Monday, December 17, 2012


It's just two days later.  Two days after the event that should have stopped the world.  She, my oldest granddaughter*, is about to sing on stage at church for the second time in her young life.

I keep remembering Thursday afternoon, how she and I practiced her song, watching other kids perform the same one via youtube videos.

Thursday night, how I woke up all through the night feeling afflicted with worry for the coming grandson.  "Why? Why can't I stop worrying about the child," I asked Him in the wee, bleak hours.

Friday morning when she rearranged the nativity, leaving Jesus alone in the manger, turning away the momma and daddy and shepherd and wise men.  At my inquiry, she told me that they were all watching the tv.  Two hours later, I heard the news.

The news that should have stopped the world.

I have not the vocabulary to express the pain and grief I feel.  I'll borrow Leonard Cohen's "it's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah."  Mine is a broken hallelujah.

With deep gratitude to these who can compose themselves, I share:

Advent: Prepare, Jay Kim "Our words do little good and our greatest efforts to comfort fall so far short. But we must give what we can. We must send our love and pray our prayers, from up close and afar, because this is what we have to give and to not give it would be to coalesce into the destructive powers of apathy."

Anger, grief, and love. Feelings (not thoughts!) on a tragedy, Margaret Felice  "I love you, amazing, broken world, and lament that I cannot love you back into wholeness."

The Truth About Sandy Hook: Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?, Ann Voskamp  "Could we sit in hushed silence, hold hands in this vigil, hang together in this suffering solidarity? What if we wordlessly groaned this prayer that Cain would stop killing Abel, that Rachel wouldn’t refuse comfort, Rachel in Ramah, weeping for her children here no more."

When Parents Have Nightmares, Lisa-Jo Baker  "We are the Sunday morning, eyes still swolen from weeping people."

It's Sunday morning
and this baby is supposed to sing
and I am prickly with my old fear.
What if something happens to her?

It has required my vigilance, my obedience, my reliance on everything He is in order to push through these last two days.
His presence. 
His strength. 
His promise of the peace that is to come.

There was an interlude on the way to the church when she, out of the blue, decided that she didn't want to be on stage.  At this, I had to call her momma.  Her momma had to be the strength in that moment, convincing the baby that she did, in fact, want to be on stage, and convincing the meemee that everything would, in fact, be okay.

It is some deep part of me that wishes the world could stop, would stop, even if but for a moment.  I want the world to look at Newtown, to see every baby's face, to hear every hero's name.  If but only for a moment, I wish that every one of us could carry, would carry, the unimaginable burden of grief felt by those left behind.

But the world does not stop, cannot stop.

And so this child,
she leads me on.


*I am grateful for both of my granddaughters and my coming grandson and for all the ways that I am blessed and taught by each of them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Faith Without Works

As I told it in A Watery Grave, I had to start with a new Bible some time back.  The Book that is gone from me had so many things that seemed to matter so much:  notes from loved ones, dried flowers, pictures.  But what I might have missed the most, at least for a while, were my highlights and personal notes about the Scriptures themselves.

It was so much easier when I could just flip quickly through my pages and come to precisely the verse I wanted ~ because I'd already done the work.  The highlighting, the underlining work, that is.

But this Book is organic and its work is never done.  It lives and breathes and has the power to speak something different to us each time we read it.  "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

As I have been reading the book of James again, it's difficult to imagine that I hadn't highlighted all of James in my previous Bible.  However, while it's all so penetrating and I could as easily highlight the whole thing, particularly as I've come to the "faith without works" passage, there are but two words that have pierced me this morning.

Don't ya know?

That's how I've known the verse all these years...'Don't ya know that faith without works is dead?' (my paraphrase.)

But that's not what it says.

That's certainly not what it said to me this morning.

James 2:20 says,
"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (NKJ)

Don't ya want to know?
Don't ya want to seek until you find it?
Don't ya want to work until you grasp it?

Obviously, I could have written an entire treatise about the message and meaning of "faith without works," but, before I can understand any of what He's saying to me, I have to want to understand. 

Thank You, Lord, for speaking to me this morning.  I pray that I will always want to hear You.  And I pray the same for any who read these words.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Son Is Coming

We're expecting the third g'baby this month.

That's right ~ it isn't right. 
I'm really only just now old enough to have kids (I keep telling myself.)

Anyhow, this is a Girl Family.  I come from a mom and one sister*.  I had two daughters.  My husband comes from a mom and three sisters*.  He had a daughter.  (We're blended, obviously.)  Two of our daughters had daughters.  Our dog is a girl.  And while our cat is a boy, we tease him as we do my husband, noting that they both like chic flicks and have a peculiar sense of fashion.**

Girl. Family.

But this third girl's about to give us a boy.

I have marveled about this since seeing the dingle dangle at the first ultrasound screening. (And thank you, special friend, for that form of reference.)  What?  What are we supposed to do with a boy child?!

Ohhh, I'll learn and I had what I believe was one of my first teachable moments this morning.  As my daughter sat next to me in church, belly big and low, I caught myself thinking, "Oh man, what if this kid comes early?  What would I do if he came this week?  I have work, so much to do."

And then we lit the first candle of Advent.  And it hit me that

he is coming
I am wondering how to make time for him.

"The Gospel of John speaks of Christ as the true light coming into the world. In commemoration of that coming, we light candles for the four weeks leading to Christmas and reflect on the coming of Christ. It is significant that the church has always used that language—the coming of Christ—because it speaks to a deep truth.
Christ is coming. Christ is always coming,
always entering a troubled world, a wounded heart. And so we light the first candle, the candle of hope, and dare to express our longing for peace, for healing, and the well-being of all creation."

He is coming
I am having to make time for Him?

me, my youngest girl, my mom

It cannot be overlooked that our family's first boy child is due on December 26th, that we await his arrival during what is already the great season of anticipation and wonder.

These are good tidings of great joy.
A son is coming.
The Son is coming.

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:14

Let our haste be made toward the manger. 
Let our eyes be fixed on the wonder of His coming.
No other earthly thing will bring such joy as this.
Glory to God in the highest.

One account of Jesus's birth can be found here, in Luke 2:1-21.

*My husband and I both had the benefit of relationships with our fathers, but for different reasons, these are the best descriptions of our first families.

**My husband is the man.  Just sayin'.