Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some of the best and worst moments of my life have happened in stillness. When the only sound was the shallowness of my breathing and the intensity of my beating heart. I have broken, bled, rejoiced, interceded, wept, and worshiped when the rest of the world faded to gray.
I remember as a teenager reading the scripture that referenced "entering into one's prayer closet..." I took that very literally and spent the rest of the afternoon locked up in my bedroom closet willing God to speak to me. I felt utterly alone, desolate even. Forgotten. But this is what my interpretation of stillness was. Shutting a door to the world and retreating to a place that forces you to examine. I remember that my closet has mint green flocked damask wallpaper that didn't match the rest of my room. I remember that I stored my old pictures in there, as well as my stuffed dog that I slept with every night, but denied every doing so. I remember that I never heard a chorus of angles sing, or experience a heavenly beam of light, or was subject to a powerful voice that spoke wise sonnets. But i also remember knowing that it was OK that I did not partake in these things, and also feeling that God had still shown up in a very real way. And that was the point all along I guess.
When the world stops trying so hard, and the safety of the night steps into play, we all feel safer to know we cannot try anymore to be whatever it is we tell ourselves we need to be. The day is done. Our responsibilities, whether they were handled correctly or not, have come to a close. The kids in bed, the spouse fed and comfortable. Sigh. Then I am...dare I say...Still. Or as close to still as I can be. As much as anxiety, technology, and ADD would allow me. Why is it that being still comes with a huge heaping side of guilt? What in our day to day culture has told us that it is unacceptable to simply, for a moment, to exist... without an agenda? Why is that a frightening thought. Turn off the T.V. Turn off your phone. Shut off your computer for 5 minutes. Just sit in total silence.
Does that bring anyone else feelings of discomfort? Panic even? Because then there are no distractions. No buffer for our hurts. Our thoughts aren't drowned out. Our God's voice not stifled. No containment for reality. And we are a culture that relys on these things. We would rather watch other people's realities and judge them on popular TV programming , then take one solitary look at what our own reality is. Because it hurts too much. To take that one step further, our culture tells us that we have to be busy to be considered successful. Our churches say we have to attend X amount of ministries to be a servant. Our mentors are saying we have to work overtime to make the life our family deserves. FALSE. All that is false. My mother always said that God calls us to be human beings, not human doings. He calls us to the beautiful picture of warm conversation with close friends, meaningful experiences with our spouses, on the floor play time with our children. He is a God of slow Sunday mornings, coffee after dinner, and sitting in blissful silence just to appreciate the sound of it. One of the most comforting things God says to me in the Bible is "Be still and know that I am God..." He is not only giving us permission, but demanding that we stop the attempt to impress Him...Essentially He is saying "Allow yourself to be who you are, with all of your sin, and all of your hurt, and just sit in My presence and let Me love you. Because your sin is never to big for My love." Oh yes please. Live in stillness this week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Stepford Wife...

So, most of you fine people, if you have spent any time with the Hannigan clan, have realized that we are odd. Not saves an ungodly amount of empty paper towel tubes odd, or living with the conviction that superman is indeed more than a comic book, but is one telephone booth away from a timely rescue, odd. We are our own brand of crazy. Which is ironic if you know my heart.And even more ironic if you know my wounds.
Insert picture of me with sexy heels on. And white teeth. Really white. And I'm dressed in an outfit that says "it looks like i stood in front of a mirror and spent the last half an hour creating this look, when in essence, I am just this suave". And i am holding a beautiful roast and exchanging witty banter with my well groomed and meterosexual husband while our GAP add children and laughing adorably (and just loud enough that we can hear them over our hilarity). Yup. This is what I wanted. My husband was going to be a good looking youth pastor. I was going to be the perfect christian wife. Our family would be the family that everyone else looked at and wanted to be. BAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry. I had a moment. Maybe it's because my husband has longer hair than me. Or because our witty banter is quoted from cult classics that are lost on the world. Or because the only GAP clothes that my daughter owns came from consignment stores.
