A Bit of a Ramble...Part 1

Thoughts...hundreds of them...wrestle in my head, and I am restless with the need to move them from my head through my fingers onto the screen.  But...along with a most untimely (and unwelcome!) pain flare has come a most frustrating bout of brain fog, and I can't seem to find my way through the mental jello to put the thoughts together into a coherent whole.  

It's not an unfamiliar position in which to find myself...and I am aware of the usual drill.  Jot down a note or two about the thoughts swirling through my mind, add to my "to do" list for the next few days..."Blog about _________", and *if* I can manage to keep up with the notes long enough, by the time I have enough mental clarity to actually type them into readable form, there will be a whole list of such posts, and I will not remember even a fraction of my original thoughts about any of them, and they will descend into the black hole of "blog posts I planned but never finished (or even started)", never to be heard from again.

As I say, I've been in this place before.   More than a few times.  The gaps in the chronology of my blog are testament to that.

So...I am going to attempt to toss these thoughts onto the page...or more accurately, I suppose, the screen...and hope that by the time I hit "publish" there is *some* sense of...well, sense to them.

I started to say it started with a book.  But actually, it started with pain (mine) and trauma-induced night terrors (a child, and then another).   Pain has been a frequent, if intermittent, visitor over the last few years, and night terrors were a constant companion for one child for months that stretched into years.  However, as 2010 drew to a close, I was enormously grateful that we seemed to have entered a period of peace on both counts...the night terrors had been almost non-existent during 2010, and while my health had been far from smooth sailing, the extreme pain episodes had been fewer and farther between than in years previous.

Suddenly, right along with the new year, these two unwelcome guests returned almost hand-in-hand:   A slightly different twist in the pain, and a different child with night terrors. These guests brought with them a deep weariness, and a strong temptation to surrender to the discouragement that constantly tried to drag me into its pit.  I so do not want to walk these roads again...

Then came the book. :)

I discovered Ann Voskamp's blog several years ago, and I remember from the first post I read realizing that she was a companion on the journey of suffering...a fellow student in the "Sovereignty of God 101" class, if you will.  Her posts often described things  that God was doing in my heart in beautiful words I could never dream of writing.  When I discovered that she had written a geography curriculum, I decided immediately that I wanted to incorporate it into our schooling, if only so that my children could get a taste of her amazing gift of words.  It's been one of our most successful curriculum choices yet.

Ann Voskamp's first "real book" (I'm sure there is a better way to phrase that.  She has written the above-mentioned geography curriculum, and a beautiful Advent e-book, but this is an adult non-fiction "buy on Amazon" book. :)) comes out in hardcover this week.  The Kindle edition has been out since just before Christmas.   Yesterday I not only had a chance to play with my friend's new Kindle (and fall in love :)), but also to read several chapters of Ann's One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are  on it .  Wow.  I haven't even managed to post my "Favorite Books of 2010" post, and I've already decided that this is going to be one of my favorite books of 2011.

You can read exerpts here.  And when you have read them and decide that exerpts aren't enough, you can order the book here: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Ann speaks of trauma, of pain, of loss, of brokenness.  Brokenness of people and brokenness of planet.  And as I read, I not only felt a sense of kinship for myself, but for my my children...children who have experienced in their young lives more trauma and loss and brokenness than many adults have experienced in a lifetime.  And in that kinship, I feel...again...hope.  I realize that the words that flow from Ann's heart through her fingers would never have flowed in such a way had the brokenness born of  trauma not come first.

So many more words in those early chapters grip me.  Words of goodness-doubting and glory-returning and and grace-filling and God-craving and mystery-nourishing...words that resonate deep inside with understanding and hope.

But the book is only the beginning.  It is followed by a deep, dark night, a "happened-upon" blog post on the theme word broken ~ Why God Made a Breakable World , a Sunday morning song (or two :)), and a sermon...our weekly "digging in" to a few verses from Romans, which landed us this week in Romans 8:20-22...about the brokenness and restoration ~ remaking ~ not only of the created being, but of creation itself.  Don't you love it when it seems God is composing a theme and variations as He works to grow us in a specific area?!   He's doing it again...:-)

I said there were hundreds of thoughts...and I warned they would be rambling. :)  This already-too-lengthy  (although I'm sure not my *most* lengthy :)) post only incorporates a fraction of them.  However, pain has invaded with a vengeance, the mind has shut down right along with the body, and the remaining words...of night, blog post, song(s), and sermon...will have to wait until morning.

Until then, I grasp the hope...thankful for the reminders that it is actually He who grasps me in His grace...

Read Part 2 here

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