Tuesday, May 31, 2011


 "Do you see what this means--- all these pioneers who blazed the way---all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we'd better get on with it.  Strip down, start running--- and never quit!"  Hebrews 12:1  MSG

Sometimes that great cloud seems kind of thin, doesn't it?  When our ankles are twisted in sin.  Swollen with pride.  Defeated.  Humiliated.  When we feel as if we have disqualified ourselves in all this living.  Choosing.  Scrambling.  Falling.  When we stop wearing the shoes of peace.  Ears so full of the devil that we can't hear.  God.  We want to sit down.  And.  Quit.

He stoops down to lace the shoes that hold our feet.  To the gospel.  To the cross.

And can't you hear the faint roar of the crowd in the stadium?  Aren't you so close to home now?  Can't you lift your feet a little bit longer...just your very own feet, and run?  Leaving nothing on the track?  Can't you just stretch your heart and your mind and your soul right down into your legs and fly over field and twig?  To home?  To Jesus?  Keeping your eyes on Him?  The ultimate prize?

Heart pounding out of your chest.  Breath coming hard and fast.  Sweat dripping into eyes, ears, shoes.  Come on now!  You can do this!  Let your feet pound ground of lies.  HE has qualified You, that means you can never be disqualified.  Run on that promise.  Uniform covered in His life blood.  The enemy of your soul can't take your place.  This is your race!  Run to Win!  Run to HIM!

Right along side,


Monday, May 30, 2011


She rolled in at midnight, and I was mad that she was late.  I had lain in bed for hours waiting to see her lovely face.  Mine contorted in worry.   I knew she had gone to the south side of town, and I was a bit frantic.  Called and texted her.  Called and texted her friends.  No answers.  Panic rising.

She sat, apologizing, at the edge of my bed while I held gentle reign on her long ponytail.  Her words began to spill out...precious gems tumbling out of heart all grown up.  I tried to catch their beauty in my hands.  Hold them tight.

The Spirit of God in her lit the darkened room as she shared her experience of praying for a homeless man.  Bloody faced man.  Running from the cops man.  How the Lord gave her the power to reach out.  Touch him.  Reeking of alcohol and drunk out of sense.  Common.  The Strong Soft stretched out the Life in her, the Light of all men, and lay it down just so on his burden.  His shoulder.  Soft caress in all that hard and hurt.  Her heart going all the way out to this one soul.


She grieves at all the lost-ness.  I rejoice in the awakening.   The world beyond these safe walls touches her heart and makes her different.  Never the same.  Her voice trembles with gratitude, and she resolves to live differently.  I want to hug her as this deep craving is carved into her heart.  She becomes like Jesus in wanting the world to know of His love, and her heart burns for us to love each other.

"If I had just one thing to tell people, it would be to love each other.  JUST LOVE EACH OTHER!"  She fairly shouts into the darkness.  Making me shiver.  Making me smile.  I am completely overwhelmed at who she is becoming.  Humbled.

Can you teach me to be brave, Sarah-girl?  Can you teach this Mama, always fighting fear, to walk in the power of Who He is and all that He can do?  I feel foolish.  Writing here for all to see is the length and breadth of my courage.  How Jesus had to work me over to get me here!  And how, in the early hours of morning, my sixteen year old daughter becomes my hero.  I resolve to live differently.  The way she does.  Laying my life all out there to reach.  Even.  One.  Soul.


"Here's another way to put it:  You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you light- bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I'm putting you on a light stand.  Now that I've put you there on a hill top, on a light stand--- shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.".
Matthew 5:14-16 The Message

To be brave,


Thursday, May 26, 2011


Give me beauty, that I may draw Your breath.
Give me joy, to worship You with all that I am.
Peace, wrap me in Yourself and hold me straight up.
Jesus.  I need you here.
Close eyes.  Practice all the stillness of You.
On You.  Your face.  Your love.  Your promises.
Feel You coming in behind and reaching 'neath both my arms.
To hold me.  Hold me up,  Lord.
In the sinking,  rejoicing.
In the sorrow,  singing.
Because of You.
Because You are here.
Because You hear me.
I reach my arms now 'round Your neck.
Smother You with a thousand kisses.
My child like faith.
In this small moment.
Simply reaching.
For You.
My Father.
The One Who gave His Precious Son.
For me and for all this.
Thank You.
Eternal thanks.
Lover of my soul.
Redeemer and King.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


"I am the vine;  you are the branches.  If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit;  apart from me, you can do nothing."  John 15:5
"If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love."  John 15:10

Oh, don't you love it?  I just thought of it this morning, and at first it made me laugh, then I thought, "HMMM...".   By the way,  is "HMMM... " an actual thought?  Or just a noise in my head?  Contemplating this.

