15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
Psalm 116:15-16 (NIV)
It’s the weekend. Remove your shoes. Join me in some quiet rest after the noise of a busy week. Enjoy some WordCandy while you’re here. Joining my dear friend Sandra Heska King for Still Saturday. And I’m joining my dear friend Deidra Riggs for Sunday Community. You’ll join us, no?
|Joy: Tissue Paper Flying Through the Air. Carly, Me, Cadence. My Birthday, 2011.|
What’s In Your First Aid Kit?
My friend (okay, heart-sister) Nancy Franson asks a really good question: If you were packing a soul-care kit, what would yours contain? And in that amazing way of heart-sisters everywhere, the question was just what I needed to contemplate right now.
Because the world’s had me in the ring, lately. And my heart’s been on the ropes, taking a big old beating. Nancy’s post rang out as clearly as the referee’s bell:
This round is over. I’ve got the best Corner Man ever. It’s time to sit for a minute, take a cool drink, and offer up my battered heart for some first aid.
I need a styptic pencil.
Joy staunches the flow. My heart bleeds tears (yours too?) and once they start to run, I end up dry. I could just blow away, a brittle leaf on a hot, dry, breeze. Nothing halts the flood like joy.
Joy works like this: I don’t usually make messes on purpose–I’m a mom, right? And a Lala! People like me clean up messes. So when I pulled the pretty pink and polka-dotted tissue from my birthday gift and tossed it into the air, I reaped the delight of the two grandlittles who were my Designated Gift-Opening Assistants for the day.
You can see the joy, right there on our faces.
I need a pressure bandage.
Peace binds my wounds. That Man in the corner, He cares for me, wrapping my dried-out heart in peace.
Gazing on His magnificent creation covers the injuries, holds them tight, tight until they don’t hurt anymore. He made these amazing hills, then He dressed them in 32 shades of green, and tumbled them right down to the blue, endless, ocean.
|Peace: It’s Right Outside the Window. Somewhere on the California Coast. February,|
I need water.
|Mercy Singing Down the Mountainside. Tahiti, 2004.|
12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 55:12-13 (ESV)
|Mojave Desert. Near Barstow. February, 2007.|
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB)
It’s that weekend-time again (hallelujah!). Slip off your shoes and enter into the stillness that my friend Sandra Heska King offers us each weekend. Then drop in at Deidra Rigg‘s beautiful place for some sabbath community.
|Mosquitoes Are But an Annoyance for My Grandlittles, Praise God!
Cadence, Elaine, Sawyer, Rich. Oahu’s North Shore, May, 2012.
Mosquitoes Are a Nuisance
Yes, my daughter reacts strongly to mosquito bites, growing great big welts in no time. And yes, I’ve scratched myself to scars. And, well, yes, my grandson has used the persistent buzz of the little divebombers as an excuse to keep his sleepy eyes open just a few minutes longer.
But really, mosquitoes are nothing more than an annoyance. Here. In other parts of the world, however, say, Sub-Saharan Africa, mosquitoes have a tougher reputation.
Mosquitoes are bloodthirsty killers. Mosquitoes carry malaria. Malaria claims a child every thirty seconds. Most of these kids are under five years old.
They’re practically babies.
And you, yes you, can save them.
Today is World Malaria Day. And Compassion International, those amazing folks who lift children out of poverty, are stepping up. Send them a few dollars to use for mosquito nets, for education, for medicine, and these babes have a chance.
To share ten dollars, text “bite back” to 90999, and the money will be added to your phone bill. [Any usual text or data charges will apply, of course.] How easy is that? If you want to learn more about Compassion International’s Malaria Initiative, check out their website. I think you’ll like what you see.
Here’s the deal: those sweet little kids that are dying for want of a mosquito net? Their families love them as much as I love my own children and grandchildren. And as much as you love yours.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
1 John 3:17 (ESV)
|Cadence, Rich, Ayden. April, 2010.|
It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
Joel 2:28 (NASB)
I was wrong. At page xii (that’s right, still in the introduction!) I read these words:
So how do we deal with the challenges of parenting, in addition to our own unrealistic expectations, media influences, perceived pressures from those around us, and a culture that demonizes fat (even though more Americans are overweight than ever before)?
I thought, hmm. Why does this feel personal? I don’t gobble laxatives. I don’t force myself to puke. I don’t, thanks be to God, look at two lettuce leaves and think of them as dinner.
I don’t. But I am a mother. And I have plenty of unrealistic expectations (even now, as I luxuriate in grandparenthood!) that get in the way of peace and tranquility.
I pressed on, and pretty soon I was undone again. I came across this passage:
So we bear the brunt of the world in an attempt to save it, but this is not, in fact, doing anyone any good because we cannot save the world. And we cannot save ourselves. We can only learn to love (p. 2).
Wait. One. Minute. All this maternal brunt-bearing is pointless? Now I can’t breathe. Because I always understood that was what we mothers do.
We bear the brunt. Isn’t that our job?
