Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hope in Seasons of Life

This season has been cold. My heart cold. The gray of the sky, darkened cool light reflects the mood as of late. Many I speak with struggle with this time of the year. My heart aches with theirs. Sharing their grief, their pain. The heaviness of life seems to paralyze at times........but there is hope. Hope has a's Jesus.

.....and He came. Yes, as a precious baby to a cold world, full of winter. Cold hearts. Full of pain. Not only did He come, he engaged those in pain, felt it Himself, and brought Hope. Hope. To the dying. To the lame. To the blind. To the weak. I am all those things. I feel all those things. I give those things. Now, that He has come.....I have Hope. I am now walking with Hope. I feel Hope. I can give Hope. I have Hope! Oh, my little heart bursts with the fullness of this very thought! Lord, You are too good to us!

You care for this unknown sparrow and give food......soul food. To nurish in those long days of winter when my heart remembers how cold it was and acts like it hasn't been changed. I am more can that be? More grace. I have Hope.

Celebrating the Oplatek.....a Polish Christmas Tradition.....breaking the Christmas bread, speaking blessing, swallowing it's deep meaning......Your blessing, Your baby body, broken for bring Hope.....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When the storms come.....

The unexpected storms of life are raging, furiously. Angry, lashing winds of condemnation screaming. Flesh is a powerful force. It's sneaky and when wrapped in the encouragement of itself, dangerous. How quickly our life can change because our fingers are used as a tool to create chaos.....

The wind howls. The boat rocks. I'm in this boat, not because I caused the storm, but because I journey closely with one who crafted the temptest.

My expectation of this holiday season becomes tainted because of the messiness of life. How little I really understand! Why desire the perfection? Planning carefully, for months.....looking forward to new things. The old things...the age old flesh comes in and ruins hours labored for awaiting His coming.

Or does it?

The boat seems to be tipping and I can imagine how the slicing, cold waters will engulf, draw me down to the depths. I gasp. Choke. I'm drowning. And it happened so very quickly. "Lord, save us!"

I'm caught up in the storm.....not resting quietly. I'm so tired. Hurt. Angry. "Where are You?!!!"

I will never leave you, nor forsake you.....

Comfort, briefly. I feel the lashing rain on my face....or is it just the hot tears of loss of control......."WHERE are You?!!!"

I am here. I will never leave you, nor forsake you.....

Listening for the still, calm voice while waves crash and the cries of my loved ones increase seems impossible.

I am here.

Immanuel? Is that You?

Comfort. Peace. Deep love.

Save me!

More peace.

Wind still furious. I am drenched with the ugliness of this flesh storm. I sigh. Choosing peace.

Night will be long for this storm to run it's course......being dragged through it. But He's in the boat. Not stopping the winds, waves.....they are still obeying Him. We must ride out this faith increasing storm. Did I just pray, "Lord, increase our faith?" Yes......and He is. He is using the dirt of this life and breaking up hard, dry soil.....preparing the field.

Shaking with flood of emotion, hurt, my own flesh reactions, will I choose this course? His way? This One who is working, not aparently sleeping in the boat? Will I rest in Him and allow Him to bring us safely to the other side? Will I choose Him as my peace?

God with the barn, the the healing of the leper, my flesh the everyday, working with hands, carving out a the storm, calming me while storm increases......and He increases my faith, deepening relationship.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Choosing Thanks

Snow covered travels to Maine in mid-October.....looking back on a dream trip and remembering His loveliness in that part of the world. I find my mind drifting pack to the places we saw, quickly seasons change and yet feel like eternity when walking through them.....

Looking forward to putting this puzzle together soon......childhood happy memories.....the puzzle encourages me to remember the good, the happy.

This beckons me to curl up in the favorite blanket that must feel like being nestled in His lap.

~for tea time and boys who remember it daily

~ladies who will gather at my home today for what I hope will be rest and comfort....a pause in this season and refocus

~for the children who will attend with them and their little voices of joy that will create laughter

~for the bloodline of Christ that wasn't made up of perfect people, but ones who chose faith and walked by it

~for choosing thanks in today in the difficult situations of life that seem to grasp, choke, squelch

holy experience

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekends are for......

Soaring above the cares of the past week......searching for new perspective. Freedom to just ride the wind of change and breezes of blessing.....

