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To Give

I’ve read that there is a book out there called, “Introverts In The Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture.” written by a man named Adam McHugh.  I think I should read it.  And I say, no, type that already thinking of a quiet time and place to be while reading.  Books are my friends.  Well, so are people.  A few.  Those who are extroverts, including the carpenter/businessman I have spent the last 14 years vowed too.  Without him I would probably be nothing more than a random face zigzagging through town now and then.Image

Sometimes, when we’re told we are made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27) I wonder if that really encompasses both the introvert and the extrovert. Can God be both?  I listen to the stories over and over throughout childhood, and now read them to my own, and find myself wanting to dissect how much Jesus of Nazareth gave out loud? Really.

I want to give more.  I truly do.  But I will, eventually, find myself completely exhausted of people. There are days when my tongue revolts and I have nothing more to say.  Can we introverts fulfill the Messiah’s request to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)?  Is it really all the world or is there a place, here, that I can quietly preach? 

I believe, yes.  Because I have been given two that must be raised up daily.  Two that cannot understand the Omnipresence that fills this world.  Two that, right now, just want to snuggle, run, create, explore, with ME! I am the face of the only Shepherd they know.  I say so with great reservation, because I am fallen, and there is no abstergent strong enough to cleanse me of all I have blotted.  Yet, these young selves look at the husband and I and begin to form a picture of who God is.

I understand that the circle must expand.  If I want these two to follow with a heart of servitude, our circle must expand.  I also understand that they are not me. They are their own pure creation of His image.  They have gifts and talents not yet discovered and it is my job to help find them.  Even if that means I will, at times, have to glutch down a sigh and move myself into position of extrovert. 

That is where I pray.  Where I write things to be thankful for, because in that space where my shoulders pull in and I wish to duck under the responsibility of pure giving I know I must ask for assistance in changing out the order of who I am too serve who they are.

Maybe Christ really was a little of both.  Maybe He walked with those closest to Him teaching them in their own small circle, but when the moment presented itself, He expanded that circle to show them how to purely serve. 

Lessons I must teach self.

It will be continually, this pure search, to learn to purely give.

~kathy

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My Sin

We’re listening to SELAH sing “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” and I am blending butter into flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.  The words are memorized but they are revealing something all new and my hands still.  From counter to sink, wash.  Then towel to drawer, I grab one small heart shaped sticky note and write with purpose,  “My sin, not in part, but in whole.  It is nailed to the cross so I bare it no more.”

Shaking, I stick it at eye level right to the window.

Throat feels thick and my eyes are stung.

How I have held on, too often, to my painful mistakes.  Still believing I may not be enough for my King to except me.

My arms fold across my chest and try to swaddle what and who I am ashamed of.  I read it again.  First tear falls.  I let go long enough to swipe at moisture, what feels like a crack in the dough of my skin.

Little boy is spinning and bouncy with a big blue ball across the kitchen floor and hears the same song but doesn’t know life.  Not yet.  Although he does know punishment.  I have doled it out myself.  Between bounces his eyes flash over at my stature, then at my face for my voice no longer carries notes.  He slows but never stops.  No, not he.  Never stops ’til sleep holds him.

He asks what I just wrote.  I say the words out loud. Slow.  And try to explain simply.  My voice quiet, low, focused on not letting it break, but the words are still THERE!  Right in front of me and all around me and I start to realize what I thought I had asked for forgiveness, I never let go of.  Not fully.

What did I think?  That Jesus, the Son of my Creator, went through fear, shame, and severed self to only handle what I was willing to give Him?  My pride had gone before me all along.  My sins.  They cannot be separated like eggs from their yolks.  I either must let them go or allow them to hover in this house, in this life.  The words spoke plain.  “Not in PART, but in WHOLE”.  “It is nailed to the cross so I, (me, this person, this sinner, this ugly self-loathing pride) bare it NO MORE”.  

He is four, but his question arises as if from one wiser than I, “But Mom, what if you have one mistake, just one mistake today.  Would He take that one and just throw it up….there?”.

He needs to speak in a literal form, to talk in concrete actions.  What lies before this very day at this very moment.  His belief beginning to form in what I will teach him RIGHT NOW.  My love flows, and I am swept to lower self and we talk.  Right there on the kitchen floor where outdoor sand has trailed in.  My cold butter warms like the blood in my veins, and I’m not thinking of that but rather of all I have hated myself for and what truths can I teach myself and let him hear?  He needs this.  And my need is there too with history to fill in shameful stories and why have I clung to these?  How heavy they have been.

Minutes pass and his attention shifts and he’s off to another motion filled activity and I stand, feeling more whole than I have felt in a long time.  I wash my hands and begin kitchen work again.  Staring at those words.  I will brand them into this soul.  I will take one step closer to the pure grace of the One who hung for ALL my falling and failing.  And I pray, for little boy and his heart, and I give thanks.  Purely unworthy.  Thanks.

In pure search,

~kathy

Listen

To Listen

First monday of summer vacation and she’s down the stairs at 6 and I find her wrapped up in the big chair playing her pet game on my phone.  She’s my sleep in girl, but with her first summer freedom she’s up and I can’t help but wonder why.  I smile and trace my fingers down her arm and across her back.

Little boy comes down an hour later all bare-chested from the nights heat and even though he’s gotten so big somehow my 5’2″ frame can still cocoon him and I bury my face in his neck and we breath still.

