Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When You Really Need To Give Thanks


For Friends Who Pray.
For A Man Who Provides.
For Children Who LIVE!
For Jesus And The Cross.
For My Mama.
For My Siblings And My Dad.
For Hard Things.
For Getting Through Them.
For 'That Blue' Waving Beauty And Grace And Warmth Around My Neck.  Around My Heart.
For Love.
For The Opportunity To See A Doctor.
For Not Being Afraid.
For Ultimate.
For 212.
For Courtney.
For 'RE and T.
For My Sarah-girl.
For Finding Joy With Sheri.
For Worship.
For The Psalms.
For Words.
For Poetry.
For The Way I'm Created.
For The Way God Speaks.
For The Word.
For Life.
For Jesus Being The Light Of The World.


God With Us,


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When You Weigh Too Much

I don't know why God made me thus.

Deep following deep.

I only know how it hurts.

When I am too much.

When all that I feel is too much.

And I see their faces close down.

Their arms coming out to hold me...

At A Distance.

"Keep your sorrow."

"Keep your suffering."

So I try to pack it all up.

Hold it in.


But I'm leaking everywhere now.


Not enough fingers to plug all the holes.

And all I know is that...

I weigh too much.

And He.

My Jesus.

The Man acquainted with sorrow.

Is the only strong Man.

Strong enough for me,


Sunday, November 18, 2012

If You Only Knew

I do cry a lot but, "If you only knew," and that's what I say as I lay my face in kleenex.  Telling the story.

I twist the brightly beaded rings on my fingers and focus my mind on the women in Tanzania, Africa who made them. As I turn them over and over again on my white (!) hands, I imagine strong black ones, and I am comforted.  I wonder what the hands are doing now, that strung these beads?   What are the struggles of a woman in Africa? I wonder what the life of a Massai woman is like, and if she would say to me, "If you only knew."  

The story tumbles out, and I am spent.  I study my rings with intimate fascination and think about Jesus.  I think about His hands too, PIERCED, and the disciples all scared, all hiding, all asking, "Why?"   And Jesus likely saying...

"If you only knew."


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Courtney's Lace

I read her words,, on a night that found me sleepless; the holes in my soul aching clean through.

I sat in the old rocker with my jaw hanging loose and gasping out loud.


Her words wrote my heart line for line, and it looked like maybe she'd gotten into my head somehow.


I left a small note in her comment box.

She came to visit me here over and over and over again.  Always leaving the fragrance of encouragement and love.  Knowing the cost.  Understanding.  Holding my hand.

And when it really seemed like I couldn't draw one more breath,  I received a gift in the real, actual mail.

A knitted lace shawl tumbled out like a wide ribbon of laughter, and blue joy ruffles rippled all around the outside edge.  (How did she know that I love ruffles?)  I held it up to a grey sky, and azure flowers danced on low clouds.  I wrapped it around my shoulders.  Sat down hard.  Cried and cried and cried.

Her hands made this for me.

They held my life in them for months, and I imagine her fingers flying over delicate skeins, knitting this blue, and stitching my heart together by holding it in hers. What kind of woman does that?  What kind of love is that?  We've never-ever met!  Her gorgeous lace crowns my shoulders with heaven, and makes me look like a queen.  (How did she know that's just what I needed?)  I want so to kiss the hands that have brought me such a gift, at such a time, with such love.  This blue, the exact color of my dreams, and all its beauty takes my breath.  I won't take it off, and it's a few days before I notice it... the lace.  

It's     got     holes     clean     through,     see?


Friday, November 16, 2012

Pain and Praise

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."  Romans 8:18

After it's all talked out, we marvel at the power of God.  Because even though everything is still a mess, we've rendered our hearts to Him, and there is nothing left.  Nothing left to do now but worship Him.

In so doing, she learns something new, and I learn again that we can trust this...

The answer is worship.  

The answer is to push through the agony and worship Jesus.

In all that is pressure and heartache and pain.

Praise Him,


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Strength of Weakness

She and I sit crying and asking the hard questions.  This daughter become friend.  This young woman once womb-held who understands suffering.  Understands me.  We wonder what being saved really means when we walk the Prince of Darkness' sacred burial ground.  When the only light we see is the grey dimness of the shadow lands.  Destruction all around us.  The stench of death in our nostrils and tears the only stream.

Our hearts sorrow and spill for this brother.  Our warrior-poet in the fire.  His heart crying out to God, "Why have you turned your face from me, Lord?"  And all the reaching and all the prayers of his women-folk are  nothing more than printed verses on pretty paper hanging banners over his bed of suffering.  Small.

We cry out all our weakness together.  The weaker vessels.  Getting crushed sometimes, and wondering where our strength lies.  Where is the power of God in women who are longing to be of help to their wounded warriors?  Where, when the battle weary brush off our condolences because we know nothing of what it is to of God?  How can the folds of a skirt cleanse the blood on a sword?  How can we help, really?

We pour our questions out to God.  Offering Him all our weakness.  All our womanliness.

And after all the tears have been shed, and she tosses a whole mess of kleenex, she loads the worship music and looks up verses in her Bible.  We do what only we can, and we find our true strength for our men.  We turn our faces to Jesus.

And worship the Son.


Monday, October 15, 2012


He knows us.

Loves us.

Opens His Holy Hands, with holes clean through.

Smiles at us.

Beckons us come.

Says, "Taste and See!"

Holds Living Water in His Name.

Breaks the Bread of Life: His Body.

This Jesus.

Do we know Him?


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Potter's Gift


All Broken.

Shards of hardened clay lying grace in the sun.

The color of burnt autumn.

The smell of grass fire.

Pottery glistens beneath tears.

Diamonds on the Rough.

Making beautiful.

The Broken.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Thanks For Shoulders

Sometimes you just have to keep writing about it because it's still impossible, and your mind is still reeling from the gift.  And sometimes you need to keep making lists so that you will never grow numb to what Jesus has done in the lives of two of the broken ones, yes?

Thanks, Lord, that You resurrected a dead marriage from the grave.
That The Shoulders leads out strong and always takes his place on the front line.
That he shields his family from arrows and pestilence.
That he still flirts and makes me blush.
That he loads the groceries, makes the dinner sometimes, and builds a better life for us.
That he models service just like his Father did by laying down his life.
Every.  Single.  Day.

Lord, thank You for a man who...
Puts his family first.
Helps shepard his little boys into godly men.
Holds the hands of his daughters, promising to protect them.
Apologizes to his broken wife while holding her close...
Never making fun that she is the weaker vessel.
God, Thank You.

Thank You for a man after Your own heart.
A man who opens the Word to us.
A man who...
Teaches, admonishes, encourages, rebukes and loves.
A strong man with the strength of heaven on his side.
The Shoulders.  My Shoulders.

A man with scars like Yours,


Sunday, September 30, 2012



















Friday, September 28, 2012


When you can't make yourself go to bed.
Because you're alive and you're in love.

When you feel warm and well and held.
Because you sit close to the feet of Jesus.

When you wrap your arms around His shin.
Because you don't want Him to make a move with out you.

When you rest your head right there on His knee.
Because He is your cradle.

When you are full and fat with peace.
Because His love is here and now.

When you want to do something to please Him.
Because it pleased Him to die for you.

When you want to cup His face in your hands.
Because He paid your ransom.

When your name is written in broken calligraphy.
Because His scars read like the inside of a wedding band.

When you are in love with the Bridegroom.
Because He is consumed with desire for His bride.

Like a deer pants for water.
So my soul thirsts for you, Oh God.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When You're Just In Love

Alone in a booth with You, Oh God.
Palpitating desire and joy and love and pain.
My heart beating proper cadence.
My face on the ground and...


My home is in You, Oh God.
Your scars wear my title and
My heart beats hard.
Your Name, Your Name, Your Name.
The way You raised this dead woman...



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Holy Moment

The Boy lies on our bed between us after his father bids him come.

He is thirteen.

Thirteen, and I can feel the pressure of unspent tears in him at what the world serves up on its not-so-silver platter.

His head lies on The Shoulder's shoulder, and a holy hush falls over the three of us.

I trace his face with my fingers, and his father tells him he's proud.

I rub his head, but his father tells him that he's brave.

I press my fingertips into two beloved drops of molasses moles, while his father tells him he's precious.

I tap "I Love You" in morse code on that collar bone, the one he broke in his hurry to escape the womb, and his father holds him close and tells him that he's the future.

I pat his chest, but his father tells him that he will be a good husband.

