Sunday, August 26, 2012

I am so very sorry.

I feel just terrible.  I only invited a few people to join us and they couldn't make it. I hardly mentioned it to anyone that I speak to regularly, except to procure childcare.  Mike picked up the tickets and we had a little date with the boy to Graniteville, SC.  Crazy place for a date, probably, unless you are a HUGE Andrew Peterson fan.  Which, we just happen to be.

The year Mike and I got married I bought my first CD.  It was Mr. Peterson's first, Carried Along.  It has carried me through so many experiences.  Through the years I have collected CD after CD choosing favorite songs and those sweet melodies that ring the truth loud and clear when my world is screaming around me.  He has written books and last May we had the privilege of meeting him as he was the guest author at Mike's school.  We were all giddy with excitement and so humbled to find that he was every bit the sinner and saint that his music claims he is.  In short, he's the real deal.

So, last night we got the little girls all squared away and headed out for our evening with Andrew.  Y'all, it's just good.  It's the Gospel to music that is intricate and beautiful.  His lyrics are smart and sensitive.  He has the right combination of scoundrel and saint.  You know how some music is all, "We are so bad and so bad and so bad," where other music is, "Awesome, awesome, awesome"? I love a combination.  A song that says, "I am so lost and so wretched, but in Christ I am glorified, forgiven and free."  I also love the stories behind the music.  I have always loved music and poetry and growing up we had a TV in our room (at my Dad's).  I'd watch VH1 and MTV after a long day at the beach to see the stories behind the songs.  I love to hear how something got to music.  Andrew Peterson's concerts are full of those explanations and joy in the Lord.  I could go on...but I am bordering on creepy, right?  So, all this to say I was a little sad that I didn't send out mass e-mails annoying everyone about going to this concert.  Typically I am alone in my tastes (John Denver anyone?) and it usually ends up being more work.  So, I selfishly took the easier route.  Sitting there I thought, "Man, my friends would so love this.  They would be so refreshed by this ministry of music."  Then I thought, "Who wouldn't love Heaven?"  When was the last time I invited someone to Heaven?  When was the last time that I got super fired up about the Lover of my soul,  to the point of reading and memorizing His words, as much as I do Andrew Peterson's? I cannot listen to his music and NOT sing along.  I do not, however, know all of God's words.  I know some of them, but I've got some to go!  I wonder will I arrive in Heaven and think, "OH MY GOODNESS ______________ WOULD LOVE IT HERE!"  It was a little challenging.  My heart was a little sad.  I just wanted to say I was sorry for not telling so many folks about the concert....and Heaven. I am going to be praying for more, I know I have opportunities perhaps I just need to have eyes to see them...and the kind of passion that is only cultivated when you spend a lot of time listening to Someone's Words.

Am I alone in this?  Does anyone else get way more excited about the next new thing while the Creator of Heaven and Earth is preparing a place for us?  More thrilled about the box that finally showed up than having an opportunity to bring Living Water to thirsty souls?  More fired up about the next election or sermon series looking to anything but Heaven to bring deliverance.  Guilty as charged. That's part of the struggle of living on this side of eternity.  I want to say that I don't know what the solution is, but I think I's spending time thinking about Him.  It's listening to His words and allowing His finger to pen them on the tablet of our hearts, engrave them on our doorposts and be our very food.  It's loving Him.  So simple, and yet we are so divided.  Our hearts are crooked little liars leading us to almost always choose the good over the best.  The good won't kill us immediately, but over time it will dull our desires until we settle for drinking from broken cisterns.  So, next time, I'm hounding you all because if there is anything an AP concert does for me is 1. Make me want to know Jesus more, and 2. Make Him known.

New to Andrew Peterson and interested in starting your own collection?  :)  Seriously, one of our family's favorites is the Behold the Lamb of God CD.  It is a skillfully crafted story of The Story from Abraham to Jesus.  It is, absolutely brilliant.  After that...there are treasures on every single CD.  Do you have a favorite?

