Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Water is rushing past every view from my home.  If I want to see waterfalls splashing onto rocks and hear the calming sound of a babbling brook I need only stand on the back porch.  The front door will lead me to the simple view of a small river running down one street and then turning the right angle onto another.  The view from my chair, which is the place I am in as I write, leads my eyes to the widest view.  Staring out my favorite window reveals a delta like picture where the small rivers from the separate parts of our yard and the neighbor's behind us all converge to spread out and after flowing 50 feet or so form the twin lakes that the next door neighbor now posseses.

We are in no danger from where we sit, which is something not to be taken for granted.  There are many people across town who live by overflowing rivers and streams that have swelled well past capacity.  In our small community, roads are being closed, crawl spaces are being filled, and foundations are holding their breath as water creeps closer.  The entire southeast and midwest have been experiencing torrential downpour for what seems like weeks leaving yards, belongings, days and moods soggy at best and life threatening at worst.  

Filling yet another rainy day inside is easy for boys who are finally home from Christmas travels and anxious to play with all the new goodies and gadgets they had to quickly leave behind after morning opening was done.  For me, my initial plans to pack up, clean and organize before the new year hits changed instead to holing up in my comfy spot to download pictures, stare out the window and think about the ground that just doesn't seem to be able to soak up anything else.  

I never claimed to be an exciting person, but quiet and consistent are lovable characteristics too, or so I'm told.

If you follow our May Days, you may be familiar with my oxymoronical thankful rant.  A few weeks have gone by and in that time my music loving husband and I were sitting in a car when he asked me to sit and listen to a new song by one of my personal favs, Sara Groves.  She has a knack for writing songs that will surely be on the soundtrack of my life.  I sat, as commanded, listening intently about hearts that are built on floodplains.  The head of the nail was indeed hit.

No matter what pictures we conjure up in our heads, deep down we know nobody has it altogether, but there are those who it seems are constantly knee deep in their own troubles, helping others out of theirs, or at least walking and wading along side. Their actions and hearts keep them living in a floodplain, a place in the midst of where frequent, overwhelming, past capacity experiences occur.  It's not as if the individuals are sitting and waiting for danger to come to live out heroic dreams or hoping for the other shoe to drop so to speak because life with drama is so much more exciting.  The truth comes somewhere in the bridge, because it brings us to our knees.  

Somehow we convince ourselves, I convince myself, that troubles come from punishment alone.  As if there is a giant tit for tat system that must remain tied at all times.  When truly it comes just because this is not our true home, and God apologizes not at all for reminding us through a variety of things where we are created to be and long for, a lesson that tends to be the ending point of all my questioning.  Counting it all joy comes from being intimate with your creator and savior, being on your knees in lament and thankfulness alike.  Being drawn closer through conversation and sharing. As a child of God lessons learned are not so much because of what we see, experience, and learn but what we are shown, brought through, and taught.  Semantics maybe, but Truth for sure.

Living a life of faith in Christ is not a paved road to paradise as Christian learned frequently in the classic Pilgrim's Progress.  It's a rocky, curvy, covered with roots, dangers, and sometimes human-eating trolls road.  Kyle Idleman warned us that "following Jesus will cost us always costs us something" when he was questioning a Christ follower's true commitment in Not A Fan.  And Jesus himself was more than a little upfront when in the gospels he told that rich young ruler that eternal life would come from giving up all he had to follow Him.  (Mark 10, Matthew 19, Luke 18)

Try as I might to store up pretty treasures on earth and to race as fast as I can to higher ground, it's not where my heart is calling me to go, it's not where God is commanding me to go.  When I look inside it's very similar to the view outside my window.  This stretch of grass that looks as if it can't handle one more thing poured upon it, will in fact soak in the storm, soften from the experience, and grow greener full of faith that when the next thing comes it will be no different.  Although I make no promises that there won't be some angry stomping in the puddles, I rejoice because I have Truth that brings Hope.  My heart is not my own, it was purchased long ago, and for now it's residence is the floodplains on the earth until I'm called Home.

Some hearts are built on a floodplain
Keeping one eye on the sky for rain
You work for the ground that gets washed away
When you live closer

Closer to the life and the ebb and flow
Closer to the edge of I don’t know
Closer to that’s the way it goes
Some hearts are built on a floodplain

And it’s easy to sigh on a high bluff
Look down and ask when you’ve had enough
Will you have the sense to come on up
Or will you stay closer

Closer to the danger and the rolling deep
Closer to the run and the losing streak
And what brings us to our knees
Some hearts live here

Oh the river it rushes to madness
And the water it spreads like sadness
And there’s no high ground
And there’s no high ground
Closer to the danger and the rolling deep
Closer to the run and the losing streak
And what brings us to our knees

Closer to the life and the ebb and flow
Closer to the edge of I don’t know
Closer to Lord please send a boat
Some hearts are built here

Thursday, December 24, 2015

merry christmas

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host
praising God and saying
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they heard it wondered at those things where were told them by the shepherds.

Luke 2:8-18, KJV

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

is it real?

I am apprehensive to mention something so incredibly present day.  Should I refer to something that is so current that years from now when my children are bored and have nothing else to read besides the words their mama needed to get out of her soul will they instead be completely confused because they have zero point of reference?  I compare it to the sitcoms I love but know would make me laugh harder if I had any clue of the who or what they were speaking about.  However, a line spoken made me think and while the person it came from will doubtfully be remembered 50 years past unlike other memorable characters, the thoughts he brought can be remembered even if the source never will.

Recently I saw a movie.  It was not the epic, twenty years in the making, block buster we just got home from, instead it's another current favorite, the fourth part of a trilogy (yeah, it makes little sense but that's the trend nowadays) featuring a courageous woman, two men who love her, and thousands who will follow her anywhere.  One of the men is damaged, brainwashed by evil, and struggling to make sense of what should be a world and people he understands.  Unable to discern correctly what is going on around him he is constantly bouncing back and forth within his mind of who the real enemy is and causing grave damage to people he should be trusting.  There comes a pivotal moment of complete brokenness and transparency when he shares this struggle with those around him.  In this moment a friend extends a piece of advice, when encountered by a dark thought don't give into it, instead ask the question "is it real?"

I remembered this line from the book, and was anxiously awaiting it sitting besides my sister-in-law in the theater.  The emotion it was delivered with far surpassed the emotion I had constructed while reading, and my imagination flies. In that exchange of words was an outstretched hand that produced peace.  A moment of healing.  A moment that began a road to redemption of a heart that was still buried inside.  A moment where words were uttered that give us aid in our own times of battle and doubt.

Just like this fictional boy in his fictional mind, we are encountered with dark thoughts that lie to us and try to convince us of things that are not.  In these moments we are forced to try to make sense of the swirling contradictions within our minds.  

I, with very little effort, can invent grand schemes in my head.  If Zach is late obviously there's been  a tragic car accident.  If one of the boys sleeps later than usual I am tempted to go check their breathing.  If a friend has to cancel plans or doesn't call me back part of me wonders if I did something wrong.   The suggestions come full force at times but usually slowly and secretly and systematically as if on a calendar.  Lies are whispered in my ear, past hurts are brought glaringly back to the surface, and roadblocks are put up at methodical precision.  I can not begin to count the number of times I have found myself falling into a pit of desperation at the fear that I am not truly loved, that the people in my life need me more than they actually want me, and that I am quite possibly superfluous.

Like all of us who struggle with something, I would just convince myself that I was alone in my thoughts, or crazy or just hypersensitive and needed to buck up.   Lie upon lie upon lie.  But then comes that milestone day, that day that we can mark in a calendar as the day that we become brave enough to speak our thoughts out loud or God grants us the ability to hear someone else's brave confessions and in seconds peace is felt.  Thankfully I am loved beyond measure, even when I've convinced myself otherwise, and I was able to hear the honest words of another person as he shared his ability to convince himself that he too means nothing, was nothing and there, in fact I felt peace.  It was not because I was miraculously healed of all doubts ready to only hold myself in the highest regard,  It was simply that I finally understood that while there may be some sin of mine behind the doubt, because all our actions and thoughts are riddled with it, the words inducing my conflict, like his, were not real, they were not from Truth.  It merely, and sadly, comes from walking in this broken world.  This world full of false images, false situations, false struggles hidden behind false smiles.

I'm not saying the answer to the question is it real? will never be yes.  But until you stop and search your heart, until you stop letting the words you feel consume you and start asking questions in return, until you take that moment to say out loud the words swimming in your head causing destruction to yourself for sure and to the others around you as well, you will be stuck in a place that God does not desire you to be, a place that is the opposite of abiding in the protective wings of a Savior.  Our minds can wander of our own inclination, and our minds can be twisted through the plans of another, but a mind steadfast on God will be in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).  So like my sweet Connor who during a bad dream hides under his blanket saying over and over it's not real, I will lift my voice to others asking for Truth and resting in Truth and giving the same in return, those first words of Hope that come from resting in the only One who is indeed always real.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

far from finished

Have patience.  Be still.  Remember all is a process.  Plans do not mean immediate completion.

Though the first two items I repeat somewhat hourly to a boy or two in my life, the whole of it, the patience, the stillness, the remembering, the reminder, is a mantra for myself.  Words repeated daily to keep my spirit focused and my flesh in check.

Journeys are historically not my favorite.  I am a finish line girl for sure.  Check it off and move on to the next thing.  There is a reason Mary Poppins was a role model in my early days and still is for that matter, and it is not because I desire to be practically perfect in every way, well it's not JUST because of that.  Mary Poppins was a doer, a planner, a packer, a cleaner, a beautiful, musical, loving, but to point lady who could snap her fingers and be done.

I recently read a list of character traits that describe other type Aers like myself, and my sweet Mary. It's good to see written in black and white an itemized list of things you can relate to, things that make you amen and high five the others who feel the same feels.  Especially when on that list is how much you love itemized lists! Misery may indeed love company, but we all feel a extra coziness when we find our kindred spirits. The ones you can make out of the blue statements to that are immediately understood and don't require words of explanation.  Dear old C. S. Lewis said “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ." Emblazoned in my mind are those conversations where friendship dug its roots in because connections were made over the deepest and silliest of things.

