Saturday, November 16, 2013

Of Love and Mothers

I looked up the word “mother” in the dictionary. Webster and I usually get along well, but he failed me on this one. The definition was so technical, completely lacking any sort of feeling or ardor the word demands. 

Mothers aren’t the type you can fit in the dictionary box. 

Today, my mother completes another orbit around our blazing star. We were suppose to be spending the day hiking the boulders of Wichita, but instead, I’m tucked in my top bunk, throat wrapped, some sort of herbal tea balanced beside me - sick. And where is Mom? She’s here - the rest of the family having left early this morning to hike and enjoy what is more than likely to be the last gorgeous day of fall. 

What a way to spend her birthday! And I can lay here and easily feel terrible about spoiling her special day…but she’s not complaining.

“I get to spend an entire day with my daughter.” 

And I wonder what kind of love this is… 

In our humanity, love is frequently misunderstood, which would only make sense, for we misunderstand God, and He is love. Our thoughts of love are controlling, self-seeking, self-gratifying - selfish. This "love" only leads us to misery, for no freedom is found there. 
But as God gains access to our hearts, He begins to change the way we think about love. This is where love and pain beat from the same heart. This is when love breaks free from humanity's box and shows us how much it risks, how much it gives, how much it pours of itself with no hope of being filled, yet knowing it can never run dry. It's wild and crazy, this God-love is.

As Mom dries my legs and feet after an intense round of limb contrast this morning, I’m once again amazed…
I’m so undeserving, and yet He loves anyways. 

The stooping figure in front of me - the many pains she’s endured for me, the incredible amount of sacrifice…she’s painting a picture of God’s love for me. It's communion of a deeper sort. How to express gratitude for a God and a mother like that?

Words fall short. 
Maybe Webster and I can empathize after all. 

Happy Birthday, Mami! 

photo credit - alonnasmith

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dunes and Dependence

I flop backwards, landing solidly on pile of white. 
Shoes kicked off, shirt sleeves rolled up, hair let down, tussled by the wind. 
My eyes ache as pupils shrink from the brilliance of the star shinning brightly in dome of cloudless blue. 

They call this place White Sands. It’s one of my favorite places, nestled in the bottom right corner of the Land of Enchantment. All around me I can see dunes cuddling together, bordered by ragged, barren mountains painting the horizon with their peaks. The only sounds reaching my ears are the voices of my family and the wind sweeping across sand. 

I decide to take to another dune. Slipping and stumbling, I run. 

Turning around, my family have now become tiny, black specks on this glorious canvass of blue and white. Wind, sand, and sky…solitude. Tension and stress seemingly drip from muscles into earth. 

God stoops low. I wish I could fly. 

It’s night. The family gathers for worship. Some of us perch on couch, others sprawl on carpet. We speak of grace, salvation, and faith. 

Brianna pipes up. “Just think about having to move White Sands with a shovel. It would take all your life, plus another to move just one dune. And even then, the wind would constantly be working against you.” 

We churn thoughts. 

Yes, but leaving the job to the wind, and the dunes move by a power greater than ours. 

How do we move the dunes in our hearts? Do we try tackling them with the shovel of independence? Or do we flop backwards, trusting…depending the Wind will do what we cannot? 

Will not the Master of sand and sky mold our hearts just as He molds the dunes? 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

To Be Needed

“You know that other night when we played that game?” one of the ladies from the church asks me, as we sweep up remains from our Operation Christmas Child project. 

“The one where we had to find people and make groups of certain numbers?” 

*How could I forget that game?* 

“It taught me such a beautiful lesson about how God works with us.”

"Really? Please share." I never turn down object lessons:)  

“I remember one round when we had to make a group of two. I was alone and started to get panicky, when all of a sudden, two arms grabbed me around my waist. It was one of the twins. He was looking up at me with bright eyes and the biggest smile. ‘I found you!’ We were both equally relieved. 
It made me think of how often times we can feel so alone in life, and how much we desperately need each other, how much we need God. And the joy that comes from finding each other…I was smiling for two weeks after that, just thinking of how good it felt to be wanted and needed.” 

Oh, oh - I had seen it as just a game, one I opted to just watch. But to this dear lady, it showed the very heart of God.
If one simple game could leave someone smiling for two weeks…how many other simple acts of kindness could we do to brighten each other’s paths? 

It’s a hurting, lonely world out there. Perhaps you’re hurting and lonely. We can change that - one life, one smile, one touch at a time. We can be the very heart of God to those around us. Let someone know today that they are wanted - needed. 

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling with us. Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” -Henri Frederic Amiel