Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas 2013


I need You here.

And I thank You, Jesus.

For some precious quiet.

Alone with You.

In this room strewn with ribbons.

Blood Red.

New Life Green.

My heart spilling over You.

My mind focused on love poured out in a manger.

Wrapped in swaddling cloths.

Holding me here.


I love You,


Thursday, October 31, 2013



I am under water.

Jesus says, "I am Living Water."

I say, "It feels a lot like drowning."

He smiles.

I think Jesus smiles when I say that to Him.

Making water leak out my eyes and nose while I tumble under the wave weight,

Trying to get to the surface so I can breathe while my heart pounds in my ears.

I fight panic wrestling with Living Water while trying to rest in Him at once.

My wits have gone and all that's left is this desperate desire to get my feet on solid Rock.

I am under Water.

Living Water.

He says, "Drink of Me..."


And live,


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


When this upside down world shakes your heart stone cold,
And you lie shivering 'neath blankets of loss.


When life cuts ribbons out of your heart,
And ties cruel knots in every good thing.


When you don't know how to face tomorrow,
Because today spits in your face.


When your feet have slipped away from the line,
While the world kicks you in the back of the knees.



When you long for a safe place to rest your head,
And the warm shelter of true love.


When you remember Him, and all that is good in Him,
And that He is the only good thing about you.


When you want to wear His yoke,
Because there is rest in His burden light.


When you want your wounds to heal,
So you surrender to His.


When you are through with this life,
But you want to live again.


When you're on your face at the foot of the cross,
And you can't stop calling His Name.



When you fall in His arms,
And surrender your life, you'll know...

That He holds all that you are, loves all that you are
And that you are home...


Sweet home, 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Leaf Me

Trembling leaf clinging to the wire fence.
I see my name etched in your gold veins.
The way your precarious perch has made you heart-shaped.
Your translucence can't but let the light shine through.
You are stretched from tip to stem-end.
Clinging for life, holding on by a bare curl.
And yet... 
The CROSS bars hold you, and you lie quivering in this bare trust.
Silly leaf.
Don't you know that the wind will come and blow you away from your wired perch?
Crazy leaf.
Don't you know that you're already dead?
Brave leaf,
     Wise leaf, 
          Wonderful leaf.
I think you must know that to die is to live.
And I see purpose in all that is desperate.
I understand now why you tremble at each blast of the wind.
He Who cut you heart-shaped is near.
And His breath will take you home. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

When Shoulders Need Strength

Dear Michael,

When judgement rains hard, I want you to know that I see you.  In all that is conflict and confusion, my husband, you are light, and you are salt.  I will go where you go, and you will find my hand, always, in yours.  Whether the King directs us to walk through the valley or He takes us to the top of the hill, my friend, I go with you.  I will endeavor, in every step, to trust Him more alongside you, and Michael, let our lives be all for Jesus and not at all of this world.

Amen, and praise the Lord for such a man in the Kingdom.

I love...

Your life entwined in mine.
Your hand to hold.
The sound of your voice as you read His Words to us.
The smile wrinkles around your warm eyes.
The strength of your character.
Your life motto: "Do the right thing."
Your love for this Jesus.
The way I see Him etched all through your life...the book of Romans carved across your Shoulders.
In the ways that you lay yourself right down for all of us here.
That you have never, EVER, raised your voice at me.
That you are the straightest arrow I've ever known.
That you walked through the valley with me, and lived to give God the glory.
Your work ethic.
Your life ethic.
That you love all children...especially ours.
That you open our home again and again and again.
That your whole life shouts "SERVANT!"
For not being one of those guys whose swords hang limp and useless in the Body.
For being a great defender of all that is holy.
For standing on the front lines.  Always in the front.
The way you come to the table to work things out.
For being gentle with me, and for being my friend.
For forgiving me seven times seventy times.
For growing in compassion and mercy.
For standing in the gap for our sons and...
For holding the hearts of our daughters.
For your righteousness.
For your purpose.
For your love.

"The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing."  Ps. 34:10

Thank you for all that you are to me.  I am proud to call you my husband, and I am blessed to call you my friend.

Still yours,


Thursday, September 5, 2013

On The Removal of Tonsils Etc.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if you know what it's like to pay a
"skilled professional" thousands of dollars to slit the back of your throat.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if, after this special procedure, you remember barfing until thought you were going to pass out.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if you endured so much pain that you actually did pass out.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if you know that you were lied to about the ice-cream and the popsicles... and you tasted that bitter reminder every time you swallowed your own spit.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if your poor husband couldn't sleep with you for a month because your breath smelled that bad.  

