5 Minutes Flat

"On Fridays around these parts we have a little tradition. We throw caution (editing, revising, and worrying) to the winds and just write. Without wondering if it’s just right or not... For five minutes flat."

So here goes:
Something fairly common made it's mark on my life a few months ago. 
Since then, I've folded inward.

At first, I thought that meant I was closing up and hardening, and I hoped it would pass like a phase.
But it turns out that all the things I disliked and even feared about folding in aren't so bad after all. 

There's a sweetness about it. A quiet, safe, life-altering, truth finding security. 
A little less vocal- a little more watchful
A little less raw - a little more tender
A little less bare - a little more reserved
a little less out there - a little more in here

And I'm safe like this. I didn't particularly want an axe to fall and sever me from what I'd known of social and relational. But there's no growing like the kind that leaps out from the mess of a hack job. And there's no knowing like the One who let me come to this pass. The Only One I trust to see me through.



God Speaks

We gather, the six of us.
We've done this unintentionally, for years.

We lean in, lean on one other.
We support each other, fully.
We stand for Him, and He ignites the fire.
That fire brings us now, 


My little guy invites me to be five everyday. 

He shows me how to never worry about the big things.
He teaches me how to throw my head back and laugh at the little things.
He reminds me how good it feels to believe we are safe.


In the years of waiting, I dreamed of this.
When it would not happen, I prayed for it.

Though my kitchen sink then faced a solid wall, 
I envisioned the day I would do dishes & look out the window in front of me
to see my own child running, playing outside in our yard. 

I never imagined it would feel so good.

God is so good.




Easter week is here again, and last year I promised God and myself that it would be different this time. I was going to do this right with Him, with my family. 

For the first 10 years that I've been aware of my Salvation in Jesus, I've struggled with a lack of focus on Him during Christmas and Easter holidays.

I've always pushed the blame for this on the etched habits of my secular upbringing, our obligations to family and cultural traditions... but this year I'm learning a hard humbling lesson:
I have been dead wrong.

Because nothing can stand in the way of me celebrating Jesus 
(Romans 8:38-39).

God doesn't require me to lock myself or my family away for days on end to be with Him. He doesn't need me to partake in a ceremonial cleansing to make myself fit for his presence. I don't have to travel to a temple, or even light a candle.

The facts are all here in my head. I just have to click on "transfer" and impart them onto my heart. I just have to pray that He will continue to make newness of this Life in Him, and then watch the New Life begin to grow.  
(2 Corinthians 5:17) 

These Christ centered holidays should be the easiest times to be in the presence of God. They set the perimeters around a specific Sacred event for which we can focus on, together... and all we have to do is enter.  

And when I do, my own walk becomes enriched as I meditate on the life of Jesus and His journey to the cross, for me.

The Truth:

I've fallen short. (Romans 3:23) 
The Father knows it. (Ezekiel 11:5) 
Sin has it's consequences. (Romans 6:23) 

God sends His only Son, my friend, Jesus. (John 15:13-14) 
And what's worse than giving your own self to die but to ask your only son to die right before your eyes?

And Jesus showed, and stopped the trial right from under me. (John 18:28-40) 
He stuck out His Hand to take on the mess that kept me from Our Father...
He asked to wear my sins and stand trial in my place. 
And what would be worse than to hear your own son plead for you to let the cup pass, knowing full well your very will for him to drink of it?
But Jesus traded with me...
the cost of my flesh for the chance that I'd leave it behind to follow Him. 
And He fully paid my penalty, The Lamb of complete atonement,
that I could stand before Him, spotless. 
It was a brutal trial.

There was spitting for my calloused heart.
But the spit ran down His face. 
There was beating for my stubborn refusal.
But the blows pummeled my Redeemer.
(Luke 22:63)

There was mockery and humiliation for my pride.
But they stripped, jeered at, and taunted my own Brother in my place. 
There was an abandoning from The Father.
And what would be worse than asking your son to wear the ugly, suffer the brutality, die young, and to have you turn your back on Him in his final moment of earth life?
But it was done, and it was His Son who He turned His Face from.
 (Matthew 27:46)

There was spearing for my impurity.
But it was He who took the blade.
(John 19:34)

There is the gift of freedom for me, at 33 years old,
but He was dead for 3 days, at 33 years, to make that way for me.
 (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And I don't need to wear a fancy dress, or wash behind my kid's ears. I don't have to find a rock and throw myself across it for the night. I don't have to steal away to count, recite, or stand-sit-kneel. I don't have to moo, or hop on one foot, or offer a ram for slaughter.

The Truth is, I can look for Him right here in the kitchen, in my pajamas, with my bed-head and my broken Nikon. I can trace the nails with my trembling gratitude wrapped in shame for my partaking. I can receive the forgiveness and lose myself in His Mercy, nose down in my own stinky living room carpeting. 
I can return to my feet, grab this camera, and ask that He will bless me to find Him in this very place. (Matthew 7:7-8) 

The veil is torn. 
(Matthew 27:51)

The simple Truth:
No matter the eggs, or bunnies... the holy oils or monasteries,
Our God is right here. Always.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
~Psalm 139:7-10


God Speaks

Last week was a little rough. 

My tiny guy was sick with strep throat and a fever. He stayed in my bed for three days straight...

