The Look of Love

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When you picture Jesus, what do you see?  What is His posture toward you?  What is the look on His face?  What do you see in His eyes?  I believe these to be some of the most fundamental questions for those who follow Jesus.

For a variety of reasons, I think we often have it wrong.  We picture His arms crossed, or Him shaking His head. We see disappointment in His eyes.  But I don’t think that when we see those things, we are actually seeing Him.  We’ve built a picture of Him based on our own brokenness, and not based on His Beauty, the truth of who He is.

As a mama, I have a few practices that I have put into place in my life to cultivate the type of environment I want for my children. (Stick with me here…) One of my most life-giving of these “mothering practices” is to seek that in every first encounter with my children each day, they would be met by me with a look of love and affection.  This was inspired by an interview on The Oprah Show with Toni Morrison years ago.  She asks (referring to when your children walk into the room), "Does your face light up?" She explained, "When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. . . . You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you're caring for them. It's not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What's wrong now?" She said, "Let your face speak what's in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I'm glad to see them. It's just as small as that, you see?"

This penetrated my heart and has shaped me as a mama.  When my children get out of bed in the morning, it is my heart’s desire to greet them with my warmth, a smile that’s reflected not only on my mouth but through my eyes.  They awaken to open arms ready to embrace them with affection as their first experience of the day.  I seek to do this when they arrive home from school or work or piano lesson or a play date.  I want them to picture a countenance of love and affection toward them when they picture me.  I want this to form their identity as my beloved children.

It’s amazing to me how God so often reveals Himself in the most unexpected, seemingly small, mundane moments of life.  Just the other day, I was simply feeding Isaac his lunch. I walked over to talk with him and I smiled really big, my heart filling with love and affection for him.  And the way he looked at me just absolutely took my breath away.  He literally radiated my love, reflecting it right back to me.  His eyes sparkled and his body leaned in and his face lit up, with his round-and-rosy-cheeked smile.  It felt supernatural. 

Immediately I sensed in my spirit, “Christy, this is the way I look at you.  With utter love and kindness and celebration…And the way Isaac looks.  This is how I see you. Radiant with my love, reflecting in the center of your being my very self… I look at you, ever and always, with lavish love.”

The words from Psalm 34:5 immediately came to mind….Those who look to Him are radiant;  their faces are never covered with shame.

Shame.  This insidious part of being human that the enemy loves to trigger with his lies about our worth, our purpose, our belonging.  There is so much shame everywhere.  I see it so often on people’s faces, in their eyes.  And I experience it too, just like every human being does.

But…

"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."  (New Living Translation)

If I could really see the way Jesus is looking at me, radiance would stream from my soul and shame would have to run the other away.

Oh my precious Jesus.  Thank you for this picture. How kind you are to come to me through my baby boy and show me, once again, how your look of love changes everything.  Please help me to fix my eyes on you, ever an always, and to always know in the depth of my being that I am your Beloved Daughter whom you delight in and sing over and rejoice in…and please touch every one who is reading these words with a fresh revelation of your life-changing, soul-altering love.

Christy

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He Knows Our Groans

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I don’t recall having so many spiritual epiphanies when my other children were babies.  But there is something about this time around.  Perhaps it is my age.  Maybe it is the fact that mothering an infant in this season of my life is so surprising, so unexpected.  It could be that I am so overwhelmed so much of the time that I am deeply hungry for meaning and spiritual insight however and whenever I can get it. I am not sure, but it just feels like, amidst the chaos and dog-tiredness, His Spirit is whispering some beautiful things to my spirit.

Isaac (eleven months now!) is very expressive.  He loves to be with people.  He’s not a big fan of alone-time, meaning he cries when I walk out of the room and when I return, it is as if his whole body expresses his joy in seeing me come close.  His eyes light up. His mouth widens. His body shakes a bit.  It’s like he wants to jump out of his skin to get to me. Precious love.

I think he is the most expressive of my babies, and the first one I’ve been able to tell a difference between cries.  Incidentally, I always felt bad that I couldn’t really tell the difference in the cries of my other babies.  I felt like I was in tune with them most of the time, but I never felt like that mom who knows what each cry-tone indicated.   #momguilt

And then came Isaac. 

I know his hungry cry, his tired cry, his hurt cry, and his “I’m an extrovert and need people NOW” cry.

One night, as I snuggled him close, giving him his bottle in the darkness of his quiet room, I found myself praying for some people in my life that are carrying some pretty heavy burdens. Honestly, I didn’t know how to pray.  I found myself simply whispering their names, with tears streaming down my face. And I was immediately moved by the thought that Jesus hears the cries of my heart, the names I cry out to him and recognizes the tone.  He knows the needs of the souls I name.

 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.                                                                                        Romans 8:26-27, NIV

Just like a mama knows her child’s cries, interprets them and then moves into action to respond to her baby’s needs, the Spirit takes the deep wordless groans of my spirit, translates them and moves into action on my behalf and on behalf of the people for whom I cry out.

I love the idea that each name I whisper is a like a different cry, and the Spirit recognizes each one. 

So if you don’t know how to pray, if you can’t find the words, because there aren’t any.  If all you can do is cry and groan, and whisper someone’s name…He hears, and He sees and He acts.

This is our God.  How beautiful.

Much love,

Christy

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And Then There Was Isaac

He came home on a lovely Spring day.  It was so fitting, really, that he would come in the Spring…the time when what has been dead is being resurrected, the time when what has been happening in the unseen womb of earth springs forth with newness of life, the time when everything is bursting with beauty and color and new beginnings.  The time of year that feels and looks, and even smells like hope.

I held him in front of our window, the one that faces the birch tree, fresh with new buds.  I hadn’t even noticed their arrival, but he was captivated by the green leaves dancing in with the wind, swaying with the braches, and I noticed my body swaying the way a mama does holding her babies.

I was struck at how it just seemed like yesterday that the tree was barren and yet here she was, plum full of green glory.  It’s a bit of the way I have felt, barren and filled with wonder at what God might be birthing through my life in this next season.

Well, here he is.

Backstory:  On March 7, I received a phone call that would change our lives forever.  As I listened to the social worker from Alameda County Adoptions, I was stunned to find out that our Kayla Joy’s birthmother had given birth to another child, a baby boy who was now in foster care, like his big sister had been when she was born.  I was in shock and found myself swept off my feet…literally having to find a place to sit down… then crying because it is all so heartbreaking really…then elated at the possibility of the connection my daughter would be able to have with her biological sibling.  The words came more quickly than I could have imagined…“Would you like to adopt him?”  Thus began the journey that our family has embarked upon.  

Death. Burial. Resurrection.  It’s a combination of words and ideas that God has been whispering into my spirit over these past few months.  And when I learned of this precious baby boy, and allowed my heart to hear, my spirit to tune into the gentle whisper of God, I realized that he was resurrecting a dream long dead and buried.  The dream of another baby. The dream of a son.  The dream of holding another little one against my chest and experiencing the surge of gorgeousness that envelops both of us in those moments.  The dream of pouring my life into one more soul who needs a mama to speak Life and Love and Truth.

Our God is making all things new.  He is full of surprises.  With Him, resurrection is always in the air…

I wonder what He wants to resurrect in you or how he wants to partner with you to bring resurrection to the community in which he has planted you, like a seed, for His good and unimaginable purposes.

Love,

Christy