In The Tile

photo-5I’ve taken my girls into this bathroom since my oldest slept in her car seat on the floor.

I’ve changed diapers in this bathroom.

I’ve fed babies in this bathroom.

I’ve wiped spit up out of my hair in this bathroom.

I have hovered little bottoms over the toilet in this bathroom.

I have laid out the seat covers and unrolled toilet tissue, splashed water on soapy hands and distributed hundreds of paper towels in this bathroom.

I don’t know why but tonight as I helped my little people navigate this bathroom the reality of them growing from babies to toddlers to preschoolers to these two little amazing people just clobbered me.

I thought of all those people who stopped me when my girls were tiny and told me that the days of babies wouldn’t last forever.  I thought about how much I hated hearing those those words because those days felt like one long, exhausting blur and I didn’t believe that I would ever adjust to being a momma.

But, tonight I stand looking at the tile in this bathroom as my girls put out their own seat covers and wipe their own bottoms and lather up their own little hands and I wish the smallest wish for another moment with my girls as babies.

 

We Stop

 

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I want my girls to be the ones who stop.

The ones who pull the car over on the side of the road to take a look at a field of flowers or a nightstand at a yardsale or into a box of kittens that are being given away.

The ones who look up from their work to appreciate the way the sunlight streams onto the carpet or the shape of the clouds when they look scratched into the sunset.

I want them to be the ones really see people.

I want them to be the ones who are not to busy to savor a moment.

but the only way to teach them to stop is to stop.

so we stop at the display and we sit on the tile and people zip their carts past us while we look at the toys.  and I take a breath and sush the voice inside that tells me to rush because the most important thing I can do today is stop.

Momma In The Margin

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my most humbling moments have happened in the grocery store.

I’m guessing every momma can relate.

…like the time I forgot to buy milk and took my overly-tired girls to store when they should have been in bed.  and they wanted the pink race car cart instead of the red fire engine cart and they wanted to choose a little stuffed animal from the stand by the door and they wanted to by apples and donuts and popsicles and by the time we made it back to the milk they were completely melting down.  they wailed and I clenched my jaw tight and put the milk in my cart.  critical ugly thoughts pierced me like fiery arrows as I made my way to the check out line…us mommas are hardest on ourselves, aren’t we?  after waiting behind two people it was our turn to pay and I realized I had left my wallet in the car.  Before I could even explain and apologize the college age guy behind me handed the checker a five dollar bill.  He wasn’t judgy or irritated.  He just paid and smiled and I was so horribly embarrassed I’m not even sure I thanked him.  I just grabbed my milk and my screeching children and walked out in tears.

nothing has humbled me quite like motherhood.

but I’m seeing a priceless beauty in those moments that strip me down to my weakness because when I am made aware of my glaring inadequacies I am able to see God fill the margin between the momma I am and the momma my girls need.

 

Remembering The Margins

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two years ago I asked Adella if she knew who was in this picture.
she replied, “Bert!”
it was poignant because when I looked in the margins of this photo and found

a stack of JC Penny catalogs,

a white cup and saucer with the familiar blue pattern along the edges,

a sliding glass door that was always blocked with oversized rocking chairs,

his black-banded wrist watch with the shining silver hands ticking ticking ticking,

and the used brick hearth

I saw more of myself than I ever would have seen if I looked directly at that little girl in her Papa’s lap.

A Treasure Like You

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you,
with your wavy blonde hair and your princess dreams,
you take my breath away.

i can still hear your baby-lispy voice calling eyelids “eyecaps” and kneecaps “kneelids” and  I wonder if I’ll ever know what it means to hold a treasure like you.

Five Minute Friday: CLOSE

 

She holds my hand and wiggles her feet deep into the sand before kicking it into the air.

I close my eyes and feel the tiny grains rain down into my hair and I don’t care because in this moment the sun bursts through the clouds and the ocean bubbles over our toes and she is the absolute embodiment of everything perfect and beautiful.

 I’m reminded that I will gladly take a little grit if it means being with her because when she thinks back to her childhood I want her to remember me being thisclose.

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Click on this link to learn more about LisaJo and the Five Minute Friday community.

 

Memorizing James – Part Two: Questions and Answers

Memorizing James
this post continues to share my journey through memorizing the book of James.
you can read my previous posts by clicking on this link
“Another doctor was called in to confirm the terrible news.
I laid there, covered my face with my hands and cried.
Their voices kept saying things like, “I’m concerned” and “This doesn’t look good”
but all I kept hearing was James 1:1-3 involuntarily repeating in my heart
as the Spirit whispered over and over and over:
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, Greetings. Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.””

There is a difficult question that I don’t like to admit that I ask.
But if I am going live according to the word, I must answer it:
How do I count pain as joy?
In this season of my life the question has become more unavoidable than ever:
“How do I consider the trial of losing two babies as joy?”

 

When I first became a Christian I was not comfortable asking God questions.

But after fifteen years and many curious thoughts,

I’ve become comfortable sharing them with Him.

Are you comfortable bringing your questions to God?
Do you readily ask the simple as well as the complex?
Do you bring the questions that are secret?
The ones that are too tangly to fit into a slick answer?
The questions that make your brain ache and your heart sink?
Jesus has a track record of responding to questions just like ours with truth.
The crowds asked, the disciples asked,
John, Judas and Martha asked,
Mary asked, Nicodemus asked and a risk young ruler asked.
The Samaritian woman and the demon-possessed man asked.
…and Jesus answered them…
Some heard answers they liked and some heard answers they didn’t but they were answered with the truth.
The Pharisees, Pilate and the High Priests had questions too.
But Jesus responded to them with silence.
I’m learning there is a big difference between asking God questions and questioning God.
After spending the past year studying the book of Matthew in Bible Study Fellowship,
I am acutely aware of how easy it is to cross the line
from asking with an open heart to questioning with an agenda.
In the weeks after the second miscarriage there were many times
I silently asked questions and desperately wanted truthful answers.
I am confident God can be trusted with my heartfelt questions.
He met me right in the middle of them and responded with the memory verses from James:
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.
He loves to help.
You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.
Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.”
James 1:5
and the weeks after that when I was laid low by life and felt like I’d never feel good again,
He used the memory verses to remind me that changing seasons in my life are to be expected and that I would bloom again:
“Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it.
You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers.
Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem.”
James 1:9-11
He answered me through James.
These answers gave me the weight to balance my heart against my brain.
When my feelings said pain, the scriptures said joy.
When my feelings said quit, the scriptures said persevere.
When my feelings magnified hopelessness and helplessness, the scriptures affirmed the source of my hope and help.
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This is the first time I’ve set out to memorize a large portion of scripture.
It is daunting.
I’ve been motivated to persevere as God uses verses to speak to me personally.
My friend Jacque Watkins is a woman who has hidden a lot of the word in her heart.
Recently, she wrote a helpful post full of tips about memorizing scripture.
I encourage you to read it and challenge yourself.
When we memorize scripture
we dare to give God the opportunity to answer our deepest questions.
Do you dare?

if you would like to read more about the people who questioned Jesus and the responses He gave,
please head over to this link.