One Thousand Gifts

The babies sit in high chair and babble and squeal thanks for their meal.  And I ladle liquid from the crock-pot and add it slow into the pan watching gravy form.  But my thoughts race and flit and skip backward and I wonder:

Is it really that simple?

I land for a moment on the ever haunting question for me: is God sovereign?  And if He is how can He let such apparently bad things pass from His hands?

And I think of the moment earlier this week as the tears brimmed while driving.  Driving to a place where I hold breath and wonder-wait for the people to speak apparent judgment and raise the feelings of being worthless.  Like the day Jenny traced my bra on the back of my shirt in 5th grade and I knew certain that I was different and I would never be good enough for them.  And I called Julia as the tears brimmed and her calm voice spoke grace.  The tears slowed and I pulled over to wipe mascara trail from cheeks with a damp cloth shopping bag.  I wonder why rejection comes through His hands.  I wonder how rejection can be good; if He can somehow redeem it, before these fleeting days of mine are ended.

The girls have finished their meal and I sit down to enjoy a bowl.  And it tastes good. I pause to give thanks.

Is the answer really that simple?

To pause still and say thanks.

For over a year now my list of thanks grows long, but my heart is blinded still to the truth of those gifts.

Two little girls sit filthy with their meal and hold out hands crying “tickle tickle tickle” (though it sounds like giggle).  They laugh and squeal out their delightful game.  They know joy and they live fully in the moment.  Life is all new to them– all full of wonder and gifts and glee.

And I read in the pages of One Thousand Gifts that this childlike joy comes from bending the knee and bowing the head and whispering thanks from a full heart.  A heart filled by the acknowledgment of those simple gifts- those simple graces.

Yet I’ve done that for a year now! My heart cries in despair.

Hours later– later than I’m usually awake, I stumble hard into chapter 5.  The hard echaristeo.  And I think- was it grace when my camera fell and parts shattered and dreams seemed lost? Was it grace to walk in that place earlier this week and feel the rejection hot on cheeks newly cleaned from mascara trails? Does a good God give these things? Are they not rocks instead of the bread I asked for?

And Ann’s words mingled with the lens of scripture shatter like glass the constant hardness of my heart. And I look long in the reflection of those shattered pieces and quietly the purpose of the rejection, the broken LCD screen, the battle of constant ear infections comes into focus.  All these things are gifts– grace to draw me to the giver.  Grace to break what is wrong in my heart so He can set it anew.

And I sigh deep, lids heavy with sleep, and I wonder how I’ll ever get past Chapter 5 if I’m already so torn asunder.

Two weeks of counting finally typed up for you to read.  Pardon my tardiness, I’ve been singing a lot of hard hallelujah’s lately 🙂

  • Derek going to work late and coming home early
  • Snow
  • Derek arriving both home and work safely
  • Finishing one baby’s reenacting gown from gifted scrap fabric
  • Another delayed start to Derek’s day
  • Dancing to “Big Fish” by FFH
  • Little girl squeals while dancing
  • Aerie running around in her reenacting dress looking like a princess
  • Bronwyn sitting on day’s lap and chatting to him while chewing on a tape meausure (her favorite toy/teething object by far!)
  • Keeping lists
  • the girls playing peek-a-boo around my legs
  • praying for 4 hours of sleep before being woken by babies and recieving 5 hours
  • snow melting
  • yummy pizza
  • photographing Sylar
  • Finally getting out of the house after being snowed in for 5 days
  • Picture Frames!
  • Deciding at 8:25 to go to the 8:30 service with babies and momma still in PJs
  • Not being terribly late
  • Going to a home remodeling show with Derek and the girls
  • Little girls squealing and running all over the empty convention center hallways
  • Shopping with the girls chowing down on grapes and strawberries and goldfish
  • Tucking tired babies into bed
  • Playing at the mall playground with daddy
  • Daddy having Martin Luther King day off
  • Men like MLK who have God-breathed dreams and the courage to live them out- no matter what
  • Bronwyn’s ears being clear
  • Aeralind being so sweet about still have a double ear infection 3 weeks later. I never would have know
  • a referral to the ENT
  • $4.85 medicine for my penicillin allergic child as opposed to her usual $60 antibiotic
  • Ladies Bible Study starting for the spring
  • Chanwey joining me at LBS
  • Getting to see Shiloh and Kayla
  • Editing a ton of phots from Sylar’s shoot
  • Asparagus
  • Bronwyn peeing in the potty that I put her on while getting her sister out of the tub (instead of my floor like she usually does)
  • finding some great free templates for albums and cards
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • 4 night of consequtive sleep (the most since Christmas!)
  • Another photoshoot coming this friday with an infant and toddler
  • Sewing- the rhythm and the soothing nature of hand stitching after a long day
  • my girls knocking my camera off my table and shattering the LCD screen
  • the hard question- the haunting ones resurfacing: Is God Sovereign?
  • Wrenching, sobbing tears on the floor of the nursery.  Tears questioning. Tears surrendering.
  • Little girls stuffing pacifier in my mouth (and electrical outlet covers too!) and sitting on my face- showing natural compassion- trying to soothe me
  • Cornering Derek in the kitchen-spilling real heart issues
  • Broken camera still capturing images– though with some unpredictable over-exposure shifts
  • Being able to complete a paid photo shoot despite camera woes
  • making almost enough money to cover the potential repair costs
  • my parents offering kind to help with repair cost or buy a new body
  • Watching used sites in search of a good deal
  • Browyn and Aeralind twirling until dizzy on command
  • Twirling with both girls in my arms
  • admitting and owning fears
  • chasing Cooper in my yard
  • little girls napping long through a photo shoot
  • Seeing purpose=seeing Him redeem what I thought was bad into good
  • Single leaf dangling from a branch
  • the ugly-beautiful
  • Google when suddenly struck with the urge to make play dough
  • Little fingers pressed into pink dough
  • cookie cutter shapes out of play dough
  • less play dough eaten than I had expected
  • reading– maybe even devouring– One Thousand Gifts 
  • Peek-a-boo with babies
  • Little girls swarming daddy
  • Derek taking apart the washer to remove something in the pump that I did not see in the wash once again
  • That video and song that made me cry at church.  Cry truth.
  • A body of believer and elder commited to one anotehr
  • the New “tickle tickle tickle” game that the girls created with one another: complete with Jedi mind tickling giggles
  • Stubborn tears (not my own this time)
  • Cocoa to wake me up after another rough night
  • Quirky little girls
  • Tears of understanding at the word “no” coupled with half-hearted obedience
  • Cross cloud etched in the sky so blue
  • twirling with Aerie and her giggles
  • Little girls gleefully going down slides all by themselves
  • Cookie batter
  • Husband with the sneaking little boy face running out of the out of the house after me.  “Wait!!!….. I love you.”
  • Little sarah at nursery weeping in my arms because she didn’t want all the fun things I could offer her.  Oh Strong willed Sarah, you and I we reject so much good!
  • Little girls tucked in bed
  • Derek triumphantly removed the wip that clogged my washers pump
  • Derek accepting with grace that the wipe was no the pump’s only trouble
  • Bedtime
  • The release of hair from hair pins
  • The release of souls from sin–from ingratitude

holy experience