I haven't been consistently in the Word for almost a year now.  No wonder I have been feeling lost.  Undone with out God.  My friend, Pam, has been texting me daily for about two weeks to check on me.  Have I been in the Word?  Have I been constant in my prayers?  Boy-O, has it been helpful.  And I've been rediscovering what it is to be found.  And what a monster lost-ness is.

The monster of living with out being daily washed by the Word and His deep and abiding love for us creeps up, doesn't it?  Subtle.  Slow constriction.  Like those boas whose work is done before their victim even has a clue.  Has a chance.   To not be cleansed by His love letters to us,  and to walk a dirty walk?  Yuck.  To make excuses?  Even honest ones?  Gross.

John 15:5 commands us to remain in Him.  How can I remain in Him if I'm not spending time in His Word?  Isn't that how He speaks?  The Eternal speaks!  To me!  To us!

Given my heart prone to wander, I have always wondered how I can remain in Jesus.  So today....He sends the answer.  Why did I never see it?  Down there in verse 10, still in Chapter 15.  "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love...".  "HMMM...".  The Lord keeps bringing up obedience, and I wonder why.  [I just typed "shy"...and have you ever noticed that both "why" and "shy" both end in the sound, "I"?....  SQUIRREL!]

He has been pressing on this thing for a bit, and I have been ignoring Him.  Waiting for a sign.  Waiting for something to confirm.  Someone.  How is His Word to me not confirming?  Will you obey me in this thing, Bernadette?  Day after day.  Chapter after chapter.  Verse after verse.  Obey.  Obey.  Obey.


And with out grumbling?  With out the lost-ness monster attitude?  But with grace and trust and hope?  Holding His hand?  Following?

Giving all this writing and all this freedom to Him so He can just have it...for His own.  Jesus owns Freedom Journal, and He is asking us to let it go.  OUT.  And, oh dear, with out fear.

Battle stations, everyone!



One Hundred Words Or Less

Marriage falling apart for years.  Dying its slow, excrutiating, smothering death.  Couldn't keep pretending that everything was okay.  That I wasn't lost.  Alone raising a whole bunch of little kids.  Desperate house wife in small town USA.

Betty Evertz said I might like this church in Billings.  Can I say that God made me brave?  Sat in the back, hiding and weeping.  Like puzzle pieces locking into place, the picture began to take shape for me.  The Word came alive.  He washed my life.  CLEAN!  He flipped it!  And my husband too.  Marriage and kids.

Jesus.  The Man on the tree.  Set me free.

[And this is harder than it looks! :)]


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Excercise in Precision

So, a few weeks ago I was given an assignment to write my story of coming to know Jesus, aka, my 100 words or less!  Here is what I came up with.  May it be a blessing.

I remember talking about God, praying and going to church as a young girl. 
My Dad died suddenly and "life" became "survival".
For many years I made severely destructive choices.  In my twenties I began to question what life was supposed to be about.
I started a job with three women who loved me SO much.  Their lives, although not perfect, exhibited purpose, joy and peace.
I wanted what they had.  It was a relationship with JESUS.   It wasn't long before I had one too!
Life is no longer about just surviving.  It's about thriving!  It's about JESUS.

So....what's your story??

May these words and this story be powerful and effective in Your Hands, Lord,

Wendy :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fishing Men

Hands in sink suds and scrubbing.
Tears start and there is no stopping.
This scraped out hole he leaves.
Leaves me hollow.
My Shoulders catches me at it.
Catches me around the waist.
To hold me.  And hold me to all this.
Heart break in his eyes, and I can see.
No nest can hold back time and change and just plain leaving.
Tears splash dishes
Washing them with sorrow.
Trying to move.
Move on.
Without the Silent Deep in the everyday.
Without his speaking hand on my shoulder.
Without him laughing at my dumb jokes.
Without.  Joshua.
I thought the nets were all cast, you know?
"Cast your cares on HIM because HE cares for you."
But we're still letting them out.
Throwing them over the side of this holy boat.
Letting those nets float out across the wide open sea of his future.
And away from us.
That he may catch men.


