Sunday, March 23, 2014

She Shares Truth--Jonah 1 & 2

I've been reading over at She Reads Truth for awhile now.  I love the heart of the mission there!  To join as women in a daily reading of His holy truth.  To learn together.  To worship together.  To rest together in His truth.  They've started a new project this season and I was excited to join in today!  Here's what I'm getting from Jonah:  
There's so much to see in the story of Jonah! I'm learning so much by really digging in and mining for  gold pieces that I can tuck away in my heart.

In the first two chapters of this small, yet powerful book, I find a story that would make a good blockbuster movie.  Feeling called by God, Jonah hits the ground running the other way. My favorite verse of that first chapter is the very last verse.

Verse 17 says this: "But The Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah,..."

Over the last few years, I've learned that often the very best things in the Bible begin with a BUT.  It's no coincidence that just when all seems hopeless you'll often find that tiny conjunction. And when you see it, hold on! Because God is about to blow you away!

I mean seriously, as I read this story of Jonah and learn that he was just thrown overboard, I find myself thinking, we'll, that's it! That's where the story ends! And then it comes,  "But The Lord," and in this case it's followed by, "provided a great fish to swallow Jonah," and I'm left thinking,  what?! A fish? To swallow him?  How can this end well?  That's where God shows off, right where my doubt begins. 

Jonah begins to pray earnestly, when he's in the worst place imaginable (been there done that, minus the fish!) He remembers all that God has done for him and he clings to it.  For dear life.  In verse 8 is where he got me, it reads, "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."


Those who cling (like me) to worthless idols (like family, food, exercise, my job) forfeit (give up, walk away, miss out on) the grace that could be theirs.   (Jonah 2:8, NIV)

We sing about God's grace all the time.  It's AMAZING right?  It's a concept that I find myself going back to over and over.  Grace given to me from my Creator.  Grace in the imperfect and the messy and the hard.  It's often the hardest thing for me to give myself and those closest to me.  But God gives it FREELY. Unless I cling to worthless idols (like I so often do) and then I FORFEIT that grace.    Now I'm not the most competitive person.  I don't like to lose but I'm the one who wants everyone to leave happy and feeling like everyone was a winner.  I'm not like my dear friend who is the first to tell you that second place is the first loser. :)  That being said, if we're competing in say a scavenger hunt in a strange town with a group of college kids, I'm not gonna quit.  I'm NOT going to forfeit.  I'm gonna give it all I've got.  So why, why oh why, would I willingly give up one of the most precious gifts I've ever received, the precious, amazing grace of God? 

Dear Lord, Please help to me hear you, and more importantly to LISTEN to you.  I want to feel Your grace.  Help me to give up those worthless idols, God, so that I can experience all You have for me. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Sometimes community is hard.  Downright hard.  Sometimes I feel like crawling in a hole with my family of 5 and shutting out the hard, scary, unpredictable world.  I love my people.  The people God has blessed me with.  But too often I wear my heart on my sleeve and my expectations high and nothing can come from that except a big ugly mess. So what do you do?  When the world is calling.  When you've been invited out of your space into a slightly bigger place, a place with the possibility that you might be stretched and uncomfortable and vulnerable.  What do you do?
You go.  You go because it's right.  You tuck your bad attitude into the back pocket of your jeans.  You bite your tongue when the sarcasm gets too thick in your mind.  You look around the room at the people that God has placed in your life for this season and hopefully the next and you breathe in deep.  You sit back and watch as your children join ranks with a larger than hoped for church youth choir and you blink back the tears when you hear their small voices sing "I Am Blessed" with the simplest of words and greatest of message. You stumble to the altar with a friend whose heart is still broken and you cry out to God to give joy.  Joy only He can give. 
And you breathe.  You inhale deeply so that more of His grace can fill you up.  Always more of His grace. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I sometimes blame her for the crazy. For the temper that leaves me blindsided and crying over words I shouldn't have said. But let's be honest, if I'm gonna blame her for the bad, I gotta give her credit for the good. She's the one who taught me to look for the good in people. To talk to strangers if it meant making a connection and encouraging them. She's the one I see in the mirror. In the lines around my mouth where years of smiles have left their mark. She's the voice in my head when I doubt myself. My own personal cheerleader. 
I can't imagine how she did it. And no it wasn't always perfect. Raising kids never is. Especially not on your own. I'm sure it didn't turn out like she imagined. I'm learning life rarely ever does. But for what she's given me. The good and even the crazy. I'll be forever grateful. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