The Creator sends the sun up orange and it unabashedly throws its color across my wall with a bold good morning and I know it’s going to be another hot day.  The garden calls as it does every day with its pushy, relentless threat to let weeds become its master and I sigh a little and try to hurry through mornings tasks to get out there before the heat throws its own challenges my way.

I pause to give thanks.  I pause to ask for strength, patience, clear thought for what I am about to do.

Today I begin a new line of stitching on the fabric that forms this family.  A new rhythm to how we move about a day in this life.  This being wholly, intentionally together.  Taking these small images of God and purposefully guiding their steps to the character of who they are and who they are fashioned after.

This Holy voice that has been speaking, ever so quietly, to my inner most parts and moving, guiding me down a less trodden path.  A path where we’re reading, reciting, drawing, learning, cooking, and cleaning up what we’ve done then spilling outdoors to dig in the soil of us, listening to the sounds of what He’s created.

I pause, and I listen for that pure voice and know that if I let it go silent this thread will unravel…

And so I listen.

In pure search,

~kathy

Sabbath

Sabbath Rush

This new schedule of early mornings has come to be a blessing to me on so many levels, and yet I feel like I am still rushing…

Then Sabbath comes.

Sabbath is our special Holy day in our home.  Always has been.  Although being the Mama, I still wake with the sun to feed the animals and make our special Sabbath Scones (and yes, they’ve received their own title).  Showering and dressing myself and both children must fall in there somewhere along with making sure the food for today’s potluck is ready and we are out the door in time to worship with our faith family.

I want to rush, rush, rush.

But spoilage always happens when I rush.

My bare heels walk too heavy on naked floors and I’m knocking into children who have come all sleepy to say good morning.  And it is, but I’m known to groan into its holiness.  My heart rate picks up speed as I watch the clock and can’t it just pause a moment?  Maybe if I got up even earlier?  Husband, who has put in long hours this week just wants a moment to have morning conversation with these who are growing so fast and I want to furrow brows his direction for taking these minutes away from my rushing….

I have forgotten, within moments of my rising, that today is Sabbath.  A day to be still and know that He is God!  I have ruined it too many times and what will they remember when they awake on their own Sabbath morning down the road?  Will they remember just a Mama with flailing hands and sharp words.  Hurry, hurry, hurry.

I slow, look around, and take a deep breath.  His mercy arises from the chaos and my chest untangles from the knot it’s wound.  This is no Sabbath if there is no rest for the weary.

Today is Sabbath.  I will breath in and come to a place of “strength every morning” (Isaiah 33:2).  I will disrobe of this histrionic self and instead look for His pure grace to bathe this home this Sabbath morning.

In pure search,

~kathy

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Solomon’s Hedge

Solomon is praying. With hands stretched out and all of Israel his witness, Solomon is praying.  His prayer is orderly.  At first.  Then his thanks begins.

Am I still speaking words in order?  Where is my thanks?

Solomon who stands.  No.  Solomon, who is God’s chosen king of God’s chosen people, “Kneels down on his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven.”(2 Chronicles 6:13)

His prayer is a request. A verification of what they have done and who he is and what they may become. Solomon wants to be “kept”.

The Hebrew word for “keep” is Shamar, which means “to hedge about (as with thorns), to guard, protect, attend to.

Solomons’ prayer is a man on knees with fist clenched around a rope holding on to a promise given to his father from a God who orders the world.  I imagine his voice quiet strength.  He knows where the failure lies and where it can and probably will come again.  A man gazed upon by the children of the Most High.  And aren’t we all there?

My children who tiptoe down the stairs each morning searching for a familiar face.  They have heard the promise that I will see them in the morning, but who do they find?  Sure, I am there.  My form awaits.  But who do they really find?  Am I being “kept”?  Have I been on my knees and have I asked to be included in this hedge?  Are they even aware that there is a hedge?  Or have I stormed and picked and kicked aside the kneeling bench, too busy, too proud.

In that fresh new temple God comes.  But not in this glowing fluffy light of white, instead He fills the house with a cloud.  “Anan”, the Hebrew tells us.  A cloud that is stormy.  Nimbus, thunder-cloud. “So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14).

Even with the potential of storm, Solomon prays.  He knows where there is glory. He knows the darkness withholds the Light.

If today brings darkness, may we seek the pure Light.  May we kneel before the storm and ask to be kept.

In pure search,

~kathy

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Searching….

Dear Reader,
 
Today is my first post.  Although my brain has been spinning for longer than I can gather, Today I begin words spelled out.
 
This is my personal search.  My “to go” place when looking through my history so I can place some order of thought to where I am going.  Too much gets missed.  Too much gets forgotten and when we come to a place of deep spiritual decisions, where we look up at Gods face when we hear Him plainly say,
 
“This is what the Lord says:  “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your soul.”  Jeremiah 6:16
 
here I look.  Here I listen.  Here I look thoroughly.  I search for pure, which is MY NAME.  I have too often concealed the Lord’s face when He wants to speak.  When my womanly emotions cloud and my selfish desires smear the moments of His gifts.
 
You may walk with me, but imperfection, I’m afraid to say, will at times grab my sleeve and distract my eyes.  You will not always agree or understand.  At those times, pray for me.  Will you?  And may God’s grace fill us both….again.
 
In pure search,
 
~kathy