A few of my favorite lines...only a few....
From Just as I am on Love and Thunder (I think...they all run together)

All of my life 
I've held on to this fear 
Its thistles and vines 
Ensnare and entwine 
What flowers appeared 

It's the fear that I'll fall 
One too many times 
It's the fear that His love 
Is no better than mine 

(but He says that) 
Just as I am and just as I was 
Just as I will be He loves me, He does 
He showed me the day that He shed His own blood 
He loves me, oh, He loves me, He does 
He loves me, oh, He loves me, He does

Fool With a Fancy Guitar on Counting Stars (It's the whole song...its so good!)

It's so easy to cash in these chips on my shoulders
So easy to loose this old tongue like a tiger
It's easy to let all this bitterness smolder
Just to hide it away like a cigarette lighter

It's easy to curse and to hurt and to hinder
It's easy to not have the heart to remember
That I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I've got voices that scream in my head like a siren
Fears that I feel in the night when I sleep
Stupid choices I made when I played in the mire
Like a kid in the mud on some dirty blind street

I've got sorrow to spare, I've got loneliness too
I've got blood on these hands that hold on to the truth
That I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I swore on the Bible not to tell a lie
But I've lied and lied
And I crossed my heart and I hoped to die
And I've died and died

But if it's true that you gathered my sin in your hand
And you cast it as far as the east is from the west
If it's true that you put on the flesh of a man
And you walked in my shoes through the shadow of death

If it's true that you dwell in the halls of my heart
Then I'm not just a fool with a fancy guitar
No, I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I could go on...but go on...but I have too many!  Let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our a very, very, very fine house.

It was almost a year that the house was on the market.  We stashed our "stuff" in storage.  Lived with a "few" school things and just made due for the year.  We waited and waited and waited.  Would today be the day the realtor would call?  The call barely came.  In fact, the house only showed twice!  That's right…in almost 10 months we got the call twice!  UGH!  I looked at Mike one night and said, "I'm done.  Pull it off the market, get our stuff out of storage and let's just be here.  Clearly this is where we are.  Then, of course, it happened.  We found our dream house.  Well, my dream house.  It's growing on Mike.

It has the sweetest porch.  It practically begs you to sit and stay a spell.  There are the sweetest planters that look like rain boots that hold pink geraniums.  The front door is rounded.  Rounded like gnomes might live there.  It almost seems magical.  Once through the front door your eyes are immediately drawn to the wood ceilings and the floor to ceiling book shelves.  What a cozy evening I imagined.  That you would just pull a book off the shelf and sit and spend the evening reading and laughing.  The mantel was old.  The house was old…and charming.  The mantel was adorned with treasures.  It seemed like each treasure may have a story simply waiting to be told.  Old bottles, a hand held mirror, and a watering can overflowing with giant flowers.  The dining room is really the same room…just defined by a table.  A small china hutch with a pattern that seemed to have had this house in mind when it was created.  Yellow with pops of red.  Fresh flowers in an old window pane.  One word…charming.  I knew that I loved it, but then I walked into the kitchen.  I was so surprised to see granite countertops.  I never thought that such an unassuming house would boast such a practical beauty.  Perhaps I should have expected it.  The cabinets still needed a little bit of work, but  nothing that a weekend couldn't handle.  The floors seemed to be freshly installed and were a color that would keep dirt hidden on days when a busy mom couldn't get to them.  It was perfect.  There were nooks and crannies with arts and crafts creatively tucked away and I knew when I saw it that this was the house of my dreams.  It was small…would probably be termed "quaint" but I imagine that the family would fill it's walls with laughter and joy.  It would force the people fortunate enough to call it home to live so close that hiding from one another would be impossible.  Tucked away at the end of an unassuming road would give them a safe haven.  A soft place to land after a long day.  If only…wait…it is….it was my house all along.  