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if, at age 30, you had to call your sister at midnight to come and take care of you.  And even though she actually called the doctor in the middle of the night to inquire why your breath was giving her a perm, she still slept with you.   And rubbed your back.  And listened to your crazy talk while you hallucinated about food that you would never eat... because you wouldn't be able to swallow for the rest of your life.  And whispered to you that that terrible stench was the smell of a healing post surgical tonsillectomy wound, and that it was normal.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if you lost twenty pounds in two weeks, which is why I always suggest having this procedure before a class reunion.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if the great lion, Aslan, visited your bedside after you passed out and made you so sure that you woke up smelling milk and honey.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if you remember feeling like you were never going to normal again.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if your remember feeling normal again... after  a thousand years.  Or at least one.

You might be a tonsillectomy survivor if, when you hear that someone is having their tonsils removed, you scoot your chair away from the table and scoot for the door.

Don't be a tonsillectomy survivor or you'll end up like me...writing about it at three AM after fifteen years have passed.

I was sitting at table with the Soul Sisters a few weeks ago when I blurted out awkwardly (always awkward) that I felt like a gaping wound.  Open.  Oozing.  Stinky...  Like the hole left in my throat where my tonsils used to be after the surgery all those years ago.  I felt embarrassed by this metaphorical smell, and ashamed that they were all trying to eat their dinner with me at the table.

The Lord is like that sometimes.

He is a skilled surgeon Who will slit your throat if it means giving you your voice again.

He is The Good Shepherd, and He will discipline you with His rod if it means that you will be kept from harm.  From the Wolf.  From the pit.  From the confusing brambles of the world.  He likes to keep his sheep close to Him.

He is the Potter, and though you may wish it otherwise at times, He will throw you and smash you until you are conformed to His image.  Putty in His hands.  Willing to become the vessel of His choice, not yours.

He is the Master Carpenter, and He intends to plane the selfish desires of your flesh...OFF, to sand your sin away, and to carve His Name on the works of His hands... and that would be your life, friend.  Jesus wants to carve His Name into your life.  No.  I mean, Jesus wants to CARVE His Name into your life.  Are you getting this?

There are no short cuts with Jesus.  He will bend you, but He'll never break you.

I can just barely touch my toes, but the Lord has bent me so often the last two years that I'm actually finding joy in becoming flexible and moldable in His hands.  I'm learning that everyone sitting at the table has great gaping wounds, and that we are all stinking it up.  I'm learning that's when we need to call our sisters in the middle of the night... to have them come and crawl in next to our decomposing wounds.  To have them rub our backs and listen to our crazy talk in the midst of suffering and pain.  To whisper that the stench of rotting flesh is normal and that...

It's the smell of healing,


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Auto-immune Disease

Oh, Lord...
Be glorified.
Be glorified in the Body of Christ.
Eaten away by auto-immune disease.
Who can relate?

Be glorified in my own physical body, Lord.
Eaten away by auto-immune disease.
And let me bring You glory, somehow.
In all the broken and fallen and hurting and humiliated.
And frustrated and tired and confused.
Lord, thank You that we can fall upon You.
Thank You that You never fall away.
And that...
You don't mind when we ask the same things over and over again.
Before we're even up out of our beds, and Lord...
Thank You that You understand.
That our brokenness doesn't shock or surprise You.
That even in Your grief, You understand the way we are made.
Dust of the earth.
Strengthen the Body to look for You in all things.
Help us to get our eyes off ourselves.
Lord, do a work here.
In the Body.

In me,


Sunday, August 18, 2013

His Delight

When I showed up for church this morning, I was wearing my jeans with holes and not feeling particularly holy.  I woke up with a big zit on my face, and because I'm a picker, I popped it first thing. I mean...some things can't be left alone,  even if you haven't had your coffee, right?  Of course it would be a bleeder so I stuck a piece of toilet paper to it and let it stay while I tended to other business, like trying to tame my hair, for instance.

Some people might not appreciate a wife with a bloody tissue stuck to her face as she sucks down two cups of coffee then begs for a kiss.  Not my Shoulders.  He kissed me and held me and looked me straight in the eye as if I'd never slept on my eyebrows wrong.  He is a brave man.

