Monthly Archives: May 2011

introverted parenting…

my friend Sarah, from blessings like winged horses, and I are guest posting today over at introverted church. we are both introverts, mothers, writers, and we had a lot of fun writing together.

being an introvert can be challenging. being an introverted parent even more so.

what we found in working on our post, was how very deep the implications for introverts in parenting can run. and we are learning to approach parenting as a spiritual discipline, interacting with God throughout the day on a conscious level. listening and talking to Him.

the journey continues…

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Filed under abiding, being, daughter-gift, spiritual formation

introverted…

if you’ve wandered through my blog roll at all, you’ve seen the introverted church listed. I haven’t had a chance to read Introverts in the Church yet, but have been looking forward to it!

I’ve found a piece of my heart in most entries published. and I have the honor of guest posting this week (I’ll keep you posted on that!)

I am an introverted, contemplative, Scandinavian girl.

people can be a lot of work for me.

I would be a great hermit. but I would miss my little family. then again, they are cut from similar cloth, so maybe we’d be hermits together.

Jesus called us to love people. and to love Him. that includes the introverted contemplative stoic. but people can be a lot of work.

it’s another balance, this dance of personality, ministry, and life.

there is a bit of relief in the label “introvert” and some push-back as well.

it feels selfish. sometimes lazy.

but I know the truth of it as well. when I am with people too long, even those I love deeply, there begins a deep longing for alone. time to process life. to write. maybe even read a bit. to catch my breath.

when those moments are missing, I get itchy, grumpy even. some days I feel like a rubber band, stretched to far, ready to snap.

so I’ll tell you up front–if I disappear for a while, it is nothing personal. I just need a moment of quiet. some time to talk to God, time to listen to Him, time to hear nothing.

please do not get me wrong. I like people. love a good number of them. family, friends, and ministry are true joys to me. most people do not even know this introversion runs so deeply.

sometimes it gets in the way. stresses me out. makes me question God and why He made me like this. but then He reminds me that He makes no mistakes, that there are reasons for it all. in all the Martha moments, He is calling me to Mary moments. sitting quietly together. and that is no mistake.

the journey continues, this living an introverted life in an extroverted world. and what a rich journey it is!

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thank you…

to the veterans who fought so valiantly, who sought our freedom and that of others, who have gone before us, thank you.

we would not be who we are today without you.

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healing tears (i cried, part two)

healing tears

there was a place in life so painful I wanted to walk away and start over. well, maybe not all of my life. but a good portion of it. years of pain from many sources. years of shattered dreams, crumbling like glass, falling to the ground, carrying pieces of my heart. again.

to say it was the lowest point of my life is no understatement. and it was here, in the depth of that agony, I decided to walk away from Him. the cost was too great. the pain too deep. in those moments I could no longer trace His path and walked away.

because the circumstance of life in that moment were so painful in and of themselves, no one knew some of the tears I shed were farewell to my beloved King, my Redeemer, my Friend. the journey simply cost too much and I had nothing more to give Him. to give no one, really.

it lasted less than 24 hours. theologically and apologetically, I knew there was nowhere else to go. I knew I would not really leave Him. where would I go? to whom would I turn? even then, I knew my earlier farewell was a sham.

and then…

blessed be Your name came on through the car sound system. a familiar tune. words glossed over. and yet not. yes, it is easy to called Him “blessed” when things are going well and all is right in one’s world. but those last lines caught my wounded heart. the decision to leave Him still flitted around my heart. until

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

did you catch it? He gives and takes away. that is His right, as my Lord, my King, my Redeemer. Job knew and acknowledged this. he did not curse Him and walk away. I just wanted the walking away part.

but did I? or would MY heart choose to say that He was “blessed,” even when He took away? even when there was so much pain in my offering?

in that moment I knew the truth of that refrain. He IS blessed. on the good days and the bad. when things are rosy and when they are black. and that blessedness falls on us as His children.

in my pain, I was fickle, looking for a way out, someone to blame. He was handy. and big enough to shoulder it, never judging me for the fear, anger, or weariness that had taken hold in my heart.

He flung His arms wide, whispered, “daughter,” and hugged me. I chose, in my pain, to call Him “blessed.”

years later, it still brings tears to my eyes. even in church…

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I cried…

it probably does not sound like big news to anyone but me. it is.

I didn’t just cry. I cried in church.

this is significant because I can be pretty stoic. a bit hard to read sometimes. certain emotions come freely. others are locked away and rarely see the light of day. and when they do, it is somewhere safe, not in church, not in any public place.

I’ve become a bit contemplative in recent years, causing me to weigh my emotion even more carefully than before, frequently seeming to “check out” a bit as I talk with God about something.

to cry in church is a watershed event. that it was in response to a song made it even more so. perhaps you know the song. the words are familiar to many. lines glossed over, sung without realizing the depth of their meaning.

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

(Matt Redman)

ah, the agony my heart returns to when this song comes up. it is one of those songs I sing alone in the car, at the top of my voice or in the smallest whisper. regardless of my volume, the stereo is on higher than usual. this is, to me, a song of pain, a song of healing…

(continued tomorrow)

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beauty in the disappointment…

please pardon the delay. this post was lost in the shuffle of life a few weeks ago. although we’ve turned the calendar page on Easter, it still lives in our hearts, its message ever true and sure.

it is the middle of April. and we live in northern climate. snow is the last thing anyone wants to see at this point in the calendar year. yes, we all know it can and does happen. but it is no longer fun.

so when we awoke to snow on the ground the other day, we were all disappointed. even the youngest in our home knew snow was no longer welcome. she stood in the dining room, frantically waving her little arms, “go away snow! shoo! shoo!”

would that it were that easy to get rid of the snow.

would that it were that easy to get rid of life’s disappointments. would that it were easy to see the beauty in those times. the contrast of daffodils against the snow  is not always easy to see when life is dark.

given that it is Holy Week, thoughts easily turn to the disciples and what they went through as Christ died and was buried. I wonder what they were thinking. were they wrong to follow Him? how could He be killed, just like that? would the authorities soon be after them? their disappointments must have piled on top of each other!

and yet, the beauty came, more glorious than anything they could have imagined! HE CAME BACK! He did not stay dead. in their darkest of dark days, they could not have conceived the stark beauty awaiting them. their experience brings us hope and comfort, even when spring snows threaten.

we have the advantage in knowing the end of their story. it is written for all to know. our own stories, our own disappointments, are not yet concluded. their fruition is a great unknown.

it can be terribly difficult, but waiting for His beauty to shine is always worth the pain of dark times. these are often the places of deepest formation and growth. may you feel His grace and love when cold snows and dark nights threaten to steal your joy. may He gently gather you to Himself and give you rest. and may you have a glimpse of the daffodils in the snow, for all their bright color and cheer, to warm your heart on dark days.

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walking gently (mother’s day, part two)

do you remember this picture from Sunday School? I always wanted to be the little blondie in front, or even better, the girl Jesus is holding. she looks so happy. and He is so intent on her alone.

now this precious art brings me comfort. that tenderness in Jesus, that intent concentration, strengthens this mother’s heart.

when we lost our first child, somewhere along the way, a kind person reminded me that Jesus loved children and we could entrust Him with our child, that He would be there when we could not. until we reached heaven ourselves, He could be our babysitter of sorts.

when I miss those we did not know here on earth, this artwork, and others depicting Jesus delighting in children, bring comfort.

Mother’s Day reminds me again of the unspoken pain many bear, of earth’s lost children, now in His care. it reminds me again the variety of unspoken pain, regardless of origin and consequence, we all bear. each of us carries heart-wounds few know about. yet He knows and loves us.

and I am reminded, alongside the vast pain around me, that each person’s journey is their own. mine is not theirs. theirs is not mine. their life lessons are different. where He takes them has its own purpose and growing edge. just as mine has.

we journeyed through childlessness. would I prefer our home have multiple children and the chaos they bring? absolutely! but that is not our path. our lessons are our own. the presence we offers others, the ministry we can extend, is not what we might have chosen. but it has become a gift. when loss is fresh, when the doctors have no answer, when faith is thin, we can sit together. we can pray and cry and encourage. and it is in those moments I am thankful for the path we’ve walked, bumps, bruises, thorns, tears, and all. for here the ashes have turned to beauty.

I was asked once, by a man in that freshly painful place, if, after all the years, we had any children. I knew he wanted me to say  “yes” as an encouragement to his situation, that hope-against-hope, if enough prayers are said, if hearts are in the right place, God will wonderously hear and grant the heart’s desire for a child. I remember answering carefully, not to dash the hope he carried, but to remind him that no matter the answer to their prayers, God was still God and He was still worth following and loving and being in relationship with. no matter the answer, it would be worth it all.

we all carry heart-wounds. and Mother’s Day brings many of those to the surface. dashed dreams. broken promises. failed health. so many painful places. we are all the walking wounded. we all need grace. we all need mercy. we all need love. we all need to receive these gifts and to extend them. at the foot of the Cross we were given more than we could ever hope. let us learn to reciprocate and allow Jesus to use our hands and feet as His own, caring for others gently, with a childlike hope and faith.

let Him turn the ashes into a thing of beauty. let Him hold your face in His hands. Let Him send you, when the time is right, to hold another in their painful place, and remind them of His love.

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