is what it means to be held.”

Feeling Free!

Hello, cyber-universe,
I want to declare from the top of my hill to the 2,095,006,005 known internet-users scattered over the planet: “I AM FREE!”

Arms stretched out…
Hands open wide…
Cares and clutter slipping through my fingers…
With every thing I get rid off, I feel less encumbered!

I didn’t realize that most of what I was carrying around was self-imposed.

Now I know, and I’m letting it all go.

Now I have less to do, less to clean, less to find…
I love LESS!

LESS gives me MORE!!!

More time, more energy…

I’m inspired.

The time
and money
and effort I’ve wasted
(especially the last 2 months)
are not wasted at all!

What I’ve spent is a small price to pay for what I’ve discovered!

Keeping what I love,
moi

The Sound Track of My Life

I love the host-filled worship of summer concerts and the too brief half hour on Sundays. Dearer still are the intimate fire-side worship times with friends, and more precious yet are the sounds of singing and instruments that I enjoy before bed with my family.

Family Worship took me around the world tonight.

How is it that a song can sweep me away to another time and place?

…once powerful mix of chords and lyric that could bring me to tears,
over played, too familiar… until the song is new again to my heart. My ears are open tonight. Every word pulls me nearer to You.

How did I stop hearing the lyrics and just sing the words? just play the notes?

Play.
Play an instrument.
Play a song.
Play for worship.

I no longer “play”. I’m just one more mom in the congregation trying to close my eyes for a moment to block out the distractions, yet remembering to open one eye every so often to see that all my ducklings are still in line. And somehow, I am more childlike and free than ever in my heart as I worship.

Now more than ever, I worship.

It was being surrounded by worship when I was most empty that taught me how the LORD inhabits the praise of His people. Ever since, I grip music, my hymnals and MP3 player, as tightly as my prayer journal or Bible. I know from experience that the LORD inhabits the praise of His people. Worship is as vital to my survival and sanity as prayer and Bible study. I can’t get through a day in victory without praising Him, singing and saying, “How wonderful You are!”

My husband had work to do tonight, but he set it all aside and gave me the entire evening. Song after song, the Holy Spirit picked and he played.

My life was set to music, and this evening I heard part of the sound track. In a couple hours, more than a decade swept past, and in my mind, I went around the world and home again.

Long after the teeth were brushed, the lights out, and the blankets pulled up, the songs kept playing. Note by note, line by line, the Holy Spirit continued to play the themes of my life, reminding me of how He has been with me and loved me since my childhood.

Souvenirs in music to remind me of seasons…

“Day by day and with each passing moment strength I find to meet my trials here…”
“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater…”
“In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace…”
“My Jesus, My Savior, Lord there is none like You…”
“In Christ alone my hope is found…”
“Everyone needs compassion… let mercy fall on me…”
“Hide me now under Your wings. Cover me within Your mighty hand…”
“Lord, I’m really glad You’re here…”
“This is my heart’s cry, I want to know the One who saved me…”

Even the generations old, “tuck into bed songs” that I whisper over my own children:
“Jesus, name above all names…”
“…there’s just something about that name.”
“The chimes of time ring out the news another day is through…”
“God is watching over you…”
“All night, all day angels watching over me…”

Countless scripture songs, hymns, praise songs, and favorite new songs that only God and I know… How many nights have I put myself to sleep singing the Psalms of Ascent? …sweet precious melodies that may one day usher me into His presence.

I want to pass on a legacy of praise to my children. I want them to know the heights and depths of worship. Lord, please meet my children when they are alone. Inspire them with private worship.

Oh, Savior, You rescued my soul for eternity, and You rescue me again and again with song! Thank You for Your indescribable gift, salvation! …and thank You for the other countless indescribable gifts that I am still opening through worship!

how pillow-fights lead to the sweetest communion

One Christmas I made a basket full of miniature pillows, each stitched with an up-lifting word or the name of someone in our family. We’ve used these for countless spontaneous battles.

On June 27th of this year, my precious daughter brought me a drawing.

She said,
“This is me
and a cross inside me.”

When I asked her what it meant, she explained that she loved Jesus and that He was inside her heart, just like the pillow.

She ran back into the house and brought back the smallest pillow from our pillow-war basket.

Today she asked if we could have “square crackers, the ones that look like Jesus’ body”.

“Mom, we should have some juice, too, so we can remember Jesus’ blood.”

Saltines and Cranberry-Grape Juice, and we remembered.

Thank You, Jesus, for dying for us, for giving us Your body and Your blood so we can remember. Thank You, God, for sending Your Son to die for us.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them for such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Great Material

“I’ll give you something to write about.”

He pulls me close,
kisses my lips firmly, and says,
“Now that’s some good material.”

Holding me out at arms length, he tilts his head,
looks me in the eye, and with a sly smile asks,
“Ya’ gonna’ write about that?”

Life is good material.

Material-
ingredients,
elements,
matter,
steel,
cement,
stone,…

He works in wood.
I work in cotton.

He has his stash.
I have mine.

He sees potential in a board.
I see potential in a bolt.

He has his scraps.
I have mine.

Even our boxes of the tiny strips and bits,
often too small to use, but you never know when you’ll need a patch.

I make
blankets,
wall hangings,
table runners,…

He makes
furniture,
molding,
barns,…

Nails and screws, needle and thread,
We both do our part to hold this home together.

Different interests,
different talents,
we each add so much
to this house.

A great marriage
is made from great material,
not just the passion
but also the character
of the lives that
God has joined together.

God, You work with all sorts of characters. You use all of the stuff of life as material to build us, shape up, cut us, trim us, and make something not only beautiful but practical and useful.