But, I would not change a thing. Not one single solitary thing. Which comes my inevitable point in my inevitable rambling. My God is a God of the unconventional. He never desired to put us into boxes. Make us "normal". To tame us. These are human standards. Not that there is anything wrong with being a good looking youth pastor. Or having adorable children. Or eating pot roast. But these weren't things calling to the core of who God created my heart to be. I wanted the status. I wanted the image. But you can't serve God and image. Enter my husband. :) He seriously is the best thing ever. Just saying. I only in recent years persuaded him to part with his socks with sandals wearing habit, and matching a wardrobe based on camo and tie die. Together. He is adorable. The most gorgeous thing ever. Just noncommittal to anything involving convention. He is this guy who dwelled outside of the box. And I chalked that up to ungodliness. How that must have broken the heart of God. Really, just broken it. Here He made this handiwork...this creative beautiful free spirit, and i labeled it as heathenism. Sad what we expect out of God. But he has taught me how to see God with my heart. And it looks nothing like I thought it would. God is odd. In every way. He is quirky. He loves deeply. He is not impressed with image. At all. Money means nothing to Him, except as an act of love. He doesn't shirk away from the uncomfortable, He doesn't leave the questions impersonal so as to not get too close. He doesn't judge based on what people are wearing or how they speak. The thing about God is that He loves. The real kind. Mike and I are celebrating our anniversary this week. I am grateful for all the things Mike has shown me. How to help heal broken hearts. How to raise our daughter. How to chose battles to fight. How to love like God would.
Now, if you will excuse me, i have a pot roast to thaw.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"And then he swoops in...all wild eyed and Edwar-dy to rescue the beautiful Bella. He fights...oh, you should see him fight...with the punching and quickness and sliding and stuff (insert wild battle-esq pantomime here). Oh, and Jacob. He's a beast. Literally. HAHA. I crack myself up..."
My poor husband is looking at me as if he would adore a mercy killing at this point to end the suffering I was forcing upon him. Come to think of it...that's the look the vampires had on their faces right before Edward killed them. Touche’...ok. tangent.
So needless to say, I saw Eclipse. I need to preface here that though I enjoy the twilight saga, I am not a die hard fan, and I say this to give respect to those who are:) More for me, rather than the occasional witty one liners and pretty boys, I am interested in the philosophy behind it. Because it's me. and I analyze EVERYTHING.
It’s not a secret that people everywhere are taken in by the twilight phenomenon. Mainly women. Not to disrespect the men. Vampires are manly too. Even if they sparkle. But there is something deeper that awakens in us when we see men risking it all for the sake of the one they love. Take Edward. Aloof. Mysterious. Sexy. The typical bad boy with the heart of gold scenario. Beautiful. Pensive. Poetic. Now add a darker element. Why hello Mr. Vampire. He will stand at the end of the bed and watch you sleep. Which sounds creepy in theory, but in essence it translates into someone finding us captivating. He loves to protect. He fight for the one he loves at all costs. Yes please.
Jacob. The best friend. The one who will wait forever. Desperate and jealous for the one he loves. Willing to give up everything and everyone until he has her in his arms. And they are nice arms…
Yes, the men are pretty . But I fell like the attraction goes so much deeper. To heart matters. There is a reason story lines such as these captivate us so. Make us swoon. Make our hearts flutter. Make us sigh, and if you are a weirdo like me, analyze.
We were created to captivate and be captivated. We long for someone to fight for us physically and emotionally. We long to be seen, truly seen. And then, be loved for what someone saw.
