Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cyber Note to Ann Voskamp

If you've not read Ann Voskamp's book ONE THOUSAND GIFTS, put it at the top of your "what's left of summer already" reading list.  I cried for three days.  Straight.  Sitting in my chair letting all the dishes pile and the laundry mount.  An attack.

Wendy gave it to me.  As I read the pages, glued, I could hardly believe what I was reading.  Actually, the first time through, I could only hear her heart...I couldn't really get to the words yet.  I heard my own voice in those pages, and she helped me find something that I had lost.  She helped me find a buried piece of my heart.  Crying hard.  Wondering how this woman got hold of my journals, read my emails and walked around in this soul crying out for more.   Finding out that I'm not really alone in this big old world.  That there are some.  Like me.  And you might think that sounds arrogant, but I think it's actually pretty sad.  That I would get to be 42 years old before finding out that God has made others to live in the deep, soul places.

I wonder if anyone called Ann weird.  I wonder if anyone said she was too sensitive. I wonder how she survived those wounds that rip right through.  Soul shrapnel.  How did she climb those deep gashes in the mountain?

For about a month after reading the book, I don't think my feet touched the ground.  I know that Jesus is ALWAYS with me, but to know that I am not alone...on the human planet where everything is fallen and everybody is getting along broken.  Limping lives.  Just to know that somehow, I am connected to another in this way has lightened my load.  HUGE.  Her words not only touched my soul, but held it.  My hands reach to catch this one woman, just to cradle her back.  For a moment.  An unknown woman, who lets herself become known.  And who calls us all to do the same because, as Jesus lovers, we have the story that everyone needs to read.  His life, the scripted holy, written on our hands, on our work, on the way we love each other.

Ann, you are out there somewhere, and you will never read these lines.  You have made a difference in this life.  While I would never bow down to you,  dear lady, I do bow to the One Who gives you words that sing and paint heaven somehow.  I am grateful.  You are one thousand gifts.

Thank You, God, for Ann,


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting Ready

Oh, God, You are good.
Worthy of Praise.
Lover of all souls.
This soul.  Mine.
Trace your face, Lord.
With my fingers.
Washed whiter by You.
Your blood.
Your promise that You will never leave.
Never forsake.
Makes me...not brave.
But wanting to do brave things.
Your love spurs me on, Oh God.
To action.  To love.  To change.
To repentance.
With all that I am.
I need the Potter's hands.
On me.  On my life.
Your hands, Jesus.
Shaping.  Even in all that smashing.
Remaking.  Making me something useful.
My heart in Your hands, Lord.
So uncomfortable sometimes.
Reaching for You.
Give me grace to trust You more.
Even as You say,
Strap my armour on.
Hold fast to that one weapon.
Your Word.
My Only Hope.

Yes, Sir!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Give Me Courage

So when I really need to let it rip with the Lord, I get in the car and drive.  Drive.  Drive.  Drive. Talk to Him; people around me think I'm crazy.  Just let it all hang out there with Him.  So we can work things out together.  So I don't have to worry about what my kids are going to think or what my husband is going to say.  You've heard me say it before.  Mini vans can be holy rolling sanctuaries.

Something lodged there in my heart for a long, long time.  Sometimes I am okay walking around with the thing, but lately, I feel like I just can't function any longer with that big log sticking there.  What to do.  Talk to Jesus.  Let Him help me work it out.  Love the way He does that.

Today I told Him that I feel like a kid whose arm has been broken.  I remember when Boy Blue did that.  He was messing around on the trampoline when he fell off and fractured his arm.  He knew he was guilty of playing in an unsafe way.  I forgave him immedietly.  Of course. Held him and loved him through the initial pain and shock.  Then.  I took him to the ER where they gave him an xray and a Sprite.  He loved going to the ER.  Later, a cast was put on, and the bone slowly healed.  He asked me when we could go back there again.

Thinking about that.  Telling Jesus that I know I've been forgiven, and that I know He is loving me through it, but I need some ER time.  I need the broken thing fixed.  Cried and cried in the car.  Gasping tears just like when I was a little girl.  Not too sure I can trust Him here.  Do you ever get to the point where you love the Emergency Room with Jesus?

