Broken Houses

We were on our way to my parents’ place when Sabrina, at 2 years old and barely putting sentences together exclaimed, “We’re close to Grandma’s house!”

Surprised by her recognition of where we were, I said, “Wow Sabrina, you know where we are!”

The development was new and many homes were still open frames so she replied with, “Yeah, I see broken houses.”

I never wrote it down, but I never forgot.  Broken houses meant we were close to Grandma’s house.

While actively in the process of refreshing the siding and paint on our house, we’re praying for a broken “house” right now.  That’s hard to type out, and took a while to dare to pray.  It’s been quiet on my blog as I have waited for the courage to post such a thing.  It’s scary, but only when we forget what happens when hearts break.  We don’t know what we’re asking for, but at the same time we do–to feel the nearness of God and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

When brokenness, stemming from God’s kindness brings you closer, more surrendered to a different kind of wind in your rafters, you know you’re close to that new place of comfort, and you want more.

If you’ve experienced brokenness and found yourself closer to God’s heart, would you pray for us as we pray to be broken where we’re formed improperly, we understand wrongly, and love misguidedly?

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Maybe you’re in a season of blowing, cold wind.  Can I pray for you?  Will you ask for His nearness and comfort?  Ask Him to show you that, stripped of false comforts, you are a vessel for the God of all creation to come near to?

If you would like me to pray for you, leave a comment below or email a message.  It’s no small thing to pray upside down–for brokenness that leads to wholeness.  But if getting down to the planks is where God is near, would you take the risk?  Is it really upside down when something like soup tastes better on a cold winter’s eve, and a blanket comforts when we feel the chill?  The mundane things of life like half-built houses and the misunderstanding of two-year-olds can have profound messages.  Don’t you think?

Heaven is my throne, and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?
For My hands made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares The Lord.
But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

Isaiah 66:2

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
Psalm 51:17

A Lousy Lover

This man showed up almost out of no where. He met me on the day I looked my worst and still talked to me.  I wanted someone to write me letters. He wrote real letters to my real mailbox on the same day every week. I promised my heart and life and followed him to his native island where I cried in grocery stores and stood lost in train stations. This man I loved.

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On that island four years later, a newborn cry filled a hospital room.  She slept on my chest and kept me warm.  She filled a desire I carried for 20 years.  I cried watching through a window as they pricked her foot and all 6 pounds protested.  I loved her.

The next I heard that crackly newborn cry, I knew a bit better how fast the little days go.  I didn’t care as much about sleeping through the night.  I loved the night feedings, held her more than the first one.  I loved her so.

The third little dolly found me at ease.  She was content and I was too.  She put the meaning behind “third time’s a charm,” and I loved her.

With every new addition to our family I worried, “I love them so much! Can I love another?”  Relieved, I found I could.  My love was big and strong.

In those days I asked questions such as, “How could someone leave their spouse?” or “How could any mother do horrible things to her children?”

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All the while I inquired such things, the people I loved were cramping my style.  I hurt them day after day with expectations.  They were there to love me and I was left disappointed.  I took to dreaming of places and people outside my walls and ceased to wonder if my love could still grow.

Buried by my incapability, I holed up in a bathroom, afraid to come out.  All the while I thought much of my love, one more vast was looming.  There in a small space its ocean washed over me, a frail and lousy lover.

My questions changed.  “How is it I’m still here?” I asked of a broken marriage.  When a mother popped a screw and hurt her children, making the daily news, I ached, “How did I stay my hand and not make the paper with my thoughts on a bad day?”

I saw that all the time I thought I loved, I was only looking for it.

Mysterious words I didn’t comprehend as a child became precious and beautiful. . .

Here is love,
vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life,
our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

and . . .

Thou our Father,
Christ our brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

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May I be so scandalous to suggest you won’t know love until you know how lousy your own is?  I highly recommend approaching the keeper of all mysteries to know this one first hand.

I John 4:19  We love because He first loved us.