Kristen
We have a king-sized bed.


Why did we save up our pennies to purchase such a gargantuan piece of furniture? Are we giants who would fall out of a queen-sized bed if we were to roll over in the night? Do our feet hang off the end? No, but our purchase was inspired by space issues, but not the space issues that you might immediately think of. We have three little boys and they love to sneak in bed with us.


One will have a nightmare, wake up, and snuggle into bed beside us. The next boy might awaken to use the bathroom and not make it all the way back to his own bed. The third boy will sleep all night in his own bunk, only to awaken early. He comes out into the living room and finds me writing. Then he grabs my hand and drags me back to bed to snuggle before his Daddy and brothers awaken. Needless to say our bed gets quite crowded. Thank goodness our Newfoundland dog prefers to sleep on linoleum.


All of this snuggling got me thinking. Sometimes our boys have needs that require an extra snuggle: nightmares, fevers, falling-down-the-bunk-bed-ladder-type-injuries. But sometimes they just want to be close. Like my youngest, who wakes up and drags me back to bed for a snuggle. They just want to be with us.


If God is our Father, do we have moments like this with Him?


I fall before the throne of Heaven when my children are ill. And I seek the Lord with diligence when there is a conundrum that I cannot solve. But do I ever come to Him just because I love Him and want to be close. These are the quiet moments of life, important moments together. Taking a spring walk through the mud and telling God how much I enjoy the snow melt. Washing the dishes and thanking God for running water. Having coffee with my sister-in-law and praising God for our friendship.


These moments are important. Just as important as the desperate petitions and cries for wisdom. This is the stuff that life is made of. That is why I will go back to bed when my little boy comes and tugs me away from the computer. And that is why I believe that God is listening and present when we ramble on to Him about the weather and our garden plans and that tricky bit of writing I just can't get quite right.


We need time together. Just me and God. Just like our boys need us, even when they don't need us. This is life. This is love. And God understands this, far more than I.


Psalm 40:3--"He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."


Psalm 37:3-5a--"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him..."


Psalm 119:32--"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."


Kristen
I spend a day doing something special with each of my sons. We call this their "Momma Day". But it is not often that I get to spend a day with my own mother. Last week was her birthday and she took the day off and drove over the mountains so that we could spend it together.


First we dropped off her little dog with The Hunky Hubby and my three rambunctious boys who were quite eager to begin their doggysitting duties. Then we had tea with my grandparents. Finally we took off for Leavenworth where I took her out for lunch at a little local bistro that serves these marvelous savory crepes. I had an Italian sausage crepe and she had the black forest ham and swiss cheese crepe. We did a little bit of window shopping and then some real shopping at our local fair trade boutique and got some gorgeous jewelry from Guatemala. Then more shopping and some huge ice cream cones and a walk through the park.


This day was such a gift. I know it was my mother's birthday, but it felt like a birthday gift for me to get to spend a relaxing day together with my mom. My husband made this possible with his fabulous parenting abilities and a heart willing to make this wonderful time happen for those that he loves. I am feeling very blessed this morning and I should be. Not everyone has a mom that is still living (my husband), or who is still involved in their lives. Not everyone has a husband who is able and willing to watch the kids and a fast little dog all day. And not everyone has extra money for lunch out and shopping. I am very very blessed. Thank you Lord for a glorious day with my Mom. Thank you for your abundant gifts that we do not deserve and cannot repay. You love us more than we can understand.


Psalm 116:12-13--"How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord."
Kristen
Have you ever cherished a dream or held onto a goal that is taking way more time and effort to achieve than you ever imagined?


Yep, this month marks the thirteenth year since I set out to get my writing published. I remember the young woman that I was back then, scared to actually try, but confident too. Confident that if I worked hard success would come. It has been a long time and I have invested many a 4:00am morning to writing and learning and revising. But as of today, those lovingly created novel manuscripts remain something nebulous that inhabit my computer alone.


I am musing upon these things because my lovely sister and I are preparing to go to our annual writer's conference together wherein our writing is likely to be rejected again. I was revamping my "submissions materials" file, working on my query and my one-sheet and I couldn't help but notice how many old files I have accumulated of submission materials that did not work. They go back years and years.


I did not expect this.


