Wednesday, December 30, 2009

90 Days...

I got a package today.

I have been checking the mailbox like little Ralphie waiting for his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder... every day.

And it came. Today!

What is it, you ask? Oh, it's very cool.

It's this:
Excuse me while I do the Happy Dance...

Okay. I'm back. So here is how I came to be the very excited owner of this new Bible:

I was catching up on reading the blogs. I get so behind when I'm working during the school year, but there are those I try to read every day or two. Smockity is one of my favorites, as she is full of wisdom and has a great sense of humor too. (Seriously, she has made me choke on my Pepsi from laughing... I do not recommend drinking bubbly or hot liquids while reading her blog!)

I digress. Sorry.
Anyway, I read her post about the Bible in 90 Days program. Woah! I thought. I've been reading the Bible for 9 years, and I am only in Ezekiel! This is something that has frequently bothered me in the last year. This idea fascinated me.

I clicked a few links.

I read all about it.

I wrote a comment reporting that I would participate.

I clicked "Submit Comment."

I said to myself, "Self, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? ARE YOU INSANE? YOU ARE BEHIND IN PAPERWORK, BURIED UNDER UNFOLDED LAUNDRY, AND YOU HARDLY HAVE TIME TO SHOWER EVERY DAY. YOU ARE THE QUEEN OF UNFINISHED PROJECTS. You fail at so many of your endeavors... do you really think you will succeed in committing an hour each day to something you've failed to commit an hour a week to doing? Perhaps you should rethink this before you add one more failed, unfinished project to the colossal pile of failures you've already got going."

I promptly accepted defeat and changed my mind about participating.

And then, a couple of days later, I checked the comments in my latest blog post and saw that Connie from Smockity had left a comment on my blog.

Smockity Frocks said...

You won my Bible in 90 Days giveaway!!!

Oh dear. I quickly realized that I was now truly committed (and perhaps in need of being committed...) I will admit to having a moment of panic. But then, I thought about Divine Intervention. God heard that entire conversation I had with myself. In fact, He's heard a lot of those conversations lately. Some of them have been nice, polite discussions, and in some of them, well, I've just been plain old fashioned mean to myself.
Maybe He intends for me to do this. I've got a few changes to make. I've got a mess or two to clean up. I've got to start learning to love myself. I've got to learn that, although I am a sinner by nature, it's perfectly okay for me to be happy. He knows how long I've struggled. And maybe, just maybe, His word is the key to it all. Since I'm poor at doing things for me, but good at doing things for other people... poor at being accountable to me, but good at being accountable for other people... maybe He's giving me this kick in the backside.

That must be it, because ya'll, I never. win. anything.

I'm not kidding. I could enter a one person race, and I would not win.

I could enter a lottery that sold only one ticket, and I would not win.

But this, I won.

And now?


January 1st, bring it on! I want to start.

I will do this.

And I'll blog about it. Because I think this is the kind of journey that one really must share.

So, I would like to give a HUGE


To Ms. Smockity, and to the folks at Bible in 90 Days.

Friday, December 18, 2009


This is our Christmas tree.
It is not a perfect tree. It is terribly thin.

It has many bare spots. Gaps left when the spare branches are fanned out to their fullest, but still cannot fill in the spaces.

It's ornaments are hung terribly lopsided. Small fingers, unable to grasp the big picture, focus on each ornament as if it is the only one. There is no regard for overall appearance. Just for each special ornament as it is hung.

Many of the lower branches hold clusters of ornaments. The boughs sag under the weight. Because, really. If one ornament is good on this branch, several must be better.

A light bulb or two has burnt out. Unable to shine with the light of the season, they await a new bulb. They wait to be filled, again, with light.

The garland hangs, uneven. This, the result of a huge, red Tonka truck having crashed into it. Perhaps an accident. Perhaps a wreckless, impulsive moment in a toddler's day. One of the inevitable events of this tree's existence.

I look at this imperfect tree, and I love it. I don't need a big tree with matching garlands & perfectly hung ornaments. This Christmas tree serves as a daily reminder. It reminds of the season, the anticipation, the truth.

Like this tree, I am imperfect. At times, I can be quite thin on character. I, too, have bare spots in my spirit where, despite stretching, I can not fill in all the spaces. I am lopsided and unbalanced. My sins hang in clusters, weighing down my limbs. I, too, have lights that have burnt out. I am filled with the Holy Spirit, but sometimes I am unable to allow the Light of Christ to shine through me. Parts of my spirit hang to the ground, the result of the inevitable events of my existence.

