My Momma – 5 Minute Friday

5-minute-friday-1 My momma

Giggles.

Time spent.

Skills taught.

Always. Present.

Perseverant.

Dedicated.

My mother’s laugh fills the house with bells of truth and innocence and freedom. It fills you with the warmth of acceptance and

My mom and I and a horse... eating out of my pocket!
My mom and I and a horse… eating out of my pocket!

belonging… because her giggle is a gift… a gift that says, “I love you, even if you’re not really funny.” Because even when you aren’t funny… she still laughs. And laughs. Tears down her cheeks… a stifled snort turns into belly aches and smile aches. Because her laughter spreads and latches on to anyone within range… pulling them into the hysterics.

She was the mom that every child found… each lonely, lost kid who needed a loving home. Latch-key kids would show up on our steps… not their own, to an empty, silent house. But to our house… the house of laughter, activities for kids, a warm and loving reception. She loved them. Welcomed them. Gave snacks and drinks, yes, but more than that.

Much more.

My best friends often felt more at home in my home. Sometimes I was jealous for her… not because I ever got lost in the crowd… but because she was mine.

Me and my momma
Me and my momma

Mine.

But they needed her and she was theirs too.

And she needed them also… herself the child of lovelessness, parentlessness, longing to be loved by those names supposedly held dear…”Mother” and “Father.” She lived a life of survival and struggle and conflict and pain… of rejection and disappointment and discouragement. She had no model for laughter or joy or hope or LOVE.

And yet she grew into an extension of all the things she lacked.

Because she found Jesus… the real Jesus… not the one her mom pretended to serve… but the one who reached out to her in her desperation and longing… and filled her with laughter.

The kind of laughter that isn’t rooted in what we can actually see or hear… but the kind that bubbles up from within… from a source and a well that is untouchable. Unbreakable.

His laughter.

Not because life is easy or fun or happy or perfect.

But because laughter saves us. It saves her. Saves us from being sucked under by the negativity thrown our way. The mocking kinds of laughter that leave us bruised and marred.

Her laughter was and is a shield… that protected us from some of the ugly realities of life. Gave us “glasses” through which to see the world… lightened it’s color and changed the angle…

My mom and I last year
My mom and I last year

Made it funny.

My mom kept us going, kept us laughing and giggling, when the world wasn’t really that funny…

“Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.”

-Unknown

I love you, Mom!

Worthy of My Fear- Five Minute Friday

5-minute-friday-1 There is little in this world that is worthy of our fear.

Yet we hand it over with such ease… sometimes even begging something to claim it from us.

In movies, music, books… “horror” that appears safe in the confines of media, triggering our adrenaline flow. “Scare me!” we cry.

And then fiction becomes reality… the news broadcasts that our fears live in shadows, in alleys, peering in through your windows… waiting to steal your possessions, your money, your loved ones.

And we get security systems, dogs, video cameras, bars, and locks… creating a false sense of control over the darkness that is just waiting to take advantage of us… give us a thrill of fear beyond the boundary of literature and cinematic amusement.

And we hand it over.

Our ability to fear.

And it begins to debilitate us.

We begin to make decisions based on fear. Which streets to drive down. To cross the street when he walks by. To carry weapons. To live with weapons. So that when our turn comes, and the horror lifts from the pages, steps out of the screen, into our lives… we have a fighting chance.

Some people stop going outside altogether. Or flying in airplanes. Or driving in vehicles. They stop eating, start exercising, and take every possible supplement and vaccine to keep the cancer at bay, the heart-attack statistic further from us, or the next “in” disease from staking a claim on us.

As if we have it all under control.

Yet we are the controlled.

Only One is worthy of my fear. Has the right to cause me to be afraid.

His name is Yahweh. The God who Is. The God over all.

Who separated an entire body of water before the very eyes of two nations… split them, so the water made walls and dry land could be passed on.

Who caused the sun to stop moving and prolonged the day.

Who brought dead people back to life… the decaying man restored to health.

