Land of Mourning

Everything was dark. The sun shone only a dim light when it rose. The fear, the uncertainty, that deep, tangled knot seemed to grow ever larger. His voice was like a silent wall, not to be heard, but standing, unmoving. Nothing came from Him, no encouragement, for anything in His word she had read felt like a useless platitude in this day of despair. And any words addressed to him only came back empty, wanting, measured by the shortcomings of her humanity.

Her feet wandered in this dreary and terrible place. A thin mist of fog covered the places she stepped; even if it were brighter out, she couldn’t watch for her own safety as she explored the land of mourning. She hoped His words were true, but wondered when she uttered them aloud, desperately clinging to promises in her heart. She felt the weight of the oppressor in every sinew of her body; it struck her and slowed her and tried to consume her. And with each step she resisted, counting aloud the words of Him who is eternity, pulling them from the wells deep in her heart. She would not give in.

A rare step, here and there, a cool stream of water would flow over the top of her foot, under her arch, between her toes. These moments were the most refreshing pieces of this dreary place, but of course she could never see where to find them because of the mist. Any one step forward, even in search of the cool water on her feet, took all of her might.

The chains, they pulled at her and creaked and resisted with every movement. Etched in each link of the chain were feelings and words and things that hurt oh so deep.

Torment.

Hurt.

Anger.

Rage.

Bitterness.

Despair.

Lies.

Injustice.

Wrong.

Blame.

Guilty.

Betrayal.

She had to escape, but didn’t know how, and the days extended longer and longer in front of her weary heart.

Mourning

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The Word of Hope

She breathed deep, caught her wits, and suddenly she was there again. Clear, perfect, the ambient sound so lovely. Nothing had ever graced her senses as such before. These were the moments that kept her heart hopeful in the midst of such a dark and grueling place.

Aching, she began to speak the wrong questions. Questions too big for her understanding, questions whose answers belong only in the safe grasp of the loving Father. It feels so heavy. Her heart feels as though it’s being pulled behind her by a ship’s anchor. Dragging. Straining. Void of mobility – at least on its own. She reads The Words, so full of hope, but this bleak, bleak mess, they contrast so.

Child, sweet child. Remember that day I prompted you to read to your children before bed? It had been a tough day at school. Angry words were said; tears were shed. And the one thing your heart knew to leave them with was thoughts of me. And in those words one thing rang out above the others, learn to live above your troubles. And you so gracefully explained the hope I offer amidst an anguishing world, a way to rise above into joy and peace and eternity.

Oh but this brokenness, we all live it, grueling, exhausting. The sin, it beckons like a siren on the seas. Alluring, calling out so tempting, so easy to follow, only to end up dead. It’s all darkness. We need light. Are these words on pages, prose and history and promise, are they enough to take us to You? To fill the void that seems so ominous? It’s big, Father.

Remind yourself, little one. Even as you wander in the desert, the place I love to teach you, I will speak tenderly to you. Rise to meet me, child. I have grafted you in, given you redemption through a man who is so perfect, even a fragment of sin in his life would have voided your saving. He was and is and is to come. He is the Word you look to for hope. Live and abide in the Word child! The word is the secret that will unlock the darkness to glorious light.

Springlove

The late rains.

There are moments where her heart simply cracks, a tiny bit, and her spirit is drawn to another place. There is no earth, no land beneath her feet, no sky beyond. Silent, humming with beauty that reaches through the known into truth, what is meant to be. He has found her spirit and caught it up with Himself to commune and encourage and love.

She sometimes loses words to pray with. She has gotten lost in the cares of the world, for they loom ever so close, taunting with disaster and heartache. But here, here, her spirit rests and thrives on love and purity, on promise and grace. She remembers He is jealous for her and how perfect is His mercy and compassion. And she prays.

He tells of His Son, the perfect One who walked where her imperfect feet trod. The blessed Lamb who came to show her what true love means by living to die. He lived to die for her little soul. For that one lost sheep, my love, I did that to show you so much. You are little, but my Spirit quickens yours to strength beyond the skin that ties you to a body that is broken. I do this for you so that you might see and be seen.

She often waits. Wondering about these moments that are neither really heaven nor earth, and why they seem fleeting. Where has He gone? Why do I wait and ache and bear this pain? The suffering is immense, enveloping, and not just in her quietly beating heart, but in flesh and blood everywhere she looks. Suffering. Time passing with no answer.

See child, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your heart, dear one, for I am coming to you. Is my fruit worth the waiting? Has your heart cried out in the interim to meet me? Because that is what I desire. I desire your heart to meet with mine, and sometimes sweet one, you only want to meet me when you cry. Sometimes that crying is what reminds you that I am sovereign. I am the one who was and is and is to come. I dwell in the light, created the sea, opened the vast storehouses of hail, rained to satisfy a desolate place. I AM.