Sunday, May 22, 2011


This is how it is.  After holy huddle, you leave your heart sitting on the edge of a hotel bed in Butte Montana, and you drive away.  Your life work weeps as you hurtle down the interstate toward...home?  A backward glance in the van.  The remainder of your days looking at you with faces filled with grief.  Eyes red and swollen.  Sadness envelopes us, and the car is weighted with it's heavy silence.   The only sound, muffled sobs and sniffling, seems unnaturally loud in that small space,  and we sorrow together.  This is what it is to be a family.

And now our family is changed.  Forever.  The Silent Deep is released into the world.  He has been launched, and we that remain, launch into a different chapter of the book of Botz.  Upon returning home, we stand around, a bit paralyzed, in his room, in the kitchen looking at pictures of him.  Wondering what life will be with out his presence here.  Wondering what we all will be with out him.  The StrongSoft breaks as quietly as she can.  The expression on her face breaks me again.  My Sarah-girl.

Things will never be the same.  Let us just be.  The only comfort is that our God is good, and He is the God of Joshua.  But it hurts here.  Adjusting.

To all this...this heart breaking change,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Catch It!

She leans her little face full into honeysuckles, and draws the deepest breath.  Yellow petals frame freckles. Eyelashes sweep cheeks and as she inhales all that drama, I can see her heart descending down into wild bouquet.  Beauty being fully admired.  She with her long stems still soil held.  Me watching her.  Smiling.

And that little bird bathing raucously in a mud puddle at the end of the lane.  My window is down, and she is singing and splashing and washing and praising, and "Oh!  This feels GOOD!".

The eleven year old.  Tears.  Tears of joy.  Here is some success.  Some sweetness in what has been a puckered face of sour year.  His sideways glance to see if his dad and I are watching.  And Oh how we are!  A little hope, and who is more proud?

The Silent Deep is smiling today, and we all smile too.  Yes.  Even me.  Even now.  He shows us his Guard backpack, and fills us in on all the details of life about to change everything.  While sitting in his father's chair, he tells me what the plan is, and it makes me want to laugh!  This is AWESOME!

The Strong Soft helps with all the preparations, and I know I am blessed to leave things in her capable hands.  Grateful heart.

Laughter.  The Kind and Compassionate chases his baby sister all over the house, then runs in mock terror as she chases him right back.  He lets himself be caught.  I want to catch him.  Catch all this.  Joy is contagious.

Ah-choo! To you!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Again With The Feet?

On silent, unexected feet, she walked in on the mess of me.  Her voice just there on the other end of the line comimg in stealth wise.  Blessed feet that bring good news. THE GOOD NEWS.  Of God in all this.  She held my wrath in her very own hands and took a step away from me.  So I could get a little perspective.  Breathe a little bit, and empty out that tight space in my chest that fights hard not to sin in anger.  Fails. 

She takes me by the  shoulders and turns me around.   To the cross.  The only orientation that makes sense.  She reads to me from the Book.  Our Bible.  The verses she chose seem written for me.  For today.  For now.  Right now. 

And I breathe Him in.  Let Him remake me.  My attitude.  Her baby boy makes gooey sounds in the background making me laugh and flooding my heart with oh so much joy. I know that he is a little messenger from heaven.  And how the sound of his laughter fills my sails with this great hope.  For change.  For reconciliation.  For the new thing. For REBIRTH.  And for NEW BIRTH.  For the harvest, folks.  For the harvest.

And thank God for feet!


Ping Pong...Peace

My shoulders and I lay together last night trying to hold back our tears.  Like ping pong balls bouncing across the net, we volleyed our doubts and fears for this dear son of ours.  My failure. His fear.  My grief.  His tears.  My fear.  His failure.  My tears.  Ours.  Things we wanted to do and say, and didn't.  Things we wanted to warn him about, and now we can't remember if we did or not.  Things we're not sure he heard us say.  And now it feels too late.  Too fast.  And this is so hard.  Ping Pong Balls spoken from the marriage bed, the holy union that brought him life, ricocheting fear and doubt and failure off our bedroom walls.  From the depth of our hearts, to the sacred spoken held in gentle honor, and then gradually.... just released to God.  To His grace.  His mercy.  To knowing that our son knows that we love him. 

