The Redeemer of all things broken..

I still don’t understand how it happened.
Last night one child and I found ourselves facing off over a most unexpected situation.

What was started in jest U-turned into angry words and dead ended into deep sobs.
We both wondered “how on earth could that simple cup of milk end up being the source of a full blown relationship battle?”

But you know what?
It ended up with me sitting on a stool in the kitchen, holding the sobbing child.
Being the comforter when we’d been defaulting to odds all day.
I’ve been praying for a miracle, for deepening, for hope in this relationship.
And we ended up laughing and talking bluntly how we’d felt and what we had meant, not as it was taken. It even went so far as when we were retelling the situation to a concerned Daddy that we explained it from the other’s point of view.

Yes, tears were still wet on the eyelashes and hearts still felt salty raw.
But we looked at each other, this child and I, in deeper love and commitment.

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Today I’m walking in the fresh reality that God can use even a mistake to glue hearts together. And that there is hope when I feel hopeless.
He is the Redeemer of all things broken.

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You were created, wounded, and healed for such a time as this

The shattering God has allowed you to experience became the opportunity for the amazing healing in your heart. It equips you to extend hope to those who will someday face the same thing.

When you choose to speak of hope after being stripped bare and raw, they will look at you and know hope is possible, even when they cannot imagine it, lost in their tears.

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Without your courage and your offered hand, many would feel alone in the storm.
Often, God uses people to speak his courage into weary hearts.
You were called to change the world, one tear and listening ear at a time.
That is the power of remembering that Jesus walked these dusty roads and felt the sinister sting of betrayal- He knows how we feel.
He has walked in our shoes.

Take courage, and share your story.
Speak words of life.
You were created, wounded, and healed
for such a time as this.

Your Kingdom Come

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”

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They followed him, this God and man all in one. They saw the connection, the words other-worldly. They wished to reach across the chasm, too, and to know this Father he spoke of.
“Teach us to pray,” they begged. To reach beyond the separation, to have a conversation with this life-changing God. I find myself standing beside them, on my tiptoes, waiting for the answer as well.

Jesus looks at all of us and invites us to join in. First, this Being isn’t just a god. He is our Father. He is personal, He brought us life. And not only do we crave to know Him, He is already crooning over us, loving us, so proud of our accomplishments.
Even when we fall flat on our face, He is loving us.
‘Cause that is what real fathers do.

The role of father in my mind is a bit blank.

My dad didn’t choose to leave, but cancer ripped him from us when I was young. While my memories are a bit fuzzy, the ones I have are good ones. Tossing a softball, playing hide and seek in the house, him bending over a textbook at the dining table late at night making me feel all safe and protected because he was home. So while it feels like centuries since I had a dad on earth, my heart feels loved and safe when it comes to thinking about him.

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Holy is Your name.

And I? I am but dust.
I find it between my teeth, under my nails, in the grit of my soul. The depravity of my own soul leaves me gasping each day, and the distance between heaven and earth feels extensive and vast.

But He is here. He is holy. And He is undaunted by my need.
He loves me, in my mess, and keeps reaching out His hand, and draws me into a deeper relationship with him. His holiness doesn’t keep him from loving me.

That, my dear ones, is amazing. The very essence of Holiness isn’t afraid to reach into the gutter of complete devastation and corruption, and grasp hands with humanity, and pull us up out the sludge of sin and immorality. I love the story of David, who fell to the depths of moral failure, yet after repentance, God called him “A man after my own heart.”

Perhaps it is here, in the mystery of redemption, that we see best the depth of His kingdom come. The cross that spans death and brings life. Where not even a cold corpse and massive gravestone can hold back the life that God breathes into us.

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His kingdom comes, in our needs. The holiness of heaven isn’t daunted by my deepest struggle. No, it is here that God comes and brings life. Fresh hope.

It is here that His kingdom comes and changes everything.

The surgeon who bends over the transplant patient and carefully stitches a new heart into place comes to a point where he has done all he can. He stands back and pauses.

He waits, holding his breath for the miracle he cannot do. The old heart is gone, and the new one is put in place, all his years of training and skill laid bare and open for all to see. Nothing is hidden from the bright lights of the operating room.

