Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The late sleeper and the early riser.

It's 5:30am, and I'm just finishing my first cup of coffee. Maple stayed up late last night; so she won't be awake for a while.

Oh, nothing in our schedule changed.

Around 6:45pm we started putting on PJ's and washing hands and faces. Brushing teeth. Giving kisses. Quieting down.

By 7:15pm, both girls were in the bed. Lights out.

Around 7:30pm, I heard Maple singing and kicking the wall. Nothing new. She often sings herself to sleep (much to the chagrin of her older sister, with whom she shares a room).

Around 8:00pm, I heard a bump in the night. Since I was drowning in a sea of half-folded clothes, I yelled, "Get back in bed!" Silence.

A few more bumps. A few more threats. This is better than last night, I thought. Last night, I caught her sneaking out of her bedroom on all fours, flashlight in hand, crawling into the playroom.

Finally, around 10:00pm, I went to check on them before heading going to sleep myself. As part of our nightly routine, the girls and I tidy up their room. Books in place. Dirty clothes in the basket. Shoes in the closet.

Imagine my surprise when I open the door to this:

I left her there for a while. I knew daddy would come in soon and check on them, and I wanted to make sure he got the same chuckle I did. Ah, the joys of raising a toddler.

But now it's 5:33am. Not even the birds are stirring yet. It's 50 degrees outside, and there is a light breeze. I'm making hot chocolate and taking a few quilts outside to the lawn chairs.

I've been missing Chloe these days. I mean, we have been together, in location. But I'm feeling a bit disconnected from her. I want to know her little heart, and I want her little heart to know she is important to me.

So at 5:45, I'm going to sneak into her room and stroke her hair. I'm going to whisper for her to come down out of the top bunk. I'm going to help her slide her arms through her jacket sleeves and slide her little toes into a pair of pink socks.

And we're going to watch the sun rise.

Thank you, Jesus, for early mornings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Say THAT five times fast...

Lord, thank you for freedom. Thank you that I walk in victory. Thank you that, in you, I am the head and not the tail. I am above and not beneath. Thank you that, by your stripes I am healed and set free.

I am a daughter of the High King. A princess in the Heavenly royal court. My inheritance is eternity, freedom, power, victory.

I wear the Helmet of Salvation. My mind is protected from bondage, deceit, malice, judgment - anything less than the freedom that comes through salvation.

I wear the Breastplate of Righteousness. Christ is holy; therefore I am holy. Christ is righteous; therefore I am righteous. Accusations from my past, words and judgments and old reputations - they are powerless. They hit my breastplate - the righteousness I wear in Christ, my undeniable right-standing with God - and they dissipate, evaporate, like they never existed.

I wear the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace, leaving footprints of Jesus' blood - evidence of His love and mercy - everywhere I step. My footing is sure, my steps deliberate, and my path laid before me by the Holy Spirit. I do not fear a stumble or a fall, for whether I sit or stand, walk or crawl, run ahead or lag behind, I carry Christ's gospel - the power of grace, mercy, and forgiveness - with me.

I hold in front of me the Shield of Faith. I am not afraid to advance, to step onto the field of battle, to move forward into unknown territory. Because of faith, I am allowed to love without regret. Because of faith, I can hope without fear. Because of faith, I move forward in this knowledge - if God is for me, who can stand against me?

In my right hand, I hold the Sword of the Spirit - the Word of God. It is the double-edged sword that both pierces through my own masks and fears and assumptions, and also cuts off the heads of the giants and the serpents. The truth of this sword cuts to pieces the lies of my enemies. It changes my position from offense to defense. I am not a victim; I am a victor. I am no longer under attack; I am the attacker. I am no longer the prey; I am the hunter.

With this armor, I am victorious. As a daughter of the King, THIS is my inheritance. Through Christ, THIS is my right. I am free. I am free. I am free.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Do I live a life that requires God?

This question has been haunting me over the past few weeks.

So much of my life is manageable. Doable. Acheivable. Feed the kids. Wash the clothes. Put gas in the car. Be nice at work. Be nice at home. Make the beds. Answer the emails. Cook the meals. Play the games.

Sure, there are days when that list seems overwhelming. Still, it's just... life.

I am not attempting anything daring or impossible. Nothing out of my comfort zone or beyond my own strength.

Out of obedience to the Lord, I am getting up early (most mornings), cleaning out the junk (except in my car), eating healthier (at breakfast), and shutting my mouth (except when I'm not).

These things seem so simple. Manageable. Doable. Acheivable.

Until they're not.

Until I forget that I need Him.

Until I stop spending my early mornings with him.

Until I think for one moment that I'm strong enough to do these manageable, doable, acheivable tasks on my own.

And the things is - from the outside looking in - a day when I rely on Him doesn't look much different from a day when I do.

My car still gets messy. I still fall asleep on the couch too early. I still down half a pan of monkey bread all by myself. Emails go unanswered. Things get said that shouldn't.

Technically speaking, my days with Him aren't very different from my days without Him.

Except for two things. Two things that, for me, make all the difference in the world.

Two things: grace and hope.

Grace reassures me of His love, despite my failures. Grace picks me up and dusts me off and tells me that all fall short. All. Everybody. Including me. Especially me.

Grace reminds me that I'm not known for my shortcomings. I'm known by His gift. His life. His sacrifice. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Grace tells me who I am, regardless of what I do.

And hope...

Hope lifts my head. Hope directs my sight. Hope shows me what is possible in Him. Hope reminds me that today is only a moment - and tomorrow has great promises.

Hope means I won't always be overweight. My home won't always be a wreck. My words won't always get me into trouble. My life won't always be an unfinished list.

The harsh truth is that without grace and hope, I fail. The harsher truth is that with grace and hope, I fail.

But with God's grace, today's failures don't define me. And with God's hope, tomorrow's successes are possible.

So, yes, I need God today. Even if it's just to organize a closet. Even if it's just to get dinner on the table on time. Even if it's just to live life.

Especially if it's just to live life.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


It's Saturday morning, and I am awake at 5:45am. There was a time in my life that I would have thought such an early Saturday morning was downright ungodly.

But now... now I revel in the cool, dark, quiet house that eases me into the day. It's as if I have been transported to another dimension - one where adults are allowed to finish a cup of coffee, or a chapter in a book, or (oh Heaven!) a blog. In this world, house work is easy and quick. Time with the Lord and in the Word is uninterrupted. The soul is soothed by the sound of the clocks ticking, the fan whirring, and the deep breathing of little ones in their beds.

I love that when Maple (always the early riser) stumbles out of her room and shields her eyes from the lamp light, I am there to greet her with a smile and a cuddle. I love that I have had time to gather my wits and determine that today - this morning - will not be rushed or stressful.

Bags are often packed before little feet hit the carpet. Breakfast is enjoyed together at the table. Getting dressed becomes a game and an excuse to snuggle. Fixing hair (no longer a race to remove tangles) is a discussion about hair styles and which bow matches.

I feel like I can breathe. Like I can love. And it's all because of 5:45 on a Saturday morning.

Not every morning is like this. I still have morning when fight to get out of bed before 7:15am. I still have mornings where I hit the snooze button more often than I should. And I still have mornings that are full of "hurry up" and "why aren't you dressed yet?"

But those rushed and fitful mornings only make me more grateful for right now. For sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee. For blogging. For listening to the birds and the clocks and the deep breathing. For peace.

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood