Poetry & Words

When Rest Requires the Work of Faith

PIN IMAGE: When Rest Requires the Work of Faith

Choose rest. This phrase is everywhere right now, emblazoned on mugs and novelty socks and faux-aged farmhouse signs, slipping its way into the vernacular with very little thought given as to what it really means.

See, there’s a big difference between choosing when to rest, and choosing to have an attitude of rest. The former retains control over how and when (we’ll decide); the latter is a posture of surrender to the life God has given to us now, in this very place and time.

As an introvert and a lover of my home, I thought I had a handle on this. “I’m okay with rest,” I would have answered if asked; “I’m fine with downtime, with hobbitesque weekends burrowed away.” “Ask me anytime,” I would have said, “and I’ll gladly acquiesce to expanding margin and simpler schedules.”

But when Lochlan was born prematurely, everything changed.

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Poetry & Words

What People Don’t Understand About Having an Only Child

What People Don't Understand About Having an Only Child

Five years ago.  I don’t wish time to stop, because if time had stopped then I wouldn’t have today in all its glorious tumbling mix of beauty and brokenness.

No, I never wish time to stop.

This photo from the past is a femtosecond suspended in space — a single transient moment in time’s flight over us.

We’re in my favorite place on earth, high above the sea overlooking Bodega Bay, and the white-bright sunset is casting slivers of diamonds over us, by the handful. My pants don’t match my shirt, and I’m wearing my brother-in-law’s too-big shoes. She’s set to bolt away and grab fistfuls of sand. The sky is molten. We are hands on a clock, dials on the face of the sun.

And time flies on.

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Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Rivers of Light

August 2013 - Aveline's tangled hair looking out window in morning lightThere’s something so pure about the morning light. It falls through the sky in a way it does no other time of the day, it falls and dances and pulls the air around it into gossamer waves. The early hours pull and push and twist the light into an opaque filter that infuses the morning in possibility. Awash in new mercies, morning light stands up  strong against uncertainty and tugs my eyes and heart upward, to the Light, to the Giver of light, to the Hope of all living things.

Jobs, plans, circumstances — these offer no promise of constancy, but Jesus does. When the future looks as temporary as words etched into sand at high tide, when faced with uncertainty, there is a Rock. There is an Anchor.

And there is morning light, a tiny glimpse of light eternal, to spring up each day and remind us all that He is constant, He is never-changing, He is rivers of light.

“You’re in a cosmos
star-flung with constellations by God,
A world God wakes up each morning
and puts to bed each night.
God dips water from the ocean
and gives the land a drink.
God, God-revealed, does all this.”
-Amos 5:8, The Message translation

Poetry & Words

The Thread of Hope

Aveline is finally asleep. The house is quiet for the first time in hours, silent except for the raspy motor on the overhead fan and the clink of the spoon against my cobalt cereal bowl.

My eyelids are heavy. I stare, unsure what to do with this pure, quiet, uninterrupted time. The need for sleep tugs at me, but it no longer captures me with the same intensity it once did. In the past year, I’ve adopted a new definition of what it means to be well-rested.

There is a profound peace in this stillness, tonight. I exhale, the sound of my own voice blending with the fan.  I watch the blades spin, lifting and twisting the Florida air. I think of how one year ago, I and a five-week-old Aveline flew through the Florida air to join Josiah, who’d been here for a couple weeks already due to an answered prayer — a full-time job.

I think of the fear and hope of the past two years. I think how hope has been woven into our lives, how hope is the shining thread, the strongest cord, the lifeline of who we are — not because of hope itself, but because of God in who we hope.

I think of the myriad of ways our God poured down manna to us, sometimes as a raven in the wilderness and sometimes as a coin in the mouth of a fish. I think of how He always, always, filled our cups and let them overflow.

And I stand here now in the overflow, here in the land of our sojourn, filled with thankfulness and gratitude and wonder because today — today! — we are finally debt-free. I close my eyes and breath deeply. The glory is God’s.

I lower my spoon, resting the silver-scrolled edge against the bowl. I stand up, and walk toward the bedroom. The night pulled its dusky cover over the earth long ago, and sleep calls.

Before the sun burns off the early morning haze, Aveline will awaken, bright eyed. The sound of silence will be overcome by the sound of life, the sound of love, the clink of the coffee scoop. And the aroma of coffee will swirl and mix with the Florida air, Josiah will kiss me on the forehead, and the thread of hope will shine brighter than ever.

Poetry & Words

WRITING & WORDS :: Toward the sunrise // Toward the setting of the sun

The sky keeps changing. The morning’s quiet clouds, marching steadily along for hours, finally collapse under the weight of the gathered rain and spill out over the sidewalk and leaves, over the roofs and birds, over the highways and signs, and over our shoulders.

Aveline laughs.

I sigh and pull the tripod and camera back inside, closing the green front door behind us.

Aveline’s face falls.  She looks up at me, tugging at my jeans. “Outside? Outside? Outside?” I love the way she pronounces the ou in “out”. She has a Californian accent that makes me proud and buoys hope in my soul.

On Sunday morning, Josiah read Joshua 1 aloud, “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.

I love that Great Sea toward the setting of the sun. I love how my Lord tells me, “only be strong and courageous.”. Four times in this chapter, “be strong and courageous.” I love how He gives me the strength I need to be strong.

The sound of the rain against the windows stops, and we go back outside to walk on this green, Eastern land God’s given us now, “beyond Jordan, toward the sunrise.”