Thursday, January 26, 2012

Memories Flash as Tulips Droop White

Tulips droop white.

Yesterday, my friend gives them to me. She reaches out remembrance. She has not forgotten that they are my favorite.

I place them on my kitchen windowsill.

Gentle snowflakes fall outside. Tears fall down my face.

Memories flash.

Eighteen years past.  A hospital room with tulips white on a sill. Alone I rest upon the bed, waiting for what is next – the arrival of my first born.  He is coming early. I am scared. 

Today, I pull a picture from the past, off the shelf. 

Today, is his birthday.

I feel my heart full, swollen.  I remember him inside.  Safe.  Secure.  Near to my heart, nestled under my rib cage warm and then he was born. Out of me, but not far from me.

Under duress, he entered the world.  My heart yearned then.  It yearns now.

“It’s okay, Andrea, cry.” I feel His Spirit speak to me.

“Why did it have to be this way, Lord?” I whisper back.

The Lord knows, it is not only the early birth, it is my son’s special needs that I think hard upon.

I ask for reassurance that all will be well.

My heart droops down, too.

I am overwhelmed with what is next for my dear son. 

I cannot speak; words within fall short, too.  God knows.  He does not need my words.

And then a Voice of Hope heralds itself in to my heart: nothing slips through the hand of God.  Do not be afraid.

Nothing.  I don’t understand. I wish it were different, but my different is not what God deemed.

And so I go back to what I know is true – God is sovereign and God is good.

I lie down limp, on the pillow of these truths.

As I rest, I thank God for my boy, now becoming a man.  I am proud of him.

Thankfulness helps me see.  The Lord helps me believe.

Monday, January 16, 2012

We Paint Pottery Together

She is the artistic one.

We paint pottery together. It is her birthday choice. 

It is a special outing for us.  We celebrate the middle one – tenderhearted, merciful, insightful, almost ethereal.  She is lovely.

They choose different pieces.  We are different.  The athlete. The artist. The musician.  Their mother.  We come together to celebrate life, live life, love each other. 

One a bowl, one a container, and two of us pick plates. Squirting paint on round palates, we envision our design.  We dip brushes and begin. We aim to create. 

I watch the birthday girl and her sisters.  They look in to their project, past the plain outside in to what it will be. I wonder what they are thinking about, how God is is moving in them as they create; how He is moving in them as He creates their lives.

I wonder at their abilities – His abilities. It is peaceful.  We talk occasionally, about memories, questions they have, silly things, some serious things, too.

With eyes squinted and licking lips, one stands over her piece of work, intent.  The other perches on the end of her chair -- closer, closer -- drawing herself in to her masterpiece.  The third sits quietly, in her teen years. 

Where did the time go? 

I want to reach out and catch time in my hands and not let it go. I linger in this moment.

We finish and walk out together, comfortable with each other, comfortable with ourselves. We talk about our dishes, what they will look like once they are fired, how the colors will emerge, deep and yet bright.

I marvel again at how God created them – the athlete, the artist and the musician – the sisters – deep and yet bright -- and I sigh.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What I See in Her is a Piece of Me

We pull out a puzzle, dumping the pieces on to the cool, hard concrete porch at the Villages of Hope Orphanage in Zambia, Africa.

Her fingers fiddled with the fragments, trying to figure out what to do next.

“Do you know how to start this, Mary?”

“No, Auntie. I do not, ”  she shares quietly.

“We start with the pieces that have a straight side.  They look like this. We’ll put them together, they are the outside, and then we’ll fill in the frame.”

We work silently.  She concentrates on the puzzle. I concentrate on her.

Her face serene reveals trust, not turmoil.

I marvel at her willingness to attach to me, a stranger. She sees me as her friend.  I am her friend.

Her tender spirit reveals a gentle soul, not contaminated by the world, and yet, having endured trials and tears unknown to me.

Her strength sturdy and yet fragile is evident.

I wonder about her life, her past,  her future.

I eventually break the silence and ask her questions about herself.

She likes the color yellow, her favorite thing to do is play hide and seek and to learn at school.  She hopes to be a nurse some day. Her favorite thing about God, “He saves me.”

It dawns on me.

What I see in her is a piece of me. 

A daughter of the king, fiddling with the pieces of life that God gives me, trying to figure out what is next, trusting Him for each day.

My heart connects to her. God does that work, drawing us together.

We finish the puzzle and admire it.  She is content.  I am blessed to know her.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Feel a Gentle Nudge

I slip my faux-fur coat on, falling in to the usual morning routine of getting the kids to school.  The thermometer reads 19 degrees F.  The sun is just starting to peek over the horizon. It is winter in Wisconsin. 

Grabbing my purse and coffee, I head out the door.

“Mom!  Don’t forget me!” the littlest dear yells from the other room, gathering her own things and thoughts together.

“I won’t” I respond, reassuringly, I think.

I climb in to the car, start the engine and back out of the garage.  I shiver. The seat sits cold under my legs.  The steering squeaks as I slowly back the car out of the garage.  Plumes of smoke hover and then dissipate on this frigid day.

My desire is to warm the car for the sake of my children.  I care for them.  

I scurry out of the car and head back in to the house.

Simultaneously the littlest one rushes out the door, back pack flung over her shoulder, coat half on.  Anxiety casts a shadow across her hurried face.

“Mom! I thought you left without me!” she fears.

“No dear, I was just warming up the car for you.  I am right here.  You’re fine. No need to hurry or worry.”

I walk back in to the house to double check all systems before take off.

I feel a gentle nudge.

It is from the Lord.

“Remember, Andrea.  When I go before you to prepare a way for you, it does not mean I’ve left you behind, either.  I’m right here.”

I need to hear this, because I am prone to forgetting.

I know better, but I wander near the woods of doubting His presence.

I pause, aware of Him now, and choose to believe that He goes before me and at the same time, walks alongside of me.

I turn out the lights and grab my gloves, making my way outside to the car, thinking of the things I have to face in this day, thinking of Him, thanking Him.

The little one rests, now reassured in the warmth of the car. 

I rest, too, in the warmth of His love.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8.
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