Sep 13, 2009

The Welcome Rain

I welcome the rain, as a source of refreshment, God's presence

And memories of being a little girl on the farm invade my thoughts now

I recall running waiting at the porch door, being given the go-ahead to play

Splashing in puddles with my sisters, I can still hear the sounds--

Exquisite squeals of delight would abound and connect us

Even in something so simple.

I remember looking up to the heavens and thanking God for this miracle

Being awestruck by all God's mystery in the wonder of nature

The rain washes and cleanses, just as God's amazing love wraps us

Pouring out so abundantly and giving me new perspective on the clouds

My analogies of the storm in my life seem renewed by each fresh raindrop

The rain turning into a fierce storm can create havoc and shake us

Yet the gentle rain is a beautiful reminder of God's washing us, renewing us

I love to hear the rain on the roof, the rain as it hits my flowers that drink it in

But I am reminded how I need your grace God, washing me and giving me

Fresh eyes to see, a renewed heart to open, sensitve ears to hear

The cries and joys all mixed together in the healing rain

And then I see it on the horizon, brightening the sky

The rainbow of promise.

Sep 5, 2009


Our team loves your style of writing and how you quickly tie in the spiritual to the story you are telling. Unfortunately, we are looking for stories about "real families" -- meaning families that have not experienced divorce. We aren't at this time interested in stories about single parent families, since we encourage the sanctity of marriage.

This is part of a letter I received this week, as I've begun to more earnestly submit my writing for publication. As I read the first line I was excited: "Cool, they like my writing!" Then as I read on, I felt like a brick was hurled at me full-force and words of the moment felt soul-crushing.

The Sanctity of Marriage

As I've thought through and prayed through this unexpected letter and it's strong message, there were perspectives that I felt needed to be expressed, not defensively, but from the perspective of this single mom.

I'm going to start at the end: We encourage the sanctity of marriage. "Me too! Me too!" I wanted to scream. I've thought about my experience a few times of thoughtless people who would say things like: "You're divorced, you don't care about marriage." Or "You're lucky, you got rid of your husband." I remember those stinging words, and at the time, I wasn't quick enough to respond, but I've really thought about the subject. But being divorced doesn't mean I don't believe in marriage, or honor it deeply. In fact, the loss of my marriage remains the biggest hole in my heart. Well, probably larger is the loss my children have felt through divorce. But the breaking of vows, the devastation that divorce brings, isn't something I recommend!

The care and love, the commitment and honor, the respect and dignity of a healthy marriage are things I still long for deeply. I also believe that I make a concerted effort to encourage my friends and family in their own marriages. What a beautiful gift from God that bond is! I love attending a wedding and hearing the words: "What God has joined together, let no one separate." I am grateful to be part of a family (I'm one of five children), with two parents ready to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary in a few weeks. My parents' love for each other through every joy and sorrow in life is an absolute beautiful gift. I feel blessed that my brother and sisters each chose a mate that honors their marriage, that shows love and compassion and unions that are Christ-centered. I'm grateful for all my friends that have strong marriages that are God-honoring and a foundation of joy. And I'm not viewing it through rose-colored glasses. I understand full-well the give and take, the "I better hold my tongue", the "will we ever be out of this valley", the sacrifices, the "speaking the truth in love" moments, the hard work a good marriage takes. But, with all my heart I honor marriage.

Real Families

Early on in our divorce I remember a specific moment that changed my perspective. My children who were probably 8 and 5 were spending the night with their father. My oldest son forgot something he needed for school and I had gone to their father and step mother's home to drop it off. As I walked up on the porch I the door was open and I could see they were all sitting down for dinner: Their dad, step-mom, my children and their step-brother. As I gazed on the scene as an outsider, it was like I was looking in on a perfect family. How my heart sunk--looking in on the laughter, teasing, enjoying the meal. "The perfect looking family, " I thought. I began to think about what God thought when he looked in on my family. It surely wasn't perfect looking (and of course, the reality is that looks are deceiving).

I began to realize that even if I perceived we were "broken", through God's amazing grace my sons and I were building something together that was a foundation honest and real and truthful. And with God at the center, I knew the family we experienced--even if it didn't look like to the outside world--was as authentic as it could be. I won't tell you that being a single parent was easy -- it was and is the most challenging job I've ever had. But, it is also the most rewarding and the most precious gift.

And that night, God showed me He would be my partner in our circumstance, and He has never, never, never disappointed me. During this time one of the best books I read was called, "Breaking and Mending" by Mary Lou Redding. In it, she described memorizing Paul's letters, so I decided to begin journaling on the letter of Colossians. I began to know in a very, very deep way as I meditated and prayed, that the only way I was truly complete, was in Christ. Nothing else I was defining myself by: being a wife, a mother, a worker, a friend, a sister, a daughter--would give me the completion within myself I desired. Christ alone was what I needed. I remember the opening of heart and flood of tears when I finally grasped that knowledge.

What a an honor and blessing that God has given me so many people on this journey of life. But it is not my roles or relationships that define me. My identity in Christ is the only identity that is completely secure, the identity that can never be taken from us, and it is the source of our wholeness. It is a journey and I'm still traveling the path. But by God's grace, I am confident I am "in Christ" and that's where I find my worth. And, I am bathed in God's amazing grace, I am certain I am living a life that is truly authentic. And when I recall all the the brokenness of the past, I can also see the beauty of all the love and forgiveness woven into our lives. In my view, that makes all of our lives pretty real.

Ever since I began the journey of being a single parent, God has put people in my life who have experienced what the same road, or similar. They were gifts to me on the journey and provided me a soundingboard, deep spiritual friendships and practical support. God has continued that this past year as I was part of a leading a single moms group. There were women who had adopted children, women going through divorce (at all stages of the grief process). All the women that I have known, as they shared their stories, have given me such fortitude and hope. And I do believe that being a single parent takes a great deal of courage and strength. I also believe that, for me, I know that kind of strength is not my own, but comes from a loving God, who pours out His amazing grace on us. He takes us from the darkness to the light to become His lights. That is about as real as it gets.

Sep 1, 2009

The Doll House

A replica of our own farm house

Built so carefully and lovingly

By my father when we were young

A mind's eye view into the wonder

That was part of my precious childhood

It was life-size and plenty big for all of us

To play and create and plan and dream

I can smell the smells of the lilac outside the door

And hear the voices of my sisters and I playing there

Encountering elation and bliss in each moment

As we directed and played and became

Nurturing our dolls tenderly there

And setting the table carefully

Eating treasures from the vegetable garden

Imagining, conceiving, creating, envisioning

Unaware we were also nurturing each other's souls

Filled with each scenaios our inventive, artistic minds would hold

Taking walks to the creek to pick delicate Queen Anne's Lace

And dye them beautiful colors of violet and pink and yellow

To decorate our tiny home away from home

Cultivating, encouraging, developing deeper things

It was magical, enchanting special place--

Set on the bigger backdrop of the farm that we all loved--

With its mystery and beauty in the expansive fields

The escapades to the creek, the luscious gardens and green grass

Even now I am in awe of the beauty, the gift, the journey

All the dreams captured

All the hearts filled

All the twinkling eyes

All the promises

All the possibilities

All the precious wonder...

Brought to life in the Doll House