the wedding day

the wedding day

Eyes welling with tears, I could barely read. My voice gained and subsequently: lost control.  I tried to maintain composure. I mostly- lost.

Sure-this was partly due to the emotion I felt, at seeing “my girl” (albeit my girl shared most lovingly with her parents) all grown up and getting married. But, there was something else.   As I read the words as a blessing and exhortation for their marriage and carried them in my heart throughout that day… I also saw them come to life before me. The Bride of Christ.  Something, I could not wrap my brain around,  I witnessed.

I saw a bride, glowing with joy, brilliant in spotless white, eyes radiating love for her bridegroom and her guests.  I felt the sense of awe that guests felt,  when seeing her adorned for and adored by, her bridegroom. These were things I’ve experienced at weddings before. These were things I expected and things I understood. Or thought I had.

What I did not expect, was the beautiful bride- immaculately dressed- stooping to hug children, a bride who’s veil became a tent and a bee-keepers netting, during her fairytale carriage ride. I saw a bride not too concerned with her appearance to be touched and hugged and joked with and danced with…even if it meant a few fingerprints, popped stitches of bustling and stains were left behind.   I saw a bride that drew people to her- instead of holding them afar to keep herself “clean.” I saw a bridegroom who appreciated her love for people, and delighted in it.

The few stains left behind were removed in an instant with a trusty Tide-to-go-pen-(well- except maybe where her white satin heels dug into the dirt!) But the memories of a flower girl meeting a princess come to life? Memories of family and friends feeling loved enough to be touched, teased and played with even on this special day?  They will last a lifetime, maybe even beyond.

This weekend-  I got a glimpse of what Jesus must have been like… someone who glowed with love and joy and purity- yet cared more about people than appearance. Someone holy and loving and touching and caring all at the same time.

I wonder what the world would be like— if we lived that way- everyday, wherever we are?

I think I could handle that.

Repost from Oct 08

How am I messed up am I ?  Let me count the ways:

I am  insecure.  I am (often) immature.  I am (usually)  impulsive. I am (monthly) moody and hormonal.

I sometimes get panicky and paranoid.  I get angry over lame things, I act like a jerk. I yell. I nag.  I do all the things I know not to do. I self medicate with chocolate and junk food and junk entertainment- instead of turning to the healer who loves me.

It’s easier for me to forgive others than it is for me to forgive myself.  Sometimes my failings replay in my mind  like a movie and  I’m strapped in the theater seat, unable to escape from reviewing. It’s a struggle for me to stop the movie and change the show.  But I can. With God’s help.

Yup.  Told ya. I’m Messed up. I know all the reasons why I’m messed up…and I actually do a pretty good job managing the crazy… but you know what?  It doesn’t change it.

I still am.

I’m coming to realize we all are.  And it does NOT define us.

A few weeks ago I made a short video.. about how I matter. And about how YOU matter.
watch it…. let’s see if you notice what I noticed…..

Once I got past the whole “I hate my head and my voice” thing.. I noticed something about the video… as I’m talking about how much “I matter”… I’m not very convincing.  My eyes are darting to the notes I have tacked up on the chair behind the camera…I look nervous.  Honestly?  I look like I’m lying.  Or maybe like I’m just saying the right thing…Maybe, I was.

And then- I start talking about how much YOU matter.

And I believe it.  You can see it.  My eye contact changes… my demeanor changes…my voice has an authority that comes with the truth…I KNOW that “mothers” matter.  I believe that YOU matter…

It’s time I start believing that I matter.

I mean really… if I’m called to share this truth with others.. it’s kind of important that I BELIEVE it.. don’t you think?  Who believes a liar?

I am not defined by my past, I am not defined by my failures… I AM defined by who God says I am… Loved.  Cherished. Forgiven. Called.  Imperfect.  Willing. Changing.  Growing. Beautiful. Just as I am. Crazy and all.

I want to start believing it… what about you?  I think prayer is the only route to move from head belief to heart belief.. join me?

“Dear Lord… my messed-up-ness is not a surprise to you.  My crazy and my failures are not bigger than your grace.  regardless of how I feel…I am held in your love and you whisper the truth about who I really I am: I am Loved.  I am Cherished. I am Forgiven. I am Called. I am perfectly- Imperfect.  I am Willing. I am Changing. I am Growing. Help me hear your whispers of truth Lord.. and help me to believe them… I love you Lord- amen. “

Lord- I believe.. help me in my unbelief….

“Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

” ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”.……..

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

I slammed the book shut. “Stupid..” “Irrelevant.” I mumbled.  Knowing, even as I spoke, that I was lying. I tried to blink the scene away, along with my tears.

I couldn’t. The truth is- the scene was more than relevant. It was my reality.

I hated it.

I was afraid. I was struggling to hold on and let go at the same time.

And here he was. Doing this.

“How could he do that?”  “What’s wrong with him?”

He was Abraham. I clutched my pregnant belly as I read how he had clutched a knife and raised it to kill his son. His perfect, healthy, answer to prayer and miraculous -son.

“as an offering.”

What if this was my sacrifice? I couldn’t let him go.  I held him tight, in my fear.  As if I could make everything all right by worrying.

Prenatal testing had showed potential problems.  Because of my history of threatening to miscarry, we opted out of more conclusive testing.  We decided to wait and see what God had for us.

The closer we got to my due date, the more panic and fear welled up in my heart.

Abraham wasn’t helping.

When I could no longer blink away the tears or keep the fear swallowed down.  It poured out in a flood: “Why did you do that to him?  How could he put his son on that altar?”

“He put him on my lap.“ Was the quiet response.

I felt my fearful grip slowly loosen.  In my heart, I lay him down.

On a lap.

The above 259 word essay is an entry in a contest posted By Mary DeMuth “wannabe published?”  If you would  like to enter this contest, click here! You could win a Kindle!

year of living biblicallyI’ve been listening to this, this week.  (gotta love audio books on my i-pod;)  I found it  Entertaining- and surprisingly, challenging.

 So far- here are the questions that have risen from it:

1) I wonder if God thinks my attempts at holiness (following the Bible’s teachings) are as silly as Jacob’s often are in his book.  I’m guessing the answer is sometimes “yes”.

2) I wonder what following Jesus really looks like?  (I keep thinking of Jesus washing Judas’s feet this week…… )  

3) Where is the line between “legalism” and honoring God by following…

4) I think it’s interesting that Christian’s keep a “Letterman’s top 10” type list of sins…….Not the 10 commandments, but a heirarchical list of worst to minor sins….. While the Bible simply says all sin separates us from God.  The size of the sin doesn’t change the distance.   We’re all sinners.  In need of forgiveness.   I’m no better, or worse than anybody else.

5) I think this book is a great example of our desperate need for grace.  There is NO way that we could daily track and live by every law that is listed in the Bible.  That’s kind of the point.  We can’t do it on our own- we need the relationship.

Here is where I’m camping out ;)

Galatians 3

Any thoughts? 

park mosaic

The sun is shining. There is no rain. There doesn’t seem to be a flood on the horizon and animals are not lining up 2 by 2. (The 2 cats, however, are fighting in the hallway!)

But today- it’s all about me and Noah. My Noah. The most incredible 5 year old, that I know. Friday’s are “our days.” I’ve talked previously about dating my kids. Somehow- our dating tradition has taken an interesting turn with Noah. The emphasis is heavy on tradition.

On Fridays, we go to “Fridays” He seems pretty set on the idea that “Friday’s” is where you MUST go on Friday. A law, rule or at least tradition not to be broken. So, nearly every week, we head out for our lunch date. I ask, each week, “Where should we go?” and he laughs. “Duh, Mom it’s Fwiday! We have to go to Fwidays!” (those “w’s” are not typo’s he’s having a little trouble with “r’s” ;) Some weeks he starts asking “Is it Fwiday yet?” On Monday. (He sounds a lot like the rest of us.)