My desire is to dream and plan, to pray for the Spirit to direct me and show me how He wants me to proceed.  When you pray for paths to be directed and listen to the dreams that arise you feel joy as ideas come flowing into your mind and onto the pages of your journals.  The difficulty for me is in realizing that saying and accomplishing are entirely different things.  Not a far step away from the voice of encouragement is a less than encouraging voice demanding that I hurry up and accomplish all the things.  There's your job now go and do it.  Alongside is the fear that if I don't in fact get it all done I have failed and should give up trying any further lest I just fail again.  It is a daily, yes daily, struggle for me to ignore those lies and wait.  To ponder before producing.  To give grace to myself as I have been given.  To remember that seeds do not grow into oaks overnight.  They are watered, protected, pruned and left to grow at the appropriate pace until one day you look over and beauty shades ground around you.

However, in the past couple years I have been learning to appreciate the process.  To soak in the scenery and not just wish for it to whiz by faster so that I can get where I'm going and be done with it.  I expect this to be somewhat of a lifelong learning process as hardwires are hard to replace and default modes are the easiest thing to slip back into.  So while my lists of hopes and desires may seem as if they are sitting dormant, I am reminded that Spring does come and without the season of preparation nothing can grow.  So I praise my God for patience and stillness and promise of Hope that He is the one who began the work and He will be the one to complete it in me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

for when you dream

I am most assuredly a planner, but in my heart I am also, most assuredly, a dreamer.  It is very common, I feel, for a planner to shift to dreamer and back again on a fairly steady basis.  Dreams are in fact plans at their inception.  Though lofty they may be, a dream is a plan you have for your future.  You are wishing and pondering over something you desire to become or accomplish, which presently isn't in existence, but maybe, possibly, hopefully might could come to fruition in the future.

There is one major dilemma when mixing a planner and a least in this dual-card-holding girl's life.  The type A responsible and realistic opinion inside you likes to come to the surface, push its glasses to the tip of its nose, stare down and calmly (or erratically depending on your temperament) explain why, in fact, that dream you so lovingly dream can not and will not ever become a reality.  The reasons line up, because they are obviously presented with bullet points and color coded for organization and effect, so you take your dreams and you do your best to push them down, while assuming that's the right thing to do, and you look at what's in front of you for accomplishing the task at hand.

A middle ground can always be argued.  No, I can not let my life be ruled by emotions, constantly switching back and forth from thought to thought, and idea to idea, with no grasp of the reality of what being a responsible adult means in the world around me, or without the effort of concentrating and dedicating myself to a single task at a time.  Oh but on the other side, to ignore part of myself, part of the person God created me to be, is a dangerous, yes dangerous, place to be.

While teaching children's church this past Sunday we were discussing the story of Zachariah and how that Godly priest was left mute for months because he couldn't quite believe that God was in fact going to do what the angel said He was going to do.  Oh that familiar pride and unbelief that plagues us all.  The phrase "too good to be true" was chatted about, and how we all hear things that sound great but don't quite measure up.  Then we talked about God and His promises, and that we can believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that anything and everything He says is true.  Next in the sequence of teaching this truth to young minds came the conversation of how God speaks to us.  The bible was first on the list (right after the inevitable answer of "Jesus" that is blurted out to every question asked in church ever in the history of Sunday school).  Then a sweet voice answered "God also puts things in your heart".  Let the little children come to Him indeed!

While Disney is not the gospel, the gospel is in fact everywhere. So when Cinderella sings "a dream is a wish your heart makes" with the birds and mice in the top of her tower, the Holy Spirit is the first person that comes to mind when I hum that tune to myself, as I'm doing now.  Living inside me is the third person of the Trinity.  Living inside me is the very Spirit of Jesus.  Living inside me is a loving guide that shouts at times, but more often whispers reminders of the person I am and the way I should go.  So to push down those dreams that continually come up, is to ignore the voice inside me which directs my heart, directs my life, and asks me to repent of my naysaying ways, and instead trust that the lofty and impossible is exactly what He does.  If I already knew how to accomplish all the things, what is my faith for anyway?

God in all His omnipotent glory will call us all to impossible things. Not just scary, "please let me scream no and run away like a kid" things.  For example, killing giants like David or moving your entire family to a land that you don't know how to get to like Abraham, or speaking to a king and risking your life like Esther were huge and scary things.  Yes, God gave them victory, and if He calls us to those things He will be the one fighting the battle through us and YES we can do it with Him. But the huge and scary is not all He does, and I tend to fear so much that that is the type of thing He will always ask me to do, so I hide and ignore all His requests without really listening, assuming it will be too scary to even think about facing.

My God is a loving God who works in a million and a half different ways in the lives of us all. Along with the Davids, Abrahams and Esthers are Elizabeths, Marys and Solomons.  God places dreams in you and I as well.  Big, huge, beautiful dreams. Yes they can still be scary, just not in that 'grab a sword and head into battle' way.  We are creatures of structure and comfort, and anytime you are brought out of your comfort zone you shake a little in the fear of the unknown, the butterflies of excitement and doubt all mixed together inside. Jumping for joy and anticipation while being sick from the suspense are familiar feelings for me and I'm sure I'm not alone.  Listen to the things in your heart.  Don't push down the dream that doesn't seem to go away.  God is speaking to you through His Spirit.  He is guiding you in the ways that He wants you, specifically you, to shine His light in this dark world.  No bushel hiding allowed.

