June 2009


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My son spent most of the afternoon playing in this group of trees and bushes.  Yep, just him and the bushes.  There is so much nature at my mom and dad’s and the kids just get lost in it all day.  I notice this kind of play is different than the kind of play we have at home.  It is more creative and spontaneous and (the biggest difference) lasting.  They can play with sticks, rocks, grass and leaves for a very long time.  They are happy and sleep well.  They are learning about so many things and free to do so at their own pace.

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(An insect found by Liam and observed over an outside supper.)

I love it when my kids get a chance to really be free in God’s creation.  We try and get some nature time every day, but there is something so different about going for an hour to the pond by our house, or a nature sanctuary for an afternoon than this days at a time type experience.  I hope that these times, will help shape them into adults who love nature and want to take care of it because they are aware of how utterly amazing and soul restoring it is. 

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God’s gift of this kind of relaxation and restoration is one I am so thankful for.  So for now while it is available, we are going to soak it up.

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He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.  Psalm 23:2

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Here’s the passage we’re working on. I’ll highlight this week’s verses in red. Anyone have some thoughts to share after a week of meditating on this passage? 

Isaiah 58:6-12 (New International Version)

 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
       to loose the chains of injustice
       and untie the cords of the yoke,
       to set the oppressed free
       and break every yoke?

 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
       and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
       when you see the naked, to clothe him,
       and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
       and your healing will quickly appear;
       then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
       and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
       you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
       “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
       with the pointing finger and malicious talk,279

 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
       and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
       then your light will rise in the darkness,
       and your night will become like the noonday.

 11 The LORD will guide you always;
       he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
       and will strengthen your frame.
       You will be like a well-watered garden,
       like a spring whose waters never fail.

 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
       and will raise up the age-old foundations;
       you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
       Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

“The rampant individualism of the last few hundred years in the west has left families and children in bad shape, as people act on the belief that they have as individuals a right to happiness which overrides all considerations of loyalty, keeping vows and the duty to bring up lovingly the children one has brought into the world.”  NT Wright (Matthew For Everyone Bible Commentary).

I heard this passage in a sermon a few weeks ago. It really got me thinking about all the modern day inventions we have to parent our babies. Most of them giving our baby independence from us, rather giving us independence from them. I often think about how parenting would have been done before this consumeristic world in which we live. It’s a good barometer for me to guage whether a particular item/idea is necessary for parenting.

Little Joy (6mo old) is really at the mommy and me stage. I suppose she’s been there all along but now that she is crawling and exhibiting some independence I can see the anxiety she gets when I leave a room. At moments I’ve been quite annoyed that I can’t even walk into the kitchen without her letting out a squeek. But with a little assurance that ‘mommy is here’ it’s only moments before I hear her little hands on the floor as she crawls to be with me. As I am part of her identity at this point it must be pretty disconcerting for part of her to just get up and walk away. When I am reminded of this fact all the annoying feelings go away. This is how it is supposed to be. Baby and mom, as one, and it goes by so fast. I just have to watch my 2 yr old skip away from mommy, with no fear, at the park to be hit with this reality. However even at 2 she needs me so much. She loves her snuggles. She loves playtime with mommy. I love it too.  I don’t want independence from her.

This passage helps me evaluate my motivations. Reminds me that my kids need me in both physical and emotional ways. The task is sometimes overwhelming, but it is also so satisfying. It is our calling as moms. It’s a great calling, and I am glad we have a great God who leads us and shows us the way.  He never exercises independence from us. He wants us utterly dependant on Him at all times, He’ll never disappoint.

Here comes my crawler…I’m sure she wants on my lap. Better go.

 june 2009 039

I love my carriers. A modern day spin on an ancient practise. My Joy loves it too!

Let me start this post by saying I have a bird phobia.  Bugs, snakes, spiders…no problem.  Birds, yucko!  There is a long story that goes with it, including some nasty events that happened while working at a pet store in high school.

But I love my children enough to put aside my phobia apparently.

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futurechickenfarmer

We are visiting my parents and my mom (who teaches first grade) lovingly timed the hatching of the classroom chicks for our visit.  Ever since his first visit to the orchard where these babies are destined to go, my son has been talking about chickens of his own if we ever move to a ‘farm’ one day.  He saw the grown version eat bugs, the fallen fruit and kitchen scraps and got to collect eggs and fell in love with the idea of his own chickens to take care off ‘all by himself.’  Liam is a true farmer at heart and has lots of work stamina to go along with it.  (My favourite thing he says about the chicks is ‘mommy chickens are powerful messers’ with great admiration.)  This visit Raine was just as impressed and loves to gently hold these babies – no fears inherited from her mother at all.

