Monday, January 12, 2009

Life is taking one day at a time.

have you ever watched the
Kennedy Center honors? once a year,
six individuals are chosen who have
artistically impacted the world.
pure human talent.
clean. original. magnificent.
dance and music and acting that
melts your heart. paints the air
with an energy that forces us
to recognize the awesome power of
the Divine, and we raise our arms...
throw them toward the sky...above
the cold hardness of life. because
of the extraordinary talent birthed
in these flawed, otherwise common lives, we
somehow feel aligned with the rare
beauty of the universe...and our Creator.

and we are changed.
inspired. transformed.
if God can take these and change the world,
what can He do in us?

it is like the Christmas season
for me. my children come bounding in
from their worlds. the refrigerator
is filled with goodies. there are hugs
and kisses. we are a family.
we have found our way through
difficult stuff. tried to stand together.
prayed for each other. and now,
here we are. safe because of the
walls of love that stand around us.

several days later, the bedrooms
are a mess. i have been doing laundry.
feeding everyone. X-Boxes and computer
wires and bodies sprawled everywhere
to play and sleep. chaos takes over.
a tense moment between two brothers.
one needs more responsibility.
another drinks too much.
and i zip my lips. for eighteen years
of each of their lives, i did my feeble
best to teach and guide them. to quietly
live truth out before them.

is your family perfect?
do you have MOMENTS when you all
get together? tensions?

merry, glowing, Christmas letters
make me want to curl up into
a fetal position of stark depression.
no one in the world needs to hear
of other families' perfections.
at least, i don't.

my heart beats for my children.
where they are. where they are going.
how they hurt. is Jesus everything
to them? have i messed up too much?

they know they are my stars
and sunrise, and a million setting
suns. and we are warriors. tight.
loss and sorrow and pain have bound
us together. fiercely.

but have i set the right tone?
taught the truth of what really matters?
love and forgiveness and that
Jesus is the SOLID ROCK. we cannot
go anywhere unless we realize that.

is easier than looking at my
late teens and early twenty year olds
and praying...pleading with God
that i have prepared them for life.

let me know about your Christmas.
just...please do not sound too glorious.
life is really not about a God-given talent
where we are applauded for our great
contribution to society at the Kennedy Center.
life is taking one day at a time,
and living in such a way
that all those who pass by
feel the warmth and hope and love,
and are changed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It came from the very heart of God

brandt was playing
with his friend at the kitchen’s
edge. i was stirring homemade soup
at the stove.

a voice,
ann, go get three hundred for phillip’s

three hundred?! i barely made it
every month with four children. i began
to argue, but only briefly.

quietly, i slipped to my bedroom.
took the cash. wrote a note on a card.
this is from God. His idea.
and sealed the envelope.

brandt, i want you and phillip
to take this envelope to his mother.

it held no meaning for them,
and they chased each other
out the door.

i was busy in the kitchen.
the boys stayed outside.
the experience slipped my mind.

maybe an hour later,
the doorbell rang.
when i opened it,
there stood phillip’s mother.
tears running down her face.
holding my envelope.

ann! i cannot take this.
it is way too much money.

yes, you can, i smiled.

no, i hardly know you.

that does not matter because
it is from Jesus, and not from me.
He told me to do this.

oh, ann.
and she began to weep.

we are mothers, dottie.
living in apartments.
always struggling to have
enough money, and brandt
says your husband is very sick.
we know ALL about that!

ann…do you think
we could use this
to visit the grand canyon?
my husband’s dream is to see
it one time.

the husband and father.
how well i know that journey.
will had died a year before
and no one has a life when
someone is dying in the house.
all the focus…the effort…goes
to the dying. stress and anxiety
and worry and things to do
for them.

dottie, you can go to the grand canyon,
or buy yourself something new to
wear. or a little painting, anything!
this is for Jesus. He loves you so.
and even if you don’t know where
He is, He is watching over you.
day and night.

she wiped the tears.
thanked me profusely,
though it was not from me.

it came from the
very heart of God.
and i happened to be
listening. like i should all
the time