He's taken me through scary hard places before and I've got the inward scars to prove it.  He will take me to those places again in this life, I'm sure, and I'll dread the onset and fight it along the way. But I pray I will quickly remember His familiar comfort like I did in the past, and have full view of the place I'm in now and submit to His journey.  Some of you have already gone through this and know exactly what I'm talking about, or are going there now and are in the midst of the tumultuous emotions between fear and security.  For those who may not have been there yet, I quite possibly just freaked you out and now you're running in the opposite direction or are in your bed with covers pulled high :)

I could spend hours sharing why you should come out from hiding, but for now I'll pass along the words the angel of the Lord shares over and over again as he appears to others just like us, "Do not fear, do not be afraid."  Listen to that still small voice, and dream.

Friday, August 7, 2015


I find it more than a little humorous that as I log on to this precious place for me on the interwebs that the last time I wrote here was to share about quiet moments.  I laugh to myself and to my sometimes comical Creator because this morning, for the first time in way too long a time, I had a quiet moment and, for the first time in way too long a time, pages of my prayer journal were filled with thoughts and prayers for myself which is a Friday morning tradition.  I can only assume it's a gentle/not so gentle reminder that usually that is indeed from where my struggles arise, from the lack of those crucial quiet moments.  Nevertheless, I will share my pages and pages that contain a most familiar topic to show myself that it most often takes more than one try to learn something and to hopefully encourage you when the same struggle pops up in your life again and again...

It's quiet.  It's the first Friday of school and it's the first day in two months that I've sat alone in a quiet home purposely focused on the most important task at hand, quieting myself in front of my Savior and my God.

Times of study have happened but "quiet times" they were not.  Throwing some convoluted thoughts on paper after reading the daily SRT while Wild Kratts plays ten feet away and there are constant interruptions, cute interruptions but interruptions nonetheless, asking for milky and another flat egg or poptart doesn't fill the soul.

Maybe it should.  Maybe I should be able to have full and meaningful times with God in the midst of all that.  Maybe you are able to and if so I am honestly so happy for you that you can meet with him in the midst of it all because I know for a fact that He IS there in the midst of the chaos, I have found Him and felt Him there numerous times.  But I'm also tired of shoulding myself in regards to this. Maybe one day I'll reach that place that can vividly hear God's call no matter what sounds are all around me, or maybe, just maybe, God designed me to need the quiet.  Maybe He created my soul to grow as I sit and be still without the distractions around me.  Maybe He created some of you like that as well and we're trying so hard to prove we can meet Him in the chaos that we're missing His command to step away.

My favorite things to do should tell me that this is true.  When you spend your college days at bonfires and dinner parties instead of clubs and frat houses it points to the loud and crazy not being your thing.  When your favorite part of visiting NYC is walking around old neighborhoods and shopping flea markets but cringe in the middle Times Square, confirmation is at hand.

I'm a concentrator, a ponderer, a viewer, a listener, a quiet encourager.  Yelling exists, don't get me wrong.  I am not a meek and mild church mouse who acts like the epitome a of perfect, humble Christian.  Anger erupts way too quickly.  Snark comments are constantly being cut off at the tip of my tongue lest too many escape.  Truths that I KNOW that I know go too quickly to the wayside most days as I struggle to abide instead of give in to the desire to just go and get it done myself.  But I also know that when I'm closest with my family, my friends, myself and most importantly the Spirit within me it has happened in the purposeful getting away, the act of seperating myself so that nothing else can grab my focus.

Summer with my boys was wonderful.  The Spirit tugged at my heart and helped my focus not be on the thousands of thigns that could grace the to do list of a self proclaimed decorator and homebody who has been waiting 6 years to get a home.  Instead, I wanted the focus to be on time together, having fun, making memories and showing them love means showing up.  Tasks were done obviously because I'm still me and laundry is always there but it was very refreshing not to worry about the doing, or at least not as much as usual.

However, there was a very important task that slipped almost completely as well.  Remember that not so quiet time I mentioned?  For this girl that is something I can't afford to let go and I'm learning it all to well as I've been trying to pinpoint why recent events that appear very small have sent me spiraling.  Props to my husband who in one short sentence responded to my complaints with "well is it because you haven't gotten away to write?"  Even though my immediate response was denial, which it way too often is, a light dawned/shined direction into my eyes to wake me and and said "well DUH!"

It never happens quickly, that slide backward, because it would be too easily noticed.  No, when Satan wants to screw with you He does it slowly.  So slowly that you don't know what's changing and by the end you know something is different but have no firm proof to back it up.  With the right heart it could be called patience but with the wrong one it's just calculated assault.

My soul needs quiet.  It needs concentration.  It needs purposeful time.  It needs less PBS as background music.  It needs to be still.  What does yours need?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Quiet moments

Thinking requires quiet moments therefore writing requires quiet moments because writing without thought can turn a beautiful idea into a dangerous weapon with words that harm instead of heal and words that confuse instead of encourage.  Oh how I desire to share words that perform the deeds of that latter.

