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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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I declare a moratorium!

Do you remember being a kid and trying to play the silent game? A bunch of sugared whipper-snappers with imminent giggles bundled up underneath osh-kosh overalls. I can see our little group huddled around, “Okay, we’re gonna start…now” and then moments later, “but Sam you have a bug on you!” and then “OH! Now we have to start over,” and the giggles erupt again.

Elusive Discipline
It seems like every time I want to find discipline in my life I have the less giggly conversation in my head of, “I’ll start … right… now.. oops! No, I’ll start riiiiight now.” Then moments, minutes, or days later, “Oops again! No, I never really started on that. I’ll start riiiiight now.”

Still not understanding me? Well, let’s get specific. I’m pretty good at making resolutions. I even have a detailed history of past resolutions bound up in pages of journal entries. Some make a lot of sense and others seem very foolish now. One of my reoccurring resolutions is healthy eating. I am always a very well-intentioned eater. I love my greens, don’t get me wrong (see post on lima beans!). But, for some reason my discipline dies every time at the 4th week mark. I’m not as enthusiastic about my exercise, not as decisive about deferring sweets. It’s one thing to lose at the silent game, but it’s not near as cute to consistently fail at these resolutions.

Declaring moratorium

So, I found a grown-up word for this game. Maybe if I attach a little more accountability in word, I’ll see a better effect in deed. And.. so.. I declare a moratorium!

mor·a·to·ri·um [mawr-uhtawr-ee-uhm, tohr-, mor-]–noun.

1. a suspension of activity: a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons.
2. a legally authorized period to delay payment of money due or the performance of some other legal obligation, as in an emergency.
3. an authorized period of delay or waiting.

[Origin: 1870–75; morātōrium, n. use of neut. of morātōrius MORATORY]

It sounds pretty severe, I know. But, how else will I get the results I want? How else will the resolution stick?

A good idea, in theory, Caroline. But, by definition, moratorium seems to come with some severe authority, to enforce the suspensions, legal authorizations, and to decide what qualifies as an emergency. I guess that’s where you could say I have been the most wrong. I’ve always tried to enforce my own discipline – decide my own moratorium.

And every time I end (begin) with the same phrase, “Oops! I mean I’ll start riiiight … here.”

My hope, my anchor
Every time I watch my resolutions float further and further out to sea, I realize I have pulled out the anchor. How can I expect to achieve any resolution if there is no authority? The only authority in my life – how I hope to measure my days – is found in the LORD. I believe God’s authority reigns supreme, above any earthly power and definitely above my foolish judgment. If I believe that – if I believe like I say I believe it, than my anchor will find its way firmly into the deep sands of the shore and the resolutions will turn into glorious praise.

Because, you see, I think resolutions are misplaced in their origin. Usually, when I make a resolution it is to make my life better… for me. I seek out something I don’t like (my weight, perhaps?) and then I muster all sorts of resolve to change that something into what I want. Now that I’m writing this out, my resolutions look so ugly and self-absorbed!

If instead I resolve, as Paul did, to know nothing but Christ and him crucified, the origin is quite a different matter. I can live for that! I can put my hope in that!

I love the last definition above for moratorium, “an authorized period of delay or waiting.” So many of my me-originated resolutions begin with action (eat less, run more). Sometimes, though, I think I need a God authorized period of delay or waiting.

Sometimes I think resolution should start with a moratorium. Maybe then I’ll be able to return to those innocent childhood giggles!

Listening to: He Will Come by Waterdeep

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