I try to fan his lashes, poke his eye instead, while his father tells him that he will be a good dad.

We pray for him, and I watch his face fight tears and smiles.

We fall silent.

Loving our son and...  

Allowing God to heal and touch us all in this moment.

This holy moment,


Monday, September 24, 2012


When the world presses you hard down, and the laundry spills its guts out of the closet.

When you're on the north side of Cinderella and your life is ashes and soot.

When you want to sit right down and cry, but snap the little one into tears instead.

When you make her grow up now because you've got bills to pay and approval to earn.

When you can't sit beside and help, tucking that escaped lock back behind her delicate ear.

When you can't kiss her freckles because something is rotting away in the refrigerator and...

Something is rotten right down in your soul.

When you can't even get your feet on the floor in the morning with out this sense of dread

 At the impossibility of getting all your checks marked off on that do or die list.

When you want to be a good steward of your time, but it just swirls this giant whirlpool of plans and...

That flushing sound you hear in your head when you look at the clock and see that it's nye time to make supper, but you've taken nothing out of the freezer.

When the clock doesn't tic toc but rather flings it's hands around, this mad time machine.

When you've fallen into panic, and you're feeling like a lousy friend.

When your words read hollow,  your heart full of pain.

When you wonder...always wonder....

Why in the world do we carry on so???

Why does my time with Jesus in the morning seem a vapor already by noon?

Why won't my conscience hush?


Lord, are You here in all the mess of me?

The little one digs down deep and comes up smiling.

Her assignment is finished, and she is proud that she was able to turn it around.

I look up from paying bills down, and my heart flies to my throat because...

I see God in her...

And I see Grace in her...

And when you're lying there on your back, you can see a big wide sky now can't you?

A little girl happy at home.

A college girl and her hair a wavy waterfall tumbling down pale cheeks.

The way it frames eyes the color of a cloudy day.

The Shoulders bent over chemistry homework with her.

That dinner is actually set to go, and we can all look forward to a healthy meal to nourish us along.

Hearts that bump hard against each other even so.

The prayers that go up for all these children.

Joshua calling home.

Calling me "Mama."

An unexpected bouquet of flowers smiling at me.

Her voice on a Sunday afternoon.

Laughing hard and...

Saying you're sorry.

Repentance bringing Heaven to our Home.

The Shoulders and his tender words to my heart.

Doing the hard things now.

Turning my face toward them because...

Cin-der-el-la is not yel-la.

She's made some mistakes and kissed some snakes.

But she leans hard into Jesus.

The Rescuing Prince of Peace Who crushed the Serpent's head.

Just.  For.  Her.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

When Towers Topple

It's on 9-11 that I sit in that round of chairs willing the floor to swallow me whole.  2012.

NYC years ago now, and I can almost feel the earth rumble as terror toppled two towers and left them to settle.  Into Dust.  Debris.  Despair.  Death.

I hold my own hands in that circle of seats, rubbing one thumb raw across the other while friends not yet friends watch my tears fall.  My life fall.

I speak and shake and press through the rumble in my heart.  Feel the twin towers of terror coming off their fear foundations.  

How exhuming the dead sometimes gives you back your life.  

And how making the decision to dig up the deep can redeem the gravest of choices.

The towers of terror topple... when I look around a circle and find the face of grace.

Amazing Grace.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You Understand

"Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite."  Psalm 147:5

You understand.
You hold my hand.
And rock me soft.

When the Father feels hard.

When it all looks upside down.
And all I can see is His back.
A Father's face turned away and...
A girl in there somewhere wondering if He'll ever turn around.
Smile at her?
Reach His arms out to lift her high on His shoulders?

Jesus you understand.
Your Father turned His back away.
And as you bore our sin on the cross, was that not the worst?

A Father Who turned His heart away?

Thank You that You understand.
That being on the ground is the highest ground.
That I can see things more clearly here.
That I think I can give you more of my life because...
The only thing I bring to the table is brokenness.

But didn't you change the world hanging broken?

It seems to me that now, perhaps now.
I can put trying away.
And just be.

Just be me,


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A God Like You

John 6:66-68
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  
"You do not want to leave too do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.  
Simon Peter answered Him, 
"Lord, to whom shall we go?"

To whom shall we go?
When we're tired of trying to find the answers on our own?
When our health won't get in line and the doctor's scratch their heads?
And when we knit skeins of blue and feel as if God has forgotten us?

To whom shall we go?
When children aren't safe from the evils of the world?
When they cry broken in the night?
And when they smother tears in the day going hungry for love?

To whom shall we go?
When our bodies don't look like theirs?
When everything sags our hearts?
And when the weight of the world ends up on our face?

To whom shall we go?
When we love a God Who is sovereign?
When He allows thorns that pierce clean through?
And when we live with scars?

To whom shall we go?
When He gives the enemy a green light?
When He says that He will use all things for our good?
And when those things make our hearts howl?  What then?

To Whom shall we go?
When we love a God Who makes us cry?
When we love a God Who goes quiet sometimes?
And when we bend our knees even so?  Even so?

Lord, to Whom shall we go?
When we want to be somebody else?
When You say Your grace is sufficient?
And when the only safe place is in the arms of a God like You?  The only safe place?

A God like You.


Monday, September 17, 2012



That the dragon of terror has been slain.
For the well of peace that resides there now.
Just that I went, you know?  I made it through.
For my fella yellas and this love I have for them.
That I miss them even now.
For victory in pools of sweat and the tears that gather under... which chin?
For men who stand for righteousness and for what is good and God.
For real men in the world.
For lions that stalk in the day.
That God uses the weak things to confuse the wise.
For her face there on the pillow just listening.
For the army she's amassing in the Kingdom.
For this sense of hope that we're taking back some serious ground.
For all of them gathering at the bottom of the steps at the airport.
For the Children in my Arms, and for the arms that held them while I was away.
That we've all grown somehow.
For the sound of music, their chatter, on the ride home...
Sweet Home.



Saturday, September 8, 2012

She Flys

How can you fly when you're afraid?

How can you leave a house full of children?

How do you spread weak wings and have faith just bare enough to lift off?

Isn't this it?

Isn't this the leaping out of nest and out into wide and holding sky?

And isn't what holds you all their prayers?

All their saying, "Go!"

And the one who says, "I'm really, really proud of you?"

Doesn't she hold your heart close and careful?

And don't you find yourself resting just a bit?

Because this is different...

It's not getting smashed and falling dead weight backward onto the hands of strangers anymore.

It's falling alright, but...

Falling right back into the arms of the Body of Christ, and always the possibility that you're going to get your heart smashed anyway.

But for this...

Those arms belong to the Everlasting One.

Your raised hands bearing this one life along.


You are the Everlasting arms of God around me.

All around me.

And the wind rushing to meet this wholly trembling heart?

So much wind that all I can do.

All I can really do now...

Is fly,


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Giving Thanks


For the Rod of God and the way He disciplines His disciples.
For our rebirth, Thank You, Jesus.
For friends who hold our hands in the storm and...
Talk us out of the driving panic.
For daughters who are wise and seeking to be wiser still.
For music in our home.
For getting to pray with my sister over the phone.
For new jobs and new starts and the hope in all those answers to prayers.
For the two on their knees with me, Lord, thank You.
For two arms and two hands that I can lift to praise You God!
For the Light.
For the precious gift of repentance and the way asking for forgiveness draws You close to us.
Just all the ways Jesus makes heaven on earth.
His Spoken Words through the Written Word.
Through the glory of creation...a blue moon and a red ball sun.
The freckles that trip across the bridge of Mary's nose.
The Shoulder's reaching for my hand.
Asking me.
Breakfast and shopping with Sarah before she starts the freshman year.
A message from Joshua about patching pants and making hash browns...
Making me smile.
A chiropractor who can fix what's broken.
A trip coming up.
The prayers that are getting me there.
Thank you!

Thank you for your prayers,


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Forgive Me?

I was sitting in church today staring at her back, and facing my sin.  The human heart is deceitful if nothing else, but I couldn't hide from myself when the pastor asked if we were loving the world out there.

Am I loving the world out there?

How can I be like Jesus to a world in need, when I can hardly stand to be in the same room with my brothers and sisters in Christ?  They have hurt me... hurt my kids,  my husband, my friends.  They have slandered the Name of Jesus, and I sit in church wagging my index finger all over the room. You.  You.  You...

And me.

Because eventually the index finger finds itself tapping my heart.  You.  You, Bernadette.  