We never meant to stay here this long.  We moved in to get out of debt.  We were only passing through.  We were a family of 4 when we moved in, and now being a family of 6, we just felt like we had a muffin top.  When sweet Caroline was a mere six weeks old, I got a burst of energy and painted, packed up books and we had a sign placed in our yard.  Then we began to wait.  We waited patiently, for the most part, anyway.  I would get fed up, declaring that the house was insanely too small and that I couldn't wait until our new house.  Then I'd back down, (sleep) and realize that it could work, and that God doesn't withhold any good thing from those that are His.  Could this possibly be the best?  Could this house be His gift to us.  Yup. It could be.  In fact, it is.  I was dumbfounded.  I think I was surprised to realize that God is HUGE, but sometimes His best gifts are sort of smaller.  Perhaps "quaint" would be a better word. :) The lifestyle that is possible as we fill this house with precious treasures is from the Lord.  The relationships that are cultivated as 3 of us sit in a chair designed for 1 are priceless.  We have to keep short accounts because there isn't room to hide.  We have to share our space, or time…our closets.  Nothing is really "mine."  It really can't be.  Although, I will tell you that "I" got new countertops. So, here we are…finally home.  As I sit in my living room that is lined with our favorite friends (that's what I call my books) looking out into the woods that occupy hours of the kids' time, I couldn't be more full.  I couldn't feel more thankful that the Lord would be so merciful to us.  He spared us missing out on this.  We have gotten down right ruthless with our space.  I've painted and purged and Mike has sanded and assembled…and we stand amazed at the amount of space that we DO have.  The truth is, we are only passing through.  Where we feel like we are finally home, we still have a home being prepared for us.  This will certainly be just fine until then.

If you are in the area and want to see what we've done and how it's working, please stop by and sit a spell.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The doors are opening and closing.  A freshly bathed and diapered baby is running from room to room squealing with delight...after only screaming at me for the better part of 2 days.  The older kids were excited to "renovate" their "play" room and Julia declared that the time (5 minutes) she spent with Caroline were the best of her life!  The dishes are almost finished, JJ Heller is reminding me that "I am loved and I am free...I believe"  and Mike and I will continue our 007 Marathon.  Drumsticks after spaghetti and I chatted with one of my favorite people for over an hour...UNINTERRUPTED...tired, full...and full.  Thank you Jesus for this racket, this endless noise and dirt.  The aprons while little ladies play "Mom" knowing that all too soon, they won't be playing.  My house will settle down, and the dishes won't pile up because we aren't feeding so many mouths.  The phone calls will be, right this minute...I am giving thanks for this fullness.  This little house bursting at the seams with joy overflowing all because of a long walk, an obedient Son, and a promise kept.  3 days later...where is the sting?  Victory is mine and I can be thankful in all this mess...this work...the handwriting and math and lunch and dinner and dog and the list goes on.  I do pray, friend, that wherever you are today, you are able to see His mercies new every single day.  His love poured out amidst the fuss.  His grace abundant in your failings and His voice singing over you when you finally lay your weary head down for a quick rest between days.  Blessings.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring!

I am not snoring!!!!  I grew up here, in the dry, hot, south where we are always in a drought.  We try not to complain when it rains.  So, I'm not complaining.  The other night we were on our way home from soccer practice.  I had 2 little ladies with me, one of them a tad disappointed that her practice was cancelled due to some pretty ominous storm clouds paired with streaks of lightening.  By the time we were in our car the rain was falling heavily and I could tell it would be messy.  It was that sort of rain that made it difficult to see and the girls realized that.  From the back:

"Wow.  Mom, it is raining so hard!"
"Can you even see?"

Without thinking I said, "Well, it's hard to see, but I know my way home."  I repeated that to myself.  "It's hard to see, but I know my way home."  I have felt a little pushed in this summer.  My heart has just been heavy and when we have come face to face with sin, we've worked through it, but it's been hard for me to really walk in the truth.  I know the truth, I just have had to constantly ask the Lord to help me overcome my unbelief.  I can't always see when the rain is coming down so hard.  I do however, know The Way Home.  I cannot tell you how I have been able to rejoice in God my Savior.  Really seeing my need all the more, and the need that my little baby sinners have as well.  As they get older and are developing their own walks with the Lord I have found it rather challenging, but so rich, to point them to the bleeding wounds...and the empty tomb.  

I'm looking forward to this school year because there are so many things I've seen that need to be different.  So many areas that I need to defend, so many areas that I need to enjoy...and I can because even when it's really coming down and life feels cumbersome and tough...I do, indeed, know my way home.