Looking down paths to explore and remembering treasures discovered.....

Playing. The fun that spills out when rest is entered into. A good book. A game. A mug of warmth and comfort.........

May your weekend be one of refreshment, reflecting, entering in to rest and play~ Julie

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It wasn't our tree

Anticipating the tree decorating. It's almost December. We have a date for our family night to hang ornaments, deck the halls. And then this happened......

Sunday night ended at a couple's house who invited kids over to help them decorate the tree. This grandma and grandpa opened their home and let others decorate the largest decoration of the season. She said that it "helped her out," but I know she could've done this. Yet, she opened her life, her tradition up for other kids to share. The children giggled, carefully placed ornaments, delighted in little treasures crafted last year proudly placing them on chosen branch. They were so excited. I was blessed.

My boys don't have grandparents near and the generational lifestyle we so desire is difficult to live, especially at the holidays. This couple has watched our boys grow and at a distance grew to love them as their own. I didn't ask them to do this. They just did. I am blessed.

Wondering if this event was as meaningful to them as it was to me, conversation instantly began as we took winding road home. "It felt like what going to grandma's should feel like." "I love decorating such a huge tree!" "I'm so glad we got to do this again this year." "That was really fun."

The evening wasn't anything particularly deep. No story. No analysis of the season. No defining what should occur at Christmas. There was freedom. Freedom to create. To laugh. Explore. Appreciate. Be wow-ed. =) And the deep came. The conversation between children from 2 to 17 years flowed. The story poured out. The holiday memories. These children know each other. They've been through years of just life, together. This was one of the happy moments smoothing over the troubling waters and rough edges. Smoothing. Coming together. Returning to fellowship. Isn't that part of Christmas, too? The most important part? The returning to fellowship and the tree that made the way........

Yes. wasn't our tree.......

I am blessed. The season of Thanksgiving never ends.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's a boy.......

Seventeen years ago today, I cradled a 9+ pound bundle of joy in the Outback of Australia. Looking into that smooth face of loveliness, I was afraid. How could I care for such a gift and this child? This child that I've carried closer to me than anything for 9 entire months. This babe was with me through many transitions..... a young girl desperately wanting to become a lady, a young bride of 2 years still stumbling through a change of roles and a new country, and now, a mama. This tiny one with pudgy fingers and toes, eyes wide in this new world. I know that look. I grin. This sweet one that I now will be with, face to face, and care for awaiting his cries and soothing the hurts, sniffing that delicious head, kissing that yummy face. I am with him and he is with me.

I've learned so very much about who He is in this life through mothering. He is with me. In every transition, He leads me and teaches me those things I need to learn, to grow. I cry helplessly. I am hungry. I have soiled myself and need cleansing. I gash head on corner of the bed post and need a doctor. Stitches to help heal. {I wonder if He looked on, as I did, nauseus that my one year old had to be burrito wrapped and needle through flesh....that precious flesh of mine?} Oh the mind of Him, too great to understand, but glimpses....yes, glimpses of understanding....

I delight as first steps are stumbled out on Aussie soil and board a plane on 1st birthday back to The States. He learns so well, so little boy. What joy he brings! I watch infant change to toddler. Toddler to little boy. Little boy to playful boy, creative. Boy to more of a man. More of a man, yet flickers of boy. Manliness marks this baby.

The years pass ever so quickly, but feel like eternity while in them, and I am not so young. How beautiful the life filled with the ugly-beautiful! The rawness of flesh that I am. The forgiving young adult extends grace for my faults and arms quickly wrap themselves around me. The large hands that grasp the china cup gently during daily tea time. My boy who loves to sit and visit with this mama, who remembers oh so clearly what his life is filled with today.....plans of future, knowing what God has for him, and walking closer with Him daily. What a joy to a mama's heart!

I think back on Mary often during this month. {You see, I have another son who has a birthday in a few days.... joy doubled! Two December baby boys!}

Luke 2:19 (English Standard Version)
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

A heart, purposed long ago to treasure these days, ponders the years of walking, stumbling, running....sometimes away.....but returning, a His child......

How sweet birthdays sweet to walk with Him through this life, never alone. Gift. Pure gift. One I can open daily.

holy experience