this season

An eighteen year old girl came over for help tonight. Help with math. I love math. {{I'm a nerd that way.}} But as we got to talking, I realized how much more she needed than math. Her fiancé just dumped her {{Which I was pretty happy about because HEL-LO! 18!!!}} But to see her sad eyes and hear her talk about him. Bless her. Heartbreak stinks. I remember it well and oh my. It just plain stinks. And of course I said the things we all say, "You deserve better!" "This too shall pass!" But I felt so cliché as I said it. As I stood with my baby girl washing dishes and cooking dinner for my family of five. I knew as I said it that it wasn't helpful. Even though she smiled and nodded and said all the appropriate things back. Poor kid.
You see I taught this girl a few years back and I've seen her grow up in my church. Her parents split right about the time that she left my classroom and to say it was messy is an understatement. Her oldest sister sorta took her to raise, although to hear her tell it she doesn't need any of that. Her momma is "finding herself" with her new husband and her dad just recently married a nice lady who has a family of her own. She is in her first semester of college and is doing just fine. Except that somehow her apartment was subletted so she has to be out in a week and she has no idea where to go. She was welcomed to her dad's house, but even though it's her home, she doesn't feel like it's home anymore what with all the "new" family. Her mom doesn't have room for her and the boy she was planning on marrying in a few months just decided he wasn't mature enough for her (which is the truth!) but still a rough pill to swallow at this exact moment. I swear if I had turned my back and just listened, I would have sworn it was my eighteen year old self standing there with a similar bag of issues and all the loneliness. Bless her. As I was recapping our conversation with my husband when he came in from ball practice with our oldest, I gladly admitted that I didn't envy her one bit. "I've been where she is," I said, "and while I know now how it all works out, I was not convinced back then that it'd ever all work out." Families are hard. At any age. Life is hard. At any age. I'll admit I've been more than frustrated over the last couple of months with the waiting season that we are in right now. But talking with that sweet girl in my rental kitchen with the holey linoleum and the subfloor in the dining room while holding my sweet healthy girl on my hip and sinking my hands into scalding hot dishwater, I have never been more thankful for this season.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

my place

I found myself sobbing today. I thought I was past that. That I had honestly cried every tear that I could. I'm having a hard time with this. And I've dealt with some big stuff over the years. But this. This is hard. For ten years we've lived this precious life. Sure we've had hard times. But we've formed this safety net of church family and friends. I love them all dearly.

I feel like I'm pulling away now though. It started this summer. When we hit the road. I was terrified. I said good bye to my friends and we left. And things changed. Yes, we came home. But even still things changed. And now things have changed even more and while part of me wants to be with this family we've chosen, another part of me wants to pull away. To hold tightly to the ones in my house and run away. Because if you don't get close. You can't hurt this bad. Right?

And then I know that's not right. As I looked across the fire tonight to see a dear friend helping my oldest roast his hotdog. I know we need those people. And as the kid from our Sunday School class (who's not a kid, but still) asked me questions that I just don't have answers for. I felt my place. I'm needed here. In this place. With these people. If only in a minute role. I am needed. They are watching. They are wondering how to deal with this and while I don't have a clue, I know that we do it together. And that we reach out for Him.

A New Place

We're in this new place. It's awkward and weird and quite frankly it scares me.

My dear friend buried her husband last week. And now we're all in this weird place. Most importantly her. Please don't think I'm trying to take away from that. I feel guilty to even be saying this. Any of it.

I want to help. I want to be there. I want to cry with her. Remember with her. I want to cook for her or do her laundry. I want to help.

But I don't want to smother her. I want to give her space to breathe and grieve.

And if I'm honest, really honest, I kinda want to run away. To get far away from the pain and the memories.

My heart is broken for her. Seriously broken. I want to take away her pain.

But I don't know how. I have no idea.

I've tried to put myself in her shoes and I imagine that while I'd need the attention and company for awhile, I think I'd need space too. I think I'd need people around me who maybe didn't know. Who wouldn't look at me with sad eyes. Who wouldn't ask me how I was doing. Cause really, isn't the answer always about the same? I would need time with just my kids. To work through this as a family. To find a new normal.

But really, what do I know? Nothing. Nothing at all. All I know is that God's plan is bigger. And though we cannot see or understand (nor will I ever) that it IS part of God's plan. And every.single.thing works to His glory. Every.single.thing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


We lost someone this week. Someone close. I still can't wrap my mind around it. It still seems like a dream. Stories are starting to come. Amazing things that we know only God could have done. Little things. Maybe big things that we just can't quite see yet. My head hurts and my heart is broken. Shattered for my friend who will bury her husband tomorrow. For my husband who will bear yet another casket of yet another friend. For the kids who have just lost their daddy. For my kids who will miss out on really knowing one of the most generous people I've ever known. I've cried more than I can remember crying in a long, long time. And just when I think I cannot shed another tear, another memory pops up.

Please pray for us. For my friend. Her girls. And us.