Now and Not Yet

Journey

It’s the day between Good Friday and Easter. And yesterday, though solemn, really was good. I was at church all day long, setting up and taking down a Journey for our families. The Journey to the Cross. Eleven reflections, lamp-lit, sensory-rich. My sweet spot.

Kyle was at home battling boys with no school while he tried to work. All day long, attitudes and moods. Friends and messes. Entitled spirits and thankless hearts. Later in the evening when he escaped to church, his cell phone rang again and again. Boys squabbling, needing Dad’s intervention.

Ugh.

Today is Saturday. The day between Good Friday and Easter. And this is the season we find ourselves in. This in-between.

I read about the tension in my Lent devotion this morning in my favorite chair. Coffee dark, morning breaking, window cracked to the songs of birds. Spring is in-between, too. Temperatures warming. Landscape gloomy. Peeks of sun. Snow still threatening.

The Now and the Not Yet. The author of my study named it this, and I’ve heard this phrase before. It’s fitting, and explains our frustration. Easter and Jesus are here and now. Making things new and bringing us life. And yet. Something’s missing. We can feel it, this longing for something that’s still out of reach.

Several years ago something happened in my own spiritual journey that was so exciting. I’m not sure what you’d call it. A revelation, or transformation. A work of the Spirit. Something happened that made me ALIVE. It was Joy and Passion overflowing. Every morning I’d wake with a song of worship stuck in my head. I devoured my Bible and wrote everything down. Pages of journals full of giddy remarks.

It lasted a while. Six, seven, eight or ten years. And then, a new season. I’ve been pondering it lately. What happened? The best description is to say I grew up. I settled. Got serious. Less dreamy. And the truth is I miss that me that was silly and full of the newness of life.

I’m stuck most days in this tension. The now and the not yet of this journey with Christ.

Our boys are stuck, too. Facing battles, not knowing. The inner turmoil of a skirmish engaged for their souls. We wait and wonder. How long? How hard?

My devotion this morning spoke of adoption. Those who trust Jesus received a spirit of adoption. But the fullness of adoption is yet to come (Romans 8). We live in this tension, too.

So do they.

The now and the not yet. This Shalom story unfolding, not completed.

Tomorrow is Easter. Resurrection is coming. Our new lives are waiting. Our hope is a promise.

We live today in victory that’s coming tomorrow.

Winter Park

L F & J at Winter Park

The sun is shining on our last day at Winter Park. It’s been snowing almost nonstop, over three feet of fresh powder since we arrived. Boys who grew up with nothing but summer are riding snowboards down black diamonds in the mountains of Colorado. What would your Colombian friends think if they saw you? I asked Felipe as we rode the chairlift on Tuesday.

Yesterday my sister sent text pictures from a white sand beach. It’s white here, too – I text back with my own scenic photo.

It’s Gina’s friend “T” who gives us this place to stay, at the YMCA’s Snow Mountain Ranch. She hangs out with us now, playing Settlers and watching March Madness. Earlier this morning we gals lingered long over breakfast. Kiana, Tanise, and me. We shared stories and tears. Hearts knit, souls encouraged. Sisters. And it’s my own sister T talks about most. How it was Gina years ago who introduced her to Jesus.

So T hangs out with the eight of us, playing games and watching our family. She sees us. Sees things I don’t notice. Love between brothers. Humor. Reading between lines of our banter.

And we need this perspective, since our own vision gets cluttered. A week of vacation in fairly close quarters, the smells and the messes and moods. Sleeping in bunks with too many brothers. Damp ski gear piled up on the floors.

But it’s good. All of us here making memories. Together. “Jordan the SWAT van.” Good coffee and good conversation with adult kids at breakfast. Hernando’s Pizza where all of us over-ordered. Guys riding the slopes of Mary Jane. Five Crowns and Settlers every evening. (Felipe winning more often than not.) Kiana giving Jimmy advice about girls. Watching Taite on webcasts in the state basketball tourney. March Madness upsets and Kiana leading. (Hard to swallow for competitive Anderson guys.) And my pick is a team from Texas – based solely on the cute little boys we met here at the Ranch.

No injuries. (My prayers answered.) And a miracle story besides. A wipeout and van keys fall out of a pocket, landing in all of that powder. Unnoticed. But discovered. Disaster eluded.

We’ll head out tomorrow before the sun rises. Drive the long way to catch views of the mountains. Van loaded and smelly no doubt. A stop in Des Moines, then Grandma’s for Maple. And finally home sweet home.