He's leaving see.  He needs to look beyond my painfully slow starter-ness, and he needs to inhale, fully, my coffee breath: slight scent of frankincense essential oil because it's working on the pre-cancerous spot on my face.  (It's the one that makes me smell like a Christmas tree...or an entire forest as the Shoulders likes to say.)  Yes.  I am something in the morning.

I watch him pack the car and drive our brave and beautiful daughter down the lane and out of sight.  A working road trip, and I don't know whose going to enjoy it more.  The father, my Shoulders, or my girl who brings out the best in her daddy.

We've had so many of these goodbyes.

That's why I was surprised when I showed up at church today and saw the Lord.  It was such a regular morning, right?  I stood in worship surrounded by my three mountainous sons.  (Oh, Thank You Lord, for this brief opportunity to feel tiny again.)  I slipped my shoes off because I hurt my foot water skiing, and my shoe was too tight.  Boy, am I glad I did.

I can't even remember the song we were singing, but suddenly I was standing on holy ground.

I tipped my head back a bit.  Took a deep breath, and...

Saw the Lord.

He smiled at me and said to my spirit, "Well THERE you are!"

(If you think Jesus doesn't know that you miss church to go on vacation, you're wrong, even if you had church every single day out on the water.)

My face split in half because I could see that He was happy to see me.

Jesus.  Was.  Delighted.  To.  See.  Me.

Jeans full of holes.  Life full of holes.

Needing Jesus.  Needing Jesus.  Needing Jesus.

I remember when I first started reading the Word as a woman saved by grace.  Finally,  I knew the author of my Bible personally, and it began to make sense.  When I read Zephania 3:17, I couldn't breathe, and I read it a hundred times a day for months.  Maybe years.  (I still recite this verse hundreds of times to myself each year.)  This...seemed so impossible to me.  And yet, it is what I saw in the Lord's face today at church.  Despite me.  Despite morning me, and the Shoulders leaving for two weeks me, and the rush of the fall school schedule me.  Even so...

I saw His delight in me.

And friends, just go ahead and ask me what in all this world I want, and I will tell you plainly...

I want to see the Lord, and I want to see His delight.

 As for the rest?

Just so many holes in my jeans,


Zephania 3:17

Saturday, August 17, 2013


The sun setting on the water.
Me sitting long beside Him.
Listening to the water reach again and again for the shore.
The way He is always reaching for His people.
Reading the Psalms aloud to that little family of geese.
A goose, his gander, and their five teenaged goslings.
Praying with my heart torn open.
And shouting my prayers into the wind storm that came up.
Giving Jesus my whole heart just the way He made me.
The Shoulders with his shirt unbuttoned.
His breathing steadied for now, and his voice reading to all of us at night.
His muscles pulled taught by the ski rope, and his smile.
Watching him sleep late, and thanking God for this needed rest.
Camping coffee and hot chocolate.
Our bed-headed circle of conversation.
Not rushing, except to get back on the boat.
Every day ice cream for the kids at Kim's Marina.
A wild weekend with the playboy mansion camped next door and...
Just lots of prayers and sighs and lost sleep and my kids getting a dose of the world.
Make that a double D dose.
The Watchman reading us all calm and collected around a smokey fire.
Dinner at Bert and Ernie's in Helena to help us heal.
The only quiet place we could find, and the food such a comfort.
Two boys getting up in the dark to put the cover on the boat...
With out being asked.
The SailBoat Cafe.
The Shoulder's bringing two lawn chairs and a bottle of wine to the beach.
Always, the sound of his voice.
Daniel's white smile standing out on his tan skin, and the way he shines on skis.
Little Sister bobbing in the water and saying, "When I am afraid, I will trust in Thee."
Right before getting up on skis for the first time.
Happy water.
Droplets on their faces.
Dearest Friends around the campfire.
A new old friend.
Kids tipping canoes, diving, splashing, singing and...
Big Married Kids kissing and holding and smiling long into each others hearts.
Sarahgirl building sand castles and serving us and never shaving...for ten days.
Andrew growing up and getting up on one ski.
The Silent Deep sitting silently and deeply next to me and...
Holding my hand.
Laying my head down at night on a pillow that rocks me to sleep.
The way of the pelican.
Missing my friends back home.
What the Lord spoke to me in the wind.
While the waves splashed over my feet.

