Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Christmas Prayer

I put a prayer in my heart this Advent Season.  I don't every year - as we all should; but this year felt just right.  Even needed. 

Advent - much like Lent - invites us to change; but in a less grueling, more gentle way.  And it's a season I love.  Early winter, some snowfall, a cozy, decorated, twinkling home, the anticipation of the coming of baby Jesus.  I always wish Advent could last just a few more days.

And I could use a few more days to work on this prayer that's been in my heart: a prayer of forgiveness.

Less judging; more forgiving.  That's the spirit I'm trying to squeeze into my heart.

To say I need a few more days; is, well, to say I'll probably be working on this during Lent, too.

I want to be the kind of mom that judges less.  Less criticizing the way other moms and dads run their show.  The way they dress their kids, feed their kids, medicate their kids, schedule their kids.  Because in the end, I don't want their judgement on the way I dress, feed, medicate and schedule my own children.  I want their compassion.

I want to be the kind of wife that stops putting impossible expectations on my husband.  Less revenge seeking after his 14 hour deer hunting expedition on my birthday.  More looking for the ways he loves me on the other 364 days of the year.

I want to be the kind of sister, daughter, family member who will spend more time focusing on my own challenges; and less time talking about the challenges each member of my family faces.

I've already started this forgiveness thing by sending a little to Phil Robertson in Louisiana.  I know Phil's type - rough, course, outdoorsy, plain talkin'.  One might say I'm married to one.  Phil's words may be have been rough - but they were rooted in Truth, and they were Phils' words.  Phil doesn't have fancy words.  We love him in spite of that.  I love my husband in spite of that.

In the end - what Phil meant to say but didn't have a way to finesse - was that we're not the judge.  Our word is not the final word.  And who's to say my sins are lesser than yours?  God didn't rank the Ten Commandments in order from least to worst offensive.  He just gave us Ten - and said to pay attention.

As I squeeze the final presents under the tree, squeeze in an abundance of family and travel in too few days, squeeze a little more forgiveness into my hardened heart, my prayer is that you'll find a little room in your heart to forgive me for my grievances, too.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lean in, turn it up

The girls and I piled into the front seat of my suburban a few days ago as we pulled across the farmyard to park in the garage.  But instead of taking a direct route, with Britta perched on my lap, Nell on the console and Noah riding shotgun, I decided to oh-so-slowly cruise a quarter-mile down our country road.

My choice broke every modern mommy safety rule.  But sometimes, you've just gotta break the rules.

I'm so glad I did.

We scouted our alfalfa field.   Looked over the neighbor's cattle.  Rolled the windows down.  And Nell leaned in to turn up the radio...

Out of gas, just my luck
Four bald tires on my pickup truck
No more credit, on my credit card

The lyrics take me back to a day I was the little girl ridin' in my daddy's pickup truck.

When I come home and hit that door
I remember what these aching arms are for
She's my one light when the world goes dark

My dad leaned in to turn it up and sing along.  No doubt we'd been working, but he always had a way to work in a little fun.

Tomorrow it's the same old grind
But she'll be burning in my mind

Our move to this little farm has washed me over with memories.  Driving the dirt roads, tromping through the creek, cleaning out a barn; it all takes me back.

She keeps the home fires burning
While I'm out earning a living in a world
That's known for its pouring rain

And it's made me realize that a farm isn't just a place I grew up; it's part of who I am.  These dirt roads and open spaces and cows and barns and field; they connect me to the hard-working farm men and women who make up my family's history.  And they keep me in constant Thanksgiving to our Creator.

She keeps the home fires burning
Ooh, and it's her warm loving
That keeps me returning again 

"Turn it up, Nell. We'll keep on drivin'..."