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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh Eve!

     There had to be that moment. The instant when it hit you. The thing you had done and what it meant.
   
     I picture you with your hands in Eden's dirt and sweat on your brow as you stand and lift your face into a breeze. The birds sing and swoop and peck out the seeds you planted but you love and smile and guard because in the garden you walk with God. You walk in the garden with God and know His Glory. You know it.
   
     So you toil and plant and reap and care because your purpose under heaven is for this hard and good and holy work. From the breath of God it is innately in your spirit and you see what is front of you and know its gift. You see and you know.
 
      Did you get tired and sore from all the toiling? Maybe Adam was not doing his part. Were you exhausted the day the serpent came with his temptation? Was it all just too intoxicating?    
   
     Oh Eve!
     How could you? You were in paradise with God.
     I know you must've wanted to take it all back. To spit in the face of the snake and spit out the fruit and say,"No! No! No!", but it was too late and you knew it.
   
     I picture you now outside the garden gate lying on the ground crying out to God with the deepest of wailing. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" You say and beg for another chance.
     But you didn't get one and I'm sorry for that because God had to be God and you had to be Eve. You had to be Eve because God chose you. He chose you.

      I wonder how long you laid there waiting for God to change his mind? Begging him too. And when you finally picked yourself up was Adam waiting or did you find yourself alone? How many times did you stop and turn back for one more deep glance of hope wanting desperately to see God and hear him say, "Come back! Come home!"
     And then you turned one last time and simply couldn't see your Garden anymore.

     Oh Eve!
     I see you once again with your hands in the dirt and sweat on your brow as you stand and put your face into the breeze while birds and Angels swoop and sing. And this most glorious garden is full of  students of Eden who watch and learn to toil and plant and reap from the first master gardener. It is full of God and love and eyes that See and spirits that Know.

     Oh Eve!
     I want you to know that even though you started us down the path of sin you didn't end us. We get second chances now. And third. How about that? And all because of Jesus. He died for us and gave us Grace, but you probably already know.
   
     And If I walk into your garden one day, don't be surprised. I sooo love them!  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Beautiful Bones...

      There are beautiful bones buried deep on country roads. The marrow and roots of it, so rich behind gates made of sticks and barbed wire hold life and truth and God and move something deep in me. Sometimes I just want to burrow in and disappear inside the story.



    There are deep strong bones inside these cabins and I hear them groaning to breathe again. Broken, they have been left to linger alone but I visit them and hear their whispers. I think they are beautiful and I want to dig them out of the ground and take them home because I do not think they are finished yet. I believe there should be more.
     Season after season, they draw me back with the hypnotic promise of something. What?

     And there are deep God bones in the trees and fields and mountains and sky of this place that have lasso'd my heart with a knot so tight I will never escape from the lure of their wile. And so I walk and breath and see...

     Wildflowers...sunsets...pastures sprinkled with cows and horses and sheep and babies...just give me the babies, Lord.
    These quiet my spirit and sooth my soul and everything is right in the world
    In this place I know the majesty and glory and truth of God and I feel it in my own fragile beautiful bones and I praise.
     I want it. I want the simple life of barbed wire sticks and keep-out gates and trees and cows and mountains and sky. I want my "road home" in all four seasons.
     Oh... if only it was all like this...

     A tree, huge with roots and trunk, lay on the ground with years of seasons buried inside. It's battered and broken down by the wind. A giant wonder with a horse-shoe and it's story still tangled up in it's roots.
 
    And a tree with with white bones stuck them out for me to touch. Until that day I did not know that trees had bones.

     Today I pictured Jesus leaning against the giant tree with a smile as my rebellious spirit climbed the fence where the "Keep-out" sign was clearly posted. "Your foot is not really ready for this fence." I heard him say. But I climbed it anyway and I knew He knew I would.
     Does the idea of Jesus meeting me in the, "do-not-enter" zones help my confession that I climb the fences and push through the barb wire anyway and do not care?
    Just look at the pictures I took of the cabin. Is was worth it, don't you think? was it? But the light was amazing.  

