Just An Ordinary Sonnet

This week at #wholemama our prompt was ordinary. This word can hold the beautiful and the dutiful, so I felt a structured poem would be the best way to frame it. It has been awhile since I wrote in the repetitive rhythm of iambic pentameter, but the challenge seemed the perfect way to delight in purposeful repetition.

9QEVP5YHO3

For the Whole Mama

 

A scribe in battle with embracing plain.

I string together words so I can breathe.

A hint of holy gently floods the bane

mundane. Reminding mama not to seethe.

 

The ordinary crashes in again.

The humdrum patterns play amongst the waves

of chronic, cyclic tasks that push my pen

to write about when life does misbehave.

 

The dreams can run, still strong. I find a muse

where little people roam. Create, renew

the simple seconds into bliss. I choose

to make them coexist. The be. The do.

 

A careful dance the mother/writer soul.

A symbiotic blend. The two. The whole.

whole-mama-e1436159525205

Advertisements

Five for Ten (Five Minute Friday)

It is Friday which means a five minute free write without pretense and without a careful editing eye. The prompt from #FMFparty this week is TEN.

“Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears”

~Fiddler on the Roof

IMG_6309

She is almost ten.

I am both elated and petrified. I saw it this year–the shift, the beginning of the tween years. The little girl who believed everything I said, began to question. She began to fight for her own way relentlessly. She showed responsibility and gained more freedom. She fought for control and sought comfort for new problems. There were bullies, catty girls, and innocent crushes. The realization that the world will lie and that life can be hard. She stands firm, thinks well, and offers help. She fights for, and with, her siblings. Her shoes are only one size smaller than mine. She looks through the laundry and wonders when she will need a bra. She asks about when she can go to Paris. She loves Jesus and has learned the beauty of repentance and forgiveness. She was my baby. She is getting so big.

She is almost ten.

Five-Minute-Friday-4

Staring into Space

This past weekend, I got away from my little city and drove through even smaller towns to reach the wilderness and find camp. I retreated into the forest shade to find quiet that soothed my mind from the intensity of creating summer fun for four young children. As I prayed and prepared to teach workshops to women, coming from all parts of the Pacific North West, I looked out upon the lake of Camp Tadmor which boasted a giant inflatable slide, kayaks, and paddle boards. My kids are too young for camp, but I dreamt about someday bringing them there.

I envisioned the fun they would have, and the ways they might encounter God in this sacred space that whispers shalom. Many of my friends experienced camp as teens. In the church, I’ve heard the term “camp high” tossed around as though it were an experience universally shared in high school. I remember the people I knew at that age, my circle of friends, people I loved. They were also in search of a high, just not any camp high.

IMG_6446

Soon my sessions were over and it was my last night at camp. My good friend and I decided a trek underneath the star-filled sky was a must. We set off into the misty dark and tried not to twist ankles or awaken the marshy edges of the sleeping lake. We settled for a while upon a deck floating gently on the wet tranquility. The night sky drew our gazes into its generous splendor, and we stared side by side into literal space. We enjoyed a clear view of the Milky Way’s trail, watched meteorites calling for wishes upon their failing majesty, and saw mythic constellations slowly make their nightly arc. With backs flat on floating boards and eyes drawn into the depths of  the unveiled universe, my friend and I reminisced about the years in high school, and told tales not previously shared with one-another.

My  stories from these times are best told in open spaces where the ears of children are distant.

It is not that I won’t tell my children these stories. They will surly view them as an origin story for the mother they know, but I can assure you that most of my teenage anecdotes will lend themselves to the genre of cautionary tale rather than inspirational autobiography.

But on this night, with this friend, she offered me space to not be a preacher, to not be the seasoned mother, to not be the redemption story, but to just be. As bats zoomed by and jetted slightly above the shiny still of the water, I felt the freedom to say “yeah, it was foolish and ultimately, the hurt was only bearable because I fell into the arms of God. But every once in awhile, it was so dumb that it makes a hilarious story.”

I told her about the sheer stupidity of some of my choices that could have easily cost me my life, the times God tried to get my attention and I withheld it, and I told her about friends who were terrible influences but I still deeply loved.  I told her of my favorite intoxicated philosopher who would discuss the deepness of dreams, the crack addict who came back from jail clean and Christ-focused, and my favorite drinking buddy with whom I had countless conversations about the God who now rules my life.

All of these people have long been out of my life, many of them even encouraged me to leave their circles. They saw violence sweeping into my life and knew I had to find a safer space. So I said goodbye, and honestly I don’t look back often; I don’t seek them out, but I do cherish the memories of friendship, however tainted, I had with them at that time. On this night my friend allowed me to leave behind the heavy tone in which I tell these stories from the stage, and tell them with laughter that sings “I still can’t believe this was my life.”

She also gifted me with the privilege of listening to her stories. She let me into her past spaces, and honestly, they are like those I hope for my children. Stories not populated with drug addicts and witnessing knife fights. Reports of innocent expectations and choices made out of wisdom. Highlights of what a life submitted to Christ early on could look like. As she dove into some of the funny and sweet chronicles of her life I listened with peace and hope. They simply made me feel happy.

Many of my close friends know the darkness of my story before Christ. They know how dangerous relationships ended, and that I would have been better off if that had never been a piece of my life. I know it too, but it is part of who I am. I can be grateful for the scary, the mourning, and the horrors that fill in a chapter of my story, because I truly have seen Jesus work it for good. It is He who gets the final say on the theme of my life.

I am living a story always being redeemed; all Christians are. It pains me when people preface how God met them with “Well, it’s not one of those dramatic stories.” Praise God that it isn’t! Any story about how someone finds the purest form of love in a dark and fallen world is powerful. The truth is that we are all a mess, and it is a miracle when Christ meets us in the midst of it. We should not shame a repentant person for the things they have turned from, but offer them room for their whole lives to step into the light. We must also not overlook the glory found in stories long-balanced on the narrow path. We must treasure narratives different than our own because without them we miss the beauty of diversity found in the story of God. May we be space-makers, place-setters, and room-prepares, just as Jesus is.

 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? ~Jesus (John 14:2)

Jesus makes space for all that come.

IMG_6447

///

This week at #wholemama our prompt was space. I have treasured this summer time space. Find more reflections from some fantastic women at the link up.

whole-mama-e1436159525205

A Prayer for My Girlies, Gutsy and Gentle

Years ago, I was at a ministry boot camp, and Darrin Patrick was the keynote speaker. He shared a prayer he often prayed with his son. I did not have a son at the time, but the power of it struck me. When the Lord did bless us with a son two years later I pulled it up, painted it on various things, and now I pray it with him nightly:

“God, make him a man with thick skin and a soft heart.  Make him a man who is tough and tender.  Make him tough so he can handle life.  Make him tender so he can love people. God, make him a man.”

I have long wanted to write something comparable for my girls. I finally did. They tell me this is the one they love:

“Jesus, I ask you to make my girls gutsy and gentle.
Gutsy, so they can be used to bring justice to a fallen world.
Gentle, so they can give mercy to the fallen.
Gutsy, because they know you have their back.
Gentle, because they know you have their heart.
Gutsy, to stand against what culture tells them they need to be, and
Gentle, so they can be at peace with who you say they are.
Lord, make these women gutsy and gentle so that they may be before all things Godly.”

K1PZ4FEMEQW6PG4Y8WAK

This week at #wholemama our prompt was prayer. While it has been difficult to find the time to sit down and write this week, these are prayers close to my heart, and I am happy to share them with you. Find more reflections from other fantastic women at the link up.

whole-mama-e1436159525205

Five Minutes of Hope (Five Minute Friday)

It’s time for a five minute Friday post. This week’s prompt is HOPE. Which happens to be one of my favorite words, themes, and/or principles of all time. Okay, ready go:

ships and ocean

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” –Proverbs 13:12

Sometimes we just can’t escape a feeling that God won’t get it right. That his plans will be too far away from our plans. We hope for things, they disappoint, and the heart feels sick. So we turn, turn to unanchored hopes in a scramble to make ourselves feel secure. We hope to find something that will help us float through the inevitable storms of life only to find ourselves taking on water, drowning, because we see that this too will fail.

