The Scariest Thing in the History of Ever

So…if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you may already know that we have chickens!!!!  Yes! Three of them. It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to try/have/experience. We’ve had this coop in our backyard for nearly 4 years and since I got the garden straightened out and established earlier than usual, it just seemed like the timing was right to give it a go.    Introducing our new “girls”!

Chickpea ProductionsTwo Chickens

I promise, this is not about to become another “chicken blog” no more than I’m about to become a recipe or mommy blogger. Pinkie promise, I’ll keep the chicken pix to a minimum!

Ok here’s another thing: my gardens. They’re beautiful this year. I finally got the vegetables “boxed” in and the micro-irrigation system is set perfectly. The weeds in the flower beds were kept largely at bay thanks to an extra layer of winter hay and everything is  filling in so nicely. Nicely enough that I’ve even started working in a few other spots of this quiet little .75-acre plot we’ve called home for the past 13 years.

welcome gnomeVegetable Garden

Ah yes, the house.

 Projects are beginning to take shape as we’re looking around and realizing this may be the year to finally take care of that home improvement list. Maybe replace the linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms and get a coat of fresh paint on the bedroom walls. Maybe find a better, new-to-us sofa.

Bicycle Route Flower Garden

Then, you know, our daughter got married a few months ago and they’re doing great. Middle son will finish up his second year of college and the “baby” is almost a Junior in high school. We’ve definitely turned the corner around here!

You’d think  by now,  that my sweet man and I would be settling down in glorious contentment, ready to take up our positions in some porch rockers, watching sunsets and waiting for those grandbabies to roll in. Except we aren’t.

Because we can’t.

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See, once upon a time, about 15 years ago…. God started shaking and moving in and around us in unmistakable ways.  All that “God-stuff” I’d been decorating my life with started getting real personal and personally REAL.  My static and flat, flannel-board understanding of God sprang to life in my soul,  sharpening into full-color 3D.

And I heard Him call.
Specifically, I heard the Great Commission.

It’s a long, long story about how I discovered there was such a thing but I guess it’s more important to confess right now that up until that point in my life,  I’d NEVER heard the word “missionary” (I don’t think Annie Lennox counts 😉 ).  I certainly couldn’t have told you what it meant.  However,  make no mistake… I heard what I heard in a way  I’d never  heard it before.

                God had my complete attention.

This “Great Commission”, as it’s called, is found in Matthew chapter 28. Jesus, as you probably know, has been crucified and buried, only to be raised again on the third day, defeating sin and death forever.  He spends the next 40 days appearing to His followers instructing them and helping them connect the dots for the past, present and future.  At the end of this time, He ascends to heaven with these words:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I really didn’t understand the Bible then, but I wanted to. I was trying.  Mistakenly,  I thought that it was simply a good guidebook full of wisdom, but soon I began to understand and experience that it’s truly the living Word of God.    Because those words— they got me. Hard. I knew deep in my soul that those words were not only meant for them that day. I absolutely knew those words .. were meant for me,  for us— my husband and I…. now.

That was only the beginning.

Igcognito God

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Recently, my daughter was laughing about our chickens and how we’d never be able to go anywhere now.  True, it does seem a little bit crazy looking around at these things I love and cherish… the flower collection and the little brick walkway I spent a whole summer hammering and shaping into a prayer garden. The HUGE slab of rock I actually loaded onto a moving truck because I wanted to make a bench.  The painted bicycle out front.  My cats.  And now the chickens.

The fact is…. I’m quite comfortable.      And it scares me to death.

purple lantana cross

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Because you know, you can’t un-see something you’ve seen and you can’t un-hear or un-know something… no matter how hard it is to know. No matter how the uncertainty of it all scares you.  Because, in my mind at least,  there is something even scarier:

                 disobedience.

To me, what’s even more frightening is vainly trying to hold on to the temporary pleasures of this world and somehow miss the fullness of the eternal joys found in stepping forward in faith.

The most terrifying thing of all:  staying put knowing I heard “Go” and missing the mark.

Come and Die

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There is no timeline here.

We are exploring our options carefully and prayerfully, listening to God and to one another as we study His word and seek His wisdom. Meantime, we’re  loving wildly, seeking to “bloom where we’re  planted” here and now.

There’s a garden to tend, kitties to pet –a community and church family to serve and love right where we are. There’s a home that needs a good bit of TLC, a couple of sons to get through school and a daughter to visit this summer.  There’s life right here. While we wait.

And chickens. Three of them and hopefully…. tomorrow…. there will be an egg.

So.. what is God saying to you today?

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Linking hearts with Holly and Letitia and the Missional Women today!

