Before the cold comes, we walk our familiar beat—one of the few such times since Lucy Mae’s death. One son still struggles; his quiet nature was so much in orbit around her sun. As time has passed, he misses her more instead of less and I try to resurrect other bits of life; I try to kindle tiny embers. But to take a walk now is a memorial and we are quiet as our feet fall in step.

I’m struggling to tell them something—they must have heard the angry words earlier, heard their mother crying. So much of the past few years has been a torrent of ups and downs and I’ve been grieving that lately, worried about how it will shape them. No one said love would be easy. I remember how my sister and I cowered in our beds at night as our own parents hurled word daggers at each other; anger bouncing off the walls and ricocheting into our hiding places. I remember the fear and that wild feeling inside.

So I tell them how lucky they are, that their parents love each other. That we are committed to staying together; that even when things are hard, love wins. One son talks about a friend whose parents have split up, and I tell him that so many times it does happen. Sometimes it’s for the best. And God will use these hard places for good if we allow it. And they want to know how it was for me after my parents divorce. Was I sad? Was it hard? So I tell them the story I’ve told them many times before, the one they never grow tired of hearing. It’s like a fairy tale to them, and for this I am grateful. I tell them how I cried myself to sleep every night for a year. How I lived with my dad and older brother for a while. How I missed my mother and sister and baby brother terribly. But how Jesus came to me during this time and held me. How he became real as skin to me then, and only then.

The quiet one stays quiet and I fill the space with words. I talk about making good decisions, about planning, and priorities, and seeking God in all.

It is January, the month they were both born, the month named after the Roman god Janus—that god with two faces, so depicted because he looks both to the future and the past. They called him the god of beginnings and transitions. His name comes from the Latin ianua, which means “door”. Mythology has him the keeper of doors, gates, bridges, and passages.

But as we stand on the bridge together and look down at the water tumbling over rock, carrying debris from days past, I feel the presence of the One True God fall over me. I see the wisdom of looking back to look forward, and I know this is why our good God calls us “to remember” so many times in scripture. I toss a stone down into the current; watch it sink beneath those ripples. The weight that holds it there speaks strength and I am anchored in this moment. I remember the Israelites’ stones of remembrance—called thus so they would never forget the way the Lord parted the Jordan River before them.

This is the kind of door my God keeps—one made from parted waters, one that passes safely through tongues of flame, one that parts the heavens in a windstorm. These impossible, seemingly impassible doors; these narrow gates that the world whispers about, this is not the way, it is too hard—these are the kinds of doors my God keeps. He opens them wide and still, I squeeze through as if only a tiny crack.

But this Doorkeeper? He not only holds the door aloft, he reaches for my hand and pulls me through.

Joining Jennifer, and Lyli this week. Love you ladies.


  1. says

    In our pain, our unanswered questions, in our waiting and self-doubt, he is the door. The sermon was on that this past Sunday. I’m still lingering in the imagery and your words here are like a paperweight to hold them steady. Hugs to you this day.

  2. smoothstones says

    The looking back is so important, especially when we’re remembering the Lord’s faithfulness. Someone (my pastor, I think) pointed out: this was a real strength of David, and I love how when he was faced with the giant he remembered that God had made him victorious over the lion and the bear. May God make you victorious this year, Beautiful and Tender Friend, over all your demons and ills.

  3. DeanneMoore says

    I love The Door. Feeling especially tender today and your words washed off my mascara. Thank you, Laura.

  4. Sharon O says

    Amazing and good, yes … and I know the fears of hostile voices too.
    It is good you can talk and share matters of the heart with them. It will help them to be better men, better on many levels.
    You always encourage and share beautiful thoughts. I am thankful and in prayer too for your sons. God has blessed you with a ministry right there, in your home.

  5. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    Your stories about your talks with your sons are such a gift to me. We are just beginning to enter the stage of conversations – so many deep waters to tread and how many doors unveiled.

  6. says

    Kelly, so many days I miss being the one who opens the doors for them. Being their teacher and revealing the world to them bit by broken bit was my favorite. But this? This walking and talking is such a special place. I’m excited for you as you head this way. You are such a good mama.

  7. says

    Sharon, you are always so kind. I’m grateful for your grace-filled words. Life is complicated, isn’t it? When I am tempted to wish it a slick magazine cover kind of beauty, I remember that it was in those broken places that Jesus became real to me. And though my heart longs to protect my boys from any pain, I know that this is where the real growth happens. Love to you as you love your children well, friend.

  8. says

    Dea, you are so kind. I’m always a little tender at the start of a new year, maybe you are too? It’s all this expectation. And God always does it better than I can imagine. But still. I have my ideas. And He gently opens my fingers, one by one, until I stand, palms up and empty. Ready for what He has planned.

  9. Elizabeth Stewart says

    This post, brought back childhood memories of my own parents, and times when our own kiddos heard us argue. But they saw us make up too, thank God.
    There is so much wisdom in your words to your sons.

  10. Elizabeth Anne May says

    I feel the impossibility of the narrow gates this January, and sometimes, it seems too try. How easy it would be to live as I used to, focused on the world and its ways. How nearly comforting it would be to fall back into numbness. Yet, I struggle still to praise our wild, boundless, powerful God. If only I could stop making God so small.

  11. Beth says

    Your words make me think of a Francis Chan video series we recently did at our church. Basic: Who is God? is the DVD series. I wish I could describe the first video of the series. It’s very good! And you end your post with words that have me captured and grateful… “He not only holds the door aloft, he reaches for my hand and pulls me through.”
    Visiting from Lyli’s today.

  12. says

    Sometimes I don’t know what to say after reading the profound words you share, Laura. I need to just pause and soak in thoughts of my own doors and how the Doorkeeper keeps his foot in the space of opening, reaching to pull me through….

  13. says

    Goodness. Such beauty and tenderness. And all the while, I hear your voice, as if you’re saying it out loud to me. When I read your words, Laura, I read them extra-slow — slower perhaps than anything else I read online. Because I want to “hear” you say it, if that makes sense.

    How I miss you.

  14. says

    That’s why I love the videos you do over at your place, Jen. Such a treat to hear your voice. But, like you, I always hear your sweet voice in my head when I read your words too :). Miss you as well, my friend.

  15. says

    Thank you for stopping by, Beth! I love Francis Chan. Our small group did a couple of his video series together but I don’t think I’ve seen that one. I’ll have to look for it. Thanks for the heads up!

  16. says

    Hello, my friend! So nice to see you here! You know … I’m heading up your way for Jubilee in February. Maybe we can plan better this time and try to meet up? I’ll try to message you on FB soon.

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