    These things remind me of childhood. Of toad hopping contests and fireflies in a jar by my bed. I can hear the sound of our turtles in the cardboard box scratching to get out, our nail polished initials shiny on the back of their shells.
    There was a time when raw cow milk was put on porches in bottles and  chickens laid eggs and roosters crowed and boys played cowboys outside all day and mail men walked and waved.
    That life, so quiet. Stripped and bare and pure. I want it...
 
        And, yet, I love technology. I fight for it. I sing it's praises for the glory of God.  Blogging, Twitter, Facebook , Instagram.
     I do it all. I was born for this time and this purpose under heaven so could I really imagine this other life?  Would I be happy in simply beautiful country with sky and cow fields with babies and mountains with sunsets and barbed-wire farm field gates made from logs?
     The truth of these things live deep in my heart and sing to my soul. They continue to draw me back to the light and shadow of changing season and new life and furry babies...
But what if I had to choose?
   
     Don't make me...life without all I've grown accustom to would be hard and frustrating. I would not be easy and my company  would not be good.
     But baby cows and cattails make my breath long and slow and I can not stop the smile that comes. And mountain moons and pop-corn clouds pull my car to the side of the road and when the sky is on fire I can hardly breathe so the beautiful bones of my quiet country, deep and rich with promise will always have their way with me.
     So I straddle this place...I walk the line between new and old knowing the gift and beauty of both. God knew of the juxtaposition between these things in my life and He also knew how they both would pull me.

     So I will walk my country roads with fences of sticks and barb and call them beautiful. And I will dream of other roads in country that I have yet to see because I know deep roots and broken barns with story wait for Paul and I.

     And for my sisters that live on country roads that I long to meet. I want to park in the quiet place by the home of the bride of "the farmer" who writes about 1000 gifts with words that make me weep and I want to walk and see and listen to her voice and see her pictures because they will be beautiful and she gets it.
     And for the sister in Texas who moved to the country somewhere and seriously might be my kindred with daughters and a long husband she loves greatly and pain and a heart that has exploded in the new love of grand-babies in her arms and who has a son named Michael just like me. A woman whose story, written by a Father who greatly loves, was redeemed and anointed and changed my heart. I want to sit on her porch and hold her hand and say nothing because it will say everything.
       So know there's a story with beautiful bones on every quiet country road under heaven. When you take the time to follow one, listen for your name and it will tell you all it's secrets. If you're lucky, it might have a mountain on one side and a barbed-wire gate opened to a setting sun throwing shadows over a pasture with babies. And then the moon will come out and you will smile.
    And then another day...you'll go again because the secrets inside the beautiful bones buried there will already be  in you and you wont be able to stop yourself.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Big deep breath...and now...


     Now...I will preach to myself...
     
     God deserves praise! Praise him for your life. He is bigger and greater than insurance companies, lawsuits, broken bones, surgeries, and car crashes. 
      You walked for an hour and a half yesterday. Your foot is almost healed. Have you forgotten the amazing things God put right in your path just yesterday? You had surgery just 10 days ago and look how good you feel. And have you forgotten what God did when Chandler needed surgery in Colorado? Sure, it was hard. It was a battle. But God equipped Paul for it, did he not?
     Yes, but it was a long and really hard and we got beat up pretty bad.
     But you survived and you are stronger. Your faith grew and you planted a memorial stone. It is part of your testimony now. Aren't you the one who always talks about trials being the most powerful parts of the story God has written of your life. Aren't you the one always telling people to go back and sit on their memorial stones? To remember. To remind yourself what God has done. 
     So what if you don't want to fight with insurance companies again? So what if you don't get a new car? For whatever reason this is where you are. Do you believe that God is here with you? Do you believe he has gone before you in the things you worry about? 
     He took the Israelite's on a 40 year trek through the desert with only one pair of shoes and fed them manna from heaven, remember? Your situation is nothing for God. So stop grumbling already and walk in faith. If it doesn't work the way you think it should does that mean that God has abandoned you or doesn't care about you? No!
    God is always worthy of your trust and your praise. Always! Who are you anyway but a sinner saved by His grace. You are a truly and greatly loved daughter of the King!
     And so...about those things in the corners of your heart that God is gently sweeping out and exposing. They're not very pretty are they? Consider that this test of faith might be just about your own refinement.
      
