Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When You Just Can't

It is a very cool morning here in the South.  My feet hit the floor this morning, and they nearly rebounded back under the covers.  Could I possibly hit the snooze one more time?  What if I just forget to get up today?

Sometimes, I want to give in to that feeling of pulling the covers right back over my head.  Leave the curtains closed.  Keep it dark and quiet.  I can't today.  I can't think or focus.  I can't teach all those children.  I can't sing and dance all day. I can't stand to pull it all together and move my feet in a forward motion.  I cannot wrap my head around the list that is a mile long of all the things that need to be accomplished by 7 this evening.  It is simply too much, and I can't.

But somehow, I am standing face to face with a mirror and the water is running.  I see new wrinkles and dare not step on the scale.  Oh, and look at the laundry.  I need to add that to my list.  That long, long list.  I just can't.

But, I continue.  One step in front the other, one breath after the other.  But...I long, long to just pause and be.  Be still.  Be quiet.  Be slow.  I want to linger over coffee and scripture.  I want to watch the bluebird preen his feathers while sitting on the branch.  I want to let the sunshine awaken me, not the harsh beep of a machine.  I long for that...crave that.

Some days, it seems an endless cycle of ticking off to do's, showing up for work, feeding my family, and trying to get some sleep.  Then, just like the day before, it begins again the next sunrise.  The days can seem endless and weary.  Time is just fleeting away.  Children busting out of their clothes are proving that time is escaping.  Another wrinkle, a slower step...the endless cycle of life.

Then, it hits me like a slap to the face.  The tiniest of moments are the ones to capture.  Gratitude instantly slows everything.  It is the pause, the savor, the linger I crave.  Counting the many things that make the endlessness have meaning.  It is glimpses of the Holy One in the chill in the air,  Catching sight of the Creator in Spring's first buds.  It is the aroma of dish soap and scrambled eggs.

When I can't, I count.  I count it all.  I look for the graces of beauty in a broken world.  The ribbon of clouds in the sky, the giggle of little girls on the playground, the smell of March mud.  I count the new sprigs on the apple tree, the spring onions growing on the creek bank, and the swaying willow arms greening in the sun.  I count the little ants marching in the garden soil and the toy trucks left behind by a four year old gold digger.

Some days, I have to count often.  And as I look deeper and deeper, I find I can walk further and breathe deeper.  I encounter God in a lovely way.  He is teaching me to slow in the moment and just look.  Look for what is there that is easy to miss.  Counting and adding up the glowing markers of His love is a life-long treasure hunt.  The loot is the linger...the savor, the pause of reflecting on a perfect Love in a dying world.

When I can't bear to do one more thing, I count graces one by one.  Even that wrinkle is a gift of time.  It was time in the sun, time laughing with friends, time reading for hours in college.  That laundry waiting is a pile of days spent together.  Life being lived in a home with a family is something to certainly count.

I dare you to count....when you just can't, count.

Monday, March 30, 2015


...When you only have ten minutes, but it is enough to say something of Grace..

Grace that forgives, and forgives, and forgives.  This beautiful dripping drenched grace that meets me even in failure is a mystery.  How could this all-knowing God continue to grace me?  When He sees it all, and yet He pours out more.  Grace in my grumbling.  Grace in my doubting.  

His love falling like rain splattering beautiful freckles across the cheeks of my baby.  His deep ocean of mercy reaching into my lowest places and spilling out truth that His love is limitless.  More love, more grace in the sound of bouncing balls in the backyard.  The muddy footprint in the kitchen that comes from the beautiful yard I call my own...is a grace.  God's grace that is greater.  Every inch of living is smothered with the beauty of His love.  

The warmth of the coffee mug.
The tousled hair of a sleepy boy.
The wrinkled sheets in a cozy bed.
The shiny nail polish in a bottle on my sink.
The friend in the car every morning.
The snowy petals floating in the springy breeze.
The smell of rolls baking in the oven.
Little red juice mustaches.  

Grace comes in the small, unexpected places.  When I pause to see it, feel it, absorb it...I nearly cannot contain the fullness of peace in my heart.  This one line from a song of grace echoes deeply...

"If Grace were an ocean, we’re all sinking."

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