So even though I have had to pick up baby chicks (at some sacrifice to myself – imagine whatever you think is the last thing you would want to pick up to think about how I feel) I have in turn been blessed by seeing my children enthralled with yet another part of God’s creation.  I cannot tell you how many hours they have spent studying these babies.  Their absolute wonder and excitement for all things God created is one of the greatest gifts I receive from being a mother.  I cannot help but see only miracles and  joy, instead of something icky, when looking at life through the eyes of my children.

chickens01

Sorry everyone. I could explain that I was on holidays last week, and I am still disoriented on days, but I will just apologize and get us going on this week’s memory work!

 

I sometimes find memorizing a larger chunk of verses over numerous weeks easier, because the various verses feel less fragmented. I thought I would start us this week on the first 2 verses of  Isaiah 58: 6-12, and then if anyone wants to continue we can, or we can find something else next week. I love the whole passage, but I will be working on verses 6 and 7 this week. I will list the entire passage below:

 

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-

when you see the naked, to clothe him,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say:

Here am I.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.’

 

There is so much in these verses, I find it dizzying and it scatters my thoughts. At first glance I feel ashamed how little I am doing of the justice-work and compassion-work that these verses describe. Then God reminded me of the three little hungry bodies I am feeding around the clock. And the three beautiful, naked bodies I am clothing each morning. It transforms me to see these tasks as they truly are… sacred.

 

I have been watering our garden through this drought, and as I want my garden to be well-watered and produce life, I also yearn for a well-watered soul that God can grow His glory in. I eagerly anticipate meditating on, and learning what it means to be a ‘Repairer of Broken Walls’ and ‘Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.’

 

I cannot ready myself for these three unfathomable words… ‘you will cry for help, and he will say:

 

Here am I.’

 

May the ‘Here am I’ God bless you this week as we bask in these verses together. Meg

I know I don’t always read links people insert.  But this one I found via Holy Experience is worth it.

The Prison of Thanklessness

His question catches me off guard. Completely.

 

His fifth birthday party is now ended. I’ve tidied and wondered at how five years could have already passed. I joy and ache and wonder who will he be in another five. ‘O Lord, make me know… the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!’ Psalm 39:4

 

Father, teach me to measure his days. I don’t want to be caught off guard.

 

His question remains. He sits on his bed, pajama- clad, birthday day done. ‘Mama how old am I going to get?’ he pauses. ‘Am I going to have a quadrillion birthdays?’

 

It crushes me, fills me with dread. I am suspended in this moment, unable to respond. I kneel to him, despairing to be sharing his mortal malady with him on his birthday. I’m not ready to share this solid secret of humanity with him yet… yes Ben, you will die… no, I don’t know when… this much I know is true. ‘What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’ James 4:14

 

I stroke Ben’s entire length with my hand. His beautiful head, his lengthening limbs, his racing boy-feet. I admire how this five-year-old clay has formed. I marvel at the Potter and the clay, at Creator and creation. Each day he is changing, with every whirl of the wheel, the Potter is touching him, molding him, body and soul. I awe at how malleable is this sacred, sculpted clay.

 

Father, how can I tell him of his mortality on his fifth birthday?

 

Leaning toward him despite the stabbing in my soul, ‘Ben…’ I begin hollowly. I am at a loss for words, knowing the grim news that is choking me. ‘Ben…’.

 

I breathe.

 

 Something catches my heart, pivoting it profoundly. The Spirit leads, and I find foreign words uttering forth. My eyes fill with the fullness of this whispered truth.

 

‘Ben, you are going to live forever!!’

 

Ben thrills, blue eyes widening as he considers this fact. ‘Whoooooa.’ Longing for more good news, he asks again, ‘Does that mean I will never, ever die?’

 

The Spirit again supplies the words I could not express. ‘Ben, the Bible says that anyone who loves Jesus will never taste death.’ This much I know is true.

 

Ben lays into his bed satisfied, assured and at peace. Covered and comforted by this promise.

 

I gaze once more at my five-year-old son. ‘…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers…’ Psalm 103:14 I am awash in gratitude for this remembered-clay. I am intensely aware how loved he is by both Potter and parent. My soul, still saturated, prays to God a parent’s plea…

 

Father thank You for this boy. Fan and protect his faith. Give us wisdom to guide him. Grow him into a man who will love You and serve You.

 

Happy birthday beautiful boy. How good of God to make you.

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