Ragged, and Utterly Beautiful

The cry over the monitor jostled me out of sleep just before seven. I wonder if he’ll go back to sleep. Oh I wish he would. Of course that’s not the case. I stumble into the bathroom, quickly, before venturing into the little room across the hall. There he is, turned around sideways, cooing and talking to himself, a grin appearing across his face as he sees that I’m staring at him. He looks innocently into my eyes, his face full of joy — the unadulterated kind that’s hard to find as an adult in a very broken world. These days when life sometimes feels overwhelming, the circumstances about us loom, threatening all we believe, but somehow making us believe even more. I change his little diaper, pinch those perfect little butt cheeks until he giggles, and carry him back to bed with me for his first meal. (Second meal, really, but I hardly remember 3:26AM except for the quiet, and the view of half my eyelids mixed with his room.)

There’s nothing quite like birth or death to make you really ponder where you are in life. Today it’s my birth twenty-eight years ago, and the birth of my third son nearly five months ago. What an interesting place I have come to. A beautiful one. Or, since it’s full of boys, maybe I should say it’s rather handsome, striking. I never anticipated this place, except for the husband part. My sisters could tell you all about how I anticipated the husband part. Skipping out of my bedroom in my early twenties, I dreamt often of him, though I could only guess at who he might be, what his eyes might look like as he stared into mine. I had no idea that he would bring along with him two of the greatest blessings in my life, two little men who my heart is suddenly, eternally attached to, who my soul prays over daily and begs God to be extra sweet to in all of His holy mercy. Some things you simply can’t prepare for, but thankfully the Lord sends us on courses that prepare us for things we know not, to right our hearts in ways we cannot understand until a point in the future. I keep that hope tucked carefully in my heart, that He’s always working to bring us deeper into oneness with Him, especially when the war rages around us.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two years, my heart is not my own. We live alone for so many years, looking out for what I want, making friends that I like, making decisions that seem right to me. It all looks so different now, through a few lenses life must be seen differently. Those lenses are hearts and souls and flesh and bones whose every moment and emotion matter to me. So I grow and change out of the life that used to be lived alone, and into a life that looks like nourishing with meals and words and hugs. Into a life that is closer to a man who calls Himself the Christ, to abide in His truth, to live as He did, selflessly, patiently, and overflowing with a love from the Father to bless those he encountered. I’ll do my best in this imperfect shell of a human body because I love Him and am ever grateful for His kindness to me. Oh, it all looks different now. Loving because He first loved me. I see it in the kitchen when the boys are running through the house all loud and covered in dirt, still wearing the shoes they were supposed to remove at the door. I see it in the way I respond to any given circumstance, whether I am annoyed or deeply moved. I see it in the way I hold my beloved’s face after a long, hard day of work, thanking him for taking care of us. I see it in the way I hug my kids when their hearts ache. I see His love. Through me, it’s quite imperfect, but it’s a deeper love than I’ve ever known before. It’s inexplicable.

Love.

It’s sometimes broken in its message, yet ragged, and utterly beautiful.

Resurrection

I’m not here without Christ. I’m not full of hope and joy without the promise of what His resurrection means. I have no hope for heaven or anything good without a promise of God. And if I don’t have God, I have no purpose in this world. I must be living for something greater than myself. Nothing else in this world makes sense.

I’ve spent the past year and a half becoming. I think I have talked about this before. I’m on a journey of always becoming what it is God calls me to. The newest portion of that journey has included the labels “wife” and “mother.” And after almost 15 months of marriage, I get to become mother again. This season of becoming hasn’t been easy, but my has it been joyful and blessed. And here I sit facing this new season of unknowns (mainly having a newborn while trying to care for the rest of my family, and taking work off for a time), I hope and pray that I can continue to become just what God asks, no matter the uncertainty of tomorrow.

A gal on Twitter asked back in January what word you would choose for this coming year. What word would you come back to dwell upon as the overarching purpose of the year? What word has God laid upon your heart? I answered woman. I long to be a daughter of the King, content and rested in Him no matter the circumstances. I long to be a devoted, encouraging wife who helps her husband at no care for her own desires. To love as C.S. Lewis said,  is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved one’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. And I long to be a mother who shows God’s character to her children, to help rear them in a way that glorifies the God who created them. Now that I am married, these are my first priorities. It starts with “the basics” and anything beyond that must come from God for me to pursue.

