Monthly Archives: April 2022

Ride

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
~Romans 8:16-17~

We headed out for the double-header on Saturday. The first game we missed because of a church work day in the morning. The men cleaned out the garage, trimmed bushes, and raked leaves outside, clearing the landscaping of autumn’s remains. The boys stumbled upon a nest with nearly a dozen eggs. They’d scared off the mother, who came back soon after the distance between humans and hidden places was restored.

The women vacuumed the pews, brought the palms out of storage, and shined the altar and communion ware. I stayed for nearly half the morning, before snatching my daughter for a trip into town. The goal was to find a dress for Easter or Palm Sunday. She has a dress leftover from last year that she wants to wear again for this year. I found a dress I didn’t love, but could wear if I had to, along with yellow sandals to complement.

The ride was beautiful with sunny skies. We’d had pancakes and bacon for lunch, with homemade syrup. The first game they’d won 14-9. The next game called for the mercy rule, which is when the game is ended after three innings if one of the teams is down by 15. At the end of the second inning we were losing 19-0, so we weren’t at the game as long as we’d planned to be. We packed up the blankets and chairs and headed home.

Vespers

But worthless is my sacrifice, I own it
Yet, Lord, for love’s sake Thou wilt not disown it
Thou wilt accept my gift in Thy great meekness
Nor shame my weakness
~O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken, LSB 439~

The boys and I took a field trip to Walgreens after school. I didn’t call it a field trip originally, but while we were there, we ran into an older lady from church. When I called out her name from in front of the cashier table, she was the one who said something like, “Hello! Field trip today, eh?” We haven’t done field trips in a while, but I liked the idea that maybe this is what our field trips look like now. The woman at the cash register said, “It’s nice to get out of the house every once in while, isn’t it?”, to which I agreed.

We were there to buy thank you notes and stickers. While folding laundry I’d had the impulse to go buy a rug for the living room. It didn’t take long before I decided not to do that. The thought that came after was the reminder that I’d been wanting to have the boys write thank-you notes from their birthdays, which is something my grandma once taught me to do. We picked out several different stationary sets, and found a pad of stickers that weren’t primarily pink and purple. I let them pick out a candy bar or bag of M&M’s or Skittles. I picked up some more vitamins.

I wanted a card for Dad as well. I’d been thinking about the parenting load these days, and how he’s been doing a lot of the heavy lifting over the past several years, especially with all the high school things. You can get so used to a husband or wife doing something quietly that you don’t even think to acknowledge or thank them for whatever it is that is making this life less formidable. One of the boys brought a birthday card to me. He said that except for the birthday part, everything this card says is true about Dad. I read it and agreed, blessed that he could know it too.

Tired

The first thing she asked me when I walked in the door is if I’d be interested in a trauma-informed yoga class starting up at the counseling center. This wasn’t a chaotic wind kind of day. I haven’t been feeling the greatest and have also been experiencing more anxiety again, the kind where my leg muscles spasm and my hips wobble when I’m sitting up straight and breathing out. I had actually planned to ask her if I could sit on the floor so I could do some of my yoga stretches, which I haven’t been doing as regularly these past months. I am not as dedicated with it when I’m feeling better.

I told her I was absolutely interested. I’ll have to consider it more to decide whether or not it’s doable with our family schedule. We’ve got another four weeks of Monday night classes before breaking for summer. After Easter we’ve got a 13-week GriefShare group starting at our church, which I’m helping to facilitate with our DCE on Wednesday evenings. The yoga class starts at the end of April and would be on Thursday evenings. The kids still have games and meets through most of May, including one tonight which I’m currently home from. I thought I was going to try to go, but I decided to stay home.

Not that I don’t love my kids or want to be there for them. I likely would be there if I didn’t have a paper I needed to finish by tonight. It’s only five pages, and I’ve got a good portion of the process done, I just need to finish saying what I need to say and writing what I need to write. I tried a different strategy this time. Instead of procrastinating and thinking about it for weeks, I procrastinated on purpose, but without thinking about it or intending to work on it until yesterday. My plan was to get up early and just start “angrily typing the damn thing”. I wouldn’t want to wait and do that with a longer paper, but for this one it worked well enough to get the job done.

Yours

“But that now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”
~Romans 6:22~

In vain I waited nicely
For all my dreams to go away
For every love to be ordered rightly
For every thought and scream to fade

So I threw myself before the Father
Saying please do with me what you will
If only you would cease my torment
He said, “I only love you still.”

I am a sinner dearest Jesus
Writing letters in the night
Please have mercy on me Jesus
He said, “Come into the light.”

No other gods can even hear me
My heart and flesh can hardly move
Please don’t pass me by or leave me
He said, “I will come to you.”

Jesus, no one else can save me
No one else knows how I’ve felt
For only you both loved and made me
All for you and no one else

Needs

I attended a women’s conference this weekend. It was an IF gathering at one of the area megachurches, which I don’t mean offensively. Dad had a work day at camp, so all of the kids who weren’t taking their ACT in the morning stayed with him to clean cabins and rake leaves with the other workers who came to help. There were sessions last night along with this morning and afternoon. It was a good combination of hearing, singing, and interacting with others. Since church a lot of times can be a forward facing event, the leaders wanted to include times where we could break up into groups, turn to one another, and have a chance to answer questions and discuss the speakers messages.

I like how at these kinds of events they assume that God has you there for a reason. One of the questions last night was, “What are you hoping to get out of this?” Our small group of ladies moved to the floor and then went around and shared their answers. Something I’m noticing that is nice about blogging is that it gives me the time to get out what’s on my mind and the things that here and there I am working through. It frees me up to be able to not feel the need to talk as much when I’m with people. Instead I can sit and listen, without that feeling like you’re not getting your chance, which can happen sometimes in groups. The others went around and shared their answers. My answer was short. I said I didn’t know, but was there for whatever God would surprise me with.

There were two breakout sessions, with five topics to choose from. The topics were Take Back Your Family, Embracing Your Emotions, What God Thinks About You, How To Be A Bridge Builder, When You Want To Quit Church, and When A Life of Joy Feels Impossible. For the first session I chose the emotions one, which was good. The next session, When a Life of Joy Feels Impossible, was a video of a 39-year old woman who’d suffered a major hemorrhagic brain stroke out of the blue when she was younger. She found herself with partial facial paralysis, physically disabled, and in permanent need of a wheelchair. Her husband had stayed with her the whole time and they’d even gone on to have another baby. That one was good too and made me cry just knowing about all the hardships people go through in their lives.

After that session it was time to go back into the auditorium. The worship leaders sang a few more songs. Because I was in the front row, and had started to feel an uptick in anxiety since coming back to the bigger room, I didn’t stand up when they started singing. I could still see the singers and words from my seat. I sat with my legs pulled up to my chest, still comfortable in the jeans I found earlier this week, and watched and listened to the beautiful singers. I wished that I too was able to play the keyboard and sing at the same time like the young man with the beautiful tenor voice. If there was one superpower I wish I’d been gifted with, it would probably be that of singing and playing the piano together. I sat in awe and wonder at the different ways God gifts people.

The anxiety was getting worse, and I almost left. I’d already felt it earlier that morning, after spending a little over a half hour watching and cheering for the half-marathon runners. I had a friend who was running, so I before I went to the conference this morning, I parked over at Lincoln Park where she said is a difficult place because of the hills. There were people from her church there too. I was amazed at how many runners actually said, “Thank you” whenever you said something like “Great job” or “You’re doing awesome”. I had to back off after a while and couldn’t clap as much. Something about the cold, clapping, and tightly holding the blanket around my body started to activate that spot in my chest, though it rarely happens anymore, thank God.

I had started to wonder if maybe the coffee I’d had wasn’t decaf, but eventually the feelings of anxiety went away again. We were watching the video of one of the speakers giving her talk on idolatry, and how every idol, being created, has limits but also has no life. She made a comment about fairy tales and romance, how we think we’re going to fall in love with a man who will be the one who completes us and fills every void in our lives and in our hearts. Being ridiculously stubborn but understanding more now, I have to admit that I still kind of think this. In Christ we come alive in God. But to complete means more than just being the black to my white or the yin to my yang. Our completeness comes not just in bliss but in trials. As James 1:4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work, so that you might be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

“Every man is just as needy as you are”, she said, I assume knowing that needy is the thing you’re not supposed to be as a woman. To be a created being is to be dependent on our Creator for sustenance. Indeed, to be human is to be needy. Whatever people want to say about what a man or woman’s needs are, I feel like I want to say that none of that matters nearly as much as what God in his heart is fully set and intent on giving to you. It’s like I’m coming back around to this familiar place of settling in after what feels like an incredibly long and exhausting season of wandering, questioning, and relearning what it means to love the ones I love most. I think this is the thing, sadly, that has surprised me most about God and his perfect human love. You can still be happy, like actually happy, when as created beings we look to none other than our Creator, the giver of hope, salvation, and joy.