The Eternal speaks.

"The only way out is through, Child.  I AM here.  I will help you.  I will heal this."

Can anyone say "PANIC?"  I know what He has in mind, and I can't do it.   And why  in the world does He keep asking me to do things that I can't?  God is crazy!

I've already made the decision to obey Him.  How could I not?  But will I always be terrified when I take His hand?  Heed His voice?  When do I get to not be afraid anymore?

One more step.  Eyes closed tight.  (of course!)  Stepping out in faith.  Asking for your crazy few who read these words typed out into space.  If I can get through this, I believe I can get though anything.

God is good.  He is mine.  He is yours.  Is He asking you today?

To be brave?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Service With A Smile

Luggage stacked in the mudroom obstacle course with piles of filthy laundry and shoes scattered.  Everyone still.  Little one whining until she finally falls asleep playing with her toys under a laundry basket on the living room floor.  Everyone a bit sunburned.  Burned.  Resting.  Home from serving kids for a week at camp.

"There is another act of service."  My Shoulder's announces this, and I go instantly to complaining.  The children are exhausted,  I've got mountains of laundry, and he is injured.  Can't someone else do it this time?  He catches my eyes.  I look away.  Ashamed.  I remember telling him years ago that the right thing and the easy thing rarely catch hands.  Hold.  I stand in the kitchen.  I think I can actually feel my flesh burning as I nod to him.  Shoulders are so strong, and they call us to higher ground, don't they? "If not us, who?"  "If not now, when?"  Oh, God, be strong in all this weakness.  Mine.  Ours.  As this one little seed falls to the ground and dies, let it bear much fruit.  And help me to serve You, Lord.

With a smile,


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pottery Class at Kid's Camp

Girls eight, nine, ten competing for their needs to be touched.  Reached.  Loved.  Screaming for someone to notice them.  Look them in the face.  Does anyone think their lives are important?  Heart in throat all week.  I am weak.  I wonder what in the world I am doing here.  Kid's camp.  Climbing wall.  Zip line.  Ropes course bringing out all that is coarse in them.  In me.

Oh, God, what to do with all the brokenness in these lovely little girls?  What of their futures?  Why would You put me here?  With them?  Can they not see right through to my own cuts, some still bleeding?  I see their hearts, and mine is exposed.  Oh, give me running shoes!

Coming home to myself.  And, ugh!  I hate it!  I wonder why in the world I feel so much,  wonder why it's so hard  on the Potter's wheel.  Why I am reeling from all that spinning, and sick to my stomach at all the wet slimy mud of me.  He throws and smashes and presses.  THIS is the evolution of man.  From THIS sludge.  HIS.  I am created.  And recreated.  I close my eyes tight.  Wait for Him.  Trying hard to see what He sees.  Trying to believe that He can make something beautiful.  And wondering why He still keeps this up.  Why He pursues me so.  You.  Us.  Why He keeps taking our hands and saying, "Come.  Follow Me.".  God is scary sometimes.

Home from camp, but not.  Experiencing Jesus reach His rescuing hand to three little girls leaves me trembling as I type this.  I was there.  I was there!  And so the wheel goes 'round, and I hold my head, even as Jesus holds my feet.  To the wheel.  To the line.  To His life.  How He holds all things in the power of His hands.  Me.  My girls at camp.  Taking us and shaping us.

Into His image,


Saturday, June 18, 2011

The King's Kids

Off to spend the week serving the King's kids at camp.  Strange thing, I know, but I will be praying for you.  Friends of Freedom Journal.  Friends of Jesus.

Freedom Fighters,


Friday, June 17, 2011

Wild Flower

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. (and the wild flowers)  Through everything God made, they  can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God."   Romans 1:20

Just a few days off to visit my parents.  Little Cabin in the Woods.  Roaring mountain stream keeping it company, and lodge pole pines touching heaven, swaying and creaking way up high like old wooden gates.  I love that sound.

The kids grab willow branches with line and worm, hooked.  Wiggle into secret spaces.  Sacred.  To catch their mess.  Stark and still until their poles give a shiver, then they smile and shriek.  Delight.  Delighted.  Hauling all that glory up onto the bank.  They flop down laughing next to fish flopping while I take pictures of these children of mine lost somewhere in the deep grass.  Oh, heaven.

Cold water from the spring makes my teeth ache, but coffee cooked over the fire warms all that I am.  A bit burned out and smelling of smoke, I admit.  Deep naps in that high mountain air refresh me almost as much as my fall into the creek.  Face first.  COMPLETELY under.  Burning cold!  A deep bruise on my shoulder and a big knot on my head seem a trivial price for all that laughter.  A worthy purchase.  I strip shivering bare 'neath the shelter of my mama's love.  Wrapped up in it.  Swaddled like the day I was born.

Still, my eyes stay glued to the forest floor, wide in wonder at all these wild flowers growing in the middle of nowhere.  Delicate petalled fingers touch my soul so I pay attention.  They dance on the mountain breeze, so low to the ground, tiny little things, growing in the cold, harsh environment.

Who will see them but me?  Who will see the Lady Slipper, dancing for the King in her glorious, outlandish, pink shoes?  The velvety purple Crocus, waving royal cup as an offering to HIM?  Shooting Star, hand painted by God and shooting praise from low mountain ground to highest heaven?  The Yellow Bell?  The Blue Bonnet?  The Wild Strawberry?  The Butter Cup?


These little wild flowers must know they were created by God.  They are happy just to give Him glory.  Even if no one ever notices.  (That deep in the mountains?)  When a body sees a flower like that, in a place like that, it says, "Wow!  God!".

Oh!  I want to be that flower!  To live in such a way that people would see my life and say, "Wow!  God!".   That who I am, and all that my life is would bring attention and praise and glory back to HIM.  MY Creator.  Even if no one notices.  Me driving the kids.  Me doing the laundry.  Me washing dishes, teaching the children, grocery shopping, swishing the toilets, etc. etc. and etc.  Can I stay low to the ground? Humble? Can I stand the bitter cold?  No one telling me that I'm doing a good job?  A God job?  Can I dance all the beauty that I am because of Whose I am as an offering back to the One?  And be happy too?

Those precious little ones caught my heart, and I want to capture the lesson in their brave beauty.

I want to be a wild flower,



Funny things, these dreams.

When I grew up, my family travelled with kids piled everywhere singing to the top of the world.  That old suburban could hardly hold all that joy.  I know we kids couldn't.  We had to sing it out.

My Shoulders is a car thinker, and it has often been lonely travelling these roads with him.  Hours and hours of quiet as he plans and invents, invests and builds.  Great thoughts.  I can feel the heat being generated by his brain as I sit, his passenger.   Still.   Lost in my own thoughts too, but always missing all that music.  Dreaming of it.

The Strong Soft is working her way toward a driver's license.  ("Keep us safe, Oh, God for in you we take refuge."  Psalm 16:1 )  She is more relaxed when listening to the radio, and her soul singing sends shivers up my spine.  Goose bumps on my skin.  Her voice making heaven in the car.  I, her passenger, raising a joyful noise.  Her brother says, "You sing like an angel."  She does, and I smile.   Music fills the car, and we carry tunes all the way home.

Singing to the top of the world,


Monday, June 13, 2011

A New Member of the Family

Late last night some dear friends dropped in to drop off their son.  They spoke of a busy weekend full of the most wonderful of surprises!  A young mom.  Difficult life.  Void of any outward Godly influence.  But, oh, that precious Savior of ours was always working, wasn't He?  On the inside.  Growing those seeds!  Last night she knelt with them to surrender her life for His.  My heart is still full!  I had trouble sleeping last night knowing I have a new sister!  And the joy of salvation is fresh yet again!  Rejoice with us, would you?!  And please pray for the salvation of her husband and 3 children.

Supremely Grateful at His Marvelous Surprises!

