Saturday, December 14, 2013

All Babies are a Blessing

We are having a luncheon today for the crisis pregnancy center that our church partners with, the Pregnancy Resource Center. We decided we wanted to love on these girls and applaud them for choosing life for their babies, even though they found themselves in difficult situations. We are giving each of them diapers, wipes and handmade baby blankets and letting them know that their babies are special. Each of the Mamas represented are fearfully and wonderfully made and each of their precious babies are, too.

So often these babies are seen as an accidental crisis instead of a divine creation. So often these Mamas are made to feel shame and guilt over the situation they find themselves in. That led me to think about Mary and what it must have been like for her. 

Pregnant, but unwed. 

Facing potential shame and ridicule.

Knowing she would birth the promised divine creation

while being treated as the first... 

"crisis pregnancy".

Mary was part of God's divine plan to ensure we would not suffer eternally for our sins. She would give birth to a baby, God in the flesh, who would grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. She sensed though the circumstances seemed difficult, the impact would be eternal. Could she possibly have known that her heart would feel as if it was being torn from her body as her sweet baby grew and became redemption for all humanity, though? 

A Mother's Heart

I stared at you the other night 
As so peacefully you slept,
With thoughts of another mommy
And the tears she must have wept.

Her newborn babe she held so close
As she whispered in His ear,
"You are this promised Jesus,"
And she wiped away a tear.

She watched Him grow in wisdom,
Found Him teaching those that taught,
She heard He fed five thousand,
As He healed all those that sought.

And all the while she waited,
For she sensed with a mother's heart
That sooner than she'd ever want
He must fulfill His part.

So it came to pass that final day
That she watched, as pain engulfed her,
For there He hung, her little boy,
Who had now become her Saviour.   

What Jesus did on the cross was necessary to restore us into a right relationship with the God who created us. He was born as a baby in a manger, but He died and was resurrected as our Saviour so that we could experience eternal life in heaven with the Father. May we never lose sight of this and may we always be ever mindful that every life is a divine creation and never an accidental crisis!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Santa in the Manger

We got a card the other day
A Christmas one, in fact, 
But it really was the strangest thing
And showed such little tact.

For laying in the manger
Was Santa, big as life,
Surrounded by some little elves
And Rudolph and his wife.

There was so much excitement
That the shepherd’s saw the glow
Of Rudolph’s bright and shining nose
Reflected on the snow.

So in they rushed to see him
Followed by the wise men three, 
Who came not bearing any gifts ~
Just some stockings and a tree.

They gathered round about him
To sing praises to his name;
A song about Saint Nicholas
And how he came to fame.

Then they handed him the lists they’d made
Of, oh, so many toys
That they were sure they would receive 
For being such good boys.

And sure enough he chuckled, 
While reaching in his bag, 
And placed in all their outstretched hands
A gift that bore a tag.

And on that tag was printed
A simple verse that read,
“Even though it’s Jesus’ birthday, 
Please take this gift instead.”

Then I realized they really did
Know Who this day was for
Though by every indication
They had just chosen to ignore.

And Jesus looked upon this scene, 
His eyes so filled with pain ~
They said this year’d be different
But they’d forgotten Him again.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Story of the Couch

I don't normally post pics of our furniture that is literally "coming apart at the seams", but the Lord used this piece of furniture to, once again, change my perspective and teach me something.  I was recently bemoaning the fact on FB that they truly don't make things like they used to and workmanship is so poor that furniture and appliances last a miniscule portion of the time that they used to last. This couch is 5-7 years old (my mind can't recall exactly) and it's matching counterpart hasn't fared much better. Since there is no money to replace them any time in the near OR distant future, I have resigned myself to this view. Ugh!! I don't have to have fancy, but I do struggle with exposed call me shallow! ;O)

I had a lot of people commiserate and share their own frustrations, whether it be furniture, washing machines or refrigerators. I had one lone friend share something with me, though, that stopped me in my tracks. My sweet friend, Jori, pointed out that couches in our house age in a way similar to dog years because of the number of people we have in and out on a daily and weekly basis. She said 5 years for us is like 20 years for most "normal" people. (Don't worry, I've already got the sign that acknowledges we know we are "special"! ;O) ) But I digress...

I realized, with Jori's help, that this couch DOES represent many, many individuals who have been in our home and sat on this couch. People who have stayed with us marvel at the revolving door of relationships that we encounter daily. This couch represents countless friends of our kids who like to come and hang out to laugh, watch movies or share their stories...whether our kids are here or not. It represents individuals who are broken, struggling with seeing themselves as having value and worth in the Lord's eyes. It represents hearts who have surrendered and left changed. It represents couples in love and just beginning their journey together as they work thru pre-marital counseling. It represents marriages that have struggled and sought counsel for restoration.

I remember huddling with my sweet friend on this couch as her husband itemized pages of sin in his own life, shattering their facade of a stable family unit. This couch cradled her as her world crumbled around her and we wondered what the future could possibly hold for them. In the months to come this couch held this same husband as he napped on many a Sunday afternoon, removed from his home for an extended period of intense counseling and restoration...broken because of the depth of his sin. The months were long, but the healing was real and we watched a miracle unfold before us in our friends and their marriage.

Oh the stories this couch could tell if only it could talk. Stories of pain and hurt...courage and determination...brokenness and and celebration. It's a couch that tells a story, not just of an industry that doesn't value workmanship that lasts, but of a God whose Word endures forever and is still changing hearts. It may not be the prettiest one out there, but it reminds me of a beauty that can only be found in God's economy of doing things. So if you come to our home and sit on our couch please know I won't apologize for its shabby appearance because, just like us, behind its outward appearance is something much more valuable!!!

Matthew 6:19-21

 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mirror, mirror...

So yesterday was Bible study day for me and it was so good to be back with my girls after missing a week leading up to our ladies' event. These are the women who know me best and who help keep me from ending up in a padded cell. They are amazing women who are working thru their messy middles just like me.

At one point during our conversation, how we look managed to push its way to the surface. We were talking about how sometimes when we are out we catch a glimpse of our reflection in a window or a mirror and we wonder who that women staring back at us could possibly be because we surely don't recognize her...even though we might have felt okay about how we looked when we left the house that morning. One of my friends then asked the question..."How many of you have a magic mirror?" We looked at her perplexed and then she explained. She shared how a magic mirror makes what it's reflecting look really good. It makes you feel like you can go out and tackle the world. It can even convince you that maybe you really have lost a couple of pounds. Do you have one? It's the mirror in your very own bathroom. It's the one that I check myself in before I leave the house and the one with whom, for the most part, I am fairly content with its assessment of me. 

As we pondered how a mirror at home could give us such a different feeling than anywhere else we catch a glimpse of ourselves, one of my other friends said, "It's because that's the mirror in the one place where we are loved and accepted just as we are...HOME!!!" Do you see it? At home we're with the people who love us unconditionally. At home we don't have anything to prove. At home we can put away the Spanx and whatever else we use to create a more svelte figure and "let it all hang out"! We don't have to recite a little ditty for it to talk nice to us. 

LOVE makes that mirror do what it does!!!

What an amazing concept and one that would radically change, not only how we look at ourselves, but how we talk to ourselves if we took it at its word. We're so hard on ourselves and we talk to ourselves in ways we would never talk to anyone else. If only we could be as gentle and caring with "us" as we are with others. If only we could realize that our value is not based on how we look on the outside, but by Jesus on the inside!! Ultimately, that love originates with Him and that love transforms how we see ourselves.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are created with great worth and purpose. We are His girls and He sees us as His princesses. Let's not let a lying reflection steal what He wants us to believe about ourselves!! 

"Just as water mirrors your face,
so your face mirrors your heart."
Proverbs 27:19

Lord, please help me believe what You say about me. I want my face to be a reflection of who You are and what You say about me. Please help me to not get caught up in the world's definition of beauty, but to realize that I'll never be more beautiful than when I am content with You and content with who I am in You. Magic mirrors are nice, but they are no substitute for the peace I find in You!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm His Favourite!!!

Do you ever have those days where you truly feel like if God had a favourite it would be you? Well, today is one of those days for me.

Our oldest son, Benji, leaves for college next Friday. I felt like I had been doing pretty well with the whole idea until this the grocery store...over a gallon of milk. Yes, a gallon of milk made a lump form in my throat and tears well up in my eyes. A gallon of milk dated August 28. Seems innocent enough, right? It does if you're just a person buying milk for whom a date 5 days before August 28 means nothing. For me, it meant by the time that milk expired Benji will have been at college for 5 whole days. 

I promise I'm really not a helicopter parent who hovers around my kids and doesn't want them to have a full and exciting life filled with lots of adventure apart from me. I am, however, a Mama who loves her babies deeply and is keenly aware that life as we know it is about to change. Those big size 15 feet won't be clumping around the house anymore. The little kids won't start squealing with excitement because his truck just thumped it's way into the driveway. I won't get to fix him runny eggs and bacon for breakfast or have him shake me to let me know he's home at night. I know...I know...he'll be home to visit for holidays and such...but it won't be the same and I am sad.

I decided to go sit in my sanctuary, otherwise known as my back porch. It's my "secret place" and sitting there is always special for me. As soon as I walked out to the porch Papa had a surprise for me...

Yes, Papa loves me so much that, even though we had no rain at all, He put a rainbow there to remind me how much He cares!!!

With a slightly more contented sigh, I decided to sit down and pick up my copy of Jesus Calling that I keep on the table on my back porch because I like to read out there. I sensed that rather than flipping to today's date, August 12, I was supposed to turn to August 23...the day we move Benji to college. I began to read and before I got more than a few words in I felt myself begin to shake for this is what it said...

Can you believe it? Isn't that just like Him? He had just given me a big rainbow-wrapped hug and now He was getting down to business. He was reminding me that I could either have each finger pried off my boy one-at-a-time when it came time to drive away or...I could release him with an open hand knowing that the safe embrace I think that I provide is a mere shadow of what He can offer. Gulp!

Lord, Thank You that You love me the way that You do and thank You for making me feel like I am Your very favourite girl tonight! Thank You for loving Benji even more than my finite mind can comprehend and thank You for the mind-blowing ways you encouraged my heart tonight. I love my boy more than life itself, but I know You love Him that much more! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Not?

I sometimes wonder about the random thoughts that rumble around in my brain, but here goes one of them...

It seems within the church that people have a mindset that church folk should be above reproach and that we should never be hurt by others within the church. I think this must be the mindset anyway because I have encountered many people who were shocked that someone didn't meet their expectations or that someone had hurt their feelings. It was almost a, "How dare they treat me like that?", way of thinking.

The question I have been pondering this morning is actually, "Why not? Why shouldn't I expect to be hurt by church people?" The reality is that they are just people...infallible, human, sometimes self-protecting, jacked up (to quote my husband), apt to make mistakes kind of people. I should never expect perfection in someone else when I can't live up to that standard myself.

I do realize there is the odd person who is just way out there and is totally self-consumed. They give little thought for others and trample people wherever they go. People like this, in my experience, are rare, though. Most of us really do want to honour the Lord, but we will make mistakes.

One of my favourite quotes is, "Expectations are premeditated resentments of the heart." The first time I heard it it stopped me in my tracks. Let's break it down...

Expectations ~ the act or state of looking forward to or anticipating something

Premeditated ~ characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning

Resentments ~ a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult or injury

So if we put it all together now it looks something like this...

When I look forward to or anticipate that someone is going to willfully and with a measure of forethought and planning do something that I do not like or agree with then I am going to feel indignant displeasure or persistent ill will toward what I see as an insult or wrong committed against me. 


You know what's crazy about all this? Often times the offender has no clue and is rather oblivious to the fact that anything has even happened. The only indication is a cold shoulder or hearing that we have taken our toys and gone to another playground. And we wonder why people look at the church and want no part of it!!!

When are we going to grow up and realize it's not all about us? When are we going to extend grace as an overflow of the overwhelming grace that has been extended to us through a Savior? When are we going to learn to give others the benefit of the doubt or at least have the decency to talk to them and hear their heart? Instead, in this day of social media insanity, we de-friend or block someone on FB and think, "Good riddance!" Instead of practicing the act of forgiveness, we make people pay by dirtying their reputation and seeing how many people we can take to the new playground with us. People are dying and going to hell and we are spending all our time trying to find as many people as we can to be sympathetic to our cause which is essentially...ourselves.

What would happen if we grew up? What would happen if we realized the Body is just that...a living organism made up of many parts with different roles and giftings. What would happen if we viewed other churches as partners instead of the competition? When a friend of ours was killed (a year ago yesterday, in fact), our church went and ministered to the body of believers which our friend had been a part of. We fixed food and fed family members, we parked cars and prayed for the grieving. One of the men from the funeral home stopped my husband and asked him if our 2 churches had a "partnership" because he had never seen anything quite like what he had seen that day. 

Isn't that a crazy question? Isn't the fact that it had to be asked even crazier? Why does that have to be so unusual? Why don't we see ourselves as a huge body of believers who minister to each other anywhere and everywhere instead of our own little entities, as if we are the only ones who have figured out how to get it right? You know what I know? I know if we ever have a crisis in our church family that this church will be by our side. 

Let's keep our eye on the goal and not allow the enemy to trip us up as we near the finish line. Let's extend grace and forgiveness and actually live out what we are called to do. Let's quit trying to insulate ourselves and protect ourselves so we can't possibly be wounded by anyone. Let's get out there and remember that Jesus CHOSE Judas as a disciple even though He knew how it would all end up!!  Let's be intentional and inclusive and let's just learn to grow up and quit acting like 3yo children instead of people maturing because of the work of Christ going on inside us.

Lord, may we be a pleasing fragrance to You as we go about our days. May we learn to look to You and obey You instead of looking to our own self-interests and needs. Please help us view the Body as as an inclusive fellowship, not an exclusive club,  full of people who are "for" us and aren't "against" us. Lord, would we talk to You and listen to You and then be willing to do whatever it is You show us out of a heart of love and devotion to You! Amen!

P.S. I do want to add that this is in no way an area in which I think I have "arrived"!!! I am "preaching" to myself more than anything because choosing not to be offended is a discipline I still have to work at every single day!!! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Caleb and I got to have a rare lunch alone yesterday on our way to a Dr's appointment. He had never been to Chipotle and, since the rest of the family loves it, I figured it was time he experienced it for himself. 

As we were sitting there eating our amazing lunch, I saw him studying something on the wall above my head. Finally, in between bites, he told me to look at the cool artwork that hung there. I craned my neck to try and take it in, but my vantage point left me wondering what it could possibly be that he saw so fascinating. All I could see were edges and a few bolts here and there...nothing really discernible as to what it was actually supposed to be hanging there.

I sat there contemplating how much life is like that. Sometimes we are so close to a situation, immersed in it on every side it seems, that our perspective is skewed and we are unable to make out what things really look like. We can be prone to making rush decisions based on our deceptive vantage point without waiting and stepping back and asking the Lord to give us His true perspective. What can look like a nonsensical picture with no order to it at all can actually be a work of art given the right time and the right perspective.

Lord, help me to remember that the way I see things is not always an accurate representation of the situation at hand. May I have the presence of mind to step back, wait and ask You to show me Your perspective and how You, the Master artist, are putting the pieces together to create a beautiful work of art in my life. I love you, Lord and am thankful that You see the big picture when I get caught up in the up-close details!!

Monday, June 17, 2013


Well, it has clearly been a very long time since I last posted on my blog and the reasons for that are varied. Some days I feel like my life resembles a freight train out of control and other days, when I actually have some time to sit down and write, I am too tired to form coherent thoughts. There is something I have been meditating on for months now, though, that I wanted to share. It is a thought that has encouraged me numerous times and my hope is that it will encourage one of you. I'm going to start by laying a foundation that may sound negative or whiney, but I promise we won't stay there long.

Life is hard!!! Can I get an, "Amen"? There are so many situations and so many cases of relational tension that can make us feel like life is a set of land mines we must successfully navigate without getting blown up. Add to that being in full time ministry, and it can feel very lonely and challenging at times. Tim and I really desire to take the high road in situations that arise because we know the other option can cause too much collateral damage and we don't want to go there. It can be quite an inward fight, though, because my flesh doesn't particularly like the high road! Ha!!

There was one day in the last 6 months that I was feeling very broken. I had cried and ranted to the Lord until I felt like a rung out dishcloth. One thing I kept reiterating to Him (like I thought He didn't understand it the first 14 times I spewed it out) was that it didn't seem fair that often times the people we invest the most in are the ones who hurt us the most. Now, I realize life is rarely "fair" and, as Tim tells our kids..."We don't live at the fair!!"...but it still seemed like the scales of justice and rightness were tilted decidedly against me. As I sat in the corner of my room, curled in the safety of my recliner, I had no sooner gotten my statement of injustice out for the umpteenth time when I heard His still, small Voice in a most powerful way. He didn't bellow like an exasperated parent or cut me down with a sarcasm borne of frustration. He simply said...

"I know, remember Judas."

I instantly felt my body's rapid intake of breath as the force of His words felt like a punch to my gut. His intention was not to deliver a blow, but His words hit me as such.

"Remember Judas."

The one whom He selected. The one whom He treated like everyone else. The one whom He invested in, spent time with, taught, laughed with and shared His most intimate thoughts with on a daily basis. The one whom He knew, before he had ever answered the call to follow, would be His betrayer. The one whom He knew would deliver a lethal kiss for a few lousy coins.