I go to bargaining with God about how I'm in the right, and they need to apologize, and they are the ones that need to repent.  Gross, right?

The God of the universe is endlessly patient with His prideful daughters, and it takes the whole church service for me to come around.  He has given me one opportunity after another this past week to humble myself and apologize.  Even when I still think I'm right.  Even when I've been hurt.  Even when to leave with out saying it would mean nothing to the other person.  Even when I'll never see the person He prompts me to apologize to again.  Ever in my life.  What is the big deal?  Really?

In my head...I hear Him ask two simple questions.  "Will you ever be sorry for saying you're sorry?  Will you ever be sorry for NOT saying you're sorry?"  I imagine myself standing in His presence.

He begins to shed light on my dark heart, and I bow my head as He hangs my life on the line...

Fluttering flags of righteous red rags. 

"OH, God, I'm sorry."  Sorry for my pride and for my part.  Hating your people in my heart and being unmoved by the possibility that they are simply...hurting.

I stare at her back and start praying that God will provide an opportunity after the service.  At first I hope maybe I can just call so I won't have to really face her.



But as I stand there praying, my desire to make things right increases, and I lunge for her when we are dismissed.

I take her hands in mine, and look her full in the face.  I want her to see the windows to my soul so she will know that I am broken and sincere.  Sorry for being mean and hateful.  Unforgiving, unkind.  Full of religion, bitterness and...pride.  I am full of pride, and I'm so sorry.

This transaction changes everything, and all is well and full and restored and right.  She hugs me and cries.  She says it so quiet..."Thank you.".  My husband gently squeezes my thigh on the ride home and tells me that I am courageous.

I want to cry because it's not true.  I'm a coward, and I stand in judgement instead of being the change I want to see in the Body.  The beautiful Body of Christ.  Are you seeing a theme here lately?  Do you wonder if I'll ever get it?

Every week I pray for those who are caught in the cycle of cutting their own flesh, and the Lord begins to reveal to me how I am a cutter myself.  Slicing deep gouges into the Body of Christ because what I want? The ONLY thing I ever want is...

 My own way.  

Watch out.  I will cut you if I don't get it, and I will slice open my own Body.  My own siblings in Christ.  This I must own.  This I must repent from and turn away from again to travel the Saving Road.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The precious Word of God.

To be cleansed.  To be healed.  To be restored.

To take my place among the members of the Body.

Forgive me,


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Jesus, Man of Many Sorrows

And just like that...

You hear Him say it.

In your head like a whisper there.

"I love you, Child."

The dam breaks wide and tears crash over the spill way.

Because even though you've never felt more like a scared kid.

You know you can do anything.

In the strength of Christ.

In the power of His love.

And you whisper back just as quiet.


As you fall into Love.

And let Him fold all around you.

You open wide to all things Jesus.

The cross.  The blood.  The shame.  The reason.

Man, you get it.

And the Man gets you.

Does anything else really matter?

Just wondering,


Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Cry For Mercy

Words lie heavy beneath an ocean.
Water weight in tears.
And the deciding not to shed them.
Swallowing them down your sore throat and...
Putting on your big girl pants.
Pulling up on your boot straps.

Pain just leaking out everywhere anyhow and...
Not enough fingers to plug all the holes.

So you plunge your heart down into HIS.
Submerge yourself in the flow of His love, a...
Blood transfusion.
Cling hard to His promises.
Touch His robe.
Rub your cheek on His hem.
And cry the only cry you've ever really known.

"Jesus!  Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Have Mercy,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When You Love Your Body

She calls with her heart so full of pain that I can almost see it dragging out the bottom of her soul.  She cries and blames herself, and I rush in just so I can get my hands under her.  Aaron lifting Moses.  We've got emergency heart surgery on our hands 'cause satan's trying to take her out, and I won't stand it.

If God doesn't speak to her?  Well then aren't we all toast?

Pain is blinding.

I get to be the eyes in the Body of Christ.  Easy for me when her beauty hits my heart so hard that sometimes I've got to close them.  Too much Jesus in her face and that's not always easy now is it?  Just the way her love is hard to take, and the way it always makes me cry.  To be known.  To be accepted despite the phone junk and the fear and the humor hiding that lump of hurt swept under.

I reach for her hands.  Hold tight.  'Cause she said to me once, "I'm not just going to stand here and let you die." She threw me a life line.  Basically hauled me in.

This is the beauty of the Body.  Oh, God.  You are brilliant in Your design.

How we take these giant leaps out into the wide open knowing that we are going to fall and be impaled on the lives of others.  Because that is what our experience has taught us...really, really well.  But in the arms of the Body, the everlasting arms of the Body of Christ, we fall safe into compassion and grace.  We are held, and friends, it makes no sense to the broken heart that falls expecting to be hurt, humiliated, ignored, left, lied to, devalued, dehumanized, and...


When it turns out that we are caught and suspended and nurtured and held and...


The heart quickens and there is this great hope that begins to close the gaping hole left by the world.  The world of men.

So whether you are an eye or a thigh, a chin or a shin, be the best you can be for Christ's sake.

You never know when you might shine the light for a fellow traveller walking the dark night of the soul.

You just never do know.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Would

If I could have you back my baby boy, I would.
If I could hold you close and kiss your warm head, I would.
If I could have your chubby hand in mine once more, I would.
If I could travel the world singing silly songs with you again, I would.
If I could read you The Animals of Farmer Jones  one more time, I would.
If I could still sing you lullabies, I would.
If I could hear the sound of your little boy voice again, I so would.
If I could dance the floor with you laughing and riding on my hip, I would.
If I could push you through the house in a laundry basket again, I would.
If I could watch you fall into good sleep, Boy, you know I would.

You come home a combat soldier and nothing left in you that speaks of that little boy.
I am proud of you.
But I am the weak fool, Son.
Because I am a writer.
Whose words get stuck in the swallowed tears damming her throat.
When thoughts are full of you.
While my heart works at letting you fly.
Out into the wide world and...
Away from me.

If I could become your friend, I would.
If I could know your heart, I would.
If I could bear  your burdens, I would.
If I could be the ears that hear, I would.
If could carry your name to our Father, I would.
If I could help you carry the load, I would.
If I could lay down my life for you, Son,  I would.

I would.


Friday, August 10, 2012


Romans 5:8

"But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

While we were there, I lay in bed with tears leaking all over the pressed pillow case because I am ungrateful for my salvation.  I take it for granted.  I judge those who aren't, and I make myself sick.  How can I belong to a loving God when I am...unloving?

I don't know how to do it.  I don't know how to love when I am hated.  I only know that that's exactly what Jesus did for me.  He DIED for me when I hated Him, and OH GOD, how can I look like You?  How do I show compassion to the tormented soul and the darkened mind?

 The way You did for me?

We leave as a wounded family, driving silently away.  No sound in the car but intermittent deep sighs until we reach the interstate then we all break into prayer and praise.  What power do we have but these?  Thanksgiving?

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him for the gift of precious salvation.  Praise Him for the very Blood of Christ which was abundantly spilled.  Do you get that?

Praise Him that JESUS SAID.

"It is finished."

It.  Is.  Finished.

Praise God for suffering.  Praise God for persecution.  Praise God that you are hated.  Praise God that you are a stench to this dying world.  Praise God that His Holy Spirit dwells inside you, giving you the heads up.  Praise God for His love and His divine sacrifice and for those things like grace and mercy.  Praise God that He rules over the angels, and that He commands them to help you.  Praise God for the good stuff.  They're ALL His.  Freedom and Justice and Righteousness.  His.  Praise God that He holds all things in His hands.  Praise God that He chose to write your name on those hands: the ones with the holes that your life made.

I made the holes in Jesus' hands.

He died for me.

How in all the world can I love like that?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Sarah and I hurl down the highway.
Breaking the sound barrier with our singing.
Our souls being washed clean from the dark place we've been.
Where everything on the earth strives to cover your light.
Because Freedom does not hold hands with Slavery.
And the bound reach out with their chains.
Try to hang you with shame and the poison that is the darkened mind.

Sarah and I clap and head bob to the beat making the guy at the red light laugh.
Beating out all that is sorrow and sadness for the lost.
So lost.
While our hearts fill with compassion.
With songs about Jesus, the cross and His blood.
Freedom songs.

Sarah and I fist bump in the car.
Next song and let it rip, Girl.
Joy becomes our companion as we travel this dusty road.
Easing the load.

