Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We all can seek.

 I don't know how I got here, I told him. On this teeter-totter of emotions and certainty, I just don't know. 

I like to ask him. Ask him anything. Especially when my 4x4 gives way. Because, I know who he's walking with. And I know they are walking.

Picture everyone in the whole world in a room filled with tables, he said. And at each table in front of each person is a huge bag of gold and a piece of paper. On the paper is directions  to the wisest person alive. 

I listened. 

You get to pick one, he said, like a wise man would.  What would you take Caryl? The gold, or the paper? 

I answered without saying a word. I kept listening. I just kept listening.

The gold he said,  is a lot like emotions. It's shiny. It's attractive. It's what most people go off of for guidance. It's what they chase.

 Don't worry about emotions, you will have no shortage of those in life. They will come all on their own. 

The paper, that  is for seekers. For people that will seek things out wholeheartedly. For those who want the truth. 

I've been back to my own spot at the table ever since. In my day to day. To see what I'm grabbing. 

To see if I'm really picking up the piece of paper. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

I killed Jesus


Right out there in the Austin air above his eyes I read these words.  

I killed Jesus

Written on a hat that knew him well.
He put the words there with his own hands one letter after another.

And I saw them. Read them like a newly taught reader would. 

So I went up and asked him. Asked him if he really did.

And he said he did. He really did. 

And I believed him.

He told me how his hat made Christians mad. How they'd wave their finger at him and madly snap and mock him. They'd say things like how dare you. And what is wrong with you? And you are going to hell. 

But it confused him, he said,  because the moment he realized he did this, he became a Christian. He held his heart to Jesus and He took it.

...Then everyone else they either see my hat and wonder if maybe they did it too, or they want to high five me and say 'hell yeah'. Some, they really don't say anything, they aren't comfortable.

But for me, I've done a lot of things.

A lot of bad things. 

So yeah, I killed him.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Watch me

She's beautiful. It's been proven.

She stands on the floor close to me and calls out, hey mommy watch me.  I look her way as she spins herself in  a newly thought of fashion and stops. 

Thats awesome Sayla. So good! I love it! I clap in delight. 

It's all she wants. Me to love it. Enjoy her.

She loves to do this and over and over again in my days she calls out to me, watch!  She will jump her two year old self an inch off the ground and them peek my way hoping I caught such a phenomenal move. She smiles delighting in my response, knowing I saw her. She wants me to praise her.

Just last night again, it was,  hey mommy watch me.

 I looked her way. She turned herself around really fast and stopped. By now she knows I will pay attention to her and stop for a second and say wow. And it really is wow because I love her enjoying me enjoying her.

We smile the same love smile. 

She's been doing this for a few months. This see me here, Im doing this for you. I want you to see this. I want you to love this.  Don't miss it.

Makes me think how many times God calls to me in my day.

Hey, Caryl,  watch me!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Parking lot

I was sitting in my Jeep waiting while my husband filled the boat up with gas. I saw her out my window. She was life-kissed, middle sixties, probably. She was dressed in a bright vest with handwritten words all over it that read Jesus is Risen. She wore her hair all wrapped up in a brightly colored scarf. She smiled constantly as she took her dustpan and swept the gas station parking lot. 

I spotted her car. Bumper stickers about Jesus. Dents and Knicks all over it. Old as could be. One you'd find on the side of the road no longer going anywhere.

She hummed as she gathered the litter. Then the gas station doorbell dinged and out stepped hip, thirty or so year old John carrying several bottles of whiskey and two bags of ice. He was dressed in a tuxedo. A wedding, I thought.

She quickly walked to him and as their eyes met she asked him, 'do you know Jesus?  

His arms were full and he picked up speed to get to his car. 

Yes mamam, he said over his shoulder.

He quickly popped his trunk opened  and reached for a cooler.  She traced his steps and soon stood next to him. 

You sure smells good,she told him.

He laughed out loud, smiled, and  dropped a bag of ice. It smashed into tiny pieces and then he poured it in his whiskey bath.

He stopped,reached out his hand to shake hers.

 Name's John, he told her. Nice to meet you.

She smiled wildly. 

They chatted a few minutes. Him and her, in a rundown parking lot, two worlds agreeing to meet.

He wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to her. Then he got in his car and waved goodbye.

Bye John, she said out loud, as she blew a kiss.

He sped off smiling.

I really wish I could run into more Johns. More people that don't pull out their tongue-guns of rage when someone wants to share something with them, even if they are in a hurry and desperate to keep the whiskey on ice. I wish I could know more people that would take moments in between all the needs and deadlines and reach their hand out and touch a heart moment as it happens. I wish I could meet more people in the crowd that even if they don't know Jesus, don't piss and wail if someone wants to talk about Him. Ones who won't protest or stand on the hill of politics and loudly vent.