Love Story

Thank You, Lord, that Your mercies are new each morning.  Even the earth knows.  Pulls on a fresh summer flowers dance the pattern on lush green.  Last night we watched the wind blow through the long grass in the back pasture.  Waves and waves of grass.  Waving praise to the King.  Waiting for Him too.  So much beauty.  This God of ours, full of creative genius.  I want to bow and kiss His feet for all of this.  Loveliness.

Oh, to kiss the feet of Jesus.  To wash his feet with my tears.  Dry them with my hair, falling out.  To bless His heart???   He knows that I love Him this way, and it seems impossible.   To sit with Him.  Be with Him.  Just be near to Him.  Sweet aroma of Christ filling my senses.  I don't know quite how to say this, but, He is so glad! This kind of intimacy with Him is why he died.  So we could be close.  All the time.  That long "to do" list crossed off by the cross and written down in the greatest, most accurate history book in the world.  "DONE!".

His love is overwhelming!  How can this broken, fallen vessel take it all in?   He is an intimate God, desiring.  To be close.  To me.  To us.  To you.  This God is crazy!  Passionate about having a passionate relationship with us.  I sit here shaking my head.  I'll never, EVER, get over it.  How He wipes our slates clean...then goes about pulling us up into His lap so we can rest our heads right there on His heart.  How He never stops cleaning us up.  Setting us free.  How His voice continues to boom across the land, "LET MY PEOPLE GO!".

This is the heart of God for us.  He is for us.  Who then, can stand against?  This love?  His love?

So Pure,


Saturday, June 11, 2011

For Love

My Shoulders arrives home from Chile, and I pick him up at the airport. (again!)   He stands at the curb wearing weary travel face.  Wrinkles just there around his eyes, but still the same.  Still the boy I started falling for when I was sixteen.  The boy in physics class.  We hardly spoke.  But I still have all his notes.

His hand on my hip, smiling through a kiss, and my, how the years have flown!  I wonder at all that we have been through, and all this changing hope God has wrought in the hearts of make the two one.  That process can be quite harrowing at times now, can't it?

Late start.  Brought four kids into this crazy life together knowing ABOUT God, but not KNOWING God.  Oh, hasn't HIS grace been deeply good to us?  Didn't HE just reach right down and flip things around?  Not perfect, but at least right side up.  That amazing Love.

He hands me a journal full of love notes, and I'm so glad Jesus showed me how to forgive.  I would have missed this!  I would have missed seeing him model love and sacrifice; work and fun for the kids and for me.  This man is a fruit bearing tree.  His life, the book of ROMANS,  a journal full of love notes, carved straight into the skin of his back.  Yes.  Right there across his shoulders.  And how does a woman give thanks for her man?

He would say, "By loving God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength."  I smile.  Knowing that.  Chasing that.

And this is what all these children will remember.  A broken mama with an insatiable desire for the things of God.  And their daddy?  Oh, their daddy!  An imperfect man chasing after God's perfect heart.  (And most likely sweeping in his underwear.)

For love,


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Prayer

YOU are the answer.
It is I who am the question.
Help me to focus on You.
The answer.
To every question of my tongue.
To every problem.
To all the mess of me.
Help me to remember.
Your love.
For me.
For all.
Remind this heart that YOU are at work.
That you never stop working.
Even when I'm pleading.
"Do something!"
Teach me to be steady.
Not all this clanging about in armor.
Raising a fuss.
Cloud of dust.
Stand still.
Listen for command.
Obey command.
YOU are the answer.
To ALL things.
Even to me.
Thanks for that, Lord.
All this training.
Makes me strong.
In Who You are.
Heavenly reply.
Beloved Savior.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


His words on paper.  I hug the's all I can do, this first born, borne away from us and into the Army.  This soldier son.  Beloved son.

He says, "I've been praying constantly, and I know God is helping me with all of this.  Whenever I am at attention or parade rest, I'm praying-and that is a lot of time....God has called me to where I am now, and I'm trusting Him to take care of me, but please pray for me."

