Five Minute Friday: breathe

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I sit cross-legged in the sun on the sidewalk, helping him balance as he sits in front of me and reaches chubby fingers to grasp brown leaves, spears of green grass, clover by the fistful. He brings everything to his toothless mouth, and his lap is littered with drool-coated leaves. This is my boy, and we are adventuring.

Breathe.

Complaining caught me this week: never-finished laundry and a dirty floor and always more to cook and a baby who wants all of my attention all the time.

But night before last the baby slept for Ten Hours Straight and I got a morning half-hour to journal and pray, and the Lord reminded me that these are gifts: a husband whose clothes I get to wash, a house, abundant food, a baby . . . three years ago, I only dreamed of these as “maybe, one day, I hope . . . .” And here they are.

Breathe.

So somehow, where I had hurry and frustration, He gave me a thankful heart. And in the peace of that thanksgiving, there’s room to breathe again.

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Today I link up with Kate Motaung to write on her Five Minute Friday prompt: breathe. Link in the “breathe” button above.

©2017 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday (on Sunday): heal

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He kicks and pushes with his legs, but the soles of his feet are as soft as any other part of him: I touch them and marvel to think he will one day be man-grown with calloused soles.

Before we brought him home they pricked his heel, collecting spots of blood to screen for various diseases. He screamed and screamed: offspring of woman, heel already bruised by the serpent whose lie begins the sad chapter by which disease entered the world.

In pain I brought him forth, and though I want him to grow to be a man with calloused heels one day, I pray that his soul may not also become calloused — neither to the bruises of his enemy nor to the piercing of his Healer.

HE was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, bore the chastisement that brought us peace; He heals us by His stripes. And then: He has bruised the serpent’s head: immortal God, raised from the tomb, inflicting a mortal wound upon His foe and ours.

Tiny son, know this, though you know nothing else besides; callous those beautiful feet proclaiming this good news: healing for souls.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung to write on her prompt, heal.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

 

Five Minute Friday: team

Somehow, despite the spelling difference, my mind goes to Genesis 1:

Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures . . . 

And it was so.

We don’t tend to use teem very often any more. It means to be full or swarming with, but, according to my computer dictionary, the original Old English root also denoted being or becoming pregnant with, or giving birth to.

This week, we added to our team, a perfect, beautiful boy. And I rejoice that the God who made the waters teem also made this boy, writing every day ordained for him when as yet there was not one of them.

And behold, that is very good.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung for her Five Minute Friday — on Friday, for once! — writing on her prompt, team.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

Five Minute Friday: create

“There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate.”

I write lying on my back on an ironing board leaned agains the couch, head down, feet up — thanks SpinningBabies — in hopes of encouraging a stubbornly breech boy to turn and get himself ready to be born. Our ceiling fan and the upper branches of the trees outside the window grow more familiar.

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Other times I’m pre-washing crib sheets and folding diapers and wondering, and if a breech baby is all I have to worry about, how much peace I have!

Yesterday, someone drove a truck through crowds of people in Nice, France, deliberately creating havoc of what should have been a celebration. And I’m in Mississippi creating a nest for a baby.

I don’t know quite how to reconcile the two things, how to consider the world into which this baby will be making his entrance in a matter of weeks, how to think of the likelihood that similar things may be happening in Mississippi before too long, that this baby may one day see, not just hear about, similarly horrible things.

Christ was born, a helpless baby in a world at war with its Maker, born for the purpose of dying a horrific death, born to gain the victory and create a new kingdom.

He did it.

So that however ugly the warfare may look to us, these enemies are fighting in a cause that they’ve already lost. “All things new” is no ephemeral hope, but a certainty upon which we confidently stake our very souls.

So that the peace of this nesting time is no illusion, but a foretaste of glory.

So that I don’t need to be afraid for my baby.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, Create.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday (on Sunday): rest

“Rest.” Propped back on pillows, with the laptop at a funny angle on my protruding baby-belly, I’m thinking how this word also means “remainder.” The things or people left after others have been used or accounted for in some way.

In the little bedroom bedside ours, we’ve assembled a crib, and currently it is full of the spoils of yesterday’s baby shower: so many gifts to help us welcome this little man into our world.