I found a tissue, blew my nose, and continued reading. Before long I found this:
Please don’t feel guilty if this is hitting home. That is not our goal. We want to relieve you of this burden you’re carrying. We want to help you become more satisfied with what you have and who you are, and to help you give up some of the behaviors and attitudes emphasizing what you lack (p. 6).
Wait, what? There’s a way to be a mother and not feel guilty? I was hooked by page six. That’s right, page six.
Friends, it wasn’t long after that I had to stop. Not because I didn’t think the book was good–the book is tremendously good. No. It wasn’t that.
I had to stop because I was bawling my eyes out. This book is for me!
And for you, if you’re a mom.
Okay. The authors, Dena Cabrera and my friend Emily T. Wierenga, are specifically focused on body image and life after pregnancy. But really, this book has something for everyone with kids.
We all wrestle with the issues addressed in this book. I think all of us moms–birth mom or not, eating-disordered or not–can benefit from this book. For some of us, it will save lives–or at least lots and lots of trauma.
Moms, give yourselves a break. Read this book.
Learn more about Mom in the Mirror here.
For ordering information, see the sidebar. (It’s thataway —>)
See my disclosures here.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Proverbs 31:28 (KJV)
Weeping in the Kitchen
It swept over me as I took a knife to the last bit of soft butter. The little pat in the glass dish was just enough for the potatoes I intended to mash.
But a few toast crumbs, and maybe even a spot of pomegranate jelly, stained it. That bit o’butter wasn’t pure. I could fix it easily enough, though. I carved away the blemishes, flicking them from the point of the knife into the porcelain sink, an abyss housing a monster that waited to grind our garbage to oblivion. I felt as clever as a surgeon, or a high priest.
Scraping the butter into the potato pot, I watched it melt and disappear. I poured in a splash of hot milk, sprinkled salt and pepper in the midst. I seized the silicone masher, so glad I could smash the spuds right in the pot without damaging its expensive finish.
Who’s grateful for a silicone potato masher? I wondered. Who’s gratified to find one little tablespoon of butter marred by specks of breakfast?
What kind of fool is indebted for crumbs?
Me. I am the fool who is thankful for the crumbs. How much time do we spend making dirty things clean? How often do we carve little spots of impurity from the butter, file the ragged edge from a nail, chase the crumbs from the table, pluck a wayward hair?
Stuff gets dirty over and over and over. So do we. But I can render them clean for next to nothing: A moment of my time, enough electricity to run the washer, a nickel’s worth of soap. I’m provisioned–I have not only the bread to shed the crumbs, but the butter to trap them, too.
And I used to be so dirty.
And it wasn’t next-to-nothing that washed me clean. Nope. The God-Man gave His blood to wash me clean.
A giant cloud of gratitude drifts in my kitchen. Come over for coffee and be thankful with me.
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.
19 “If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
20 “But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 1:18-20 (NASB)
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Psalm 103 (NASB)
The weekend is upon us. Slip off your shoes. Be still and rest in His arms.
Book Review: Dear God, He’s Home!
You know how there’s always roon for Jell-o? This book is more like dense chocolate cheesecake swimming in a puddle of caramel sauce with candied raspberries and a healthy does of whipped cream on top.
In other words, Dear God, He’s Home! is varied and really, really rich. When I began reading it, I found I could only manage about twenty pages at a time. I was puzzled: “I like this book. Why can’t I read it for hours on end?” I finally realized the problem: it’s dense in the best possible way.
Near the end of the volume, Janet writes:
Every wife of a stay-at-home man who surrendered her will to God’s will realized a purpose in the transitions and rediscovered joy in her marriage and relationship with God (p. 158).
Her purpose in writing this book is to help you, the wife whose husband is now home all day due to unemployment, retirement, disability, return from military deployment, or telecommuting, to rediscover that joy.
This book isn’t a narrative. It’s a toolbox for couples in transition. Each chapter includes the author’s own journal entries, stories provided by other wives, “Mentoring Moments,” prayers, personalized scripture meant to serve as “God’s Love Letter to You,” writing prompts for journaling, and discussion questions. The author includes a variety of resources (“Sanity Tools”) and a small group study guide at the end of the book.
This approach adds value to the book. If you’re a prayer warrior, she’s got some great ones to inspire you. If keeping a journal keeps you centered, she provides helpful prompts. If you’re someone who works through every exercise in a self-help workbook, expect to spend significant time on this deceptively small volume. It’s packed full of ideas.
You can’t wire a house with a stonemason’s tools. Janet Thompson writes to a specific audience: Christian complementarian wives. If God isn’t in the middle of your marriage, parts of this book may puzzle you (or, the author and I pray, lead you to put Him there). If you’re of a more egalitarian bent, I recommend you approach this book expecting to come across perspectives and statements you don’t embrace. Skim right on by them.
Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man (Thompson, Janet: New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL. 2013) is available in paperback (see below) and for Kindle at Amazon.com.
9 Get yourself up on a high mountain,
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.
11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
Isaiah 40:9-11 (NASB)
It’s the weekend. Take off your shoes. Join me in the stillness at my friend Sandra’s place. (By the way: Sandy is ill this week. Would you murmur a little prayer for her, please? Thank you.) Then please come over to Deidra’s for some Sabbath quiet.