17 Jul 2014

When the storms come, keep writing

Sometimes we sit in the dark and wonder if what we write matters.

Of if how we parent matters. This life of writing a legacy with our kids.

So today I wanted to remember a post I pecked out on my cell phone one night in the middle of a hurricane warning two years ago. Because storms will always rage, airplanes will crash and the kids we love will run into tornadoes and some days we won’t be able to stop them.

Write on, regardless.

Press on.

Even if all you’ve got is five minutes.

I sit in the dark as Sandy rages outside and our family sleeps in one room tonight. I sit in the old white rocker listening to Zoe breathe and the winds howl and I know why we need your words. Even in a storm.

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Especially in a storm.

Because if no one wrote it down how would we know about small boats and fishermen who lose control and their nets and their minds with fear even when they sail with Saviors.

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How would we know about Saviors who teach us how to sleep on unafraid in this dark, cold house?

How would we know about faith small as a mustard seed or the size of an acorn a rattling around our deck porch.

How would we know about Kingdoms that come quietly with Truth that walks beside us in dirty feet and sandals.

How would we know about lions and dark caves and men who just kept right on praying. How would we know about small girls who stood up when he called them by name. How would we know about fellowship and courage and the acts of believing in the face of the Impossible.

How would we know that when the clouds bear down and the rains crack heaven right open and the waters wash into the metro systems that morning still comes?

How will we know if the people who’ve lived it don’t leave a testimony.

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Tonight Jackson tells me we need to build an altar.

I’m stacking 24 packs of bottled water and my first born turns away from the storm tracker to tell me it is time for an altar.

I’m not sure what to say. My head is racing with the meat I want to cook, the laundry I still need to dry, the phone calls I should make. I look at him, those glasses so solemnly staring. And I agree. Yes an altar of remembrance for the God who can do great things seems a good idea.

They eat their tacos and I turn to the story of a flood that could shame even this one. We read it again. The man, the family, the calling to build a boat bigger than their history would have even been able to make sense of. The days of darkness and fear and frustration. Why hadn’t I paid that part attention before.

The squabbling kids and tired, confined animals. The much longer than 40 days of waiting. We read this story not just because someone lived it. But because someone faithfully wrote it down.

They’re getting restless and there are still lists to be made and I turn the last page and there it is. God’s own writing in the heavens. Plastered from side to side the oath that He won’t let it happen again. The ultimate flood.

Trials may buffet and waters may rise. Roads may wash away and trees ache low over this house of ours. But I believe because someone else wrote it down and left a road map. I believe because of the altars left by the storytellers who came before me and these two boys who won’t sleep in their bunks tonight.

So I type my testimony in the dark while the house sleeps and my glasses are reflected in this small phone’s screen. I type and I tell because how can I not?

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…

From a small, white rental house in Northern Virginia where we are so grateful to have baked all the cookie dough, this is my testimony.

And so I write it down.

As good men and women have always done before me.

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Today’s writing prompt is BLOOM.

Click here to find out how to link up your writing or simply leave it as a comment below.

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She picks flower petals. In the vast green of a Michigan farm she picks petals. And my heart.

I hear her lisping, “wuv me, wuv me” — she hasn’t gotten the whole, “not” part yet. I want to magic a cocoon around her heart so that she never gets to that part.

Love you, love you, love you Zoe-girl.

It’s ridiculous this level of infatuation. As if every time I look at her God has only just then invented the word, “Daughter.” Weaving together strands of delight and my own blue eyes and her brother’s goofiness and her father’s gentleness and a wild passion for fearlessly leaping off wild edges of tomorrow that is all her own.

She picks at all the tender places in my heart and I lean in and listen and all I hear are echoes of delight. A melody that rings around the cavern of my inside and memory and it’s all this beautiful harmony and all because a three-year-old leans back from the bench where she’s eating with all the cousins and yells out for God, me and everyone else to hear, “I wuv you, mama!”

And it’s good. So good.

This being her mother and rediscovering my own mother and making peace with all her mistakes.

Because of course I couldn’t see what she could see – this love that colors in all the blind spots. This love that can’t be plucked off petal by petal. This love that gets it right even when it gets it wrong because by my word this love won’t quit.

This never-giving-up, always-chasing love.

This love that sweats a Michigan afternoon away among the daisies.

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