In a house of three young boys, two major fundraisers, preparing for not one not two but three houses for a move,  and just living inside my brain, quiet moments have been more nonexistent than even few and far between.  All my so called 'downtime' has been spent sleeping and many nights that has been fleeting as all thoughts jumble in my head until none can make their way out and I'm too tired and honestly too intimidated to try and sort through.

Until now...

As I lay awake at 4:40 in the morning praying for no rain so my precious babies ballgames don't get canceled again my heart is drifting to all those whose prayers I want to lift up.   Those close to me who are living with fear and rejection and unknowns, those who I haven't spent time praying for because I haven't spent time with my God.

He gently reminds me how I have turned him into a brief pit stop instead of a place of refuge.  How I've let my time before Him get lost with everything else jumbled together into a giant list I want to block out.

He gently reminds me how quickly it can happen.  Just days after continued vibrant times together turns into days upon days of quick thoughts and glances at best and complete avoidance at worst. 
He gently teaches me that exhaustion is one of Satan's favorite ways to separate us.  That whether the physical or spiritual tiredness comes first it will lead into the other and that my very first inclination is to let go of it all instead of clinging fiercely to the Hope I have.

He lovingly reminds me that when I let go,  which I often do,  He never has.  He still and always will hold on to me.  His love is that strong.   His patience is that strong.   His faithfulness is that strong. 

While in my personal picture of perfection a quiet moment is one where all the things and people are at peace and there are no distractions anywhere to be found I am again gently reminded that peace and quiet of the heart come from one source and one source alone.

Quiet moments can be found and my heart can be renewed in the wee hours of the morning yes but even in the chaos,  especially in the chaos, of the day to days of this fallen world we live in, quiet moments can and will happen in the midst of the worst.   We need only be still.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


It is often difficult to hold on to joy, to find it everyday in the everyday.  In the world we think of joy as meaning happiness that comes from success or good fortune.  In our Christian lives, we know joy can be found in the deepest sorrow, because joy doesn't depend on the situations you are in.  Joy comes from one source, Christ. 

 That is why Paul and Silas could sing praises from the prison.  That is why hearts of parents mourning the loss of their child can give glory to God.  In the midst of our pain caused by the fallen world we live in we can have joy because we have a Savior who has given us everything.  He is the joy lighting our soul and we trust Him with our all.

We're choosing celebration
Breaking into freedom
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We cast aside our shadows
Trust You with our sorrows
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We're dancing to the rhythm of Your heart
We're rising from the ashes to the stars
You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love

The pain will not define us
Joy will reignite us
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

The dark is just a canvas
For Your grace and brightness
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We're dancing to the rhythm of Your heart
We're rising from the ashes to the stars

You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love
You're the joy
The song in my heart
The hope of my soul

In the shadows
In the sorrows
In the desert
When the pain hits
You are constant
You're the song of my heart
You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love
Into Your arms

Read more: Rend Collective - Joy Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Monday, March 30, 2015

too much

My heart hurts.  Physically aches.  I know you've felt it before.  I know you know that feeling in your chest where the weight of something is pressing in so hard that you can't breathe.  It's a feeling that can sneak up on you, show up in the blink of an eye or make itself known well in advance and slowly progress while you watch and wait.  It's a feeling that can come through your own experiences, because of the actions of another or felt from the sidelines as you have to be a spectator in someone's story.  

Today this feeling that engulfs me and many others in my community of believers comes from seeing another hurting.  It comes from watching and waiting and praying for a miracle for a precious unborn life.  It comes when everything has reached the point of too much and the only ability you have is to sit and feel everything around you.  It comes from that place that lacks all understanding and has nowhere to turn except upward with a great distressing why.

I want to cry and I want to hide and I want to scream at the top of my lungs that it's just not fair and I just don't get it.  And often I do.  Then I am reminded that it should always feel like too much.  On this earth, the hurt we see, the hurt we feel and the hurt we cause is too much.  It's too much because God's perfect design was tainted when sin entered the world.  In a place where there was supposed to be none, any, is too much.  

You can look next to you at any point of your day and see someone who has a story, a need, an idol, a sin and a struggle because of it.  If you go about your day with your eyes wide open to the world around you, your heart will have the potential to always ache and always mourn for every single person you pass.  

Truly, the dangerous thing is for the ache to never come.  The dangerous thing is to never feel the hurt for yourself and those around you.  The dangerous thing is for your heart to become so hard and callous that no hurt can get in.  The hurt is what takes you to Jesus.  The hurt is what makes you remember that it is all too much and you need to take it to someone, the only One, who can handle it all.  

Many times we get to see the causes and effects of life play out.  We see the natural path that is being taken due to choices.  Those obvious consequences for actions, whether difficult or not, are at least easy to understand.  So many others times we are left in bewilderment.  We are left to wonder and wait, or just wonder and trust.  The Christian life doesn't give us a crystal ball into each of our lives and the experiences that are coming.  We don't automatically know it all and automatically get to understand and handle everything in the perfect "christianlike" manner.  What we get is a Savior who loves us and comforts us. We get a spirit that guides us down even the rockiest of roads.  We get a sovereign creator who is ever faithful and even if we never see the whys we see Him.

