Margin, Margin, SERIOUSLY MARGIN!

seriously you guys, seriously.

As I’m writing you, I’m wearing my navy cotton robe, the window is open and for now the oppressive heat has broken.  Life is cooling down, can you feel it?

This week I walked away from the internet for a while, it was very 1997 over here.  I should have donned an oversized Abercrombie shirt and a Jennifer Aniston haircut to complete the package.  Maybe watched a little ER and nibbled on some Fun-Yuns (ew)

I lost out on a lot of blog life, tweeting and facebook posts while I was gone.  (I had to re-log into twitter!  Oh the insanity!)

But I gained margin to bear witness to the little moments where God speaks, the daily bread I have so sorely needed.

I love spaces, margin, rhythm and I can’t live a life of constant output without space and punctuation.  I cease to make sense.

ibecomelikeasentancewithoutanyspacestohelpitallmakesense.

Friends, I am convinced that we are giving away all our spaces, filling them with screen time.  We don’t look around while we wait in line, we don’t people watch, we just scroll and screen until our next obligation.

For the first morning I was off I felt like I had lost an appendage, I had phantom iphone pains. Which is insane, almost shameful.

I began to create a ridiculous image in my head of me with one arm and an iphone where the other one should be.  I could hardly navigate life and it was comical but almost strangely poignant.  Am I almost disabled by my constant phone time?

But the more comfortable I got with having free moments of in-between the more I realized that so often it is into those margin moments that God speaks.

Because I wasn’t online, God and I chatted about holiness, how he is whole holy.  We broke a prayer barrier that grew up long ago.

Because I wasn’t online I saw my son in a whole new light, saw the patterns and behaviors that knit together to make up the Caedmon God created for us to raise up.

Because I wasn’t online I became an expert at playing kitties with my daughter. Seriously, I have a killer meow.  I should do a video blog just so the world can catalog and enjoy it.

I realized how much I was measuring myself by your approval, by blog stats and numbers.

I love you all, I was texting with a friend the other day about how I refer to many of you in conversations as my friends even though we likely haven’t even chatted on the phone let alone met face to face.

I get to meet some of you at the STORY conference in a few weeks and I can’t think about it without goosebumps. SO. EXCITED. 

But the thing is, sharing these windows into each other’s lives sustains me on many a lonely “stay at home mom” day.  These words that we swap make me feel less alone in many of the thoughts and fears that plague me.

But friends, Margin… Is… SO… Good!  God speaks in margin, souls breathe in margin, resolve grows in margin, so does love and peace.

I am going out this afternoon to get a margin tattoo.  Not really, but I could take out a billboard on it.

Do you feel like a run together sentence some days?  Do you need a little breathing room, a little margin?   Maybe we need to amputate our screens until they feel like a tool and not an appendage.

Where jumping looks like walking away

Yesterday I wrote about jumping into something swirling and blue, about immersing myself truly in the belief that whatever God has in store of me- that it will be wild and sweet, even when it’s terribly painful.

Today that jumping in seems to be calling me to walk away for a bit.

I try to write here four days a week and to keep up with all of you and what God is putting on your hearts.  And I love it, truly and deeply.

Lately I’ve also been working like made to restore old furniture and convert old sheets into shabby chic rag rugs.  I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be, I think I’m called to be a writer.  But… I always feel I need to be bringing in more money, somehow, through an old chair or a hat,.

I fear there won’t be enough so I try to as kel puts it: “Hock whatever I can from our dining room table.”  Although, now I’m wondering if this isn’t about a lack of trust.

And I’ve been mothering, but not well.

And I’ve been praying, but not really.

And I’ve been reading, but barely.

mostly it’s been a furious effort into something without a vision, attacking something I’m very unclear on in a wild effort to make more of little.

I’ve worked my hands dry and my elbows sore.  I have been busy mothering, cooking, cleaning, folding, writing, crocheting, tearing, painting and my life feels too full.

My soul feels like a hot mess right now.

I need to take out all of these things and lay them on the table, sift through them and see what goes where.