I remember how we used to lay in bed and laugh at the things he would do.  Like the time we bought him a forty dollar pair of cowboy boots for his birthday, and how he tossed them aside after opening some ten cent books I got at a garage sale.  The way he would follow me all around the house...silently picking up his little toys to sit on the bathroom floor while I scrubbed the toilet, or tagging along while I cleaned my bedroom, made the bed, worked in the kitchen, whatever.  My shadow.  My little man.  When I sat to read, he would sit space-less, next to me.  So quiet.  Just being together.  But when his daddy got home, boys, look out!  The stereo would blast, and those two boys would dance. Two wild, long legged men, stiff and flat and hilarious.  No shake in the booty.  No grease in the hips.  Cowboys dancing to Fiddler on the Roof's "Tradition".  Makes me laugh still, just thinking about them.  Makes me cry.

We've had some lost years too.  YEARS.  Though I reach to correct and tame and reconcile, they are just gone.  Makes me sick hollow.  I can see it in the pictures of him, and I think, "Where the heck were you, lady?  How could you not have seen all this?".  So I walk that worn path to the cross, where Jesus is the glory and the lifter of my head.  Of Joshua's head.  I go there a thousand time a day.  These days.  Letting go and letting go...putting out nets of hope from this boat full of holes.

He is close to the broken hearted.  Did you know that?  I sense Him in every tear, and I am grateful that He doesn't seem to be in a rush.  He's not in a hurry for me to pull it all together and be okay.  I am at rest in His patient love.  For my dear Shoulders.  For me.  For our Joshua.  His.  HIS!  The paddles go down, and the balls are silent.

Enough said.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time Travel

Looking across the table at time, it's as if nothing has changed.  She looks just the same, unlike me, and I want to hug her.  Steal her away and sit out in the sun catching up on twenty years of living.  Dear to me, this one, and I wonder what my life would have been had she not reached in.  The way God used her to write the first sentences in the story of my Shoulders and me.  Our love story.  And I smile at the way she calls him Botzey with this great smile in her heart.  She calls our meeting "time travelling".

Her face is lovely, and she is loving in her memory of us.  I wish for more time.  Long for it.  I want to tell her how Jesus raised us.  Up.  How He brought our love story up out of the ashes and the grave to fill it with great shovels full of life.  Love like His.  How He lifted my Shoulders.  Me.  And the entire household of Botz.  These things that we tend to forget after awhile...when we've been in the press long enough.  How He keeps removing those layers of Lazarus clothes.  Death.  How He keeps breathing life and love and resurrection into hearts once held in hell hole. Such a mystery.  Such a miracle.

But she too, has been hurt by religion, and so I just gaze into the loveliness of who she is, and who she is becoming.  I feel overwhelmed at the deep privilege I have of knowing her, and still, after all these years, being able to call her friend.  Dr. Awesome.

Looking forward to time travelling home,


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Confessional Run On...and on and on

Confession time because how long has it been since you have spent time with an enemy of God, and do you remember how hard it is to keep your mouth shut, and how you know you're casting your pearls to pigs, but you can't help it, not because you're so holy, but because you want to slap their faces and tell them to shut up because they know not what they say.  Because they strike the head of the One you love, you want to strike them on the head.  Dead.  You become Peter, and you know it's wrong, and that it never works, but you're so frustrated and hurt that you become this sort of sword wielding, run on sentence making idiot.  Agggh!  I'm so mad!!!  Is that blood I taste from the biting of the tongue, and is that heart burning in my chest because I absolutely want to thrash someone?  Some might call it my Irish temper.  Let's call it by its real name.  Sin.  I'm pretty sure this is not righteous anger, and friends, I know I'll get to it, but bear with me in the venting of flesh as it whistles its steam.

For it wasn't that long ago really...that I too mocked God.  I said I loved Him and then slipped my hand into sin's.  We walked many miles that way.  Smiling to heaven by day and slipping 'neath the sheets of hell by night.  Drinking in all His glory then drinking myself numb to all of it.  Walking myself up to the prison and locking myself in.  I didn't have eyes to see.  YET!  I had no desire to be free.  YET!  I made God in my own image, and I didn't care to know His Son.  YET!

