My burning bush

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
planted by the rivers of water,
hat brings forth its fruit in its season,
whose leaf also shall not wither;
and whatever he does shall prosper.
~ Psalm 1 ~
Across the road, down the valley, where the trees grow tall next the little silver thread of Big Elk Creek, there is one lone birch that shimmers every evening in the sunset. Through March and April, this tree of diamonds delights my soul every day as I go through the hard work of keeping children content and cooking dinner, all at the same time. It is by far the most difficult hour of the day for me as a young mother. Yet, in these muddy months where there is little of beauty or refreshment on the spring horizon, God has lit up one tree like a jewel to bring me joy.

He says that His mercies never fail. By His mercy, we are not consumed. (Lamentations 3:22) To the ancient Jews, this probably meant something wholly different than it does to me today: then, it meant deliverance from armed enemies, food provided to the family table during a drought, safe passage to new grazing grounds. Because I have food on my table, a fully-equipped medical world at my disposal, a large house in which to live, no enemies at my doorstep...many would argue that I am no danger of being consumed by anything. But every day that danger lurks...through the difficult dinner hour, when I would much rather blunt my children's senses with a movie instead of conversing with them in their tired and hungry state. Depression, complacence, despair, irritation, over-scheduling, drifting through life, lowering my expectations. Those are the enemies that threaten to consume me as a 21st century Christian housewife and mother.

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
That we walked in fields of gold
~ Fields of Gold, Sting ~

The whole field of corn husks in front of my birch tree sparkle as if you dropped nuggets of gold there. Just husks. Lit by sun. Somehow strangely beautiful. This is one of those visions of glory in our everyday world vista that plucks the heartstrings, and they vibrate to a bittersweet melody of joy that is so sweet it aches. Somehow this vision condenses for me all that has happened in my life:
friendships ruined,
heart failing, somehow healing,
hugging children who were dying,
feeling their last months soak into my soul like honey;
marrying my best friend,
birthing babies,
that painful, joyful metamorphosis of body and soul;
cancer, the cutting of surgery,
the years of living with it's specter;
baby girl slipping away,
baby girl coming home,
baby girl forever different;

another spring.
A glittering field.
A thousand sorrows;
a million joys.

Through it all, serving a Savior who takes my husks and turns them into glittering gold. A God who takes the last bit of my strength, energy, willingness, and infuses me with this sudden, thundering thing of beauty that lights up my kitchen night after night. The God who speaks through a burning bush, and tells me He is still there...and no, He is never silent.