May 22, 2015

i saw her today

The girl with like, two bibles and a crumpled study workbook sprawled across a Starbucks table.
Little multicolored pens speckled that space like confetti. Fitting.. it was a party, after all.
Because I didn't just see a girl neck-deep in good book -- I saw a girl who was just thirsting for a word and a hope. I saw a girl letting her text messages ding and all the people walk by as she stayed focused on the only One who could speak the very message she needs today. She sipped her coffee, and she glanced at the screen, but she boomeranged back to the bound book in front of her, scouring scripture for her treasures, promised.
It wasn't a fellow Christian woman who recognized the hunger of that posture. It was a tired momma, drudging through the thick of it, seeing her and saying "that one is anchored to something right now." 
And in that moment, my heart asked to be anchored, too. It begged me to stop seeking approval and acceptance elsewhere, and just dwell in the warmth of grace and true love. 
I saw her and my heart settled, knowing I had access to the same tranquil appointment.
I saw her and my hope swelled, remembering who I was and why I am here. Telling me that the restlessness is good, because it gives me space to choose and move and live. 
I saw her, and I saw the only place where the weary could rest, and the broken could heal, and the lost could find refuge. 
because in seeing her, I saw Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Oct 22, 2014

firstfruit (a 31 Days post)

today's joy is both simple and complicated in nature. 

it came in the form of a completed project--the first major project i've been part of in my new position--and it just feels plain great to see it in hard copy. 

at the same time, i cannot help but recall the past couple months of wondering if it would ever make it to this. 

the process of waiting on God's message, leaning into valued leaders, considering the hearts and minds and faith walks of thousands of attenders... it just became overwhelming. even a bit scary!

we are a big church prepared to do big things. we've been given much and so, we know God expects much from us. this project reflects that. without spoiling too much i'll just say, it's a spiritual formation piece for a stewardship event. it bridges the goodness of God's blessing with the struggle to be obedient. it's more than an elaborate request, but a humble invite. 

getting to this point, however, was so hard. in one ear we had the wicked one telling us that we were crazy and ineffective. in the other, we had an ear trumpet, hoping to catch God's messages amidst enemy fire. day in day out we wavered between confidence and conviction. we never gave up, but bordered on becoming careless--which is pretty much the same thing.

seeing it through meant seeing God around every corner. each draft submission carried fresh faith with it. each approval meant thanks, and lots of them. this is the firstfruit of our big project at NorthRidge, and my joy is in sharing this picture of its completed form.

Oct 21, 2014

sibling love (a 31 Days post)

he drew his first picture of himself and "Baby Ella." 

(if you don't already know, we are not finding out the gender of this baby. but since day one Eli has referred to my belly as "Ella" and so we go along with it)

i loved this little demonstration of acknowledging a relationship. before he even knows what it is to be a big brother, he sees that he is big and strong, and the baby is smaller. he sees that they look the same. he sees that they are close.

maybe i see too much into things, but how could i not? he is so pure and innocent, and as deeply rooted in the present as he'll ever be. whatever he does, i hope i never miss seeing it through his eyes. today, this little image of him and his sibling-on-the-way brought me so much joy and hope and love. 

little one, we cannot wait to meet you :)

Oct 20, 2014

proof of life (a 31 Days post)

:: bedtime at the Cho House ::

Me: Eli, let's lay down.. it's time for sleep..

Eli: Momma I'm trying to get the sand out of my pocket.

Me: What sand?

Eli: This. ::he pulls tiny bits of gravel out of his pocket::

Me: oh my gosh! Where did that come from?!

Eli: From the park with MinJoon. I saved it.

We hadn't been to the park in over a week. 

I quickly unzipped his hoodie (the one he begged to wear to bed) and headed to the bathroom to clean out his pockets. as sure as he explained, he saved some of that last visit.  

i had to laugh a bit. i mean, we can never really understand what is going on in our little people's minds. we think big toys and elaborate jungle gyms are what entertain them.. meanwhile, they are stuffing rocks in their pockets with their friends.

it's a small mess.. thank God i hadn't yet washed that sweater.. but it's the proof that we are living. it's proof we are getting out of the house and enjoying the world. it's proof we are experiencing time with friends, and helping Eli meet new people and create his childhood memories. 

today's joy was found in a pocket full of the stuff we would normally shake off our boots at the back door. so much so that i staged it on my bathroom counter for this post and laughed the entire time. 

(and of course, i cloroxed that counter after...

Oct 19, 2014

smitten by the city (a 31 Days post)

today was the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon. our man ran the half in just under two and a half hours. i couldn't believe it.. he made the commitment back in January, trained and then completed his goal. he continues to amaze and inspired me.

while that was a truly exciting moment, it's not where i found my joy today. i found it in a moment i usually fear.. a moment that often brings me great anxiety; visiting the city. 

we rarely head to downtown Detroit. it's never that we don't want to, it's just that life is busy and we do more on the local level. but whenever we do, i often feel nervous and protective. i've lived in the Metro area my whole life, and through the news i've been shown the negative side of the city. so naturally, heading down there makes me a bit shakey.

but this morning was different. the city was alive with thousands of people, motivated by a common goal and filled to the point of overflow with the feelings of encouragement. everyone was excited. people were cheering. 

and Eli was soaking it all in. 

at first the masses scared him, but soon he found his little place in the big world and began looking outward. we held hands as we followed crowds to the starting line, listening as wave after wave of runners was sent off into the dark of the dawn. after one last kiss from papa at the gate, Eli was ready to eat and sightsee and just do everything we possibly could for the next couple hours. as his wonder expressed itself, my comfort grew. 

this shot of him looking outward from the people mover was my true joy moment. he is oblivious of the things I know of the city--of the darkness in the world at all. he only saw big buildings, moving cars, rooftops, and a skyline. he saw the world from a different angle and maybe had the thought that he would want to visit that place again. 

and because of his peace in the unknown, so did i. 

Oct 18, 2014

a whole different partnership (a 31 Days post)

when we first moved into our home, my dad handed Thomas a pair of worn leather work gloves. they were familiar--not in a sentimental way but in the way that you look at something and you know what its job is. those gloves were for hard work.

growing up, i watched my dad put that style of glove on for digging up roots and transplanting bushes, removing trees and handling rough objects. he could grip spikey things and stingy things, something even hot things with those gloves.

as we began to work on our own yard and indulge in our own hard work, i tried many times to fit those gloves on my hands and they just slipped off. years of wear and tear molded them into the perfect shape of my dad's hands and it would never be enough to just layer up and hope they fit. i needed my own.

i bought this pair at the local hardware store. as i was cashing out, the associate said, "these are great gloves. they'll probably last longer than you will!" 

strange expression to make regarding work gloves, but i could hear his message in it. these were made to withstand the demand of a home--our home. they were crafted specifically for protecting hands that wished to dig in and be part of the process. and that first plunge into dirty damp ground was truly bittersweet. 

i marked up that soft, yellow leather, but with it i began to see the stains that could never be lifted.. the stains i never want lifted. i saw evidence of rose bush thorns failing to press through, and the beginnings of a crease here and there. green weeds, wet earth and rough roots hit the bottom of a compost bag and my gloves never slipped. 

today i found joy in the process of preparing our home by removing the dead things and making room for the new--and the beauty of a trusted partner along for the journey.