water

Water is one of those things that is amazing. I love to sit and watch the power of a waterfall.
There is nothing like sitting with your toes on the edge of the ocean and feeling the waves lap up at your feet. Rain is a lovely sound falling on my metal roof. It can even freeze and you can skate on it. My dream is to have one of those crazy showers where you have like 5 giant faucets all streaming down on you.
It’s water we use to baptize. That symbol of the covenant between us and our God.
Water is beautiful, amazing and it’s necessary.

But water is also devastating.
Just like many beautiful things in this world, water can do things to us that we never imagined.
Today 4 inches of water inundated our basement and upset our lives.
This week, rivers have overflown, people have lost their houses and I’m sure before this whole wild weather week is over some people might have lost their lives.

So today was a practice in holding my hands wide open.
Ann Voskamp says that we have a choice in life:
We can clench our hands and just let the water run over us; holding none of it.
We can open and close our hands when we want to. Catching the water that we think is the most important or the best fit for us and closing us to the things we think would be too hard.
Or we can keep our hands wide open all the time to accept whatever overflowing that the Lord would rain down on us.

When I walked through the mess that is our basement and saw the damage of all that we had worked so hard to do, all I could do was look around and say thanks.
Thanks to Jesus for the hands that came to help us.
Thanks to Jesus for the drain in the middle of the floor that we were able to open up.
Blessings for my husband’s employers that he could stay home today and help clean up
Blessings for the fact that although we lost the room and the floor, we lost very few valuables.
Blessings for this home. That as the rain continues to poor down, we have a roof over our heads and warm heat that blows.
Blessings for the calm that invaded my soul as we felt like those poor people on the Titanic who just kept shoveling water that just kept on coming.
And that calm came because every time I started to become overwhelmed and focus on the impossibilities of this day, I praised God. I opened my hands.
I took the rain.






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a part of the body

The other weekend I took part in a goodwill sort of sale. The premise was that everyone who wanted a table had to agree to donate 20 percent of their sales to a charity. There were many people there (actually probably all but me) that were giving their 20 percent directly to someone’s adoption effort. Adoption and the adoption community is a weird thing. I’m not really in it, but I sit on the fringe of that road. But in saying that I wonder if sitting on the fringe is where any of us should be?

During my sale I had one encounter with a woman who, upon discovering that my funds were not going directly to bringing a child home, quickly wandered away from my table. She then proceeded to come back into the room and love on the woman next to me (who is bringing a child home) and not give me the time of day. I really didn’t know what to do with that…

God calls each of us to answer “yes” to Him in many different ways. Elizabeth and Mary said “yes” to God and birthed miracles. Paul said “yes” to God and walked a road independent of a spouse and family. I have many sweet friends who have said “yes” to Him and have brought children home from around the world. But there are many other ways that God calls us to say “yes” and they aren’t any less important or hard.

And in those “yeses” He calls us to walk into the lives of our friends and families. Mary ran to Elizabeth after the angel appeared to her. Why? Because she wanted to be in it with her. One would birth a man and one would be a holy child of God. Their roads were intertwined, but yet still different. And they walked their different roads together.

What He calls us to; the roads that we walk are all different and that is what makes the body of Christ amazing. I long to love others with a love that says “yes, you are walking the road that the Lord has put you on” and not be someone that says “this is the way you must go.”

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Go and be a part of it. Knowing that God has called us each to our own roads. And each road is us saying “yes” to God and opening ourselves up.

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being real {spending myself}

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I can become crazy jealous and consumed in a heartbeat.
I can hear exciting news and be genuinely excited for that person,
but at the same time crazy jealous that such news isn’t happening in my life.
And then I become self-condemning because I’m not rejoicing with that person…I’m thinking about myself.
Such is the reality of my sin.

We’re each given different gifts and talents by our Master. The thing that matters most is how we use what we’ve been given, no how much we make or do compared to someone else. What matters is that we spend ourselves. ~ Francis Chan

I walk through my days wondering how to become more joyful; more grateful.
I wonder how I can cultivate a heart that continually rejoices with Him.
But I don’t stop and focus on Him.
Because that is how it happens.
I must become consumed with Christ.
The joy, the gratefulness, the security
it all comes not from focusing on the process
but focusing on the Master.

I can’t be truly joyful with my friend’s pregnancy…unless I’m focused first on Christ.
I can’t be truly comfortable with where we are financially…until I’m focused first on my security found in Him.
I can’t be grateful, finding joy in every aspect of my life…until my eyes focus first on Jesus.

With trepidation I ask to see the Lord. Like Moses.
I ask for Him to come into my life and tell my life’s story, irregardless of my comfort or safety
because it’s not my story – it’s His.

And it won’t be a story of JOY until I let go and let Him write it.

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being real {confidence}

My nine year old son wore his favorite faux leather bomber jacket to school yesterday. He has loved this jacket since the day he begged his grandmother to buy it for him. I remember he would wear it and then swagger around with such confidence.
Yesterday he was asking friends at school if they liked his jacket. The majority of them told him “no” and one even declared it was embarrassing to be seen as a friend with him in that jacket.
So heart breaking for a momma.

But I asked him, “do you like that jacket?” and he told me “yes, definitely!”
and I said “that is what matters.”
But, did he wear it this morning to school? No.
And that makes me more sad.

But it made me think about my life and the things that make me swagger around in confidence
and that later can crush my heart.
I think that is prayer…
At least prayer when I don’t pray with confidence that God hears me and longs for the desires of my heart.
Just like my son putting on his bomber jacket and feeling so confident, I need to enter into my relationship daily with God with that same confidence.

Confidence irregardless of how God might answer my prayers.
Confidence irregardless of how quickly they might (or might not) be answered.
And confidence irregardless of how crazy others might view my life
and the things that I’m praying for.

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being real: the “h” word

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As a former special education teacher, when I read the word “helplessness” in books about our faith, I have to shake off the definition that I long knew. For a special education student, “learned helplessness” is a dirty word. As the educator it was my job to encourage that child and facilitate the means for him or her to be self-sufficient to the best of their ability. But as a believer, a child of God, this helplessness is what we must long for.
Self-sufficiency is the serpent crawling through the garden.

As I continue on in my reading of Paul Miller’s book, he writes “my access to Him [God] in prayer comes through the reality of my desperation.” When I walk through my days with the perspective of finding Jesus in it, I’m in essence reducing myself.
I have to learn to be helpless.
I have to let go of that sinful nature that declares that “I’ve got this.”
Because there is not one speck of my life that I’ve “got”.

Bringing ourselves to this point of helplessness with God, also opens up the reality of who we are. We pray for the minute details of our lives, because we are honest with Him. We cry out, like David, for things that seem crazy to cry out to God to. But, we stop ourselves from asking because we don’t think that tiny thing really matters to God or means anything in the grand scheme of things.
But it does.
Doesn’t it say that “he clothes the birds, how much more would He love and clothe us?”
God is infinite and personal.
He is in everything and longs to be.
He longs to be in the everything of me.

Miller goes on “when I stop being myself with God I’m no longer in real conversation with Him.” Dare I jump so quickly to “your will Lord” instead of crying out “have mercy!”. When we jump over our hearts cry, we are back in the garden hiding behind a bush. The point of prayer is us being honest about what is on our hearts.

Changing our perspective; moving out from behind the bushes and letting Him clothe us is scary.
It’s against our culture. It moves against everything we hear or have been taught.
But freedom only comes, peace only moves into our hearts,
when we can view our lives through the lens of His mercy.
We can only do that when we open ourselves up to Him…
sinful, selfish, silly heart cries and all.

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