IMG_1607 “Simplicity is the way to seeing things clearly.”

Oswald Chambers

“…I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!” Malachi 3:10b~NLT

I was dressing for my junior prom. The dress, my mom and I had traveled to find, was a tiny thing. Flowing and feminine. The color, blue, mirrored my eyes.

Clear as day I remember my Mama zipping it up, patting my little tummy and saying, “goodness girl, you almost look pregnant.”

A few weeks later morning sickness showed up with a vengeance. It occurred to me, Mama might be right.

A woman child, with child. That was me at the tender age of seventeen. A junior in my small town high school.

Me. The good girl. Oldest child. The responsible one. Daughter of the King, child of a drunk. A bone tired, weary mom, who loved us big and laughed loud. Put up with much. Tried way to long, to make it all right.

One wrong leads to another.  Backed into a corner, not wanting to heap any more load onto my mother’s shoulders, I did the only thing I knew to be right. I married the boy. Him a senior, me, another year of high school.

Weeks later, he graduated. We set up housekeeping in a quaint, four room farmhouse. Peeling paint, cold wood floors, a wood stove to keep us warm. A stand up shower, a bathroom, not big enough to turn a circle in. Screen doors, to this day I can still hear squeaking in the wind. Windows like the one above, the cold invited in.

Not enough money to spit on. A mound of resentment and anger we couldn’t even begin to wade through, at such a tender age. A heap of growing up to do.

That sweet little house sat nestled down in a bowl. Literally. If the yard had been a bit bigger, you would have thought you had stumbled upon a football field. A steep bank of steps to trek up and down.

Mornings came cold and bitter. I would stand at that window, take up the hem of my flannel nightgown, and scrape the frost off it. Sweep the occasional snow out of the window sill.

I would take a peek out the window at the frosted ground. A heart frozen in reality of life.  Searching for promise in the day. Young, overwhelmed, and too burdened to realize I was searching for Grace.

Grace was there all along. Author of Love Idol, Jennifer Dukes Lee once said, “sometimes you have to go a ways down the road, to see what’s in the review mirror.”

The frozen heart, it melts a bit. In the giggles of a chubby cheeked boy, gurgling slobber dribbling down his chin. The creaking of the rocking chair in the dark of night. Downy, soft hair nestled beneath my chin. The ole wood stove hopping with warmth. Later, a blond and curly haired girl with her Mama’s eyes and a will stubborn as stone. That willfulness, from her Mama too.

Nine years later, mountains too steep to cross, it all fell apart.

“When our souls lose home, we set out to build a new home.” Emily P. Freeman~Simply Tuesday

I won’t ever regret those nine years. Two beautiful children. I hold no grudges. Truly I don’t. I can wipe the frost off that old window and see all that was stacked against us. How we didn’t have a clue to make it work.

I went on to build a new life, a new home. Found my own footing and strength to stand tall. A good man.

It was a long road before I opened my hands to the Grace that was there all along. Claimed and cherished it as the gift it was meant to be.

But that window, it still rattles down in my soul.

“I return to something familiar but still can’t figure out the right way to go.” Emily P. Freeman~Simply Tuesday

It’s that place I can stand and look out. See where I have been. Where God may want me to go. Where, when the hard takes hold, worry and anxiety set in; the thawing heart is want to freeze again.

The place, that when I long for that brief moment of Grace, I pick up that tattered old flannel night gown, scrape the frost off once again.  Push my face up against it and take a peek through.

“And oh, how He loves us, oh

Oh how He loves us,

How he loves us so…” 

David Crowder Band~Lyrics from How He Loves

There’s a melting, a thawing, standing there.

“…I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart…” Ezekiel 11:19:b~NLT

Warm breath, His breath, thaws the heart. The window clears and there I see, grace upon grace.

The precious friend, within minutes of my text, opens my door. Takes my hands, prays me through the hard. Few days later shows up with brownies in her hands.

My man laying by my side, softly snores; my hand folded into his.

The “Sole” Sister, who quickly became my “Soul” Sister, faithful to call and text and just show up. Belly laughs at all my silly stories.

The sunflower blooms that still hang on.

The simple. The small. The ordinary. They become the big. The Grace I see, when the frozen thaws; God gives me a peek.

In her book, Simply Tuesday, Emily P. Freeman says she starts her journal each day with these words…”These are the days…”

These are the days. To breathe it all in.

Scrape the frost off the window, allow His breath to thaw your heart. And when you do, take a peek through. The window will open, the way will clear, Heaven will open wide.

There you will find Grace upon grace.

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn