Tiny Green Thread

I find myself on Sunday evenings with a few teenager girls in my living room talking. We discuss things like how to make time to be with the Lord every day, boys, honoring parents/authority & I am realizing that though the life I lived at 16 is light years different than the life that they live,  some of the battles they face are the exact same ones I fight day to day. Relevance, Spirituality, Humility, Gratefulness, Peace, Honor & Dreams. We wage the same wars. This last week we read together out of John 3 about the pain that John the Baptist fought to express to his disciples as Jesus came to John’s side of the river, taking His rightful place…..right out of the hands of His friend.

“He must increase, and I must decrease”. And anyone who’s experienced the reality of those words knows how painful & how confusing they are. When that is the only thing that you can say as a dream dies, as something you planned for goes terribly different, when all you can do is open your hands & let Him take what you so want to fight to keep. When looking up from the broken pieces of misunderstanding & having no clue what comes next….. you can choose to let His voice be your joy. 

The Friend of the Bridegroom rejoices when he hears His voice, knowing that his task is now complete. We can rejoice in His voice when we don’t know where He leads. We can rejoice in His voice when He steps in & takes all we’ve worked for. We can rejoice …….. or we can not. It’s basically that simple. We can choose to trust God when God looks the most untrustworthy, or we can not. As I spoke I watched sadness, sobriety & even fear play upon the faces of these girls who I love & I know their confusion & I know their fear. I know their hope that God would never allow their plans to go any other route than the one they are carefully dreaming. But I know my story. It’s a mess, a chaotic mess, but I believe that God still makes beauty from ashes. If there is anything I have to offer young people it is the lessons I’m slowly learning as I walk through this crazy, beautiful, ashy mess about how to put my trust in Jesus, how to believe He is good in the taking, in the breaking of dreams, in the “killing of churches” as Randy Bohlender put it (Seriously, do yourself a favor and read his book ‘Jesus killed my Church‘).

So I shared with them this story:

Last week was what looks to be, the last week of hot weather that Kansas City will be seeing in 2013. I’ve been trying to dress the girls in their cutest summer clothes knowing that the warmth was running out & that they won’t fit in these close when it’s warm again. Friday I put them in these outrageously girly white dresses, complete with layers of ruffled, sequined green detail with on giant green, sparkly flower on the shoulder. As I pulled the outfits from the closet I considered that I may spend the entire day trying to keep the sequins out of their mouths, but it’s the most impractical baby clothes that are too cute to resist.

Hours later after a day of fusses, fits, multiple time outs & a refused nap I tiredly paced the living room with Baby 2 in my aching arms. She hits a point of frustration that only quiets if you hold her & responds with LOUD outrage when put down, which at that point, I did. I too was tired, frustrated & cranky. Out of desperation I collapsed on the couch, setting her at my feet to which she responded with heartfelt wailing. 

I buried my face in my hands, prepping for some minutes of loud protesting which began & instantly stopped. I quickly looked up to make sure she wasn’t hurt. She sat peering intently at the layers of ruffle & sequin piled around her. For some time she sat still,  until slowly with one finger she reached down towards the bottom of her dress. Somewhere among the multiple layers of cloth, on one single hemline, almost completely hidden by a bajillion sparkles there was one tiny piece of thread poking off the dress.

By tiny I mean less than a quarter of an inch. It was the exact same color as the rest green on the dress. It was IMPOSSIBLE for the baby to have seen it, but she did. With wonder she lightly touched it over & over with the tip of one finger. I released my pent up emotions in a long sigh and said “Baby, you pay such attention to detail.”

And in my spirit I heard the Lord say “I pay attention to the details.”

It’s funny how quickly you can find yourself in tears. Ok maybe not you, and maybe it’s not even funny because everyone knows I’m a deeply emotional little creature, but it was just like that. From frustrated & hard to Instantly tender heart, instantly teary eyes, instant affirmation that I am SEEN & KNOWN & so cared for. For the next few days I heard it like a gentle echo inside ” I pay attention to the details”, as the moments of my day slipped by. Moments that I didn’t think mattered, choices that I didn’t think matter, responses that I didn’t think mattered just suddenly did. You’re much more aware when you know that you are seen. 

The problems aren’t solved, the questions aren’t necessarily answered but there is real comfort in trusting God enough to let go and give Him what matters when you know that He see’s. 