Who brought form from the formless, gave it life, and loved it.

Who enshrouded His very essence with flesh, came and lived among us, talked with us, healed us… died for us.

And didn’t stay dead.

To be the eyes and ears of any present for these signs and wonders.

To look out over a plagued Egypt… every body of water: rivers, lakes, ponds, wells, cisterns… puddles. Water turned to blood. To see large hail stones fall on and destroy the flocks, herds, structures of the Egyptians… and yet not hit one single of mine or any other Israelite.

To stand back and say, “Whoa. Truly this is the one true God… and He could smite me so fast…” and yet He doesn’t.

Because the fear He deserves is not the same we cry for in a horror film. We don’t tremble before Him, ever unknowing of our position, afraid His hammer will fall and we will be found out.

I would like to suggest that the Church become a place of terror again; a place where God continually has to tell us, “Fear not”; a place where our relationship with God is not a simple belief or a doctrine or theology, it is God’s burning presence in our lives. I am suggesting that the tame God of relevance be replaced by the God whose very presence shatters our egos into dust, burns our sin into ashes, and strips us naked to reveal the real person within. The Church needs to become a gloriously dangerous place where nothing is safe in God’s presence except us. Nothing–including our plans, our agendas, our priorities, our politics, our money, our security, our comfort, our possessions, our needs.

Our world is… longing to see people whose God is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender… and ours; a God whose love frightens us into His strong and powerful arms where He longs to whisper those terrifying words, ‘I love you.’

-Mike Yaconelli

This is what makes my heart tremble and cry out… “Can it be? That You would love me?”

The only One worthy of my fear. Worthy of my reverence and respect for His authority, His sovereignty, His power… His self-control and restraint. His deeply pursuant love.

Because “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.,” and as I come to realize the perfect love my God has for me… there is nothing left to fear (1 John 4:18).

I will not be made afraid by anything else.

Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.

Isaiah 8:12-13

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Proverbs 19:23

Again

5-minute-friday-1

*TMI Alert* 🙂

“Not again!” I hear the muffled voice of my three year-old daughter through the bathroom door.

“Ugh!”

She growls and screams and cries helplessly. I can’t even begin to imagine what is going on in there.

“Sweet girl, what’s going on?” I ask her.

A sad voice responds, “I keep trying to wipe my bottom but there’s no poop on the toilet paper.”

Oh wow.

She’s working so hard on wiping herself without help… and as much as she feels that she is doing the exact right thing… the evidence is telling her differently.

“Oh girly, come here!.”

She opens the door with tears in her eyes. Half dressed. Toilet paper in hand.

“Sweety… sometimes when you go poo… it comes out clean! It doesn’t always leave a mess on your booty. It’s not always going to show up on the toilet paper. You did a good job.” (Of course I checked to make sure this was the case.)

My mind flashed to the conversations I’d never thought I’d have… yes, this was one of those.

And isn’t that how life sometimes is?

We think we’ve mastered something, learned a hard lesson, persevered to the finish line… only to find ourselves back at the starting line. Sometimes the fear of “again” follows me like a creepy guy in the shadows… whispering sweet nothings… about how familiar this all looks to the time I… To fear new friendships because I might be rejected again. Or to fear stepping out to do something new because I might fail again. To find myself in a situation I thought I’d already conquered.

But ya know… sometimes the poop of life doesn’t have to leave a mess on our booties.

Sometimes we are doing exactly what we need to do… and it’s not our fault that things aren’t going the way we thought they would. Or should.

How grateful I am that there is a perspective on life much grander than my own eyes can see or my own imagination fathom. That what I see as being criticized again is really just another good opportunity to practice humility and grow in my character.

That I don’t have to be afraid of “again” because each one has its own purpose… and that purpose can be good.

If I let it.

If I’m willing to look up at my Daddy, clean TP in hand, and receive His grown-up wisdom on the things of life.

And the ways I sometimes misunderstand them. Misinterpret them. Judge them by appearances alone.

Again.

And it’s okay.

Because chances are again and again too…