    And so I breathe deep again... 

     Give me the strength Lord to surrender those places in my heart, and then pour out your grace and patience so I can walk the rest of this season out with integrity and honor.
And may it increase my faith, build my testimony, be used for my good and bring you glory!! Amen?
     
     I can hear you shouting back... Amen!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The very first Princess...

     Once upon a time, (33 years ago to be exact) a tiny little-girl creature arrived on the doorstep of a palace and was placed into the arms of a queen. The queen had never ever seen such a thing as this. Such a beautiful thing, and she stared at her with awe and amazement as her heart exploded with love. 
     Everyone in the kingdom came to see the beautiful child and each day, her dark eyes twinkled of things yet unknown and the queen would sit and ponder the great and mysterious secrets within them.  
      Soon, the dramatic and precocious little princess began to rule the roost. She wore proudly the crown her Father gave her, although it was much too big and she had yet to understand it's grace. But she put it on her head anyway and sang and danced and bossed her way around the kingdom to the great delight of the King and the queen and the court. 
     When the princess grew up, she met a handsome and honorable prince who put her on the back on his big white horse and whisked her away to the kingdom he would make with her. 
     The queen and king missed their first born daughter but their lives and loves had grown beyond her and so life in the kingdom continued. Then one day they got a surprise as the handsome Prince rode back into the kingdom bringing with him the princess and a not-so-small little boy creature.
     And so the queen held out her arms and as  the princess laid the boy child in them, the queen's heart exploded with a whole new love as the beauty and awe of the tiny creature filled her.
     The Prince decided to settle in for awhile and soon the kingdom had three of these precious boy creatures fighting to rule the roost. The crowns their Father gave them are too big too, and they wear them on their heads and prance around just as proudly as the princess had. And the Queen and the King just watch and smile because they've come to know the giver of the crown and have experienced the glory in it's grace.
      The lives of the Prince and very first Princess are full to overflowing now as they rule and care for the kingdom and grow the three boy creatures who fight over their too big crowns.
      Then the King and Queen pile the three boy creatures into the kingdom cart and take them out for a kingdom adventure.
     "We are blessed!" The Queen shouts as she grabs the hand of the King and climbs in beside he and the noise of the boys. "Yes," the King shouts backs, eyes full of deep knowledge as they fill with tears. "That we are."   

Friday, January 31, 2014

"Regret"...Who owns it? You get to choose.

   The thoughts come after. After the action...or the words...or the lie. My inside-the-head justification conversations.
     "Yeah, well...the truth would have hurt them much worse. Should I have told them that I was out of grace and the idea of a whole evening with someone as challenging as they are is...well...just not how I choose to spend my time tonight. I've had a long hard day and I don't want to be with you."
     "I know I am not honoring him but I really don't care. After yesterday, if he wants that done he can do it himself.  It's a ridiculous chore anyway and I have important things to do."
     "Sometimes people just need to hear the truth and need to hear it with a loud voice.  I'm so over their hypocrisy. It makes me sick. It was time. It was soo time. Someone needed to call them out and today, I decided the time had come and it would be me."
    