And even this moment as I question this current why, I know that even if I never understand, I have a Savior who does.  He hurt far more than I ever could, He loved far more than I ever can.  Whether it is with tears streaming down my cheeks, jaw clenched, or peace that passes all understanding,  I will hold fast to my confession of faith and draw near to the throne of grace to ask and receive mercy and grace in this time of need for myself and my dear friends because I have a high priest who understands whether I ever will or not. (Hebrews 4:15)

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgotWhat sorrow is carried by the hearts that he boughtSo when the questions dissolve into the silence of GodThe aching may remain but the breaking does not
~Andrew Peterson

Sunday, March 22, 2015

sunday song

Jesus, I my cross have taken, 
All to leave and follow Thee; 
Destitute, despised, forsaken, 
Thou from hence my all shalt be: 
Perish every fond ambition, 
All I’ve sought or hoped or known; 
Yet how rich is my condition, 
God and heav’n are still my own!

Let the world despise and leave me, 
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Though art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, 
Show Thy face and all is bright

Man may trouble and distress me, 
‘Twill but drive me to Thy breast; 
Life with trials hard may press me, 
Heav’n will bring me sweeter rest. 
O ‘tis not in grief to harm me, 
While Thy love is left to me; 
O ‘twere not in joy to charm me, 
Were that joy unmixed with Thee. 

Hasten on from grace to glory, 
Armed by faith and winged by prayer; 
Heav’n’s eternal days before me, 
God’s own hand shall guide me there. 
Soon shall close my earthly mission, 
Swift shall pass my pilgrim days, 
Hope shall change to glad fruition, 
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

Words by Henry F. Lyte, Music by Jeff Bourque

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


It's Tuesday!  As I share this weekly identity verse that tells me whose I am and reminds me of what I am because of it, I pray that it not only helps me on my journey but encourages you on whatever path God is sending you down.  

As much as I like to think I like new and adventurous things, it doesn't take more than five minutes before my insides are twisting, my heart is racing and my mind is screaming for the comfortable places I know.  More often than not I leave on a trip looking forward to the time it is over and I can be safe again in my own place.  No matter how much I really do want to go on vacation, or serve others on a foreign mission trip, or just have a night out downtown with friends, there creeping in the back of my mind is the vision of holing up in my comfy abode surrounded by the people and things that make me feel safe.

This concept follows me to the new people category as well.  There are set times in your growing up where having to meet new people is a given even if you grew up in the exact same place your whole life.  The move from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school and from high school to college are milestones for meeting new people.  Then still, you experience this after you move away from everything you've ever known to a new state, a new job, a new marital status, a new home, and a new church, and the only familiar things you see is the clothes you packed in your suitcase. And even those aren't too familiar because you just bought them a couple months ago so you'd look cute on your honeymoon.  

I have very vivid memories of the pains of those times, when the familiarity of my surroundings kept growing into a bigger and bigger pond with more fish to get to know (or hide from).  There are some who relish those experiences, and think that life can only get better and be more fun the bigger the place and the more the people.  I envy that mindset.  There are others, like me for instance, that might have possibly quaked inside more than a little at the task of not just getting to know others, but of being known yourself.  To tell the truth, it was never really the first half of that that bothered me. It was most definitely the second.

Inside of me, of us, is this desire to be known.  For someone to see and know and understand you, and in the end not only love but want to.  Whether that want is a romantic one, where you find the one whom your soul loves,  or a friendly one where you see that bosom friend in the heart of another, or a casual one that is only there for a kind smile and word at your sons ballgame. That desire is present in all of us.  There are two problems that can arise, however, and I share this with years traveled on the problematic paths!  The first is the doubt and fear that keeps you from letting others truly know you. The second is giving other people the power to make you feel known, instead of placing that power in the hands of the only One in whom it should rest.

It sounds pretty common sense to say that you can never know someone, and they can never know you if you don't share all there is to share, but I'm here to tell you that you CAN NEVER attempt to truly know and be known by another human being unless you share what there is to share.  I'm talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Giving others the polished and condensed version of myself might be thought of as more proper and socially acceptable, but that will never result in a true and honest relationship.  Now, before you jump up and start spilling all your deepest darkest secrets to anyone who will listen, that isn't exactly what I mean.  I am not meant to be close to every person who walks by me, and I am not meant to spread my pearls before swine, BUT I am meant to be a light and walk in the Spirit and follow His leading and be transparent when the opportunity comes up. From there, He will take those relationships to where they are supposed to go, because as amazing as it is to feel as if you are known and wanted by friends and family, that is just a glimpse of a relationship that is already present.  I am KNOWN and have been my whole life.  

To let anyone else fill my desire to be known is just the same as filling up a bucket with a hole in it (and all the other cliche metaphors that fit this situation).  Giving anyone the job of something my Creator is supposed to do will only result in failure. Maybe not right away, but eventually it will happen.  I say this from 30 years of seeking out the approval of others, and seeking my cup to be filled by my relationship with others.  This is the very reason my list of identity verses started, and the very reason I now every (ish) Tuesday have made it a goal to share one of those verses, and why it is so desperately important to know who you are. Because Christ is in you.  To paraphrase the most comforting words to fulfill this desire...

