Saturday, June 25, 2011

links for this week

Periodically I'll try to post links to some things that have really spurred me on. Here's the first list of links. Enjoy!

Motherhood as a mission field (

Goals versus Habits (

The most important thing to do for your faith (

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hitting a Wall

Last year, I learned about myself that I need exercise to live a life free of the blues. I have been faithful, realizing that it’s a necessary discipline for me. But what do I do when I am hurt and I can’t?

I tell you, I was fearful for a while. Fear of spiraling. Fear of tanking. Fear of hitting walls.

“Your walls are continually before me”, he says. “I have engraved your name on the palms of my hands.” He thinks of us as a nursing mother, who is continually reminded of her babe’s needs for sustenance. He brings it.

He climbs those walls. He comes for us. He rescues us from the dominion of darkness and transfers us to the kingdom of life.

He alone is our rescuer. Whatever our situation. He is enough. That there is good news.

How do I believe that?

I mean, how do I convince myself that this is true on a regular, regular basis? A lot of the time, I feel like I need rescuing. My life is far from perfect, I need healing in order to fully function. Lord, you know me, my inward being. You go before me. Before I was born, you knew all of my days and had them written in a book.

Whatever my situation, he knows it. Intimately. And uses it for my good.

“So to keep me me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” says Paul.

So I stop and think, how can I be thankful for this present thorn in the flesh? How can God use this particular weakness of mine to receive glory in himself? How can I delight in my seeming disability and trust that in my weakness he is strong? The weaker I am, the stronger He is through me. The less I can rely on myself, the more I have to rely on him. Another opportunity to put my full faith in him and not in myself.

In our deepest darkness, he’s the light coming at dawn.

In our weakness, he’s our strength.

In our mourning, he’s the dancing around the corner.

Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy.

That’s all true. So today I’ll delight in this pain in my back that keeps me from the exercise I once thought so important to my emotional health. If all things are gifts, then I will choose to delight in this weakness as a gift of rest from God, and a gift of more time with him each day instead of exercise.

In his graciousness, he’s not given me another choice.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

thoughts on blogging.


I fear of being exposed and humiliated
I cringe at the thought of criticism
I am the wife of a WASP who feels like I have nothing new to say
I hate redundancy (see above)
I don’t like ridicule
I like not being able to be pinned down because I hate fights
I hate being wrong
I’ll be exposed in all my tyops and spelling folly by fellow English Majors (intentional, yet still embarrassing)
I know that sometimes pearls, like hearts, are fed upon by swine
I want to become a better writer
I find rest in being able to form a complete thought
I love passing on life to others
I struggle and need encouragement
I need sisters to link arms, not just websites, but life with me
I need you to warn me when you see my blind spots
I want to help whomever I can
I want to share the things I have learned and learn to communicate them in a better way
I want to be in a discussion with others on the same path
I want to develop a gift of teaching
I love to write
I love beauty and language
I want to possess nations and impact the world
I know I’ll probably gain a lot more from this than you
I want to use my talents to give glory to God

I blog.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Prodigal Me

I am fasting right now after not having fasted pretty much since I got pregnant with my first child. That was seven years ago.

And yesterday, I was faced with my depths of hideousness and more sin than I think I have ever been aware of in my life.

“If I just would have…it would have been perfect.”

Thoughts rolling through my mind.

Famous last words. Have been all my life.


I am just talented enough to fool everyone (including myself) that if I just gave more time, concentrated a little bit harder, listened a little longer, served a little better, woke up a little earlier, suffered more, exercised more regularly, made that right decision, given more things up, been more disciplined, that I could, in fact, be perfect. As if all those things were in my power and I just chose not to put my power of perfection to work. Its all up to me: the only thing standing in between me and perfection is my own laziness. Well, and other people too. Oh, those people. Without having to deal with them I could be perfect, too.


He fights dirty.


I have believed for way too long that perfection is mine to have. I am a good person. And I am shamed when I fall short. I don’t want to repent, I don’t want to look. I am not bad. I just want to hide so that I don’t have to be exposed.


Turns out I agree with the same lie that the first mother did--that somehow I could have been perfect, all-knowing, anticipating, just like God. When I fail, all I want to do is hide.


What I think I can do is impossible and he has sent me on a never-ending wheel, but spinning around and around again, I exhaust myself.

He’s sneaky: I agree with him and start to drown myself in the river guilt rather than Bethesda-water, thinking if I worked harder I could earn love, approval, and eventually win God’s heart, instead of being convinced that I will always be in need of grace no matter how hard I want to be able to do it on my own. Oh the thought of not having to be dependent. Dependence can’t be a good thing, right?


Pulled further down by shackles of it, I realize he’s winning and I never even fought back.

Then suddenly I see the Father who runs to me, pulls me out, accepts me, cleanses me off and gives me purpose. He’s seeking me out each day, one who gives good gifts to his children. And those gifts are grace. And as we share them with one another and our bodies—his body—is healed. People-salves of hospitality-healing loneliness; vision-eyes that open blinded eyes; hands of mercy sewing hearts broken by unwelcome squatters; pastor-hearts pumping life, sending it far and deep; carpenter-servant’s arms providing for needs; faith-full eye-crutches, giving us strength to step ahead once more.

And I am reminded of my need for others and the elusive striving for perfection. I need his touch.


I didn’t get the perfection gene from my parents. And they didn’t get it from theirs. Not in them.


Peeling off my soiled jeans, I dress again robes of righteousness. I don his yoke of ease guiding me in the next step, armored-all with my offense against lies, clothing myself with gifts of the spirit, passing them out to others; and as I do, He pulls back the veil of sadness and disgrace from my heart. And I receive him again, turning my face to him—falling into grace and forgetting what the blood has washed away. I take the cup and receive.

Deep communion. Community. His healing.


What if the path really could be lighter? Could it really be that easy? You mean I don’t have to do it all by myself?


In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. -Isaiah 30:15

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the freedom of one word.

One of the most important lessons I have learned about child-training is that we have to teach our children to understand and respond to “No.” It’s the foundation of teaching them to obey.

Right now I am re-training and conditioning my children to understand this: no means no. And there are consequences if they don’t obey. After not obeying “no” the first time, they hear it again accompanied with pain, to teach them that lack of obedience brings consequences.

Its so important for them to be able to understand that one word. Its powerful. It protects them. When my kids understand what my “no” means, it brings them freedom to do things that would be dangerous for other kids. I don’t have to be afraid of meltdowns or accidents in public, because I can be confident that whatever I say, they will do.

Right now I am reading a book about hearing the voice of God, and in it the author makes the observation, if you cannot hear a ‘no,’ you will have a hard time hearing God at all or believing that what you think you heard is in fact from God. Without understanding God, you will never be confident that you heard when he tells you “yes.”

And I am reminded again that its just as important for me as an adult to understand and respond to “no.” Sometimes the “no” is more powerful than a “yes.”

When I am flooded with needs inside our house and requests from the outside of doing, serving, seeing, and visiting, its easy to be overwhelmed. My own desires and feelings of responsibility creep in and muddy the waters. I have to understand the language of God when he says, “No.” Otherwise, I get distracted and sunk by good things. Hurt. Or worse.

I never thought that a “No” would bring so much freedom, and now I have more vision than ever in training my children.