Without God I can do none of these things. Without the truth of His word I cannot be helpful to those around me. I cannot serve Him or others without Him. So this is my journey. Figuring out how to find Him first, so that I can be the woman He has asked me to be. So this blog has been resurrected to be my companion on this journey.

Books I am reading:
My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers
Abide in Christ – Andrew Murray
And a few days each week, I continue to write my way through God’s word. I’m anywhere between Leviticus, the last few books of the New Testament (I have yet to start the Gospels, however), and the Psalms.

Discoveries

I’m discovering many things about myself, which is no surprise to those who are married and also learned much about themselves during the first year of life with their spouse. More often than not I’ve been told the first year is the hardest, and in our situation it certainly isn’t easy. Our first two months (and four days) have been riddled with difficult relationship circumstances, illness, death, and car problems. (What’s life without car problems?) And woven into the trials are life’s daily joys: the incessant laughter and energy of the boys, the hikes, the game nights, the homemade granola bar dash, the dinner wins (and losses), family story time, lizards, dinner time devotions, after dinner nature walks, birthdays, grandparents, cousins, and the pushing of dad into the pool when he’s not expecting it (well done, Zach!). And between those woven strands of our lives I’m learning about simply being a woman. Like how to hide vegetables in dinners that the boys will devour rather than pick apart, how to ward off baby fever by enjoying the antics of baby animals and other furry woodland creatures…ok, I’m kidding (sort of).

Women, it seems, have some qualities that are pretty much in our DNA, whether we like them or not. We have duties, whether we like them or not (and some are negotiable with the husband, like sweeping, which mine is sweetly doing now). I’m beginning to feel the weight of being a woman on my heart. I still want the things I wanted before, like advocating for the oppressed and writing, but I want them in a different context. I don’t even know what that means, but God will show me so long as I’m daily in tune with His friendship and love.

Update: I want to be a wife, a mom, and an advocate. I’m pretty sure those things were still true a year ago before I met Kelly and the boys, but now my priorities have changed. And that’s alright, because I think my priorities are where God wants them. I want to be learning about Him more than I ever have, because others are now watching my daily actions and attitudes more than ever. I want to be a really good wife, the kind that Proverbs talks about. I want to be a loving, approachable, kind mom with the best food on the block (like my mom!). And I want all of our lives to weave so tightly with God’s purpose that He smiles when He thinks about the Walkers. I guess what I’m trying to say, and what our culture’s idea of femininity has previously confused my understanding of is: I’m a woman. And I want Godly-womanly things. And I know you want pictures, so take a gander below at some Walker adventures looking for wildflowers, camping trips turned stranded in the desert trips, and husband&wife camping getaways.

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Real Life

Yeah, I’m so totally married. And it’s seriously the most amazing thing ever. I highly recommend it – if God says you’re ready. I didn’t think I was ready, but I look back over my life and simply marvel at how detailed God was in preparing me for this time. I gave Kelly a gift the night before our wedding: it was a journal I had kept for just over 6 years and each entry was dedicated to Kelly, even before I knew him. I called him nicknames in that journal years before I met him which I could not have possibly known how accurate they would be. And that’s a superficial little bit of what’s in the journal; there are prayers and dates of events that make my mind spin at how the Spirit moved us for one another. Ok, but this is all really besides the point.

A year ago I never imagined living in Bend – ever again. A year ago I had a hard time believing God loved marriage as much as He did when He first created it. A year ago I never imagined having two sweet, young boys in my life. A year ago I had no idea God’s purpose for my life is as full as it is now and would still be growing.

I’m seeing His purpose for me expand in ways I never imagined possible, ways that are quite honoring to be a part of. I’m beginning to understand the parallel of Paul’s comparison of marriage to Christ and the Church. It’s about grace, every day, coming straight from the Father and flowing from me to Kelly, Kelly to me, and us to the boys. These little bits are just the tip of the iceberg. Heck, I’ve only been married for three weeks. What do I know?!

The Walkers already have quite a few traditions in place – traditions I’m excited for the boys to remember when they get older. These are the things that are gluing us together as a family right now and in the years to come: each night at dinner we read scripture and talk about it; when the weather is nice we do nature walks after dinner and learn about the local plant life; we have big breakfasts on Saturday mornings (today was banana pancakes, chicken sausage and a spiced potato hash with garlic and orange peppers – a total win); and we have dinners with grandparents/family every week. Oh, I can’t possibly forget about Narnia! We read Narnia nearly every night before bed. We’re currently almost done with The Horse and His Boy and next we’ll be on to Prince Caspian.

I wish I could show you every picture detailing all of the fun we’re having, but a few will have to suffice (same goes for the wedding pictures!). Enjoy!

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