Living Water,


Thursday, July 25, 2013



For the closeness I feel in this family these days.
For the very heat of summer.
For days at the lake that heal us up.
For our conversation circle full of bed heads and camping coffee.
For the sun setting over the water, and the Son rising up within me.
For prayer time alone.
For communion with Him.
For prayer with Re, my tears falling on her bed, and always, catching them.
For this new way of doing life together.
For my blue scarf girl and all my thoughts of her.  Never far.
For Bliss.
For her lovely face on that pillow, and the way she always runs her hands through her hair.
For the one who bought my kids zebra gum and who...saved my life when Daniel was a babe.
For the struggle.
For the joy of the struggle.
For T...just for her, Lord.
For the way the leaves dance on the evening breeze.
For string music.
For the sound of worship in this home.
For Sarahgirl leading them on, and including the younger two.
For the sound of her voice lifting the roof when she doesn't think anyone is listening.
For the way she pursues Christ and lifts her mama's faith.
For the Shoulders just now in Chile.  Lord, comfort your son.
For whatever is the will of God in my life.
For Jonathan's armor bearer saying, "Whatever you have in mind to do; do it.  I am with you heart and  soul."
For the deep, deep love of Jesus.
For something stirring.
For my oldest brother.
For the Soul Sisters.
For WendyJohn.
For lions that stalk by day.
For words, and for His Words.
For answered prayer and Daniel coming home again for school.
For heaven.
For always and always...lots of children in my home; thank You, Lord.
For the smile of Christ, and for His call.
For my Joshua.  Beloved Son, I see you still.  You are with me now.  Always.
For the righteous life, and for love.


For love,


Sunday, July 21, 2013

When Only Christ Will Do

I've been saying it for years now...that Jesus sees beauty in the broken things.  But I met with Him on Friday, and He asked me this question:  "Do you believe?  Do you believe that I can make your life beautiful?  Do you believe that I can transform what has been broken and use it for My glory?  Don't you believe that you are always free and whole and beautiful... in Me?  And Child, why would that not be enough for you?"

Hmmm... what does it mean to believe?

My heart is burning in my chest, and not just because I ate too many corn chips.  My heart is burning because I can hear His voice more clearly when the hard things are at hand.  My wonder-bread flesh wants things comfortable...

"Don't give me no pain."  

But...when I hear the voice of my Jesus calling me out of comfort, out of this full, fatness that makes my soul sluggish and luke warm, I want Him to give me the harder thing still.


Though I lay on my couch weeping with this sorrow that engulfs me at times, I cry out to Him for more.  More of the fiery trial.  More of persecution.  More of the hard road, because I am deaf and blind with out them.  They are my truest friends outside of Christ Himself.  They are the true North of this life in Christ compass.  When I am comfortable, well fed, and my relationships are going well, my heart wanders from the cross life.  I can not be grateful when I am most comfortable.

I can not be grateful and comfortable at the same time.

Even when He lavishes my family with the most precious time on the water.  When our conversation is rich with the gospel, and we sit around morning coffee and hot chocolate relishing each other and all the beauty that surrounds us.  Even in that, there is a joy so full that it hurts...that Christ so crucified would meet us in our small circle.  And bless us.

Jesus Christ makes the wretch His treasure.

And the only joy I can experience now is when He is in it.  The only thing I can trust is the sound of His voice.  And I find myself disliking all this comfort, and longing for more of the giving away life so that I can know Him more and hear Him better still.

Oh a deer pants for water, so my soul does long for thee.

What is this stirring in my soul?  Is not my heart, burning within me?

I wake from my slumber and find my mouth forming the words of something deep within my spirit that my mind has not dwelt on consciously.

"Here I am, Lord.  Send me."

Make me a Believer.

Take this life, Father, and make it beautiful for Your glory.

Thy will alone, be done.

But ONLY...  Give me Jesus,


Monday, July 8, 2013


When you know that you are the thief that hangs on a cross next to Christ.

The one who has stolen every good thing.

The one who knows what he has done and knows what he deserves.

The one who asks "Jesus...Remember me?"

When you are that kind of thief, and when you are that kind of sad.

When you wonder how you will ever lift your eyes up.

He says..."Truly, you will be with me today in paradise."

He says,  "Truly."

He says,  "You will be with me."

And where in all this world would I rather be than with my Jesus?

He is with me, and I am with Him.

And even though I lived a crucified past.

Past redemption and full of holes.

Now, I have been crucified with Christ.

And it is no longer I who live.

But Christ.

In me.

And all the weight that I carry, He knows.

And all the shame that I wear, He knows.

Every tear I cry, He sees.


He sees me.  He knows me.

And don't I sense His pleasure?

When I cry, "Jesus, Remember me."

He reaches straight down...

To wipe my broken tears.

To hold my shattered life.