Then, he got well and drove me crazy

I stressed out a little over some dental work I had done. I did not like the appearance of two front crowns I had done. Though I absolutely loved the temporaries I wore for 10 days, the permanent ones did not look like me. 

I have an appointment scheduled today to hear my options. 

I also took a personality test that my husband and I bought last weekend at a marriage seminar, and I did not like my results. 

We learned that this test has the potential of unlocking some important information about us that would not only help us deal with other people better, but also help us see and aim for the potential we truly have in God's plan for our lives. 

There are four countries you can be from; Control, Fun, Perfect, or Peace. I was excited to take the test. I just
knew I would be from control country. I couldn't wait for the validation. 

Instead, I got stamped as a native of "Perfect" country! And it nearly took me the whole week to feel okay about it... to see how this really is true, though often confused for controlling... and finally to laugh at myself a little as I recognize the crazy perfectionism type things that go through my mind in a day. 

I was desperate to receive His whispers and promises by the end of the week.  As always, God soothes my stress and turns my disappointment into gratitude:

I bought these tangelos, but  no body wanted them.
I couldn't figure out what to do with them,
but they were beautiful in the bowl.
So I waited and let them sit.

Passing time spurred an urgency to use them before it was too late...

As I was feeling useless and unwanted for anything worthy in the Kingdom,
I became more restless about finding purpose and direction for my life.
It took some time, but by the end of the week I had finally 
relinquished myself, my character, my "Perfectionism" 
back into the arms of my King.

Ready and willing to sit and wait. 

While these tangelos yielded us two mornings of
delicious, fresh squeezed juice that everyone wanted...

I know that God is great enough to see His plans for my life unfold 

into something of good use for His people. 

As I plead to God for a way out of myself,
this "gem" of perfectionism now sticking out at me like a sore thumb,
I turn the corner, reach for my coupon file and 
look down at this sweet sunlit message:

Laugh, girl!

All in this week amounts to great joy when the songs 
of my troubles sound a symphony of His
perfect plan for this life.

And tear streaked, I laugh grateful praises.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. 
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. 
Plans to give you hope and a future."
~Jeremiah 29:11



God Speaks

Through the planter turned cookie jar instead...

I have seen that He can fulfill the secret desires of my heart 
where there are otherwise no keys to unlock them.

Through a seemingly too-good-to-be-true friendship 
through which I have been rescued time and time again...

He reminds me that there is always one perfect place for my heart.
That even when it seems impossible, He is here, 
rescuing me over and over again.

That God will pour in when I'm least expecting to see His path for me. 
That He will flood my life with His Light and Truth in areas 
rarely touched by anything much less His powerfully rushing waters.

That He would make a spectacle for me of His wonders and His great big vast capacity 
to make way for His Streams of Life in me. 

I stand at the edge of myself, in awe of Him again.   


God Speaks

Through the staking of a long loved plant (meet Tina)... 

I'm encouraged knowing that just as Tina will stand straighter 
and point higher as a result of her recent temporary support, 
this practice of leaning in to hear where God Speaks through the everyday 
using photographs, jottings, and sharing here
will lead me straight into forming such a practice by habit. 

Through a plate of apple peels and core 
waiting to be brought to our guinea pig...

I'm reminded of the way God gently peels each layer of me,
taking time to let every Truth penetrate deeper to the core.  

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Nothing is wasted.

When I round the corner in my craft room my attention is drawn 
to the cross in the center of my inspiration wall. 
One ray of light beams direction straight to it's base. 

I smile, joyed that He is the center of my life,
that He dwells in the walls of our home
and is Home in the walls of our hearts.

He shines amidst it all, from family to fashion, 
beaconing for us to leave it all here 
at the foot of the cross. 


God Speaks

As my heart is opening up to the possibility that every act in life can be sacred,
He is leading the way deeper into the endlessness of His Grace and Blessings.

As I add this potential to my counting of all the simple beauty in the life around me

I discover that each finding is filled with His Kisses, Love Letters, and Lessons.
I become the child before the endless packages,
eager to unwrap and receive each gift unveiled.

In longing to form this into habit I make note:

A seed planted and spilled twice from loose soil, it seemed an impossible sprouting...

In this God displayed His power over the reality of this world. 
He shows the promise of planting a seed and completely walking away... 
trusting in Him to create the New Life.   

The heavy snow brought the tops of a row of evergreens low to the ground.

 And I said YES to driving up the road in the cold morning 
to capture the beautiful sight in sunlight.
I could almost hear the crying out to God,
 "All the earth bows down to You"
Psalm 66:4a

And later again, I receive the lesson through a photograph 
just before I nearly crop the unwanted road sign... 

This is the way. Just like this.

I receive footnotes through the orchids in my kitchen 
of lessons just learned the hard way.

The small petal-less one I purchased cheap and spitefully 
for my husband to "give" to me when I was angry with him 
for not letting me have my way.
It's dwarfing is clear, next to the beautiful, towering, blooming orchid that he
actually did purchased for me full-price when he later forgave me for being a brat.

God gently reminds me to trust my husband to Him.
That just as I am, he too is bought and paid for at full-price. 
That staying out the way of God's work is best for all of us.
That the fruit of my efforts pale in comparison to His.

And even though I am beautifully flawed, sometimes petal-less myself,
I am forgiven and well accepted at the foot of His mercy.

Join me on Monday, in etching the habit of seeking Him in the everyday life around us.