But only God can give life. The heart turns a lovely pink as fresh blood floods in, and the rhythmic beating begins. He nods and takes a deep breath.

This is where we live- in this moment of expectancy. In the end, it all boils down to this. The kingdom of God come to earth is God Himself in us, mortal humans.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

It’s a tall order, this living heavenly in a fallen world. That is, if we try to do it on our own. But when all is peeled back, and we lay naked and bare on the table, its simple. This story of life is about God in man.

About redemption.
About hope springing from devastation.
And suddenly the bleak story springs to life, and we find ourselves playing front stage in the most mysterious story ever told. So where your need catches you off guard and leaves you gasping, take hope.
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I shall not Want

“From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God.”

The words arrest me.
I pause and lean up against the cold kitchen counter, and tears sting my eyes.
I’m fine.
Really.
But they sliced past my busyness and made me stop.

“…From the need to be understood
And from a need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God.”

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As a wife to a gifted, and busy man,
I am invited to view my times without him as an offering,
or a theft.

The long days of teething children or the challenges of prepositional phrases and writing letters neatly, it is easy to feel haggard and stranded in the ocean of parenting alone.
Stranded.
Abandoned.
Even when I know it is not true, the lies whisper sinister words.

I look out the window at the shower of yellow leaves dancing toward the ground,
of piles begging to be raked and jumped in.

How can life be lonely when filled with so much noise?
How is it possible to feel alone when nursing every few hours,
with little hands pulling on my skirt as I make supper?

Deliver me from the fear of this, oh Lord.

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It’s the fear that threatens to squeeze the life out of today.
To steal the joy from the little moments that are meant to be so carefree.

“…And I shall not want, no, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.”

“…From the fear of serving others
Oh, and from the fear of death or trial
And from the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Yes, deliver me O God.”

But it is here in the vulnerability, in the being broken, that we are multiplied.
That the miracles happen.
It’s once the grain is crushed beyond recognition that bread can be made,
and given to countless hungry souls.

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“…And I shall not want, no, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
No, I shall not want, no, I shall not want.”

I feel that sigh rising to my lips from a dissatisfied heart, and I’m ashamed.
Ashamed that I still feel angry about mopping.
That drawers left open annoy me.
I just washed these jeans two days ago.
The same old shoes are kicked off in the laundry room, just after I put them away.
One thing about motherhood that catches my breath again and again
is the mundaneness of it.

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Do I project the moments of turbulence my own heart feels to those around me?
Do I want my children to feel like burdens?
My husband needs a helpmeet, not a nagging, dissatisfied wife.

From the fear of humility.
The words haunt me. Is it really so hard to be humble?
To be honest about my needs and failures?

In the places of my deepest need.
In my seasons of giving, from sun up to sun down.
In the moments when my own heart staggers in my need, yet lunch needs to be made.
These are the moments when we taste His goodness.

“…When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
I shall not want
I shall not want.”

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These are the moments when we taste His goodness.
And we shall not want.

Songwriters: Audrey Assad / Bryan Brown

Photo Credits to grettagraphy.com

Between the Waves

I knew the week would go fast.
Vacations always do.
But it honestly felt like I stepped off a moving sidewalk and life went into slow motion. Our living room looked out over the waves and dunes with their wild grasses nodding in the perpetual breeze, and I caught my breath.

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Foaming and dancing toward shore, and then the skittering back to the deep,
the waves left behind the shimmery, wet sand, mirroring the sky above.
There is this moment between waves when the last wave has slipped back to sea,
and the next hasn’t arrived yet.
The air of expectancy, the pause, the quiet.

I found myself drinking in the quiet of that moment.
Life is full of noise and demands and needs.
But this delicious moment in time, when the sand under your feet glitters with the sky above, the pinks and purples of sunset were a healing salve to my soul.
Sometimes God’s presence is powerful and mind-blowing.
But this last week I marveled at His presence in the quiet ones,
the whisper over my shoulder,
the hushed promise of His always presence.

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains
and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.
And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”

He is there, in the quiet whisper.

