Monday, March 26, 2012

Thirteen Little Glasses

Let the little children come.
"Dear friend, I am so sad.  I just needed to tell you that and thank you for your blog. I had no children and it has made me bitter. I was too sad to go to church yesterday because it hurts too much to see other people with children.  I hate sitting alone with my husband watching other people live happy lives. I wish I could come to tea for real in your home." -Jessa, California

"Dear Karen, I like the posts about your children the most! What a wonderful overflow of grandchildren you have! I am even jealous. I am SO READY for little ones under foot! LOL." -Christiana, Washington D.C.

Unable to conceive, my husband and I refused to have an "empty nest". We wanted the blessings God gives through children. Neighborhoods full of lonely children enjoyed milk and cookies, listened to books and sang songs with us. The government sent us foster children, newborns and toddlers without a home, to keep our arms full and our hearts tender.  Teaching Sunday School kept us challenged, alert to needs and overflowing with joy. The children of single parents, exhausted parents, confused parents, broken parents, filled our lives.

Jesus called the little children to come. They trailed His footsteps, grabbing His hands and pulling Him along. He called to them and they ran to His stories and songs. He spashed with them in the Sea of Galilee and ate picnics with them from huge baskets of leftover bread and fish. Jesus loved the little children in His life and was rewarded with a full quiver of them and an overflowing of joy. The Father offers you the same reward, beloved one.  Open your arms and your heart.  Dream bigger and see what God can do.

Thirteen little glasses drying on the counter.
Tossed aside books and an old quilt on the chair.
Thirteen little hugs as they leave when it's bedtime.
Giggles and shouts of laughter linger on the stairs.
I look around my home and my heart swells with praise.
I traded the world's "empty nest syndrome" for God's wealth of child-filled days.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Snuggle for Carolanne

Mary Cassatt, Artist
Carolanne snuggled beside me on the rocking chair.  "Can I sit on your lap?"

Seven year olds are mostly arms and legs. She kept squirming, trying to find her usual snuggle spot, finally curling herself into my arms with a contented sleepy sigh. I set the rocker in motion and she pulled my prayer shawl around her.

"This is how you rock Baby Maisy because she's still so little," she whispered.  "Did you rock me like Maisy when I was a baby?"

I have been rocking her frequently since before she can remember, but she loves to be reminded. She takes longer to settle in now days, but there is a place in my arms and my heart that belongs to her alone. Nobody else will ever fit the same way.

I smiled.  "I still rock you like Maisy because you're still my baby, too.  I rock you a little differently now, but I'll always love you."

My feet continued the rocking motion. The loving adult voices of our life group continued discussion. My mind listened to them, but my heart went far away.  God had reminded me of a valuable lesson through His little one. I blessed her gratefully as my little Songbird quietly hummed herself toward sleep.

God's promises are new every morning.  He loves every one of us wholeheartedly, tenderly, differently. He rejoices over us with singing and quiets us with His love. How great the Father's love for us! How vast beyond all measure!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dancing with Peyton

Peyton adjusted the lacy green veil around her face and smiled up at me. Slowly she lifted the veil and began to dance, swaying to joyful music heard only in her imagination. Her eyes express a secret joy even though she is silent. Her free-spirited charm comes from living in a land where life is abundantly delightful.  Each day brings wondrous new things to love and consider.  Singing whatever song she likes even if the rest of the congregation is singing another choice, she thoughtfully studies the people around her. Does she wonder why we aren't freely dancing, too?

I want to dance to the joyful music heard only in my imagination, joyful music that beats in time with the praise of angels around the heavenly throne. I want to live in the land of a free spirit where life is abundant, overflowing with wondrous new things to love and consider. Oh, that I would live confidently in the land of the living with greater trust in the God who has conquered death and won my freedom!

As her mother and I visited after church Sunday, Peyton continued to dance and swirl, changing the position of the veil (read "Mommy's new scarf") to become skirt, hat and shawl. Dance. Change. Dance. Change. She never once paused in her dancing.

"Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sadness." ~Jeremiah 31:13

Monday, March 5, 2012

One Book at a Time

As a young woman I decided to be a person who would memorize many verses in the Bible and become better equipped for teaching and counseling.  I had been spending more time reading the Word of God in bits and pieces rather than within the context of entire books. It came as a pleasant surprise to find that entire books of the Bible could be read in as little as 15 minutes. Longer books take longer, but even longer books can be read in two or three sittings.

Now I want to not only read entire books, but advance deeper into the study of each book and memorize portions of it. I had trouble visualizing  such a daunting task in the next several decades. The Bible seemed massive. The amount of what I don't know overwhelmed me. But I took my own advice about dividing everything into baby steps. 

If I choose one book of the New Testament each month to read in a setting or two, to study more deeply, to meditate and to use for memorization, I can make it through the New Testament in only two years. Even if I must smoosh smaller books together in some of the months, this is an easily attainable goal.

Sometimes the difference between giving up a dream and making that dream come true is one baby step. There is always enough light for the step I'm on so my dream never needs to overwhelms me. Walk by faith not by sight, beloved one.  Keep in step with the step at a time.