Saturday, June 30, 2012

::Near. Able. Willing.::

"I will do for you all that you have asked." ~Boaz to Ruth
The pages of Scripture are vitally alive. Pages 222 through 224 of my little ESV are ink pressed to paper. Bound and still. But taken in by these eyes, at this moment, and applied to this heart, they speak. They burn and prod. They bathe and mend. They pose questions that demand a response.

Ruth. Boaz. Names attached to people who lived stories. Who lived good stories. If hearing is not enough, but doing reveals the hidden alliances of our hearts then these two hearts were evidently undivided and wholly sworn to their God. And loyalty breeds likeness. Patterns emerge.

Near. Able. Willing.

Three words. Three positional points of reference on the maps of our spiritual battle-plans. A triune call to splay out our fingers wide in the spaces we've been placed. Striving to the ends of our fingertips to catch hold of someone. Anyone. To hold. To save. To make free.

Boaz. A man who caught hold of a lost woman.
Near. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. {Ruth 2:8}
Able. Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours?{Ruth 3:2}
Willing. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. {Ruth 3:11}

Ruth. A daughter who caught hold of a grieving mother.
Near. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. {Ruth 1:16}
Able to walk away. Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? {Ruth 1:11}
Willing to stay. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her. . . Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. {Ruth 1:16}

Jesus. Redeemer who caught hold of of us all.
Near. Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-- {Hebrews 2:14-15}
Able. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. {Heb. 7:25}
Willing. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. {Mark 10:45}

The other. Empty-handed redeemer of none.
Near. . . .there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. {Ruth 3:12}
Able. "If you will redeem it, do so. . . For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.” {Ruth 4:5}
Unwilling. . . .the kinsman-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” {Ruth 4:6}
This must be one of the most tragic ways for a Christian to spend her life: In the right place with the right resources but without a willing heart." ~Minter
It is the unwillingness, in the end, that has our fingertips catching only empty air. The near and able, who are us all, grow distant and powerless, despite the thrum of and call of the Spirit within. We are reduced. Stripped of our unearthly-shine. Our presence here made inconspicuous. Creatures of purpose dressed as wallflowers. Pressed up against earthly fixtures whose seeming-solidity bring comfort that will not last.

We are the Near. We are all near wraiths outside the light. Draw nearer still.
We are the Able. We've all been poured into by our Maker. Imprinted with power to make a catch. Have courage. God in and through us.
We are the Willing. Because none of this is about us anyways. All of the beauty and benefits of this life are tasted in the heat of God's hand, when we are being used.

I will do for you all that you have asked.
Personal Note: I keep discovering no-entry zones in my life where I will not go. I am near. I am able, in Christ. But I am not willing. And, frankly, I'm tired of tip-toeing around the perimeters of these old fears. And I'm tired of my rote tendency to employ self-preservative defensive tactics. Basically, I'm super-exhausted of going to accomplish something of worth, but finding me barring the way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Unpacking another mother's bag has undone me today. Unfolding tiny, faded shirts and pants and placing them in empty drawers that were not their planned destination. Thinking of the hands that tucked them one by one into the bag. Folding away days, maybe weeks, maybe months of time. Did they linger over the task?

I lingered. Over the unpacking. I bent over my task of unfolding and cried. Praying as I withdrew each small bundle. Make her whole. Placed each article in a drawer. Bring her peace. Closed the half-empty drawers. Bring her you, Father.

 {Photo: Along the path to our new swimming hole today.}

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

::Fitzroy 2012::

This was a monumental year for us. We arrived at camp with a sixth child. Last Wednesday we welcomed our first foster child into our home. We got that call in the afternoon as I was unwinding from my usual morning-rush, and I was told we had a few minutes to decide. "No pressure," the woman chuckled apologetically. It took me ten heart-racing, prayer-filled minutes to reach Aidan at work. But we arrived at a very quick yes. And our little girl arrived an hour later.

It breaks my heart that I can't share photos of her beautiful little face, or tell you much about her at all. But let me just say that, already, we love her so deeply. She has found it in herself to love me like a mother, and my little duckling trails behind me everywhere I go. I often have to stop and just hold her close until she feels secure enough to explore a little more. And, oh, her smile. We go to great lengths to bring out that smile. Her eyes disappear and two perfect dimples appear beside her mouth. It's addictive.

The kids have been amazingly accommodating. Caelah, especially, devoted those first days to being a second-mama to her new sister. Isaiah often comes along to pat her cheek. And Annorah. . . she is enthralled. Too frequently, she presses her forehead into --let's call her Ruah. It's a name I've loved for awhile and won't have occasion to use otherwise-- into Ruah's forehead with a loving intensity that leaves her sister a bit uncomfortable. But there are times that they form a partnership that works. I caught Nor feeding Ru her yogurt this morning. It was great big mess, but a worthwhile one.

Ru will be with us for at least a month. We don't know much more than that. So we'll savour the time we have.
{Photo credit: Some of these photos were taken by Sarah P. Thanks Sarah!}

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

::Russell Cousins::

Too good to be true. . .

Monday, June 11, 2012

::Leonid Afremov::

I've been finding bursts of renewed inspiration for beauty and art lately. This man is one of those masters of colour and movement. The neat thing is he doesn't use any brushes. He uses scrapers to create his paintings, which is why there are chunky layers of colour. Fantastic.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

::The Book Thief::

'm always years behind. But I get there eventually. What a book. My heart's all rung-out.

Death: "I am haunted by humans."

Monday, June 04, 2012

::Purse Tags::


his year's birthday gifts: purse tags. That's what I used mine for anyways. The inspiration came from the tiny butterfly mirrors. I found them, loved them, bought them, then didn't use them. I think they are meant to put in lockers or on walls in a cluster. But I decided they would be useful for the discrete art of checking ones teeth for green bits in public.