To call me His child and to be my Father.

To say that He is making all things new.

And when He says,


"You will be with me today."

He gives me hope for Paradise.

Heaven and Home,


Luke 23:32-43

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Your Eyes Are Growing Dim

Sometimes it seems I'm never going to grow up.

I bought a new bible.

The print is larger, and...

My eyes are growing dim.

I bought one for the Shoulder's for Father's Day.

He said if we read every word, it would be equivalent to having a bachelor's degree in theology.

I open the pages.

I close the pages.

You see?

I lied.

I have a bible exactly like this new one except the print is smaller, and...

My eyes are growing dim.

I didn't think about the cost until I had it home and in my hands.

Then...I felt kind of sick.

And when the Shoulder's saw it laying out on the table, I lied.

I said I had always had it, but that the zipper had broken on my cover.

Two lies.

Three days of misery.

And last night, I lay in our bed and cried.

I told him the truth, and it seems like I've been confessing a whole lot lately.

Stupid stuff.  Embarrassing stuff.  Thank God...

Shoulders are good for crying on, and he said we could earn our bachelor's in theology together.

I guess the Lord is answering my prayers and showing me anything not HIM that I worship.

Turns out, it's me.

Sometimes it seems I'm never going to grow up.

And my eyes are growing dim,


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Appeal to Lucille (her grand daughter anyhow)

Wendy, Wendy,

Be my Friendy.

Time to write.

And show your might.

Pen some words.

Please, never eat turds.

Make the choice.

To let the world hear your voice.

Share some wisdom here?

I'll buy you a beer.  (I promise.)

You have something that I really want.

Your friendship with Jesus...time to flaunt?

Anyone can rhyme.

But sometimes it's a bad idea.


B(posting your thoughts now)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thank You.

Thank You that grateful has been these easy breaths today.

The Shoulders sitting in the chair wearing shorts with his white socks pulled half way up his legs.

A violin in one room, and a cello in another.  Singing strings.

The playlist of hymns.



Her hands.  The sound of her voice.

Sitting in the sun with Re, and I think summer might be here?

Watching the kids in the pool.

Slowing dooooown.

Daniel sitting down in the grass by our lawn chairs and comfortably chatting.

Two boys with their first jobs and their conversation over dinner.

E.'s "double barreled" hot dog that makes me laugh like crazy.

Just those words from the woman who loved my kids so well and for so many years.

The way she reaches out sometimes still, and always...

At.  Just.  The.  Right.  Time.

Andrew's smile when Michael teases him about taking over his company.

Sarah-girl off to counsel at kids' camp.

A precious niece spending the night with her friend, and me wishing I could have watched her grow up.

All these kids and all their friends and all their laughter in my home.

A son in the hands of God.



Monday, June 10, 2013


The Well.

Must.  Get.  To.  The.  Well.

Where He pours out refreshment through the washing of the Word.

Where He plunges us down into healing power this world can't understand.

Where He says to us in strength and might,


Where He offers us His cup.

Where we drink together of the only One Who quenches and fills and satisfies.

Where we, His beloved, link hands.

Where we sing hymns, and we are one.

Where we declare Him to be all, and...

Where we say, "This world holds NOTHING for me."

Where we make it public, and where He makes it private.

Where He says, "Woman, I know all about the things that you have done."

Where He asks us for a cup in return: "Will you give Me a drink?"

Where we fall headlong to please the only One worth pleasing.

Where we cry out because until we met Him, we were all dying of thirst.

Where He bathes our wounds in the amazing strength of His love.

Where we must go when the world scoffs:  "Ha!  You 'religious' nuts!"

The Well.

Must.  Get.  To.  The.  Well.

Meet me there?


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Abba Father

When He holds your life.
He holds your heart.

He whispers your name.
And He knows you through and through.

He sings to you in the Psalms.
He reminds you, daily, of His great love.

He says you are His.
He says, "Come and know Me."

He says, "Taste Me.  See Me."
And..."Know that I AM good."

He cradles you in His arms.
He lifts you high on His shoulders.

He takes all that is broken.
And He says...



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

When You Need To Know Your Father

The kids have been coming to me these past few weeks.
To squeeze my arm and say, "You okay, Mom?"
And as I scrub the burnt-on egg from that stainless steel pan. (again!)
My Sarah-girl slips her arm right 'round my once-waist.
She says it quiet and so, SO brave.
"Mom, come sit with me awhile?"

