April 20, 2013

Quiet, Thankfulness, and Joy

I've been slowly making my way through One Thousand Gifts for a couple months now. I can blame laundry and baby, business and tired eyes, but more than that I blame the book. With a theme of slowing down and being thankful for every small thing, how I could buzz through it? Gifts hasn't brought a zealous message or stabbing conviction. It's a well-rounded, healthy challenge. It's brining light to a dusty, forgotten room- thankfulness. Thankfulness is a powerful tool in any hand, and in the midst of an overwhelming and at times isolating journey into motherhood, I've been leaning on it daily.

This morning I read this portion and the light switch on the lamp began to turn-
I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I find now that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.
To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God's gifts is a gentle, simple movement of stooping lower.

I've been spending a lot of time and energy doing things lately, trying to get just one more thing done before I'll rest myself and have joy in the quiet. Play times with baby are my greatest gift, but once she's down for a nap, I'm a torrent of doing. I'm not sure how I came up with my theology that working, straining, and tiring myself brings joy.

But today I will let the laundry pile, the kitchen counters stay dirty and take deep breaths of peace and security. My attempts to gain are costly and my ability to stop doing brings joys. How strange a thing? The only explanation is grace.

April 12, 2013

No amount of perfect planning or positive thinking can get us out of negativity. It's sticky stuff. It takes desert wandering, belly of a whale dwelling to free us; chafing and scraping of self-interest to realize that underneath it all is something delicate, something clean. Life can bring pricks and pokes, but forming a thick layer of doubt doesn't keep our lives safe. It seals our heart-mind-spirit from receiving joy-peace-hope. Grace didn't come to allow hurt, it came to bring a rainbow after a storm, wine after crushing.

No explanation can be offered for failures and slip ups. But plenty of answers can be found in choosing joy-peace-hope.

April 5, 2013

I've been searching for the divine,
For a vessel to put my existence into,
Preferably a one of value.

I'm weary of the same questions, same answers.
Same conversations, same jokes,
Same obligatory laughs.

Can I find a place to rest my heart
A space wide and warm and welcoming?

There's no nest for us here.
No friendly rest stop on our journey home.

We'll always find our trails unmarked,
Our paths yet blazed.

Greatness is ours,
But its road is filled with thorns and rocks
That prick our fingers, draw our blood.

Blood seeps the earth,
Sweat wets the brow.
No one said labor was for the fragile.