Monday, December 14, 2015


When I was young I loved to climb trees. Autumn was my favorite season for a climbing adventure. I remember clearly the smell of the air from my perch  - a bit dusty and a lot smoky and filled with memories of autumns before. I most often found myself in old walnut trees surrounded by yellow and brown leaves, just being held in perfect peace in those husky, worn branches.

Step into present day and I am now watching my kids explore the wooded wonder around them. The twigs they find lying beneath a majestic timber are magically transformed into swords and wands and arrows with just a touch of their eager hands. Given the chance, they rake fallen leaves into strategic plump piles only to disrupt the order by jumping and jumping and jumping again. They climb any bough they can find that is low enough to accept them into its arms. And then they rest. Just being held. As I watch my kids I often wish I could escape and be lost in care free play with them. Instead I am wandering through the rewarding and challenging task of mothering, teaching and nurturing my small adventures.

When our school year started this fall I was incredibly excited and full of idealistic goals. And then life happened. The workload of five kids age 9 and under was realized. Our dream of a house on acreage became a reality  - but it came packaged as an energy consuming fixer upper. Matt's typically family friendly work schedule began to look like the 80 hours a week he labored in residency. Claire spent time in the emergency room with a still mysterious allergy. Matt faced a health scare that shocked us. And then one little thing after another stopped working. The car. The oven. The washing machine. Trivial under normal circumstances, these mishaps carried the weight of the straw that broke the camels back and overwhelmed me. Through it all, when I would sit and lean into God I heard one word. Surrender. Over and over and over again. Surrender, surrender, surrender. And so now I find myself in the midst of learning what surrender looks like.

I'm learning that surrender is not holding on to how I think something should look.
 But instead being held by the One who knows all.
It is letting go of any illusion I have of control.
And instead trusting that God is the perfect author of my story.
This path of surrender starts when I choose to give him my day - from sunup to sundown. I sit in the morning and make a list of "my" plans for the day. And then I pray over the list. I pray for the incredible patience and peace it takes to let go of my plan if I must in order to welcome His plan.

Daily - often times hourly - I have to give Him the fears that exist as I navigate parenthood and this home educating journey. I must choose to trust that the unexpected tugging I felt to homeschool when Henry was just a baby was placed in my heart by God.

Surrender and humility complement each other perfectly. In this season I am learning to accept help. Meals come and I receive them with a thankful heart. I meet the generous offer to wash, dry and fold my laundry with gratitude. A team of servants descend upon our new land and spend three days clearing rotting fences and pruning trees and removing debris. And Matt and I accept with all we have to give - gratitude and humility.

I'm discovering that deep trenches of a life of striving don't partner well with sweet surrender. So I sit. Even when life spins. I sit. I open my bible. I close my eyes. I write. I pour out my heart. Here and in a journal and in my prayers. I let the kids watch TV nightly so I can rest. And often just watch them. The clutter piles high on the counters. The car is full of crumbs and coats. Shoes pour out of closets. Paper and schoolwork and bills abound. And yet, in the midst of it all, peace reigns.

The other day I was basking in this peace and I physically felt as if I was perched in an old, worn tree. And I was overcome. Because in that moment the feeling of peace I was experiencing felt exactly like those tree top moments of my childhood. And I knew the One who sees all, the One who is writing my story, the one carrying me along this path of surrender is the One who has been carrying me all along. In his strong, loving, everlasting arms. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Just A Moment

Momma, if you are standing on tired feet please take just a minute to cuddle up on the couch for this. If kids are pulling on your legs, perhaps wait to listen until they're tucked away for the night, breathing sweetly. But when you have time - a precious commodity I know - please take a few of those sacred moments to hear this message.
 It's simple. And powerful.
And it's all you need this advent season and each day beyond.

Just close your eyes and listen here.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

And Then We Wait

In a world that will rival for their hearts and attention, it is my hope that my children will be able to recognize the still, small voice of God. This is not a gift that comes naturally to me. I am wired such that my drive to do is stronger than the need God planted in me to just be. Be still. Be calm. Be attentive to things unseen. And yet experience has taught me that those moments of being still are the moments that order all the other events of my day.
So in at attempt to train my children in the gentle art of being still we have adopted a morning practice ...
After a time of reading together, we all sit on the couch and close our eyes. Individually we ask God if He has anything to say to us. And then we wait. It's hard. But it's getting easier. I tell the kids that an image or thought might come to their mind, and if it does they can say, "God, if this is from you please show me what it means." And then we wait some more.
Often times they don't have anything to share. Sometimes it silliness. And that's okay. They are learning to be still. In a world of distractions and busyness and screens competing for their attention, they are learning to set aside time to seek God. They are learning to fix their eyes on things unseen.
The other morning when we were practicing the art of stillness I saw an image of a large oak tree, a small house and squirrels. Lots of little squirrels scurrying busily and happily around and over and through yellow grass. The image instantly reminded me of the house on a little piece of this earth we are remodeling. And as I sat with the image I was gently reminded that "unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." (Psalm 127:1)
On the same morning Adam saw a "beautiful, warm, golden sunset." He said he felt God telling him "we have a wonderful adventure on the horizon."
Henry saw a window with sunlight streaming in and "beautiful glitters of dust in the air." He said mostly he just felt peaceful. But it also reminded him of the window in the school room in our new house and it made him feel "that school is just going to get better and better and better for us."
And Claire saw a big puffy heart. And "felt love."
As parents we have an endless to do list. Things to do around the house. Things to do at work. Things to do for and with the kids. Things to do for ourselves. And our marriages. Things to do for school and church and neighbors and extended family. Lessons to teach. Practices to attend. Bills to pay. Commitments to keep. All of these things are pressing and immediate. But in the midst of the urgent, let us pray for wisdom not to forget the eternal. And let us respond to the tugging God has placed on all our hearts to be still and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18