Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The fall

Sam comes over to me with his arms raised above his head.  In the universal language every parent understands he makes a silent plea.

Pick me up.

His eyes are rimmed with tears, his pacifier hangs from his slightly open mouth.  He isn’t full on crying, but he’s close. 

He’s been hurt. 

His sister, in her sweet joy to greet daddy as he gets home from work, has rushed right past him.  He’s still so little, just learning what it means to have two feet under him.  He got confused, lost balance, and fell.  It happens.  He sticks his bottom in the air, balances himself fully on two chubby hands and gets himself upright.  The worst is over.

But the hurt is still there. 

Not knowing what else to do he toddles his way to the one person he knows will not turn blindly from his tears and leave him as he is. 

Arms up high, over head.  Hands open.  Eyes pleading. 


Without a word I answer him.  I pick him up, cuddle him, carry him.  I give him comfort.  He rests his head against my shoulder and I hold him. 

When he’s ready he wiggles free and toddles off again.  He’s content.  The tears are gone.  The lesson is not. 

Aren’t we all still learning to walk on two feet?  This side of heaven don’t we all toddle?  Don’t we all fall down?

It’s part of the life in this beautiful and broken place we call home.  We will fall.  Mistakenly.  Purposely.  Accidentally.  Tragically.  It happens.

What we do in those times determines more of what will become of us than the fall itself. 
Do we sit there, in misery, commiserating over our sad estate and looking for validation? 
Do we wait for someone to come and get us? 
Do we get up, walk off, and pretend it never happened? 
Do we strengthen our stance, dig in our heels and push away anything and anyone that has the possibility of knocking us over? 

Or, do we, knowing that falling is part of walking, get back up and toddle over silently to our Daddy? 

Arms up high, over head.  Hands open.  Eyes pleading. 


Would He, loving us so much so that He gave His son for us, look at us and push us back down?  Would He turn away?  Would He chastise us?

No.  He will hold you.  He will comfort you.  He will carry you.  Today, if you’ve fallen, make your plea, and then, rest your head against His shoulder and let Him carry you. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Letter For E

In a little over 36 hours you’ll get to meet your little brother, Samuel.  We are excited to meet him, but for me, as your mommy, things are a little bittersweet. 

For the last 5 years its been just me and you.  Because we’ve known for sometime now when Sam will make his debut I’ve been treasuring some moments in my heart, taking note of the couple of “lasts” we’ve shared.  I don’t do it to be depressing, I do it because I know if I’m not intentional about it I won’t remember. 

Today you and I went driving and sang Taylor Swift songs.  It will be the last time we can blast the radio, just you and me.  Last Sunday you and I snuggled in for the last of our afternoon naps without Sam joining us.  On Thursday, I let you sleep downstairs with me while your daddy went out with the boys to see a movie.  That was probably a last, too.

All these lasts though, well, they are happy, because we have many more firsts to look forward to!  As I write this there are some mommies who can’t say this. 

You’re too little to know what is going on around you, but yesterday something happened in our world that one day you’ll hear about and understand.  Some kiddos went to school yesterday and a man with a gun came in and hurt them.  He sent them to Heaven, and now their mommies and daddies are remembering their lasts with tears and sadness.  They have no firsts to really look forward to, at least not this side of Heaven. 

Some of the kids that were killed aren’t much older than you, so when I heard about things I immediately ran to you and made you hug me.  You were not amused, but I didn’t care.  You fought for me to let you go, and I did, but I watched you play a little longer than I normally would.  I watched you fight bad guys, save princesses, and make up songs with your lion, Andeclease.   I watched, and I cried, and you looked at me funny. 

One day though, you’ll understand.  That’s why I am writing you this letter. 

One day you’ll know what goes on around you and you’ll start asking questions.  They’ll be questions that I will want to dodge and be tempted to put band aids on to placate you, fending off difficult conversations for a later time. 

You’ll ask why people die.

You’ll ask why people get sick.

You’ll ask why bad things happen. 

You’ll ask if they will happen to you. 

You’ll ask why God lets it happen. 

I might be tempted to answer the way the world will.  People die because we can’t live forever.  People get sick from disease.  Bad things happen because some people are bad.  Things won’t happen to you if you’re good and do things like you should.  I don’t know why God lets it happen. 

