but what does it look like?

I want a tender, juicy, dripping, messy-making heart.

God knows this, and He created me this way.

Sometimes we go through the desert to prepare for new growth.

You know, kind of like when I “three-quarters kill a plant” because I didn’t water it for a month or more. Then, I have to slowly encourage it back to life. The dead parts get cut away and new bright green things appear, fresh and tender.

From dry to fresh and new could happen in any length of time, a day, a year, five years……..over and over, a cycle, a weather cycle of the heart.

I woke up this morning thinking about the heart.

And a Christmas hymn that always squeezes my own.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

That last line.

The loving heart MUST give. And what does it give? Itself. But what does it look like? “Open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth Thou hast for me”. An unexpected note in the mail from a friend, a smile right into the eyes, being vulnerable, reaching out, opening up. A song, a dance, a painting. Being thoughtful. Knowing someone, learning them. Words, The Word, gold, frankincense and myrrh, an alabaster jar of perfume, a seat at the table, death on the cross, a tomb for His body, The body, blood, sacrifice, resurrection, eternal LIFE, a place in Glory…….. “For God so loved the world, that he ……..G A V E.”

*********

This is Grace’s fourth year of college and the youngest ones look at her with such adoration. They admire their big sister and seeing this love between them is one of the biggest brightest gifts of my motherhood journey. Having her home over Thanksgiving added sparks of joy for all of us, but I wonder if it was deeper and truer coming from the hearts of the youngest ones, who aren’t busy with “things to do that must get done”. (  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”). Children seem to naturally choose “what is better” and are watching, playing, carefree. Behind those glowing eyes is a thoughtfulness that gives birth to the sweetest moments.

Seth has been sleeping with the same brown, loose limbed bear since he was a newborn. Mr B has been with him every night for the last 11 years, except for the times when Seth, in his excitement, forgot to take him on trips. He is Seth’s most valued possession and has a very friendly and knowing face. I have made Mr B dance for him, talk to him, walk into his room for him, put clothes on him for a surprise, and we make up stories, all of which has, to Seth, made his Bear very real indeed. (“When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”~ VR) By the way, when he was very little, Seth pronounced “Bear” like “Beer” and a few of us still call him Beer at times, because it’s cute and funny.) So you see, he has a whole family presence.

Imagine our shock on Sunday afternoon, when Grace skipped out the door to go back to college, WITH MR B held in her arms. What was happening? Did she take Mr. B? We whirled around to look at Seth, who was at the door with us, waving goodbye with pride. “I want Grace to take him with her to college,” he explained. “I gave him to her. To borrow.”

He gave his most precious possession; his heart.

And he gave it with joy and an open hand. Mr B was going to visit college with Grace! Oh the stories he will tell when he returns………..

The next day he sought me out and confessed that he had woke up in the night, feeling around with his hand for Bear, and then remembered he was gone. “So I went back to sleep.”

“Oh! Seth! come here, Seth!” I said, remembering a photo I had gotten from Grace while he was at school, “I want to show you something!”

He held my phone and I looked at his face.

“Bear,” he sighed, giving me back the phone, and turning away with a smile on his face. He was ready to get back to his busy day.

messy beautiful

friday bowling
mom of boys
Jacob, and Steven King
my life, my loves
messy beautiful!
seafood lunch at Coopers
back home
life is good
mama duck
my girlies
oh the smell of lilacs!
quite jaunty
mother’s day morning
Rich and Gracie
amazing!
Grace and her dad
me and my mama
gaming
healing
my darling brother
my all time favorite
I didn’t have to drive this time
dear daughter
another dear daughter
snow!!!!
snow on Mother’s day
Mom told me to make cookies
so I did, this morning and I also burned my finger terribly. I had three cookies for breakfast.

Sharing my heart..

I was lovingly reminded yesterday that God is not waiting to come down on me like a hammer everytime I get my toe out of line…….and then, this morning I read this verse, “The Lord doesn’t see things they way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The Lord KNOWS MY HEART. When I don’t even know it, He knows it. He knows I want to please Him, He knows I beat myself up all day long over my percieved failings, He knows that I grieve and cry and long and hope and desire and love and give and give and make myself vulnerable and I fail and fail but I’m loved and I’m beautiful to Him.

In life’s choices, I choose HIM. To think this way is freeing to me.

He cares for me like no other. He knows I am nothing but dust, he knows my messy humanity and He understands. He knows I’m treading water here, trying to keep myself breathing. (Please don’t worry about me, I’ve never tried to keep depression/anxiety/perfectionism and my super-sensitivity to life and these things a secret. I’m okay, and people can be okay even when dealing with strong emotions.)

Anything that makes me small and Him big……is a good thing. Even though it can be painful. In this way, self righteousness is dealt with, and a true understanding of my need (and His provision!) is realized. No, I don’t want self righteousness or sanctimoniousness (from myself…..or others, either.) It creates fear. “Your boasting is not good. You know that a little yeast leavens the whole bath of dough, don’t you?” I corinthians 5:6…

We are to have mercy, and show love and grace. To others…..and to our selves.

“I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me.” Hos. 6:6

So, Mother’s day weekend. On the inside I was a storm of thoughts and emotions, but on the outside……life continued and there was joy and smiles and love. How funny it all is! A perfect mix of sadness and joy, love and sorrow, good and bad, seriousness and frivolity. So topsy turvy! “It is what it is” Maybe someday I’ll find an even keel. (yes, you can laugh at that).

“In acceptance lieth peace” ~ Hannah Hurnard

I accept it all, kind Father, often with great struggle, but thank you for loving me and being patient and kind. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.

thank you for visiting my blog, friends.
you are loved