1. Blog on The Stay at Home Something | 09.13.16

    Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday. The weather here in Brooklyn has been deee-lightful. (Remind me of this in three months.) If it was like this year round I would want to live, die and be buried here. As it is, I consider every northern winter I survive a huge success.

    Bera is currently eating veggie chips (the only form of vegetable she will eat) straight off her tray without using her hands. Kids.

    Speaking of kids! I wrote a blog over at The Stay at Home Something. You should go check it out. Brooke has an awesome mission of encouraging moms who work at home or are pursuing something creative while taking care of kids. (I’m playing peek-a-boo over the computer screen as I type.)

    I wouldn’t have it any other way.

     


  2. the one who knows | 09.12.16

    I’d spent a long time not hearing You speak. But I knew it wasn’t because You didn’t want to.

    We were just a bit off.

    And we were OK, weren’t we?

     

    So that’s why that morning was as much to me as it was. I was idly thinking about how sometimes Bera is playing and then makes her way back to me for a cuddle. Just about five seconds, and then she is back to her cheery self. Like a re-set or a re-charging.

     

    I was thinking how I need You like that. Then somehow, I find a song I had never heard of by a person I had never heard of.

     

    Rockabye baby, come and rest

    You’ve been tired lately, lay your head down

    Don’t you think, baby, I know best?

    I’ve been a Father for a long time

     

    No one knows you better than me

    And no one’s been a better friend.

            (from Cecie’s Lullabye by Steffany Gretzinger)

     

    There’s no better song to go with the imagery I was thinking of, and He turned a stray thought into something that won’t leave me, and will always comfort me.

     

    This was in the weeks before He helped me to lay down sin. Maybe He wanted to lure me in. To show me it is sweet to be known by Him, not scary.

     

    I have these times that feel separate from the times that am I am “good” or “spiritual”. Those times can be very discouraging and isolating. I am not two separate people. I can’t live like I am.

     

    There is not a thought or action or lack of action that we can’t turn our face to Him and say, “What about this? What do we do with this?”

     

    I was reading about the Samaritan woman getting water at the well. Her last words in the story echo in my head, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?(!)” (Exclamation point added because WHOA.)

     

    In the next chapter it says that many of the Samaritans in that village committed themselves to Him because of what the woman said. He knows me inside out. He knows all the things I did.

     

    He knows us. This isn’t like when the principal finds out you TP’d their house. This is news that was good enough, life-altering enough for people to commit themselves to the One who knew.

     

    There is no part of your life that needs to be hidden from Him. Don’t turn your face to the dark corner. But instead keep it facing the sweet chest of your Father who cradles you and knows you and all you’ve done and BOY does He love you.

     

    No one knows you better than me

    And no one’s been a better friend


  3. Live in the Light | 09.09.16

    I have this feeling that I have a million things to tell you. But then I sit down to write and I don’t know what to say.

    So I’ll start at the part where I confessed sin and laid down a weight-a rock, an anvil- I was not meant to carry. I was listening to a podcast and they simply said, “Confess. Live in the light.” And I had this yearning, because that is the life I was made for.

    So over cucumbers and feta I bared my anxious and tired heart. Then I was free. I was hugged and loved and prayed over. And this should always be our response when someone confesses sin to us with the desire to be rid and free of it.

    This is a part of living this life. A big part. Confessing and being someone that people can confess to.

    I thought I was fine just keeping it to myself. And maybe I was fine. But Halle-freaking-lu-Lah, He wants more than fine for us. 

    I wrote this that night:

    Free free free. If the son has set you free then you are free. Live in the light because it’s the sweetest place I’ve ever encountered. My heart is longing to be sin free so I act like I am rather than bringing it to the light. I am so confident in the grace of Jesus that I confess. That’s what confession says. I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to act like I’m sinless. I’ve been perfected. Oh MY GOD I’m free. He is so good to call my sin to his precious light and destroy the sickening power it had on me for YEARS and YEARS.
    Jesus- you are enough. You are all. You are all. I’ll forever trust you.       

    I don’t know if there is a way to experience the Gospel more viscerally than this. That night as I lay down to sleep I felt His presence on me and covered my face with relief. We don’t have to be sinless. We only have to be open to lay it down, air it out and the power it has on us is gone and in its place there is a presence of Grace flooding down on us as we wake, as we sleep.

    Listen. There is a lie in your head that you can’t tell anyone your sin because it’s too much. It will hurt, it will ruin, it will damage. No. Trust the truth of the Gospel, you are already perfected. Trust the grace of Jesus (that did what the Law could not) to lay it out. Not to everyone, perhaps, or just anyone. But to someone that knows you and loves Jesus.

    It is a mysterious thing that He asks of us, this confessing of sins. I’ve always thought He had a checklist for us to do: confess, repent, read Scripture, etc. But I’m learning that He asks this of us for our good. He asks for confession not to shame us, but to free us.