You have searched me Lord and you KNOW me.  You know when I sit and when I get up.  You know my thoughts before I even voice them.  Before I can even tell you what I need to say you not only know what it will be but you understand my meaning behind it.  For that void within me that needs to be known this is too wonderful to even think about.  Not only can I not go anywhere you have created without feeling you with me, there was never a time, even before I entered the world, that you didn't not know exactly who I was and what I would be.  Even when I struggle with frustration and hate, you know my heart and test me and point me towards your way.  Psalm 139

Whether you are a current or recovering quaking in your boots club member with me, or love the adventure of sharing your everything, remember that all you desire is already done, and you are KNOWN and loved by the Creator of the universe. And the only thing left to do is to let Him use you to help others know Him.

Monday, March 16, 2015

In need

It's Tuesday!  As I share this weekly identity verse that tells me whose I am and reminds me of what I am because of it, I pray that it not only helps me on my journey but encourages you on whatever path God is sending you down.  

For three days last week my youngest baby boy had a fever and a stomach bug.  He pitifully laid on the couch watching How To Train Your Dragon 2 over and over (as if he doesn't already try to do that on a daily basis) and dutifully ran to the bathroom every time he needed to "frow up".  It was a sad sight for sure but not a completely unwelcomed one since his usual mode is tornado style turnt up all the way effecting everything in his path.   It was almost relaxing since he's nonexistant napping became a daily occurrence for four days running and all the things I got done stayed done because no tornado sent them flying.  

Then Sunday came and the germs made their way to my oldest two baby boys.  By Sunday night there was weeping and gnashing of teeth and a bed that needed to be changed twice and buckets to empty and mouths to wipe and tears to console and sleep to miss out on.  Lots of sleep to miss out on.   Didn't I mention the lack of sleep?

I have spent the last two days washing every ounce of bedding on all the beds in our house.  Do you know how long it takes for bedding to wash and then dry.  A LONG time.   Then the cleaning up and nurse maiding and snack fetching and the taking care of the tornado who is now feeling extremely chipper and ready to roll.  I love being a mom and I love my sweet boys but when you catch yourself at 3 o'clock in the afternoon still in your glasses, pajamas, and unbrushed hair (and teeth) being physically pulled in three different directions and mentally pulled in 10x that many something in you starts to give.  If I'm being completely honest something in you starts to snap. 

 Yes there are worse problems people are facing and yes I am one of the people who has faced difficulties much worse than this one but this week this is where I am and I know you've felt it before and I know at least one other person understands that weird mix of anger, guilt, hopelessness and depression fueling around ready to send you over the edge or at least to a locked closet with a couple hours supply of chocolate.

Thankfully before I could retreat too far into the exhausted haze and frustrated feelings the Spirit adjusted the well worn path I was about to start down and reminded me to stop and look up.  Searching instead for the words hidden in my heart, the words that are there for the singular reason to point me back to Christ.  To look there instead of the mess around me. 

 To be still, and know that He is God 
Psalms 46:10

If you've ever heard the hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour" you might also know that it was written by a lady named Annie Hawks in 1872 as she was caring for her three young children.  She was so overwhelmed with the need of God that she wrote these words.  I have no idea what was going on in her home that June morning but motherhood hasn't changed so much that I think they were all playing so nicely and cleanly together while she sat and drank tea while having her quiet time,   One can only imagine that she was also up to her elbows in everyday life and knew that the only way to get through any of it is being still and KNOWING that He is God.  Realizing our need is such a humbling beautiful moment, even if that realization has to happen again and again and again.  

When you see how much in need you are, you can see how much and who God has given us to fill it and being His child we are assured that He will continue to fill us to overflowing.  

I am just so very thankful I am His.

Monday, March 2, 2015

no fail

It's Tuesday!  As I share this weekly identity verse that tells me whose I am and reminds me of what I am because of it, I pray that it not only helps me on my journey but encourages you on whatever path God is sending you down.  

I am not a stranger to failing.  I'm quite the opposite in fact.  I have no struggle at all with knowing I am not capable of getting something right.  My husband and I laugh because while he tends to be on the side of riding the high horse that occasionally needs to fall down I'm hanging out in a pit somewhere assuming I have no reason to be allowed to crawl out.  It continues to amaze me how we were both on level ground long enough to cross paths.  It amazes me even more to see how we perfectly complete each other as God uses our weaknesses to make strengths in each other.  Big haired Paula Abdul was pretty close to truth as she was encouraging us to dance around our rooms whilst singing Opposites Attract in the 80s.

While from some angles it may appear that thinking less of yourself is just having a contrite and humble spirit, having experience with the less self thinking enables me to tell you it is just as big a struggle as thinking too highly of yourself.  Very often that assumed humility is really a constant state of self deprecation and low esteem.  Yes we are asked to humble ourselves and look to our sovereign God, we are told to decrease so that He can increase but we are also told we are chosen and loved and prayed for and cherished.   Looking down on yourself (preaching to myself here and anyone else who relates) is denying the truth of who we are in Christ which is why these identity verses are so important and why its not just nice to know but a NEED to know to live out our days for Him.  

