Grace to Grace

One of the delights of my Fall was beginning to connect regularly again with a dear friend.

Every other Thursday I show up to her house with life in full-tilt all around. In the midst of the crazy, we sit and break bread together. We lay our souls bare, and it is easy.

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Just before Christmas, I knocked on the door feeling completely empty. It took everything I had just to show up. My energy was being sucked into surviving the season.

I had nothing to offer but two grilled cheese and some truffle oil on potatoes.

She opened the door full of her own exhaustion. The exhaustion that comes from little ones teething, clinging. The exhaustion of preparing to pack her precious family of six into a shoebox for two days on the road to Grandma’s.

She was being poured out to empty.

In the time between comforting a babe and entertaining a princess, we sat down as we always do. We broke our bread and were grace to one another.

We had nothing to offer other than ourselves, which was exactly what we needed. Exhaustion to exhaustion. Brokenness to brokenness.

I realized that often in relationships, even those we hold most dear, we can feel great expectation to be something other than where we are. Brokenness can convince us we have nothing for another.

But most of the time, we just need to show up. On that Thursday in the middle of my exhaustion, I just needed to show up.

My heart is full over the space where we can be broken together. I welcome the grace we can pour over one another because it is only grace that shows up when we are empty.

Let’s keep showing up. Let’s keep knocking on the door and offering the meager loaves we have. It’s an abundance.

 

 

 

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A haunting

During my sabbatical, I am trying to reignite parts of my heart that once burned strong. One of those places is music. It used to absolutely capture me. As my heart has felt unmovable, however, it has lost its appeal. I want to catch that place once again.

For those of you in cyberland who have done the Birkman, you’ll remember the section where it lists your interests and how those interests might fit into a career. I scored a 99 on music. It’s more than a like, more than a passing fancy. It is a need. And for over a year, I have let that need fall silent.

In the past few weeks, I have been hunting down worship songs that stir something in me. Here is a song that has haunted me:

The music captures me. But it’s the lyrics that haunt me.

You are good, good, oh

You are good, good, oh

You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.

You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.”

With all of my heart, I want this to be the cry of my soul. I want to believe God is never going to let me down.

The problem is that what is so sure in my head is having an impossible journey the 10 inches to my heart. My heart feels so very let down. I stepped out in faith and plummeted into a pit. I don’t feel God’s hands holding me. I don’t feel anything.

I have listened to this song over and over and over again. I have blasted it in my minivan every time I make the drive to counseling. I will do it again today. I let my body feel the pulsing rhythm, hoping that on the 102nd time, the walls on my heart might begin to crumble.

I am praying it haunts me until I can believe it with arms lifted high.

P.S. If you don’t mind, I would love to hear your favorites too–your music would be a sweet gift to my weary heart.

My Little Lime Tree

I bought a lime tree!

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Those of you who know my history with gardening know this was a huge leap of faith for me. But you also know I really love limes (and all they can produce– limeade, Key Lime Pie, Cilantro-Lime Shrimp and a new favorite discovered in India called “sweet lime drink,” among others).

There is a little intersection in Florida, called Tangerine, located near my parents’ home in Mt. Dora. Tangerine is apparently the citrus capital of the state–they grow all things citrus. Oh, and avocado trees too.

One day we were driving by, and I knew I had to adopt a tree. The sweet man who sold it to me knew I was a newbie. Did I get Persian or a Mexican Lime? Persian is what you find in the grocery store, he told me. Mexican is a key lime. Interesting.

“I’ll take a Persian, please.”

“Produces from September to December.”

Ahhh! So far away! I wanted instant gratification, but in the end, I was willing to wait so that I could have my own stash of those beautiful little green gems.

Nurturing this little tree feels like nurturing my own soul.

I want instant results. I want to read a book and suddenly experience joy. I want to understand parts of how God has made me and immediately feel fulfilled.

I want to see my little tree thrive. I want to see it be all it was made to be and bear fruit abundantly. Just as I want the very same thing for me.

But I have to wait. Only until September for my limes (hopefully!), but how long will I have to wait to experience fruit in my life?

To be honest, I can see the sprouts. I see the new little blooms beginning to show their faces. . . but they are so delicate. I feel they could wash away at any moment.

On my tree, the new leaves smell gloriously like lime, but they have to be watched carefully. There is a worm that likes to plant itself of those new leaves and suck away their life. I have to care for them every day and prune away any leaves a worm takes over.

Kind of like my heart. It needs to be nurtured every day. Every day I have to sit with the One who can really care for me. And I have to be vigilant against the tiny worms that can often work themselves in and cause destruction. I desperately want to see my little lime tree flourish. I am longing for its fruit. Just as I am desperate for the fruit in my life that shows I am again flourishing.

Crazy Funny

A funny thing happened about a month ago.

Cody and I were having a “discussion” (you know how those go. . . ), and I was seeking distraction in cable TV, something I rarely do. I stumbled upon this show I had seen my friends commenting about on Facebook. Duck Dynasty. I paused a minute to see what the fuss was about,  and two hours later, I was still laughing.

This show is crazy funny. Crazy. Funny.

The problem is, every time I try to tell someone about it, I end up sounding like the biggest dork.

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So, I’m going to let the show describe itself.

The show features a Louisiana bayou family living the American dream as they operate a thriving business while staying true to their family values and lifestyle. Since the show’s premiere, the Robertsons have been busy being America’s favorite big, bearded, camo-clad family. Despite their modest lifestyle and homes in the backwoods, this close-knit family has made a fortune on duck calls by turning a backyard business into a multi-million dollar sporting empire. But for Willie Robertson, the company’s CEO, running a family operation is tough when all your employees live one distraction at a time and find any excuse to leave the warehouse. They may be living the rags-to-riches American dream, but they’re just as busy staying true to their rugged outdoorsman lifestyle and southern roots. Of course, in this household, even the most ordinary family affair is met with a special Robertson twist of downhome practicality and witty sense of humor. Day to day life in the bayou may be mundane for some, but for the Robertsons, every day brings a new adventure. (http://www.aetv.com/duck-dynasty/)

I am telling you, I almost passed out from laughing so hard during the episode when Si gets a new hunting dog. I feel like Phil, Miss Kay, Willie and Jace are part of our own family now.

That “discussion” Cody and I were having. . . it all faded into the past when he came downstairs and found he couldn’t pull himself away from the TV either. There is nothing like laughter to heal some surface wounds.

It’s on A&E, and there are marathons every Sunday night. You have to check this show out.

Yours for the love of the Duck Commander. . .