Wait

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It’s 30’s and clouds and more than one snowflake in the 10-day forecast, and it’s this kind of spring testing the loyalty of true Minnesotans. Not to mention those of Colombian blood, boys already inclined to ask– Why here and not Florida if you have the choice? Last spring and the one before mild and early and we warned them. This isn’t normal. But now this year it’s nothing but normal and all we can do is wait it out.

I don’t know if it’s the weather or something bigger, but it does feel a bit like we’ve pressed pause on life and everything lately has seemed to be WAIT. Waiting for the job to start back up for a 19-year-old who’s back from his travel and has nothing to do but lay on the couch playing video games. And it’s not really his fault, since spring-cleaning depends on spring weather, and yet.

I’m waiting, too. Waiting for some word from some publisher. Some word from the Spirit, too, and I’m trying to be patient, but it feels like forever.

I woke one morning earlier this week thinking about too many snacks eaten before bed. They were lingering still. And I’m not sure how this thought came to mind, but there in the dark, snuggled still under so many blankets I thought of Jesus, forty days fasting. Forty days, the length of Lent and my own lame attempt at giving up indulgence and how’s that going? You can probably guess.

Moments later I sat with coffee reading the Exodus story when again it hit me. Forty days the people waited for Moses on the mountain. We don’t know what has happened to him – so they made themselves an idol, just to be safe. And I’ve always thought how short a time was that wilderness waiting, but I’m seeing it now. Waiting for spring and waiting for Easter, and forty days is just short of forever.

It’s all perspective, and I know in my head these things take time. Monday evening we’re at Caribou Coffee with FANA families. Colombian teens and adoptive parents, and my own boys steal the show with their polished English and happy spirits. I can see on the faces of the first-year families, grueling days of sheer survival, and they’d take what we’ve got as a gift from Heaven. Of course, I’ll admit it. It’s worth the waiting.

I remind myself, and Kyle, too, as we lay weary in bed just last night. A whole evening spent with a surly teen – the same kid who stole the show on Monday, and stole it again with his prom ask on Thursday, and all seemed peachy until it wasn’t. Sometimes teens are like Minnesota weather, and all you can do is wait it out.

Today is Good Friday, and I think about how those days of grieving felt like forever to the friends of Jesus. No way of knowing, even though He’d told them and they should have believed Him. Only three days. Three short days to change forever.

Three days or three years and you look back with perspective seeing ALL He’s been doing. Life resurrecting and spring returning and it’s just like He told us. Worth the wait.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:19-21

 

(en)Joy

Hilton Head Father & Son

When we enjoy our lives – is it the same as real Joy? We sat at a table for two, overlooking the Harbor. My husband and I, truly enjoying this vacation, this location. Sunshine and flowers, birdsong and water, every day soaking it in.

Two days back home and I read it there in my Lent devotion. Today we will practice our faith–because we will Practice Joy. Ann Voskamp, always reminding, counting blessings, and I don’t disbelieve her. Through the hardest seasons, this practice– my anchor. Daily manna, and God I thank you.

I could pen my list and never stop writing. Daily adding, I give my thanks.

A text from Kiana. That babe in womb moving active and now Grant can feel it, and it’s so amazing! Hearts overflowing.  

A text from Nils, too. Thanks for the great vacation. Love you! (Emoji) And I’m basking still in a week spent with this boy always smiling, loving his parents, and no better blessing.  

Luke flew back from Germany straight to Colorado to see his girl. Yesterday’s text confirms what we’ve suspected. Another Anderson brother saying YES to Iowa and I’m remembering a field of dreams, and we’d have never dreamt this. But yes. Truly thankful. 

These kids of mine spread out all over the globe, now coming back home, each safe and sound, a mom’s prayers answered.  

Felipe back from Colombia, back from vacation, not yet back to work. A plateful of fresh-baked Arepas sit on the counter, and he washes his own dishes with minimal asking. Tells me his friend’s mom is a piano teacher and he’s scheduled a lesson next Tuesday. And just as I’m writing, a knock on the door and he hands me his cellphone. HIS COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE. Whoo-hoo!! I add to my list.

The same day Luke chose Iowa we signed papers saying yes to a lake lot here in Minnesota, and I tell the seller sitting across the table, “It’s like a dream unfolding.” God, is this You? 

And there’s this other dream, too. Yesterday morning, awake and aware of the Spirit’s leading, His holy calling. Children, and families, and writing a book. Kyle squeezes in tight to the chair where I’m sitting, and together we pray it. Oh, God, we thank you.  

A school day later, and Jimmy comes home happy from baseball practice, talking about girls and prom – a time of year his dad calls Prama. And we join in laughing. Glad for this, too.  

There’s a muddy path from living room rug to kitchen table and clear to the bathroom, and I drag out my vacuum, feeling frustration. And then it hits me. It’s a sign of spring, and Joy might be found in the way you see it when you choose to enJoy it, and so I say thanks.

Travel

Hilton Head View

Yes, I wrote a book. I answered Bev’s question Saturday morning, there by the fireplace drinking coffee. She said she’d fallen asleep thinking of all the questions she hadn’t asked the night before, our time together nearly over. It feels like this more often than not with these friends. Fitting in a quick visit on our way here or there, but never enough. Not even close.

