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,