"Remember Judas!!" 

It became a rising crescendo in my brain...echoing with the weightiness of what those words signified in my own life. Jesus chose to invest in Judas in exactly the same way He invested in the other 11. He washed Judas' feet and then  He let them know that this seemingly devoted follower was about to deliver a devastating blow to them all.

"Remember Judas!"

2 simple words that radically changed the way I looked at things. 

Now I'm not going to lie and say that all of a sudden the rejection and betrayal didn't hurt. I'm not going to tell you that He changed my circumstances or made me okay with being cast off and cut off. What He did do was identify with my struggle like no one else had ever done. I had a Saviour, a sovereign intercessor, who had experienced everything I had...only He knew it was going to happen and He went there anyway!!!

"Remember Judas!!"

 There have been a number of times since then that I have found myself on the receiving end of a hurtful revelation. There have been times when my kids have hurt me, my husband has hurt me or those in the church have hurt me and I want to dive under the safety of my covers and stay there. Each time, though, I hear His gentle whisper remind me...

"Remember Judas."

Just yesterday a discovery had me stopped in my tracks and wishing I could wring a certain person's neck. No sooner had I felt that familiar stiffening of my back and knot forming in my stomach than I stopped and laughed. It was the first time I hadn't heard the whisper, but had actually turned to Him instead with a chuckle and said...

"I know. Remember Judas!!"

I am certainly not saying my tassel has been turned and I won't ever need Him to take me by the shoulders, look deep in my eyes and remind me of this simple, yet oh so powerful, truth. It was a day of victory for me, though, when I realized I had caught myself before I got too far down the "poor me" path. 

Are you struggling with hurt? Betrayal? Have you been cut off by someone who you have spent intentional time investing in on a regular basis? I'm not going to stinks!!!! I encourage you to sit down and take a deep breath, though, and...

"Remember Judas!!"

Lord, thank You for the way You are so intimately involved in every facet of my life. Thank You for always knowing exactly what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. Thank you for loving my friends as much as You love me and for Your willingness to remind us all to...

"Remember Judas!"

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Day in Pictures

Spring in Georgia!!

I have always been fascinated by the bark of birch trees!

 There's not too much I love more than soft, green grass!!!

Resting and reflecting!

 There's just something about rocks and water for me!

 Beautiful day for a boat ride!

I felt like they were mocking the fake coyote!! Obviously he was not doing his job!


All the trees of the field will shout for joy!

Lovely contrast of the purple and red!


My sanctuary!!!


Such peacefulness!

Thankful for a quiet place to rest and get away!

I ended up with 4+ journal pages! Ahhhhh...I feel much better!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


We had to go to the funeral home last night. A 25 year old girl, at what many consider the prime of her life, died of a brain tumor. It was roughly 3 months from the time they found it until God called her home. I had met the girl who died, but didn't really know her. I know her sister a little and met the rest of her family for the first time last night. There were a lot of people who came to pay their respects to the family and it was a very sad time.

As I gazed around the room, I saw people of varying ages, colours and social slots in life. Most were moved to tears and it hit me that grief creates a level playing field for there can be no victor in grief. While much of life involves an attempt to climb atop a societal podium to demonstrate a successful navigation of life's challenges and hurdles, grief is an unmatched equalizer. Grief strips us down so that external adornments and personal achievements slip away and we find ourselves surrounded by others just like us. No one is standing in line to jump into grief but, ready or not, we are nudged forward amidst the masses wading into unwelcome waters.

Grief can seem like a hopeless end, but the Lord offers us hope just about the time we think we may sink into its depths...

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,

  you will not drown.

Is. 43:2

He is reaching out to us, offering us a life-preserver wrapped in a divine promise that He will honour to the end. We will hurt, we will wail, we will feel at times like our grief has swallowed us up and is pushing us further down into the depths of despair, but He will never allow us to be consumed when we look to Him in the midst of our grief. He will be beside us thru it all.

As we were leaving we hugged our friend and reminded her that part of grief will involve being angry. She will want to lash out and tell God how unfair His ways seem, how contrary to how she would like to see the script go. We assured her, though, that He can handle whatever she may hurl at Him and will never be offended. He will be a patient Father, wrestling her to Himself and gently wiping away her tears.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.

   He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zeph. 3:17

It's hard to watch people you care about hurt at such a deep level, but what a comfort to know we can entrust them to the One who can minister to their every need in such an intimate and loving way.