Noah’s menu never varies. He starts with Fried Mac ‘ Cheese, (something surely thought up by the devil to inflate my thighs, especially when dipped in ranch dressing!) then moves on to pasta with sauce and “parmish” (his very informal and special word for parmesan). Rootbeer from a bottle is his extra special treat.

I have iced tea and whatever menu item my hormones call for at the moment.

After lunch we head to the “bookstore.” We talk about books, read them (and more often than not) buy at least one. After that the schedule varies- we might hit a park, or head home. Usually we end up on the couch with our new books being shared.

Friday is our special day to savor together- once he’s in school (soon- working on that plan) we’ll simply shift our time. Traditions change with my kids needs. But the memories don’t. They are forever.

In the busyness of mothering- I’m learning to pause- and enjoy. How bout you?

Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Lord- I pray that you’d help me make time and number my days right… take my schedule Lord- my laundry, my housework, ministry and responsibilities…. show me and help me to take up your priorities- I love you Lord- make every moment count- amen.

Caution visitors- this is a “girlfriend post” be forewarned.Boink. Boink. Boink.
I feel a thumping on my hindquarters. Not something that happens every day.

“Mommy, your butt is boinky” Came a little voice from the rear.

He continues to bounce his head off my back side like a vertical, portable trampoline as I attempt to make dinner.

As I cook spaghetti, I wonder what happened to my body.

I used to be a runner. Like, a  6 + miles a day kind of runner. Not so much any more. The knees can’t take it.. and let’s face it I barely find time to shower.  An extra hour to run just isn’t in the schedule.

I used to consciously build my body with protein drinks and healthy foods-I watched the scale to make sure I didn’t dip BELOW a safe weight. I was all “Body by Jake” and Aerobics in the living-room.– Now my body could be better described as “Body By Baked Goods” Cookies- cake… bread… yum. Not so much with the ice cream or cheese cake. But give me chocolate or face my wrath!

It’s not just the “muffin tops” that are an issue. Although- they have their place as well. It’s the “Bundt Cake butt” and even worse- after nursing three sons— it’s the “Baguette b**bs” that bother me most. Let’s just say- I heard a song about it….”the girls hang low…and they wobble to and fro- you could tie them in a knot, you could tie them in a bow- you could throw them over your shoulder like a continental soldier… yes the girls hang low…..”

My youngest- who has an uncanny sense of reality- once interrupted my “lean forward, let’em swing, then haul them into the bra-garage” method of bra fitting that I learned at Victoria Secret-(just a note- when your body’s built by baked goods- VS becomes a resource for breast care as opposed to recreational usage instruction or inspiration…well mostly;) ) This method is also known as the “Cha Cha b**b slide”.

He announced with a sense of awe-

“Mom, your b**bs are long!”

From then on- I’ve remembered to close both my bedroom door AND the bathroom door before dressing.

Bundt cake butt- baguette boobs and muffin tops and all- this is the body I have- I think I ought to take better care of it—I’d hate to start feeling like “day old baked goods” in the clearance bin at the grocery.

PS have been quite sick all week- this post has been written under the influence of cough and cold medication the author may revoke any statements herein after the meds wear off.

MOPS convention was centered on “Dwelling well” One of the scriptures was pretty convicting:

1 Cor 6:19-20
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Dear Lord- Please help me to better care for the body you choose to dwell in- but while your here- help yourself to the baked goods- I’m all about hospitality! I love you Lord- amen.

Shoes lie.

They act all wedgy, heeled and comfy in the store.. then, they sneak up and attack with skin blistering pain in the middle of the airport.

I know. I know. It was my own fault. I have traveled enough to know never wear un-tested shoes while traveling. But these looked perfect!

They lied.

The real problem is- as soon as I realized they were more effective than steel wool at removing the skin from the tops of 8 of my 10 toes (before I ever made it through airport check-in) I should have changed my shoes.

