The History of Yesterday

I feel you reminding me over and over this morning to shake off yesterday and embrace this new day. You tell me the great potential of today is at stake if I keep running in the circles of yesterday.

But it’s difficult to accept such grace and to fathom that you give me a new, clean slate each day.

Just like that. Despite all that was yesterday. But why? Why is it so incredibly difficult to be given something so beautiful?

The reality is that the fleeting, deceitful, human heart is wired to receive love in the only way it understands love – which is, unfortunately, the way that we then love others. We do not love others in the perfect, patient, understanding way that you love us – at least not unconditionally. We love selfishly for the sake of what we get out of it, if we’re honest. We love with ulterior motives. Therefore, when you love me perfectly, I cannot comprehend such a thing because I have not yet attained the capacity to love like that myself.

It baffles me. It takes unlearning wrong habits of loving incorrectly in order to receive your love. And that takes a lot of humility.

The love I know how to give tells me that in order to receive love, particularly on my worst days, I’ve got more to earn back and make up for than what grace can cover.

But that’s a lie. Your love has never been earned by anyone since the beginning of time. Because there was never anything to earn in the first place, just growth to be had.

And growth is hard. It is not something that takes place from understanding something in our heads, but from putting into practice what we learn and understand in our heads. It is so much easier to read an amazing book about love than it is to consider the interest and comfort of another human being more highly than our own.

But that is love. And it is worth it. Because in the mangled, difficult, embarrassingly-humbling-at-times process of growth and love, we are becoming more like you.

It is in this process of learning to be loved by you and showered with your grace that we then are able to love others better. And more importantly, to know you better, love you more deeply, and walk with you more intimately. Which was your plan for humanity from the start – that we may dwell with you.

Thank you that yesterday is now history. Not something to be forgotten, but something to learn from.

{History for humanity is sort of like fire for metal. It refines us. It allows us to leave behind the dross of our character so that we may be edified into a far more beautiful version of ourselves. It removes the impurities that keep us from reaching our goal of knowing and loving you better.}

Yes. Yes, today is new.

 

 

Refuge: A Condition of Being Safe

What a privilege it is to take refuge in you, Lord.

What a blessing – in the deepest meaning of the word – to know that you are fully worthy of my trust. That the act of placing my confidence in you means letting go.

Letting go of worry.

Letting go of insecurity.

Letting go of anxiety.

Letting go of control.

I can do that because the reality is that all of life is experienced with you. You are always present. Though my fickle human heart deceives me at times, you are never far away. Though the voice of shame booms that I’ve crossed the line one too many times, that you’ve finally had enough and have turned your back, you tell me otherwise.

If only I would listen.

You always love. You always hear – and not just hear, but listen.

You know me far better than I know myself. And you are far more worthy of the trust I often place in myself.

Yes, yes you are good, Father.

You are quick to forgive me, always. You never hesitate to gently re-direct my steps back towards your arms of love and away from my own pursuit of destruction and death.

Your desire for me is good. Though the evil of my human heart is still a present reality, one that I fight against daily (sometimes hourly), your goodness still reigns.

Because goodness means knowing your joy and grace wherever I am.

It is because of this constant state of knowing and being with you that I am able to let go of trying to be good enough and accept your promise that you will not turn your back.

Yes, I belong to you. I am yours.

I will take refuge in you.

I will rejoice.

I will ever sing for joy.

 

 

Me and My Daughter, My Daughter and Me

 

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It’s quiet this morning. I see the ocean through the small window from this cozy rocking chair. I breath in, sip my coffee, and exhale, remembering the not-so-quiet giggles and splashes and rigid chill of that same ocean water from yesterday afternoon.

Her tiny, tiny toes cringe every time I lower her enough to touch the wet sand.

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She bends down and decides she wants to feel that muddy sand in her curious, tiny fingertips. She looks up at me, both bewildered and excited at such a thing.

Her relentless “happy” feet and legs are especially “happy” with every wave that approaches and crashes over our ankles – sometimes even our knees, if the waves are big enough.

Me and my daughter. My daughter and me.

For a split second, I lose all sight of the age separation that at times makes me feel more like a babysitter to this one year old than her mother.

For a split second, I catch a heavenly glimpse from God’s lens of perfect reality, of truth.

For a split second, there is no concept of my task-oriented closed-mindedness that often makes the day-to-day seem monotonous or exhausting or frustrating or full of failure, as a mom of an almost toddler.

You see {I write this through wet, glass eyes}, I am simply with my daughter.

Me and my daughter. My daughter and me.

I am in her world, she is in mine. We are together; sharing an experience together; enjoying each other – neither of us wanting it to be over.

No, I am no babysitter today.

I am a mother.

This is life – real, true, life-giving life.

{Which, although sounds redundant, is immensely refreshing. Because if we are honest with ourselves, life is not always life-giving.}

The reality that a de-sanding bath is imminent – for us both – or that her dinner/bedtime routine is rapidly approaching, or that we have no towel to wrap up, dry off, and warm up in is not relevant at all.

To either of us.

We are just two girls having fun.

{We are drenched – and this water is COLD; not to mention the fact that I had no intention of needing a towel at all. I was maybe prepared to dip my toes in the water, but the thought of any more than that stressed me way out. What a mess. That kind of cleanup is too much for my infamously obsessive to-do list. I’m way too good of a planner-aheader for that…

But this is unplanned. It goes against every grain of a to-do list.

This, is beautiful.

Once again in life, unplanned events act as great teachers. And this event, in particular, is a very gracious teacher. This is another life-giving life experience – when we are taught graciously, rather than having to learn the hard way. These are the rare lessons. The fun, undeserved, pleasantly unexpected rare lessons where the Lord lavishes grace for no reason other than love.}

And yet, in the midst of all of this, I am simultaneously overwhelmed with the most intense, protective rush I have experienced in my 13 months and 1 day of being a mama. My subconscious, Mama Bear death grip on her in my arms is the only barrier between me walking her safely back to the house and her getting swept out into the daunting power of that massive – beautiful and majestic, but daunting and powerful, nonetheless – body of water.

Holy Cow. I’m trying to take it all in. It seems impossible. I don’t want this to end, this feeling.

This joy.

This bliss.

This lack of comprehension of all the brokenness that is life, at times, on this side of Heaven.

And it isn’t a feeling of fear, this feeling I feel. More of beautiful, privileged responsibility.

But she has not one speck of comprehension of any of that.

All she can see is the next wave approaching and “I better start kicking now so Mommy swings me in the water again!”

For the hundredth time. And let me tell you, I could do it a thousand more.

And to think that this perspective, this protective love, this enthralling joy, this passion for another, for a child, is God’s constant – not split-second-come-and-go – view of us, makes me speechless.

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