Bring me into the wilderness

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When I think of the desert I first think of sand, cacti, sun-bleached  skeletons and tumbleweeds – kind of like an old Wile E. Coyote cartoon. But once I get past my childhood understanding of the desert, I think of emptiness. Nothingness. Solitude. Quiet.

But thinking about God? The desert seems like such a desolate place, how can I connect that with  my Lord? It seems like a stretch.

But then I remember that God led Moses and the Hebrews through the desert. John the Baptist was the voice in the wilderness crying out. Jesus retreated to the desert to pray.

God is in the desert because it is quiet, empty, desolate. Free from distraction. And He’s there waiting for me to step away from my busy-ness, to put aside my to-do list, to cast off my schedule. He’s there waiting for me to finally be still enough that I will be able to hear his voice whispering in the wind and my heart.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” – Hosea 2:14

In this crazy world we live in, there is always noise and chaos and confusion: never silence, never peace. But there is peace in Christ: He is the only peace. And when I am overwhelmed by the things this very temporal world has to offer, I need to turn instead to the things God has to offer me.

But I can’t do that if I don’t go out into the desert. If I don’t put down my devices, don’t take a break from trying to have an immaculately clean house or a flawless meal plan, don’t stop worrying about raising my kids perfectly, don’t turn off the radio, don’t take a minute to breathe in the graces the Holy Spirit is offering me.

I must go into the desert with Christ. While I can’t buy a plane ticket and sit under an umbrella in the Sahara, I can take time to sit down with the Lord and be still. Whether it’s 20 minutes in the morning with a cup of coffee, 5 minutes with scripture during nap time, or even a brief pause during dinner preparation to thank the Lord for the food I’m making and the family I’m feeding – I need to follow God into the desert and let Him speak to me.

Lord, please help me make time to follow you out into the desert. I pray that you will open my heart to your tenderness and mercy. Amen.

Post in response to Desert

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Smooth Jazz

image“You’re listening to one-oh-six-five, the city. Smooooth jaaaazz.” Those were the words I heard over the speakers every time my brother and I climbed into the “way back” of our station wagon growing up.

During the day, we would beg our parents to change the radio to “something else, anything else” on the radio. Hustling and bustling from place to place, basketball practice to art lesson, grocery store to friends’ houses, saxophones and synthesizers just didn’t seem to fit. I was more interested in the top 100 or the golden oldies; my brother, in silence.

But once the sun went down and the streetlights started flicking on, bathing the street in eerie yellow circles of light, jazz just made sense. Sitting on the back bench seat, watching the yellow lines of the road zip past like stitches on black fabric, feeling the seatbelt cutting into my neck reassuringly, listening to my parents’ muffled voices as they talked about the things adults discuss: jazz was made for that. As my brother and I drifted off to sleep on each other’s shoulders with our feet propped up on the speakers in the hatch, the music would settle over us like a warm blanket.

And then, without fail, “Smooth Operator” would come on the radio and pierce our sleepy ears, yanking us by the lobes and dragging us back into a confused and groggy consciousness.

-Post in response to daily prompt Smooth

Childhood is…

leavesChildhood is Cheeto dust on your fingertips. Bubbles in the bathtub. Catching fireflies at dusk. Making mud pies in the yard. Chocolate stains on your shirt. Playing chicken at the pool. Giving squeezy hugs. Walking barefoot on sun-baked cement.

Childhood is snuggling up for a night-night story. Building block towers just to knock them down. Rolling down hills. Reading under the covers late at night. Putting playing cards in the spokes of your bike. Feeling the crisp breeze on your face as you stick your head out the car window.

Childhood is jumping in leaf piles. Playing lava in the living room. Getting piggy back rides from your dad. Standing on a chair making dinner with your mom. Going to sleep with damp hair from bath time. Sliding down the stairs as fast as you can. Making up your own favorite songs.

Childhood is calling your brother your best friend. Finding frogs in the creek. Searching for proof of leprechauns. Playing in the sand box. Looking forward to summer vacation. Wiggling your toes in the grass. Making sound effects for your toy cars. Kisses that fix every boo boo.

Childhood is peanut butter and jelly. Giggles. Tag. Stories. Animal crackers. Somersaults. Climbing trees. Lemonade. Road trips. Jumping jacks. Secrets. Dreams. Hope.

Childhood is fleeting. It is already long gone before you learn to appreciate it. Just a handful of memories that bring bittersweet smiles to your face. A scrapbook of experiences locked away in your heart.

