Grace, Hope, Uncategorized

Mingling Amongst The Personal

It was a birthday party. People mingled and when the birthday girl smiled you could see the sunshine that was the party theme shining in her eyes. Her surprise was genuine and she glowed with sheer delight and I hugged her tight. But the crowd called her attentions away and I moved on. And people mingled.  
 Familiar faces shuffled in and out of seats and floor space and I was catching stories, journeys, and then I saw them. Saw Mrs. J and her daughter and her toddling granddaughter and they came bringing their own well wishes, but after a few strings of sentences she stumbled over his name and I watched the widow in her pool. I watched her shoulders slump lower like the holy cross lay directly on her. And I watched her sway a little and heard her sorrow and wondered what it felt like to be alone after almost 40 years of marriage. And people mingled.

 And before her was the Mama who squeezed next to me on a couch spilling with chatter, and I leaned in close as she forced the swallow muscles to hold back tears.  She tried filling me in on her first born who was not yet 5 but who doctors were concluding that his brain was too large for his skull and yeah, they may have to shave his hair off and cut part of his skull away and she’s just trying to hold him and all of this panic together and I could feel the room spin. Spin among these people mingling.

  And the five AM phone call from the childhood friend who homeschools her 4 kids under the age of 10. The one who talks fears out of my insecurities and shortfalls and adores her husband a thousand times more than the day she married him. The one who tried to resuscitate her brother after he’d shot a hole straight through his beautiful mind, who merged all her days and nights together because the trauma brought nightmares, she’s the one with the cancer diagnosis now, and I can’t stop my voice from cracking over all three timezones.  

 I’m hearing them. Watching them. Watching these crowds of people mingling like life has only one layer, it’s a casual well wishing of circumstantial surroundings. And I’m watching them pick away at the pain like fuzz balls on a sweater. Hoping less fuzz less pain. ‘Cause sometimes we feel safer, better maybe, not sharing. We worry and watch eyes glaze over and we’ve been taught the modern mantra that says, ‘Grow up and toughen up.’

 Mrs. J’s daughter knew about that. So when her own Mama begged my pardon for tears over a lost husband, she took her eyes off an escaping toddler for a split second to bust out, “Life Sucks!” And something in me boiled over and I blurted way out of my comfort zone that that’s not true.

 I began to tell her that, yes, it’s hard and it hurts and it’s painful, but it’s also beautiful and exciting and amazing and who would we be without all the ups and downs of this life? We are meant to be constantly, continually created. It doesn’t just happen in Genesis or in the womb, but the creation of a breathing soul is forever a puzzle pieced together with delicate precision. We were not meant to be just pink or just blue but this beautiful intricately created being that God holds and shapes and molds. And it’s my opinion that those who have felt and lived all of these parts and stories are the truly dazzling that walk this earth. And the small mingling group stilled before I could shut my mouth.

 Friend, are there really any of you out there that haven’t been written into a drama of some genre? There’s pain. Life hurts. And we can rail against our story line, but what if it didn’t have all these parts? What if you never knew how to cry even when it’s a cry to God? What if you never had to fall to your knees in complete hopelessness? Would you truly, intimately, know your Redeemer and how He loves the brokenhearted? And then I would ask, if you never felt despair, could you have the ability to authentically sit with and pray with those who are hurting? Please know, these are questions and thoughts I have had to wrestle out for myself. Death, grief, depression, loss of control, financial inadequacies, mental battles with self-esteem, these are a small list of my “hard”. And, no, they don’t just go away, but there are the magnificent parts of this life too and all combined, they make me. They make you.

 Paul writes about his thorn in the flesh, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8,9.  

 Begging. We’ve all been there. In silence, with no one mingling about. But friend, wear your weakness. Place a hand gently, but firmly over the thorn that feels like it’s sliced itself right into your heart, because that’s also where you’ll feel the power of a cross hung Savior. 

Life is hard, but it. is. beautiful.  And maybe it’s not about insurmountable odds, but instead evenely laying our lives out before a good God.  Ask this Mama whose born 3 babies all hooked up to life-saving machines. Even she has found gracious favor.

In pure, sweet grace,

~kathy b

Grace, Judah's Journey, Uncategorized

When I’m Struck By His Toddler Testimony

He’s one and cutting molars. He’s also pulling clean laundry straight out of the dryer and bread pans out of the cupboard and clothes pins are cascading and spinning across the floor. But when those voices sing out of that one little blue speaker, he’s still enough to sleep. I look at him for the seven hundredth time this morning, cause that’s what Mama’s with toddlers do, and I see it again. Him, bobbing his head up and down like he was mechanically engineered to do it. Cause when that voice sings of sleeping in heavenly peace, the boy nods in the knowing.


This is a boy whose first sleep was the womb of this woman, but at only 23 weeks and 2 days gestation, her womb would give up and his sleep was abruptly moved to an isolate where he would spend the next four months. So when he nods like that? When he moves his head to music that raises notice to the baby Jesus? I feel the burn in my throat at my own knowing.

I know I am the woman of Shunem. The one whose faith and emotions ran the dusty road to fall at her Saviors feet and beg Him to come. Immediately, if not sooner. Come and breath breathe into this baby. The surprise baby that soon became the prayed over baby.




  And follow-ups have been many and long and he’s got more miles under him than the ranger running our seventy-four acres. He’s been taking his tiny testimony with its depth of mercy and waving good-bye to one. after. another. All these medical professionals teary-eyed at his teetering happy dance and I notice the subtlety in his left-handed index finger pointing straight up at each of them. And could it be? His unspoken pointer proving heavenly lights can shine even in tiny boys?