All these answers sweetie, as well meaning as they are, only tell a portion of the truth, and because of that, they aren’t the truth at all. 

The answer to all of these questions is one simple little word we are already teaching you: SIN.

Long ago, in the Garden of Eden, Eve believed a lie.  She believed that somehow, God was holding out on her, and that she wasn’t getting a fair shake, and a snake, an EVIL thing called Satan, told her that lie.  From the moment she believed that lie everything that was good and perfect ended.  She chose to believe the lie rather than believe God, and just like that, SIN BROKE EVERYTHING.

People die because of sin.  People get sick because of sin.  Bad things happen because of sin.  They will happen to you because of sin.  God lets it happen because from the beginning, when given a choice, WE CHOSE SIN.  All the way back in the garden when Eve was tempted and ate of that tree, we CHOSE SIN.

The thing is, we still choose sin, and God knows that and it breaks His heart.  He doesn’t want it that way, and He sent His son, Jesus, to fix it.  One day, we know He will fix it, FOREVER.  God doesn’t let anything happen to us that He won’t one day use for our good and His glory.  ALL THINGS WORK FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM, and since we LOVE HIM, we have that HOPE. 

There are going to be times when things seem quite hopeless, and when it looks like no good is in a situation.  Right now for the mommies and daddies in Connecticut I know that there is no good visible, and honestly, I can’t see any either.  But we have a Big God, and sin never gets the last word, and Satan knows that.  Its for that very reason he fights so hard to make things miserable.   Satan knows Evil never wins.  Satan knows Christ does win, and that in truth, HE ALREADY HAS. 

I want you to know that too.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I am a former band geek.  Years ago, in the glory days of my high school band career, our band would participate in our state music festival.  The whole purpose was to attain the coveted “Superior Rating”, but nothing really came from the festival save for a piece of paper and a couple of ‘atta boys. 

Part of each schools performance score was a session of what musicians know as “sightreading”.  Essentially your band files into a room and on each stand is a piece of music you have never seen before. Your band director has a few precious minutes to look over the piece and give you some brief instructions before you play it in its entirety. 

The result is normally pretty rough.  Often you attempt to get out of sightreading as quick as possible and forget about the whole horrible process.

The key to sightreading is ultimately in the hands of your director.  You must as a band listen to his instruction and keep your eyes on him, keeping in mind that he is the one leading you.     

I thought of sightreading tonight.  As my previous posts have indicated my little family is going through a bit of trial right now.  My husband and I are facing challenges spiritually that neither of us feel prepared for. 

In many ways we are sightreading.  Nothing we have played before compares to what we are seeing now.   

Every thing is happening for the first time and its not delightful. We are making some mistakes, and honestly, we are trying to get through it as quickly as possible and forget about the whole process.    

Tonight though it occurred to me that maybe I am looking at things the wrong way.  Why?

Because we walk by FAITH, not by sight. 

I don’t know what piece of music we are playing right now, I have never seen anything like it, but I do know who the conductor is.  I know that no matter how horribly I mess this piece up in the here and now, there will be a time in the future when we may play this tune again, only next time we will have seen it before.  There may be mistakes made then, but they will be fewer and farther between.

The key, as I stated before, is ultimately in the hands of our Director.  He will instruct us and we must keep our eyes on Him.  After all, in the midst of the unseen He is the one leading us.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My long thoughts on persecution…

It is currently 4:30 am in my neck of the woods.  I am wide awake and have been for about an hour.  There is a lot on my heart because as I write this my husband and I are being persecuted.

I knew many years ago when I accepted Christ that in all likelihood I would at some point be persecuted. There was a small problem with my idea of persecution.  I assumed that I would be persecuted by non-believers who didn’t know Christ, you know like a missionary in a Muslim country or something.  Never in a million years did it cross my mind that those who pursued my downfall would be fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

As a result the battle has looked much different than I anticipated. 

At first I wanted to hit people.  Like, for real-seriously.  I have never been physically violent (the thought is somewhat amusing), but something about the injustice of the circumstance brought it out in me.  I can handle when people talk smack about me, but my husband?  DIFFERENT STORY. 