Sarah and me,


Friday, August 3, 2012

On The Twenty-First Year

And what did I know of you, really, but for your nickname in high school, "Body Botz," and how physics class was just about the end of me because you were so near?  So close, and yet so far.

And what did we really know of each other as we took that long drive to Indiana after marriage vows and a loaded UHAUL into the unknown?

And how did God get us this far, really, when all we are is a jumbled mess of sin?

And how does love grow through the trial and the storm?  The fire, the shrapnel, the fallout?  And how does a man love a woman broken until she heals enough to bloom a bit?

Your shade has sheltered me from the blistering heat of the world, and your shoulders have carried the whole weight of this blue/green globe providing for our family.  The way you sacrifice your life is carved deep into your flesh, the entire book of Romans, etched across the back of your shoulders.  Blood and Tears.  Prayers. Love.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

An anniversary, and a thank you.

For opening up the Word as we sit around the table, the living room, the lake.
For growing and nurturing us.
For opening our home so often and to so many.
For loving our children well.
For loving all children.
For being a witness.
For being kind.
For loving us.
For your generous heart.
For reading aloud.
For being able to fix anything under the sun.
For the sanctuary of your arms.
For seeing me the way nobody else can.
For commitment.
For laughing at my dumb jokes.
For pursuing a life after the heart of Christ.
For the comfort you give in being a man of God.
For trusting Jesus.
For helping me to work things through.
For holding my hand.
My heart.

Happy Anniversary to my Shoulders and my strength, and to God be the glory.

Yes and Amen,


Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Love Letter

Dear Jesus,

You fill my heart with songs of deep gratitude as You take my hand and draw me deeper still.  Through rings of fire and pits of woe.  Through anguish and trouble.  Through fear and the terror of night.  Through the shame that descends upon my heart like a heavy cloud.  Through the guilt that I have most often purchased for myself.  Through the panic and pain of iron sharpening iron.  Your hand is warm and strong.  Your rod and your staff are a comfort, Lord.

You groom me for wings and for freedom and for flight, and all that is within looks to the sky.  Waiting for You to ride in on that great white horse cloud.  My Hero.  My Rescuer.  My Prince.  Oh, Peace.  You are the Rock of my Salvation.  My Fortress.  My God in Whom I trust.  You are the very Lover of my soul, and my greatest joy is found in You.  You.  Alone.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

My soul waits,


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Just when I thought maybe I'd lost my words, here they are this morning in full force.  I wondered how I would be.  WHO WOULD I BE WITH OUT WORDS?  Because, even though I'm not much of a conversationalist, writing has been the means I have had over the years to stay alive in there.  When you've been "blessed" with a well deep heart, you've got to be able to get to the bottom and scrape out the gunk: keep your water clean.  Flowing.  Thirst quenching.  Otherwise, all becomes stale and stinky.  Yuck.

I've had titles for this blog space.  Short captions.  Headlines.  But no story.  No words to fill the story in and no voice to tell it.

A whole life time has passed since I have felt any connection here, it seems.  We grow old fast these days, do we not, and I find myself contemplating two words:  Lost and Found.

I see one of my red mittens in the lost and found box outside the kindergarten classroom at the community center.  I was five.  I wore orange tennis shoes two sizes too big and still on the wrong foot.  I always had a snotty nose, and my hair was cut boy short.  I remember an angry pair of scissors flying across the room and sticking into a classmate's head, and I still remember the dead sound it made when it struck; the strange way it looked sticking straight out of his crew cut as if it were floating.

First grade and learning to read.  Paradise.

Second grade mouth and friends that wouldn't stop moving away.

The boy who ate glue.  The boy who threw up so silently that nobody knew, and how silently he sat staring.  Pale and shaken.  I remember my third grade year.  Making homemade peanut butter, candles, learning my math facts, and doing a science experiment about gravity with a bucket of water outside on the playground on a warm Montana day in the fall.   That same year, I remember my handsome brother.  Winsome in all his ways.  Athletic and good with people.  Liked by all and loved by friends.  He never met an enemy...until me, I think, and we muddled through school in the same grade more like strangers than siblings.  Still muddling.

I remember throwing a book at my fourth grade teacher for wrongly accusing me of talking in class.  Even then trying hard to be the good girl was growing frustrating and futile, and what I wanted to do was fight the world.

Uh-Oh.  Fifth grade grammar and words, oh words, oh words!!!

There was volleyball and a bra and a male teacher in the sixth grade.  The one who told me I was too serious.  The one who awakened in me this feeling of not quite fitting.  Into the game, the bra, the class.  I remember the brutal teasing and the hate notes I got from my best friend telling me I had a big butt and that I was the teacher's pet.  I remember feeling lost.

I remember junior high when all the world fell dark.

And the blur and heartbreak of high school.  Becoming afraid of everything.   The disappointment.  The humiliation.  The shame.  The guilt.  The grief that consumed my whole heart, and it all riding so hard on my soul that I had only one word.  "OUT."  Making the decision to rebel.

College.  Trying desperately to find my place and to fit.  Starting fights in bars with men.  Drowning the fear in alcohol.  Words finding their way to paper my only friends.  Finding out that rebellion was a lie, and wondering what in all the world I would do when living like the world wasn't working.

Marriage and children and a whole lot of years in the ditch, and yet...  all the suffering drawing my heart.  Drawing me.   Whooing me.  Jesus, the patient lover of souls.

Surrendering.  ALL THINGS.  Letting go.  ALL THINGS.  Laying back on the everlasting arms and into the very center of Christ.  Finding Life in Him, Truth in Him, Justice and Mercy and Grace, and why didn't anyone ever tell me?  That it is only in His will that we are ever free?  That He is not religion?  That we don't have to perform to be loved?  We don't even have to be good?

The way He takes our suffering and holds us all close and dear.  The way He waits for His people to call on Him.  He may be a jealous God, but He does not force us to love Him.  The way His kindness, and all that He accomplished on the cross leads us to repentance and a life that wants to honor Him.  Just...the entire book of Romans and Ephesians, and all the Gospels together.  The love story He writes so we can know Him and follow Him hard.  This intimate Jesus and those eternal arms...

Where I belong,


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When You Need To Laugh

She is...amazing.
We start sharing pain and finish up laughing so hard that I wet my pants.
Those red hooded sweatshirts will get you every time.
How I need to be reminded what a gift laughter is.
The cheerful heart.
Good medicine.
A countenance of joy that takes my children's breath away.
Takes them by surprise.
And makes them come a runnin'.
How laughter sets the Shoulders' heart on fire.
And these friends of mine...
Oh!  May the blessing you are return a thousand fold.

You make me LAUGH!


Open Prayer...Join Me?

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Ruler of this one heart here, Sovereign King, Lover of all souls, bend down and hear our prayers today, Lord.

For the Lost.
For the Lonely.
For the chronically Ill.
For the Hurting.
For the Broken.
For the Captives.
For the demon Possessed.
For the Persecuted.
For the Missionary.
For the Children.
For the Children.
For the Children.
For the Soldiers fighting for freedom's sake.
For my son, Joshua.
For those Lost in a world of porn.
For the Addicted.
For the Enslaved.
For Anyone finding it difficult to know who they are in Christ.
For my Mama.
For my Dad.
For my Siblings and my Nieces and Nephews.
For your Families, Friends.
For the Seeds that have been planted for Christ these last two thousand years.
For the Kingdom of God.
For first born Sons.
For all Sons.
For Daughters.
For the crushed post-abortive Woman.
For the Fathers who aren't standing their post.
For the Church and her Future.
For the WORD going forth.
For Worshipers in Spirit and Truth.
For the Harvest.
For Freedom



Monday, July 30, 2012

Thanks For...

For marriage.
For children.
For friends seeing you through.
For the sun and for summer.
For swim suit tans and flip flop lines across your feet.
For cherries.
For a son home from camp.
For prayers for a soldier.
For a soldier's letters home.
For your daughter's hand and heart in yours.
For laughing at how hard things are for us!
For getting through.
For words.
For the Word.
For the very dear love of Christ for the fallen down.
For the broken and terrified.
For the lost.
For His hand always reaching out to draw us back home.
Away from the brink.
Away from the stinking sty.
He is Why.