     The next voice I hear cradles and cuts simultaneously. 
    "So you lied and let them down?  So what?  You're right, the truth would have been much worse. Remember what happened last week? Why put yourself through that again? You've done more than your share of that relationship." I feel a pat on the back. "I think you should do whatever you want tonight. Pamper yourself. You do so much for other people. You deserve it."
     "Good choice about not doin' that chore, sister!" I get a high five. "I can't wait to see his face when he gets home and sees you didn't do what he asked you. That'll show him." A nudge to my shoulder. "You go girl. Maybe now he'll see. Maybe now he'll get it. He should appreciate how great you are. How good he has it. You're a saint." 
     "You were so right-on tonight when you called them out! They deserved everything you said to them. Bravo! Someone had to set them straight. How dare they pretend to be one thing in church and something very different in real life?" I hear a chuckle. "The truth will set them free, right?" another nudge.
  
     The last voice breaths a salve of "Truth" and it stings. 
     "The evening you said 'No' to tonight, I ordained. You have missed my good purpose and plan. You say you are out of grace. I say, even as you deserve nothing, I sent my son to die for you out of the greatest love and His grace never ends. And do I need to remind you how I grieve over your lie? Imagine instead, setting down your pride long enough to be blessed in a valuable friendship that I orchestrated for just those hours. Do you remember how challenging you can be?"
     "You know what I am going to say about this. I know you do. Obey him. I have set order in marriage for a reason. Do what he asks out of obedience. Honor him and watch him rise up in the desire to lead you well. You are not a saint. I called you to be his Helpmate."
     "Know that you're righteousness is ugly in my sight. You are not the judge. Have you ever been a hypocrite? Do you think being right gives you the right to something? Are you God? No. You are a sinner. Stand on the line. Will you throw the first stone? Will you?"  
     There is a knock at the door. I open it, ready for anything besides conviction. 
     I find "Shame" on the threshold and he enters my house. He comes in power of the second voice and fills up the room. I cower under his heavy oppression and close my eyes. 

     When I open them, God's light floods and Shame flees.
     The only voice left is Truth. Life. It is the Breath of Creation and the greatest of Love. "You are my Beloved and I am your Redeemer. I transform hearts and breath new life. Get up and walk. Go...hold your head high. The joy of the Lord is your strength. You are chosen, called, adopted,  and perfectly made.   Go...and sin no more."   
     
         

Friday, January 24, 2014

For Samuel...who just turned three...and lives in heaven.


     I'm reading your story little darling and even though we never met, I love you. I sit here and weep remembering your nineteen days on earth. Sad tears come from my love for your parents and the knowledge that every day of their lives they will miss the things they did not get with you. 
      I cry happy tears because I know you are in paradise with Jesus and carry a joy that none of us on earth will ever know. 
     Your Daddy's words about you go deep and forever inside me and I love that they are now being planted into new hearts from the pages of your book. 
Has Jesus told you just how much your little life mattered? 
Can you see your family from heaven? Do you laugh along with Noah and Mia? Can you feel Christians excitement as he accomplishes each new thing?
     Your Mommy is so beautiful, isn't she?  Stunning really. Inside and out. And your Daddy? Well...he's one for the record books. A special one indeed. I know you must be so so proud. 
I really love three-year-old boys and selfishly wish you could come to my house and play with Reed. He's three too, you know. The two of you would probably jump and chase and make me laugh and crazy all at the same time.   
Your Mommy and Daddy suffered greatly over you, but they suffered beautifully too.  Did you get a glimpse of the glory God received on earth from your too-short life little man? Ask Jesus about it on your next walk with him. I bet he smiles when you do. And pay attention, because there's more on the way. 
Your life was a gift to the world for God's glory, Samuel Parkins, and He is not done with it yet. 
I'll meet you one day...and when I do...I'll hug you tight. And it will be deep and long and full of great love.  
  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A day like no other...

     The enemy had my shoulders squared and a pin to the mat was coming. Weak and beaten I had no fight left. I was almost ready to surrender. 
     And yet, in my spirit where the truth lived, I called. 
     I called. 
     God heard, he answered, and the enemy fled. 
     
     In the moments that followed I knew that nothing in my circumstances had changed and yet everything...had changed.
     Everything had changed.