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?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Resurrect Gratitude

A gathering of holy right there in our backyard.
The warmth of fire as we wait for the sun to rise.
SONrise service.
The Shoulders reading from Scripture and telling his precious story.
Fish and bread broken
For the broken.
For me.
A song going up high and bright.
The birds singing it too.
A blue heron's slow, low flight.
Her wings making shadows on the grass.
Hands reaching out to the lonely, and pulling them gently in.
To fellowship.
To love.
Sourdough pancakes served with homemade chokecherry syrup.
The dear man who pours and flips them all.
Words from my big brother read over and over and over again.
Kids playing in the yard and...
Sitting cross legged every which way in my living room.
Making this heart sing.
The song of the resurrected and the redeemed.
And this....
Especially this.
That Christ is Risen.

He is Risen Indeed!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

On Tombs

I sit in the chair on the eve of the most celebrated day in Christendom.
Resurrection Day.
A Stone Rolled Away.
One life Raised.
So we all could follow Him.

But I sit sad.
Because the Kind and Compassionate and I had it out tonight.
And because I keep failing and failing and failing.
Falling Mama.
Just sitting broken remembering him...
Rocking him to sleep singing his favorite song...
"Lay Down Your Burdens.  I Will Carry You."
Him sucking his thumb and reaching up to twist my hair.
Me trying to untangle him so I could hold his hand.
Him holding my face with those chubby fingers.

And I wonder that I can love a child so much.
And make him hurt the way I do.
And I don't know how to do this.
Can't.  Seem.  To.  Get.  It.  Right.
How do you raise a child without razoring his heart?
How do you help him to be strong while nourishing the tender heart that makes him precious?

On the night before victory.
I sit in a tomb all my own.

And wait for the SON to rise,


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You Will Deny Me Three Times

When all the house is laid down in the hushing place, I sit late for a bit of quiet with Him.  His grace is God on my skin, and I soak it up.  The way He has been with me today, and how I said it many times aloud in the car.

"I love You, Jesus."

How I know...

He knows.

That I was ashamed of Him yesterday when a new friend asked me about our blog.  Asked me for it's name, and I felt...shame.  Said, "Well.  I'm not for everyone, you know."  Said it looking down at my feet and feeling my face flame and cringe.  She asked again.  Really wanted to know so she could check it out. Check me out...crawling out of my skin and changing the subject.  She said she heard about it from a friend, and would I be comfortable sharing it with her?

Just today I noticed that she asked three times.  Three times I thought I had escaped.  Dodged the bullet, dodged the ball, dodged the question.

Three times I denied knowing Him.

Yet all day, He has made me aware of Him.  Close.  Very close.  That's how His grace is God on my skin, and why I can't stop saying it.

"I love You, Jesus."

Because I know...

He knows.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thanks for Being Fried by Two in the Afternoon

Flying down the stairs to the Shoulder's office at eight A.M.
To his arms and his words and his strength.
Speak into the warm curve of his neck
that the Boy is breaking my heart today.
That he hates me sometimes.
And I don't like him sometimes.
And when in all the world did this get so hard?
Swimming in failure and fatigue and frustration.
I bite my tongue until it bleeds at nine A.M.
This strange see-saw of him slamming doors at ten A.M and...
Needing fifteen hugs before eleven A.M.
Snacking right before lunch at twelve P.M.
Crying because I asked him to put dishes away at one P.M
Me sitting here whipped and wiped at two P.M.
Remembering to give thanks....
For a boy who drives me daily to Jesus.
That he loves me.
That I love him.
For his beautiful eyes.
Long dark lashes on pale skin.
Faintest remaining freckles.
His hands on the cello.
The way he loves to laugh.
The way he laughs at me.
That we both keep trying.
Knowing that God knit him together just so.
That I am learning to trust Jesus.
Because I am not enough.

And the boy and his mama need a Savior,


How A Fast Can Make You Slow

"Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."  Matthew 4:4

The StrongSoft and I are at it again. This fasting and praying for a world thus lost, and my stomach speaks its own language.  Feed me.  We press in, but it's hard for her too, and why, mom?  Why is it so hard this time?

Have you ever known two fasts alike?  My thoughts slow, remembering my prayer list and my Jesus, as I make homemade macaroni and cheese for the sports banquet.  As she bakes three chocolate cream pies.  Our stomachs cry.  We sigh and press on.  Serve with hearts laid low like a body in the grave and draw close to Him.  Cling to Him.

Because we're hungry,


Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Recognize

I Recognize,
You are the Only One I must present myself to.

I Recognize,
When presented, I am approved of by You.

I Recognize,
I am no longer required to live by the impossible demands of this world.

I Recognize,
Your yoke is easy.
Your burden is light.
It's a brilliant,

I Recognize,
It's this heavy closeness that we both desire.

I recognize now,

Wendy :)