    He is not desperate, I don’t think, for us to do the checklist to “keep Him happy”, but He is, I believe, desperate to fulfill deep longings that we have and to flood us with good.

    Go live in the Light and be free, sweet heart.


         




  4. Broken bit of a blog | 08.30.16

    I don’t deserve you.

    It’s been over a month since I blogged. But now I’m dusting off the old keyboard to talk to you.

    I told a friend the other day that I feel like my life is just now clicking into place. At thirty-one years old.

    The only explanation for this is Christ and His dedication to pursuing me.

    I don’t know where or how to start telling you.  It will probably be in broken bits of blog posts. But I want to, because I want to sweep you and in include you in all that He gives.

    Today I will just say this: For giving me this sweet work of raising Bera that I hold onto so tightly that the juice runs through my fingers, down my arms… I’ll never forget Your faithfulness. Please. Don’t let me forget.

    I’ve caught myself wanting what the Other People have. I can’t seek a bigger ministry if I am not serving my family, my neighbors, the “least of these” in this world. I can’t write books if I am not laying myself down in the littlest of things.

    I seek influence, a platform, book launch parties with taco trucks and DJs…but that is- CAN NEVER BE- the goal. When I’m done here and washing the Earth Dust off for good He will not ask me how big my platform was. He will only ask, I imagine, how did I die every damn day for my family, my friends, my neighbors, fellow saints, orphans, elderly, helpless and poor?

    This is not easy, but this is good.


  5. I literally can’t even | 07.22.16

    I spent the wee (I’m talking WEE) hours of the morning being jealous of celebrities who have live-in nannies to take care of their babies that cry at 5am. 

    I was feeling sorry for myself that Bera was in our room, cramping our style. (Hint: our style is sleeping later than 4:50am).

     But, really, I’m the lucky one. Because, and I don’t know this, but I bet Giselle’s husband doesn’t get up and take the baby to the playground and tell her “Get some more sleep”. (The best words in the world.) 

     Maybe He is doing something beautiful in these frustrating days. Maybe these are the sweetest times- with all three of us in one tiny Brooklyn bedroom. Maybe when she is in college I’ll long for just one of these nights and early mornings. Yes they are sleepy, but she is near me.

      She is, of course, worth it. I just thought it would be easier by now. How do teen-agers have babies?? Baffling. This would have been too much for me. It IS too much for me. 

     So it’s good I have Him to supply all my needs according to His riches and glory. I hardly believe it most days. Or it’s not something I need to think about. Yesterday I needed it. And maybe today too.  And probably tomorrow.

    Yesterday I felt like a wet cloth being wrung dry. Usually I have enough water, enough patience. Yesterday I came to the end of myself and had to ask Him for more.  She wouldn’t nap, she cried everytime I tried to give her food. I had to set her down to put the milk in the fridge and she wailed. (I believe that was the point I screamed “JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!) Mumbling to myself while walking to the drop-in Doctor, heart full of anxiety , bladder full of infection, “He cares about me, He cares about me.”

    How good to have a life that I need to remember that.


    From early morning playtime with her dad. These bear statues are her favorite thing ever.


  6. If I will lose my life | 06.17.16

     I have always wanted to care for orphans. It’s maybe the one thing in my life I know I have to do.

    Having a baby here in this house, in my life, has made me more aware than ever how helpless these little creatures are.

    You would think having a ten month old would put these desires on the back burner, but instead, they are brought to the front of my thoughts with every need that Bera has.

    Sometimes I think “What if Bera had to take care of herself?” This is kind of ridiculous, I realize, but she wouldn’t even be able to walk! Or get food! Or get out of her own poo! Babies need to be cared for. And to think that so many have no one makes me so sick and so sad that I just want to break apart.

    I know, in my heart, when Jesus said to care for the “least of these” in this world, he was thinking of babies. Orphans, elderly, helpless, homeless. MY HEART HAS ROOM FOR YOU. I want to spend my life for you, I do. In my best moments I do. 
    Do I want it enough to trade in vacations and money and clothes and prosecco at nice restaurants? I hope so. Dear God, I hope so.
    Do I want it enough to give up “me” time and Project Runway and writing and soaking in a bathtub?
    Do I want it enough to surrender plans for a decorated home, date nights, an orderly life, lots of sleep and maintaining my weight?

    I don’t know. These questions are really hard. In a fleeting fit of emotion, it’s easy to say, “YES! It’s worth it! I want it!”

    But day after day I worry about burning out, jealousy, tiring, snapping. Because I know myself. I am not enough to love this way. I have empathy but I am not good at surrender. I don’t doubt that it’s worth it, I just wonder at my ability to lose my life.


  7. Guest Post on Called For Such a Time | 06.02.16

    Hi! Happy June and happy Thursday! 

