Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lilacs and Raspberry Leaf Tea: A Recipe for Love & Labor

Hosea 6:8 - His going forth is as certain as the dawn, and He will come to us like the spring rain watering the earth. 

It's a still moment.

And if you have littles in your house you understand how majestic a quiet moment like this is. I am lifted by the freshly composed song of a neighboring bird announcing a new season. I marvel over the tufts of purple plumping up on my aged Lilac tree. Something good is coming. But something good is already here.

My toddler is still fast asleep and I am sipping Raspberry Leaf Tea to jump-start the little girl in my belly.  Now that I am 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant (who's counting, eh?), all signs are a go. But this morning I don't feel anxious about her arrival, I just feel at peace about my current state. 

But don't worry, I'm not naive about mothering a newborn. So ask me in a few weeks if that anxiousness is still hibernating. I'm no fool (most days)- so I know this feeling is a gift from God so I'm drinking it in.

I have only moments left being a mother of one. But I have a lifetime ahead of me of being a mother of more than that. This in-between space of time feels magical in a sense- like those odd moments where you catch yourself in the middle of a happy memory and try your best to enjoy it before it passes.

It's the summation of what that awareness is. Somehow it always lies just beyond the shiny nothingness that we get constantly get distracted by and it leads us to the gift of contentment.

This is such a loaded word in motherhood. We want to be content and yet we think that is only possible if it is inextricably linked to countless sacrifices and swallowing our swell of desires. However, I think theologian John Piper may be on to something when he preaches that Christian Hedonism is the combination of our most pressing desires being wed to the joy of the Lord. Could we really want to please God and His will for us be in perfect harmony with what we were created to appreciate? Would God be that thoughtful?

Forget the shallow tin of simply wanting more time to ourselves, better bodies, better cars, higher callings and non-existent overbites. What if we found our joy only in Him?

Believe me, I know it is so obtuse. So abstract. So out there. So very Christian.

But what if contentment wasn't found in filling up, but instead reassigning the mold entirely?

I was reading Philippians this morning, where Paul is writing to the church at Phillipi from the oppressive walls of an early Imperial Era prison.

In stark contrast, he seems to have this contentment thing nailed even when there aren't birds chirping and blossoms budding.

"Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." - Phil. 4:11-13 (The Message)

A big part of my selfish bossypants nature wants to say-- well pin a rose on your nose, Paul. 

And in reality, he could have probably pinned an entire rose garden on his nose and deserved it. I know nothing of religious persecution. I know nothing of giving up my dreams and my goals for the case of Christ. If Paul is a prophet, then I am a spiritual pauper and I know it. 

And somewhere in there I think is the power to find contentment. I have nothing in and of myself and yet I have been given such amazing gifts. I trust God's design for my life.

And while some days it feels like I am living out my reality from the walls of a self made prison (OK, so maybe that's overreacting), but God gives me moments like these. Moments where flowers and nature seem to sing the harmony parts to the melody of life's meaning- this spring rain watering my soul and yours if we happen upon a sliver of quiet small enough to appreciate it.

Cut to: Toddler crying out for "mama"

And there the moment goes. But it was enough for me.

Here is to the next round of craziness, because I think my water just broke.

In love (and possibly labor),

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