We give thanks.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Hiding Place

Sitting in sweat because I am afraid.
The terror of just
Blind trust.
She says I must rest.
But I don't know how.
When the only One I can trust is Jesus.
When my own heart is deceitful.
Full of deceit.
When iron sharpening iron hurts.
When I must hold on anyway.
Waiting on the results.
Waiting on the process.
Trusting the ultimate outcome.
And coming out of comfort zones.
Because we're not babies anymore.
And we've got to let go the Father's pant leg.
A whole hurting world out there.
That will never know love and grace and Jesus.
If we hide out in our prayer closets.
Hiding.  Fearful.  Terrified.
Instead of resting in Jesus.

Our Hiding Place,


Thursday, July 26, 2012

On Chicks and Chickens

I have to laugh.  Really.  Because we sat out there in those broken down lawn chairs and talked as fast as we could in the time that we had.  Catching up like two school girls while we each held a stick in our hands.  Encroaching chickens, you know.  We chat and whack.

Jobs, and hurting hearts.  Cute jeans or just jeans that are long enough.  The "vacation".   Homeschooling.  Very, VERY tight spots.

Whacking chickens.

Shaking our heads in mutual sorrow.  Laughing.  Angels and prayers.  What God is really up to.  As if we could ever really know.  Planning for fun for the kids and for us.

Whacking chickens.

Sunscreen on.  More ice for cold coffee, and the kids are sure quiet in the pool today.  Sharing a letter.

Whacking chickens.

Being real.  Really.  Moving chairs to the shade, but keeping dresses pulled up high to get some sun on our Montana skin.  Ladies in dresses drinking cold coffee and...

Whacking chickens.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Keep Your World, World.

Keep your world, World.
Keep your lying tongue and your dying eyes.
Keep your empty promises.
Keep your pride and rebellion.
Keep your success.
Keep your vanity.
Keep your education.
Keep your idols.
Keep your cutting wounds.
Keep your religion.
Keep your money.
Keep your power and the kingdoms you have built.
Keep your own throne.
Keep your tolerance.
Keep your death.
Keep your world, World.

And Give Us Jesus,


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thankful for This

Sitting out under the late night sky watching stars wink hope.
Wearing a Soldier's sweatshirt I can feel him close to my heart.
Praying for him.  Leaning into God for him.
Surrendering all that was lost and broken.
Giving my rights away and laying my life down again. feels good to follow Jesus. (Even when it hurts.)
Finding my smile again.
In Christ.
Finding my feet moving along the dusty road again.
Because of Christ.
For aunts and uncles and cousins and more cousins.
For my Grandparents and their legacy that ripples out on the water.
For getting to play in the lake like a kid again.
With my cousins and all that laughter.
About how we've become our parents.
And how we can't eat diddly anymore because it makes us all sick.
Isn't that a hoot?
For Aunt Mary: her eyes like Grandma's eyes.  A real talk.  A gift to me.
For Glacier Park and the elixir she carries in the air.
A sweetness that revives my drowning soul.
How the clouds floating at the bottom of Lake McDonald make me laugh.
Everything flipped upside down.
Everything getting flipped right side up.
The kids and I howling too late over a game of Yahtzee.
Daniel saying, "The most dangerous species alive is a hungry mother."
As I open a jar of sauerkraut for breakfast and dump it into a bowl.
Daniel saying, "The most dangerous species alive is a grandmother at the dollar store."
Laughing until we cry.
Their faces enraptured.
Facing judgement with grace.
Facing hatred with love.
The Bible box.
The Word, Friends.
The Word.
Working through an argument by looking through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus.
The Good News that He died for me when I hated and despised Him.
When I was cruel and unkind.
When I was silent.
When I was screaming obscenities and raising my fist to His face.
Yes.  She who has been forgiven much loves much.
For my precious Savior and my priceless Salvation.
That  I love You, my Jesus.
I.  Love.  You.
For the Shoulder's hand in mine all the way home.
For a deep and grateful sigh that we've come through another one.

Because of Jesus.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fears and Tear Drops

So much falling these last few weeks.
A vacation into failure, and I, too stunned to speak.
Sitting on the deck at the campground crying.
As the mountains and lake cry back God's sovereignty.
His majesty.
His glory.
His goodness.
HT1's voice on the other end of the line holding my feet to the ground.
The earth.
The fire.
When I'm terrified.
When I can't reach for His hand because... What if He let's me drop?
Oh, Good God.

Please don't drop me!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thanks For YOU!

Just a note to the faithful:
I am writing.
Too much and too fast for this space at the moment.
Hope to pare things down.
Make small.
Little sips of a spinning life.
And a thank you for the kindness you all extend.
To the words that go out into space.
From my heart to yours.
Unknown friends.
Who walk with me through this strange land of cyber space.
Who hold my hand.
And breathe those resuscitating breaths right into sagging sails.

Great Cloud of Witnesses,


Monday, June 25, 2012

Thanks for Shoulders

For the Holy Road.
His hand in mine.
The way only a wife can erase that line carved deep: worry.
And how I can see the way he needs comfort.
Just a soft place to lay his head in the storm.
When he makes himself vulnerable like that.
Because even Shoulders sag sometimes.
The way God made it.
A man and his woman folding into each other.
Becoming one.
And just how the hard things make us.
Hold fast to each other.
To Christ.
To the Line.
When we're hanging by a thread.
He becomes the only thing that keeps us from cutting loose.
And floating out on the wide, unknown depth of the sea.
He is good.
Marriage is good.
The Shoulders becomes stronger still when he is weak.
And I???
I give him a place to sigh.
To cry.
To rest.

To Become,


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Gospel Bent Over A Bowl

The good news is in the green of grass.
And the green of my stomach as it churns.
While resting in the arms of a Savior.
Who loves to care for His children.
The broken down.
The lonely.
The sick.
I vomit life and grief and the weight of all this world.
Right into the bright orange of that bowl.
The prayerful intentions I had for some time away with Him.
All about Him.
Seemingly ruined, but...
He always knows the plan.
And as I crawl across the floor to the bathroom.
I see what I wrote in permanent marker on the outside palm of my hand.
And it makes me cry out.
"Oh, Jesus,  please not this way.  Not like this."
I cover my hand and groan.
But I know.
He knows.
And He takes all the sick of me.
All that is vomit and shit.
And He wipes it away.
The God of the universe cleanses me.
He hovers over my bed with washbasin and towel.
Reminds me.
Over and Over.
That He doesn't remember my sins.
That He casts them behind His back.
That He buries them in the depth of the sea.
That He remembers them no more.
Jesus.  Doesn't.  Remember.
But He knows that I do, and He gently washes the stains.
Whispers the Psalms and the Gospel.
The Good News about a GodMan named Jesus.
Who came to save the lost.
The blind, the lame, the unloved.
The sick.
The bed spins beneath my head while He whispers on into the night.
And I drift on His voice singing waves of Grace.
To make the sick well again.
To make us all well.

The Gospel.  The Good News of Jesus Christ.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Flight to Freedom Through Obedience

Daniel is in the garage pounding on his drums.
I sit with this pounding headache.
Contemplating the project.
God's kindness to me in His confirmation.
Gentle leading.
Seeming to provide me with a bit of time.
To be alone.
Because alone with Him is the only possibility.
The only way, I think.
To get free.
"The only way out is through."
And so I must...
Walk through the ring of fire.
To have a life of sorrow singed.
Because I need my wings.

So I can fly.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Invisible Life

Alphabetizing the Invisible:

Asking them to help, Arguing that t.v. is not an option, Angling for a productive summer.
Buying, Beautifying, Boring.
Cleaning, Cooking, Crafting help for the little one.
Doing the Drudgery...Dismally!
Frying, Fixing, Forcing.
Going, Groceries, Garbage out.
Healing a hurt Heart by...Hugging.
Incredible selfishness, Idolness, Impudence.
Job after Job after Job!
Killing when unKind to Kin.
Lying and Laziness and the Lectures that follow.
Mom!  Mom!  Mom!
No!  Not now!  Not ever!
Optional?  No.  Opportunistic?  Not now.  Obvious that your socks are on the floor?  Not ever.
Picking up again, planning meals again, promising play dates with friends.
Sometimes I want to Quit my job Quickly because it's making me Queazy.
Racing, Rushing, Remembering things I didn't do yesterday.
Smarting from all the Sassing.  Sagging!
Training, Teaching, Tired.
Undone, Unseen, Unappreciated.
Vice grip on steering wheel as Voices brag about muscles and proclaim their own Vanity.
Washing dishes, Washing laundry, Washing the boy's bathroom again.
Feeling eXceptionally sorry, eXtremely frustrated and eXtraordinarily "done."
Zoned out and with Zero patience here today at the Zoo.

The ABC's of the invisible life,


Thursday, May 31, 2012

For Shoulders

Sometimes when the Shoulders gathers me in.
All strength.
It makes me want to cry.
Just...being close in the sanctuary.
Near to him and all that makes him strong.
His powerful arms could crush me, not small.
But his spirit is tender when he holds me like that.
Like a flower.
And he makes me feel all that is feminine.
After a day of laundry and scrubbing the toilets.
A day of agonizing character training.
A head aching day of heart hurting.
And it seems all might be well.
In the safe well of his embrace.
My eyes leaking everywhere.

On his shoulders,


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


What kind of King comes as a baby?
Birthed through fiery ring and into a stable for animals like us.
Like me.

What kind of King comes to give sight to the blind?
To heal the lepar, the demon possessed, the greedy, the lost.
The unloved.

What kind of King holds truth and justice in His hands?
Weighing righteousness and whipping market place crooks.
Sin Intolerant.

What kind of King shows love by straddling a cross for spikes through the achilles tendon?
Hands pierced by nails, side pierced with the sword, ears pierced by mocking jeers.
Cheers to You.

What kind of King endures that kind of humiliation?
The Creator of the tree and the thorns
He. Hung. Naked.

What kind of King beckons our hearts?
To acknowledge that we are animals in a stable born.
Sin Sick.

What kind of King offers us gifts?
Though we held the hammer.
Those jeers, our own.

What kind of King says, "Believe in Me and live."
Live now, live forever, live full.

King Jesus,


Monday, May 28, 2012

When All Is Worship

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."  1 Peter 2:9 

Almost thirty gathered close in this living room to worship God; to build Him a throne.  And I am one.  Won by this living Jesus Who loves to come close.  To be personal.  To give that resuscitating breath of life  to tired parents and kids so fried from passion playing that they're starting to crash all over the house.  His great pleasure hovers over us, and I smile so hard it feels like my face is going to split in two.  

Because all the work, and all the weary walking close together become like those piles of shoes kicked off at the door.  Everything put down to come worship Jesus.

Worship in the way we knelt down and prayed that the weekend would be all that He had planned.
The way we had to let go of the pouring rain.
The way kids laughed and played and plunged into freezing water anyway.
The way the Shoulders would hold my eyes to his.  Focal Point.  Helping me birth something new.

Worship in the way she brings all her lightness to balance my heaviness.
And the way melancholy meets my eyes in silent wisdom...her quiet spirit touching mine. Understanding.
The way we're learning how "to do"...together.
The way all those kids loved and prayed for each other.

Worship in the way our men met and chatted like high school girls.  WHAT??!!
The way my children, my brothers and sister in Christ, made music to the King so we all could enter in.
The way a blow torch made creme brule right there in my kitchen.
The way laughter rings the bells of heaven.

Worship in the way Jesus touches down.

Making all of life  and all of us...

An act of worship,


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Freedom Journal

Freedom Journal...

Will you make me free?
Will you help me to see?
The truth in all the words?

Will you help me be real?
Can you give me some relief?
So I can process this life somehow?

Will you remind me to laugh?
And come up out of the deep sometimes?
So I don't drown in all these heavy contemplations?

And will you stay with me?
When I must go down?
Plumb the depths of what to see?  To feel?

Will you not shrink away?
When I am down so far?
That I can not utter but for you?

Will you always be my voice?
When I am afraid to speak?
But need to be heard if only with black on white space?

Will you always have room for my heart?
My words tapping pulse on paper?
So that I can live whole?

Will you always listen?
And never shame?
Because I need you like this?

Will you bring me closer to Jesus?
The only One worth writing for?
The only hope in all the world?

For Freedom Writers?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Phony Bologna

I told her that I couldn't bear to hear it again.
That word scratched so deep in my heart.
I decided that I was going to write about it.
Because I've grown old carrying that word on my back.
How I've heard it from my brother, my friends, my students, my son.
How I feel it going unsaid on a face recoiled.
The way I have cried out to God to make me authentic.
So I wouldn't have to hear it again.
Makes me want to hide myself away somewhere.
Where I can't hurt anyone.
And makes me wonder. Again. Again.
What makes me fake.
And why that word keeps coming back on me.
What kind of girl lives like that for 43 years?
When I see beauty in people all around me.
When I see the gift they are to the world.
And I try to let them know.
That they are a gift to me.
Priceless, Precious.
How sometimes that makes folks snarl a bit.
To be seen can be frightening.
And I try to hold on to that.
That fear is phony.
Phony Terrorist.
Perfect love casts out fear.

Jesus, please help us all to live more authentic lives.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Evening Walk With Girls

My girls and I walk down the lane.
A country road that leads this side of heaven, home.
We drink in His glory-fields of green and sun glinting off metal buildings setting them afire.
Every tree shivers life, and Sarah points to the bush forming a leafy tunnel around the irrigation ditch.
I tell her to walk through it to another land...the one I can almost see on the other side.
She laughs and shivers, "Oh, Mom, Yes!  That's really just what it looks like!"
We fall silent.
Feasting on our Creator.
Filling our souls with His peace.
A peace that passes all understanding and makes us feel full after a dinner of rice and water.
A deep, fat peace that fills the marrow in my bones, and restores my soul.
As little girl slips her not so little anymore hand in mine.
Our feet pass along the dusty road in holy silence.

Walking home,


When The New Creation Must Speak

The midday still to know that He is God.
To wonder why I despise.
The works of His hands.
That made me.

And sometimes...
The way self hatred rises from belly button to throat.
Making me feel strange and strangled.
Undeserving of love.
Of human compassion and kindness.

How sometimes...
The old man rises up out of the grave.
Trying to scare the new creation I am in Christ.
Waving his old hands around and making a wracket.
What a racket!

That sometimes...
I still fall for it, and that old man.
Well.  He makes me fall right down.
And I must say aloud there at the kitchen sink.
Hands deep in scrubbing filth.
That I am alive in Christ.
And that no grave will ever hold me.

Just that sometimes...
Being brave means doing life afraid a lot.
How being terrified.
Wholly terrified.
Can draw you close to Jesus so you can become holy.
Like Jesus.
The One Who hung fear on the cross.

That we might walk out in all that freedom.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Choosing Mary

 I can hardly believe it, but I am just now sitting home alone in the deep quiet after a whirlwind weekend of graduating my daughter from high school and hosting an open house to celebrate her.  Working on the senior slide show from the dark side made me grey in a day, and I sweat gallons, I'm sure, staying up all night for nights on end trying to do something quite beyond my skill set.  Seemingly, beyond lots of people, and oh.  The agony.

I sit still and try to recover some of me that was torn away.  To process.  To celebrate and to grieve, again, that I am growing old and my children are moving on.  To thank Jesus for being my close friend, and to hold my cupped hands heavenward to give my life back again.  To say to Him..."Ah...I clutched it again, Lord.  I spent the whole week striving and stressing instead of walking and resting.  And.  I'm sorry, Lord."

Now to sit with Him and regain the knowledge of His presence all along.  That He is in every detail...even the wretched slide show, and in the frog-eyed salad.  That He is in my daughter's eyes, and in her smile at receiving such a gift from her grandfather.  In my oldest son's ever-resting arm on my shoulder that helps me to remember to slow and to know...that this life is blessed.  That Christ dwells richly here, and that we are blessed.  All blessed.  In all the laughter and all the playing of all those children!  In the capable hands of my helping friend who becomes more like family to this heart here.  Just her smile that helps me to know that all is well.  No fear.

And the reminder that came to keep the eternal first.  So that each morning as the pressure to be Martha crushed me beyond bearing, I sat alone at the feet of Jesus and opened His Words to me.  I.  Sat.  Listening.  And smiled anyway when time ran out and there they all were at the door...

And when the boys' bathroom was yet unscrubbed and just gross...

Jesus and me sitting in all that calm before the storm.


