What Charlotte’s Web Is Teaching Me About Longing {a guest post by Ashley Larkin}

My friends, I have a brief story to tell you today, and a few priceless words for you to read that, for the first time in the history of my blog, aren’t my own.

Several months back, I found myself seeking ladies with kindred hearts, writer-friends who had a grid for living radically awake and aware of the nearness of Jesus woven throughout the everyday.  Women who exuded passion, presence, authenticity, and a deep groundedness in Him.

And I discovered Ashley.  I fell in love with her heart in her 31 Days of Right Here series back in October, and in subsequent months she’s become this cherished friend to me.  A woman who overflows with grace, who writes and loves with a love that is so genuine and substantive, sometimes it shakes me in my core.

I asked her to write the first ever guest post for my blog because I trust her heart and words so thoroughly, and because she’s become one of the few whose blog posts I read every. single. time. they land in my inbox.  And, simply because y’all are so dear to me and I have so wanted to share with you the treasure that is Ashley Larkin.

SO.  Without further ado, please welcome and receive my friend’s heart today.  And may her words resonate in your deep places as they do in mine.


We snuggle under our favorite quilt on the living room couch and read page after page of Charlotte’s Web, and we city girls are right at home on Zuckerman’s farm. My Lala girl, who’s five and has a touch of a cold, keeps finding my eyes, and we’re there — in the conversations between animals, the contents of Wilbur’s slop, the young pig weeping lonely without Fern, the beginnings of Wilbur’s friendship with unlikely Charlotte.

The light falls softly on the front porch, the sky a gentle blue, and I think how rare these late mornings under covers will become, time ticking toward full-day kindergarten. When we read of the farm birds’ sweet songs, I feel my throat tighten. When I read this, my chest aches:

“In early summer there are plenty of things for a child to eat and drink and suck and chew. Dandelion stems are full of milk, clover heads are loaded with nectar, the Frigidaire is full of ice-cold drinks. Everywhere you look is life; even the little ball of spit on the weed stalk, if you poke it apart, has a green worm inside it. And on the under side of the leaf of the potato vine are the bright orange eggs of the potato bug.

It was on a day in early summer that the goose eggs hatched. This was an important event in the barn cellar. Fern was there, sitting on her stool, when it happened.” (pp. 43-44)

It’s partly the ache of childhood gone, and going. Partly the bursting bounty of flowers and drink. Partly the wondrous miracle of life in secret places. Partly the joy of bearing witness, like Fern, as everyday sacred plays out before our watching eyes.

It is all this and something more that continues stirring this longing, seeking home.

I read John 15, and this Vine is home with roots and Love that remains when I do. I read Brother Lawrence and am reminded that seeking is a remaining journey, a returning again to home, knowing I am wrapped in God, the Holy Love that “rests in the fund and center” of my soul. (The Practice of the Presence of God, p. 29)

When Fern’s age (and older), my seeking scoured landscapes for approval, acceptance, affirmation, purpose, results, wondering always if I’d missed the thing still covered. In this late-30s journey, my seeking feels more and more like an invitation to let the scales fall, baby. See and receive what is — the acceptance, love and grace of the One who’s seen me all along.

Because sometimes it is when we stay put that we are found, bearing witness to the miraculous right here on the farm.


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Ashley Larkin is a story collector, wife to Michael and mother to three shining daughters, ages 12, 8 and 5. Ashley longs to be a place of welcome and one who seeks hard after the hope and beauty found in broken things. She is passionate about justice, sisterhood and encouraging people to walk in the truth of God’s love for them. You can find her blogging a few times a week from her 110-year-old house in Portland, Oregon on her blog Draw Near and on Twitter @AshleyMLarkin.