More than anything else I have tried, I have a natural affinity for writing. Since I love writing and am a heck of a lot better at it than math, I figured it would go much faster and smoother than it has. Now I have had small successes. A few tiny devotionals and articles placed with magazines, a chapter written for someone else's book. But that huge tome that I've slaved over for a decade, it is still looking for a home.


I can find silver linings through. My manuscript is so much better every time I go through it. Every time it isn't quite good enough and I go back and make it better, part of me is pleased that the older version did not see the light of day. My critique partner and I are one chapter away from finishing a paragraph by paragraph revision of my entire first novel. That would have never happened if I hadn't been rejected...a lot


And I was wondering if God feels like this about me.


I mean, he started the "Kristen Project" when a horrified four-year-old girl came home from AWANA with the terrible knowledge that one must actually ASK to belong to God's family. I hastily offered up a prayer and I was all good...right? But then so much life appeared. I prayed and God sent me a pony (against my parent's wishes I might add, someone gave her to us out of the blue). I prayed and God did not raise my Dad from the dead (despite Biblical precedent). One minute I was filled with faith, loving my classmates and happily riding my pony. Another minute I was in the depths of despair, snarling at my family and glaring at those evil children I attended school with. Does He get discouraged with the whole one step forward and forty-seven steps back bit that we have endured together over the years?


I keep writing because producing something wonderful in novel form is a deeply held dream. Why does God keep working on me? He must have high hopes. There must be glory to be had upon this somewhat discouraging journey for Him to continue so long.


It is strange. As I toil along reaching for that distant star of publication, I learn something about my Lord. He is trudging along as well, working on editing me. And you know what? Every time I revise my manuscript it gets better. Hmmm... Keep going Lord, I bet I'll end up awesome!


Philippians 1:6--"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Kristen
Most of the time God speaks to me through His word.


Love your enemies
Be gentle
Be kind
Do not have fits of anger
Speak the truth in love
Have the same attitude as Christ


But once in awhile God speaks, actually speaks to just me. He says something that isn't for everyone, it is for me alone. These times are few and far between. But last weekend I heard Him and it was so sweet and so terrifying. I was actually nauseated for several hours...but in a good way...I think.


I went on a walk while The Hunky Hubby was shopping for camp and picking up the boys from school. So I was by myself, slogging along down the road through slush and ice several inches thick. It was very cold and wet and not really the ideal day for a walk. On the way I kept having ideas for a camp chapel session. Weird, I thought. I usually do not have chapel ideas. Besides giving my testimony, I have never been a speaker at camp. A strange anomaly...but just in case I shot up a quick prayer.


"Lord, if you actually want me to say these things to actual real live people then I will have to know it is for sure you. Make The Hunky Hubby ask me to speak at chapel."


And then I slogged on home, safe in the knowledge that The Hunky Hubby might have asked me to speak in chapel once before in our 13 years of marriage...and he was joking. Not that he is against a lady speaking at camp or anything, he just knows me and realizes that it isn't my thing.


So...Saturday evening The Hunky Hubby was staring at his computer screen trying to come up with his session for Sunday morning. He turned to me, looked me in the eye, and said: "I know, you should speak."


Normally I would have laughed. "Ha ha ha ha! You are hilarious oh husband of mine."


Instead I was overcome with nausea. Because I suddenly remembered my hastily sent prayer of the day before and had forgotten everything I'd been mulling over during that walk. But three seconds later it all came back, although the nausea remained. And so I stayed up way to late that night looking up Bible verses and despite my terror managed to make it through a chapel session on Sunday morning.


The lesson went fine, for which I am grateful. But what thrills me most of all was the chance to hear from my Lord. For one brief instant I felt like Elijah hidden in the cave craning my ear for that still small voice on the wind. It is not every day that we get to hear something just for us. There is so much to learn from His word. But when He does speak right to me without the barrier of paper and page, His glory astounds me and overwhelms me and I am always changed for having heard His beautiful and mighty voice.


I Kings 19:11b-13--"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'"
Kristen















It is in the details that life is lived. The fleeting moments. The choices that don't seem important at the time, but end up being everything. I forget this.


Sweet Boy#1 and Sweet Boy#3 were over at the camp playing with The Hunky Hubby. I was supposed to get a rest, a few moments alone. But Sweet Boy#2 came tromping into the house in tears. He'd scraped his back on the underside of a table (yeah, I know. How did that happen?) and needed his momma and some TLC. So I put some Neosporin on the wound and made him a cup of tea and he crawled in bed beside me with his book.