And then, before you know it, you get to live it all over again. Different this time, but more meaningful. Because now you know how fast it’s going to go by. How special it is. And this time, it’s not your own childhood you’re experiencing. It’s your son’s. It’s your daughter’s. And you’re going to savor it.

 

-Post in response to the daily prompt Childhood

 

 

Photo by Scott Webb – Unslplash

Sky

grassWhen we planted our grass seed, we were so optimistic, so sure. We tilled the ground, and evened out dips and valleys with rich topsoil. We held our heads high as we put down the fertilizer. We proudly spread out the seeds and gently sprinkled on a healthy dose of peat moss. We loved our little grasslings, just stopping short of whispering sweet nothings while we worked.

We ever so carefully watered the seed in, being sure not to leave it too dry, or to get it too wet. Just the right amount of glisten in the afternoon sun. We were intentional with our movements, focused on our task, envisioning the lush lawn that would someday soon replace the dreary, neglected patch of dirt the previous home-owners had left behind.

When we were finished, we stood arm in arm on the deck, surveying our backdirt, soon to be backyard. We felt like royalty, no longer like hyenas relegated to a shadowy corner of the world. We looked up at the sky to give thanks, and noticed a few happy clouds that were rejoicing with us. All seemed to be right in the world.

As we went to bed that night, we checked the forecast. The weather app showed a little cloud and lightning bolt for the next few days, but we weren’t worried. How often are forecasts accurate? Surely there will be just a light rain, if any. Surely all the trees out back will break the fall of any stray raindrops and protect our green little babies. Surely the grass will get just the right amount of water to make it blissfully happy, and save us from using the hose for a few days.

Little did we know what was in store. That night, while we slept with visions of grass blades dancing in our heads, the entire sky opened up. Not just a crack or a sliver opening of the clouds: a complete unleashing of all the pressure that had been building up in those nimbostratus clouds ever since they were no more than innocent altocumulus clouds. Peals of thunder, cracks of lightning, hurling gusts of wind – the kind of weather that stormchasers’ dreams are made of. Trees ripped up by the roots, massive branches thrown into creeks, shingles ripped off rooftops, trampolines buffeted from one yard to another.

This went on for days. When the sun finally came out, and the last raindrops shook themselves off the leaves that had been strong enough to hold onto their limbs throughout the storm, we girded our loins and checked our yard. What a sight: deep canyons cut through the mud, piles of peat moss that had started to wash away only to get stuck on the side of tree trunks like moss, fallen branches crushing our seeds as far as the eye could see. All we could do was look from the sky to the ground and back again, awestruck and in mourning for our little green friends that would never see the light of day.

Now, a few weeks later, we have patches of delicate green strands strewn about our yard. It’s not quite the paradise we were hoping for, nor is it quite as hopeless as we thought it would be after the mighty rains of ott sixteen. We will add more grass seed soon, and steel ourselves to the outcome, but for now we are thankful for the grass we have, and a little more wary of clouds in the sky.

 

-Post in response to the daily prompt Sky

 

 

Photo by Aaron Burden – Unsplash

 

29 and a half

I’ve started, stopped, and re-started this first blog post way too many times. Some versions sound too serious, other attempts seem pretentious. But most of them seem pretty much pointless. So I think I’m going to just wing it and see what happens.

Today is my half birthday: I’m 29 and a half years old. Which means I’ve got 6 months of my twenties left. I still remember when I turned 15 and my mom casually mentioned that I was halfway to 30. That sounded so gut-wrenchingly old then. But now it seems pretty cool: like maybe I’ll be a legitimate adult sometime soon.

The people I will be spending the rest of my twenties, my thirties (and beyond) with are: my 2 year old son who calls himself Char Char, my 3-month old daughter who has a mohawk and a master’s degree in cuddling, and my husband who was once described as “a typical bald guy with a beard,” which is only interesting if you know that he is neither bald nor bearded.

As for me, I was once chased by a goose. It jumped out of a tree as I went under it, and the darn thing ran after me until it got bored. That happened back when I was 15 (and only halfway to 30, instead of almost there), but I still think about it occasionally when I pass under tall trees. I’m not really sure what that says about me as a person, but the fact that it a) happened, b) is vividly stored in my memory, and c) has made it into my first blog post has to mean something. Maybe I’ll figure it out as I get older.

goosePhoto by Jose Chomali – Unsplash