Swallowed up by Life

Being swallowed up by something has a negative connotation for me.  Being overwhelmed or devoured so that you lose control or are at the mercy of something else: think Jonah and the whale.  The busy-ness of back to school or a particularly busy time at work can certainly swallow us up.  We can be swallowed up by a storm, media-induced or meteorological. We can be swallowed up by grief.  For this stay-at-home, home-educating, mom of an exceptional needs son, my quotidian mind-numbing cares sometimes swallow me whole.  But I have been reading 2nd Corinthians and Paul's use of the phrase, "swallowed up by life" intrigues me. The context is that though we don't want to be rid of this earthly body, we desire to be further clothed in the righteousness of Christ so that what is "mortal may be swallowed up by life" (5:4b).  That sounds a little scary to me.  However, Paul goes on to say that the one who prepared us for this very thing is God himself, giving us hi…

To Fully Attend

"To attend" can mean to be present, to deal with, to occur alongside.  Often I am concerned with the first definition, being fully present each day so that I can better teach my children as a profitable moment arises or giving my undivided attention to the particular moment which enables me to see beyond myself to the needs of others. 

But tonight as I am digesting two days of instruction on education after our Classical Conversations practicum and one day of training in PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), a system of communication for those with expressive disorders, I am thinking of the sense in which attend means to listen

I listen to my children differently on different days.  Sometimes it takes much concentration and focus to listen to the story of an imaginary character and his numerous escapades.  Other times, I delight in the creative details. Sometimes I hear the frustration and pain behind the complaint.  Other times, I am annoyed by the complaint and …

"Noche Oscura"

Maybe because my younger boys like Batman and maybe because I have been feeling a spiritual dryness for an unparalleled period in my life, the phrase "dark night of the soul" has been echoing in my head.  Interestingly enough, the phrase "noche oscura," or what is commonly known as the "dark night of the soul," comes from a poem by the 16th century Spanish poet, St. John of the Cross. He did not intend it as we think of it today--a time of difficulty and spiritual impoverishment.  He was writing about the soul's journey to God.  The dark for him is our unknown destination with an unseen God. His "noche oscura" was joyful for God redeems. . .

 A few weeks ago, I finished Elie Wiesel's book, Night, telling of the Holocaust horrors he, his father, and his fellow Jews experienced in the concentration camp and work camp of Auschwitz and Buchenwald near the end of WWII. After reading his harrowing account, my own sorrow was made heavier, but …

Feeling Fine

My daily mantra, echoes the Little Engine's--  "I think he can. I think we can. I think I can" --as I care for my adult-child with extraordinary needs, home school my younger two boys, live wife to my husband the pastor.

But since July 21st, a couple of days after my eldest had spinal fusion surgery, the internal cheerleader was drowned out by the realist vacillating between hopeful and hopeless, more often landing closer to the -less side: "I don't think he can. I know I can't. There's no way I can. How in the world will we ever?"  And I would like to type something like, so I prayed and realized that Philippians 4:8 is true for me:  "Through Christ, I can do all things." Or I learned to trust in God in bigger ways than ever before and I have a peace beyond understanding.  But I am not there yet.  Don't get me wrong.  I know God is bigger than any difficulty we face.  I know there are things other parents are dealing with that are WA…

Rest, Please

"Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28). This verse has been in my face lately.  On Facebook, a lecture text, an academic orientation verse.  It's been one of my favorites since motherhood, and when I read it recently, I intoned,  "Yes!  I want, no, need, rest."  Then I got lectured.  Well, not me directly, but I heard the lecture.  And when the speaker started with that verse, my reaction again was, "Yes, Lord, that is what I need:  REST!" And then the guy elaborated.

He said often when we read that verse, our focus, as mine was, is on what we receive.  And I would add, on what we are.  I am weary.  Everyone agrees that moms are tired. The ubiquitous memes about tired mothers exist because we all relate. We want time to ourselves, so we stay up late. We miss out on sleep, but can't sleep in because the bus comes at 6:40 AM or we wake up at 3:00 AM and can't go back to sleep because our minds a…

Playing God

So much sadness in the news the past few months that I haven't been able to write.  Yesterday, I read the book, Owl Moon, to the boys and the final sentence made me emotional.  Current events have been draining me of my hope. In this beautifully illustrated children's story, the narrator is recounting owling with her dad and what is required to experience that moment of beauty and wonder looking the owl in the face:

"The kind of hope that flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon."
Reading the news throughout the day has almost become a daily blow to hope and vitality: watching thousands of refugees flee, reading of the atrocities committed against those Syrians who attempted to speak out, finding victims of human trafficking dead in the back of a van, watching videos and interviews of those harvesting unborn children, hearing about police officers randomly killed or prisoners killed by officers, reading a detailed article about a beloved star from my childhood …

Many Paths to Grace

Andrew Peterson sings of the "many roads that we all traveled just to get here."  It's an apt metaphor for General Assembly.  I've talked to several folks about their roles in ministry and each ministry couple/family has an unique journey; while we are on a kaleidoscope of paths, our spiritual journey is the same narrow way that leads to life.  It's been fun this week to watch serendipitous Providence at work as people meet for the first time and find they are connected somehow. I've seen folks who were a part of my journey at various times, each time the picture shifted, the kaleidoscope colors rearranged; each person, each friendship reminded me of previous patterns some with more blues or vermillion, others when brilliant gold shone.

On Tuesday morning, Joan and I participated in the Art Walk, a guided tour of the Hunter Museum with a quick view of a sculpture garden around the Tennessee River.  I learned much from our docent as we discussed different peri…