an open book

an open book

 

black twist pen on notebook

On a stunning late June afternoon, our daughter Courtney became a wife.

Spoiler alert: It was the most amazing day sandwiched between two equally wondrous days of celebration.

Our family won’t easily forget the joy of witnessing love by raising glasses, cheering, dancing and feasting as our family enlarged for the better.

However, the months leading up to the big event were filled with countless sleepless nights.

Not because of attempting to lasso a budget although the rope often felt out of reach.

No matter how I tried, I could not envision what or how this day of days would look or feel.

Since I couldn’t visualize those 6 hours, I threw myself into list making during my waking hours and sadly my sleeping hours also kept a tally.

My sleep was compromised simply because my mind was restless for a glimpse of the future.

One night in late January, sleep seemed pointless due to my overactive brain, I left my pillow behind and entered the darkest gap between night and morning and tucked myself under the dining room table before my journal.

I wrote in bold letters:

ALL THE THINGS THAT CONCERN ME

I wrote it all down.

There was nothing too insignificant or monumental that wasn’t scribbled on two pages.

I laid every care, fear and worry upon the lines of that open book, like a prayer or a hyperventilating plea sent in the direction of heaven.

Then I went to sleep.

I would like to report to never having another night of tossing and turning.

I did but the space between waking and falling back into dreamland was narrower.

For the majority of my life, I have trusted God.

Trust has been reflexive like a doctor’s hammer tap below one’s knee but often a whispered hope.

This summer was one in a collection of remembering the God I trust.

Sometimes my trust in God has put the emphasis on my actions instead of tilting the weight off my shoulders and witnessing the character of the God, who can be trusted.

*****

When I was young, my mother taught me to thread her needle.

After I mastered this skill, she showed me how to tie a knot on thread draped through the needle’s eye.

I remember watching her fingers, thumb and thread and it seemed the most mysterious display, especially when my clumsy hands tried to duplicate the feat.

Two thread lengths tethered only by the eye of a needle, each side placed between my thumb and second finger, as they slid back and forth until a knot formed.

At first it seemed improbable, impossible.

A folded piece of fiber remained uncontrolled.

But after practice and failed attempts, knot making became automatic.

I wouldn’t give a single thought when presented with a needle and thread today.
But if I dare to  pause long enough to observe the reflexive movements of my hand, I still marvel when a knot appears due to the gentle gliding of two parts of one hand.

I believe in the God who knows how to thread the pieces of my life through their appointed spaces.

I believe in the God who expertly knots every dangling fear, insecurity and worry.

I shudder by how easily I grow accustomed to his handiwork, some seen and often more shielded from my view, all accomplished by the rubbing of his fingers to and fro over my life.

*****

During the final moments leading to the wedding, I was given time to spend with Courtney in the balcony area of the venue. I looked at her and decades of prayers flooded my soul and were placed alongside my love for her. We spoke, we laughed and desperately tried not to ruin our make-up. It felt like an eternity had passed once I walked down the stairs to see the procession lined up, excitedly chatting as they waited for me. I took my place next to my tall son in the front of the line. I was certain the sacred space with Courtney had put our schedule in jeopardy but I lifted my eyes to the wall clock and it was exactly 4pm.

When does a wedding start on time?

That day.

I am not writing to share how God crossed out or put a check mark beside every one of my journal full of concerns, yet He did.

I am writing to admit none of my sleepless nights accomplished anything but darker under eye circles.

I am writing this because although it sounds cliché, God is never late or too early.
In fact, His timing is impeccable.

I am writing this not because God gave us the most brilliantly happy day, yet He did.

I am writing this because He pulled out all the stops for a brilliantly happy day in the midst of a multitude of sad days past, present and undoubtedly in the future.

He gave us merriment hemmed in beside the hard places which have taken up residency in our lives and seem to have no intention of hanging a vacancy sign.

I want to whisper and shout about my days to God, knowing no utterance is too trivial for His hearing.

I want to be an open book.

As I surrender my lists to Him as an act of trust, the privilege is mine to see the God who can be trusted to gently slide His hands across each strand of my life and affix it to Himself.

It seem improbable, impossible.

In His mercy and kindness, He ties knots of faithfulness all over the threads of my life.

Each one is a full stop in the story of me, allowing me to pause, stare back in wonder of the God who can be trusted.

 

Photo by Mohammad Danish on Pexels.com
doggone fear

doggone fear

IMG_20131225_194335

 

Three things you need to know:

  1. We have a dog who sheds constantly.
  2. We vacuum endlessly.
  3. Our dog is afraid of the vacuum cleaner.

Most days I will wait to vacuum until our dog Hazel is outdoors.

Otherwise, as soon as she hears the door to the hall closet open, she

assumes her position under the dining room table.

There are other places she could go.

Although stairs are a bit of a challenge for her these days,

she does have the option to move farther away from the object of her

fear but she does not.

We have attempted to lead her by the collar to safer rooms but

she will not budge.

The other day, a friend stopped by and I didn’t hear the door bell or

the knocking because I was (can you guess?) vacuuming.

Hazel barked from her huddled up position under the table and this

was the only reason I happened to look through the arched

glass of our front door.

Once I opened the door and welcomed our visitor inside,

I apologized for not hearing him sooner.

I pointed to Hazel, our indoor doorbell

and then laughed as I realized she was

not going to leave her spot to greet him.

I explained Hazel’s fear of the vacuum and was

positive despite her tail was wagging, she wouldn’t come

to inspect him as the vacuum was still in plain sight.

We laughed and to my surprise, Hazel slowly cowered

her way the length of the table, keeping her eyes on that

tall black thing which makes all that noise.

Suddenly, the tablecloth made a tent over her head

and she took her eyes off the vacuum and looked up at

our friend.

She trotted over and gave her customary licks, sniffs

and best wagging performance.

It is hard to take our eyes off of fear isn’t it?

It is always lurking behind a closed-door waiting

to pounce upon its intended victims.

Often we rehearse our fears or at least we have

a great deal of practice bowing down to them.

Hazel hasn’t known another way to conquer her

fears other than to hide under the nearest solid

structure.

My fears have become so familiar, I have been lulled into

believing I will always exhibit

the same response whenever

released from the confines of the dark closeted

places of my mind.

In my estimation the fears expand

exponentially  with each encounter.

How does one conquer fear?

One way is making the decision that

being free is better than being a captive.

This sounds quite simplistic, I know.

Hazel decided to risk being in the presence of

fear for the sake of doing what she loves to

do, namely greeting.

It has taken Hazel nearly 13 years to stare

down her fear.

Several years ago, I was asked to speak about being

a mom.

Public speaking has never been my sweet spot.

A quick answer was required and I fretted.

I was walking to our van at the time and I “heard”

God ask me,

“What are you so afraid of?”

I answered,

“I just hate getting so nervous.”

God asked me.

“Can you risk feeling nervous for 5 minutes for me?”

When it was put this way,

I was undone.

I realized that in most cases, not all for sure,

fear can last for such a short time,

when we face it and then remove our eyes

from fear’s grip, we can walk in freedom.

I did speak and I did get nervous.

Surprisingly I also had fun.

Fear and faith stride along one another.

We don’t have to let fear drag us by

the collar or make us assume a crouched position

under the closest table.

We can shift our gaze and

allow God to make a tent over

our heads.

He longs to greet us in the midst

of our fears.

I know you have heard or read this before but in

case you haven’t or you need to be reminded,

“Do not fear or be afraid” is quoted in the Bible

366 times.

Fear is a real thing and God is fully aware.

There is enough of God to get you through

fear, even during leap years 🙂

Take the risk to trust him in the midst of fear.