We push into the chair that holds us both close.
The girl takes her mama straight into her arms.
My head on her shoulder, and the tears already streaming.
The wise daughter rubs her fingers down my bare arm.
And asks and asks and asks.
Because sometimes we don't know now, do we?

Sometimes we need a little help getting there.
When the wound is ocean wide but...
You can't see the forest for the trees?
She says, "Press into the Father, Mom."
I nod my head.
I know Him.

The Father of the fatherless.
The Protector of orphans.
The Redeemer of all things lost and stolen and bare and broken.
The King of all things, and that means my heart.
The Savior of the world, and that means me.
And we come to this place where I can finally lay it down.

I think of my Jesus.

He took the nails that were the whole truth about me.
And The Truth hurts, friends.
The Truth pierces straight through and goes to the grave.
It impales our pride and puts our flesh to death.

But the Truth also raises us up.
It brings us up out of the grave, yes?
It is light and life because He is light and life.

I press close to Abba Father's side.
Like a small child, I hide myself in Him.
I ask Him this question:

"What do You think of me, Lord?"

I work at being still.
Not reaching for the phone.
Not picking up another book.
Just listening.

Because this fear of man is wearing me out.
Man's judgement is cruel.
My own judge is the cruelest of all.
And I long to be held in the hands of a righteous judge.

Even if He breaks me into a million pieces.

The Truth holds me close and tight and trustworthy.
This Savior Who gave His life for me.
Who loves me.
Who delights in me.
Who sings songs of deliverance over me.

And I...
I want to stack some stones.
Not thrown.
So I will never forget the hands that took the nails.
So I will never have to go back to the shadow lands again.

So I can live free.

In my Father's Love,


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Screaming Wild

Dear Son,

You came into the world screaming wild, the most perfect baby.  But from the moment they put you into my arms, I knew, in the depths of me, that I was unqualified.  I stood over your bassinet a few hours later, watching your perfect face, your darling head, and the sweet rise and fall of your little chest, and... I was overcome with sadness.  I don't know why, Son, but somehow I knew that I would not be able to comfort you.

The next three years proved me right.  You screamed wild, and sometimes, Son...oftentimes, right through my bones.  I remember standing outside our house talking on the phone to my mom.  You cried on the inside and pounded on the door.  I cried on the outside, begging my mom for wisdom because...what in all this world do you do for a child who doesn't speak, but only screams?

What does a mama do, in the days before we knew about sensory issues, for a child that screams wild because he wants the skin peeled off his grapes, the tags cut out of his shirts, and his socks turned inside out so the seams won't touch his toes?  When being in a car seat is torture; when having his hair washed is terror; when nobody can understand what his physical needs are, let alone, the cries of his heart?  What does a mama, who loves and needs words, do for a child that loves to climb to the top of trees in his diaper, and needs to be understood, but can't speak?  

How, in all the world, can a mama comfort a child whose only comfort is sitting in her lap and... 

twisting and pulling out her hair?

Oh, Son...

We both grew in those days, yes?  I grew to hunger for help outside this world.  And you grew a compassion that I have never seen inside of it.  Because once we came through those days, my Daniel, it has been you comforting me.  It has been you calling me your little mama, and you seeing me and holding my hand.  It has been you, unashamed to hug me in front of all your friends, to tell me that you love me, and it has been you, still fussing with my hair at the end of the day when what I want to do is scream wild.

It is you standing for justice, and you holding the weary.  It is you who cradle the hearts of your sisters, and you who has earned the respect of your father and your brothers.  It is you standing behind the plow, and you planting the seeds.  And in all your wonderful weirdness, Son, even when people judge your cover without reading the whole story, it is you who lives the Gospel of peace.  You cannot abide the war torn home, and as a result, you have forced us to find a new way.  I have much to learn.

Mostly, Son... I know that you see the broken ones.  

And I know, Son... that you are a broken one too.

When the paramedic called the house to tell us that you'd been in an accident, I thought it was a wrong number.  But when we drove just down the road, I screamed wild when I saw emergency vehicles and when I saw... our car.  

What would I be without you, Son?  
How did you come out alright?

Your dad and I...we sandwiched you between us, and he held your head in his arms.  I slipped my arms right 'round to your heart.  I felt it beating, and I heard you say, "I'm okay."  

I screamed wild, holding your life in my arms.

You said you were sorry, and that you knew it was going to cost us thousands of dollars to replace the truck.  I said, "I'll spend thousands of dollars on a truck any day, over thousands of dollars on a funeral to bury my son."  You turned to hold me in your arms, and you kept saying it over and over...

