these seven days



Last weekend I went to a pastor’s wives retreat, which was actually held here at the camp.  My only travel included a walk across the hill, but the less than a day of being away set my entire weekly rhythm out of sync.  That, and choosing to stay up til midnight talking, which I know will come with consequences at this point in my life.

I met a girl who I’ve been with friends with on Facebook for the past two years.  I’m not exactly sure how or if you can know someone you’ve never met. The scene played out exactly how I would’ve imagined.  I was outside on the wooden swings, talking with another wife, learning just how vast and unknown this new district is to me.

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I didn’t notice her pull up, for I didn’t even know what her car looked like, or if she was even coming for that matter.  It’d been months since our last correspondence.  I’d logged into Facebook over the summer to send a message, telling her I hoped she could come to camp in the fall. She said she hoped to be there too.

She walked up the sidewalk holding a baby.  “Are you Sarah?”, I asked from the swing. “Hi Rebekah”, she replied with a smile.  We broke into laughter as I apologized to the woman on the swing, interrupting our conversation to stand up and give Sarah a huge hug. I held her little Anna so she could carry in the rest of her belongings.



Monday morning took a turn for the best.  I wasn’t ready for school that day.  The kids were dragging from the night before trunk-or-treat sugar high.  My daughter asked me at the breakfast table when we’d go see Uncle Chris.  Two phone calls and fifteen minutes later we were in the van.  That’s how we ended up at my Mom and Dad’s.

Wednesday the oldest two returned home, the former home that is.  Their Dad had a chance to do chapel back at their old school, which meant this was a chance to see their old friends. They left before five in the morning and drove south for two and a half  hours. The three little boys, woken up from all the waking, piled into bed with me.



They were back in time for our homeschool P.E. class.  Once a week a local fitness center provides two hours of swimming and games in the gym.  It also means two nourishing hours of exercise/reading/alone time for mom.  When it’s over we dry off and change and talk in the locker rooms–then off to pick up the little one from Grandma’s.

On Thursdays the oldest takes a chance to be man.  He told me one day he wanted to go to work with Papa.  Since then, I’ve seen pictures and heard stories of pellet guns, harvesting soybeans, walking the farm fields, driving the tractor and fixing the combine.  I don’t know what all they do out there, but I think that’s precisely the point.



Today’s Fine Arts Friday looks like writing right here with my tea by my side.  The kids are watching God’s Not Dead.  I’ve never seen it, but they assured me it was okay.   The oldest boy is with his dad, out in the woods where the boys belong, at least at some point in their one wild and precious lives.  I promised my daughter we’d bake this afternoon.

This morning he and I kept each other warm.  We’d weathered through the winds of another relational storm, the familiar stirring up of old pains in new places.  We’ve been through this before, yet somehow we’re always able to come away having learned something. I said to my husband, “I wish we could stay right here in this moment.”

“Me too”, he said.



It looked like all I’ve ever wanted out of life.



We lived.

deep and wide

Wait, Mom, we’re going to drive six hours round trip?

To only be there for less than three hours?

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“Yes.”

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Kids, this is equation for joy.

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You’ve gotta be willing to work things out.

You’re gonna have to do some hard and uncomfortable things.

It’s going to feel awfully imbalanced at times

like the work outweighs the reward

like the bad outweighs the good.

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I know, it doesn’t make sense.

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But wait and see.

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And wait some more…

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You’ll be surprised.

 

begin again

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I cried the first time we finished the Divine Service.

The move was as fresh as yesterday.  We were in a new place, a new church, a new pastor, a new life. There was no way to separate relief from the grief.  For all the times I’d cried in the former life, I couldn’t deny the pain of our parting. A near decade of past pain couldn’t undo the present bond that had to break.

Our first church has found a new pastor.  God has brought a new shepherd into their lives. It felt like a punch in the gut when I heard.  We looked him up on Facebook right away. I’ve been saddened on and off all weekend thinking about it.  I’m so happy he said yes.  I’m happy the loved ones have a pastor now.

I’m  glad they have another chance to be loved.

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true colors

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“For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
~2 Corinthians 1:5~

To know God’s suffering is to know God’s comfort.

To know God’s pain is to know God’s peace.

To see God’s Savior is to find God’s favor.

against all odds

This was one of those days, where for the sake of the soul, I had to go driving around.  You know when you come down with the stomach flu, and you feel sick, but you know you’d feel better if only you could throw up and get it all out of you?  That’s how i feel.  It’s a sadness stuck inside somewhere.  There’s something that needs to get out of me.

Following my period i usually bounce back for two solid weeks of inner peace.  For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened this time…yet.  Sorrow lingers.  Tears feel trapped.  My head has the strange feeling of heat without fever, and this time it isn’t the pain of an ache, it’s the flood of a memory, the scar of an injury, the unforgettable burn of a loss.

With every live baby I birthed, I experienced severe pain in the first two months of breastfeeding.  The doctor said if you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt.  My nipples were cracked and raw from the fissures.  The latch of their mouths sent shock waves of pain through my torso, down and out through the deepest and most sensitive parts of me.

The special cream in the purple tube didn’t help.  The plastic breast shields would scratch against my skin.  The nursing tanks from Target were sticking to my breasts, which meant the only way to feed the baby again was to bite down and sing really loud as I pulled the shirt apart from the dried blood.  I supplemented with formula to give my breasts a break.

My body told me to leave my modesty open to air. I was living in my husband’s flannel button down shirt.  It was softer on my broken skin and wasn’t tight against my stretched out body.  I had to keep my breasts untouched.   I cried and wished the wounds would heal. On a desperate afternoon, in the sanctity of nap time, I left the house and went outside.

I had read somewhere that the sun has healing powers.  I believed.  I lowered myself to the concrete patio, covered my back and sides with an afghan, and turned my back against the wind.  The school was right there, but between us stood a white picket fence, the hedge of protection between me and the seers.  The sun shined there where it needed to be.

My peace returned.

And healing came.