Friday, March 23, 2012

Welcome Mat

Mid-March rolled in like summer around here, flaunting record high temperatures and trash talking to the other seasons that Spring is where it's at.

Evenings this week have been warm enough to walk.  In boat shoes.  Sans jacket.  And grabbing leash and Weim, heading out under a canvas of stars, my thoughts have jumped and grasped at God.  Clear night skies have a magic about them that clears the mind to enjoy the warm air, the jingling collar of a happy dog, and a neighborhood still, drifted to sleep.

I love being tucked in under the blanket of night-time sky.  Knowing that Creator-God who dreamed up the galaxies blazing above, bends low, listens, even relishes our clumsy attempts to worship Him.  His eyes trace over our lives; every freckle, every scar, every laugh line...memorized.   

He turns on the porch light, puts the coffee on the stove.  His eyes dance when we open the door at the end of the day.  He bubbles over with "Just look at you" and "I love you" and "I've got something to show you."  He can't help himself.  His heart is full.  He:

...richly enjoys you...your company is His pleasure, your fellowship His joy, your face His delight...He hasn't just made room for us in heaven; He has made room for us in His joyful heart. 

It wasn't always this way.  There was a time we wanted nothing to do with Him.

So the Galaxy-Engineering-God knelt down.  Heartbroken and unwilling to let us run off, to be gone forever, He chased down fugitive hearts with His Son.

He hounded through fear and shame with relentless affection and whispered in the dark and dead places, "Yes, I've seen.  I know.  And you aren't too big for me.  My grace is strong enough.  I am strong enough.  I can carry you home."

God calling yet! shall I not hear?
Earth's pleasures shall I still hold dear?
Shall life's swift passing years all fly,
And still my soul in slumber lie?

God calling yet! shall I not rise?
Can I His loving voice despise,
And basely His kind care repay?
He calls me still: can I delay?

God calling yet! and shall He knock
And I my heart the closer lock?
He still is waiting to receive,
And shall I dare His Spirit grieve?

God calling yet!  I cannot stay; 
My heart I yield without delay;
Vain world, farewell! from thee I part;
The voice of God hath reached my heart!


God woos even now, heart bubbling over.  I'm so glad you're here.  I love you.  I've got so much to show you.

Take a walk.  Climb a mountain.  Watch a sunset.  All lines of one giant love letter to the hearts of humanity, all pieces of one expansive invitation to explore and discover how big, how vast, how lovely, how tender...this God of the universe is.  This God who bends and kneels and makes our hearts His home.

The welcome mat is out.  The porch light's on.  The places that were dark and dead have been swept away.

Spring in all it's newness has come.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To Silas

Two years ago today I became a momma to a son.  

I had no idea then how fully smitten I would be with you, little man.  The ways your sweet, tender spirit would interweave around in my world, tangling up my heart.  And I have a feeling that in two, ten, fifty more years, I'll say the same thing.  Because love grows, it expands the home of the soul to make room for more...and more and more.  

I squeezed in as many kisses and snuggles and "look at this one-year-old belly...ear...nose..." as you would stand yesterday.  I couldn't help it.  You'll never be one again.

Si-guy, you know we celebrate life at our house.  'Cuz it's presh, yo.  It's a gift.  And it's never guaranteed.  

And it blesses me to overflow that you have been rallied around by those who love you in California, in Dayton, and here, at home.  

Today as we marvel at you - this little boy with the big heart, this God-dreamed-up life - I am thankful for the front row seat I've been given to watch you become two.  To see your personality and spirit unfold.  To observe how you notice and take in your world.  To delight in how it moves you to laugh, to dance, to help.

I love you, buddy.  I'm honored to be your mom, a gift I'll never recover from.  

Happy Birthday.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

No Ordinary People

A sermon, given 70 years ago has lingered in the hallways of my heart like a fragrance.  I have sat with it for weeks now, begging its words to move in and stay.   I don't care that we just met.  It's love, baby.  And I want to wear its truth like a band on my heart for always:

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption... 
All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. 

I feel like Joshua, hanging out in the tent where the Lord met with Moses, hanging on in that space and not wanting to leave.  And I hesitate to add any words to those above because the weight of them feels so very holy.

And I wonder about the immortal server, the eternal hotel housekeeper, the forever-soul arranging produce in the vegetable aisle.  Do we notice them?  Not their work, their performance...but them?  Their stories?  Their significance?

I think about the woman who tore her family apart with her own adulterous hands.  Or the man who drank, drove, and destroyed life.  Do we embrace them?   Do we see beyond the labels they wear, moved with compassion, hands ready with grace?

And I remember the littles living in my home, entrusted to my care, mindful that my words, attitudes, and arms propel them for eternity.

If we allowed Lewis' words to press true-love's lips upon lifeless hearts, if we let them wake us from the enchantment of soul-slumber, they'd change everything...

We'd be different parents, different spouses, different friends.  We'd be different customers, different employees, different siblings.  It would change how we handle conflict, temptation, forgiveness.  It would change how we come home to our families from long days at the office.  It would change the things we do for entertainment.

When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.  Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others.

Today is new, fresh, and ripe with choice to clear out closet space and allow the glory of those around us to move in and stay.

There are no ordinary, unimportant, shrug-off-able people.  

Monday, March 5, 2012


Friendship, the true kind with those who join and share and weather with you, settling in like a house on its foundation, is a cadence and stride of lifelong conversation.  A stroll together, with allowances given for re-visitation, clarification, struggle, change, growth.  

And writing a blog, I'm finding, is more like a conversation between friends than a book, published and bound.  I often sit here and struggle with how much more there is to say.  And how I'm no expert in the things I share.  I am often weighed by the stories gifted to me in a week and how to best represent them in this space, if at all.  

But at the end of the day you and I sit and dialog, sharing dreams and ramblings and ideas of the grand...and the small.  And sometimes we are still, quiet, but it all makes for this side-by-side pace of together.

Thank you.  Thank you for reading, sharing, posting, commenting, following.  Thank you for listening as I serve up fragments of this simple life-story.  

And thank you most of all for your stories.  They make me laugh...and cry.  And be ever more thankful for this jointed life, awe-struck by the way vulnerability knocks the wind out of us with ravishing beauty. 

If you had a cape and a crusade, your super power would be story.  And the world needs you to show up. Tights, optional. 

Live your life from your heart.  Share from your heart.  And your story will touch and heal people's souls. 

Mmmm.  Preach, Beattie!  And keep sharing your sacred, healing stories.