Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where do you live?

There he was on stage, guitar in hand, stuttering into the microphone.

At least he was real about it. The way he put it, "One of the first things you should know about me is that I stutter." I would have thought he was joking if he hadn't stuttered through that very word.

In case you missed seeing Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb concert this year, you'll want to put it on your to-do list for next year's holiday season. Not for the amazing music or even for the message they bring, you just need to see it. If for no other reason, you'll get to see the stuttering singer.

Now, I call him the Stuttering Singer with deep affection, for nothing else has inspired me the way he has in a long time. His name really is Jason Gray.

I'll confess, I watched wide eyed with amazement as he talked his way through who he was and what he was going to sing about wondering if he would stutter while he was singing.

Not even once. When he talks, he stutters. I bet he even stutters when he whispers when he is alone. But standing on stage in front of thousands of people, singing the songs the Lord put into his heart, he communicates flawlessly.

As I watched in awe that night as he sang, I heard the Lord say to me, "He doesn't stutter when he lives out of his heart."

When he lives out of his heart...

I stopped to visit one of my dearest friends today. I wish you could all know her. She and her husband live out of their hearts. They make wooden toys, she cans homemade jams and jellies, she speaks French to her children! They are the kind of people you just want to be around, especially when you have a bad day and just need someone to love on you... But she told me today that now she is embarrassed to give her homemade gifts away because of something a thoughtless person said to them. I cried on the way home thinking how much of their hearts they put into those gifts, into everything they do, and how vulnerable that makes them.

What if we all lived out of our hearts the way they do, or the way the Stuttering Singer does? Can you imagine the comments he heard when he picked up his guitar for the first time? Or when people "who knew him when" heard he was a singer/songwriter? What courage he had to have to stand up to sing! What beautiful wonderful gift I brought home with me from my dear friend's house today! All because they both live out of their hearts!

It is hard! It is messy! And, indeed, people do not understand... I wonder if the things the Lord puts into our hearts sometimes are purposefully opposed to where we are in life. A man who stutters wants to sing. A family who is financially in a place to buy gifts, makes them instead. A family that has a "genetic disease" still wants to have children. Should we tell those people all the reasons they shouldn't do it? Should we tell them all the reasons it makes so much more sense to live in reality?

Or what if, for just a minute, we encouraged them to live out of their hearts? What if we encouraged crazy ideas? Those out there thoughts that make us scratch our heads and wonder. "Be anything you want to be!" Right, as long as it is socially, religiously, and financially acceptable.

In a few days, we will celebrate the single most poignant event in history of Someone living out of His heart. Can you imagine? Why, people STILL call Him crazy! But He did it. He dared to live out of His heart and send a Baby into a silent night. And long before that, He spun a dark and formless void into orbit and lit up what we call Earth. Only because all He knows how to do is live out of His heart.

What is the world missing because YOU are not living out of your heart?

Merry Christmas, and may you receive the gift of true life...

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's all fun and games until they come inside...

Isn't that a lovely picture? This was several years ago, when we got our first goat. Feather is her name. She is the black and white goat grazing so peacefully while Eden loves on Feather's first kid. Ahh, the beginning of farm many promising ideas of self-sustainability and good health. Oh, the joy of going out each morning and afternoon to sit in the cool of the day and milk while I watch the children play and the animals move around.

And then reality set in.

Eric: "I don't have time to milk this morning, you'll have to do it"
Me: "What?! Are you crazy? It is 20 degrees outside, I have to get everybody up, everybody dressed, everyone's breakfast! I can't milk!"

Now, I really do love having goats. I love fresh milk. I love making yogurt, kefir, cheeses, even soap! And to make life just (almost) perfect, last spring Eric introduced the children to the wonderful world of milking goats. So Eden at 6 and Moses at 7 years old took over the job of milking. And I REALLY love having goats now.

Until last week.

We took Josiah to Memphis for doctor appointment, and we didn't get home until 10 p.m. It was one of those times when it is late. You are tired. You have been gone all day, and you can't wait to get into your bed and go to sleep.

So you can imagine my dismay when we drove down the driveway and the headlights of the car flashed on the downstairs door and two goats were looking out at us! Yes, that's right. When I left at NOON that day I (ok, I admit it was my fault) ran out the door and closed it, but it didn't latch all the way. All they had to do was bump the door and in they went. Two goats and 3 cats spent the entire day INSIDE our house...

Now if I had a camera that worked (#1 on my Christmas list, hint hint) I would have taken a picture. My first thought when I saw Feather chewing her cud inside my house looking at me like "Well, where have you been all day? It's about time you got here to let me out" was my grain!! Because I make most of our breads, I buy grain in 50 lbs bags. I just bought grain the week before and had not put it away yet. So Feather and her boyfried, Footstock (Josiah named him), decided they would go ahead and open the bags to see what was inside... And of course they annihilated the most expensive grain (the spelt). Of course!

So walking downstairs was like walking through a sea of spelt berries and goat poop. (In case you don't know what goat poop looks like, think Coco Pebbles. And they poop CONSTANTLY.) They had been on the school table, in Isaiah's bed, lounging on the rug and chairs (and leaving behind all sorts of gifts). Then I noticed goat poop up the stairs. Yes, they toured the whole house. They ate all my plants, even the beautiful flowers Eric got me the week before. We had a trash bag in the kitchen upstairs that had not been taken out yet, so they ripped into that spreading trash all over the kitchen. Dirty diapers everywhere. Gross. And the cats? Yes, they, too, left their calling cards in my bathroom and closet.

We did clean it all up that night, although Eric tried to tell me we would just clean it up the next day. Um, yeah, I don't think so. The next day I washed sheets , mopped floors, and shampooed the rug. It's all clean and tidy again. So when you come over for dinner next time, no need to worry that you will be eating in unsanitary conditions. And I hope you like roasted goat!