I need to wipe the slate cleanish, and see what colors belong on the canvas.

So I am shutting the digital world out until Saturday to listen for messages that come from something deeper.

This isn’t because blogging, tweeting or facebook-ing is bad or wrong.  It isn’t.  In fact for me it’s quite often a gift.  Some days you all are the community that sustains my solitary at home with kids way of living.

But I’m called this week to abstain from almost all of it so that I can be filled again with the right things in the proper order.

Wild and Sweet (and how badly I want to jump in)

Yesterday we made it to church in time for worship, for two songs at least. I stood there pulsing with praise as my feet pressed into the floor, trying to beat the anxiety and worry of the past few weeks into the floor, down and away.

As I lifted my heart and hands in grateful praise I felt the words “wild and sweet” scrolling through my soul over and over again.  His plans for me are quenching, stretching, crazy and lovely.

Can I believe in them?

I pictured myself as a cliff diver, with toes curled around the edge of the rock, peering into azure blue ocean, longing to take the plunge.

Then the song ended and a new one began

“Come away with me, come away with me, it’s never too late, it’s not too late, it’s not too late for you.  

I have a plan for you, I have a plan for you.  It’s gonna be wild, it’s gonna be great, it’s gonna be full of me… So open up your heart and let me in.”

The courage to jump, to alight, to open up started to creep up from my toes and I felt like I could, in him, fly.

Yet, before I could take another step, the chain caught me and held me fast.

Wild and sweet?  Lord, what if it isn’t?

My mind always flashes to my parents on their wedding day, my father holding my mother’s chin in his hand, posing for the camera pre-kiss.  Their eyes so obviously full of love and hope, those lovely wedding feelings that brings the congregation to tears.

Did they open up their hearts to you?  Did they jump in only to find depression, brain damage, near bankruptcy, heart attacks and death by the train tracks?

How can I trust that this loving God has all these wild and sweet plans for me when I still feel so broken, skeptical?  When Holiday weekends bring an acute sting of loneliness and feeling just plain orphaned?

I don’t believe that God sent any of this pain, but how can I believe that I have mostly wild and sweet in store for me when this world is such a broken, tangled mess?

This world is the stage for his plans, and it will certainly bring me stinging pain, over and over again.  Perhaps today, perhaps now in this very next jump.

Can I really totally faithfully and forever immerse myself in the waters where I taste it all as sweet, come what may?

Maybe, maybe not, definitely not today.

But I can take slow and purposeful steps to the edge of this cliff, this today that lies before me.

Each day, and so many moments held in them are decisions to jump.  The leap of believing that it will always be wild and sweet isn’t something that I can do today, but still, I can jump.

It’s not about one big leap but a series of leaps where we choose to leave the high heat of the cliff.  Where we make the choice to fall into something that cools and surrounds us completely in deep, dangerous blue unknown.

And so I spin around from my retreat and go for it, madly hurling myself into something bigger and lovelier than my pain and questions.

Knowing that some leaps will bring cuts and rocks, but that I cannot survive up here any longer, I need the crazy swirling blue to surround me now.

Our mother’s laps and that universal longing

Over the weekend we housed 8 people in our tiny home for two nights.  Our friends Heather and Aaron came to stay with us over the weekend along with their sons, ages 2 and 3 months.

As you can imagine it was madness, life exploded all over the walls and floors of our home.  Luggage didn’t fit neatly into closets and Noelle kept trying to climb into the baby swing.  Friday’s breakfast dishes stayed where they were until we shoved them out of the way to make room for Pizza that evening.

Heather and Kasen

As we attempted to coax all four kids to sleep Heather stood in my kitchen nursing Kasen and singing him to sleep.  She opened with Somewhere Out There from American Tale and then transitioned perfectly into Somewhere over the rainbow.  He drifted off in her arms as I finished the dishes.

There is something about bearing witness to the intimate moments of a friend’s mothering journey that arrives as a special gift.  A baby nestled into his mother’s arms is a sacred and precious thing, don’t you think?

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