We stopped the first night in Peoria, the Judge’s new home, our resting place after the first leg of our journey. We weren’t two blocks back on the road the next morning when I heard Jimmy’s comment from the back seat of our rental van. I liked them. That guy, Mike, he was funny. This is a 5-Star thumb’s up if I’ve ever heard one, source considered, and I sent a quick text to our friends to thank them again.

Jimmy’s an Eight, a fun fact we discovered later in the day reading Enneagram descriptions to pass travel time. Nils had taken several tests on his phone, coming up with a different number every time, and he was reading out loud trying to figure himself out. Try Five. I said this on accident, meaning Four. Not one sentence on that bullet list sounded a bit like Nils, but then out of nowhere – That’s me. Felipe. The man of few words, and no kidding. Classic Five. Worth the price of the book to read the chapter with its spot-on assessment of my hard-to-read son. *

It’s been chilly here in South Carolina, but there’s plenty of green and sun. No possibility of snow in the forecast, just white-capped waves, churned up by the wind. It was howling yesterday, but the view was glorious. Our Colombian boys compared Hilton Head temps to Minnesota and decided to spend most of the day playing video games inside. Yes, I may as well admit it. Two game systems stowed away in luggage, and I turned a blind eye.

Gaming boys sleep late into the morning, and I take advantage of my favorite time. Wrapped in a quilt near a wall of windows overlooking water, sun brilliant in a clear blue sky. I return to Ephesians, scripture memory for over a year. The last chapter talks of armor and I think of boys fighting battles on virtual screens. Jimmy playing Fortnight so many times it’s becoming his reality and there’s an unseen battle in the heavenly realms and maybe the one could be a door to the other. Put on the full armor my son.  

I battle, too. Always asking, am I getting anything right? All my Nine/One – ness; honestly tired of self-assessment, yet seeking direction. Peace and perfection. Yesterday morning praying hard with honest confession. A mom of boys, and a Kingdom daughter and what I am I doing with this one short life? Trying to live in full surrender, I long to be faithful… but how do I know what are You’re really seeing?

This island is perfect for long runs and longer bike rides and I’ve enjoyed both, alone and with family. Midday yesterday sprinting those last few yards to the harbor, then jogging slow up our own brick driveway – He pulled me close and reassured me. Gave me a glimpse of the bigger story. The book I’ve been writing, and the lives I’ve been shaping. All of these boys with all of their numbers. Taking up armor to fight the good fight. 

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

 

*The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

Safe & Sound

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(Photo of Mount Rainier taken by my super cool nephew, Nick Anderson, who has recently traveled the world including Iowa.)

I waited all week for the boy to come home. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was his young bride, alone, precious life of unborn babe nestled in womb. Life so cherished and we hear the stories and I don’t know. Maybe it was that. But it felt like God. God saying The boy is mine and you can trust me. And I did. All week. This strange duo of ache and peace. Letting go and holding hope and all I can say is when I knew for sure he was finally back it felt like rebirth. Got him back safe and sound.* 

All last week Grant and Jeff and their team from Revision missioned in Haiti, and it must have been amazing. The blog posts and photos – and that story about building a house with an NFL football star. D3 baseball guy versus Byron Jones in a footrace, and I read something saying he holds a world record. Who but my son gets to do something so crazy? A whole week of God moments and sweet serving and then those last twenty-four hours with a wife at home and a mom checking texts, a flight missed and a day of waiting. But they made it back. Safe and sound.

And that’s only one. There’s still Felipe with a week to go on the southern continent, coming home just in time for our spring break vacation. We’ll drive south while Luke takes flight, Germany bound, to visit a friend. Grant and Kiana packing bags, this time Hawaii, a once-in-a-lifetime trip with her family. This mama’s birds are covering the distance.

Here on our own continent the stats are in for “Best States 2018.” Our own Land of 10,000 Lakes coming in second to – you’re not going to believe this. IOWA. Number One. All roads still leading… The vortex, it seems, and this week it’s Luke checking out a possible detour through the winning state. I laugh out loud and shake my head as he packs his bags and heads south of the border. I’m willing to say this might be God-orchestrated if it means boys writing songs and making music together. So we’ll see.

Last I heard my oldest three plan to rendezvous in Cedar Falls today for a birthday celebration. It’s March 3rd and my firstborn and my baby are each turning the next big number. Grant’s 25 and Jimmy’s 18, milestones for both. And Jimmy gets Mom and Dad all to himself on his special day. (WooHoo.) We’ll fill up the place with some teenagers tonight.

One more thing about Iowa before we leave the subject. I’m quite certain it’s been the place of some sweet Jesus moments these past few weeks. Those calls and texts from the UNI campus, and I’ve seen this before and I know what it means. A boy’s life being turned upside down in all the right ways by an encounter with God and it’s crazy amazing. A mom’s dream come true. The very best part of letting them go.

So GO. To Iowa or Colombia or the ends the world. I release you to Jesus. He’s got you right where he wants you, His arms tight around you. Safe and sound.

*Luke 15:27. This is a phrase from the prodigal story, and I read this one with new eyes this week. Rather than seeing the wandering son, I was relating to the breathless anticipation of the waiting parent. Seeing the boy in the distance, heart beating wild, taking off at a sprint and colliding hard in a big old hug. Holding tight. Because He’s got him back, safe and sound.