I eventually surrendered the thoughts of physical violence.  I am somewhat logical, and as a parent jail time is not ideal.  It also has a way of dampening a ministry.  So then my mind turned to putting our persecutors in place with my words.  I would stand in front of the mirror on Sunday morning, practicing what I would say when I passed so and so.  My mirror got a serious talking too.

My husband, who I truly believe to be the most righteous man I know, has been on his knees through all of this.  Seeing no other option I finally gave in and started praying too. 

At first prayers were bitter and looked a little like this: God, you know these things aren’t true.  We are good.  We haven’t done anything wrong.  Change their hearts.

The Lord didn’t smite me in my indignation.  He Loved me instead. 

Now my prayers are something like this: God, you know these things aren’t true: that we are good and that we haven’t done anything wrong.  Change my heart.   

God, because He doesn’t give up on us, has been pursuing me in all of this.  I know the peace I feel can come only from Him.  Please don’t misunderstand.  What is being said about us right now is NOT TRUE, but neither is my claim to righteousness.  I am not without sin.  There is no one righteous, no NOT ONE.  I have not plotted or sought others removal, but I have harvested bitterness towards those who slander us.  In doing so I have not been upright and above reproach.      

I needed to repent, and still do.  This side of Heaven sin doesn’t go away.  So I confess, and suddenly where once I was angry and ready for revenge I am now brokenhearted and desperate for reconciliation.  Those who persecute do not incite my wrath, they solicit my heartbreak.

Why?  BECAUSE WE ARE THE CHURCH, and people are watching.  Will they see us LOVE one another?  Oh, how I pray that will be so, lest we shame our Savior.  Ultimately its His name on the line, not mine.

Christ tells us that others will know we are His followers by the way we LOVE one another.  On the cross, as He was murdered, though innocent, He doesn’t call out for blood.  He doesn’t let the people know just who their messing with.  No, he asks that they be forgiven.  If we are to take up our cross and follow Him, then we are to Love and Die like Him too.  That means we go willingly to Golgotha and trust that the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, is walking beside us with a purpose we can’t yet see.

I know some of you read and you question the whole concept of “CHURCH” for reasons just like these.  I write this down in hopes that by being transparent about our trial you will see what Christ intends and what the church does are not always the same.  DO NOT JUDGE THE GROOM BECAUSE HIS BRIDE IS A HARLOT.  Know that we who serve the church seek her restoration and will sacrifice everything we have to see that accomplished.  Why?  Because our desire is to Love others the way Christ first LOVED US.

The words of this song have given me immense comfort lately, so I leave them with you:
How deep the Fathers Love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son,
To make a wretch His Treasure

Why should I gain from His reward? 
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Every Season

I have an affinity for Nicole Nordeman.  I also have an uncanny ability to make myself look like an idiot in front of her, but that is a tale for another day.  In truth she has often been the soundtrack to my walk with Christ.  Should I be surprised God would continue to use her with me?  Probably not.  

Recently my husband and I have had a lot thrown at us.  “A lot” seems so insufficient a phrase.  We are in a TOTAL season of change. All things are on the table.  Our marriage is changing.  Our family is changing.  Our ministry is changing.  Our hearts are changing. 

Nothing is as it was.

As I am not one to consider things circumstance, I know this time of change is not ill timed, but divinely inspired.  I long ago quit believing in happenstance.  I now believe in providence. 

It should not surprise me then that the other day, while driving, this song came on and overwhelmed me.

Admittedly cheesy video, fantastic song…

I pulled over, cried, and prayed.  

Yes, things are changing.  THINGS CHANGE.  It is the order of things this side of heaven.  Seasons come, and seasons go.  I know this, but I had momentarily forgotten one little detail. 

HE is the author of this season, and the creator of the next. 

He orchestrated this symphony, how could He not conduct it?

Often we lie to ourselves.  We convince ourselves that God is not an active and living God intimately involved with our messes.  We falsely believe He comes only when we need Him, when we can’t do it ourselves.  In truth He is there in every detail, in every season.

In the autumn I am often reminded that time passes and stops for no one.  The trees give up what is left in them, brilliantly putting on their best before they fall quiet for a season of rest. As one season ends preparations are being made for a new season. 

We too should embrace every season.  With all that we have we should show the full splendor of what was to glorify what is coming.