Sunday, December 4, 2016

Courage and Valor

We had a guest speaker of sorts this morning in our Sunday School class. She brought to light, almost as a side note, the story of God's call to Gideon. Gideon is threshing wheat in hiding from the Mideonite oppressors and the angel of the Lord appears to him and says, "The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor!" The incongruity of his situation and emotion with God's greeting to him has stuck with me all day...

My sister posted a confessional about her weekly Sunday night dread of the return to the homeschooling routine of Monday morning on Facebook tonight and I responded with one of my favorite quotes, "Courage, dear heart" It's Aslan's voice, speaking to Lucy in the depths of dread darkness. Those words echo frequently in my heart when things seem dark and confusing...

Mothers, wives, sisters... If you are facing this week with a feeling of dread, inadequacy, fear, or heartache; if life beyond the relative comfort of the weekend feels just a little beyond your ability to manage or direct, remember that He bids you be of good courage. If you are hiding in a wine press, frantically trying to thresh out a little wheat before the marauding Mideonites come to devastate and destroy, remember that when He looks at you, because of Christ, He names you a Mighty Woman of Valor.

You are a Mighty Woman of Valor, dear heart.

Also, remember the marauding Mideonites are cute some of the time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Storytellers

I hosted a party tonight for a friend who's recently started marketing for KEEP Collective-- a jewelry line from Stella and Dot. The mission of the line is to help women tell their stories through symbolic charms and symbols that you can personalize. When I first heard my friend talk about this concept, I didn't really get it. I mean, the brand is basically a grown-up version of the charm bracelet. The pieces are cute, but... Lots of jewelry is cute. But during the course of the party, I got it. And, as I am wont, I found a deeper symbolism in what they're trying to do...

My friend gathered us all together and started the introductions. She told us about her life and her twin daughters, she showed us her necklace and told us the significance of it. Then she had each person tell how they met me (I was the common denominator in a group of women who mostly, but not all, knew each other) and give three words that described me for them and then three words that they felt symbolized themselves, or this particular stage in their lives.

At first it was awkward. I do not like being the center of attention unless I am teaching, or telling a funny story, performing-- in control of the script, so to speak. But as each friend, most of them new, in this new place, in this new part of my life; as each friend shared their experience of meeting me and then affirmed verbally to me, in my hearing, that they saw this thing in me, that they saw this or that part of me, that they knew something about me, I felt a spreading warmth and confidence that I did not realize I had been missing in this new place...  And I gradually began to see another piece of this truth about women needing women that has been a part of God's teaching in my life ever since I can remember.... We need this from each other. We need to tell, not just our own stories, but each other's. We need to deliberately affirm for each other who we are, what we do, what we think and believe, what we are doing and why. We need to remind each other often of who we are, and why. 

Women, in the daily grind of housework, office work, mothering, infertility, loss, moving, never going anywhere, having no place to go, laundry, cooking, yard work; whatever it is that drains you of identity and makes you forget who you are, and why... we need to have someone who will look into our eyes and say, "I see you. I know who you are. Remember this? This is who you are, this is why." So much of what we do goes unnoticed, unseen. A large part of our daily activity is cyclical, unmade as quickly as it is made (cooking, cleaning, laundry). I believe we crave, sometimes unconsciously. a witness that we exist outside of those things: that there is something continuous, something linear in us that is essentially Us. We sisters ought to be that witness to each other.

I ended the night with the deep urge to text all my friends and tell them; I see you. I know you. You are a reader, teacher, artist. You are a musician, teacher, creator of beauty. You are strong, vibrant, loyal. You are warm, caring, welcoming. You are driven, articulate, creative. You are gentle, loving, humble. You are curious, intelligent, caring. I see you. I see each of you. I name you. Thank you for being in my life.








Friday, August 26, 2016

Refelctions on a story he told me about game time at Trail Life

My straight-as-an-arrow son
The black and white one
He stops in the relay race when he stumbles
To regain his balance and then continue on, 
Hopping one-footed because to touch the other to the ground is against
The rules he lives by, the rules he breathes, 
He understands them, they make him feel 
Safe. Fair. Secure.
He will have a hard life in this gray world of in-between 
Neither right nor wrong
Where his own thoughts never go
He will be hurt, I fear, by never quite being able to comprehend 
The thoughts of a mind other than his own.
Never being able to stoop a little sideways and see it from their point of view.
He may be lonely. Alone.
Few people can match the stride of the straight-as-an-arrow man.
He must learn to bend a bit, to allow himself to be somewhat molded, to stoop
But, please God, not too much
Let him always keep his knife's-edge, unwavering honesty
His slow-pacing, dogged determination to be correct, to know
His black and white self, hopping on one foot only 
All the way
To the finish line.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

written one spring, in a moment of loss and longing

god is the ocean and the boat

my life swells and sinks to the rhythm of his providence
safe in his will, i float above the unpredictable tempests
protected alike from storm dangers and the whispering doldrums
that suck men's souls out of their bodies

I sail along a steady course, every tack and jib secure
my every line written on his hand
my future safe, my harbor sure

and yet

should my boat seem to sink beneath me,
deserting me, helpless, to the fury of the roiling deep,

god is the ocean, too.

should my limbs fail me, should I seem to gasp my last breath and slide at last
beneath the waves of grief, loss, indecision, pain and parting,
surrendering in my struggle
should my lungs slowly fill and my body sink

I would find myself still cradled in his wisdom
I would come to rest on the ocean floor
and there see that I laid at last still in his caring
in the very bosom of his love for me

god is the boat and the ocean

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Every day after the schoolwork is done, the Davies boys and the Forshey boys go outside. It's an explosion of pent-up, barely contained energy that is, I admit it, somewhat exhilarating to watch. Exhilarating in spite of the fact that I'm one of the ones trying to barely contain it all day. With cajoling, threats, bribes, distractions, time-outs and a constant stream of chores and re-direction (and sometimes push-ups, jumping-jacks and laps around the house), it takes all my energy and concentration to keep the beach ball of energy pushed, barely submerged, beneath the ocean surface of functional order and propriety.

Then comes that moment. That blessed moment when the last page of Latin copywork is finished, or the last math problem solved, or the last recitation given; and the mother can finally release her grip on the beach ball and let it *pop* to the surface and then, blessedly, OUT THE DOOR.

Sometimes the pounding is on my door, sometimes my boys are pounding on her door:

"Can Judah/Jamie/Brinley/Smith/Henry come out NOW???"

Yes, thank the Lord, yes. They can come out now.

And then OUT they go. With a whoosh and a yell and a holler and shove/wrestle/trip/hustle out the door they go into the neighborhood. A forgiving tolerant neighborhood, thankfully. Perhaps we should issue a warning, or blast a theme song out into the frosty air as a warning Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! The boys are OUT! The boys are LOOSE! A theme song and a slogan. The boys are coming. The kracken is released. The hordes descend upon you. The Buckaroos Ride Again.