Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Seven Coats

Days like this, I wish I was more clever or witty, or maybe that I was enjoying a more poetic vibe. None of those are true today, because I'm just tired. It's not a bad thing. It happens. You know.

But I have news.

Remember how, Robert came home a week and a half ago?
The very next day, we got a call saying we'd soon have another temporary house guest. A tiny one with little teeth like Tic Tac mints and a raspy voice that makes me feel like I'm living in reverse.

It blew our dang minds. 

After the "when", we addressed the "where", diving headlong into the most frazzled, cluttered version of musical rooms ever.

We occupy the now-defunct toy room, and here's where things get strange: I cried about moving our room. I mean, my eyes leaked a little. It wasn't a full-blown crying jag. It was the kind where the feelings want to EXIT THE BUILDING but the Super won't let them. The doors are locked. The windows barred. So, you know, they pull the fire alarms. They do what they gotta do. Eventually, they get noticed, and they run.

I never once felt sad or disappointed or inconvenienced about our new, littlest house-guest.
We're not sure how long she'll be here, but she's already making our days brighter.

Still, in the days leading up to her arrival, I was blue for 28-odd hours over a dumb bedroom. I liked the old bedroom. It was so much bigger. We'd lived there for 2 and a half years. It was home. I was comfortable there. It was quieter. Prettier. And what would become of the refugee toys??

The whole experience reminded me of leaving the farm. Only, I could swear this bedroom switch-out was sadder.

It's so silly, so inconsequential and embarrassing to admit. Or maybe change never gets easier when it isn't our idea. Maybe this is the yank and shove of being human, this long-strung tension between what we think we deserve and the wild grace we're actually given.

We're out of practice on toddlers over here, but I'm surprised at how much sense it makes.
We're still playing catch-up when it comes to parenting an adult, but we talk long into the darkest hours of night and I find myself wanting to stare again, just like I used to. He spits out stories of heartbreak and chaos without a flinch. He spins a yarn and stacks truth upon truth. From across the room, I believe I'm staring at the answer to the future.

I know he could change the world, if he tried.
(I'm not sure if he will.)

We take a step back and our circle widens.
We take a step back and our arms are filled with muffins and soup and buckets of KFC.
This is the life we were given.
This is our family.

Today, we are seven strong, and counting.
I'm more sure than ever - there's no easy way to say who belongs to me and who doesn't.
It's not up to me. It never was.
The years I believed it was my choice were an illusion, and I'm better off without it.

We're settling in and snuggling up to uncertainty.

His voice reverberates through the floorboards, smooth and kind.
At some point, she cries, and we climb the stairs in the dark.

My life is unrecognizable to me, once again.
I'm well past trying to memorize its angles and planes.

Somehow, it still feels like home.


  1. I've been learning over the last year or so that it's okay to grieve the small goodbyes so I can live more fully in my "new" now. Thanks for going there, and for encouraging me in that. I just love you and your heart and your open door and your family so much.

  2. I love how your life in Christ just makes so much dang sense!!! God continues to show you, and the rest of us, what it looks like to be right smack dab in the middle of His will!! 7 strong!!! You Go Girl!!!!

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  4. [Dang failure to edit before I published!]
    I was reading in Romans today the part about Abraham not wavering in faith, even though he could see that his body was old and how could the promise possibly be fulfilled? And I thought of you, even before I had come to read this. I'm not really thinking about leaving bedrooms, or farms... but somehow, I think maybe we all want to give up when we don't see the easy answers (or even the hard answers that make logical sense). We can "snuggle up to uncertainty" because we know the one certainty that matters.

    But what is it about our houses that trigger the emotions?!?


  5. One of my favorite posts. I'm so glad to know you and have your perspective in my life.

  6. 7.. the perfect number! Prayers of peace over your life and your home as you daily bow to obedience ...all for HIIM!

  7. Sending hugs to you! Don't you just love how He expands our hearts and transforms our expectations?

  8. And still an empty hook left it appears. :)

  9. Say, we were cars not people, (I know, bonkers but bear with me!), and God really wanted and needed us, cars, for his purposes. Those cars would need to be kept in good working order to be able to function well, the better looked after and cared for the more reliable and long lasting and not prone to break down and dangerous faultiness they would be, right? So, I am thinking we don't need to obsess about ourselves or shove ourselves to the front of the queue, grab the shinest bit of light for ourselves, but we do need to look after the mind, body and spirit we have been given, so it can be as strong and whole and ready for God's uses, right? The dying to ourselves is to our sinful, self-seeking nature isn't it, not to our unique needs, joys and the quirky activities that light us up and make us shine? Am I over simplifying, it is a fine line in there between what we need to function best and what we just selfishly want? I think that as a Christian and as a mum, it can just feel so indulgent to take the time to do the things that make me feel well, strong and stable, but maybe it is actually my responsibility? Bless the expansive walls of your heart and home! x

  10. Just praying Psalm 90:12 for you....for me....for all of us gathered in this space!

  11. Inspiring to me as people come and go at my house and not always on my terms....

  12. Love the way God is using you...praying for you as you serve! Miss you!

  13. oh wow! this is big. thank you for sharing with us, we'll be praying for you and this new chapter! Little Bit is lucky to be with you!