I didn’t. I though I’d be ok. Besides- I was carrying a brown bag… and wearing a brown jacket…. I couldn’t exactly wear the alternative I had in my bag….. they were black! Matching shoes and bags is just the way I roll…. I didn’t know any better.

I do now.

For 5 days, I crept through MOPS Convention trying every pair of shoes I had. Tennis shoes didn’t work. Flat brown sandals didn’t work. My “Always comfy-yet cool” back-up black pumps didn’t work. I slipped my shoes off and on- countless times. I bought 3 new pair of WAY over priced- (and now pretty much wrecked) socks and wore them instead of shoes.

My feet looked like raw hamburger. They felt like they were on fire. My MOPS Sisters were there for me. Ever ready-and prepared- bandaids were presented with appropriate sympathy. Neosporin WITH pain reliever was a blessed balm. Extra time in the shower (a real sacrifice when you’re sharing a room with 3 other women) was gladly given. AT the end of the long days- when I just wanted to whine about my feet. No one said “shut-up—it’s your own fault” (I knew it anyways;) they just listened- with empathy and yes- the pity I wanted;)

At the airport I had been encouraged to change my shoes- I should have listened. At our training that first crazy day, I was again encouraged to just take off the shoes. I didn’t.

Was it pride?
Appearance management?
Stubbornness? Stupidity?

Probably a little of each. But, today- while I’m resting my feet and letting them heal. I have had time to think about other things I’ve “worn” that did the same kind of damage:

Attitudes that hurt but became habit.
Behaviors that hurt me (like eating cookies at midnight because they are THERE) but I am too stubborn to let go of.
Sins that seem pleasurable but cause scarring.

Shoes lie. So do attitudes, behaviors and sins. They seem like a good fit, they seem appealing. They are not. We may feel locked in- because it’s all we know. (I’m admittedly a matchy- matchy clothes and shoes kind of mom) But- in reality we simply need some help to CHANGE them, then heal the damage.

We may need confrontation about what we’re wearing. “Girl- those shoes got to go” or “Are you sure that’s an attitude you want to wear?” We may need a balm to place over our wounds. Words of love- in the face of pain. We may need a band-aid to cover and protect. A friend to help work through feelings and ideas. A friend to protect our heart. A friend to help us find something that is a better fit- something that heals instead of hurts.

Finally- we might need time to rest and heal.

How are your “shoes” fitting? What are you walking around in? Stuff that hurts but you don’t know if you want to change? Cause it’s all you know? Don’t be stubborn, like I was. I’ll be nursing these feet for days. Cute shoes will be put away for quite a while. I’ll be barefoot for a while- trying to heal. trust me- it’s not worth it… If the shoe fits- girl – go ahead and wear it- if not- CHANGE EM… and change em QUICK! Before the blisters form and the skin tears.

By Sunday- the day I came home. My toes were so bloodied and painful- that my bandaids and socks were sticking to the wounds. I needed some help getting them off. There are “other” shoes that I’ve worn for years- attitude and sin that I’ve grown so accustomed to, and that have so wounded me- that I need help with removing them.

Good thing I know someone who specializes in cleaning wounds changing hearts and healing hurts. His name is Jesus.

If you’re feeling blisters form on your heart….or that your attitude and behavioral shoes aren’t fitting- or that you’ve encountered wounds that need healing- He cares and can longs to help.

John 13
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come
for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were
in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already
prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the
Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was
returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and
wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and
began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped
around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are
you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later
you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my
feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands
and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a
bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though
not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that
was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and
returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked
them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash
one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done
for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a
messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you
will be blessed if you do them.

Dear Lord- I pray that you’d wash my feet-my hands and face and heart. I ask you to heal my wounds and those of my sisters and brothers- God I pray that you’d give us courage to take off the shoes that hurt. I pray that you’d help us break through the pride- stubbornness and other reasons that cause us to walk in shoes that hurt. I love you Lord- and pray in your name- amen.

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