Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Four Children

They truly are some of the most interesting characters on planet earth.  Three the fruit of my womb and one the fruit of my heart...all my own children.  And they intrigue me.  

A couple of days ago, they all came down to breakfast dressed in their World War 2 era clothing (most created by the biggest sister).  "We're the Pevensie children."  So Narnia it was.  They spoke in British accents and played their parts as Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy...all children in one world and yet brave warriors for Aslan in the other.

They played outside until it was too hot and then came inside for a game of hide and seek "just like they did in the book."  The rushing of footsteps up and down stairs intermingled with the British accent counting as the others hid.  And I was struck with how very delightfully intriguing these children are.  Dancing between the world of make-believe and reality, weaving the two together seamlessly.  "Because we really are warriors for Aslan."  Yes...they are right...I've prayed their whole lives that they'd be warriors for God and His Kingdom work.  And they pretend it, weaving and weaving it into the fiber of their beings.

Even warriors have to stop to play Twister.  "It's not in the book, but it's a fun game."

And they include little sister in the fun.  She spouts out her pretend name with pride: "Lucy!"  And she reaches for the circles, not yet knowing left and right but thrilled to know her colors.  And the bigger Pevensies cheer her on.  Because love doesn't see color, and love doesn't count chromosomes.  Love invites and includes and cheers on.  This simplicity is refreshing.  And they play on...

These children are simply interesting...all of them.  They are intriguing to talk with and be with.  They have depth and personality and perspective that has been shaped by excellent literature and missionary biographies and grandparents who take the time....and a God who knows what He's doing when He creates an individual so uniquely.  They have a Mama who fails more often than she cares to ever admit, and I stand humbly in awe of how these creatures are truly works of art...ones I could never, ever have created.  They are HIS work.

There are days when my patience runs thin and days when grace is held back in tightened fists.  There are times when I forget to smile or cheer or soothe or embrace...days when I fail miserably at doing the role only God can do (will I ever get the fact that I'm not meant to do His job?)...days when I forget to breathe and enjoy the fleeting moments.  These are the days I haven't entered into His rest, ceasing from my own work in the flesh...days when I haven't taken Him at His word to make all things work together for our good.

And then there are days when I do get it...when I do stop and take in the moments, wanting them to last and last.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The way up is down and out

It was last summer when this little guy drifted into our garage.  Snug between the ceiling of the garage and the open garage door, this tiny wisp of a bird perched.  We have always kept a hummingbird feeder on the front porch and have spent hours and hours over the years just watching these creatures, but never had one come into our garage for an up-close visit. And so a family of 6 gathered around to watch.  

The calm soon turned to panic as he began to buzz his wings, trying desperately to find a way out of the garage.  He slammed over and over into the ceiling, unsure of how to get back outside. We moved into rescue mode and tried to use a broom to shoo him off the garage door.  It was a simple plan…push him towards us, off of the garage door, where he would then see the large open door and fly away.  We learned that birds simply don't see human logic.  The whole team was cheering for our feathered friend…come on, little guy, just come this way, and you'll find the open door you're looking for.  No luck.  We shifted strategies and tried to lure him down with his hummingbird feeder.  We unhooked it from the porch and set it on top of our van.  Another simple plan…the smell of the juice would lure him down off the garage door, where he'd find his food…and (logically, of course!) while he was eating, he'd notice the open garage door, and voila…he'd fly to freedom!  Another failure on our part.  This bird was beyond being lured.  He was panicking and slamming into the roof, trying so very hard to free himself from the cramped, unfamiliar quarters.

Soon, it was dinner time, and we were out of ideas.  We thought perhaps he'd figure it all out without a crowd of onlookers, so we headed inside.  Hours later, having almost forgotten about the little guy, I walked back into the garage and found him sound asleep on the very edge of the open garage door…literally just inches from the edge…the point where he could have stepped off and realized the open door. He was in a deep sleep, with head pressed into his chest, exhausted from the umpteen times he had plowed into the ceiling in his stress to escape.  It was apparent that if he were to ever get out of the garage, he would need us at a catalyst.  My husband climbed up a step stool and ever so quietly reached his hand up and grabbed the tiny sleeping bird and threw him to safety.  The buzz of wings drifted into the night air, the sound of freedom.

Am I not that very bird?  Desperate to follow a calling that beats deep inside...and yet slamming myself into a ceiling over and over again.  How do we get out of the rat race, the safe, the accepted (expected!) norm?  How do we get out of this safe box with its ceiling so close that it mocks us?  I know the door is here somewhere, and yet it eludes me.  I remember the hummingbird.  The instinct is to go up, but the true way up is to go down and out.  Whoever lose his life will find it.  Freedom means going against instinct, against the convenience the flesh craves.  
Freedom means going where it's not safe...the great big wide outdoors, far from the confined quarters of our own possibilities...way outside the boundaries of our own control and instinct.   It means losing sight of the ceiling and the walls, anything with grasping tendrils that only hold us from our purpose.