Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Red Chair

When I was younger my mom had chairs made for our deck . . . a guy she worked with was an amazing carpenter and had made some beautiful pieces so she quickly put in an order for four chairs for our quaint deck so that we may sunbathe, if we so chose. When she brought them home she was so excited - "aren't they great?!" she exclaimed; they were great - beautifully made and they leaned waaayyyy back. They also each had one board that was longer than all the others right in the middle; these beautiful chairs my mom had ordered had a middle finger of sorts - rising for all to see.

But we used them, all the same; we sat in them and chatted in them and caught several sun rays in them, too. They weathered all sorts of weather - the woodiness of their wood faded and cracked and recently she painted them a particularly gorgeous shade of red; the red reminded me of the same color that graced the front barn on my grandpy's farm - and I began to love these chairs even more - I began to love them all over again.

You see, I'm getting ready to move out soon. It's a relatively big step for a homebody such as myself. I was offered a job that has afforded me the time and reality of paying for my own place, of picking out furniture for a place of my own, of creating wonky color schemes for each room in my head; I am excited. But, I'm also scared.

Corn fields and silent, starry nights are all I've ever grown up around. My childhood began and ended just walking steps from a corn field; a little girl's pink bedroom became a yellow sanctuary in which she would entrust far too much to one boy - all with the tall, tasseling corn stalks dancing with the wind. Traffic has never been an issue - in fact the noisiest things get around here are the pieces of farm equipment gathering their money from the fields surrounding the white house that built me.

Within the walls of this home with the middle fingered, red chairs I have felt the love of a family that infuriates me almost as much as they delight me. I have gone from mouthy and sailor mouthed to a woman who likes to think she thinks before she speaks now.

A little boy was once brought home to these walls - they tell me I was quite helpful when he first arrived; I remember greatly disliking him, though - and the smell of his hands and his constant tractor noises. But that's all dissipated - breathing would be difficult without him - and he's never been afraid to live, thus teaching me more than I could have ever imagined about life.

Fights have broken out in this house - heated and ringing with fury. Doors have slammed and names have been yelled - but now I know what I want, and what I don't - what I deserve and what needs to be left and forgiven.

A sweet, black dog has been laid to rest under a shade tree in my back yard and a basketball court sits left abandoned along with my dreams of athleticism. Where weeds now overpower, there used to be the most gloriously large shade tree, it had a wood board around a rope that I used to swing on, but like the most precious people, it was weakened by the world and had to move on.

There sits a fire ring, right in the center of our back yard - many a pick up truck have circled around it, with loud, twangy music sounding - all those nights you hear of in country songs, they took place right outside this white, shingled house.

As I type this just now, I'm sitting beneath a canopy that shades the sunlight and protects the stars - I have sat beneath this canopy before a note riddled Bible, writing my heart before a page, praying for a life that is just getting started, laughing with people I am not quite sure how I survived without before that very moment.

I have, quite inexplicably, gone from a girl who wanted to shed her roots and run for city lights to a woman who loves what she knows about the country because it is familiar - because, as it turns out, it's my heart; sunsets are real strokes from God's hands, and they're the best when viewed from a front porch; the sweet smell of corn means the time is coming to break out the big, green machines; manure isn't always sweet smelling, but it's home; family - no matter how far, no matter the divides are who give you your roots, who teach you how to use your wings.

You see, I'm moving out soon. I look at these sweet, red, middle finger showing chairs and think about how they strongly resemble this particular time in my life - they give meaning to the white house that will always be mine, even when it isn't.

A family, a life, will begin purely and then the world, as it often does, sets both heartache and happiness rapid fire on the skin, the heart, the eyes. We weather these things - our eyes will reveal the storms, our hands show the testimonies, a smile will either color a face or strip it bare. But, lean back - waaayyy back. Trust the people that brought you here, trust that they will help you move forward from here.

This home, these chairs - they are not perfect. They have secrets they don't dare to tell. But, it is here where I first began. It is here where I will always belong - no matter what zip code I reside.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


The coffee in my mug has gone cold as I sit looking out over the corn that has begun to tassel - soon it will be down and I will no longer see before me the prospects of a glorious maze waiting to be discovered.
As I so often do, I've let the weeks past conjure up a sort of longing in me - I've let this longing become so conjured, in fact, that I've not taken the efficient amount of time to let my heart be moved for Him. So I set out today, to get back on track - to get caught up with what I should have been caught up by everyday of forever.

You see, I  have these days - I get in these moods where I sit down before an open journal, my Bible and the scenery that has etched itself into my memory and I think today I just want to be wrecked by something. I whisper, in desperate and fevered prayers, just let me be wrecked today; wreck me, Lord - with Your word, with some one's words, just let me be slayed.

So the coffee in my mug has gone cold,  but I'll drink it anyway, as I think about what I've been spending all my time doing these last few weeks in between worrying about getting a job, worrying about how I might pay my bills, worrying, worrying, worrying. I certainly was not hitting my knees and giving Him the trouble that was making me sick - I was, in fact, spending all extra time away from summer camp and children crying and panicking and growing fearsome seeds of distaste and neglect in my heart. Looking back on these moments - these tears and nights of little sleep and maximum anxiety, I realize that then, more than ever, I should have been praying to be wrecked. No, it was in those moments, that I should have been feeling the most wrecked of all.

I was receiving one extra paycheck into August than what I originally had thought . . . grace that should've wrecked me

I had family members that offered to help me pay what needed to be paid - kindness that should have slayed me

I had a House Church community in continual prayer for what was to come . . . utter faith in my story, that I lacked, that should have knocked me off my feet

But there was no being wrecked - I could not be swayed from my steadfast post of worry and panic. I kept thinking, "I'll just take a step back from all of this and hope I can come back to it better . . ."

There is no stepping back, only running away, when it comes to the Author of the universe.

There are no moments of not being wrecked, when you get to wake up every morning to a new day and the freedom to be.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that happens in each second, each moment, of your life that is not grace when He knows exactly what will happen and how it can be used in your testimony to bring Him glory.

There is no reason I should feverishly be in prayer for words or moments or conversations to wreck me when, the truth of the matter is, I am able to write and experience words and moments and conversations - and that alone - should bring me to my knees.

I was offered a job - but He knew that would happen all along, in the eleventh hour, at the height of my angst, in the depths of my lows. And that slays me.
Because - what's a job compared to bodies being burned, ravaged, and used all over the world?
Because - what's a job when children in the very school I worked a year for go hungry on the weekends?
Because - what's a job that pays bills when I'm neglecting the job of winning hearts for the Man who lost His own to save mine?

The coffee in my mug has gone cold, but I will finish it. I will finish it and sit here completely swollen with gratitude and trembling awe. I will finish it and sit here completely wrecked.
Because - I am looked after by the same One who named the stars and walked on water.
Because - He hears my prayers before I even say them aloud - He hears my prayers when I don't even recognize them as such.
Because - I am His. He calls me His own.

And, that alone, should wreck me.