My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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Deciding to move forward with this new blog site, to write again after a lengthy hiatus, came with certain trepidations, several rounds of negotiations between myself and myself, and no shortage of close-your-eyes-and-jump faith. The season of anonymity I found myself in had grown quite comfortable and safe- dare I say drama-free. And to be frank I wasn’t sold on leaving the respite of the calm harbor. Still, waters and words within were stirring, eventually propelling my reluctant little boat back into oceans deep.

Creativity and art on any scale is risky for the soul; add in the public element and easily I can be pulled into rough mental waters. Waters that can haunt and reek havoc on a simple pilgrim and her simple words. While my heart is to encourage, write the true and real, the knowledge of my failure to always do so well, is very present. I want to speak out of obedience not self-service; to reflect and point to my Creator, to seek after His approval only. And yet time and time again I find myself contemplating the opinions of men, which inevitably reveals all the places I have failed them. From inside the waves of doubt and fear, my pen goes quiet. But the stirring- the words- they only grow louder. Quickly, a pressure cooker of poetry, conversation and prose begins to build within, with no place to go. As the noise about my mind and heart escalates to a deafening level, I take up broom and laundry basket in place of writer’s tools. Immersing all energy and time into measurable tasks, desperate to check the box of a job done well. It is in the dwelling upon all the ways I am not enough, where instinctually the seeking out of the tangible opportunity to establish worth kicks in. Hello there organized closets and sparkling toilets.

My eyes- breaking gaze with lighthouse beacon- glance down at the turbulent waves splashing all around; I begin to sink. I know it, God knows it. I’ve betrayed Him again, squandered the call, the voice, taken the pen He himself handed me and buried it in the dirt for fear of what it may or may not produce.

For days now I have stood, and sat, and stood again before my blank computer screen. The white space staring back at me, starting to scream, write sentences of its own in ALL CAPS and exclamations!!! And with the blank page bully breathing down my neck, head and heart full with ideas, thoughts, questions…paralyzing fear…I retreat again to the to-do list. Check off another box in frustration. This morning, amidst more spring cleaning and the constant chorus of need coming from the three darlings now home on summer break, my thoughts wandered to one of my favorite exchanges between Jesus and Peter. Even in the turning of my mind, eyes snap back on Him, forgetting the waves for a moment.

Do you love me more than these?

Tend my lambs.

Do you love me?

Shepherd my sheep.

Do you love me?

Tend my sheep.*

There in the middle of my laundry room, the weight of Jesus’s words penetrating afresh, I find my sea legs. Slowly, words march out across the white flickering canvas.

Experience and a dose of self-awareness remind, rough waters still abound, most likely even rising in fury before they calm. And though the harbor of the anonymous may pull at my sails when I allow fear to wash up over the sides of my mind, I am resolved to stay the course. No doubt, it is a messy course full of scattered thoughts, and uncomfortable vulnerability, but its the one set before me. There are lambs to tend, sheep to shepherd, words to share and wonder to chase after.

In all sincerity, I thank you friends for coming alongside as you do, ask your forgiveness when I let you down, and hope with everything we continue to navigate these adventurous waters together.

photo credit: my wave riding hubs, http://instagram.com/revolvingmind

photo credit: my wave riding hubs, http://instagram.com/revolvingmind

 

 

*excerpts from the gospel of John, chapter 21

  • Faith Ecklund - Absolutely beautiful! ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina Winter Shun - Yes! Such freedom in diving in! Very encouraging friend!
    ReplyCancel

We stood in the kitchen, open refrigerator door separating us. Quickly stirring my coffee, I gathered words along with my purse and car keys – the push to get out morning’s door bearing down.

“This…it’s what always scared me about motherhood. This stage.”

Voice cracking, I pause. He closes the door between us- removing my stainless steel shield- I turn away before completing the thought. His few words offering reassurance as we move pass one another, schedules taking us down different roads.

The drive is peaceful, earlier attitudes and hardness melting with the light rain sprinkling our windows. Another wave goodbye, and one more pair of feet walks away from mine…even but for a few hours. The simple act of steps leading her further from reach- when something in me knows she needs to be pulled close, held tight- stabs quickly as I slowly drive on.

In the calm of our commute, I had missed several text messages. Pulling the car over, I begin to read the thread amidst tiny protests from the backseat over our ceasing of motion; my stomach sinks. Another mama navigating heart-breaking terrain this morning. The experiential ache from knowing that place she finds herself in, from knowing all too well where her hurting child is, unites us. I keep reading, empathy and encouragement fill the words written back to her from the others. “I love my friends,” I think as I reply. Putting car back in drive, I begin to pray for these mamas I have grown to love. Before I could barely say His name, tears were hot on my cheeks. In a moment seeing how my affection and appreciation of the women I was taking before our Father, is but one of those raindrops on my windshield compared to His feelings for them.

