God's day. This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118: 24

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The Things we do for Love

Originally published on four moms June 17, 2009

 

Let me start this post by saying I have a bird phobia.  Bugs, snakes, spiders…no problem.  Birds, yucko!  There is a long story that goes with it, including some nasty events that happened while working at a pet store in high school.

But I love my children enough to put aside my phobia apparently.

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futurechickenfarmer

We are visiting my parents and my mom (who teaches first grade) lovingly timed the hatching of the classroom chicks for our visit.  Ever since his first visit to the orchard where these babies are destined to go, my son has been talking about chickens of his own if we ever move to a ‘farm’ one day.  He saw the grown version eat bugs, the fallen fruit and kitchen scraps and got to collect eggs and fell in love with the idea of his own chickens to take care off ‘all by himself.’  Liam is a true farmer at heart and has lots of work stamina to go along with it.  (My favourite thing he says about the chicks is ‘mommy chickens are powerful messers’ with great admiration.)  This visit Raine was just as impressed and loves to gently hold these babies – no fears inherited from her mother at all.

So even though I have had to pick up baby chicks (at some sacrifice to myself – imagine whatever you think is the last thing you would want to pick up to think about how I feel) I have in turn been blessed by seeing my children enthralled with yet another part of God’s creation.  I cannot tell you how many hours they have spent studying these babies.  Their absolute wonder and excitement for all things God created is one of the greatest gifts I receive from being a mother.  I cannot help but see only miracles and  joy, instead of something icky, when looking at life through the eyes of my children.

chickens01

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Rocking

Originally published on four moms June 3, 2009

 

Rocking

Hot babe against warm breast

I use the intensity of my babies skin

to brand this moment into my forever

Because just right now

I am love

And as this is but a poor reflection

I wonder how my soul shall bear

Knowing fully

rocking

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Separation

Originally published on four moms May 20, 2009

It’s evening and I pull up to the house and see the lights on upstairs.  I am coming home from yoga, a brief retreat from the wonderful demands of stay at home motherhood.  I am feeling renewed and relaxed, having indulged an hour and a half to my body, mind and spirit.

Surprised, I see the garage door open and my husband standing there with our daughter, now 16 months.  I come up to the stairs and see the remains of tears cried in my absence on her cheeks.  I take her in my arms, kiss her soft cheek with great love.  She cried while you were gone he relays.  I tried everything, even feeding her ice cream but she just wouldn’t cheer up.  You didn’t take your cell phone, so I couldn’t call you.  (Yes that blasted cell phone we got solely for the purpose of me being gone from the kids and I left the house without it, thinking it unnecessary, as she loves being with her daddy so.)  My heart is breaking that she missed me and I wasn’t there, she is relieved to accept the comfort of my presence.  As a parent I try so hard to avoid this type of situation, preferring to let my kids grow into separation as they are ready, yet here I am, holding a baby girl who clearly felt forsaken by her mother.  I am thinking about verses read in this weeks bible study…

Isiah 49:14-15

14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!

As a mother, I feel such great love for my children, it is hard to imagine a more protective, nuturing love.  To think about forgetting my nursing baby and having no compassion for the children I have born at first seems incredulous.  Yet, upon reflection, I do so, in small and large ways all the time.  Such are my failings as a human.  The only way I can even begin to muster up enough compassion for my children is by being filled with the spirit.  As a parent, I need all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control I can get.  Thankfully, even when we fail those who love us and those we love fail us, we have a God who grants us forgiveness.  We have a God who just IS these things all the time and that despite our failings, we have a heavenly father, who always loves us and promises never to leave us!

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Father God

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus

Prayer

Originally posted on four moms on April 8, 2009

At the beginning of lent I signed up to participate in my church’s ’40 Days of Prayer’, the idea being that instead of giving something ‘up’ for lent to give something ‘more’ for lent.  I was terrified of the idea of praying for an hour straight for forty days in a row…so I knew I had to do it.  This is a story of one of the things I have experienced from this commitment.

God has been moving in me, making me curious.  ‘God what is your will for my life.’  For months as I am sporadically asking, I hear nothing, silence, a vast abyss that fails to answer my need.  Time, I think.  With time God will answer.  So I keep praying, sporadically, in bursts and spurts and still silence.  Not the silence of being in the woods on a spring day with birds chirping and leaves rustling, but the silence of wearing earplugs, only my own thoughts echoing around inside my mind.  Still I know I am not alone, God is there, I know it, I sense His mighty presence somewhere behind a synapse, I just don’t hear Him.

Months pass and now the approaching is not sporadic.  Daily I am kneeling before God’s throne, seeking His forgiveness, His love, His filling, His answers.  One question of many that always, always, always, gets asked ‘Father God, what is your will for my life.’  A few days, nothing, still only echos.  Yet I persist.  A few weeks, and I ask again ‘God what is your will for my life’.  I am ready to move on before I even ask, expecting that more time is needed.  Instead He answers.  “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself.’  Instead of falling over in awe and praise that God can be heard, approached and answers, I think a small thank you God, jot it down in my prayer journal and wait, with longing for more.  Somehow I want more.  These beautiful true, simple words of Jesus are not filling the void.  I yearn for details, specifics, a five year action plan from the almighty.