That dream isn’t dead. That notion isn’t all grandeur. And it’s not weak that we desire those things. But it’s also dangerous to believe that a man (or a vampire, or werewolf) can fulfill those desires in us. I’m not really a feminist. To be honest, I never feel more independent or creative as I do in the kitchen with an apron on and flour everywhere. But I stand strong on the idea that we as women need to be whole as individuals. Especially if we want to be any kind of use the epic men in our lives. Because though we are called to be rescued, and fought for, and chosen by the men in our lives, we are not helpless. In fact, we are necessary. We are their companions. Where Are we in the midst of the battle? Sword in hand baby. Right next to those we are willing to die for. There may not be an Edward. Or Jacob. And we may feel like we will never be as beautiful as Bella on our best day. But there is a calling in that movie. One that speaks deep. Let yourselves be fought for. But also be willing to fight too. Whether that is cutting yourself with a rock to cause a distraction, or having a hope and believe that God will be the one to rescue. He’s enough. He’s still fighting for you. He will never stop. That is true love.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I have an impressive addiction to Dove's Chocolate Brownie Affair ice cream. I also have a horrible habit of eating my, well what I affectionately call my second dinner, at 11pm at night. This said meal is usually not as healthy or substantial as the first dinner. Hungry is not a word I would associate with myself. Awkward perhaps. Or quirky. Tall. But not hungry. Until tonight. Until this song. Until this line. "When you are hungry and are tempted to steal..." (Tenth Avenue North..."Times"). This song hit me in the gut worse than eating the entire tub of ice cream in one sitting. It narrates God's love in first person...scenario after scenario of really hardcore situations that breaks your heart, and humbles you on the spot...and this is the line that grabs me...why?
I have never been for want of food. I have never known what it is like to go to bed hungry. I know others have, and my heart breaks for them. But I do know what it is like to be starving spiritually. To feel like you are drained. To feel as if your heart is famined. To crave love, encouragement, hope, attentiveness, protection so keenly, that it borders on desperate. And you grasp white knuckled, and wild eyed to anything that looks as if it might satisfy, rather than to risk going to bed hungry again. And I get tempted to steal. I fish for compliments. I put on extra eyeliner. I justify my defensiveness because I don't believe that God will step up and defend me. At the end of the day, whose am I? If I don't know that, how can I expect to be filled? It's not only in God's job description to love me, to fill me, to pat me on the back and validate my's His joy. To placate my heart in any other way, is not just injuring my heart further, but it's stealing the joy God gets from rescuing me. Beauty. Not just in a moment. Not just in a dress. Not just when my hair is fixed, or when my skin decided to behave itself. That's what my heart craves. Beauty in a lifestyle that is breathtaking. Moment upon moment that is picturesque. My daughter's laughter, my husband's smile, our candid and vulnerable life lived so that God looks even more beautiful. To look back at my life as if in a series of beautiful black and white portraits...and every one of those speaks of peace, love and intimacy. White picket fence syndrome much? Perhaps. Naive? Yeah, I'm about ninety nine percent sure that my air castles might be a tad lofty. But, I am a women. I am a dreamer. And that is a powerful combination in the hands of a holy God.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

because everyone is in bed...

Sigh...It's 8:30pm, but it feels so much later. Maybe it is because my house is a mess, and I spent all day cleaning it. Maybe because I am left wondering if I gave my daughter enough attention. Enough affirmation. Or, perhaps because I know that even if my house was spotless, and was able to give my daughter the perfect balance of love and discipline, I would still be utterly exhausted. And wondering how I could have better. What a far cry from the epic women of God I long to be. One who laughs at dust bunnies, and fights soapscum in a single bound! Ok, that may be ridiculous, but granted, I am tired, and it is 8:30 :) Yet my heart's desire has nothing to do with laundry, or matching silverware, or perfect pie crust. My heart's desire is to be I the only one? I take pride in watching my daughter be a princess. She loves all things lovely. Her wardrobe almost solely consists of pink. She is anamored by flowers, butterflies, and ballet. And one of her favorite pastimes is to dress up in a tiara and a tutu and...have an awesome sword battle. Seriously. Complete with clashing sword sounds and dramatic death scenes. Why does this thrill her? Because she longs for her beauty to be a part of the battle. She wants to rescue, and be rescued. To be a apart of something that needs her, and her beauty. She sees her feminity, and her long to be delighted in, as a weapon that is unrivaled. How could I foget all of that? I desire to war next to my husband, for my daughter, for the kingdom of God, for the calling for our household. Not to sit quietly and polish silver. To stand up, and with a sword of silver, plunge through the heart of the darkness that will try to threaten our family. Epic. And beautiful. So maybe it's not the cleaning that is making me exhausted. Maybe it's the warfare. NICE:).