Some Sunday mornings ago, on our rooftop porch, there was silence on the streets, but music in the trees as the early birds sang their song. My husband was asleep, and I was enjoying the quiet and coffee, watching the sun come up over our small piece of visible skyline. My dog waited patiently by the porch grate for other signs of life, but all we heard were the birds' songs. Sounds of life staying hidden in the trees beneath the leaves.
What were they saying to one another that could make waking up sound so beautiful? As I heard God speaking to me through these songs, I was reminded to never put limits on Him or the way He chooses to show Himself. Convicted by the beauty of birdsongs, I wondered: are the sounds from my mouth beautiful? Do they claim the beauty I see in others? Or are they ugly and toxic? Destruction and despair? Humbly I admit that my mouth often speaks unrighteous anger, utter jealousy, and comparison. I must fight it -- it’s a death song, nonetheless.
The birds in our yard sang with clarity and pride. A jumbled mess of noise and beauty, simultaneous and separate. I have to believe they are singing to their Creator from each individual branch and nest. To me, the birds represented us who have been given new voices because “forgiven by Christ” is our unifying birdsong.
Forgiven by Him, and yet because of Him. He is the mover and the moved. How?
I don’t know.
But I have to cling to this because what the hell is happening in our country right now? Families are literally being divided as they cross our border.
To the child who was ripped from their mother’s arms, you are loved. Beyond measure. By a Force much greater than you or your parents or the people taking you from them.
I am sorry this country does not feel safe now. I’m sorry that the only comfort you have known has been taken from you. And while your life’s birdsong will contain the terror and trauma you’ve experienced these past few months, it will not be the last thing that defines you. It will not be the end of your melody, but simply the beginning of the next notes, whatever that may be. Although you cannot see them now, there are thousands of people outside the concrete walls you’ve been staring at that want to sing your song with you. They are not the people in high places. For now, they are hidden, like the birds in the trees. I hold on in faith that one day you will hear them and lend your ear to them in trust.
Dear child, as you become older, it will be hard -- very hard -- to find the good people. You will find lots of the bad people, who use incorrect and unsound theology to justify their evil actions. They will use the Word of God like a pawn in their chess game, moving it in every which way to save themselves. This theology is wrong and disgraceful to the God who, when moved in every which way, chose not to save Himself. There is only one theology: it is Christ who said ‘welcome’ to the poor and the prisoner. Welcome to the people fleeing persecution. Welcome to the diseased, lonely, and broken hearted. This is sound theology.
I know there are one billion political things I don't understand. I know this feels too simple for many people, but it's the most honest form of something that I have to offer.
Currently quenching a lot of spiritual thirst in our home, Audrey Assad’s newest album, Evergreen, on repeat.
I’m comforted by all the paradoxes I’ve found in her lyrics because in paradox, God is able to claim everything as rightfully His. And while things have been twisted by this world to the point of not recognizing Christ, everything does truly belong to Him.
Wounded Healer, we give our hearts to You.
Boy oh boy... is this thing on? Cue dramatic tapping of microphone. What is a blog? And how do you update it? I'm back y'all. But maybe just for this post. With me -- it's a good rule of thumb to generally expect radio silence.
I'm so glad to finally share these sugar and spice cookies, another staple of my childhood and the genius of my mother. I topped these bad boys with candied ginger to "spice" things up a bit... pun absolutely intended.
If I can be completely transparent, I tried to test and adapt this recipe using butter -- because these cookies, in fact, originally use crisco. GASP. The shock. The horror. The running for your life. I know I just lost half of you because the word "crisco" or "shortening" scares you. But I'm not about fear around here, and crisco was a big part of my childhood. Reality check -- these cookies just sucked with butter. They taste better with crisco. (My husband adds the following message while editing this piece: CRISCO RULES. DEAL WITH IT.)
Sugar and Spice Cookies with Candied Ginger
3/4 cup shortening (aka crisco)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. ginger
Candied ginger for topping
Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Incorporate egg and molasses slowly. Sift flour and other dry ingredients in a separate bowl. After sifting, add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Dough will be fairly stiff. Form into small balls. Bakers, I highly recommend purchasing a cookie scoop. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Watch carefully, as these are easy to over bake and should look slightly underdone when pulled out. Top with candied ginger, pushing gently into the cookie. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before eating.