We are all going to fail constantly.  It's kind of a given in a world overcome with sinfulness.  Perfection isn't possible which means failing is a given.  Accidents will happen, projects will not come together, computers will crash, bad test scores will be achieved, dinners will burn, unkind words will be said, fights will occur, families will break apart, children will disobey, rebel and cause worry in the hearts of mamas everywhere, and so on and so on until the failings will seem to pile up and overwhelm.  But never has it been said that failing at something makes you a failure.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  Romans 8:37

If Paul reminds the church that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, the present nor the future, nor any powers, height nor depth nor anything else in ALL creation can separate from the Love of God than I (and you) are anything but failures.  Yes I know in context that he was speaking to people who were being persecuted but we take these truths in the Word and we apply them to our lives and whether you are dealing with screwing up a work report or feel like you are screwing up your life with the decisions you have made.  Nothing.  Not even the worst thing you can imagine doing will separate you from God's love because you are a conqueror through Jesus.  Dang good news.

So keep going, keep looking up,  keep failing and learning from it secure in the fact that You are not a failure you are a success wrapped in love by your creator.  All is conquered and you are secure.

Inspire Me Monday

Sunday, February 22, 2015

sunday song

Love comes down
Michael Farrin

I brought You all my foolish crowns
With trembling hands I laid them down
Expecting wrath to be poured out
But You placed mercy on my brow

Still my best is nothing less
Than filthy rags and emptiness
One drop of blood raised me from death
And You see me through Your righteousness

Oh how sweet amazing grace
Wraps me in a warm embrace
Oh my heart rejoice
I was lost, now found
All my praise goes up as Your love comes down

Now daily I walk safe, secure
Even through trouble You endure
I’m not afraid for I am sure
That You are mine and I am Yours

What a great day that will be
When I stand there at my Savior’s feet
Singing thank you for all eternity
All my praise goes up as Your love comes down

(oh’s over amazing grace)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
All my praise goes up as Your love comes down

Sunday, February 8, 2015

sunday song

                                "Boldly I Approach (The Art Of Celebration)"
                                                       Rend Collective

By grace alone somehow I stand
Where even angels fear to tread
Invited by redeeming love
Before the throne of God above
He pulls me close with nail-scarred hands
Into His everlasting arms

When condemnation grips my heart
And Satan tempts me to despair
I hear the voice that scatters fear
The Great I Am the Lord is here
Oh praise the One who fights for me
And shields my soul eternally

Boldly I approach Your throne
Blameless now I'm running home
By Your blood I come
Welcomed as Your own
Into the arms of majesty

Behold the bright and risen Son
More beauty than this world has known
I'm face to face with Love Himself
His perfect spotless righteousness
A thousand years, a thousand tongues
Are not enough to sing His praise

Boldly I approach Your throne
Blameless now I'm running home
By Your blood I come
Welcomed as Your own
Into the arms of majesty

This is the art of celebration
Knowing we're free from condemnation
Oh praise the One, praise the One
Who made an end to all my sin

Boldly I approach Your throne
Blameless now I'm running home
By Your blood I come
Welcomed as Your own
Into the arms of majesty

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

the craftiness of God

It's Tuesday!  As I share this weekly identity verse that tells me whose I am and reminds me of what I am because of it, I pray that it not only helps me on my journey but encourages you on whatever path God is sending you down.  

I'm a crafter.  I mean, I'm many things.  I'm a woman, a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a keeper of our home, a princess in the Kingdom of God (thanks for the reminder AP) and countless others if I stop and pick apart each of the details of my/our life I accomplish.  Each of these roles are exhausting at certain times and amazing at all of them.  I can't pick a favorite because they all come together to make me me, and give me a diverse and sometimes confusing persona, depending on who you talk to and what tasks I happen to be multitasking when you check in to look.  

But one of the things that has drawn me to others, infuses into almost every conversation with friends or family and takes up a fair amount of my brain space, closet space and garage space if you want to know the truth, is my love of crafting.  Creating.  Bringing new life to old things.  Making something useful and meaningful out of objects that on their own have little appeal.  Giving things beauty and purpose.  And I am not alone.

Magazines, Blogs, TV shows, whole TV stations, stores, instagram feeds, twitter accounts, conferences and weekends with just your girlfriends are dedicated to creating.  Producing something out of nothing.  Making art that only you can make.  The reason is not because we are obsessive compulsive crazy people high on glue and paint fumes.  Well at least that's not only the reason.  The reason, which is the reason behind all things, is the Gospel.  The life of Christ.  Everywhere and everything in our world points to Him.  Not just the churchy things or the socially proper things or the things the world deems as important.  ALL things point to Him.  By Him all things were created in the heavens and on the earth.  He came before all things and after all things and in Him all things hold together.  All things point to Him to remind you of who He is and what He has done and that He loves you enough to do for you what He did.  Even crafting.  Maybe especially so.

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

God is the ultimate crafter.  The one whom all creativity stems from.  Even Mark Twain said "There is no such thing as a new idea.  It is impossible.  We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.  We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.  We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages."  Mark Twain is brilliantly correct because all the ideas originated from a great and beautiful and perfect design, and like the things I and the other thousands of people on pinterest make, I am part of that design. 

We are His handiwork.  We are His creation.  His craft that He made useful and meaningful with beauty and purpose.  God in all His craftiness created me and shows Himself to others through the work of His hands.

Enjoy some others thoughts at Inspire Me Monday