He shifts inside me, reminding me by increasing pressure under my ribs that the countdown is now only eight weeks and meanwhile his space is getting tighter.

I am daunted by the number of things left to do and collect before that arrival: the rest of the things.

Yet, really, my task is small: collecting material goods for feeding, sheltering, clothing a tiny person. Inside me, God is knitting him together, building an intricate being of body and soul whose days are all already written in His book — part of the “all that He had made” which God declares “very good” at the end of Genesis 1.

Day by day I am increasingly thankful that I am not responsible for creating this baby. God calls me to faithfulness in the tasks He has given me; the rest — a huge rest — lies with the Lord — as in every other area of life.

Because I know that, I also can rest.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday crew today. Click the pink button above to visit her site and read more about rest.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday: want

“Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living,” quoth Jim Elliot, reminding his future wife to dig in an enjoy the goodness of her here-and-now in spite of longing for goodnesses then withheld.

It’s a reminder I’ve needed often and often in my life: wanting and wanting and wanting and ignoring the gifts that made my cup overflow. Sometimes, though, I feel I need to turn the warning around: “Let not our living slay the appetite of our longing.”

In these early summer days, I’m content just to be here, now, filling boxes for our move next week, mentally arranging and rearranging the furniture, eating cups of shaved orange or watermelon ice, and taking slow walks around the block.

I don’t want to go far or do great things, my ambitions barely extend past the walls of my house: laundry folded, birthday cake baked, another stack of things culled or stored away.

And I am not sure how to do it. How to live here well, grateful for the gifts now, but cultivating a further-reaching longing, a generational vision? How to savor the freshness of a blueberry on my tongue today while keeping an eye on eternity?

I’m a creature caught betwixt and between, but I want to want the best things. january-1989we-fell-in-love

Today I link up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday crew, writing on her prompt, want.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

learnings: May 2016

I failed to write the things I learned in April, and now it’s the last day of May and I’m thinking it’s the last day of April, even though I know June starts tomorrow. Pregnancy brain? Maybe. But I’m fighting it, and so here’s my effort to remember some things I learned in May, linking up with Emily P. Freeman.LetsShareWhatWeLearnedinMay2016

  1. Earlier today, I learned that it’s a lot harder to get things out from under the couch — say, a stray pen — when 28 weeks pregnant. I just can’t flatten on the floor like I used to do. On a related note, I learned about the fact that I can no longer turn sideways to fit through narrow spaces.

2. I learned that apparently it’s a struggle to distinguish short white men from tall Asian women. On the one hand, this one made me laugh, and on the other, it made me so sad. The secular machine, purportedly founded on scientific fact, seems bent on removing all objectively distinguishable facts from the dialog. My question for these students is, if reality is this subjective, why do they submit to receive objective grades from their professors?

3. I learned about how scary ultrasounds can be if the doctor is there and he spends a long time looking at your baby’s head and then tells you “We’ll talk about it upstairs.” Upstairs he said everything looked great. And we were very thankful.

4. I stumbled on this three-year-old confirmation of why you should read Narnia in its original publication order rather than “chronological” story order. Not in need of defense is the presupposition that you should read Narnia. I’ve been feeling the re-read itch for months now, but am saving them to read aloud to baby once he’s here, even though he won’t be fully able to appreciate them for a few years yet.

5. I rediscovered the local library, with all the nostalgia of years of weekly visits to local libraries while growing up. This one has books, big windows, flowers, a pond, a fountain, and a walking trail. What’s not to love?
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6. I learned things about the Process of Buying a House — inspections and insurance and mortgages and attorney’s fees.

7. I learned about how nice it is when the lady changing out the flowers in Chick-fil-a chooses you as the recipient of a large-size cup-full of week-old pink carnations and Baby’s Breath.

8. I learned about the Voice of the Martyrs podcast, and particularly the interview they did with missionary John Short who was detained for fifteen days in North Korea. This is the first of three interviews with John and his wife; they are all worth hearing.

9. I learned that when your husband finishes his first year of PhD studies and takes a week off work, and there is time to just be together again, it is an excellent thing.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch