Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Agony of Love

Picked him up late, the Kind and Compassionate.  Tired.  He folded himself into the seat and shut the door.  I turned to smile at him.  Tell him that I miss him when he's gone, but he'd already dissolved down into tears.  His shoulders shook the whole car, and he gasped for air but caught only great sobbing gulps of grief.

"I put a Man on the cross, Mama!  I put a Man on the cross!  I had him beaten beyond recognition, and tortured so cruelly.  He was innocent.  I'm just...awful!  How can He love me still?  How?  Why does He love me?  He gave me joy tonight and I fell on my face to worship Him.  I was on my face, and I didn't care who saw me.   I murdered Someone, Mama, and He loves me anyway.  He was innocent, and I'm...just a terrible person.  Terrible!  Selfish!  I let my soul fall asleep, Mama, and I didn't care about Him.  I've been trying to give people advice about God, and who am I?  I'm disgusting!   I put Jesus on the cross!  How can He love me like that?  He just smiles down on me and says, "That's my kid.  I love that kid.", and oh, it just kills me.  How does He do that?  He knew my name while He was hanging there, and oh, Mama, He died for my name!  And I read my Bible everyday with such dread.  I've been telling myself that that's just for hard core Christians, but, oh, Mama, it's His book for us.  He wrote that book for me so I could live like his kid, and I'm such a stupid jerk that I think nothing of it.  Just ignore it.  Oh!  I let my soul fall asleep, and He gives me joy and tells me that I'm His kid and that He loves me, and, Mama, I can't stand it!  It's an agonizing love, and I want to be different, and I want to live so the whole world knows that I am His and His alone."  

I reach my hand to his.  Hold tight.  Cry too because I know.  I know.  And I wonder why God loves me, and how He can love me, and why He gives me the honor of being here tonight with this son who keeps calling me "Mama" when I've been such a jerk all day.  Selfish.  Paranoid.  Jealous.  Full of pride and self pity.  Crumpling all the strength of my Shoulders with my words.  

"I put a Man on the cross!  I put a Man on the cross!"  


Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Breath

The smallest space.
A moment.
Rush to the floor.
To Your feet.
Rest my head on Your knee.
Tell You I love You.
That I'm grateful.
That I am Your daughter.
That You are my Papa.
That I can be loved like this.
Like this.
Yes!  I am!
A woman.
In love.
With God.
Eyes closed.
Smiling out into...nothingness???



More of YES

To begin the thing.
Precious lady.
Just yesterday listened to it all...
And when did I start believing the lie that it's not okay to need encouragement from friends?
You all have been so amazing.
When I feel small like this.
It came to me as we were talking, that I want my epitaph to read:
I've not put pen to paper, but my tongue is being loosed.
Little by little.
That dangerous, vile weapon.
How in all the world can God use it for love?
Praying.  Praying.  Praying.
Just sending this little love note to you precious souls.
Who read these lines.
And wonder too...
What is Jesus up to now???


Friday, July 22, 2011


Sitting in that chair, I can only look at her.
Her face is full of Jesus as she leans right into my heart and says I can do it.
Touches that spot that still makes me squirm.
The spot that needs.
Needs encouragement.
Needs someone brave enough to come and blow right into these sails.  Sagging.  Already.
And I've been saying those words to myself over and over again.
Did David say those words before he met his Goliath?  Did Joshua say them before battle?  Did...Jesus?
Friends, I need your prayers.
Need them.
Squirming, but asking.
That I would obey Him in the absolutely impossible.

Grateful for your encouragement.
And Jesus in your words to me.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Prayer Request

Jesus, we sit at Your feet today.
Just wrapping our arms around Your legs.
Clinging with all our strength.
Resting these broken hearts on You.
Wiping our tears on Your cloak.
As you stroke our hair.
This is another hard loss, Lord.
I can't see the screen for crying.
Did not want to rise from the bed.
How does a mama lose another child?
In less than a year?
And how can I reach to comfort her?
Her family?
Thank You, Jesus, that You are close to the broken hearted.
Thank You that You use EVERYTHING.
Nothing wasted.
We just fall down into You.
Our only hope.
Lord, have mercy.

Please pray for this dear family and my beloved friends,


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

MMMM The Word

Your breath on my face.
Reminding me.
Of Your love.
Of Your presence here.
And You smell like honey as I read that holy scroll.
Taste your goodness.
Your best-ness.
Your calling us all on up higher like that.
Love so fiery I have to close my eyes sometimes.
Just to remain here in the shadow of Who You are.
I will need that new body, Jesus.
To stand before You face to face.
To look in the eyes of Grace.
Less I melt.

Into You,


Monday, July 18, 2011


"Hit It"- What a water skier says to the driver of the boat when ready to get up out of the water.
Full Throttle- Full steam ahead, baby!

My Shoulders encourages me to try water skiing, and I look at him like he's crazy.

I've had so many problems with my back over the years, that I have gradually given up sports.  Running.  Ice Skating.  Snow Skiing.  Basketball.  Sport after sport, loss after loss, and I know it seems silly, but it's been sad for me.  Hard.  For me.  And for my family.   I'm grateful for grace filled kids who have surrounded me with love and protection.  Not letting me lift.  Not letting me do too much.  Fearing I will hurt.  Precious souls.  How my back issues have been such a part of our family.  A burden.  A cross.

The Shoulders asks again.  Kids watch my face, holding their breath.  Hoping.  Praying.   "Do you want to go?".  My fear starts to strangle, but how do I answer?

By getting into the water.  

Struggling into the skis and thrashing for the rope.  Hope.  Blinking back tears of embarrassment as the children watch me.  Have they ever known me strong?  Do they remember?  Soundless, at first, everyone fighting fear for me, then a grand eruption of all this youthful encouragement from the lips of these trembling believers.  "You've got this, Mom.  You can do it!  Be strong, Mom, and don't let go of the rope.  Bend your knees and keep your skis together.  I'm so proud of you, Mom!  You ROCK!  YEA!"  From the boat to me...I am struck down by all their hope.  That I would try this thing.  And mean it.  That I would risk injury.  Again.

When did this become about so much more than just water skiing?

And, boom.  Here comes the lesson.

I float on my back having an absolute fit of hysterical laughter.  Raising the roof right there in the water...shrieking this crazy fit of joy up and to the clouds.  I hear Sarah say to her dad, "Just let her have it out, Dad.".  And I do.  Laughing and laughing...abs so cramped that I lay in the water thanking God for this life jacket.  Drowning in joy.

My water skis were at a 90 degree angle from the back of the boat.   I kept trying to bring them around, but I'm so weak now, that I was having a hard time getting just that simple task accomplished.  HE says:

"My strength is made perfect in your weakness."  

Shouting aloud to myself, I suppose, I say,  "I want to go THAT way!  How can I go the RIGHT way when I'm pointed in the WRONG direction?".  I know we are talking about this assignment He has given me, and HE says:

" And why do you keep saying "yes" but living "no"? 

"Oh, God, how can I say, "HIT IT!",  when I don't have the strength, and my pride reveals itself in fear as deep as this lake, and I know I'm going to fail?  How can I risk injury?  Again.  And why do You keep captaining this boat and waiting for me?  Are you sure I've not disqualified myself?  Perhaps somebody else?  Couldn't You just hit it anyway?  What do You want with me, anyway?  Aren't You the God of the universe anyway?"

I think these things as I lay on my back in the water.  A bobbing doubting Thomas.  Doubting that the Man Who hung on that tree.  Really.  REALLY. Wants.  Me.

"Are you going to bobb or do the job?"

Well... wouldn't that make you laugh?

Suddenly, getting up out of the water,  ON TOP OF THE WATER, is more important to me than anything in the whole world.  I want to prove myself to the Lord, and that makes me laugh too.  I want my yes to be yes.  I want my life to be "YES, LORD!"   He has orchestrated the whole exercise, and that is the reason I can't stop laughing.  This God of ours is so very good to His kids.  His kindness leads us to repentance, and I love the way He loves.

Do the hard thing.  Let your life, all your life, say, "YES! " and "HIT IT!" to God.

Expect full throttle now, and don't let go of the rope!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lake Tales: Thankful For...

Kids making shadow puppets on the tent canvas to hissing propane.
Their laughter.  Warming me.
Sipping camping coffee.  Drinking in sun rising, new mercies, on the water.
Daniel laughing hysterically at being slammed by waves on rough water.  Soaked to the funny bone and growing to full manhood in just the last six months.
Heart breaking pride and joy.  This boy.
Sarah's arms opened wide in the bow of the boat.
Golden fired lake in mountained cup, our boat, a floating lump of sugared sweetness.  Slow rest.
That dog and how all the kids love her so...
The Strong Soft's pony tailed water ski.
The lessons Jesus is teaching me.  Us.
The Beauties Asleep.  Full Red Lips Breathing Dreams.  Sun Freckled cheeks under the canopy of their dark lashes.
The Kind and Compassionate challenging Boy Blue to manhood.
Night cruise and the best place to dream those big dreams.  So deeply still.
Intimate times with the Lord.  Unhurried times.  In the Word.
His grace and the precious gift of rest.
The way my Shoulder's smiles at me.
His exuberance at skiing on one ski.
His challenge to me.  My acceptance.  Me getting up on the water.
Not giving up.
Years of fear...Oh, Lord, here we go!
Cauliflower Clouds.
Laying down on down.  Head still rocking on pillowed comfort.
Banana Grahams and more Banana Grahams
Missing One.  My Soldier Son.  Joshua.
Waking up at 2 AM to pray for him under lofty moon.  Sitting lake side in all that quiet wearing his sweatshirt.  Trying to feel close in the far away.
Happy Kids To Snack Extraordinaire.  "Mom, You are the BEST!"
Falling Asleep Holding Hands with the Husband of my Youth.
Him getting ice cream and wearing his shirt unbuttoned all week.
Still strong.  Still muscular.  Still the one I love.
Him reading to us at night.  Deep voice lulling my sun fired skin to more dreams.
Kitten curled up under his feet in the boat.  Sound asleep from the day's fun.
The healing warmth of the Son.
His love for this family.
Our love for Him.
That Box of Bibles on the Front Seat.
The Salvation that Rescues.  Saves.  And Holds.
Thank You for all this, Jesus.
For this place of family restored to relationship.
Outside all the dreaded rush.

For You,


Saturday, July 9, 2011

To A Bit Of Rest

Getting ready to pull out for that long awaited and much needed vacation.  I will find my Shoulders again there, and lose myself in his deep rest and the creases around his eyes when he smiles.   I'll meet my children where water drops drip down skin.  Sun kissed brown.  To hang like jellied diamonds off their eye lashes. 

The Lake.

Fired skin.  Cool water soothing every ruffled feather...making me laugh out loud.  Dog sitting at my feet, needing that touch.  Always.  Night cruise to the kids singing and dancing in the boat; the Shoulders and I smiling at each other.  This is peace for us.  Everyone engaged.  Everyone happy.  It's a rest. A respite from all this work and sweat,  tears and blood.  A blessing for all those nights tangled in sheets of prayers for all these children.  To see them so full of joy.

 To refresh and renew.  To build and to find.  To make s'mores and memories.

To the lake,


Friday, July 8, 2011

Freedom Family

Freedom fellowship last night in our living room.  Living.  Circle of kids and these dear friends that color in family for me.  Cold compress in revival songs raising the roof with that joyful noise and all these bare legged kids sitting cross legged on the wood floor.  White Man Walking strums peace before his soles walk out the door again.  To Tanzania and its souls.  Hungry.  Kind and Compassionate bangs out power on the ca-hone.  Head bobbing the fast songs.  Resting between his knees during the slow.  When did my son learn to worship God?  Why this great privilege, Lord?  Your blessings are abundant.  My heart slows low.  And good.  And full of You.  Jesus.

And all that is left is to say thank You.  Thank You for this night, for all these kids building a throne of praise for You.  Thank you for the gift of worship.  The gift of  friends.  A new friend who belongs to us already somehow.  My family.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

An Encouragement?

His mercies are new every morning.  His precious thoughts toward us out number the grains of sand on the shores of the ocean.  He casts our sins as far as the east is from the west.  He BENDS DOWN to listen to our prayers!  He sings songs over us.  The Lord SINGS!  He is our good shepard, leading us to still water, and making us lie down in deep grass.  He's so confident that He even sets the table for us right there in front of our enemies.

He is close when our hearts are breaking.

He makes a pact with us that only He can keep.  That's right.  He makes the promise.  He keeps the promise.  He even knows that we can't and He holds things like that right in His hands.  The ones with the holes. So beautiful.

He is our King. but He also came to serve.  He is exalted above all things but He made Himself low.  He was hated and killed, but He loves and gives life.  He was sinless, but He came to rescue the sinner.  Me.  And oh now, aren't we in love?

Today.  He is making a place for us in His Father's house.  Someday soon He is going to return.  He's going to come for us, His dearly loved children, and take us home.  HOME!  And there, we will never be frustrated to sing His praise, and we will never run out of energy to serve Him.  We will never be lost for words to express our love for all this....this AMAZING that He so lavishes on us.  We will never be sick.  Or sad.  Or disappointed.  Or hurt.  In our Father's house, there will be no tears.  No more fear, and I'll say "Amen" to that! :)

Keep running, keep your eyes on the prize.  Don't grow weary in doing good.  Keep on fighting that good fight of faith.  Persevere to the end, even if it kills you to get there.  You can do this!  I'm just one fallen vessel cheering you on, but remember that great cloud?  Come on!  Lace your feet in tight.  We're in this. Together.  For the long haul.

Grace to your feet,


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


He in no longer the eleven year old.  Twelve years ago today, he broke his collar bone trying to get out into the world.  A metaphor?  Some days, I think that bone between the shoulders and the heart symbolizes this son and his father...and me.  Always trying to heal the broken.  Always trying to stabilize the fractured connection between us...and him.  Always falling and failing.  Jesus always taking our hands.  Always saying, "Come.  Follow Me.", when there is no strength left in our parenting books to stand.

Always laying in bed at night wondering what else can we do?  Always coming up with something that empties us out the next day, and always coming back to those same sheets.  Torn.  Some nights bloodied.  Always wondering where God is in all this.  Wondering when He'll show up.  Can't help wondering IF He'll show up, and can a child enter the world a prodigal?   Always wondering why in this life God would pair us up, then daily pare us down.

Always hoping in His divine plans.  Always reaching for higher, better, more.  More holiness.  Which always means less of me.  At least that much always makes sense.

Right now he sits next to me ready to talk, and I am leaving the comfort of words and quiet.  It is his birthday! I want to put him on my lap and hold him always.  Tell him that for all time, I will love him.  Always.  I reach to comfort him that I am trusting Jesus too...

And all His ways,