"I'm here, Mama.  I'm here."

Your sisters and your brother wait in the van for the news, and they all think..."What will be without Daniel?  How can we be a family without him?"  

What if all the ways that you have been the laughter and the light in our home had gone dark, Son?  And what of the fruit that has been born out of all those years that you couldn't speak?  Who would show compassion to the hurt and the weak and the lost and the lame?  Who, but you, would be the voice for those who scream wild because nobody can hear them?

You walk away from that mess of a truck, and you say it... 

I HEAR you.  

"I'm here, Mama.  I'm here."  

And I know that God has spared me; has spared our family from the shadow lands of grief.  He has been merciful, and He has kept your life.  

He has kept you... do you hear me?

Son, not all are spared.

This world is desperate for the sound of souls like yours so...

Keep screaming wild.

I love you,


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reading Him

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

There is this quiet
In the house these days
As the Little Sister and I sit side by side

The chores are finished and we've got some time
Precious moments stolen
As we each gather a book, and sit silently

At first I think I should put on some music
But no
This silence is lost, and this silence is golden
We're Reading.

I rush quite constant
And it crushes my soul: the doing not being
The running means there's no time
For Reading.

Pages and pages of beloved Psalms
Proverbs one at a time
1 Thessalonians today
Just Reading.

A Chapter of Jeremiah because...
Andrew and I are reading it together
And The Boy is being transformed into a Man of God
by Reading

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...  Romans 12:2

I wonder at this lost gift
In a lost world
And I can't help but think it's because...
We stopped Reading.

Stopped reading the Gospels
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
So that we might know Christ
By Reading.

His love letters to us.
All that we can about His character.
Sex and suffering, laughing and crying, living and dying all there in His book
For Reading.

Taking Him In so we can live Him out
Studying His precious Word
Chewing and meditating and focusing and listening

The Word, Friends.

The Word,


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tucked In

Wash down the dust of living in words tonight.
Eyes closed and getting into the quiet with Him.
Alone with Jesus.
Favorite place on earth.

Sabbath rest.
Just sitting in His presence and...
Breathing.  And...
Listening for Him.

How many entries find us here?
Just He and I wrapped up together?
Held and washed and filled and comforted.
My soul restored.



Psalm 23:1-3

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

When Your Daughter Believes You Can Fly

I spend most of the morning in bed with my face toward the wall.
Stomach ache.
Life ache.

I eat breakfast when my daughter asks me,
"Mom.  How is your heart?"
I swallow hard.

Turn my face toward the window so she can't see my eyes but...
She watches me intently.
Waiting and...

When did my little girl become a woman who asks such hard questions?
Heart questions.

I can't lie to her so I try to give it to her easy.
She probes hard.
And we talk it through.

She comes 'round the table and takes me in her arms.
She anoints my head with kisses and...
She calls me "brave."

She lays a new runner on the table for me.
She puts an orchid down by my plate.
And a yellow coffee cup overflowing with chocolates I can't eat.

Looks like Jesus setting a table for me in front of my enemies, yes?
In front of my stomach aches and my auto-immune disease.
In front of the wall that must daily be climbed.

She places a paper weight just there.
It has a picture of a bird wearing a crown.
My daughter sees me with wings and...

There is just enough strength for the day.


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Psalm 23:5

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Come, Lord Jesus

Are you weary?
Are you worn?
Shoes bare soled?
Soul bared?
Are you carrying the weight?
Of your lost hopes?
Are you?
Slumped in despair and finding it...
Impossible to live with out joy?
Finding it hard to just...
Get out of your bed?
Are you the living dead?

Remember now.

He loves you, and...
You are His darling one.
He will never leave you or forsake you.
You can trust Him, you abandoned hearts out there.
You can trust this Jesus.

He is Love, Friends.
His heart is for you.
We like to call it "ALL IN."
That's right.
Jesus is ALL IN for you.

His presence, the safest place on earth.
Holy sanctuary.
A heavenly place to find His dreams for you.
To discover His hopes for your life.
And to know...
He is the great resuscitating God.

Oh, Breath of Life...
Breathe on Your precious people tonight.
Revive their sagging souls, Oh God, and...

Come Quickly, Lord Jesus,


The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.  Job 33:4

Friday, April 5, 2013

Love Song

When they were small.
( And sometimes still.)
I would sit on their beds and sing.
Voice cracking and throat sore.
Always sore.
Sweet lullabies.
While tracing their faces with my fingers.
Stroking their hair.

