Friday, April 30, 2010

how they teach eachother

They were at it again today. It has become somewhat of a routine lately. The three littlest bodies wandering outside climbing up the slide to the fenced in trampoline and then their lessons begin. No books, no pencils, just three little people learning how to tolerate one another and cooperate. The littlest is not quite two so she must be cared for on the apparatus which is known to keep emergency rooms active. Her older brothers learn to be gentle and thoughtful of little ones around them. They teach her that everyone takes a turn so she sits and waits for hers. They are not perfectly behaved though. Occasionally, I hear the little flower girl's scream and look out the window to see her upset that they don't do just what she wants, but they learn to handle their frustrations with each other because I tell them there are some things they have to figure out for themselves. Big brothers are smart when it comes to pacifying baby sisters. One comes in for a favorite drinking cup, filling it with cold water and delivering it to sis. All's fine again, little girl sits content drinking, watching big brothers jump again.
One day they will read Dickens and learn about the significance of Newton's laws, but for right now they're getting their master's in human relations and I'm okay with that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

living dangerously

To Preach because I didn't buy you a card!

We live in a world full of opportunities to risk and show how daring we are usually by doing the extreme. People climb mountains, jump from airplanes, race cars, or travel to far away places and others see that as bold living, the extreme, living dangerously. But looking back on these years of living with you, living dangerously has been redefined for me. Who in their right mind would sign a contract binding them to another for life when that process of uniting as one means growth on the inward parts is a must and growth is not comfortable? Suddenly the choices one would make are dependent on the well-being of the other. Who we are as individuals changes as the who we are as a couple becomes more important and the who we are in Him, the focus. We made the most daring of choices when adding lives to this mix of you and me, five lives He sent to us. How could we know the range our emotions could travel until little parts of us were delivered into a life that promises challenges along with heartaches? There is a certain blessing that comes from being naive, a blessing in just doing and not knowing all that can come, knowing could produce fear, and fear causes hesitation to do anything. As they get older and as I get older and my heart is now more invested in you and them, I know more about what it means to live dangerously. I have never felt adventurous until now when I look back at the years and see all we have experienced. I would not have thought myself capable to bear so much and I would have doubted you being able to bear me so much. But look at what He has could not be more adventurous.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

fifty years

I have wondered what thoughts to share on their special day. I'm unqualified to speak about the blissful state of marriage as I'm still in the midst of times when marriage is difficult. Marriage is hard...two becoming one can feel quite unnatural. I've found myself questioning God at one time or another wondering what was He thinking? But I suppose He always asks us to do things that go against our nature maybe because He knows how hopeless we humans are and how desperately we need a better way to keep us out of trouble. But while I cannot talk about the state of marriage in general, I can talk about what their marriage has meant to us. Sometimes being one of the two who became one it's difficult to see the impact of your union on those around you. But their commitment to each other has affected us.

Mind you, they are definitely two very different individuals. Granny, as we call her, is much more of a social bug as our Emily will testify to. Any time Em runs errands with Granny, she knows it will take quite a while because Granny knows most of the people in the stores and this means a lot of stopping to talk. Granny is also the spoiler of the grand kids. There is no denying this! If a little one wants candy, they usually get it if they're at Granny's. Want to watch a t.v. show?--Go to Granny's! But how could a mom be upset with this? For when they head over to her house, they are carefree, going to another safe haven. What a relief for me! In a world where there are many things to worry about harming my kids, the greatest concern I have with them going to Granny's is that they could get a cavity or watch a few episodes of Bonanza. She provides a safe place for these kids so I can enjoy a little quiet.

Papa is certainly no social bug, but when he does talk we all listen, because he tells about earlier years...moonshining years. Today we will play music like "White Lightning" by George Jones and "Revenooer Man" by Alan Jackson and smile, knowing this is Papa's history and we love to hear about it. But Papa does not spoil children. He has a tough side as any trespasser can tell you after they've met up with him with a rifle in his hand. But that toughness is lost when little Lily leans in to hug him goodbye because after the hug she always leans in again for her kiss--only she expects him to give one to her...her innocent expectation forcing tenderness from him. Papa is just plain no nonsense and hardworking following the tradition of his ancestors who settled in this county about one hundred and fifty years ago when there was nothing here. His hard work provides me with one of my favorite things-a garden. He does all of the hard work year round--preparing the field, planting, fertilizing, watering, and then lets me have the fun part...the harvest.

As different as they are, it is their oneness that we benefit from most. I tried to imagine what it would be like if they were not together and that's when I realized the enormous impact their union has had on us. Who can understand the mystery of marriage? I can't. I'm convinced I would love Papa as dearly if it were just him and I'm certain I would love Granny the same if it were just her, but if they were not "the two of them as one" something would be missing. They are both great on their own, but as a unit they are different. Marriage adds a whole new dimension. Two people individually are great, but two people together add a whole new dynamic, something special because the goodness of them both is now multiplied and there are new facets to the combining of their personalities. We are so thankful that they became one so many years ago as we have all been blessed by that.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I use few words when I speak to Him lately. Not afraid, not in rebellion, but few words because for one thing I'm ever aware that He already knows every thought and intent, but also He has blessed me by allowing me to see my own depravity as if through a magnifying glass so I don't miss it. This causes me to come more humbly, more reverently than before, with fewer words and more gratitude.

How can I rightly call Him worthy until I see just how unworthy I am.

The well-meaning in this world would have me love myself and see good in myself, believe in myself, esteem me. I have noticed when I've found any of these thoughts sneaking into my way of life, He suddenly does not seem so supreme. I am acceptable in my own eyes. I cannot convince myself to see His sovereignty. I am blinded by settling for measuring up to mankind's standard of good. A steady diet of religious cheer leading can cause one to become self-focused.

He does not let me stay in my blindness. Instead He turns on a light for me, shining it on my shame, allowing me to see the ugly humanity that lives inside. My ugliness sitting next to His willingness to offer such a costly sacrifice for me humbles me. When the focus returns to the One who set all in motion, when the evidence of His divine protection in my life, when His mercy is clearly seen in spite of my waywardness, when He allows correction to bring me back, when I'm reminded that He who is HOLY gave all for the depraved me, then I cannot help but see how great He is and how unworthy I am. Then I can understand the refrain "Worthy to receive glory, honor, and power..."

Then I approach Him more aware of His sovereignty, unable to speak too many words, just awed that He loves even me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

the runaway

--"Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So he said to his mother, "I am running away." "If you run away," said his mother, "I will run after you. For you are my little bunny."
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

It is a favorite book, read to the kids for years now. Tonight the youngest held it as she fell asleep, minutes before looking for the bunnies hidden in the pictures.

The little bunny's goal is to run away, but Mother bunny explains throughout the story that no matter where he goes she will be there to bring him back to her. Whether in a stream, in a garden, in a circus, or on a mountain, she refuses to let him get away.

I can relate to little bunny. I've wanted to run away recently, but I've felt a grip on me, a tenacious refusal to let me go off on my own. His hold is tight and not to be taken lightly. He does not just let me walk away easily. His grace was too costly for Him to allow me to flippantly walk from Him.

I have felt the graveness of the consequences of running away. How could He let His own take so lightly His grace without allowing correction?

Still I have wanted to be the little bunny as the children's book describes and get far from all. Go to the unfamiliar, the foreign, the different, the places I've never visited before, the places I think may hold the unknown that beckons to me...that calls me to come and taste...just one bite.

But He does not let me go so easily. He holds and keeps me. I fight an inward struggle, wanting "freedom" that would bind me while knowing His is the way of complete peace. I have been willing to forsake the peace, but He has not been willing to forsake me. He holds on to His because His is a "costly grace", His sacrifice is not to be taken lightly.