I was watering my freshly planted sunflower starts while a tractor two fields over methodically worked each row, the sturdy barn behind and rows of raspberries stretching in the acres beyond. I heard a sigh behind me. I turned to Darla who was sprawled out on her back, blonde hair fanned out over the grass in the front lawn.
“Ah, Mom- being out here on days like this makes me feel so inspired. Know what I mean?”
“I was just thinking the same thing.” I admitted. We had been talking a lot about inspiration and I smiled remembering my favorite part of her Mother's Day card to me: "My mom inspires me."
She jumped up. “I’m going to grab a journal. I have to write a poem or something right now while I’m thinking like this.”
I was laughing but mostly envious. I wished I could ignore the ground beef browning on the stove and the grubby toddler in front of me to grab a journal and follow.
Darla was back in a flash, returning to the place inspiration first hit and positioning herself exactly, as though her thoughts were in the small concentrated space above her blonde head. As I watched her tongue stick out while she focused, I remembered being not much older when I scaled up the inside wall of our barn to the stuffy loft, hiding in the corner with a tiny window overlooking the back field where my brothers rode dirt bikes. Notebook in hand, I wrote down trite observations that I now wish I kept.
Sunny days of my childhood were often spent trying to capture an illuminated moment. I remember teetering precariously in a hammock with an apple in one hand, journal and pen in the other, determined to get down on paper my thoughts in an inspired place, regardless of the swaying and the rope marks on the back of my legs. At night I often snuck onto the roof from my second story bedroom, waiting for creativity to hit under the stars.
Darla and Hudson came home from Grandparent’s night at school and came laughing into the bathroom where I was bathing Haley. “Mom- you know what Darla did?” Hudson asked.
“I’ll tell it! I’ll tell it!” Darla jumped in. She tells a story like her mom- barging right over top of anyone who might not tell it as well. “Mom- Beppe took us to ice cream! I was being funny and told Hudson, 'I wonder if they have awesome possum ice cream here.'
Then Hudson bet me. He said, 'I’ll let you shoot my airsoft gun as many times as you want if you ask the lady for awesome possum ice cream.'
I said, 'I’m doing it!' And Mom, no one believed I’d actually do it because obviously the lady was going to say no. Awkward! But I marched up the counter. I even said it with a straight face. I said, ‘Excuse me, do you have awesome possum ice cream here?'
The lady didn’t get the joke at all. She just said, 'Um…. No…' and I smiled and said, ‘Okay. Thank you!’ Then I went back to the table and everyone was cheering and laughing. Beppe even said the lady didn’t have much of a sense of humor if she didn’t think awesome possum ice cream was funny.”
Hilarious. My kids crack me up.
I’ve been a Mom for nearly a decade and it’s my favorite thing.
I was raised in a Christian home. Not a “we go to church on Easter” kind of home but a “we read Scripture at every dinner and ask follow up questions- God is the center of our decisions” kind of home. I thought by sixth grade I knew all there was to know about the Bible. I had heard every story about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I recited the “sinner’s prayer” at every altar call. I could say John 3:16 in my sleep.
This year, at age thirty-three, the book of Matthew rocked my world. I spent the year immersed in the first gospel at Bible Study Fellowship. How is it possible after knowing it backwards and forwards to have so many new things leap out and transform me? Ah yes, the Holy Spirit has a way with this.
Parked in the life of Jesus for eight months deepened my awe- how He held fast; uncompromising to God’s plan and God’s law while having a deep level of tenderness we can never know apart from Him.
Everywhere Jesus walks people are compelled to change and repent of their sins, not because of His demands but because of His profound love and set-apart holiness. He doesn’t seek those who think they have their act together. He seeks and meets the needs of downtrodden, exhausted, broken up people. He touches the untouchable- with slow care and attention. He heals bodies while speaking to the soul.
It baffles me when people believe God is either Love OR Truth, as though Love rides tandem with tolerance and Truth rides tandem with harshness.
I was mulling it over as we studied Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial.
Judas and Peter had much in common. They were disciples, of the twelve closest to Jesus. They both saw miracles in their years following. They both were called to choose- to follow Jesus, to trust Him, to believe Him, and to believe it wasn’t just an important thing but it was THE thing.
Both Judas and Peter had weaknesses. Judas was the treasurer of the group and was skimming off the top. But when Jesus announced someone would betray Him, no one pointed to Judas. They didn’t have him slated as “most likely to betray”. He was growing increasingly hard-hearted, out for his own interests, but his struggles were secret.
Peter had a loud mouth. He spoke before he thought. His zeal was often of his own resolve and not actually the power of God in him. He wasn’t the best listener. He got sleepy and distracted when he was asked to pray, on multiple occasions.
Jesus pursued Judas and Peter. He loved them. He ate with them, taught them, and shared His life with them; even knowing they would fail. He didn’t hold back because He knew the end. He instead used every chance to bring them to Himself.
Jesus had a moment of connection with both Judas and Peter in the middle of their sin.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...