27 June 2011

As a coda to the previous post, I realize that it ended up all nice and tidy and really super-righteous sounding. Seeing that and reflecting on it since, I know how weak I really am. If you are the praying type, please pray for me and for us in the coming months. I don't want to be ignorant of the realities, but don't want to drown in them either.

We have still have a lot of work to do before even getting on the plane, so much so that giving up this chair and table I write at seems very far away and easy to do. I know, in practice, it will be hard. And that, in the meantime, Satan will tempt me with things like antique malls and Ikea catalogues.

So it's not so tidy as my late night spiritually sentimental writings would have you - or me - believe. But I'm hopeful it'll be better. 


Anniversaries and possessions

"I'm thinking we shouldn't take anything when we go."

I said this to the husband today after days and weeks of pondering it, knowing it, and daring it to be said aloud. First, some background:

This weekend we took 24 hours off from parenthood to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary and hang out unhindered and fancy-free in a city we love: our current one. It was great: we walked, had dinner, saw a movie, slept in, and then we went to the City Market for our favourite childless activity: sitting down in a coffeeshop for actual talking.

Sitting across from husband I said this without knowing I would.

"I'm thinking we shouldn't take anything when we go. I don't want to send a crate. I want to leave it all behind."

We hadn't been talking about Ireland much today, still not knowing exactly how and when we'll get back, but knowing for sure that God is leading us back. It hadn't even been on my mind, but for some reason, in that place, this divinely planted wish came tumbling out, and I knew in my heart it was right.

Then came the smile and "I was thinking the same thing" and "I feel free" and "Ireland seems closer now." But also, "We still have to ship my tools" and my knowing nod as I recognize the distinction between what we need for ministry and what we use for comfort.

See, before, when we just took a few things in a large crate that ended up weighing a lot and costing as much as a 20-foot container, I felt jipped. I wanted everything, all my things, all my furniture, everything that said "mine, mine, mine" to go with me to Ireland. Everyone else got to, I said. All of our coworkers took everything, some took more than everything. But it came to be that we took less, and I resented giving those things up. When we came back, and all my things I'd left behind were here waiting for me, I felt vindicated. My rocking chair, my dresser, my table... still "mine, mine, mine."

And yet... the shine was gone. The wood chipped. The imperfections I hadn't remembered, or purposely glossed over, were still there. I sit in my brown club chair now and am happy to have had it here, relieved that it was not so hard to make another home here because of all we left behind, but that's all it is.

A chair I sit in.

Or a table we eat at.

There's no reason to take it with us. It won't make us happier. It won't enable us to love better. And it won't make things easier: the packing and the shipping and the cost of it all. There's no reason - no value to it - that equals the amount we would pay to take something that says "mine" over the sea. I will not be the person that spends thousands of dollars - not just dollars, but investments from people I cherish and admire, who have chosen to love us and Ireland through their support - on a container full of things.

And so our family purpose statement rears it's head. It's our goal and our road map. It points us home and points us heavenward. And it makes this decision, this tiny little sacrifice easier.

Value people over things.

This didn't come from me, or from us. It's what He would have us do, so there's nothing holding us back from being all there, here, or wherever.

It will still be hard, I know, to say goodbye to things that were here at the beginning of "us" and to which we came home. I'm not even really looking forward to it. And I'm sure I'll be annoyed at husband for shipping literal tools for ministry but leaving the framed mirror w/hooks he built for me behind.

But... there's a storage unit on the other side of the sea, with the odds and ends we brought or collected to make a new home. They wait for us to return - not to them, but to the people that inhabited them and visited us there and laughed at the table and closed eyes at the prayers. They want nothing to hold us back.

And yeah, it does seem closer now.

The literal call of motherhood, at 4 am

22 June 2011

The baby woke up at 4 am this morning.

(perhaps I shouldn't call him "the baby" anymore, as he's all toddler and little boy and craziness, but seeing as how he doesn't say actually enunciated words yet and still gets his bum cleaned up every three hours, we'll stick with "the baby")

It's a strange dichotomy, this motherhood: the dire need for sleep and the utter inability to lift up one's head that early in the morning, together with the sweet thought of baby breath nestled in your neck and a human pillow to hold.

So, I gave in. After waiting for a few moments to see if the crying would peter out, which of course, it never did, I unhooked myself from the girl who had burrowed her way into our bed, steadied my feet in the extreme darkness, and headed towards his call.

The cuddling was short-lived (there was a need for milk), and the laying back down was traumatic (no mother wants to close the door on a baby who wails, "Mama!"), but within seconds the house was silent again. I made my way back to our room, where the mildly sick husband tried to inch out some free space apart from the sleeping daughter.

All it took was five minutes, if that. I did my job and went back to bed. The five of us content.

he has a dimple in his chin, wouldn't you know!