I am His. He looks at this imperfect being, and He loves me. He loves me so much that He gave his only begotten Son to wash away my sins. Jesus was born to fulfill a promise. His promise. That through Him, I can be full on character; I can find balance; my sins can be lifted from my boughs; my lights can shine with His Grace; I can be renewed and repaired after the inevitable events of this life.

And it all began with a birth. A coming. The coming. Of a Savior.

I look at my sad little tree, and I love it. My imperfect Christmas tree reminds me that in this time of advent, we wait. We anticipate the coming of our Savior.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Old, the Now, the New.

It is early morning. It is dark. The sun has yet to wake from its slumber.

The trees are silent under the weight of the fog, and the cool air softly touches my face.

There is a chill in the air, but it is not cold. So many years it has been frigid in these early morning hours.

This is my favorite part.

How many years have I walked this path?

How many times have I traveled this road with him?

This is my favorite part.

We set off, down the now familiar dirt road. The air is damp and the leaves make a quiet shushing sound under our feet. We can hear the coyotes, throwing up their last cry into the darkness. I follow him into the woods. Always, my eyes find his broad shoulders, wrapped in the warmth of his ridiculously bright orange parka.

He cradles his rifle in his arm as he walks. Confident, quiet steps. And I follow him. Like a duckling I follow my dad. My Titan. My superhero. Wherever he walks, I will follow. I know this forest; he knows it better. This is my job. Only to follow.

This is my favorite part.

He will deposit me into my spot, the spot he gave me, and then continue to his own. I will not be able to see him, but he will not be far. He does not go far from me.
But this year it hurts.

Again? I think. The thing that got broken was broken so long ago. Like bubbles from a shipwreck, the pain rises up from the watery depths again and again. Why? All these years later. Someone very wise told me this is the lasting legacy of divorce. The husband and the wife walk away with hardly a scratch. But the children are wounded forever.

The moment the important thing got broken became a hash mark in my life. A slash across time. There is what we had before,. And what came after. For all these years I have kept them separated. I wrapped up what came before. Protected it, preserved it. Left it sealed up and untouched.

But this year is different. Last weekend, the first of the season, I alone followed.

I have struggled with this. My heart has been breaking in anticipation of this walk.

This is the moment. The new collides with the old.

Before there were two. Now there are three. There is a new one.

I want to cry out that she doesn't belong in this place. I want to stomp and cry and ask if nothing is sacred.

And then a light dawns. And I see it. Did I do that? Did I really...?

Did I build an altar? In my heart, did I construct a place to worship something that should not be worshiped? Did I come to treasure the thing that got broken so much that it became too important?

I think that maybe I did. I know that God loves my parents. I know that he loved their marriage. I know that He loved, maybe still loves, the thing that got broken. That was their choice, not His.

But this. This is His choice. Perhaps He put her here. God knows what we need.

Perhaps my superhero needed to experience what he missed the first time. He was absent the first time. He was young then. He didn't know what he missed.

Perhaps the new one needs a superhero. Yes. She definitely needs one. She hasn't got one of her own.

Perhaps God saw all of this. Perhaps He put his perfect plan into place.

He knew this would be difficult for me. He knew it would hurt. That my heart would break again.

I have been praying to Him for weeks. Please help me see. Please heal my broken heart. I have done the best I can these last weeks, but still... I have not behaved well. I have struggled to exercise the fruits of the Spirit, so bruised has been my heart. But so far... nothing. Just the hurt.

My God is big.

He has heard me. He came before me to light the way.

As the sun comes up, I can see. The wind moves over the hills, and I think this must be what it is like when the Holy Spirit moves over the Earth. It is like the very breath of God moving around and through the trees.

And in that moment, I stop. I stop crying. I stop raging. I stop fighting. I stop resisting.

I let Him do what it is I asked Him to do. What I know He wanted to do from the start. I let Him heal my broken heart. I embrace His most perfect plan. I accept the gift He has given me. I accept that He has given a gift to them.

I still follow when we walk on that dirt road. But now I do not follow blindly. I have a purpose.

The Titan leads. The new one follows. I follow her. But I am no longer a duckling. Now I am a watcher. I know this forest. The new one doesn't know it yet. So I watch out for her. I point my light in front of her feet. I know where the puddles are without looking. She needs the light to see them. I am here in case she falls behind. I already know where she is going. She doesn't know the way yet.

Things have changed. But not everything. I know this now.

Because in a quiet moment, my Titan told me something important. He told me how much he enjoyed the time when only we came here to this place where I set down my roots. He told me that he remembers, too, how it was before the thing got broken. He told me that this is not just a place for the old. It is a place for the old and the now and the new. And he told me that he loves me.

And I know that we can love the old. And we can love the new. And that loving the new doesn't diminish the love we have for the old. And I believe him. Because he is, and will always be, my superhero.