Still I persist. God, what is your will for my life. God:  To love me with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself.  Broken child:  God, what is your will for my life. God:  To love me with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself.  This story repeats over and over and still, in my brokenness I want more.  I don’t think about how to obey and answer, I just keep wanting.

The conversation turns to this as I finally let my emptiness spill out to the one who already knows how painfully empty I am.  I am before God once again.  God what is your will for my life. God:  Love me with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself.

Me:  God, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but that is just so vague…I am type A God, you made me this way, can you please just give me something specific…

God:  Leah, why are you making this so complicated…why don’t you just start with the loving your neighbour part.  Leah just go and love your neighbour.  Yes Leah, literally.  Yes Leah, someone who lives on your street.  You know your neighbour…

This still seems too simple, too small, too insignificant.  It is mixed with guilt over where I live and what I have.  I don’t listen. For I have sinned and all too often fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

On Thursday I’m in the kitchen with the kids.  We are all dressed and fed, but as far as hair combed and faces washed…not so much.  The house is a disaster, it’s cleaning day and I would be embarrassed to let someone see it.  I have a long to do list in my mind and haven’t started yet as my son wanted to make banana cookies and I also mixed up some bread dough, resulting in even more mess.

Ding dong.  I go to the door.  Of course it’s not a surprise  to you, but it was to me…my neighbour.  (Not someone I know well, really just a casual hello over grass mowing once in a while, I am closer in age to her children, than to her.)  And, yes, someone who lives on my street.  A literal neighbour.

Me:  (Internal) Oh I guess this is your idea of a joke.

God:  Not a joke exactly, we can discuss later, but time is a ticking, are you going to leave her out in the cold with a quick hello or listen…

So I finally listened and invited my neighbour in.  (And I am almost too ashamed to say that a big part of me hoped she couldn’t.)  My kids and I fed her a fresh banana cookie with a cup of tea.  I hoped nothing from the floor was sticking to her socks and she wouldn’t be too grossed out by the state of my kitchen to eat the cookie.  I listened while she talked, gave her some empathy for some difficult things she is going through right now, regarding aging parents who live far away, and feeling lonely after moving across the country.  I hope she left feeling not my initial hesitancy, but a small sliver of God’s perfect love.

Night came and I once again I venture before God.  ‘Father, God, Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for the blessing of sending my neighbour over and thank you that I put aside my own selfish ‘to do’s’ and pride about my belongings enough to obey you.  God you are good.’  And I hear silence, not the vast echoing kind, but the lovely spring kind, like I am walking though the woods with my maker.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17)

Flowers from God, via my neighbour

Leah

Originally published April 1 2009 on four moms

Welcome to Love Is…

I hope to use this space to share my successes and struggles in trying to pick up Jesus’ cross and die to myself.  So here is a bit about me:

I am so fortunate to have known Jesus my whole life.  I cannot remember a time that I did not believe in God, and do not think there ever was such a time.  There have been times when I have had questions, big questions, lots of questions, scary questions, flippant questions, yet I always had faith that God would answer them, even if I did not know how.

Right now though, something is different.  I have been praying for an intimate relationship with God, while returning to a childlike faith of trusting that what God wants for me is always (of course) what is best for me.  This is taking me to new and exciting, yet frightening places.  I struggle daily against my sinful, selfish, prideful, egotistical nature and ask God for the kind of love necessary to follow him instead.  I praise God for his love, forgiveness and grace by which I am saved.

I am also trying to figure out specifically how God intends me to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself.’ (paraphrase of Matthew 22:37-39).  At this point in my life it definitely includes serving as wife to my wonderful husband and mommy to my two joyful and life loving children.

Alongside with growing closer to God and my family, I am passionate about gentle and respectful parenting, breastfeeding, homebirth, reducing my environmental impact, growing our own food and buying locally as much as we can that we cannot grow, traveling, camping, communing with God in nature, reading, allowing my kids to be enthusiastic life long learners, hanging out with good friends over good food and writing.

Thanks for coming to share this space with us. I pray God will provide you with something you need here.

Leah

I moved my blog…

I needed some new space – if there is anyone still who ever pops over here you can find me here

Two minutes

Today while in the midst of the busyness that are my parenting days of late (it’s one of those stages where going to the bathroom by myself doesn’t really happen), I took two quick minutes for myself.  I had just loaded all the kids and our outdoor stuff (breakfast dishes, swimsuits, playdoh, shoes, underwear, etc.) back inside and needed just two minutes of quiet.  I stepped back outside with the camera to soak up something beautiful.  Right now our raspberry patch is blooming and it literally buzzes audibly, there are so many pollinators doing their work.  I grew up in the city so lots of this nature, country stuff is still new and very surprising to me and hearing all the different fruit trees buzz this spring has been wonderous.  The sound really soothes me, in a similar way as listening to ocean waves.  Somehow, both give me the feeling of the presence of God.  I listened for a minute, snapped a few pictures of the beautiful bees and headed back inside, thankful that something so simple (yet so miraculous) could make me feel so sure of the peace of God.