Shameful thoughts on home

17 June 2011


When i first saw this topic, my chest filled with angst. If you know me or have been reading this blog for any short length of time, you know nothing quite disturbs me more than thinking about, wondering about, longing for a home. I don't really want to write about it anymore. I don't really want to think about it anymore. And I've spent more than a few hours praying that God would fill me with content with or without a home and let the idea, the dream, the impossibility of a perfect long-term security leave my heart so that the empty space it reveals can be filled with other things of greater value.

Today, I wait for an email to confirm whether or not my home is in Ireland or if we should just go ahead and plant ourselves here. I'm pretty sure I know where they will point us (back overseas, where we wish to go), but the waiting is driving me crazy and they sure are taking their time and I really really want to be selfish and petty about waiting to go home...


The longing for home does not belong solely to me. I can't get on my high horse and demand a "home" when there are millions of children literally without a roof over their heads, there are babies with no hopes of homes - ever. There are mothers who have no place to take their children for protection or solace or security. There is a world filled with people with this same longing, but without any of the modern conveniences that I so harshly reject because, to me, it isn't enough to call home.

I'm wracked with shame when I truly think about it, when I look around me and in my heart I say with so little care, "Nope, not good enough, sorry." This is my sin, my shame, to have more than enough and to reject it anyway.

Oh, God, replace this sin with You. Take away this pride. Remove these shameful thoughts. Don't waste these precious resources on a heart so dark. Take those babies, those children, those mothers, and give them all I forfeit. I am unworthy. And they are Yours.


confession: sometimes I edit, and sometimes I write for six minutes, but still I write furiously with gypsy mama. where does your heart say is home? 

Love from Philippians

16 June 2011

So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
Phil 1v9-11

A good thing to read and pray, on this rainy day

Sleive Binian, 2009

For father's day and everything after

14 June 2011

I've told this story so many times, it's become classic and renowned and certainly an ironic way to begin a marriage.

He untied my shoelaces and that was it. I knew then and he knew it, too.

When I tell the story, I remember the details. The way my head laid against the dorm room wall, cradling the phone, as I smiled and tried to remember the real name of the boy we called Tico. The girls across the hall, behind their own door, stifling giggles with hand-covered mouths. The MASH games (girls in Bible college play this best, because there is no harm, no sin in it) that had us living in Vegas, driving a blue Honda with four children and an apartment.

Part of that came true. There were four children, though only three are here with us. There was a Honda, though it was red and lived in Oak Park, IL where our love first creaked and groaned under the strain of imperfect unity and immature lovers. There have been apartments, and houses, and more apartments, yet still no Vegas. There was Chicago, and Kansas City, and Dublin instead, even more unexpected than Vegas could ever be.

But I digress. The details are this: He had a side part and I had uncombed curls (the image above is a rarity: I presume I combed it just because I knew I'd see him). He wore ties and I wore plaid flannel. His were creased khakis and mine were combat boots and a skirt with poppies. He'd had no heartbreak and the sutures on mine were just beginning to heal.

In chapel, my feet were on his chair, before I knew his name. He untied the shoelaces and I looked at him and thought without thinking, "Surely not him. He has no idea." When the giggles and the whispers hushed and I sat down beside him on that next day, he looked at me, called me his future wife, and in that moment it was us
against the world,
the school,
the giggling girls,
the frowning boys,
the painful past,
the unsure future,
the parents who no doubt would be doubtful,
against all odds.

It wasn't angry unity, but a united front. Thick and thin. Through my pain and his arrogance, to think it would be easy but to know for certainty that it would not.

And here it is: together we are nearly 12... still children, with growing pains and changing voices. His is stronger now and mine is singing new songs. We don't yet know who we will be or where we will go or how long it'll take us to get there. But between the two of us and the children we try to lead and protect as the divine gifts they are, we make no mistake:

He is the father here, following the Father of our future, and I am the mother who sings the songs that point us Home.


Feelings are not to be trusted

10 June 2011


Sometimes I feel like I've lived my life in reverse order. I fell in love the first time before I was old enough to drive. Got married before I was legally allowed to drink, let alone be a real grown-up. Had kids when I still felt like one, myself. You get the idea. I never really felt like I'd done things in the proper order or in the right way.

So in looking back over this past year... I came back to America kicking and screaming (figuratively, that is... no security risks here). I spent an angry, lonely, depressed summer in Wisconsin. I came back to my hometown anxiously and with a few reservations. Moved into this apartment where I type this now wondering how long we had to put up with it before we could move out and back far away. And here I am again, in June, not knowing quite how the summer, the year, or our lives will turn out.

But in looking back and seeing how not great at all I started out, I also see the people, and the church, and the art, and the family, and the school, and the community... all the things that made what started out as (feeling) wrong turn into something right. Who said we were supposed to trust our feelings anyway?


Linking up here, again, with Gypsy Mama, to make sure I'm writing... and striving towards what's ahead.

Reentry Anniversary

08 June 2011

We came back to the States one year ago today. A good, long, hard, fun, stressful, chaotic, slow, fast, happy, sad, fulfilling, frustrating, fruitful kind-of-a-year. But other than that...

Hubers 052811 085crop