This entry was posted in Attending to His Presence, Encountering God in the Mundane, Guest Posts, misc. walking with Jesus. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to What Charlotte’s Web Is Teaching Me About Longing {a guest post by Ashley Larkin}

  1. Lori Harris says:

    Oh friend, I love the image of letting those scales fall, to see and receive the moment.
    Love the way you paint your life in words.
    Lori Harris recently posted…On Crimson Piggies and Taking the HillMy Profile

  2. Pingback: What Charlotte’s Web Is Teaching Me About Longing (A Guest Post at Dana Butler’s) | Draw Near

  3. ML says:

    Thank you for reinforcing the true comfort of home as place and presence.

    Your words are a blessing and replicate that same comfort of the beloved quilt.

  4. Becky Daye says:

    Beautiful words, Ashley! And what a sweet reminder that nothing is hidden from the eyes of our great God!
    (Thanks for hosting, Dana! I’ve been blessed by your heart these past few days and I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know you- have I mentioned that already?!! :) )
    Becky Daye recently posted…Whipped Topping, Laundry Piles and Life LessonsMy Profile

  5. spree says:

    Dana, lovely to meet you! And Ashley, you are such the beautiful story-weaver. Honestly! Almost never at the start can I guess just where your weaving is headed. And always at the finish I marvel. Home, quilts, Charlotte, Fern, farms, Lala, Gaga, and then … God … who was truly there all along. Of course. Just beautiful Ashley! You’ve touched my heart, again, and like you always do. xoxo
    spree recently posted…a soup to carry you through winterMy Profile

  6. Ashley is new to me, so I am so happy, Dana, that you introduced me to her. :) I always need reminding “that seeking is a remaining journey, a returning again to home, knowing I am wrapped in God, the Holy Love that “rests in the fund and center” of my soul.” THank you, such beautiful encouragement. I will have to drop by your blog, Ashley, and read some more!
    Jamie S. Harper recently posted…Imagineering FearlessnessMy Profile

    • Jamie, I’m so glad to meet you here. I always need reminding, too. A dear friend sent me a card yesterday with a quote (by Meister Eckhart) that said, “God is at home, it’s we who have gone out for a walk.” I am so glad God is there/here each and every time I return. Sending you much love.
      Ashley Larkin @ Draw Near recently posted…Five Minute Friday: VisitMy Profile

  7. Jolene says:

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart. I need this reminder to receive the love and acceptance of the One who loves me more than I can fathom. I much too often still seek approval from others, instead of letting God’s love fill me and pour out of me.

    • Oh, Jolene. I am right there with you, sister. Why is it so hard for me to receive what IS and go searching for the uncertain (approval/acceptance) out there? Yes, what a difference when I allow myself to be filled by God and then pour out. Bless you in that journey. Lifting you up in prayer right now.
      Ashley Larkin @ Draw Near recently posted…Five Minute Friday: VisitMy Profile

  8. Amber C. says:

    Sometimes, I feel like a broken record, telling you the same things over and over, like it’s some rehearsed line… but actually, it’s because you’re so consistent, each time I read your writing merely reinforces what I love and admire about you and your ability to put your ‘seeing’ into words. Friend, I just LOVE how you see. The details you notice, the ways you draw out such depth, wisdom, beauty and longing out of things so simple most of us would run straight past. Like what you’ve done here, with Charlotte’s Web. And I was thinking of you the other day while I read a study of Ephesians, how we are members of God’s household, “living under his roof” (as the author put it). Wherever we go, we are underneath this eternal canopy of home. It made me smile, thinking of you and your quest to take that truth in deeper this year. I love you, friend.
    Amber C. recently posted…Why words matterMy Profile

  9. Pingback: Bloggerhood Etc. 1/27/14 | Fatherhood Etc.

  10. What could be more special than Dana and Ashley on the same page? So lovely to read her words here. I understand that longing you’ve described. It’s a beautiful thing when the longings we once sought to fill through others awaken to discover God fills best and completely. Right there with you!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    Christy @ A Heartening Life recently posted…Living in the Contradiction of AloneMy Profile

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