"I like having the house all to ourselves," he said.


It was important time that he needed with me. Then I started drooping over the pages of my book and figured that we would just snuggle up and go to sleep and all would be well. I had done my duty as a Mom, my boy was ok, and now it was time to sleep.


"Where is Daddy?"
"Over at camp, playing some board game with your brothers."
"Would you ever like to learn a board game Momma?"


Hmmm...I am not overly fond of board games. Especially not at 9:00 at night. But it was the weekend and something inside told me that this was one of those moments. When some random thing occurs that for one reason or another is vitally important to your child.
So I agreed to play for 20 minutes.


"You set it up and then come and get me. And you'll have to teach me how to play."


By the time Sweet Boy#2 had Sentinels of the Multiverse all set up I was fast asleep. But I roused myself and sat at the table all snuggled up in a blanky while my little boy taught me how to play.

A difficult sacrifice? No. Probably every other human being in the world has made bigger and better sacrifices for their children. But it was important. And it is in the simple and the everyday that I too often fail. It is in the simple and the everyday that I must succeed as God's child. When the need is desperate and grandiose I tend to make the right decision. It is in attitude and tone and the thousand little details of life that the world sneaks in and ruins my love. Ruins who I am supposed to be in Christ.


So don't worry about the next big sacrifice. Because your chance to obey and become the person He made you to be. It is coming just a moment from now. And then you will have another chance, the moment after that. Simple things, done in love. That is where God is. Help me to remember Lord. For these moments with my boys are fleeting. I must snatch up every one.








I Corinthians 13:8--"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge it will pass away."
Kristen










I have a nice voice.


Nice enough to enjoy singing in a choir or at church or camp. Nice enough to sing to my little boys at night and to lead song time or worship if I have to.


But my voice fails me if I myself am swept away in worship.


I know that singing isn't the only form of worship. Worship can be leading singing or teaching kindergarteners about how Jesus healed the paralytic. Worship can be sending a goat to a family overseas or cleaning the bathroom or walking the halls with a crying baby so that your family can sit in service. But sometimes worship is singing, and my voice fails me at those times. When the music and the words wrap around me and pull me out of myself and into that place where the glory of God seems suddenly near. When other people lift their voices or their hands in worship, I cannot. All I can muster in such a time is to mouth the words in silence and weep.


I suppose I could raise my hands and weep, but I cannot sing and I truly would like to.


And for me, that is what I imagine Heaven to be. I think that some day my voice will match the passion of my heart. When the glory of God comes near to me I will be able to open my mouth and worship with something other than silence and tears. When I finally step into Heaven I will have a voice capable of expressing all that is within me, even when I worship.


Psalm 116:12-13--"How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord."

















Kristen
My ten-year-old is a natural skeptic and a thinker. He is cautious about his relationship with God and carefully considers different angles and opinions when deciding on a course of action. I love this about him, although it can be frustrating when he will not bow to your opinion no matter how logical and well thought out you consider yourself.


I was praying with him the other night and he said something that showed me again that the key to his heart is not necessarily through flawless logic and thoughtful responses. That is a part of his nature and logic and thoughtfulness are important for me in my responses to him, but there is something even better. Better for all of us.


He thanked God for a good book to read (as he always does) and that he was going to get a stay-up-late-night with Daddy (which I didn't know about) and then he said something wonderful. "Thank you God that I don't even have to talk to Daddy to ask for a stay-up-late-night. I like it that I can just look in his eyes and he knows what I am asking."


How wonderful is that? Apparently my logical little boy snuck out of bed and crept into Daddy's office to ask if he could have a stay-up-late-night after his brothers were asleep. He didn't say anything, but just looked hopefully into my Hubby's eyes and The Hunky Hubby nodded yes. Then without saying anything my happy little guy crawled back into bed to read until his brothers were asleep.


Sometimes kids notice the most important things in life, the things the rest of us miss. God is like this too.


Psalm 139:4--"Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely."


When we creep out of our bunks and to the throne of God in the dead of night. God knows why we are there. He knows without us even saying it aloud. God is like that.


Romans 8:26--"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."


And even when we ourselves have no idea why we are standing there before Him, God knows even then. Just like a Daddy, who can read the eyes of his little boy.