all these things

Friends, the words of Jesus bring life to the heart. The Bible says to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. I’ve had such a mix-up in my mind about eternal things and earthly things, that earthly things aren’t eternal or heavenly, and therefore don’t matter. And yet reality matters.

The body matters. The home matters. The job matters. The kids matter. The marriage matters. The church matters. The people matter. Even the birds and the cats and the squirrels matter to God.

We are in the world but not of the world. I love this world and I love it too much and at the same exact time I don’t love it enough. In-between the two there’s only love.

God loved the world, and he loved me and he loved you, all enough to send his Son to die for the world and all the people who live here and would ever live here.

“For the Gentiles run after all these things”, Jesus says, “and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them”. I can run after all these things and reject them or seek first the Kingdom of God and receive them.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

Dear friends, what a promise!

 

chasing the wind

I got up at 5 with my husband’s alarm. I haven’t slept with an alarm since high school. In my one year of college away from home, classes and chapel kept me getting up. Once back home for college close to home, the 8AM speech class kept me getting up. One married, my 6AM start time in the kitchen for work kept me getting up, and I don’t remember it, but I can’t imagine not having an alarm to wake me up for that. I just got done saying that I haven’t slept with an alarm since high school, but as I think about it more, I don’t believe that could possibly be the case. Sometimes the memory fails us.

I emptied the counter of the remaining stale Christmas sweets, and filled up the garbage bag with aluminum containers and unneeded papers. I took down the stockings that were hanging in the still dark dining room and replaced them with the Happy Birthday sign for my son who’s turns 11 today.  He’s a very sweet child and I’ve often thought he has the God-gift of cheerfulness. He also likes to build things and work with his hands.

I want to be free from this terrible feeling of frustration over lack of accomplishment in my life. My sister and I were chatting last night, continuing our plans to begin this Whole30, and I know I’ve been obsessing too much over “results”. Like she said, we want to be good stewards of our bodies while we’re alive, but it doesn’t need to become an idol. But I also get frustrated feeling like I’m constantly having to surrender achieving in lieu of contentment. And then its like I use contentment as a cop-out for not having to try.

Last month while carrying on two texting conversations at once, one with my two sisters, and another with the mom of one of my daughter’s camp friends, I accidentally texted this to the mom, who is a lite-friend and neighbor, but not someone I’d ever shared any kind of struggles with,

“I just need some kind of mindset shift that does not involve the concepts of achievement, success, accomplishment, etc to determine the validity and “on-trackness” of my life. Because no matter what I do, I always end up in the same spot: that all is vanity and meaningless, a pointless chasing after the wind.”

Since we’d only just been talking about times, rides, and youth group arrangements, she asked if I’d meant to send that message to her and the answer was an embarrassed but still thought it was funny, “No!”

It’s almost 7, and their is light in the sky. My husband is working on his email inbox after two weeks away from it. My son is up and working on his lunch, looking forward to his return to school. I want to finish getting the birthday pictures and decorations up.

A blessed Monday to you, friends.

 

 

 

blessed by God

Happy New Year, friends.

It feels good to be back at the beginning of a year. We had a family filled week between Christmas and New Year’s, and I’ve today reached the place where I can finally rest my eyes. I don’t have a ton of New Year’s goals or resolutions, though my sister and I are planning on starting Whole 30 together on Monday. I’ve read about Whole 30 and implemented certain aspects into my life here and there at various times, but I’ve not had a Day 1 connect to Day 30. To no end I unofficially dabble in interests, and splash around in various ponds, but I’m this person who doesn’t officially do anything.

I stay in the background and watch from afar. The piano stares from my living room, every day, and the music inside me goes unplayed.  We don’t talk to each other.

What’s that thing you’ve always wanted to do?

I’ve never read all the way through the Bible, but I’m officially burnt-out on reading these days. Perhaps you could say I’ve lost my appetite. I haven’t been reading or reading aloud, but this morning while driving I listened to a podcast on the first two chapters of 1 Samuel.  Nothing in particular jumped out at me, but I did notice that Hannah was twice misunderstood, each time by a man, and that the woman, the other wife who did understand her, cruelly used that understanding to Hannah’s sorrowed disadvantage.

And yet blessed was the mother of Samuel, Amen?

Dear friends, aren’t we all?

food and drink

The most pleasurable thing in all of heaven and earth is to fall on your face and worship Christ. We are made to praise Him, to want Him, to love Him, to see Him, to be caught up with Him and only Him. It’s like my hands have been bound by a rope, unwillingly tied but now willingly going, onward, forward, into a desert of fog I’m unable to see through.

There is longing, memory, and thirst

but no fear

 

 

family time

The weather is so warm it feels like March. While the kids played with toys and my husband restored a bit of order to the kitchen, I enjoyed a nice walk with a friend this morning. The house is it’s usual post-Christmas self, and I’ve done this enough times that I know this drill, this state of the house being. The boys had parked their new Lego sets in the schoolroom where they slept. That way they’d be ready for when they woke up.

I always feel a little weak and exhausted after Christmas. My daughter has spent the day on the couch with a fever, and the boys are currently running around outside. Tonight we head over to my in-law’s house for a game night with the cousins. Our kids and two nieces got games this year from the aunts and uncles. Instead of exchanging gifts this year with my husband’s sister and her husband, we decided to go out for a double-date some evening during the time they are visiting. I think this will be a fun new tradition.

There have been two deaths in my husband’s side of the family this Christmastime. First his aunt passed away in the middle of the December, and just today her ex-husband died after being in the hospital for over a month. She hasn’t been at the past several family holidays and dinners, and had been somewhat estranged from her mother and siblings. She’d been to our house two of the past three Christmases to teach my daughter and I the ways of their tradition of making poppy seed bread. Last year we ran out of days before Christmas, but this year I’d blocked out the whole day of the 23rd as open. Elianna and I baked bread that day, for gifts, and in loving memory of our passed Aunt Donna.

img_0465