Red Vine Spirituality

Taylor K. Arthur balances Bipolar 1 Disorder, marriage, and motherhood with a nitty-gritty faith inspiring a twisted, blissful life.

Category: Unforced Rhythms of Grace (page 1 of 3)

When You Hit the Same Wall All Over Again

Do you ever feel like you’re hitting the same wall again and again? That no matter how spiritual you think you’ve become, no matter how much counseling you get, you just keep making out with the pavement? Yeah. Me, too. But there’s hope. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrew 12:12-13 Continue reading

Tardy Artys

Two falls ago, when Abraham began preschool, I went through—what shall we call it?—a Momzilla season. Continue reading

Bless this temple

One afternoon on vacation, Jack sent me to the pool to relax while the kids took a nap. As I settled down into my lawn chair, I didn’t even think about how I looked in my swimsuit. After three babies in four years, bedrest, NICUs, and endless doctor appointments, I couldn’t have cared less what I looked like that blessed afternoon I spent by the pool alone. I ordered chips, guacamole, and a glass of wine and reveled in my nap-time freedom. That is, until a young woman about 17 sprawled her perky body across the lawn chair next to me. Continue reading

Lenten Cup: Planting Ahead

Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

Psalm 126:6

It’s that time of year again. I wait with anticipation for Caleb’s birthday, pregnant with longing and an ache my body feels to the marrow, never quite sure of how I should feel or what I should be doing. It will be his 7th birthday this week. And, as our family grows, our schedule changes. Caleb’s birthday must change, too.

We are stepping further and further away from our first born the more we step into the world with his living, thriving, growing brothers. Abraham attending full day kindergarten means we will not be going to the beach as many days as we normally have. I am venturing into the world–for my living boys’ sakes–on days I have, up until this point, hidden. Life moves me forward.

Samuel’s teacher approached me about celebrating him in class during March, due to the fact that his real birthday is in August. Of course, the day that worked is right in the middle of Caleb’s week. Our God is so good that He plants blessings right in the midst of my grief. I am now busy making cake pops for my miracle son, while my heart grieves Caleb. And do you know that the alternate meaning of Caleb’s name in Hebrew [is] כָּל (kal) “whole, all of” and לֵב (lev) “heart”? Thanks, cousin Kelsie, for that!

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So we will be celebrating St. Patrick’s day, green shirts donned and leprechauns leaving jellybean trails, and we will celebrate our Samuel‘s half birthday, thirty homemade “banilla” cake pops and all. Because we are crying, and we are laughing, and we are praising a God who weaves all of us together.

Leprechaun traps

Leprechaun traps

The more I live this twisted, blissful life, the more I understand there is no way I should do this. I’m not white knuckling or stuffing down these tidal waves of tears. I am throwing seeds as I walk through this grief, as many as I can. I’m planting ahead for the times of joy to come, the times of trial when I can look back and see how My Provider harvests righteousness from these seasons of pain. I’m birthing the joy of the Lord this March, as the tulips bloom and we visit our son’s grave, because I’ve learned now that this pain will yield. The tide will turn, friend. And His joy comes in the morning.

God bless your tears, that they might yield.

Taylor

Thanks to my Aunt Keely, who pointed this verse out during one of her “Living in the Unforced Rhythms of Grace” talks. I can still see you crying and throwing seed during your talk!

Lenten Cup: Seeking first

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

Seeking first the things of God seems simple enough, but why is it so hard for me? I wonder where the kingdom ends, and where the dirty dishes begin. If I am busying myself with kingdom work, and fail to get the cobwebs from my bathroom corners, have I missed the mark?

There is this great movement going on in the Christian blogosphere where we women are being liberated to be imperfect and to be authentic, to open fingerprint-covered doors for guests into dusty homes. Instead of staying inside and polishing our floors, we’re supposed to suck up our inner perfectionistas and serve in the everyday mess of our lives.

I love this, in theory. But a girl’s still got to find time to wipe off the fingerprints, Swiffer-dust, and bleach the toilets, right? Just saying.

I had a weak moment on Saturday morning, where I actually prayed outloud in the car in front of my family–okay, I was almost yelling–beseeching the Lord for help, or more time, or more strength and energy, or just maybe a housekeeper? I know what I am supposed to be doing for the kingdom, but I also have to do the laundry. In most minutes of every hour that there is not enough of me to do all of this. And I know His power shows up in weak people, but sometimes my lack seems a bit much.

I’m just going to come out with it: The dust bunnies bug, even if I know they don’t define me.

So I keep praying that somehow, in this life of mine that I want to count for something, to give something lasting to the world from every breath, that He will help me know in each moment where the Kingdom work is, and when I just need to fold the laundry.

Pray with me, as you empty the dishwasher, commute to work, bath babies, write blogs, lead Bible studies, and pray in your quiet time:

Whatever I do, Lord, help me to work at it with all my heart, as working for YOU, and not for human masters. I know that I will receive an inheritance from YOU as my reward. It is YOU, Lord Christ, I want to serve alone: in every changed diaper, dirty dish, folded onesie, prayer prayed, Bible study led, person loved, and time-card punched. Help me to seek first your Kingdom work, to see every moment where Your priority lies, instead of my own. This is my Lenten prayer. Amen.
derived from Colossians 3:23-24

God bless you all.

Taylor

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