  14. I can so relate to this. Being a foster parent means never knowing who will be part of your family but the rewards of being obedient have taught us more about love than we could have imagined.

  15. Beautiful post! Your acceptance of those not borne from you is incredible. I am so pleased to be virtually learning about your family. And in that funny spiritual way, I'm sorry, not sorry about your old bedroom because it sounds like you're opening up even more :)

  16. I've drafted an email to you twice in the past two weeks. The words just won't come. I have things I'd like to share, but I'm chicken. I wonder what is wrong with me and then I read a post like this. Tug and pull, yank and jerk.

  17. So enjoyed catching up on your family growth. In awe of your serving heart. Love you polly

  18. If we are going along with God's plan, I don't believe that He would be mad that we grieve a little at the changes. We ARE human! And you are much better at the going along than I have been! Would love a photo of the new little one, unless of course you can't :)

  19. You guys are like Samuel, "Speak Lord, your servant is listening". He doesn't ask us to understand, we don't have to and it's probably best if we don't. Just keep responding to what He puts in front of us. You are such an inspiration to me and I'm sure to many. God bless you and your family.

  20. It's funny - for the past year I have been saying over and over, "It's crazy how so many people in my life are going through difficult or confusing things right now." Just today I realized that there always have been and always will be people around me trudging though dark times. The only thing that changed is my eyes have been opened. Your blog sounds like the continual and sometimes painful process of having our eyes pried open. I so appreciate the honest and raw emotion that is your human nature grinding up against your God nature. It's happening here too.

  21. Seven coats! Love, love, love.

    While I was reading your words, I felt like God was speaking into my situation and telling me (in the kind, gentle, not messing around, all caps way He does): Make room for what I’m doing already! Why are you still holed up in your old space? Oops. And thank you once again for passing me courage.

  22. Praying for sweet surprises from the Lord in this transition. I would miss my bedroom, too.


  23. would LOVE to hear more about your fostering. Something I have been thinking about, but then push out of my mind quickly….

  24. This post really resonated with me, Shannon. Even though our situations are vastly different, I can understand exactly what you're feeling.

    When we went to Africa for a year, I took a small photo album of friends and family and places I loved. I didn't get it out very often but when I did I was rather embarrassed that the photos which drew the strongest emotional response were not the people, but the places! It took years before I understood it was my heart responding to a sense of belonging somewhere. Maybe because we were only there for a a limited time, maybe because life was so very, very different (we lived in a small community in the bush), maybe because I'm just weird. Who knows? These days it is both the places and the people who cause me to get really emotional. Some days I want SO BAD to be with my people. Some days I want SO BAD to be in a particular place -- the parsonage, the summer cottage on Lake Michigan that friends graciously let us use, our home church for the candlelight service on Christmas Eve...

    Somehow I'm trying to make my home where He has put me, far from the familiar and the familia :)

  25. Maybe if it didn't bother you giving up the room it would have big no big deal. No reward! So the fact it bothered you is a good thing! You just pleased God.

    Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16

  26. Such beauty here. You have what dear Kara Tippetts calls "big love" for all your loves. Talk about God expanding your borders! I keep coming back to your words for the beauty here.

  27. I couldn't love you more.
    Please keep living this story He's given.
    It's changing all of ours.

  28. Girrrrrl. Change bites...every time, in my world. The only thing I change with a decent attitude are my big girl pants - sometimes not even then. But I do want to share a story with you that I hope will make you grin like a chimp:

    When I was watching your video in "Uncoming, the Befolding of You" (ack, ack) someone dropped by my house.

    So I paused you. But...but...when I did, your eyes were wonky and your upper lip kinda frozen. Like you were in a mighty sneeze. You know how videos are.

    Shannan, I totally UNpaused that video, and let you compose yourself. I paused it only when you looked...."perfection".

    Total instincitive reaction. Then, I cackled over what I did, the rest of the day.

    You and me are homies (in my head, anyhow). #Igotchoo #Igotyourback

    1. PS. The person dropping in was coming into my office. Hence, the instinctive urge to recompose you. I just couldn't let them see you in anything less than your true, best light...

  29. Such a beautiful story. I'm kind of in awe and trying do hard to stop thinking I'm in control. You are quite an inspiration. ♡ Teresa

  30. Such a beautiful story. I'm kind of in awe and trying do hard to stop thinking I'm in control. You are quite an inspiration. ♡ Teresa

  31. Catching up on your posts. Exciting things happening in your house (all.the.time!).

  32. Just when I think it's impossible to like you more....