With late evening, body and soul collapse onto the bed. Exhale. My mind retraces day’s events and with each recollection of the seemingly ordinary, another gorgeous brush stroke paints across soul’s canvas. Schlepping myself to the gym became less about planks and more about the women flanking my mat. The expectant mama, the grieving mama, the mama fighting against life’s swelling waves- the eye contact and hugs shared with each now flashing through memory. Strokes of painter’s brush.  And so it went – a sweet friend’s email asking for prayer; coming across a greeting card that made me shake with laughter and dropping it in the mail to a mama who would laugh with me. With moon shining down, Artist’s portrait revealing a masterpiece of the sisterhood He has painted across my day, across my life…all for a girl who always wanted a sister. My mind goes back to the bite and tears of the morning, the scowling tween, my fearful maternal heart, the shields we placed between us. Day’s end arriving without major resolution, and yet infused with a little more hope. Enough Hope.

Inspired by the strength and beauty of each interaction placed in my path, I fall asleep aching less for an answer and praising more for the empathy, the experience, the sisterhood.

 

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“It smells like candy out here, Mommy.” The country air dripping in honeysuckle breezes, I breath in deep; she is right. Like candy.

No time to savor or investigate the source, clock is ticking, motor running, day already spinning. Candy-air and chasing rabbits will have to wait. again. I am weary of the sweets of life deferred, insides screaming for the spinning to slow. Oh, we have been here before, haven’t we? This ebb and flow of simple to busy, busy to frantic, frantic to burn-out, and back again. Will the lesson ever be fully learned? Recalling Ann’s words– the ones God used to awaken me three years ago- I can’t help but wonder. Will life ever be fully carried in our unhurried hands for longer than just a season? Hurry always empties the soul…and I wonder how it is I can even wonder after the emptiness filling me up. It is plain in front of me: the counters scattered with schoolwork and mail, the car littered with the debris of tardiness, the excess of my words, “Go, Now, Hurry, No.” And it is no wonder.

Our life, our choices, our family…on paper, goodness, it looks good. And it is good…ish.

Perfection’s lie set aside, I can’t shake the knowledge within: we don’t have to live with the ish. Good is there to be had. And the Good of one season, may be the ish of another. Flexibility, pliability, the bending of will and fear – all tools required for extracting the ish out of our Good. In steps of seeking, of faith, we make new choices; start writing new chapters of our life. Will the new be better? Will souls stop leaking life through holes poked in hurry? I honestly don’t know. But we pray and we seek and we chase…we ask…What is it we need to rewrite our good-ish to good? For our family, slowness is key. In the slowness, we hear one another, we see God around us, notice He made the air smell like candy, just for us. But slowness, it requires of me. Almost more organization and for sure more surrender; yes it asks big of my prone to wander…But in the slowness, words land softer, smiles linger longer, and Joy amidst the reality of bickering siblings and clogged toilets, is deep and it is real. Slow is the crusher of ish.

There are plot lines from our life’s new chapter that push me, even scare a little. Still, I can already feel the emptiness begin to empty out, knowing we aren’t settling for another season of the getting by, of the okay. This chasing down of the sun, the seeking after the Good, it is with my people- we are in it together. And goodness…It sure smells like candy.   campfire_April-26_webcampfire_April-4_webcampfire_April-32_webaprilcampfirediptych

Walking through the cluttered house this morning- laundry basket on hip, bare feet dancing the gauntlet of stray toys- my eyes caught a flash of shiny. Off to the side of the room lay my shoes, where I had stepped out of them following the morning school run. On either side I could see, my three-year-old had gone and gotten her shoes from the closet and placed them next to mine. She does this from time to time and it always makes me smile – the gathering, lining up straight, the precision. Today though, there was something more… What was it I saw, stopping me mid-lego-minefield? The shining. Yes- light from the window dancing off our footwear in waiting. Both Lulu and I ended up with new shoes this week – her feet having grown a size and mine having simply worn holes through old favorites. Our shoes were purchased on different days, at different stores, but this morning catching them sitting there together I had to laugh – we both picked out shoes that sparkle. Here, a child with whom at times can appear I share very few similarities, chose sparkly shoes from Target and then two days later, her mama walked through a department store and did the same thing.  Just footwear, but just enough. God’s encouragement spoken through soles and sequins. Our third babe, the one by nature who doesn’t have my eyes or wide feet, is still very much an extension of who I am, of who our family is. She is grafted in, just as we all have the opportunity to be (Romans 11:17). Grafting: a delicate, painful, stretching process of attaching one to another. A process. A stretching. An attachment. Yeah. From a couple pairs of shoes. Our girl, while she may keep heart at arm’s length in one moment, in another her tiny Ethiopian toes run to the closet, dig out shoes like mama’s; she sets them near and watches them sparkle.

sparkles run in the family