Five Minute Friday: balance

I knelt by the tree and was able to see it again: the magical world amongst the branches, illumined by tiny lightbulbs on green wires and inhabited by festive animals and shining orbs. It’s a vantage point which takes no account of the larger picture, of the tree from top to toe, of balance in the placement of baubles, of the condition of bows or the number of needles on the carpet. I have to kneel down to see it now, but my boy sees nothing else.

I forget to kneel down sometimes, and am baffled by the devastation that moving the ornament box out of the living room — no more decorations! — can bring. But my boy notices the minutiae: the tiny piece of candy dropped on the car floor days ago which he lovingly rescued today, the capital letter R in a footnote on my Bible page, the glitter of green in the carpet where a flake of shattered ornament remains. He doesn’t see the bigger schedule of Things to Do; he cares for This Moment, when Duplo duck Bob is looking for Duplo duck Bobra.

Our Lord knelt down, so much further than I have to. He didn’t just get a perspective similar to ours. He completely inhabited our perspective, limiting omniscience to the blurred vision of a newborn baby, content that the God who fills all heaven and earth should inhabit a manger.

Surely He has known our griefs and carried our sorrows.

He sees the larger picture, so much larger than the tree from top to toe, or the list of Things to Do; and He knows, when I am caught in frustration at things not going my small way, that His better way is going forward. Yet He deals gently with me, helping me in all my tiny moments while He can see eternity, adorning my small view with lovely things — hints that one day, when I can see the larger picture, it will be glorious indeed.

Today I rejoin the Five Minute Friday community using today’s prompt, balance.

©️2018 Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday: repeat

I asked if he wanted to put his pants back on — when you’re two years old at nap time, they’re optional — and he’d been responding to my repeated question with incoherent noises and comments about unrelated things. Getting frustrated, I commanded, “Say yes or no!”

“Yes or no!” he obeyed.

It’s that kind of day. The kind in which I need the story of God’s grace to me repeated and repeated and repeated: that I am quick to be frustrated, but He is slow to anger; that I am overly attached to my own comfortable agenda, but He laid down His life for me. He chose, at great cost, to make me His child: I had no claim on Him by either blood or merit, had no loveliness to plead, and yet He made me His.

Tell me again please. He is good.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

31 . close

I suppose it’s meant to be the verb close, meaning to end or shut something, or the associated noun, an end or conclusion. But I’m choosing the adjective close, meaning nearness or proximity in space or time, and I’m thinking of an hour we spent this morning — one of the inaptly named wee hours which are only the very longest in the twenty-four if one happens to be awake in them — crowded, all four of us, in the bathroom while tornado sirens wailed in the wet blackness out of doors.

October sent an ugly front of storms last night as its parting gift, and while my baby wondered at the extraordinary location for our ordinary wee-hours snuggle and my husband and toddler attempted a sort of sleep with blankets on the vinyl floor, I watched the red boxes move over the radar map on my phone screen and listened to the wind and rain roaring around our little old house.

The book of Job says that God makes the paths for rain and thunder, that lightnings go at His command. The gospel of Luke describes how even the winds and water obey Jesus’ voice. I’m powerless to stop even a drop of rain, yet I hold my phone close, as though somehow knowing where the storm is might protect me from its fury.

But whether I know or am ignorant of what is coming, my Lord not only knows, He owns and directs it all — all storms, all struggles, each ray of light, each drop of rain. He hold me close in His hand, from whence He has promised nothing shall snatch me. Shall I not trust Him?

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

30 . voice

He called me first from a hospital storage closet, so nervous to voice the question, afraid of being overheard. I was afraid to hear the question, afraid to answer yes, even for dinner, afraid of the enormous consequences that might ensue: the wedding less than a year later, the baby less than a year after that. We’re in it now two babies and nearly three years deep. It doesn’t scare me to answer the phone to him now.

I’m not an advocate, by any stretch, of voicing every thought, but I do think that many things in being spoken become less frightening or terrible. No longer exclusive property of the world of conjecture and speculation, ideas become real things which may be handled with real actions, or else show themselves to be ephemeral and foolish.

And sometimes they turn out to be better than could be imagined.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

29 . together

Our days together are numbered, mine and this baby’s, whose sleeping head is sweaty against my arm now. Periodically, his blue eyes open to check that I’m still here holding him, and then the long lashes fall slowly, and he’s sleeping again, safe.

He’s closer now to one than to birth, and today I watched him push a little car across the yard, legs working just as they will when soon he lets go of supports and starts walking — running — into the future.

These days, he wants me within his vision at all times, and most often wants me within touching distance, but soon it will be two little boys trying to disappear around the house when we go outside. Two little boys napping in beds away from me.

I’m excited for them: excited that, only eighteen months apart, they’ll get to do so many things together and be best friends as well as brothers.

But for now, I’m soaking up these days with my baby still a baby, both of us content to be together.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

28 . sing

I sang in church choirs of one sort or another for 22 years of my life. That’s a lot of years. Now, our church is choir-less, and I’m holding babies in any case.

But before choir, I remember the singing: leaning against my mom’s ribs in our little community church and hearing the song vibrate inside her. Songs to go to sleep in my bed at night. Songs from big the stereo during the day, when I danced on a sunny wooden floor. Songs sung to guitar in a living room Bible study.

In our house now, we sing constantly: hymns and pop songs suggested by conversation, made-up-on-the-spot songs about bath time or eating quesadillas or how much we love our boys. And they sing, too. Banging wooden spoon on metal pot lid, my toddler belts out “Jesus Loves Me” at max volume, and my baby sits singing baby words over a farm animals board book. My husband sings in practice for leading Sunday worship, we sing as a family in the evenings, we sing our toddler to sleep. Tuesdays, our house is crowded with Bible study attendees who enthusiastically sing selections from battered hymnals.

God made music. God made words. Each of these mighty gifts in their own right. And God allowed us to combine them: meaning and emotion meeting — gift of gifts.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

27 . whole


I’m sitting here playing with the difference between “whole” and “hole” in pronunciation — whispering them, actually, but rolling them around in my mouth to feel the changes.

Honestly, there isn’t much difference: not in southern American English. But if I think about that w, I find that whole fills a larger space in my mouth, feels like a more important word.

Their meanings, of course, are nearly opposites: whole has to do with completion, or something in its entirety. Hole indicates an absence of something.

Whole is what I need this post to be. Complete. Finished. Published. It stumped me all day yesterday.

Hole describes the space where ideas about whole should be in my mental writing files.

Make of it what you will: we’re all waiting to be made whole, aching with all the aches of losses and lacks.

Yet scripture reminds me: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He feeds, restores, accompanies through death’s valley, spreads out a feast while my enemies look on, pours His oil of blessing over my head, and fills my cup with more than it can hold. My whole life is traced out in His goodness, His mercy. I shall be whole in His house for the whole of eternity.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018