Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

So it begins.
This season of beauty from ashes.
The intense reflection upon the sacrifice, the suffering.

I began my morning in Isaiah.  Chapter 54.

"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor, because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband."

Other than the fact that I (thankfully!) have a husband...and a wonderful one at that...this verse is me.  I am that woman.  I am that blessed one whose home is filled with little trees I did not plant, fruit that I was given straight from the hand of God.

Sing...burst into song...shout for joy!  For far greater is His plan, more wonderful are the things He had in store...things for which I did not dare ask, yet He gave so abundantly.

Five children.  Five given to a woman who years ago begged for just one.
Five little candles were lit tonight.  Five voices sang the Doxology as they were lit and we read of Joseph, Jesus' earthly adoptive father.  The man who welcomed the son of God as his very own and loved him til he died.
I wonder: When Jesus returned to Heaven, Joseph was already there...waiting.  What was that reunion like, on the other side of the veil?

"All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace."

I landed on this verse, verse thirteen, and sighed.  Relief.  It is God who teaches their hearts.  It is their heavenly Father who ultimately raises my boys into men and my girls into women.  They are His, and I?  Well, I am but a tool in His hand.  Often broken, sometimes rusty...but in His hand, nonetheless.

We always begin our school day with a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Today we finished our second time through.  And the last page, oh that last page...I read it with a lump in my throat and then the tears.  They refused to be dammed and they spilled over as I choked out the final words to His story, the invitation to come, be filled, be who we were created to be.  My little ones looked at me wide-eyed and my big kids just asked, point blank, "Why are you crying?"

"These are happy tears," I said.  "Because of this, right here, I know that I don't have to worry about you.  If you have Jesus in your heart, then you are safe in God's hand and I can trust Him.  These are happy tears."

Gracie, my bleeding heart, laid her head on my shoulder with a sweet smile.  The two youngest gave me a hug, though they really had no idea what I was talking about much less why it made me dissolve in a puddle of tears.  The oldest two?  Well, this was a bit much for the tweens and they both gave each other one of those looks, the raised eyebrows communicating volumes regarding mom's emotional stability or the lack thereof.  But I know they heard.  And I pray they will remember when the hard times come and they don't know what to do...I pray they will remember that awkward moment when mom cried because she trusted God with their lives and then choose to trust Him, too.  He has a way of using these moments as stones of remembrance in our lives and bringing them up at the most absolutely perfect time.

"All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace."

I, for one, am counting on it.

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