Now that the weather is turning to finally match pictures of Thanksgiving pies, I find myself pulled outdoors again.
The sun becomes my friend and I pull up the blinds to welcome her.
We’ve unpacked our camp chairs from their summer hibernation in the car and they rotate from place to place on the patio. All our tramping to and fro introduces a nest of pine straw on the door mat, but we are content with the trade off.
For the first time in months, it feels like the wind can be friendly again. I ask, “Are you quite finished knocking your falling branches about?” The boughs nod and it’s in me to believe them.
I feel the urge to pot and repot my plants – one last hurrah before we close the doors. The peppers may not survive the weekend, Wesley says.
Some squirrels scold us in their hiding.
A southern weather apologist, I am not. The pros and cons would smother me in 90 degree Julys – a muggy mockery.
The only thing I’m learning to say with certainty, in fact, is the thing I’m learning to say in all things.
That this day is enough to be content. That this little joy is enough to be grateful for. And that His strength, is enough to carry me through.
I’ve been spending more time alone recently, thanks to night shift and grown up obligations like…work.
The struggle, after months of bedtime company, is quite real. I’ve reverted to the wolf-dreaming child who lay awake with nervous cramps – fearing, dreading, imagining the worse.
I haven’t been this way for years, but in His goodness, the Lord has brought sunset as a way to teach faith. To teach that reason is not always the antidote to fear.
My cynical mind can’t be convinced of innocence anymore and as result, I find worry can’t be swept into the back of my mind. The unknowns put on convincing masks that no strategy of mine can untie.
So when night comes, my wisest course, the strongest choice; is to challenge them into the open and introduce a Protector like no other. The one who knows the End, the Truth, the Reason.
To admit fear out loud and give it up, is the only way to grow an inch. The only way to step outside and breath the dark in deeply. The only way to close your eyes.
So goodnight – I’m taking the gifts of busy hands and brave heart – and just hunkering down in the wings of Providence.
When your feelings are hurt, who hears about it first?
What about when you spill the water, break the computer, grouch, grumble, kick the door?
And if the CD in your mind plays the blame over and over, then where is the eject button, a new refrain, the alternate melody of your heart?
These days I’m paying attention to what is written in my mind and particularly, what songs speak to me. To fill my mind with True things, so they’re the first on my tongue.
There is something to be said for the overflow of a heart, well fed.
To be a first responder of wisdom. And the simple prayer when days take a turn is: Lord, grow praise in my heart, so on the front lines of circumstances awry, I will glorify You.
He knows where we are. He knows who sins against us, and who we sin toward.
He knows our thoughts and failings and the very things that keep us awake at night.
And there is nothing that can shock or shake Him from relentless, sovereign mercy.
Our sins are many. Our hearts break.
And new every morn, His mercy is more. A shelter to the brokenhearted.
His Mercy is More.
Not to fuel defiance. No get out of good behaviour free card. And certainly not an immunity to the consequences of rebellion.
But what these words whisper, is to remind us that what Jesus did, we can not undo.
What He purposed for His children is our new hearts and redeemed souls.
And He got what He came for.
So let’s not mince words in shades of gray or excuse ourselves politely as an exception to the rule.
The story goes…New Hearts get busy with God’s work.
And no yoke, obedience becomes instead, the most joyful expression of a brighter sky.
I’m an emotional chameleon. Give me a sad story and I will twist myself into knots to avoid the sadness of it, shade myself to some less mindful clime.
Too often, I don’t stay to fight, the flight instinct is strong and carries me through nodding, smiling and beating a quick retreat to denial.
Friends are not made with denial however. And we don’t take breaths because of a God who winks at our tears.
Instead of flinching, we are told to lean into the mess. Just a little longer. Just a little dearer.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it these weeks, and realizing that if I weep for the world or someone else’s hard news – these aren’t tears falling out of line with Scripture.
Instead, we are agreeing with God’s design for burden bearing, not the fixing, fussing or fleeing that I love so much.
So I’ll seek out the sad and stay awhile. Put up a tent and boil some tea.
Keep them close. And tell them the truth.
Do we leave room in our lives to love each other extravagantly?
Do we have space to give above and beyond?
Do we believe that Jesus is enough and that we are free to utterly enjoy Him?
Do we reflect the generous nature of Grace in our lives…
…and in the Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Saturday evenings,
thankfully, paint the world a bit brighter with His wonder?