Friday, May 18, 2012

The Whole in the Middle

Sitting again in the old chair to rock the end of a day.
Cradling all her moments in my heart.
The tire swing's slow pendulum shadow-sweeping the grass.
On a rope that creaks.
While the tree holds steady.
And Sarah's hair hangs golden down.
The kids throwing frisbee in the yard.
Their faces turned sun-lit to the sky.
Laughing and teasing.
My Shoulder's voice on the phone.
Making me want to kiss his mouth.
A Soldier Son's birthday.
Someone who gets me.
Kids playing in the pool and splashing joy on their faces.
Friends with gifts I don't have.
For Bible time with Andrew and Mary.
Conversations about Jesus and grace and sacrifice and love.
Purposing in my own heart to be more dilligent.
Car Talk with a girl in love.
For my big brother popping in every so often just to say hi...right here!
Flowers from S. and K...."WOW!"
And for my HT1.
Finally...a clean basement and a very, very sweaty mama.
Just that I didn't actually blow a gasket this time.  Hats off to you, Lord.
That I'm so sorry for not being grateful.
For the air I breathe.
And for the lungs You made just so I can breathe it.
That You are good, God.
That your love for  me still makes me cry.
Because You have forgiven so much.
I want to kiss the holes my life made in Your hands.
And live every moment for You.
With You.

The Center of me,


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When Your Son Becomes More

When her boy becomes a man, a mama becomes less.  And as she watches him walk out all straight backed and strong, she smiles bravely.  Waves and laughs.  And pulls little kleenex bits out of her pocket.  She shields her eyes from the SON shining on his future as he climbs high and hard.  Mama watches a bit breathless as his feet find a crag here, a nook there, his hands stretched sure and strong on the bare face of life's cliff hangars.  A mama's face is turned toward her son, and her prayers reach for him.  For his heart.  For his future.  For his walk with Jesus.

Happy Birthday to my amazing son.  I love you, Joshua.

 Thank you that you laugh with me.
That your heart is so tender with mine.
That you love Jesus with yours.
For the strength of your character.
For all the grace that you pour out on your dad and me.
For the way the tone of your voice changes when you talk to Mary.
That you love Sarah so.
That you are engaging your brothers more.
That you always say, "Thanks for dinner, Mama."
For who you are.
For Who you stand for.
That you are brave...even if sometime you think you're not.
For being kind to everyone.
For playing your guitar when I'm stressed.
For serving your country.
For lots and lots of forgiveness.
For giving yourself to this family.
For being mine.
For not being mine.

For being God's man.

The best kind of man.

Happy Birthday, Son...



Monday, May 14, 2012

Thanks For One

Happy Mother's Day to the friend who has mothered my heart these last weeks in her prayers and in her emails, and aren't we the surprised ones?  She writes words that untangle the knots in my know...all the "nots" and it is good to find out you're not alone anymore.  She doesn't have children, but she has rocked me gently in arms far away, and she has whispered great words of comfort even as my own words seem to be slipping away.  She has encouraged me and built me up.  She has given me gentle advice, and she has nudged me forward.  New ground yet, and my thoughts are of her this early the week brings the crushing rush once again in preparation for my daughter's graduation.

You have loved me well, dear one.  I am so thankful for the precious gift of you.

So thankful,


Monday, May 7, 2012

How Mamas Can Point The Way

My Mama pointed the Jesus way.

In the way she lit candles and invited everyone to converse around the warmth of her heart.
The way Jesus calls us all into the Light.

In the way she sang on her knees at night over my precious little brother.
The way Jesus sings over His kids.

The way she listened to every word after school.
And isn't Jesus just the best listener you've ever known?

How her hands kneaded the bread dough, and how my hands still need hers to hold.
How often Jesus spoke of Bread.  Broken Bread.

The way she would tackle and tickle, giving us the touch we didn't know we needed.
Jesus wrestled Jacob, giving him a humbling limp that healed him of pride, and how He still gives us the Touch we don't know we need.

Just that Mama loved all children, and the way that made me feel safe.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me." 

Mama showed me Jesus' love because she loved me even when I was her enemy.  When I was casting stones and whipping her hard with my teenage tongue and...

When I was breaking her heart.

She loved me anyhow.
Like Jesus... My Mama loved me anyhow.

She showed me Laughter and Grace and Love and Safety while living with the most excruciating chronic pain, and she was always a Mystery to me that way.
Now I know that Love endures nails and thorns, and before I knew Jesus, I watched my Mama pick up her cross.  Every.  Single.  Day.

She created enough Mystery about the Love of Christ in her living that I grew past rebelling and started reaching.  Reaching for the One Sure Hand that holds all things together, and I wonder if she hadn't been mine, would I have just kept plunging head long?  If she hadn't been mine, what would have become of me when the storms blew in?  And this....especially this...if my Mama hadn't prayed for this one life here, would I yet be drawing breath?  Wasn't it just that close some days?

Sometimes I close my eyes and see her sitting sun-lit at water's edge, swatting plagues of horseflies and mosquitoes while I let cool river slide around summer swim.  I catch her eyes in my dreams, and they look so much like His.

Always watching over me.


When Girls Grow Up

When Little Girls Grow Up.
It makes your chest hurt a bit because you can't stop remembering.

The girl climbing trees in purple flower dress and white patent leather.
The girl digging a hole to China in the back yard while sucking a Tootsie Pop.
The girl who bossed her older brother, and wrapped her daddy's heart like the gift it is.
The girl that fell for Jesus when she was only six.
The girl who came to the world slippery.

Delivered straight into my hands and my heart.
Oh, girl.

The girl who prayed little sister into life.
The girl who spooned her body close to her at night and told her about this Jesus.
The girl who heard little one's prayer under blankets of love, and a big sister's life.
The girl who seems to see everything.
The girl who often holds her own Mama in arms of comfort.

Saying, "I love you.  He loves you.  All is well, my little Mama."
Oh, girl.

The girl who sang her lungs out in her room.
The girl who cried and punched holes in her pillow.
The girl who still sleeps with beloved baby blanket.
The girl who reaches for the lost.
The girl nearly lost, and how all this growing up makes me think so often.

That she might not be here at all...
Oh, girl.

The girl who knows it too.
The girl who seizes every opportunity to suck the life out of life.
The girl living hers for the King.
The girl catching every drop of living all up in her sails.
The girl unfurling and here is the wind.

And how is a Mama not to cry?
Oh, wind.

Always blow her heart on home,


Monday, April 30, 2012

Face Forward

Don't you just hate when Satan does that?
And don't you just cringe when you don't really see it coming?
The way he sidles and slithers and slaps your face so hard you fall?
Don't you detest when you agree with him and all his dirty ways?
When you find yourself in the slough of despond and wonder....
"How in all the world did I get down here?"

And don't you just love the way all those verses show up on your printer?
And how "nobody" knows where they came from?

"And, Behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last."  Luke 13:30

"God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong."  1 Corinthians 1:27b

"But you are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves."  Luke 22:26

"But God chooses foolish things to shame the wise."  1 Corinthians 1:27a

Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed, than to share plunder with the proud. -Proverbs 16:18

Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!

-For dear friends close by to see me through.
-For a friend far away who holds me in hands I've never held.  Praying.
-For a daughter's arms and words of hope and encouragement.
-For a son's email rising up to call me blessed.
-For the tears that had to fall so we can move on, yes?
-For ribs in the crockpot making all my men smile like NUTS!
-For weekly chats with 212.
-For the amazing fragrance of spring all around us!
-For the rain.
-For Wendy's baby getting closer and closer.
-For pictures.
-For The Boy making me laugh, and the Kitten on my lap.
-For the new study on diligence.
-For God and Grace and Goodness and laughter.
-For His sustaining and comforting Word.
For the Word.
For the Word.
For the Word.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

When It Turns Out You're A Failure

Oh that sinking feeling.
When I have disappointed my mom.
My sisters.
My brothers.
My friends.
Give me an animal skin because...
I am an animal.
And I howl fear sometimes.
"Will they love me?"
I reach for His hand.
"Jesus did You hear?"
"And are you still here?"...
He whispers quiet, and hushes this quaking life.
This crumpled ball of words that I want to hide.

"Where have all the fig leaves gone?"


Friday, April 27, 2012





Because we follow Him...

We go to the death,
We go to the ground, the wall, the floor.
We fall a thousand times.
And rise, a thousand and one.

We choose Him over all.
We crave Him more and more.
We study His every Word.
And mimic His life of love.

Because we follow Him...

We understand His sacrifice.
We partake in His Death.
We wear spit on our faces.
And slip shirts over scars.

We turn our faces from evil things.
We flee from sin.
We confess when we fail.
And seek righteousness.

Because we follow Him...

We live changed.
We turn off the t.v.
We stop swearing and drinking and lying and dying.
And thirst is quenched with Living Water.

We wait patiently for Him.
We wait patiently for our children, our husbands, our friends, ourselves.
We know His promises.
And stand firm on the Rock of our Salvation.