Sand scrubs away at the rough edges of shells and rocks, flipping them over and over in the waves. I fingered a piece of green sea glass my son found for me, worn smooth and perfect from the countless trips back and forth against the abrasive sand.
I wondered what it might have been, a glass bottle perhaps, broken beyond use.
But here it was, in an entirely new form, more beautiful and stunning than ever,
but only because of the brutal shattering and endless sanding.

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My broken edges and sharpness have left me gasping this year, my need more often obvious than my abilities. I’ve never felt as inadequate as this last year.
But my heart is at rest this morning as the wave goes out again and the perpetual sanding continues. It is because He loves me that He keeps refining.

In the waves that tear my feet out from under me and leave me gasping for air, and in the gentle laughing of the waves as they trip back to sea, and in the pause in between, God IS.

His presence, even the whisper above the noise, is healing.

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I face real life after the dreamy vacation with a heart that is restored.
I’m not any stronger than before, but my soul leans harder into the beautiful reality of His never-ending presence.

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Photo credits to Gretta, as always,
who manages to capture those moments that I cannot…

Don’t be Pinterest Perfect

Beautiful moments happen. Pause and drink deeply of the taste of heaven here on earth. There are so many gifts in the little moments.
In the lilt of a song.
In the wind in the trees.
In the ways eyes glitter just before the laughter comes.

But the pressure to create a Pinterest perfect image threatens to strangle even the simplest joys. We can never measure up to the next ideal. The voices around us demand more and more, and we live feeling like a failure.

But, there is freedom in imperfection. There is room to breathe where grace lives full and free. Relationships grow strong in soil that welcomes you as you are, not that resents what you are not.



Today I caught this perfect moment, with stunning latte art by my brother in law and my sister’s gentle hands. I held my breath and snapped. And there is was.
Perfect.
But God smiles at me when the latte is drunk, the flowers dried dead and tossed in the trash. He sees potential where I see failure.

God doesn’t see the way we do.
Don’t try to be Pinterest perfect.
Celebrate when it happens, but embrace the beauty of real moments.
Of the raw. Embrace honesty and humility.
Dance because you are loved for who you are, and not for how you perform.

You are safe because you are loved.

Steady in the crazy…

I was THAT mom today.
Aldi aisles resembled a war zone with frantic hurricane fearing folks pulling essentials off shelves. I navigated my cart and four children through the chaos and waged my own war: juggling my shopping list, sanity, and four sets of eyes seeing endless tempting things. More than once I caught people watching me, a smirk on their face. One eager shopper overheard the next item on my list and eagerly pointed it out.
“I don’t know why they keep it so low on the shelf…”
I nodded gratefully and added the Swiss cheese to my groaning cart.

I heard myself answer a question with “something yummy,” and rewound in my mind the question the three year old had asked. While my answer ended up being rational, I felt like I was losing my mind, one question at a time. It’s no wonder they sell cheap roses at the check out- to reward exhausted mothers for arriving at the finish line.
It’s perhaps less guilt ridden than a bar of chocolate.

It had been quite a day.
Attempting a pre vacation shopping trip of three stores, four children and pressure to get home and pack was perhaps unwise.
Necessary, but unwise.

I turned the key in the ignition and it clicked dully.
My forehead leaned on the steering wheel.
Really? Today?
But God sent two angel mothers back to their neighboring vehicle and jumper cables ministered their life. It was a close call, but I was reminded the rest of the day to be thankful.

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I turned my bulging minivan into the splash pad parking lot and the children piled out, dumb struck at the sudden stroke of luck. As I watched them squeal and dart through the spray, I was reminded to slow down. To let the stress roll away and notice the blue sky. The deer that sauntered across the far end of the lawn.

The two girls giggle and laugh from their beds and the 9 year old sits next to me on the couch, a mountain of laundry between us. He’s facing the hard elements of emotions wanting to toss him high and low. As I explain how Jesus is steady and consistent, how he holds us when life throws us hard stuff, my own words speak to my heart.
Let the hard moments go, and embrace to good ones.
Laugh with the baby, dance in the sunshine.

Jesus holds us steady no matter how we feel.