Blind Spots in the Heart of Motherhood

There’s no place to hide and no point in denying that when it comes to the ones we love—especially our children, we are prone to developing “blind spots”.

Yes, despite my Creator-endowed super powers of all-seeing-all-knowing mother-ness..I’ve struggled to be fair-minded when it comes to my kids. There’s something deep down in all of us that tends towards denial.     We can hardly help it.

Blindspots

We’re their primary caregivers and first cheerleaders tasked with the dual privilege of drawing out the best in them while rooting out the worst— oftentimes in the same moments, using some of the same methods and always hoping for success in their future.     However, it’s hard to be consistent.      It’s hard to be fair.

Knowing this about myself helps.

I had no idea when I began writing  that this “Tale of 2 Mothers” was about to go viral on the interwebs. It’s an important story on a number of levels but  especially because it has gone so well in all the ways it could have gone so wrong. Beautiful how these two mothers “get it” and have modeled humility, love and respect towards one another because they both have the same goals in mind. Their children can now see what that looks like to be loved in the best of all possible worlds.

I want to be a part of that world, don’t you?

Let’s face it: there are few things that make us more vulnerable than the achilles heel of motherhood. It’s drawn out the best and the worst in me over the years. Whether it’s shrieking like a banshee at the “big kids” throwing rocks on the playground in the direction of my children,  or praising my child for sharing so generously—all that passion and pride tends to be drawn from the same murky well. 

So murky that sometimes at first,  I couldn’t see …that my kid threw the first rock or the candy they were “sharing” so nicely with their siblings was actually stolen from the grocery store the day before. (Sigh) Hard stuff.

When they were young, it was a simple matter of instruction and demanded compliance often mixed with exhausting levels of inappropriate frustration because I not only wanted them to do well, do better and succeed— I wanted to look good too. Sadly, I feared looking like a bad mother.  It’s a terrible pressure we Mommies put on our children, on ourselves…on one another.

Growing up alongside these three I’ve been privileged to share life with, over time my methods have grown softer, more understanding and less fear-motivated. I still want the very best for my now nearly-grown children but I am more able to trust that God does too and He invites— but doesn’t need— my help to do it.

As true as that is, I can’t deny the temptation I face every now and then to “stack the deck” in their favor. I can’t deny how hard it is to fight the urge to rescue them instead of letting them feel the weight of a poor decision or their sin.

It’s hard to watch them fall.
It’s hard to watch them fail.

I can’t deny how it hurts to face someone criticizing your child and refusing your apology because, let’s face it, “we have different parenting styles”.  Hard, hard, hard.  Hard because, deep down, I believe we have the same loving goals in mind despite our blind spots.

Awareness IN faith

As you know, I’ve been reading through the Gospels again and there’s this place in Matthew 20 where the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John) kneels before Jesus asking if they can sit in the places of power on either side of Him in His glorious kingdom. Jesus replies that she doesn’t know what she’s asking. She doesn’t. He gently tells her that these places are taken by those prepared by the Father.  Some indignation and awkwardness between the disciples follows but Jesus uses this as another teaching opportunity to remind them of who they are to be— it’s our reminder too.

I think about that mother and I just feel her. She honestly thought she was making the best move for her sons. She acted out of love…out of ignorance and Jesus was so gentle and kind. I’m not certain about this but it’s occurred to me that the places on the right and left of Jesus that God had already filled… might have easily been the places on either side of him as He hung on the cross. Like he said, oftentimes, we think we can “drink the cup” but don’t know what we’re asking. And God knows best…wait for it.

paradox of humility

A few weeks ago the speaker at our community girls event mentioned how she’s learned the Christian life is not about simple obedience. Instead, she said, it’s found in the joy of abiding. I absolutely agree.  I’ve learned that God really isn’t after blind obedience. He’s truly after abiding because He knows that heartfelt obedience will joyfully follow.

It’s why Jesus instructs us to abide with Him because when we get to the place where we are so deeply abiding…existing for and through Christ alone…well, obedience is no longer a problem.  THAT’s what I’m after with my children— to teach by modeling before them what it means to abide.      I pray it’s working.

I know it’s not the perfect parenting solution. I only know to lean on the perfect Savior and I surely know all about my daily, daily DAILY need for his help to do this thing called motherhood.

I’m nearly done with this season as my last one at home will be launching in a few years. But it’s my intent to be more gracious and grace filled towards other Mommies just trying their best to get it right. I want to do my best to remember that we all have blind spots… because we love and thankfully it’s because He first loves us….and I only have grace to spare.

What do you know about blindspots? Grace?

  from my heart,   Lorretta signature

Linking with Jennifer, and  the Missional Women of Faith.