Because we follow Him...

We cry out for wisdom.
We make Him our hiding place.
We accept the gift He gave ALL for...
And know that He gave it all for US.

We let our lights shine no matter the cost.
We bring Him because He lives.
We know He hates darkness.
And that He is the Light.

Because we follow Him...

We trust that His ways are higher.
We know that He is the Victor.
We lean on His arms Everlasting.
And rest in Him.

We live forgiven.
We Trust His Grace.
We take His hand daily.
And obey God.

Because we love Him so...

We.  Obey.  God.

Set your face toward the New Jerusalem and follow Jesus,


Monday, April 23, 2012


That He is victorious.
That His light shines in the darkness.
That He came not to condemn, but to save.
That He is love.
That He knows your name.
That He is always at work.
That He never goes to sleep.
That He is interceding for you.  Right.  Now.
That your name is carved on His hands.
That He wears you on His heart.
That He was thinking of you that day...
That His faithfulness reaches to the skies.
That His mercies are new every morning.
That His own creation testifies to His power.
That one day....Every knee will bow.  Every tongue will confess.
That He is Lord.
That His right arm is Righteous.
That He is humble.
That He is gentle.
That He is a God Who bends down to hear our prayers.
That He sings songs.
That He delights in His children.
That He can never tell a lie.
That His rod is a comfort.
That His staff is there.
That He is a good Shepherd to His dear sheep.
That He calls us His lambs.
That He calls us His friends.
That He is good at "Go Fish."
That He is the God of all hope.
That nothing is too hard for Him.
That His arm is not too short to save.
That He forgives those who sincerely ask.
That He gives the gift of repentance.
That He is the God of reconciliation.
That He is the Counselor.
That He is Mighty God.
That He is Tender Father.
That He is a warrior.
That He keeps us as the apple of His eye.
That He is close to the broken hearted.
That He is the healer of hearts and of nations.
That He is Good.

That He is God,


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Living Water

Woke up this morning dying dehydration.

"Where is my Bible?"


I need a drink.

Just drown the whole thirst.

Gulping chapters of Him.

Psalms dripping off chin.

Proverbs sipped slowly.  Don't want to miss it.

Ephesians quenching parched soul.

Dry lips, cracked and bleeding for

The Good News in the Gospels Hydrating every cell with His Living Water.


Thirsty Now?


Friday, April 20, 2012

Living Room

They must think I'm crazy.
All these children, and oh my, the house is a wreck.
How the floor rumbles for their feet.
While we meet over coffee, our legs curled on chairs.

The house bursting with the sound of life.
All these beating futures here in my home.
Keeping a steady cadence.
Of Hope And Life And Hope And Life.
Making me want to shout joy right there in my living room.

Making room for living,


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Into The Grey

Into the grey.
Sky slung low.
Reach up and touch.
Mist that brings life.

Arms stretched to grip the edges of her expanse.
To hold it all to my heart.
The wide, heavy sky.
Pregnant with her promise.

Grey the color of creative.
Words on paper.
His Word cocooning me.
In the silky embrace of His love.

The color of my dad
making fudge in the kitchen.
Saying every batch a failure.
Making every batch delicious.

Grey the color of the songs
My own Mama sang at the kitchen sink.
Elbow deep in raising the nine of us
And her worship there my happiest memory.

Sarah's eyes sometimes.
Like the wild grey ocean.
Rolling death beneath her roaring life now.
Thank you, Jesus, that she lives.

Grey the days
Of making and baking.
Of holding close and...
Holding on.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Euchariste OH!

For the Psalms.
The way they understand.
And help us see the way.
The Kingdom Coming.
That the King is Coming!
Birds singing outside my bedroom window.
The robin building her nest once again.
A friend who brings ice and coffee and the gift of her friendship.
A sister on the phone sharing stories of the deep and helping me to get free.
My big brother's voice.
Prayer time.
Kissing that spot on his neck.
Telling the Strong Soft it's like lightning striking even at age 43.
The way she giggles at the thought...says she's glad that she's decided to wait.
So she can stay safe.
Me nodding my head and thanking God that she is wise.
Missing Joshua.
Fruit on The Boy's vine...finally!
Happy kids in the kitchen.
Cooking and baking and serving a dear friend.
Holding her close to me in my prayers.
Laying my head down at night.
Track Practice?
Ten girl push-ups.
Spring pushing up.
That His mercies are new.

Every.  Single.  Morning.


A Good Time To Praise Him

When you sleep on your own head so wrong that you can't breathe in the morning.
When you are feeling your hope slip away again.
When your feet grow weary on this road little travelled.
When your faith falls down to the ground.
When all you want to do is hang your head and cry.
When you don't seem to fit.
When you feel like a failure.
When the world crushes your heart.
When he doesn't understand you.
When the children are hurt.
When you haven't laughed for awhile.
When shame creeps around your door.
When you're feeling far away.
When you're afraid to try again.
When the dust and the laundry and the cobwebs on the living room fan are crowding you out.
When all is empty...

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me.
Praise Him for the chance to grow a thicker skin.
Praise Him for a time of repentance.
Praise Him that He lives.
Praise Him that He knows.
Praise the Lord that you have a washer and dryer.
And that your back is healed so you can go after the cobwebs.
Praise God that He is always about relationship.
Praise the God of laughter and children and second chances and the grace to try.

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Slow Pottery

When Jesus comes to this one heart.
Intimate Friend.
And speaks those words again.
"Pick up your cross and follow Me."
Walls rise up to protect.
The deep and the tender.
And I pound fists straight down on air.
Adult tantrum.
Knowing what Father asks.
And not wanting at all to surrender to His will.
Do you ever outgrow the no before yes?
Because I will say yes.
I will.
And since we've logged some miles together now.
I lay back soft in Potter's hands.
To melt with Him.
To be molded into the image of the living Christ Jesus.
Trusted Friend.
Tried and tried and tried.



Saturday, April 14, 2012

For My Friend

To kneel by the side of my bed.
Lay my head right down.
To thank my Jesus.
For His love and His life here now.
The way He holds all things.
Just can't get over it, you know?
The way He smiles and delights in His children.
And how we must slow.
To know.
How the rush rushes us right past.
And I kneel grateful.
That we are in it, and in it together.
He and I.

This Jesus and me,


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cross Cost

The Kitten has fallen asleep on the couch cuddled in purple cocoon blanket studying her math facts.  "Just in case a friend calls."  Just in case that friend who is quizzing her on them calls to see if she is ready?

I read the account in Luke this morning of sleepy disciples dozing.  Overcome by emotional and spiritual exhaustion, they couldn't hold eyes open in the most desperate hour.  Jesus said, "Could you not wait and watch one hour?"  They fell asleep on the ground... trying to be ready?

When the Shoulders and I went to Israel, we stood in the jail cell that would have held Jesus before He was sent to Pilate.  Before he was flogged to the bone.  It got so quiet in there.  Thirty or so folks standing in a hole beneath the earth; it's only light the door at the top of the stairs.  So quiet.  Then...a rupture of tears and snot running down and grown men rummaging through pockets for kleenex and turning faces away.  A shred of what it cost Jesus to rescue souls from the pit began to seep through our skin, and we all broke wide.

It cost Jesus to rescue this life.
It cost His Father to turn His back on His Son.
They gave their best and Jesus said...

And we must embrace that gift, friends.  The gift of knowing it was US that tied Him to the flogging pole.  US that nailed His hands into wood.  US that drove the sword deep into His side.  US.  All of us. 

And it is for US that He spoke those words.  "Bernadette, IT IS FINISHED."  So we can take hold the gift that hung so high and rolled the stone away.  The gift of a bridge.  A bridge that makes a cross between the fallen and the perfect.  The cross that gets us from here to there.  The cross the only way.

The Shoulders teaches third graders the Gospel.  He uses me to make a point by asking several questions:  "Mrs. Botz, have you ever told a lie?"  I nod yes and he calls me a liar.  "Mrs. Botz, have you ever used the name of God as a swear word?"  Yes.  He calls me what I know I am...a blasphemous liar.  "Mrs. Botz...have you ever...?"  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  And even though I know that I am in the hands of Jesus, it makes my eyes sting.  Don't we all need to be reminded that we are just plain...sinners?  Don't we all need to stop living as if we can make heaven on our own?  That Resurrection doesn't happen with out punishment and death?  And that...I can never raise myself?  That I need Jesus?

Or I'm dead?