how we really live.

gracefortoday2It’s 9:30 on a Wednesday morning and I’ve already had to press the Start Over button at least once. I got up early. I was going to exercise. And then I didn’t. And then I wished I had. And then my husband stayed home and let me go next door to the gym at the children’s home where I ran intervals on a treadmill. Hard. Not fun. Intervals, I have a strong and abiding dislike for you.

Regularly, I get this itch to rearrange everything. And then I stall out. We’ve been living like this for at least a month. If you squint really hard, you can see our old television on the dining room table. Also? A box of Cheerios.

Life goes on. Things are messy and unfinished for most people most of the time. Sometimes our expectations overwhelm us and we start to believe that the laundry pile or the missed workout or the failed goal is some sort of commentary on who we are and how we’re doing.

But. Our strength is in HIS name.

___________________

I have some really exciting news to share with you today! This year, I’ll be heading to the Influence Conference to be a community leader and lead a workshop. There will be so many more details. I hope you’ll pray about meeting me there?

bread broken.

I thought I’d start a fresh week with some real truth.

It’s been hard for me to write here lately because of many things but mostly because it has felt false to come here and share pretty pictures and light type things when the truth is this: I struggle. It’s very much like when Tom and I bicker. I’m horrible at small talk until there is a resolution.

This isn’t some big thing brought on by sickness, tragedy, huge hurting. It’s just the daily type of thing that makes a murky mess of life sometimes. The biggest portion seems to be that in six months my youngest will be in school. On the day he starts it will have been 11 years that I’ve had a small one at my table for lunch, that I’ve tucked tiny toes in for nap time, that I’ve snuggled with pudgy arms mid-morning. I won’t lie. It hurts and I feel full of something akin to opportunity. Mostly, I feel burdened by what is next. It’s a question and I don’t know the answer or if there even has to be a next at all. But everyone seems to be interested in it and I feel a bit like I’m circling something I’m equally afraid of and confused by.

This thread in the woven thing that is my life is pulling everything a bit out of shape and I’ve struggled with some feelings of significance, or really lack of. I know all the right and true things. It’s just that I wear myself out trying to do it right, even the struggling. It seems so silly to type out here that I actually think about whether I do it wrong the right way.

In my Bible study, we’re digging into Mark. This week, I read as Jesus asked Peter who He was. You are the Christ, Peter answered. In tearful contemplation, I’ve wondered what He really is to me.

On Sundays I’ve been making bread. It’s good and I’ve always wanted a bit too much to be like Ma Ingalls. It’s easy and quick and in the course of a few hours, I can have warm bread on a plate. And Jesus is the bread of life. Bread that can only be enjoyed, taken in, when it is broken.

I know that He is broken for me and brokenness in me. And so I’m learning to lean in to the winnowing, allowing Him to bring me to the end of myself and over murky messes so that I will see Him more clearly.

I wonder. Who is Christ to you? In me, He is the end of should be, the beginning and existence of grace, freedom.

less should be. more just be.

quincebloomsI made soup tonight: the good, hearty, wintery kind. Except I forgot to keep it at a good simmer so you can imagine how I found the brown rice after an hour of basically sitting in warm broth. It was seven pm so we made sandwiches and scurried off to bed soon afterward.

My mornings have been full of pulling the quilt I’ve held on to from freshman year up tight around my chin instead of braving the prickly cold air with a run or a walk. I still remember when my mama and I proudly picked those tattered mauve and green and yellow squares stitched tight. It was 1994. I had garnet and hunter green plastic hangers to match. My daddy built a loft for my dorm room with a shelf underneath that held my 13 inch tv. It was the same tv Tom and I used for the first year of our marriage. We sat on our oversized couch in our teensy apartment and watched as the world fell apart in September of 2001. We hadn’t celebrated a year yet.

quinceblooms2

We are in the thick of a fumbling and exhausting season that is ministry sometimes and means that Tom is away many nights. The truth is that I’ve been underwater. I’ve let my hope get trampled a bit and let the light grow dim. Last week all of the pushing and plowing and shouldering I’ve been trying to do in my own strength finally outweighed my scrappy self and I fell hard. After a few days of my husband hovering to make sure I didn’t try to pick all of that junk back up with my stretched out spaghetti arms, Sunday came. And Sunday brought messy tears in the middle of the pew. And Sunday brought the Whisper to change. And I whisper-yelled back, “HOW?”

homeworktime

And today brought something fresh. The resolution to expect less: of myself, of my day, of my ability to scratch off scribbled lists. I had three goals today, three easy goals that lots of other mamas and friends and people could easily do quicker than quick. And every single time I put my little foot down toward one of those goals, I asked the God of all grace for Help. I didn’t get them all done just so. I’ll have to go back tomorrow and try again.

prostars

But the light got brighter. And I have decided to expect less so I can be more. Be more aware of how the morning light hits the quince branches I brought in from the cold snap. Be more thankful for dirty feet and little people and homework and short legs. Be more affected by the unabashed love of a five year old boy for his mama. Be ever so grateful to find that my lovely friend, Scooper, wrote about this very thing earlier today. She is a beacon for me in this area and her words are full of wisdom.

It’s my prayer for you, too. Expect less. Less should be. More just be.