Wherever two or three are gathered…

3291223203_acbcce9483 (2)That morning didn’t start out too promising. Before breakfast I had to intercede in a scrap.

Usually I try to let them figure it out between the two of them. Usually they come up with some sort of compromise without too much interference from me. This fight, however, was escalating. With tempers flared, I wasn’t sure that these little ones could figure it out on their own.

After spending some time alone in each of their respective rooms in order to cool off, we sat down for breakfast together. It was a day off school, so with no schedule in sight, the girls enjoyed giggling and making fun. I was busily plugging dates into the calendar while they were finishing up their breakfasts.

One of the girls excused herself after she was finished her breakfast. Only one child remained at the island finishing up her meal when all of a sudden, this wise beyond her years voice asked, “Mommy, if God created everyone, how can he live in my heart?”

Now as a pastor, I’ve gotten some tough questions in my life, ones that I feel obligated to answer even when I don’t really know the right thing to say. So I’ve learned that I don’t have to have all the answers. Sometimes listening to the question without judgment is all that is necessary.

But somehow on this day just listening didn’t seem to be enough. I felt as if this was one of those moments that define who you are as a parent.

I stopped what I was doing and without really knowing what I was going to say, took a deep breath. I told her that I didn’t really understand everything about God but I thought that God is love and that love can’t help but create things. In love, God created the processes that create us. But also, in love, God lives in our hearts.

In my mind, I was relieved to have gotten through that one with what seemed to be a pretty good answer. But as young children often do, she didn’t really seem to have heard my answer. Without comment or question, she was off to get ready for the day.

I don’t know if I got through to her that day but I know that her question got through to me. In moments like these, I am realizing, God is here creating love in the midst of our crazy family life; creating love in the midst of the fights; creating love while we are busy with full calendars.

And that love means that God lives here, in our home, in our family, in the hearts of my precious children. It just sometimes takes the right question to open our eyes to it.

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Shattered

LandscapeIt always amazes how far the pieces scatter when I’m picking up the broken dishes that met the fate of falling on our ceramic floor. Many times I’ve thought that I’ve picked up the last piece only to find several chunks down the hallway halfway to another room.

The first time a dish broke on the floor, it was a dish that had been given to me by my paternal Grandmother. I never really liked the looks of it but even so, my heart shattered into as many pieces when my daughter accidentally dropped it on the ground. The only thing that kept me from falling apart was the fact that two very sad little girls were crying at the time too.

I kept my composure as I picked up the many pieces but inside I wanted to sit on the floor and fall to pieces too. I wanted to fall apart because this dish was my connection to my Grandma and though I had already said good bye to her in her death, I wasn’t ready to let go of that little piece of her that I still had with me.

Today some more memories of mine went shattering to the floor.

I’ve moved around a lot in my life and because I’m naturally a bit of a hoarder I took with me wherever I went small tokens that had an important memory attached. There were some items that were found while spending time with friends. There were quite a few stones and shells that I had picked up while visiting oceans and beaches.

I kept them in a jar that has traveled with me wherever I moved. Its contents have changed over the years, but it has always contained those little things that remind me of the bigger moments in my life.

Today I had gotten that jar out. I was looking for some stones to place in the bottom of the herb garden I was planning on planting. I was desperate for something to put into the bottom of the pot so that the roots wouldn’t sit in water. I thought to myself, what better use could I have for those tokens than to just sit in the jar. They could be at work helping something new to grow.

The girls were intrigued by my jar of different things. As I sorted through the pile that lay on the counter, I chose those items that were no longer attached to a specific memory. What lay left on the counter were those things that meant a lot. I asked the girls to fill the jar back up as they were finished looking at the things that intrigued them.

They were almost to the end of their browsing when the glass jar was placed too close to the edge of the counter. In the blink of an eye, the jar and all the precious memories it held went flying to the floor, shattering as it smashed on the ceramic tile floor.

Again, I wanted to cry. Those things that held some connection to my past, were lying in dust on the floor with a million shards of glass. It was hard to separate the glass from my collection.

Despite my sadness, I remained calm for my sensitive little girl whose heart was also shattering. I don’t always stay so calm but today we were able to talk about how mistakes happen to everyone. I admitted to being disappointed but despite that, we were able to sweep up the pieces without anyone cutting their bare feet on the broken glass.

As I swept those pieces onto the dustpan, I found that I couldn’t dump my collection into the garbage as I first thought I had to. Those tokens were connected to something deep inside of me. Those things represented many of my relationships and experiences, all of which have made me who I am today and if I lost them, it felt as if I was going to lose a part of me.

So as I write this, all of those pieces lay on a paper plate; awaiting my decision about their fate. Perhaps they will find themselves along with the broken glass being held by a new container nestling today’s precious memory alongside the ones from the past.

Where can I go from your spirit?

I grapple with living in the Spirit as a stay at home mom. While I know at the time I made the decision to stay at home it was a call, the day to day challenges of kindness, grace, mercy and patience seem to be as elusive to me now as when I was working full time and mothering.

As for time for a connection with God, those quiet moments to pray, to journal and to reflect seem farther away than ever before. I wonder if I’m being faithful. I wonder if those charitable qualities would flow much more freely if I found time to center myself in a daily discipline.

Even as I wonder, even as I yearn for more energy to do all that I would like to, I still am aware that somehow God is connected to this life I’m leading.   That in living life as a frail and imperfect human being I am learning and I am connected to the deeper things of the spirit. That in living in the moments that this life brings, I’m experiencing the abundant life that Christ has promised as I live into the grace that emerges in every day living.

Join me as I reflect and share with you my story of being a mother, a human being and a follower of God.