Grace, Uncategorized

New Year’s Prayer

Dear Lord,


I wonder what you’ll have in store for me this year? What journey of faith I will stumble blindly through? The last 2 years have been hard. I admit, I’m stepping into this year a bit fearful. You’ve given me so much, yet the more you give, *gulp*, the more I have to lose. My heart beats harder at the mere thought of possibilities.


The melancholy side of me feels the subzero temperature on the edges of the house and it matches the edges of my soul.  The blanket pulls up to my chest and I’d like to pull it up over my head and sit in the darkness.  The moon bores a hole straight through the glass window and I realize it’s lit the landscape even before the dawn and I wonder if I’m as transparent as that.

Lord, you know I’m not afraid of a little transparency, but can we discuss ahead of time the parts you want to project before the audience of people?  Can I choose the grit size that you’ll use to polish down the pagan, coarse, stained sides of my badly made choices?  The ones that hold doubt like a liquid IV bag?  The ones where I white knuckle my way through on a solo walk and then wonder why I feel like you and I might not be friends anymore?


Lord? Can I start over?

Instead of burying myself in bedding, can I finally, this year, learn to bury deep into your grace?  Can I finally sing songs that sound a little like the praise of angels?  Can I stop the madness of control and instead come quietly, slowly, before your throne and set the remote of my life into your pierced hands?

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.  For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”  Psalm 5:11,12 ESV.

Lord?  If I am to be transparent, might my transparency be that of rejoicing! Let me remember that you have a purpose for me and the blessings you have given me are there because you sing for joy over me and love me beyond all those night-time stars.  And keep reminding my dementia that the cold is to refresh and revive my slumbering soul and snap me awake to see all the beauty that exists.  Let the words my mouth speaks be a constant merry mizzle of truth.  Truth that your grace is the most fulfilling way to live.

Lord?  That fear mentioned earlier?  I do not take lightly the children, the husband, the friends and family all around as conveniences, but as the gifts given from you to me.  And although I know loss, I also know the truth of eternal life.  Give me the strength to see that the darkness of the tomb is only a quick quiet before the shattering light of wakefulness.  It’s the moment before I’m drawn so close to you that your life-giving breath is all I breathe.


In pure quiet,





Grace, Parenting

When A Mama Needs Rest In The Rubble

The first sound that registers is his feet softly thumping basement stairs and I roll over and peer search for the time. I quiet smile proudly cause he’s headed for the gym and the guy friends who harass loud but love loyal and the bantering is part of that sound. The porch light slices through the bedroom and the baby’s cough slices through my awakeness when it hits me. I’ve, we’ve, slept all night! Too happy to care that it’s not yet 5, I consider this well rested. Perspective is a funny thing.

All week the baby has battled wheezing coughs, low grade temps, and blowing nose bubbles. Which, in a Mama’s world, means piles and piles of laundry, sandy kitchen floors, and a bathroom, I hope, isn’t growing anything yet.

It’s also been the week of a new roof needed badly, but the pounding rattles the milk bottle chandelier for nine straight hours a day. The five month old goat gets flipped and wedged between two trees no bigger round than a broom handle but seriously injures his back and we’re giving anti-inflammatory injections and rubbing his paralyzed body down with warm water daily and how will I help her heart if he doesn’t make it? The nine year old who pulls on barn clothes every morning and happily traipses out in the cold before breakfast to feed and water and love all over her two goats?

It’s the week a lawsuit lands on the business desk, the internet company raises the bill, and 50 people are coming on a, possibly, rainy, Sunday afternoon for a company picnic, and, yeah, they’ll need to use our 1 bathroom. That one not getting cleaned cause the baby’s still got both arms around my neck sneezing snot across my shoulder.

Ah! That kind of week! That one kind of weary week….

Makes me want to write a new kind of definition for the word ‘endurance’. I wonder how many Mama’s push forward, onward, every day, every moment, even when there’s been little rest for her body, let alone her mind. And I hear her question her self-esteem, her confidence, her ability to make any change in the world when she can’t even get sheets changed on the bed.



But…maybe that is the change. The perspective. The job of supporting her husband through healthier choices and business pitfalls and shaking hands and patting backs of employees and feeling the blessing of their hard work and dedication and support for a business they believe in. And maybe it is about holding the kids close when hearts have to walk through sad good-byes and packages get wrapped to be given away and babies just need a soft hip and a handful of hair and a little soft humming.

Scripture says, “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV)

Maybe that should be the perspective. God has promised you, dear Mama, a reward. And though the race seems long, sometimes it’s about the leaning forward into this life, the leaning on a God we can trust to change our perspective. And maybe while your sweeping the porch and wiping off the table and chanting out phonograms with your first grader, you’ll remember it’s the trust. The trust that at the end there’s a reward. And with that reward comes REST! Rest, weary Mama. Sweet rest!

Grace, Uncategorized

Hem Clinging

Because sometimes the rain pours down harder than we can see through.  And sometimes the nights are too short and the baby cries long and the discomfort kicks bruises.  But the grace of God sings through the dripping and He’s there.  He’s. Right. There.  And we’re all alright.  No pain stings more than hands pierced hanging from a cross, by choice. So tho the water feels up to your neck and there’s paint smeared on the bathroom wall and dried up egg sitting out from last night and all in these walls feels cramped and dirty, He’s got you.  Hang on friend, cause tomorrow brings options for hammock swinging cause strength comes from clutching the hem of a risen Saviour.

purely clinging