five minute friday (on saturday): mom

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He’s crawling now — all over the floor and under the furniture, examining the minute crumbs, the carpet fibers, and whatever else he can find. I pursue him with voice and hands: don’t touch the power cords, don’t crinkle the book pages: no, and no again.

And he crawls to me, pulls himself up into my lap, lays his head on my chest, my knee. I couldn’t have anticipated this: how now that he’s free to go where wants, he comes to me. How I love him.

In the car last night we played an old mix cd I threw together for a road trip a few years back, when I had no suspicion of husband and baby coming so soon, when my heart grieved and yearned, and I needed those hours alone on the highway to gain perspective and hope.

And now, such joy.

But the hope of then was not in the potential for motherhood, however sweet. Nor could this now be so sweet if it were the center of my hopes. Paul says that “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19). The hope Paul means? Resurrection. The dead are raised. Christ is raised. We shall be raised.

All the griefs and yearnings — some of which will never be answered in this life — find their answer in that resurrection. And that resurrection makes sense only in light of the grief of now.

Because even this joy, motherhood, comes tinged with the grief of love, the yearning of it. And as much now as then, I need a surer hope.

Mine, in Christ.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung for her Five Minute Friday free-write on the prompt mom. The “mom” button above leads to her site.

©2017 by Stacy Crouch

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: joy (small and glad, day 23)

(You’ll notice that I’ve skipped days 21 and 22 . . . because I missed them. And I might catch up sometime, but today is day 23, so I’m writing it.)

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The RSVPs have been coming in. It’s amazing how small and glad this makes me feel.

Overwhelmed really, that so many people are willing to travel so far just to celebrate my wedding. Overwhelmed, feeling so very loved.

The gifts have been doing that to me, too: generous packages arriving from hither and yon, with sweet notes. . . . and I really just had no idea.

Every year I’m overwhelmed by my birthday on social media. I’ve made it a rule to actually type a “thank you” on each “Happy Birthday,” and it leaves me feeling so very very glad.

But this: a gift, a road-trip, a plane ticket? (And-food-and-clothes-and-flowers-and-decorations-and-plates-and-cups-and-signs-and . . .?) For my day?

I’m not trying to sound like a #basicwhitegirl, but I literally can’t even.

I used to think that getting married was all about the love between two people, and it is — I mean, that’s why it happens — but this wedding is about how a huge number of other people love the two of us.

And, well, I’m grateful.

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Today I join Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, joy. The “joy” button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: wait

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In the front yard, daffodils prepare to bloom. It feels like a long preparation, though it’s only weeks, really, since they first started appearing, the green pushing up through matted leaves and around fallen twigs, pushing up through frosted ground which seems much too hard for the tender stalks.

But now the stems stand above the greenery, lifting slender green-yellow buds, ready to burst open, lovely and soon.

I read an article that said we’re more creative when we’re sad, and it’s true that I haven’t felt much like writing lately. Rather than feeling inspired, I’m just feeling glad.

Yet I’m convinced that God’s creation was not born out of sorrow: His joy reverberates through each “Let there be in Genesis 1.” For His pleasure He created all things, and He declared them “very good.”

For now, watching and waiting on His workings, I am content to be simply glad. Soon enough fresh creations will burst forth to make this waiting glorious.

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Today I link up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew. The button above will take you to her site, our gathering place.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: send

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“Send out your light and your truth;” the Psalmist prays,
“let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.”
Psalm 43:3

After a week of cold gray mornings, we have a cold bright morning. My car windshield was coated in literal frost over which I had to pour warm water before I could see to go anywhere.

The horizon of the road headed east was rosy with anticipation, and suddenly, above the trees, there was the sun in all the orange intensity of seven o’clock.

My heart sang, and birds flew eagerly eastward over the road, and the fields wore soft winter-white frost, and the trees were silver against the pink and blue sky.

And in the God whose glory the heavens declare I had exceeding joy.

Christ himself is light and truth. His word is light and truth. But also, sometimes, He sends out his literal earthly light to lead me to worship Him.

Singing hymns all down the highway, I thanked Him for this grace.

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Today I join Kate Motaung to write on her Five Minute Friday prompt “send.” The “Send” button above will send you to her blog where you can join in the fun and read what others have written.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five-Minute Friday: Joy

They say that children thrive best when they know their boundaries, and know that those boundaries will be — albeit lovingly — enforced.

I’ve always liked having rules myself, coloring in the lines, pleased to understand where I belonged and to remain there.

And I so find a certain kind of relief in having a door upon which I’d somewhat reluctantly knocked definitely be closed to me today, to know that, however good the opportunity might have been, it is not mine to pursue. Joy, in coming up against a boundary.

They aren’t always joyful, are they? We run into walls, beat our heads against them, angry, often, at the God who prevents and prevents in seemingly unnecessary ways.

But even then. Even then, we know that He is the loving Father, enforcing boundaries that are for our benefit, showing us where we belong and keeping us there.

It’s easy to believe it on this lovely second day of spring, when my world is beginning to come out in blossoms and life seems full of pleasant places.

Lord, teach me to take joy in the boundaries on the dark days, as well.

Thanks, Lisa-Jo!

Joining Lisa-Jo and the rest who are blogging on “joy” today. To read more, or join in yourself, use the button above!

©2014 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: Fight

Ezra reports that when the returned exiles in Jerusalem laid the foundation of the new house of the Lord, “the people shouted with a great shout,” but that old men, who had seen the first temple — the glorious one that Solomon built — “wept with a loud voice . . . so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping” (Ezra 3:11-13).

G. K. Chesterton observes that “worries are never anything but worries, however we turn them round. But a sorrow is always a joy reversed” (The Return of Don Quixote).

It’s Five Minute Friday, and today’s word is “fight.” Last month, my theme seemed to be “Be still; be quiet; wait.” And I wonder how fighting and waiting relate to one another. We think of fighting as tumultuous, but so often stillness is battle-won. We must fight to be still.

And sometimes, when I am waiting, outwardly calm, inside I have battle-tumult. Reverse me, turn me inside out, and find the reverse side of the stillness is a fight.

It seems the Israelites did not fight their captivity. They lived in far-away Persia, and built homes and livelihoods, raised families, held government jobs, waited quietly. Was it a fight to keep still? A fight to see pagan kings drinking from the holy vessels of the house of God? A fight to give up beautiful daughters to the lusts of pagan kings, to send them, at risk of their lives to petition for favors?

Were they still in their returning? Did those old ones, who remembered Solomon’s temple, keep outwardly calm as the sorrow of captivity was reversed into the joy of a homecoming? And there, in the new temple foundation, sorrow and joy met one another, each the reverse of the other, combining in one indistinguishable shout.

Is that mingled shout always the greeting for the fulfillment of waiting? All the sorrow of the wait, the pain of the fight to keep still against all the things taken away, all the things denied, meeting finally the joy of things restored, things granted?

Let your waiting be a fight. Keep still and watch for the dawning of the One who reverses the sorrows, prepares joy for us.

Thanks, Lisa-Jo!Use the button above if you want to join in the Five Minute Friday fun, or just read more posts on the prompt. (You can break the rules, like I’ve done, and write for more minutes than specified.) You can also be encouraged by posts like this one from a friend of mine: Fight. And Light.

©2013 by Stacy Nott