Before the sun creeps up behind the trees in our yard, she’s awake.
Some days she’s making breakfast. Some days she’s reading her Bible. Some days she’s rocking a sick baby. Some days she’s praying her heart out. Some days, she’s just sitting with her coffee on her back porch listening to the birds.
But everyday she’s my hero.
We were watching The Two Towers last night, and I cried. I don’t think crying in that movie is uncommon, especially for my fellow women, but last night was different. I didn’t cry for Frodo and Sam, I cried for myself. My tears were for this real world, not for Middle-Earth. I was the one who said, “I can’t do this, Sam.” It wasn’t Frodo who was wavering and wondering if the end really could be happy, it was me. It was my weak faith I saw on that television, not Tolkien’s magical universe.
It’s the warmest winter in our small town since the 80’s and my southern heart is not complaining. There is no snow on the ground, no ice scrapers being pulled out when we leave the house, and the sun is shining brightly. The weather outdoors mirrors that inside of me. Warm, bright, and hopeful.
All around the world, people seem to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s in a sense of reflection. It makes sense that as another year closes and is slid onto the shelves of memory that we take one last moment to flip back through it’s pages and remember with bittersweet fondness the stories that ended and the ones that have just begun. That is just what I have sat down to do.
There is something incredibly natural and soothing about a baby sleeping peacefully in the arms of the one caring for him, and this morning something very convicting.
He does not raise his head to question whether my grip is strong enough to hold him if he squirms. He does not hold onto me as if I’m going to let go of him. He does not keep his eyes open to see what dangers or dilemmas may creep up on him as he sleeps.
He closes his eyes.
He relaxes his body.
He looks into my eyes before he closes his one final time with a look not born of question, but of trust.
And then he rests in my arms.
Yet here I am, as he sleeps peacefully in my grasp, internally struggling and fighting, questioning and doubting, keeping my eyes stretched open on the lookout for potential sorrow or danger, while the Father holds me in His arms.
Dear local church, you are a blessing.
Every Sunday morning, I stand in your midst and hear your voices raised to praise the King. I hear His truths preached from the pulpit. I see smiles and tears, I see rejoicing and mourning.
I see you, local church.
The morning light was still hours away from creeping through our windows yesterday morning when I woke up and stumbled downstairs to the coffee pot at five o’clock. Rubbing my eyes thoroughly and rummaging through the fridge to find the creamer helped wake me up and by the time I curled up in my usual spot on the couch with my coffee, Bible, and journal, I was well awake and alert. It was the day before my birthday and just as I always do, I read through the last year of my journal.
Every year before it’s been a very enjoyable thing to do. Memories that made me smile, ones that made me laugh, and always a few that brought on a cringe. But this year was different. This year was hard to read through.
Our backyard is full of trees that seem to burst with life and greenery in the summertime. There is a little cove in the back right corner where the branches seem to envelop two teal lawn chairs and when you sit up there, watching the sun fade behind the house, it’s pure magic. The squirrels and birds dance around in the mornings, often fighting over the many bird feeders provided for their pleasure. It’s a display of breathtaking ordinary beauty, and it’s dying now.
When you walk into my room, the five shelf book case on the wall across from my doorway is the first thing you’ll see. It used to be organized by color. The blue section was the largest of course, because I feel that blue books are just a wee bit more magical than any other color. (Aren’t all things better in blue?) Over time though, as books have been pulled down and shared with young readers, or I’ve flipped through pages in search of that one quote I loved, the organized beauty has dissipated and left behind are slanted stacks of bookmarked volumes, loose papers of notes, and a coffee mug or two that has gotten left behind during one of my “word search” endeavors. It isn’t a pretty sight. I don’t plan on making it out to be some sort of messy beautiful. Because it isn’t.
It’s just messy. Someone should clean it up.
But while it shouldn’t stay in the condition it is now, there’s something to be said for the disarray.
The breeze blew softly as I sat on the porch and turned the page of captivating novel. Page after page detailed a land I had never set foot on, never seen, never even considered. I saw the rivers come into view, felt the cool wind, and smelled the plants that were entirely foreign to me, save the descriptions I read in this book. Bit by bit, I became familiar with a place I had never laid eyes on, all within roughly four hundred pages of a story. Books have the power to take us on adventures, they capture us entirely and carry us away.
I suppose Mrs. Allan is too old to dance and sing and of course it wouldn’t be dignified for a minister’s wife. But I can just feel she’s glad to be a Christian and that she’d be one even if she could get to heaven without it.
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables has been my favorite novel, second only to Stepping Heavenward, since I was a little girl. I’ve read it countless times. This spring, I downloaded it on Audible and have been listening to it over the last few weeks. I was standing at the sink one afternoon, scrubbing some dishes after lunch, when Anne met Mrs. Allan, the new minister’s wife. Then Anne described her to Marilla in a way that really captivated me.
But I can just feel she’s glad to be a Christian and that she’d be one even if she could get to heaven without it.
She was glad. Not because of what she got out of being a Christian, just because she was one. She was His. The thought prompted the question that would logically follow.
Am I glad to be a Christian?