And the cottage has turned into a comedy club.
Jokes, dances, and giggles are bouncing off these same walls that, just a week ago, I felt like were closing in on me.
This house feels different. I feel different. My perspective and countenance has done a complete turnaround as my arms have wrapped around this sweet little boy-giant. I’ve never been so thankful to be so tired, to wash so many dishes, and do so much laundry.
This little cottage felt barren and broken last week… or maybe that was me.
This week, it feels like it’s bursting with life, joy and baked goods!
There’s been bumper car driving...
LOTS of dancing…
Even a little tooth losing…
And lots of bubble-bathing.
Laughter… the real laughter that I’ve been praying would return… bubbles out of me. Pure, unrestrained love erupts through running, jumping, spontaneous bursts of affection out of that little boy who was once silent, withdrawn and invisible.
I can’t help but remember the promises we started this year claiming… The Year of the Lord’s Favor. (Isaiah 61)
Less than a month ago, I was washing away my prayers as I wrote them with heart-broken, angry, burning tears. I was stomping my spiritual foot and telling my Maker, “YOU SAID YOU TURN ASHES INTO BEAUTY. YOU SAID you replace mourning with joy, garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. YOU SAID this was the year of Glory.”
I tooooold Him.
Yesterday, it wasn’t tear-washing that brought me back to that passage in Isaiah like it was a few weeks ago… It was Lifa-washing. At bath time. Because during bath time, Lifa had a dawning and life-changing scientific discovery: He realized he can add so many more bubbles to his bath by adding a little personal gas. He’s actually still laughing about it.
I laughed so hard. (And also explained to him what the word disgusting means.)
And, yes, I should be embarrassed to tell you that it was really that moment (among many others) that reminded me of my faithful Father.
He binds broken hearts and set the captives free.
Not always in the ways you think He will either.
I didn’t think bath bubbles (especially of the stinky persuasion) would do a healing work on my heart. And I didn’t think that adding more people, mess and chaos into this tiny cottage would set me free.
I didn’t think the Year of the Lord’s Favor, the Year of Glory, would end with me in this same little cottage, with this same back-and-forth ambiguous routine with Lifa, with no birth certificate, and with a taller tower of tear-filled journals.
It is ending with all of those things, but it’s also ending with joy. Complete joy.
And, guess what… I’m going to read Isaiah 61 again in 2014, and claim is as the Year of the Lord’s Favor again.
I’m going to call 2014 the Year of Joy. And I’m going to choose it.
Bath bubbles and Christmas cookies are fleeting… (at equally rapid rates!)
My circumstances and my emotions are like shifting sand.
But the Kingdom of God is unshakable.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12: 28-29
I’m asking my God, the consuming fire, to burn away my expectations and my burdens, and to keep on exchanging those ashes for His beauty.
“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
And everlasting joy will be yours.”
And I’m latching on to Joy – living, breathing, active, sovereign, complete Joy – within me and choosing it every day. He’s my promise and He’s my peace. Everything else can burn away… and make more room for beauty.
“Though the mountains be shake and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”