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Surrender

Mid Summer: Stretching

Late Summer: Painful

This Fall: Crazy

Katrina & I are helping with one of her past co-workers weddings this upcoming Saturday. Of all the weddings I have participated in or helped with, this one has proven to be the most challenging in the details. Unimaginable, absolutely ludicrous hurdles have presented themselves time & time again. As frustrating as that has been I feel that I have a decent grasp on things should we ever co-ordinate another KC wedding. For real, I could write angry blog posts about 4 different rental companies as well as a bakery and…..I’m going to leave it alone.

Adding to the crazy has been a month or two of growing trouble with the twins who I Nanny for. 1) I adore these little girls 2) This job & my employers are a constant, wonderful blessing in my life but 3) Teething x2 is just not for the faint of heart. Together, they alternately refuse to eat, refuse to sleep, or refuse to be comforted. Baby 1 does something naughty; I tell her ‘No’. Baby 2 responds by running to go do the exact same thing that Baby 1 was just chastised for. Baby 2 has taken up biting Baby 1 as a response to all frustration; when a toy is grabbed from her hand, when she is unintentionally knocked over, when I am holding Baby 1 & Baby 2 wants affection – biting. Just so much hair pulling & biting. When Baby 1 is having a hard day she tends to express it by following Baby 2 around the room, taking from her whatever toy or item she decides to play with, that is until she is bitten. And then there are just the days where both babies have diaper rash, teeth coming in & no matter what I do they are going to take turns crying or throwing tantrums every minute that they are not asleep.

Top it off with my recent decision to go to college & the flurry that has come with trying to get in late on the current semester. There are things I never wanted to learn about. Such as – how much college textbooks cost, how many THOUSANDS of scholarships there are to apply to, what the EFC actually means & just how many years of my life I’ll be require to work a night job to pay off tuition at the University I set my heart on. These are just a few of the items on the growing list of “Reasons I never wanted to get a degree”. At the same time, I’m beyond excited. It’s just been a bit of an overwhelming blur trying to figure out how to make this exciting thing actually happen.

Yesterday was the kind of whirlwind that sums up my current flavor of crazy. I woke feeling yucky; congestion, cough, sore throat, back ache, head ache, puffy eyes – you name it. I stumbled to the bathroom thankful for a full nights sleep, but was hurried out by a roommate who had to leave soon. Oh the beauty of communal living! We learn to serve by prioritizing needs & schedules. After a brief break I finished my morning routine & was quickly out the door to watch the twin boys who claim my Wednesdays. Walking in the door of the house I promptly spilled almost my entire cup of coffee. On the carpet. Coffee that I REALLY wanted to drink. Insert twin BOY drama, nap refusal complete with blood curdling screams which woke the other meaning one baby down one tired baby awake & no break for the nanny. Tired baby fusses, a nanny spilling, dropping & knocking over everything possible…all…day…long.

An hour before leaving I get a message that the friend whose child I’m watching in the evening needs me to come early, as in, as soon as I leave the twins. Getting off I drove home pushing the speed limit to grab food & jump straight back into the car. The night went smoothly, as smooth as it could with my continued dropping everything, leaving doors open & making generally every mistake I could. Insert text message – the parents event didn’t go as expected meaning they will return an hour later than planned.

Yes, this fits with the day.

I came home really, really tired. Walking in the door I tried to objectively go over the list of things I had hoped to do throughout the day that hadn’t been accomplished due to baby crazy while looking to no avail for my blasted goldfish food. HOW DO YOU LOSE GOLDFISH FOOD WHEN YOU USE IT EVERYDAY??????

And that is when I stopped, with a tired sigh I just sat down & stopped. My devo yesterday talked about the dangers of complaining & the freedom from burdens that comes when we take all of our thoughts to our Heavenly Father.

Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put my thoughts in your mind and My song in your heart. – Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

So I pulled out some mixing bowls & talked it all out of myself while baking a mess of crunchy chocolate goodness. By the time I pushed the pan into the oven the flow of cares & burdens had stopped, but rolling over gently in my mind sang a simply melodious line from a song called “Surrender” from my friend John Scott Young‘s debut album. It just says “I surrender all to You”.

Again. Again. Again. Again. We just have to hear what we already know, what we truly believe, how we want to live, we have to hear it again, we have to say it again. Over & over & over because follow through is SO HARD. Last night I did it, I laid all the burdens down, baking & praying instead of “doing” anything. Jesus loves us so much, even when we don’t do anything.