Transplanted

It’s not the land of my birth, but it is the land of my growth, of my becoming… my forming.

Indiana.

Sunrise

I am formed by rich red kitchen walls tinged with splatters of bacon grease and pancake batter on Saturday mornings. Clinking silverware and stacking clean plates from the dishwasher remind me that early morning chores call as faithfully as the sunrise. And I am transformed by meals at the kitchen table shaping this family into one that loves good food and conversations that always end up about movies.

And I am formed by the Indiana clay under my fingernails as I plant and weed and tend red lillythe roses and lavender in my garden beds. The hostas in the shade and lilies in the sun have taught me about blooming and pruning… necessary ingredients for growth. The redbuds we planted out back with their spindly branches and magenta blooms never fail to enchant. Every spring, they tell me that new life lurks just beneath the surface, merely waiting for a warm sun-kiss.

I am formed by three boys whose ever-bouncing, climbing, running feet found mud puddles to splash and balls to kick. They saw forests and imagined new worlds. They saw boxes full of Legos and built spaceships. They saw me and knew I could be trusted. What a gift. And every once in awhile, I convinced them to slow down and notice the caterpillar creeping along a leaf… which fostered in me a bit more childlike wonder.

I am formed by sure-changing seasons, sometimes subtle, sometimes brash. By soft grass and smiling daisies and sticky humid days passed poolside. By falling leaves, apple daisies and lavendarpicking, and bonfire crackles in the crisp night air. By chilled still bare tree-patterns against stormy skies and the hush of fresh-fallen snow. And by robins digging, creeks trickling, and buds bursting while rain pitter-patters on the window. They’ve taught me to watch, listen, and expect beauty at every turn.

I am formed by family time on the olive green couches. Guitar strumming, scripture reading, hearts singing, quiet praying time — inconsistent, but forming just the same. We’ve sought to listen to each other and to God. Together. Sometimes questions go unanswered, but we ask them anyway. Our belief in the One who knows all is strengthened in the asking.

I am formed by hospital beds and emergency rooms, by disease and unknowing. Struggles not just with tight budgets and traffic jams, but with temptations and tempers and immune systems. I have grabbed hold of Hoosier grit. It tells me that keeping on is better than giving up. And that friends who stand with you in the darkness love to celebrate with you in the light.

And I am formed by my partner in life. Marriage has taught me about giving and receiving Hand Holdingand how to be true. My dear one has loved me well and patiently listened while I railed against the hand of the One who loves us best. He stands beside me, stands up for me, stands to protect me, and stands with me in the place we’ve made home. His strength has softened me, and his softness shows me that loud and quick are not necessarily the only way to get something done.

Oh Indiana, I’ve still yet to mention homeschool co-ops and history clubs and milk runs to Rockville. Dunes camping, summer projects, tour buses, farmer’s markets, and state fairs are all part of life that has become mine. How you’ve changed me. How you’ve taught me. How you’ve welcomed this California transplant and encouraged her to grow.

Thank you.

fall trailside

Bringing him to Jesus

On Sundays I try to slow down, reflect a bit on on the week, plan for the next.  This morning, while the apartment is quiet and the ticking clock on the wall accompanies my thoughts, I thought I’d share a bit more of our journey with Benjamin’s health.

We’ve come a long way from this spot last year… a point to celebrate, really.  But, the questions are still there, and we are still waiting…

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November 12, 2011

“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus, and after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven… I tell you, get up, take up your mat, and go home!”  Mark 2:3-11

I’m always amazed when I read this passage at Jesus’ response to the faith of the men on behalf of their injured friend.  I wonder if the men were disappointed at first that Jesus only said, “Your sins are forgiven.”

They were expecting healing.

I wonder if the man was healed at that point, only didn’t know it.  How did his legs grow strong enough for him to stand?  Was there a physical change?

Did the paralytic also have faith?

So, then I wonder, is this sickness Benjamin is experiencing a matter of faith?  Do we not have enough?  Have we not prayed enough?  Isn’t healing still available?

I know God isn’t a magic genie.  I know He doesn’t hold out answering our prayers for when we have jumped through enough hoops.  His ways are his own.  Mysterious.  Good.

I know that.

Benjamin’s condition just makes me sad right now… so sad.  There is a death, a mourning over the loss of good health.  The future seems cloudy and unsure.  But, I do believe that God’s ways are best.

Just because His ways aren’t mine doesn’t mean they aren’t good.

photo: www.weekendwordsmith.blogspot.com

Maybe we’re still digging through the rooftop to bring him to Jesus.  Maybe there is still work God is doing elsewhere in us that is keeping the healing at bay.  I want the same kind of faith those friends had…

… A faith that’s not content to let the crowds get between my son and Jesus.  He needs a touch from the only One who truly brings healing.

