John 1:1

A new year. A fresh page. Beginnings that can’t blossom until they bud, and can’t bud until a seed breaks open in the dark below. And it’s so hard to keep the trajectory true to the aim if you’ve lost sight of the launch pad. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” so simple. Need there be anything else? And yet so many something else things get between me and the Word, and in that fog, I wither. 

Some weeks start hard and just get harder. That was this week. No question. 

School, chores, work. The calendar–all of it necessary and of import–stared me down Sunday night. 

A hit-the-ground-running Monday was followed by a barely-treading-water Tuesday. And folks, by Thursday night I was ready to throw in the towel. Yes. It was that brutal. So here it is, flat-on-my-face Friday and I’m stunned, again, by the beauty of the simple, simply Jesus the Beautiful.

And in all of it the words of John 1:1 have been ringing in my ears.

…was the Word

…Word was with God

…Word was God

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Thank you, ever-honest Ann, for preaching the gospel to yourself and encouraging us to do the same.  In her journal last week Miss Ann wrote these words, the kind that make you stop, pivot. 

How does the church stop being a bunch of Jesus-users? And become a host of Jesus-adorers?

When did Jesus become more about business-like benefits to us instead of The Beautiful who calls us Beloved?

Looking for the beauty of Christ in the everyday isn’t some quaint exercise in poetry. It’s a critical exercise in staying alive. “Your new life, which is your real life, …. is with Christ. He is your life.” [Colossians 3]

And, friends, I am desperate for that Christ, my life, this week. How in all this spinning world am I beloved? How? Because The Beautiful One has unquestionable sight and gazes with grace. Sometimes, that gift is hard to open–the kind of gift that makes me swallow hard over the lump of imperfections that swell to nearly choking in this season of pinterest-perfect pretending. Pressure that doesn’t press me closer to Jesus is poison in my soul.

And I just need Holy Light to shine in this place. 

Beams of sharp winter sun laser through the chinks, lays bare the heart and a life’s down-side-up priorities. But I can bow my head and look up and give thanks because the Word has always been. Always.

Jesus, The Beautiful, the WORD made flesh is with me. Me? Yes! Me! 

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Toddlers make messes. And sometimes they refuse to nap. And usually it’s on a day when Mama most needs him too. 

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Babies make laundry. And sometimes nothing comforts except Mama. And usually it’s on a day when Mama is spread so very thin.

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Big boys have school work. And sometimes there is much frustrated erasing to be done. And usually as the eraser shreds pile up, the tired mama doesn’t so much want an eraser-filled do-over on today as much as she desperately needs a new day.

The ugly is about to come barking out but there’s always room and grace for beginnings full of beauty and so she stops, this frazzled mama frozen in her well-worn ruts. Give these boys Jesus the Beautiful. Give Him to them now. Adore the WORD and let grace guide the words. Right now. 

And it happens. The rush slows. On the horizon the sharp beams of morning sun have grown to a gray that sits heavy,  presses down. 

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All that is has never been without Jesus, “In the beginning was…”. All my beginnings need Jesus. My rising needs Jesus, the Word. My first words ought not be uttered until I’ve heard the Word, His word, and preached the gospel to myself.

In this noggin there are always words, but mine clutter. They linger. They run wild, unruly, raw. And here’s the miracle in my mundane: offer them up and He fills the empty with the full of Him and He gives it in His Word and His words. They are my life. 

So this frazzled mama starts afresh, sets aside the day’s quota of disappointment and irritation and asks for the Word that has always been to sustain in the now. And He does. One. Breath. At a time. He does. 

And later, in the wee hours, the night resting on this home, babe in my arms, I am sustained with words written on a weary heart. 

“In the beginning was the WORD, 

and the WORD was with God, 

and the WORD was God.” John 1:1 

And as always, He is more than enough. 

 

Home Coming

Little faces glowed in school-colored paints as we pulled up this morning. Football jerseys long forgotten by a generation past hung draped from much smaller boy child shoulders. Under those giant jerseys is room to grow into dreams, hopes, wishes. Even these children know that there is always a time that is coming. Across the lawn the upper-grade students wore excitement and enthusiasm as they arrived draped in the threads of school spirit. Boundless energy struggles to stay in line before going into the building. Today’s is an extra loud “Praise the Lord!”, cheered out as chorus from all the lined up littles. It rings out across the neighborhood and an aching smile stretches across my face. Homesickness. My heart is heaven sick and joy heavy. 

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Homecoming. Coming home. 

Home.

Home. 

 

Musings of home have snatched my attention much lately. Is it because a piece of heaven close and near kicks, elbows, squirms inside my womb? A swelling reminder that this, all of this, is so extraordinarily temporary? 

 

Toddler head buried in my shoulder in a game of kisses while I carry him up the steps presses into my neck, and there it is. It perfumes the golden curls knotted at his hairline. Home. 

 

Biggest brother pencil scratches prick my ears as the spelling words are written just one more time during breakfast, and there, in the hand that still embodies childhood, I catch a glimpse. Again. Home. 

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My favorite season awakens me today with glorious radiance. Fog nestles in among the wheel line in the pasture by the river. A bevy of quail rush across the road. Breath rises in suspended puffs from the cattle. Gold and orange flicker in a barely breeze, plopped into a trail of color that should never end. But Harvest is upon us. Endings and beginnings. Making room for the the dark to settle, for the shadows to fall long,  for hearts to turn homeward. 

 

Time is coming. A season for everything. Home IS coming. 

 

“A time is coming” says the Messiah to the woman. Yes. It is. The time on God’s clock doesn’t go, it comes!  

 

Doesn’t that just make a soul swirl in sweet gratitude? Time is coming! Home is coming. 

 

October blue blares and the turning leaves trumpet in crisp staccato. 

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Will Heaven–my forever home–sound like autumn looks? 

Will it smell of the perfume of my son’s curls? 

Will it be beautiful like my son’s hand around a pencil? 

Will it be warm like my husband’s eyes? 

Baby shifts in the womb while my mind wades in the beautiful waters of home thoughts. The time is coming. Coming very soon. The splendor of the Father’s gifts will come from womb-bound darkness into fractured light and in this little soul, just as in all of ours, there will ever be a longing for home. Home, where the light is whole because He is and He makes us so.  

 

Jesus reminds, as only he can, “ ‘Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.’ ” (John 4:21) The forever place will displace our here. Thank you, LORD! What a future to behold! There is coming an unspeakably marvelous always that transcends and so must also transform all our ways

 

And so I will. I will worship my savior on this painfully beautiful morning. I will worship in the holy places. I will worship in my going out and my coming in.  I will worship in my rising and lying down again. I will worship when my hands grow weary in the work of life. I will worship in the ugly. I will worship in the placid. I will worship in the storm. 

 

I will worship in my broken because He is wholly holy. 

Because in the worship, here is gone and home is real. 

Because He IS, I will. 

 

Each breath ticks the clock toward a coming. 

A home coming. 

Hallelujah. Amen. 

 

When Disappointment Seems to be Winning…

{For several friends who know their share of this and who deal with it far more gracefully than I. Your ongoing witness to His goodness, faithful ones, has bolstered me today.Thank you!}

It came sneaking up on me. Again. You’d think I’d have learned by now. Disappointment plays dirty. Not a one of us escapes it.

I told myself I wouldn’t get my hopes up (And who hasn’t engaged in this futility?). And where else does hope go but up until the moment when it might come crashing down? And up they went. Those hopes. My hopes. And the more determined I was to not hope, hope rose all the more. Until the dough was punched down.

The tears that come with it lay bare where the eyes of a heart were focused– the gaze set, a hope rising. More than anything, disappointment is a truth-teller, a gut-check. Stinging salt says, “This is what you really hoped for”.  And it’s anything but gentile. Disappointment  never makes amends. It pads in, claws all agleam, and it pounces–rips a hoping heart wide open, leaves gashes where the bits and pieces of a dream spill out. And the stench of the ache lingers. Quick in the attack, it leaves the heart to mend and the mending is so very slow.

 

IMG_5279Shaking my head as tears fall in my lap I sit and rock, hands clenched. Balled up. Clinging tightly to what I think I want. What will not be. What isn’t in the plan. I’m angry about the plans I can’t see.  (I don’t want to be humbled and broken right now! I would rather throw a rock than hide in the cleft of the rock. I don’t want to learn the lessons. I want what I want.)

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

And in the quiet and the light that breaks between the rain storms that have marked the late-June day, the question that rattles my core whispers in my soul. Would you rather be coddled or cared for? Caring is noble. Caring is a hallmark of commitment. Caring sees beyond the hurts of now and into the forever of a glorious when that will surely come.  It’s hard to uncurl my fingers and open my hands in submission. But I can’t cast with knotted hands. Because if I’m learning anything at all, the posture of the cross means my hands must be open. Who submits with a tight grip? Who receives a gift with closed hands? Who serves with fingers wrapped and palms hidden? 

In my ugly sin I’m immeasurably more willing to let my gaze fall on the disappointing details than let it rise to rest on the far-surpassing blessings that bring bowed and hallowed adoration. This is the place my heart doesn’t want to go. The hard eucharisteo always comes. Today it came when the Hoped In who holds my heart reminds me that what he gave on a cross trumps my earthly hoped fors. Every time.

And this doesn’t make what was hoped for mean less. Doesn’t make it insignificant. Doesn’t cheapen it. (Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.) It’s alright to have hopes, knowing full-well that only Hope in Him saves and the fulfillment of temporal hope is His to give. Or not.

The silence swells until my pride ruptures and my heart slowly forms the words.

Thank you.

For what you’re doing and I can’t see, thank you.

For caring and not coddling, thank you.

For having a plan better than mine, thank you.

For grace unending, thank you. 

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