The Sunday Morning Stomp.

Sunday morning. Cinnamon toast for the kids, a stand-up breakfast for me as I gather papers, put on make up, try to keep my cool while my husband sleeps in to the very. last. minute. He works hard every other day; I can give him this. I’m singing with the worship team this morning, so we are leaving for church an hour early. The girls bicker in the bathroom, Wes’s hair is thankfully short enough that it doesn’t really need a comb.

I run upstairs for the umpteenth time to choose my shoes, swish back down. Sunlight glitters through water-specked kitchen windows, and Wes’s shirt is buttoned wrong. I stop, kneel, button. Straighten his collar and tell him our plans for a Sunday drive after church. A phrase pops out, reminds us of a song from his favourite Bible songs CD. And time stops. The rush for Sunday prettiness is forgotten as I hold his hands and we sing. We speed up the words, laughing into each other’s eyes, and then we jump. Up and down and around in a circle, faster and faster, while Wade looks on, cracks a grin.

We dance, and worship sparkles though blotchy windows.

I wrote this post for Five Minute Friday, using the prompt “Dance.” For the rules, links to the rest of the Five Minute Friday posts, and more, click here.

Five Minute Friday: Good-Bye

Never does the world seem so large as when you’re standing in an airport, saying good-bye to family you may not see for years.

Missionary kids know all about good-byes. They come part and parcel with the adventure of travel to foreign lands, rugged and uncharted. They are the necessary evil to the excitement of new vistas and for us, life on a beautiful Papua New Guinea coast.

Good-byes became harder when I was the one left behind. The first time, I was eighteen years old, on the verge of my own new life, and my parents and siblings boarded the plane to PNG and two years’ separation. Excitement and independence, and then, only later, crushing loneliness. This is when I learned that God was my God and sufficient to give me all I needed for every situation. It’s a truth I’ve clung to ever since.

Even harder were the good-byes, ten years later, holding grandbabies who I feared wouldn’t know their grandparents the way I did growing up. The times I complained that every other mother had her own mother to babysit on hard days, while I struggled through the colic and the teething and the long, cold winters cooped up in the house. And again, God was my God, and He reminded me that my life was by His power.

Good-byes are on hiatus here. My parents are home in Canada for the foreseeable future, and we’ve had two blessed years of living just a few miles apart. The kids know their grandparents. And having family close by isn’t a miracle cure. I am still just as dependent on Christ for strength and wisdom and comfort from loneliness as I was back then. And He is still completely faithful.

This is a Five Minute Friday post – here’s how it works:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt- “Good-Bye” – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back to the Gypsy Mama post and invite others to join in.
3. Meet & encourage someone who linked up before you.

Grateful not so Grating

I don’t like the word “grateful.” It’s not a pretty word – gratitude is slightly better, thankful sounds more worshipful to me. Grateful just…grates. And yet I’m learning how vital gratitude is in how I view my life. I’m reading One Thousand Gifts and thinking about gratitude’s effects in ways I never have before. How can we praise him for the blessings, yet doubt him in the pain? And how I lived so many years in a half-life of faith because I placed God in a box, far too small. Every box too small for Him.

Today I stood in the shower and thought, We must receive our faith from God because it is the only way we can have a faith large enough to see Him.

It takes time to learn these things. Experiences layered so that I can say, “God has been true through the troubles. He’s generous in blessings.” I can see it, through the rearview mirror, as Voskamp would say, and I bring that gratitude forward to today, and it’s enough for tomorrow as well.

This is a Five Minute Friday post, courtesy of The Gypsy Mama. Five minutes of unedited writing on the prompt: grateful.

The Wonder of It All

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder…

Even a decade of television commercials hasn’t dulled the impact of that line for me. Talking about wonder is so often reserved for children – the first time they see Disneyland, so the ads would have us believe, or childish joy over little things – rainbows and blowing bubbles. We adults have no choice but to be jaded, we’re told.

As an artist, I’ve always fought against the idea that there is nothing new under the sun. I strive to see the world with new eyes. And yet when I’m awestruck by beauty, often my first response is to be frustrated that I can’t paint it well. Where is my sense of wonder?

Over the last couple of years, as I’ve given up on self-inspired holiness and learned just how panoramic God’s grace is, my heart has changed. Because “jaded” was always my first response to spiritual matters, despite my Spirit-led desire to seek God. It did feel like I knew Him – I certainly knew the Bible and the principles of Christianity inside out. Or not. How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, exclaims Paul in Ephesians 3. And I can never lose my sense of wonder as I step beyond myself and start to explore those depths. He’s given me my heart back. And my eyes. And my gasp of delight.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19

The above post was written as part of Five Minute Friday – GypsyMama’s challenge to write, unedited for five minutes. The prompt this week is “Wonder.” Join the challenge here.


Five Minute Friday: Backwards

I discovered the concept of Five Minute Friday on the Gypsy Mama blog. The challenge? Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.

I am writing instead of cleaning or doing paperwork. Work before play is supposed to be my motto. But I’m doing it backwards…again.

I’ve been so convicted in the last month or two about my lack of self-control. How easy it was to slide from a Flylady stricture to this self-indulgent haze, and how long ago it seems that I had everything under control. Once upon a time I had two tiny daughters and a son in the womb, and my house was clean! And stories were read and craft projects littered the play area.

Things seemed better then, as I look back from my vantage point of now. My son is five! And my house is dusty and I don’t do crafts with my girls unless I’m teaching a class. The books we read are homeschool curricula and I’ve a hit-or-miss approach to menu planning.

But five years ago, I was heading for a crash, jaw clenched as I tried my darndest to make God like me. I couldn’t have been less than perfect because my heart didn’t know about the kind of grace that sees me naked and loves me anyway. I didn’t realize that in trying to perfect what I already had, I failed to understand what I had been given. I figured that what God had done for me in saving me was His job and my job was to live up to that gift.

So I suppose I make more mistakes now. It’s taking advantage of a new liberty that means that I fail to do what I know is right. It doesn’t look like a good way to become holy, as He is holy. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. But am I really less righteous now than I was before? If the perfection is achieved through self-effort, it’s not righteousness at all. And so I think it’s time to lose the measuring stick.

I am in Christ, and He is in me. It doesn’t feel like it changes things, but He says it does. And I choose to believe Him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

So I wrote for more than five minutes, but it’s hard to stop a moving train (of thought!).