 

Father, do in me what needs to be done so we can hear you say, “My son, get up, take up your mat, and go home!”

What God Saw

Photo:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

David’s circuitous  route to becoming king fascinates me.  I’ve often wondered how he held onto the vision he had received when Samuel anointed him quietly in the family tent.  God saw something in David that he didn’t even see in himself.  Actually, I think David’s ability to worship the Lord “with all his might” enabled him to hold onto his faith, even in the face of incredible odds.  In the end, it makes me wonder, what does God see in me that I haven’t yet experienced?

Enjoy this third story for children on the life of David.

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based on 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 15

Trumpets pealed throughout the city announcing the king’s arrival.  Children raced through Jerusalem’s open air markets, calling, “The king has returned!  The king has returned!”  Eagerly, people gathered in their doorways to catch a glimpse of their king and the priests as they maneuvered through the narrow streets.

Disinterested, Michal heard them through her balcony window as she lounged among silk cushions.  “So King David has brought back the sacred Ark of the Covenant,” she mumbled to herself.  “I can’t figure out why he’s so interested in that old chest.  In fact, I can’t figure a lot of things about David these days.”

Michal’s confusion about David was understandable.  A lot had happened since she had married him 10 years ago.  She was shyly impressed when he had killed 200 Philistines to earn her hand in marriage.  Her father, King Saul, had set a high price, and the courageous, young David had boldly met every demand.  And when her father had become insanely jealous of David, she had selflessly put her own neck on the line to help him escape.  But the years on the run had changed David.  His youthful fire was gone, and he was more cautious now.  Once her father and brother, Jonathon, had been killed in battle, the elders in Israel placed David on the throne.  Becoming the wife of the king pleased Michal, she always knew that she belonged in royal robes.  But David’s fascination with this fancy chest annoyed her, and she couldn’t wait for this meaningless celebration to be over.

For David, the celebration was anything but meaningless.  It symbolized his gratitude to the Lord God for keeping His promise.  It seemed so long ago that Samuel had secretly anointed him.  None of them could have predicted the twists and turns the road to become king would take.  But God’s hand had never faltered.  God had established him as King of Israel, and David had to let everyone know of the marvelous works God had done.

So once David had made a home for himself and his family in the capital city, Jerusalem, he had looked for a way to honor God and bless the people.  He had built a special tent to house the Ark of God’s Covenant, an elegant and holy chest decorated with golden angels that stood for God’s presence among His people.  With great care David called together the priests and holy men of Israel to plan a splendid parade honoring God.

Early in the morning, all the best musicians in Israel assembled with drums, cymbals, trumpets and harps eager to make joyful music for the Lord.  David and the priests left to retrieve the Ark from its storage place in Obed-Edom.  As they returned to Jerusalem, David offered a sacrifice of an ox and a young calf.  The golden Ark glistened in the sunlight as the hold men carefully carried the sacred object.  The worshippers streamed into the city, shouting and cheering, playing every kind of musical instrument.  Beautiful melodies filled the air celebrating the God of Israel.

Overcome with his love for the Lord, David removed his velvet robe and humbly put on the rough linen prayer vest of a priest. Then David danced.  He stomped his feet and waved his arms and used his whole body to express his joy before the Lord.  His voice soared above the din as he sang, “I will praise You, Lord God; You have shown Your faithfulness to Israel!  Oh how wonderful are Your works!”  He didn’t care how silly he looked or how undignified his dance.  His heart felt as if it would explode with thankfulness for all God had done.  He had to show it.

The priests climbed the hill on which the great tent was pitched and carefully placed the Ark within it.  Then David honored God with peace offerings, and he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.  Graciously he gave everyone gathered a loaf of bread, barbecued meat and sweet raisin cakes.  David’s joy was contagious.  He taught them a praise song calling them to tell all people everywhere the fabulous things God had done.   All the people joined him with a resounding, “So be it!  Amen!”

When the celebration had come to an end, the people left for their homes, and David turned to his home to bless his family.  A cold and condemning Michal greeted him.  “My, how the King of Israel showed off today,” she sneered.  “I would think you knew better than to take off your royal robe and dance like a fool before common servant girls.”

Grieved by her words, but confident in his actions, David responded, “I danced before the Lord God today, who chose me as king over all Israel instead of your father.  I will gladly play the fool and humble myself as I worship the Lord; and my people will honor me for it.”

All his days, David sought God with a whole heart.  Without ever looking back, in a lowly shepherd boy, God found a king to shepherd His people, Israel.  And with a view to the future, God sent another Good Shepherd for His people — even, you and me.