An ode to spring joy

Not even three weeks ago, snow piled high on roadsides and ice covered lakes.

But last weekend, my big boy fished between his daddy and papa, 

And collected worms in a red Solo cup.

He rolled down a soft grassy hill and came up with his first wood tick,

Burrowed under that thick blonde hair.

My baby boy threw rocks and dandelions into the lake, hiked with a tiny walking stick.

He napped hard and woke in the night to find mommy and warm milky snuggles.

We woke (too) early, watched the fog on the lake, drank (too much) coffee.

We watched movies and raced Hot Wheels as rain fell and gutters overflowed.

We talked to bluejays and laughed at orioles bickering over grape jelly.

We lazed on the deck, reading, snacking on apple slices and Cheez-its, waving at boats driving by.

I held my hubby's hand and laid across his lap like when we were dating.

He drove through a torrential downpour as our big boy slept

And our baby boy chattered above the thunder.

And my heart thawed out from the long, dark winter,

Opening up to the fullness of joy.

And even this week, even when tornados kill and destroy,

And rain comes and sadness dwells --

I know my God is good; I know He continues to bring life out of cold, dead places.

"You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." Psalm 16:11


On the joy of inRL

Last Saturday, 6000+ women worldwide watched (in)courage's webcasts during inRL (in Real Life). They watched on their own, or in small groups of close friends, or large groups of strangers. Anna and I hosted forty women at her church; about half from the congregation, half from the Twin Cities, even a few from hours away. 

Many of us find it easier to interact on Facebook, Twitter, or blog comment boxes. Real life is more complicated; harder; messier. Real life asks more of us.

But we serve a God who didn't just speak His commands down from the mountain. He came to be with us. And so we came to be with each other.

And in the midst of our real, hard lives -- God showed up.

 He challenged us to share our brokenness. As we watched the videos and discussed the challenges of staying in community, we saw our stories reflected in each other. We realized that maybe Jesus could use those walled-off places of our hearts to encourage others. And we went through plenty of tissues.

He inspired us to offer friendship and mentorship. Even during our pre-party on Twitter, these women were encouraging each other and planning hugs! I'm sure there were awkward moments on Saturday, but I was amazed at how quickly the conversation began to flow. By Monday morning, two of the women set up a Facebook group to continue our conversations and set up future events. Only God could bring such bravery and boldness to His daughters!

He lit flames of joy in our weary hearts. It's been a long, cold winter and spring in Minnesota. Many of us have been dealing with grief, depression, and other struggles. And we shared plenty of tears. But by the time we ended the day with worship, I could tell that God had multiplied our joy as he bound our hearts together.

"How good and pleasant it is when God’s
people live together in unity! ...
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore."
Psalm 133:1, 3b

I can't wait to see what God continues to do through these beautiful women and the connections they made at inRL! Curious? Read more posts from the Minnesota ladies here, here and here.

How has God blessed you through staying in real-life community?