Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On loving boundaries

In the beginning, God spoke and he drew boundaries

between light and darkness,
between sky and sea,
between land and water.

Before the sun and the moon and the stars. Before the first signs of life. He drew boundaries. Three out of six days, he established the corners of the earth and sky and seas. He saw that they were good.

Then, for the next three days he filled these empty spaces with beauty and life.
And there was no life outside these boundaries.

There was a time when "boundary" was a bad word in my book. Limitations held me back. Rules prevented me from doing all I wanted to do and be all I wanted to be. And I was wrong. I had the wrong images of how God's boundaries looked like. He rules not in the way of mortal kings.

His Word is not like a fence, keeping us away from something. Rather, the Lord's instruction is like a trellis, or better yet, strong thick pillar, columns that uphold the four corners of the universe. If a vine holds fast, it will go far. It will reach places it has never been. If a vine grows apart from the pillar, it will die due to the lack of light.

We must learn to love boundaries. Love boundaries -- not merely tolerate, not avoid, not test, not question, not add our own fences around the boundaries.  But we must hold fast to the Word of God because he gives life.

A couple of weeks ago, Hans took me to a home improvement store and asked me to pick a trough. A what? What am I to do with a trough? My fingers of death (or non-green-thumb) and I were beyond skeptical.

But my husband was kind, and he was insistent, so I drew a deep breath, and I picked one out. When we got home, I was completely won over. Two weeks later, I am in love with the mini garden on my balcony. Now, I am dreaming of the day when I can have my own vegetable garden. Who knew?

He did, apparently.

My husband knows me. He knew that I would love this gift. In some ways, he knows me better than I know myself.

Sometimes, we do not understand the Lord's instructions and the limitations he established on our lives. We question his will. Why is this happening? What is that rule for? We are beyond skeptical.

Sometimes, understanding follows obedience. We may not at first understand the boundaries that he sets, but we must obey anyway. We obey, in hopes to understand. We believe, while seeking understanding. We do not merely tolerate, or question, or avoid, or test, or add to his Word.

We must hold fast to his Word. We may not fully understand his purposes, but we can rest in our knowledge of him, and his steadfast love for us.

The Lord knows us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We can rest in him.

Emeth wrote his first song the other day, "When God Loves You, Obey God."
God, your God,
obey God,
obey parent, with you.
God, your God,
obey (musical notes) parent, with you.
He sang it to auntie Jean Jean. He said, "This is not really the song I want to write, but I want to remember this when I grow up." This kid. "He is our God, we are his people."

Though I don't fully understand Emeth's song, I find it strangely comforting. I may not understand all of the Lord's instructions, but I know that Christ has gone before me in his obedience, and he has fulfilled all righteousness.

So, I follow,
and I obey, with you.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Living our good old days

I had a few bosom friends when I was a teenager. You know who you are. I made it through puberty because of you. I think about how we stayed up at night, how we talked, while we were driving, sitting, being, walking on the beach, wishing and hoping, waiting for life to happen. Little did we stop and think, we were living the good old days.

Well, here we are.

The days are relentless. Dear friends, I feel like a hostess who left you at my front door, forgetting to invite you in.

As I am typing this, Emeth just disappeared into the bathroom with a pile of books. My little old man, in his relentless pursuit of meaning and reason. Am I using the word "incredible" the right way? Does "mend" rhyme with "friend"? Tell me when it is the right time to ask "why."

Hanan holds my hand and calls me best friend. He gently stroked my hair the other day. "You are a brave little mommy, I am petting you." This kid. His favorite part of the day is when we count to one hundred -- forward and backward. Like I said, this kid.

Khesed is plump and round and soft. Nursing takes time. But I love the thought that every bit of him came from me. Except for the dimple on his right cheek. That was a gift.

Hans and I are remembering the tenth anniversary of our first conversation. The summer I lived with my parents after graduation, after traveling along the East Coast. The summer I was waiting for life to happen. That was some conversation.

I am sorry this space is collecting dust. I just want to pop in to let you know that I am alive and well, living my good old days, the days I have been wishing and hoping for thousands of summer nights ago.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope you are filling your days with plenty of things to talk about when we are old and wrinkly.

The candles burn.
The pages turn.