Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time for the Least

It was 10:40, twenty minutes past when my "relief" was to have arrived. I wanted to be in the worship service, caring for my own children, enjoying the music. But instead, I was still working the front lines, doing duty in the 4 year old Sunday school classroom.

Most days, I love my job. Mark and I teach the 4-year old class Sunday School class each week. It is a joy and a challenge. But this morning, my heart was not in it. And my heart was hardening with each minute that my escape was being delayed.

After some reordering of rooms, the teachers for the next hour came in and I readied for departure. A small hand tugged at me. "Can you read me a story?" "Just a sec.." I said, without giving it any thought.

I prepped the next teachers, giving them the lesson plan and a rundown of the schedule. I grabbed my stuff and turned to leave. Then the small hand found my sleeve again. "Can you read me a story now?" "Oh, I'm sorry, I guess we didn't have time. I'll read to you next week."

Tears welled in the gentle trusting eyes. I had broken the heart of an innocent child. I had used quick words and a quick promise to cast what I deemed an irrelevant request.

I sat down slowly, took the child on my lap, and asked which book we should read.

"Let the Little Children Come to Me" Stories of Jesus and the Children.

I opened the first page, it wasn't a simple three word story book. This was a detailed account of the work of our Lord in the lives of children. I was tempted to skip a line here and there to make the story quicker. I just hoped she couldn't read well enough to notice.

But I looked at the drawing of Jesus, welcoming children, taking time for children, serving and saving children. I don't think He would have skipped lines just to make it to the worship service faster.

I could still hear the worship music drifting out from the sanctuary, but the draw suddenly wasn't as great. I still longed to be with my own children, but they had Daddy with them in the pew, and he loves them as deeply as me. Right then, nothing mattered but this one small child, and a simple book about the Jesus who loves children.

Lord thank you for moments like these that slow me down and cause me to remember what really matters. Thank you for loving the children, all the children of the world.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dancing with My Father

We concluded Lia's memorial service with the song "Field's of Grace" by Big Daddy Weave. I chose that song because in the days following our loss, whenever I thought of Lia, I would see a young girl, long flowing brown hair, dancing in a field of flowers. "Fields of Grace" captured the image perfectly for me - a little girl dancing with her Father God in fields of grace.

I have listened to and enjoyed this song numerous times in the past 2 years, but it seems I have missed one critical truth - the song is in present tense. While enjoying the song and having a brief dance with my Father God while singing it, I have always thought of the Fields of Grace as a place in heaven. The song speaks of a place where religion dies, where we lose our selfish pride, where we run and play, and where we sing new songs of praise. All of that is true of heaven, where we will know His perfect presence, but how often do I think about having that same joy in the here and now?
I don't want to wait for heaven, I want to dance with my Father God today.

I am tired of feeling that this season of life, full of dishes, diapers, and discipline, is void of joy. I refuse to believe that lie! Some mommies I have known seem to just accept the drudgery and move forward from day to day, accepting the season and not expecting joy. But not me. I am fed up with waiting for the challenging days to end. I want to have joy every single day! I have to believe that my God is great enough to make every day a day of joy.

I think that though I enjoyed the "Fields of Grace" song many times these past years, I have been missing out. I thought Lia was the lucky one. I thought she was the only one of us truly dancing. But I want all of us to dance, me, Kaiden, Jordan, Emma, and yes, even Mark. I want us all to know the joy of living in the graceful presence of a loving God.

All of these thoughts have stemmed today from my contemplations about a new book: "Dancing with my Father" by Sally Clarkson. I look forward to reading her pursuit of joy. She of course has struggled with despair, but her drive is that joy, true inner joy, be a constant in her life, regardless of the outward circumstances. And that is my desire, too. To know, and live out, and dance in the joy of the Lord, no matter the season of life.
When you see the little girl on the cover of the book, think of Lia. But think also of your own spirit, the child of God inside of you who longs to know the freedom of joyfully dancing with the Father of grace.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Good 2009

It has been a challenging year.

Adjusting to life with 3 kids, another long deployment, health problems.

I was beginning to hate 2009. I was beginning to be glad it was over. I didn't want to celebrate the New Year because I thought it would make me reflect on the old one, and I didn't want to go there.

Then came Baby Jared.

Baby Jared is my friend Sarah's 3rd baby. Her first, Noelle, is a friend of my daughters. Her second, Jeffery, I am looking forward to meeting in Heaven someday. And on December 30th Baby Jared was born.

In 2007 and 2008, were difficult years for our church as 6 women, including myself, lost children. In 2009, 6 babies were placed into each of those arms. Samantha, Emma, Sarah, Timothy, Gus, and now Jared.

I was beginning to think that 2009 was just another year full of challenge and trial. But in this single year, each family has been blessed. And for that I am thankful.

So to my mommy friends Aylin, Billie, Nancy, Katie and Sarah... I joyful wish you a happy 2010. May our hearts be as full of hope as our arms have been in 2009!