What is Really in the Midst of Every Messy House

Somebody stands in the kitchen near the end of the day and calls someone with a higher pitched whine an idiot.

And I hear it and I hear the ensuing wail and I wince and I am at the end of my rope near the end of the day and I rail perfectly ugly about the beauty of grace and this is not how Christians talk and we do not say things like that around here and some kid notes that apparently we do and I glower low and I am chief among sinners and pillows can become mirages of heaven near the end of the day.

I ask Hope to set the table. She sighs. I’d like to.

One boy sulks that there’s still one more day of DVBS.

Somebody stomps hard and loud and why do I have them fold the towels and when they never even use any towels and I think it best not to ask when was the last time they had a bath?

We had had salad wraps for lunch — for the fourth straight day. There were tears. I did promise something different for dinner though I have no idea what and where did my menu planning go about the middle of July?

It’s been seven days now that my wallet’s been lost and I’ve looked high and low and we’ve had company twice in those seven days so the house really has been all picked up and I still can’t find it and losing your sanity isn’t actually that overrated. I bleach two Sunday best shirts that are now looking at a bleak existence as rags.

I do remember to feed the dog.

Hope sets sunflowers on the table.




I light candles. We bow our heads. The Farmer prays. And I never get over the wonder that God makes the tarnished His temples — and that He doesn’t move out.

The tapers blaze.


After dinner, after dishes, at the very, very end of the day, when they all plead and the Farmer looks at me and I smother a happy sigh and yes, say yes, to lighting a flame in the backyard.

We gather in a circle, we pass out hymn books. Levi asks to sing his favorite and we all say #25, because we know that is Levi’s favorite. We sing “Immortal, Invisible”….



I think of the invisible in us. I hear their voices rise on the refrain and I watch the flame lick up the blackness and I think this is it, right here, in us.

Burning bushes and holy ground are found on the backside of wildernesses.

Holiness is found in Horeb.

Horeb, the root meaning: aridity, ruin. I know this well — the backside of the desert. Horeb, the place of drought and demons and detours. Yet too, Horeb was this: “the mountain of God.” The place where water ran from the rock and God’s finger engraved His law in stone and bushes burned with Holy Spark.

In the places of desolation, we meet the presence of Divinity.

We are Horeb, dry and ruined.

And God is here, dwelling and real.

The tindered wood feeds the light in the dark and the children sing quiet and tired. My bones are weary and my voice drifts. Somewhere in the lyrics, I hear Moses at the miracle of Horeb, asking “why the bush does not burn up.”

Leaning over days of my own, wooden and dry, my own breaking points that kindle the blood, I know why the bush does not burn up. I know why we are not consumed by it all, know why we can burn on and on and on.


The God-in-us fuels the God-in-the-bush and we are flames in the dark. 

God is here, dwelling and real — Immortal, Invisible, and In Us.

We sit around the campfire and sing wonder late into the night on this backside of the desert.

Related Post from a Messy House: Even Here

Photos: God flames even here
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