Good-bye Winter. Hello spring.

 

Spring Break

Winter Park 2010

Spring arrived all of a sudden this week. It’s rather unreal. Not that I’m complaining, but after forty-some years I guess I’m accustomed to toughing it out through the month of March, and this is unexpected.

This morning is especially glorious. I sit in my favorite chair, east-facing overlooking the porch, window cracked to hear birds and inhale the fragrance. The sun breaks riotous and blinding. Next week it will come up an hour later, but for today the morning arrives early and eager. Alive. I love spring.

Spring break starts tomorrow, and we’ll be heading to winter. Winter Park, to be exact. Eight of us with snowboards and skis in a rented 15-passenger van. We’ll leave Maple at Grandpa’s shop before heading to Des Moines overnight. Church at Revision, and then west. To Colorado and Snow Mountain Ranch, the YMCA camp where we’ll be staying. (A friend of my sister works for the Y and she generously gives us a place to stay.) Rustic and simple with no TV in rooms, which is fine by me, but boys insist there’s March Madness to think about, too.

We’ll trade 50’s and 60’s for 20’s and 30’s and snow in the forecast most days. Great for mountain skiing, no doubt. Great for powder and great for views. Felipe and Jimmy are nervous but itching to take snowboards down those long mountain runs. They’ve practiced all winter here in Minnesota, and they’re ready. Dad and Grant will board, too, while the rest of us ski. And I’m all for the easiest runs. Long, slow, and scenic. That’s what I like.

Nils is cautious. All too aware of baseball season just around the corner. This season with so much possibility, and he’s reluctant to risk injury. And I’m secretly grateful if it means I’ll have a buddy on the bunny slopes.

Some days we’ll stay back, just Kiana and me, and she’s bringing projects for days without boys. I’m secretly giddy. Girl time…

It’s a return trip for five of us. Six years ago at Christmas we stayed at the Ranch and skied Winter Park. I pulled out the scrapbook to see baby faces now turned to young men. These wild years of change and adventure.

Feel the Wind. We have a tradition of naming vacations, and six years ago Luke chose the motif. The wind on the slopes and the Wind of the Spirit, and every morning at breakfast we’d share a devotion based loosely on the theme.

Six years later we’ll try it again. Our vacation theme based on a favorite song.

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
‘Til all my fears are gone
No longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Eight of us now in a whole different season. New brothers. New daughter. We hold loosely. Not sure about the success of breakfast devotions. Aware our best witness is one that’s less formal. Lives lived with grace from bunk-beds and van.

Today in Minnesota it’s 64 and sunny. Unheard of. I’ll have windows open for laundry and packing. Sorting sweaters and mittens while soaking in spring.

Birthday(s)

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We’re celebrating two today. Our firstborn, and our youngest. One born on 3-3-93. The other seven years later at the start of a new millennium. One Gen Y, the other Gen Z. Birthplaces 3000 miles apart. But brothers.

Grant and Jimmy.

I remember how exciting it was when we saw the date of Jimmy’s birthday. Grant who’d always wanted an adopted brother was happy to share his special day. And now it’s been over a year since they’ve been sharing a place in our family.

Over a year. The other night Jimmy sat at the kitchen table working on homework when it hit him. I’m going to be 16. My second birthday here in my new home. And you could see the emotion – I felt it too. Life is moving so fast, am I ready?

A picture sits above the kitchen sink. Two Colombian boys by a Christmas tree. The first time we met them, and they’re little boys. Jimmy sees it, too. How could that have been me?

Kyle works from home today, a scrapbook open on his desk. Baby Grant. Our pride and joy. Now a man.

Life is good. So good.

So much life and energy in these two boys. Two fast motors. Two passionate hearts. Two young men taking the world by storm.

Grant. My first son. A man. You bless me. Every day in so many ways. A Proverb come true. I watch you use your gifts for the glory of God. In love with Jesus, alive with the Spirit. A husband. A pastor. An artist. Humble and good. My prayers answered.

Jimmy. God’s gift to me and our family. A surprise in so many ways. You stretch me and test me and you bless me, too. So much life, and so much potential. You work hard and play hard. I’m amazed by all you’ve accomplished this year. Soccer success. Snowboard stud. Faithful friend.

I got a text and a hug this morning. Blessings for mom from boys on their birthday. I love you guys. So much. Thank you.

The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful! Proverbs 23:24-25

 Amen.