Can we try a Proverbs exercise?  Since there are 31 Proverbs, may I humbly ask you to consider reading one each day and praying it for Joshua?  That  God would give him wisdom and strength?  Also, his boots are still posing a problem.  A big problem.  Please keep his feet in mind as you walk around on yours.  Many thanks to all of you for your prayers!

Joshua's mama,


Be still.  Know that I am God.  Walk with Me in the cool of this day, and trust that I've got it.  Got the world.  The Culture.  This country.  The church.  Your friends.  Your family.  Your marriage, your daughters, your sons.  The whole world in My hands, remember?

Nothing more powerful than My love.  Nothing more real than My sustaining grace and mercy.  Be still.  And know that I AM.  I AM God.

I hold your lamentations.  Your tears.  Your questions.  Your frustration.  Even...your anger.  All right there in my palm.  All with your name right on it.  Scars bearing witness.  To all the fallen, yes, but also, My Life laid down and raised up again for my glory!  So let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

The hope of this life.  Yours.  The blessed hope that I AM coming again soon.  And that soon all these mysteries will be revealed.  I will see you face to face.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Lamentation

It's a Lamentations Day.  Do you ever have those?  I wonder.  What my life means.  To me. To anyone.  To Jesus.  He died for it so it must count a great deal, but we are here such a short time, and this quest for holiness-in all the fallen and broken- seems so pointless.  On days like these, when the empty inside is full.  When the great American way weighs on my back:  A burden to be carried.

While the world goes suffering great drops of blood, we sing fast and loud.  We clap till' our hands are raw.  Applauding ourselves?  Is there but ONE out there who feels the same?  That we are spinning our wheels to create something beautiful?  When the culture tells us that we are ugly.  Never enough.
And that we are defined by what is on t.v.  The thin and thinner.  The rich and richer.  And all this sex going on outside the sacred, taking great bites of flesh out of hearts trying to grow up?  Fit in?  The deadly fake spins its sticky web of lies, catching the feet of generations.  Poison Porn taking purity captive.  Enslaved.  Eating disorders eating the souls of our girls, and sharp blades that cut less than the world somehow.

What can we do?  What power do we have?   To protect and defend?  Am I spitting in the wind?  My voice and heart raised to fevered pitch.  Not judging.  No.  Who am I?
Shouting warning.

Don't do.
What I have done.

Children, listen to your parents.
Be wise.  Be safe.
Be free.
That you would never lament these days.
That your life would be raised.

Friends, let us link hands to pierce that smothering cloud.   Let's lift up the lives of our children to God, that the enemy of their souls would not have a foot hold.  Nor would he have an inch.  Let us fervently do what we can.  Humbly.  From our knees.  That not one more child would be bruised and bloodied behind enemy lies.

Young people, I am praying for you right now,


Saturday, June 4, 2011


Breathe You in.
Still trusting You.
You give your children good gifts.
Not snakes.
For today.  For moments with You.
Moments that you purchased.
To give me what You want for me.
Your best.
Instead of what I deserve.
And I love You, Lord.
Spill it out.
For You.  For all.
Because I can't hold it back.
The dam is breached.
This damned life.
Loved and held dear.
And You are, oh so precious to me, Father.
My Big Papa.
Just to know that I am loved.
That we are.
Oh, Lord.  You are beautiful.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh, brother

Brother calls today.
Hear the hurt in his voice.
But he's the big brother, right?
So we don't speak of it.
Just dance around the pain.  Piled.
Doing our best to hold each other.
At arm's length.
Doing what we can to say,
"I love you."
"You are important."
"Your life matters."
And it does.
Because who would I be with out him?
He painted the picture for me.
This loving Jesus.
This real Jesus.
Pursuing real relationship with all His messed up kids.
I want to trace his face with my fingers.
Remember him.
The way he never told me to go away.
How important he made me feel.  Still makes me feel somehow.
How he never lost his cool
When I got in his business, read his love letters, talked too much.
The way he never called me fat.
Never called me a cry baby.
Never made me cry.
Cradled all the tender heart of me.
With his.
No hook.  No barb.
My brother.