Ones who will stop and look at the people in the cold, worn parking lots and think, wow  she really loves talking about this. 

Hope the wedding was fun John. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Oftentimes when I'm needing to talk to Jesus, which is absolutely frequently, I think of Him picking me up in a 70's, artsy Volkswagen van with orange curtains, windows down,and coffee for the two of us. He's the coffee expert, so imagine the brew we share. I climb in. Its not about the van, its about me showing that its personal. Him and I. Back and forth.

 I imagine Him driving me through the curvy Carolina countryside. It usually takes a few moments for me to say something. The pre-planned venting and the defense lawyer comments sometimes reach my lips. Often its all heart-improv and desperate yearnings for wisdom and guidance.  But somedays, I stare out my window without saying a word, hair flowing and head back against my seat,my heart pounding, and it's just small, weak, tears.

Just yesterday in the prayer van, it was continual conversations about these things. 
The lady from India I just read about that is still bugging me. And that 16 year old that was mutilated by Houston gangs last week, it's horrible, I tell Him. And my blood work results are taking a long time. Where are we moving to next? How can I get Jackson to eat his dinners? How'd time figure out how to speed up? Show me what I'm covering thats holding me back. I don't know how to mother today. Are there any friends for my boys? And Jesus slow down, its raining.

There comes a time in a follower of Jesus journey when they let in deeply that God hears them.

And that changes things.

Because when I realize that I'm talking to God. Actually talking to Him and he's listening to me, theres so much beauty in that. I've come to know this profoundly, because when I think of this beautiful truth, I don't zoom past it. 

Its enough.

 I'm not asleep to this.  It comforts me. 

A hippy van is much easier for me to picture than a throne in heaven.  Yeah, go ahead and punch me for the outta context environment. Like I said, Its not about the van. 

He hears!

If I say the word oatmeal. He hears that. And until my heart grabbed that He really does hear me and I believed it in a way that got through, I felt quite on my own. Believing Jesus actually hears me has changed my life.

Thankfully, I quit walking around saying 




Oatmeal. (laughing)

There's so many other things to talk about these days. I'm in my 30's.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rock or Ball

Dave had decided to run into the thrift store the other day and look for a screen so the kids could watch their movies. The kids and I waited in the car. He said he wouldn't be long. He was wrong.
I have quit looking on my phone when in the car with my kids. I've realized how weird it must be to look in on the situation and see a mom sitting in silence staring at a rectangle while her boisterous children sit right behind her. I can't rid that thought. And I can't miss moments anymore. I'm done with filler moments, the phone surfing additives and the busy artificial ingredients I so often dump in my day.

I started talking to my kids about whatever came up. I read them a verse. And then. We heard a trucks desperation noises. We glanced over across the parking lot at the lady with her small child in the backseat, trying to start her falling apart small pick up truck. It wouldn't start. Over and over. She tried. It wouldn't. We watched her head collapse on the steering wheel. I know that feeling. I know those moments. She kept turning the key hoping. Needing it to start. It was near dusk and I knew she needed to get on home. 

We always need home.

We prayed for her. Not longer than a few moments later her truck was going over the curb and driving off. We all laughed as the trucks wheels all hit the pavement again and squealed off. We watched them leave us for good, as the Texas sunset closed the scene.
It was only a few seconds before my oldest son asked.
Mom would you rather be friends with a ball or a rock?
The question surprised me. Hmm. I smiled. I like when they ask me things. Things that drive us places deep within.
I didn't answer quite yet. I'm a mom, I was thinking.
Jackson piped up.
If you were friends with a ball what would you do if the wind blew? When the wind blows mom you don't want friends that are balls. You'd be all alone.
I had decided as he was saying this that I would go with rock. Absolutely.
I didn't tell them yet.
Mom, Christian started up, friends are supposed to stick close, like a brother, so I would pick a rock. Rocks stay and stay.
Me too Jackson said. I don't want ball friends. I know there's wind.
I'd pick a rock too guys. I told them.
It's a cool moment when you realize you've been reading to them about God being the everlasting rock and they are processing it in little heart-worlds filled with whimsy and curiosity.
It's official. We all want rocks. I think about getting them rocks for Christmas, but I remember this is a principal. Not actual rocks we all want.
Dave took a good long while. He returned empty handed with a story of his own about the screens and the adapters. And as we drove away, they asked him.
Dad would you rather be friends with a ball or a rock?
He turned the corner and smiled the question in. Sometimes a dads wisdom can see a mile or two down the road.
A rock, he said.
And with this household it gets crazy quick.
Ok. Jackson said. Would you rather be friends with....... a stick or a leaf?
The scenarios kept changing. And they kept pondering what is it about friends that make them worth having the whole drive home.