You don’t have the strength to anchor your soul. You can’t and you won’t because the lies will seem too true, the pain will seem too deep, and the despair-the heartsickness—the hope differed will sting.

Here is the hope. The hope is that Jesus can be the anchor to our soul (Heb 6:19). We can listen to His tender voice that meets us in trouble . We can stay off the paths of resignation, self-pity, and fear. We can deny the door that tells us we must take control and we can let Him have it, because we have learned to hope for the eternal things where all desires are truly fulfilled.

Five-Minute-Friday-4

Ballade of Bleached Blemishes

This summer I have joined with some inspiring and fascinating ladies for #wholemama. Every week I look forward to Lindsey Smallwood’s poetic skills, so this week I thought I would join her by dusting off my rhyming repertoire. It has been awhile since I accessed the classic form part of my brain, so I opted for a ballade with a twist.

611E343F6D
Ballade of Bleached Blemishes

I cannot face it. I will not look. Let it be.
I will not take the bait or tease the hook. The stress,
it mounts thinly—layer by layer—I will flee.
No, I will fight. I fold the shirt. I hang the dress.
My swallowed room, my bed, I stand to repossess.
I make stack after stack out of the disarray.
Sorting away the mending and the stained. The mess,
it stalks like a predator coming for its prey.

It piles up, slowly builds; crags and peaks I see.
I push it aside, close the door to convalesce.
The ebb and flow of forsaken fabric debris
sucks me in and pulls me under. Nevertheless,
I take action.  This constant strain I must address.
It is proof we live, and have dear offspring at play.
The grime is washed away the fun can stay. The mess,
it stalks like a predator coming for its prey.

Chores will always be, but from dread I can be free.
The issue is not pants and matchless socks.  What? Yes
the real disorder reigns painfully within me.
Tinges of depravity venture to possess.
Striking at identity, tempting to transgress.
But Christ I see, paid the price that was mine to pay.
Meeting in the scandal of grace, He wiped the mess.
No longer stalked by a predator as weak prey.

Conquered cliffs of clothes won’t justify. I confess
fabric softened lies have provoked my peace to fray.
A redemptive act, this purgation of the mess.
When the predator comes round, I begin to pray.

IMG_5282

—–

Our writing inspiration at #wholemama this week was mess. If you need some encouragement for these days when the sun burns hot, come link up.

whole-mama-e1436159525205

He’s My Favorite (Five Minute Friday)

I decided to give the five minute Friday link up a try. Okay, timer is set for five minutes, and away we go. The prompt for this week is FAVORITE.

//

“Hoping I would find true love along the broken road, but I got lost a time or two” Rascal Flatts “Bless the Broken Road”

He wasn’t my first love, but he is the love of my life. When we were dating I often called him “my favorite”.  This comforted him with reassurance. He knew how much I had loved before, and with those simple words I promised again and again, “I choose you. You, sir are my favorite.” Today, I don’t tell him as often. He doesn’t need to hear it as much, because he knows it. We’ve had 12 years, four children, and have ridden the waves of the storms of life by pointing each other at Jesus. We are one now, he doesn’t need to hear it as often, but  every once and awhile I look at him in the midst of chaos bat my eyelashes and whisper, “You’re my favorite,” and in those words is an abundance of comfort, a shared sweetness, and the renewal of promise.

pd dance

“Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.”

-Rascal Flatts “Bless the Broken Road” (2004)

Five-Minute-Friday-4

There are rules to this thing: “This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” I find this makes me feel both free and vulnerable. If you are a grammar Nazi, I am sorry.