And, oh, there it is!  If the risen Christ can raise this woman, He can raise others just like me.  (Even the one who's lips I want to rip!)  Even your beloved friends and family.  Mine.  Let us link arms and prayers to lift our hopes for all the prodigals out there.  For the ones not yet brought in.  For the dear ones He is waiting for...His hand remains stayed.  Just.  For.  Them.  Friends, let's pray that the full harvest would come in!

And you could pray for me too, and that Irish "temper" of mine.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fitting Under His Chin

The Strong Soft and I sit on the back steps watching chickens peck and dog roll and scratch.  Holding on to each other and letting our hearts show.  Letting them air out a bit, as we try to unpack the emotion stuffed into the numbing to get through.  Our tears mute the rumble of that unstoppable train.  We know it's coming, and we here the clickety clack of  wheels on the track.  "He's leaving.  He's leaving.  He's leaving.".  We sit and cry.  "How on earth do you plan a party?  When all that you have given your life to is about to walk?  Away?  How do you celebrate this grief?"

It's a consuming time.  Everyone is functioning at such a strange pace.  I, always, with the thought of his dark head tucked under my chin, diapered bottom-wearing onsie resting on my once slim hip.  Then I turn to see, him, and all this great manhood wrapped up in the tall and handsome of, "Let me go, Mom.". 

I think of the valentine that he gave to me this year.  It said, "I still fit.", and I knew that it meant he still fit under my chin.  Remembering it, I am ruined.  Undone.  Crying great drops of missing him already.  Great drops of memories standing in a line, each one needing to be picked up.  Looked at.  Held.  And I miss my little gravel-voiced boy calling me Mama, and I miss him letting me cradle his warm head under my chin, and I miss holding him in my lap, reading him book after book.  I miss his SilentDeep soul.  Even then.  Watching.  Studying.  Seeing more, and being more than I would ever know.  And I knew it then!   That he was not mine.  That he was meant for more and not more for me.

I fit my head under the Lord's chin.  Rest on His great saving love.  Rest knowing that He has a plan, and that He has known it all along.   I just let the tears roll.  He doesn't mind all this sentimental adjusting to His great plans for freedom.  For Joshua.  And for his mama trying to let go.

As many freedom journal entries as it takes, I guess,


Thursday, May 5, 2011


Psalm 119:116- "LORD, sustain me as You promised, that I may live!  Do not let my hope be crushed."

Hope shimmers like these new spring leaves hanging from stark branches: babies, quivering in the wind.  Hope in little lamb trying to find the end of its long legs.  Stumbling.  Awkward.  Hope in the new bird building its nest in the crook of the cottonwood outside our bedroom window.  I think if I held my breath, I could reach across the balcony and stroke her wing.  Touch hope.  Look her in the eye.  And try. 

Let Your strength be made perfect in my weakness,


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oh, For The Love Of Feet!

"Why do you always write in fragments?  It's very hard to follow, and why don't you use more nouns so I can understand what is going on?"  She cocks her head at me then says, "No offense."

I smile into her eyes, innocent and dear.  Nothing fragmented.  No broken pieces.  That soul not yet knowing its need to bow with all its strength to Him.  Jesus.  Her arms not quite aching with the holding up of worship and this desperate desire to build Him a throne.  She is precious, and I take no offense.

Writing in fragments because I am one.  Story not fully written, and His good work not yet complete.  Not yet.  I think of that long scar laid down and written in white flesh on my right foot.  Our feet represent our walk with Jesus, and oh, hasn't mine been the broken one?  The flesh opened to sin and shame and just bad choosing, only to be closed by stitches of His deep grace and His great love for me.  Us.  For our walking.  I love that scar.  His reminder that my feet must belong to Him too, and that they must travel the Truth Road or be sliced open again.  Causing panic. Causing Fear. Taking us captive to pain.  Again.

Fragmented feet. (I love feet!) Fragmented life.  Words written down in the unfinished of who we are as we look through the mirror dimly.  Seeing only in part.  Smiling at the screen as I think of the One Who created us, and how the glory of who we are will only be revealed through HimHis time.  No hurry.  No rush. "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God"  Romans 8:18-19

He writes in fragments too.  Me and You.