Monthly Archives: September 2011

small graces…

lollypops

it was supposed to be a quick errand run, positioned on the edge of lunch and nap-time. our little daughter-gift is pretty laid back, even when the boundaries are pushed. so off we went. post office. bank. grocery store.

the lady at the bank did not offer a lollipop. the lady at the other bank always does, so this was confusing to my back seat passenger. she was easily placated with the promise of a lollipop or piece of gum at home, a cookie at the grocery store, or a cookie later in the evening when I baked. only one. the lolly won out. gum has been such a favorite lately, that I was certain it would be the sweet of choice.

it had to be a record for one of our shortest runs to the grocery store. less than twenty minutes. we emptied the cart contents onto the conveyor. and then it happened. the checker-lady asked her if she wanted a lolly (after a covert question to mom) and which color she would like. she chose green.

happiness knew no bounds for my girlie! all the way to the car, she told me over and over how the nice lady gave her a treat. it was such a yummy treat. and I was a kind mommy for letting her eat it before lunch.

there she sat, in the grocery cart, jabbering away, as I opened the car, dropped my purse and keys on the seat, hit the button to unlock the other doors, and closed the driver’s door. I always open her door before closing mine. always. for some reason, not today.

her door was locked. my door was locked. I’d hit the lock side of the button instead of unlock. my keys, phone, and wallet were locked in the car. we were stuck outside with our groceries, in the driving wind and drizzle. and my husband was out of town for a meeting until after lunch.

and that little green lolly? it became a grace gift, distracting her off and on for the next hour as we waited for the man to come and “break our door” so we could get in and go home. her little mouth was busy and happy, ignorant of the fact lunch should have been consumed. the sugar shot kept her going when she was tired. not enough to make her difficult, but just enough to keep her awake and interacting with me.

there are people who say God does not care about the small details of our lives. I disagree. the kindness of many at the grocery were important. the candy made a frustrating situation so much easier. and the best part? as we wheeled back into the store to find help, the little face in front of me looked up and said, “Mommy, we need help. we really need help, don’t we?” yes, sweetie, we need help. sometimes it is hard to admit we need help. today there were no other options. easily spoken words.

and before we could even ask Him for it, there was provision. more than we could accept. a ride home from the delivery driver. a booster seat loan. a hot lunch in the deli. kind and generous. a mirror of His grace.

it ended up being a short wait for the tow truck man. less than a minute to open the car. and we were on our way. from start to finish, less than an hour. but minutes filled with grace and care. before we could even ask.

God cares about the details.

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to everything there is a season…

the weather grows cooler.

children begin a new school year.

leaves change.

crops are harvested.

it has been a year since we moved to this rural city in the northern tier of states. a year of drinking in each season, with all its glory and challenge.

winter, cold and harsh, lasted long into spring. deep snows made shoveling the driveway nearly impossible as the banks rose higher than a shovelful could be thrown. the joy of snow angels and igloo-building, of sledding and snowmen made the short days full of wonder for the littlest in our home. pristine white snow. hoar frost on the trees. peaceful, unparalleled beauty balances the icy grip of winter.

spring came slowly, in fits and starts. late frost, even snow, nearly to May. a short season, and so important for the farmers around us. wet fields. planting delayed. crisp breezes, yet warmer than the winter blast. the lengthening daylight brings hope and coaxes the tree buds into full leaf. although I have witnessed spring many times and anticipate it after the darkness of winter, the seemingly overnight explosion of color and foliage always surprises and delights me. the earth is reborn. and with it, hope and fresh dreams.

summer is a season of delight, relished on a deeper level when winter is remembered. the first fruits are celebrated. strawberries. tomatoes. the first farmer’s market days. lakes thaw and offer new temptations and thrills. swimming. fishing. canoeing. dogs and children alike jump into our many sky-blue waters with abandon, a chaos all its own, wet and noisy.

much like spring, autumn suddenly appears on the air. the crisp temperatures return, this time bringing cold. the harvest is ripe, ready for the vast machinery that will help bring it in. and while the earth prepares for a season of rest and closing the calendar, it is also a season of beginning as schools reopen. for our little family, it reminds us of an anniversary, of packing and moving, of leaving one chapter behind and opening another. endings and beginnings. fitting for the season!

after living in a relatively static and temperate climate for nearly a decade, changes of season have become an observance of God’s wildly creative artistry. all senses seem engaged in new ways, drinking in the variety of smell and sight, reveling in the vast texture and symphony of creation. maybe the absence of large-city distraction has heightened this awareness. regardless, I am grateful for it. and I am grateful to Him for dreaming big, for creating with abandon and order, for taking care of the details within creation. His glory shines with each turn of the weather. and a new celebration of His provision, love, mercy, and grace commence.

what is your favorite season? how does God speak to you especially in it?

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doxology…

our church, like many across America, blends tradition and modern styles in various ways. perhaps one of the most notable is in the choice of Sunday’s worship music.

we sang the Doxology in church the other day. and it was beautiful!

there was a defined rise in volume throughout the room.

we do not have an organ, although it would have added to the emotive volume.

as much as I love the theology and praise of the Doxology, I believe it was the familiar tune and well-known words that brought such response. much the same happens when a hymn begins. something changes in the room.

it was not always this way. there was a day, not that long ago, these hymns were the only music we sang. and they felt a bit dusty, a little worn.

contemporary music changed that. and it seemed the hymn went away overnight, replaced by the worship chorus.

it has been an interesting journey to watch over the years, and now, as the pendulum swings again, there is hopefully some middle ground being discovered and explored.

having grown up with debates about music in church happening around me, I now find my thoughts and concerns are more about what the message of the songs than the melody. is the song about God? or me? does it proclaim truth? or offer a repetitive stanza about what “I” want from a relationship with Him? is there true worship in the song, an awe of God, or are we, as His creation, the centerpiece of the tune? is it edifying or full of hype? is the theology solid and biblical?

music can be powerful. or empty. it can encourage, convict, bless, confront, distract. it can be in the background or foreground of worship and life. bring us into worship or pull away from it. the hymns I once thought dusty are instead gems of life-lessons, of Christian formation, and often, of truths about God, His character, and love, mercy, and grace toward us. what once felt worn is, in fact, familiar and comforting.

how does music affect your worship? do you have favorite, go-to songs that draw you to the Father? do some songs simply distract you? or do you prefer silence and leave the music for a different time and place?

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