Today’s guest poster, Kelli Woodford lives in the Midwest, with her husband and her seven blue-eyed children, and in the midst of it quietly chronicles grace on her blog The Chronicles of Grace
Confession: I hate prophetic posts.
My heart yearns for story. The subtlety of its events, the conflict and resolution, the intimacy of character development. Story tugs at the heart in surprising ways. Ways unimagined and unseen. And I would suggest, produces a deeper, lasting change on its hearers than a prophetic, calling-it-out word, because it engages more facets of the intricate design of the human being: it engages the heart. Prophetic posts just can’t touch that.
But I’m about to write one.
Because I need to remember my size.
So often I labor and get weary trying to wrap my mind around a concept. The abstractions of sin and salvation; the depths of human connection and multifaceted relationships; bigger and bigger the questions, rising from a mind filled with all things notional. Everything from law and grace to faith and deeds to mice and men. I read and research, fill my days with ponderings, bounce ideas off whoever comes to mind – and then suddenly the sun goes down (what?!? how did that happen!) and I realize how much I have missed.
It might be part of my personality, it might be an old addiction dying a hard death, it might be that idolatrous yearning for certainty that we all find comfort in. But there is no life like the one at my fingertips.
And By God, I’m going to enjoy it.
So I’ve put my hands in the dirt and wiped bottoms and made delicious pinterest-quality dinners, only to burn the edges. I’ve tossed a wiffle ball to my kids and run and tagged them and tripped on sticks and felt grass coming alive. Felt me coming alive. I’ve thrown open windows and sucked huge lungfuls of summer wind and fresh black earth, turned over in the fields around my house. I’ve sung loud, old hymns and Mumfords, shower water warm enough to ease the ache of holding up more than I can. Believing hard in grace and choice. I’ve scrubbed carpet stains and toilet bowls and felt the dry tightness of my finger tips that lingers after the bleach is back under the sink. And I’ve missed these things.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have done them all along. But doing them to get them done is different than doing them to relish the moments.
When my mind is afloat in matters too great for me, then I am not there with my kids in our rag-tag baseball game. I am not there to taste the west wind or hear my own voice off shower walls. I am not present for the moments of my life drifting humbly past while I surf the waves.
But, if there’s anything I hate more than a prophetic post (in which you find yourself elbow deep here), it is a guilt-trip post.
So I’ll not make this into that.
I will readily admit that there are times for big issues. There are moments when all the dailies must be abandoned in favor of the lightning bolt that just seared the snot out of my easy answers and left me scorched and smiling. There are times for study, and for prayer, and for solitude, and for mano-a-mano combat.
And there are times to cease.
For me, now is the latter.
Because when time and God have done their thing and I’m smelling the singe and wishing for more fire? I should hold the ash in my hand and call it a very holy thing. But not a predictable one. Perhaps the kind of dirt that rings a soul after an extended time in an ivory tower is harder to wash than a crusty toilet bowl. Perhaps it can only be sanitized by digging my bare digits into earth and pain and Velveeta and lilacs and the radical romance of everyday hope.
And when it’s time for this kind of soul-cleansing, I should walk into my bathroom, scrub brush in hand. I should walk into my yard, dragging the bat behind me. I should walk even into the church (eek!), armed only with love.
I should leave the wrangling words and the draining discussions and go out and plant a flower.
Then I should watch it grow.
- Kelli Woodford
I live in the midwestern U.S., surrounded by cornfields and love, with my husband and seven blue-eyed children. We laugh, we play, we fight, we mend; but we don’t do anything that even slightly resembles quiet. Unless it’s listening to our lives, which has proved to be the biggest challenge of them all.