    I was excited to do a guest post for a blog whose main purpose is to encourage other women. Amazing! Honored to be a part of it. 

    I hope it’s encouraging to you. He regards you!

    https://calledforsuchatime.com/a-little-life-a-guest-post/


  8.  Unsalted Chips on Tuesdays | 05.25.16

     I left the Health Center where Ms. D lives a bit melancholy. Today she told me that she has been there for ten years. I asked her if it felt like home yet and she said a heartbreaking, “No.” Not in a “Poor-me” way, but in a “these are the facts” sort of way.

     She got old too soon.

    I felt sad when I saw two old men in wheelchairs huddled around the vending machine getting Schweppes carbonated water, like it was the highlight of their day. I hope it wasn’t, but maybe it was. 
     And who am I to determine that a life must have higher highs than buying a Schweppes from a vending machine? Maybe they are looking at me thinking, “It’s so sad that that young woman thinks she needs more than this delicious, sparkling, bubbling water I’m about to drink.”

     How strange to have everything behind you and nothing before you except Bingo and death. And that part is OK. The thing that really bothers me is the loneliness. 

    Ms. D has a daughter, but I’m afraid that she doesn’t see her much. From what I can gather, they had a disagreement over money.

     As a new mom, this is gut-twistingly sad to me. To have that relationship severed because of money- paper, coins. I stare at Bera’s flushed cheeks and stocking feet as I push her down the halls filled with wheelchairs and hospital equipment and I can’t help but think of her as a resident there. With the TV on all day at full volume. No one to smile at, or worse, no reason to smile. I almost can’t stand it.

      It also feels pitiful that all I can do for Ms. D is show up on Tuesdays with unsalted potato chips and offer to read a Psalm. Making my baby pat her on the arm, since Ms. D can’t see. When I wish what I could do is this: heal her eyes to give her sight, her speech, her leg, her kidneys, her relationship with her daughter. I wish I could summon her friends and husband from the dead so they could come and talk to her about memories I am not a part of.

      But I can’t do those things. I can’t make it all better. 

    It is tempting  for me to do nothing when I can’t do everything. But is anything done in the name of Christ ever wasted? Maybe, then it isn’t that I need to do bigger things. Maybe my motives need to be bigger. Maybe I need the faith and sight to see tiny little things done in the name of Christ as important and worthwhile and holy work.


  9. Strawberry Baby | 05.08.16

    In my grandmother’s old coat from Mexico I have a strawberry scented baby with me wherever I go
    I don’t have Hermes or Givenchy 

    But there is no scarf softer

    Than this baby strapped to me
    Like a mast on a ship, going ahead

    Through sidewalk seas and nursing home halls

    She makes strangers smile, without a word being said
    How haven’t I calloused her cheek

    (Or her head, or her lips, or hands)

    From all the kisses I’ve laid?
    This girl made a mom out of me

    And I’ve never felt more Right

    Than in my grandmothers old coat from Mexico

    With my strawberry scented baby with me wherever I go


  10. You aren’t Guilty of the Things You are Guilty of | 04.18.16

    I am nothing if not relatable.  I am a regular person who leaves crumbs, doesn’t put her shoes away, potentially has a toenail fungus and looks crazy upon waking.

    The other night I was lamenting one of my many flaws: my obsession with clothing. (C’mon ladies, I know I’m not unique in this!) How sometimes in order to fall asleep, I just imagine different outfits and shoe combinations.

    I was thinking how unfortunate that I’m so shallow and greedy. And the right response is to feel sad and ashamed and guilty about it.

    I swear to you, out of nowhere, in my head was this:
    You are not guilty.

    This is not a new idea, but it felt like the first and only time I’d ever heard it.

    My response: But if am greedy, then, actually, yes, I’m guilty of greed.

    Same answer: You are not guilty. So stop feeling guilty.

    And I think you know I don’t mean to take sin lightly or to keep wallowing in it. Not at all! But the shock and relief I felt at the voice saying “You aren’t guilty” showed me that I have been living and thinking like I am. What a tragedy, really.

    I tend to think of salvation in broad, general terms. Yes, I know. Yes, I know Jesus took the hit for me. So that I can be forgiven, righteous, etc. Do you know how many times I’ve heard this????

    But can it be that I am not guilty of the very things I am guilty of?? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS??? 

    And if it’s true then I am light in the chest and not so in my head and not covering my heart from Him or wondering if I can pray.

    Can it be that it isn’t a general “He died for your sins”, but that it is a life-altering every night when I’m thinking I’m THE WORST that He is like, “WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING? YOU ARE NOT EVEN GUILTY.” 

    So relax into this truth and celebrate and use that extra headspace to make someone laugh or write them a letter or just do a spin on the sidewalk because you are not guilty of the things you are guilty of.

    “If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?” (From the Message, Romans 5)