And when I first came across that verse in Zephania:

"For the LORD your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With His love, He will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."  3:17

I let my imagination run wild.

The God of the universe.

He is living among us.  He is mighty to save.  He takes delight in His kids, and He calms ALL our fears with His love.  And... He rejoices over us with joyful songs.

Oh...perhaps Wendy will share her journal entry sometime about this verse?

I remember travelling down the road with my family when I was growing up, and how my dad would sing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" with a voice that sent shivers down my arms.

But my Father in heaven singing joyful songs over me?  Over us?  Over you?

Just needing to turn in for the night now, but can I invite you to close your eyes and trust that He is singing over you?  Sweet lullabies, perhaps?  Songs of deliverance and freedom and grace?

Love songs, friends.

Love songs,


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On Her Birthday I know we just had a conversation about public declarations and all, but here...I couldn't help it.  Everyone should know that there is a person like you out there on the planet, and this is my hope offering to anyone out there who has given up on having friends...

Dear HT1,

Thank you for helping me.
Thank you for seeing me.
Thank you for good questions, even the ones that make me feel like barfing.
Thanks that you are an elbow, but that you wear pads on them for me.
Thank you for being gentle.
Thanks that you laugh at my dumb jokes, and that you think I can be funny.
Thank you for showing me how to do life better.
Thanks for being more YOU.
Thank you for your big heart.
Thank you for the sound of your voice.
Thanks for the phone...yes...  the phone, Praise God!
Thank you for my nickname.
Thank you for challenging me.
Thank you that you're beautiful.
Thank you that nobody does "secret agent" like you do.
Thank you for building an army.
Thanks for being loyal.
Thanks for working so hard for your company and for your friends.
Thanks for ultimate fears, tears, and victories.
Thanks for understanding lions and gazelles.
Thanks for putting it all out there.
Thanks for showing me how.
Thank you for being a great friend.
Thank you for being born.

Happy Birthday to my precious friend.  I wish the whole world could know you!

With love,


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

When You Miss Your Son

When you miss your son.

You must hold fast.

The steady mast of that old rugged cross.

And you must cling through tears and ridiculous desires to make him small again.

You must let him go.

You know...

Wind and wings and all.


He must fly or die trying.

And you, Mama, must wait it out.

On your knees, Mama.

Alone with Jesus, Mama.

Waiting desperately.


When you miss your son,


Monday, April 1, 2013


I must bow my life.
Kiss the feet of a Saving God.
Break the jar of everything I thought was good about me.
Pour it over His toes.
And mingle the mess of  what I think to be my moral "decency"
With tears because...
What can I offer this perfect Jesus?
What in all the world can I bring a Savior?
A Savior Who took my murdering, adulterous, idolatrous heart?
And had it nailed clean through His hands into wood?
A Savior Who said, "It is finished."
A Savior Who said, "I love you this way."
Someone tell me.
What can I bring?
What can I bring to a God Who loves His Son?
And sends His Son?
To have His precious feet hammered down?
With spikes that have my name on them?
Oh, Jesus.
I pour out myself, Lord.
I give you all my brokenness and shame and guilt and...sin.
I kiss your feet and my hair pools in the dirt.
I give you my body, and my mind, and my soul.
I bow my whole life to You, my Jesus.
I give You all this mess.
I give You all of me, and...
I love You.
Take me if You will, and use me if You can.
But let me stay in Your presence always.



Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Gospel

Preach the gospel to yourself every day.
Every.  Single.  Day.  
And when your fallen heart grows numb, find a different way.  
Say it.  Write it.  Sing it.  Photograph it.

Friends, we're bad news.

We need to plunge the needle of the Gospel down into our veins, and we need a blood transfusion that will save us from ourselves.  We need some good news.

Jesus gave his blood for transfusion and transformation.  He came to pay the penalty for our sins, and He came to set us free from the jaws of death.  Jesus died so we might live by the light of His life and His love.

Jesus is the Good News, and He is our only hope for eternal life with Him.


I'll preach the Word today, Friends, and you turn the pages.
Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one of the right and one on the left.
Matthew 27:38
Lord, keep us from the things that rob You of Your glory and fame.  Keep us from sin.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"Eli, Eli, lemma sabachthani?"
that is,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Psalm 22:1
Matthew 27:46b
Lord, we forsake You continually.  Help us to live in Your presence.
But the angel said to the women,
"Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
 He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.
 Come, see the place where He lay."
Matthew 28:5-6

Lord, You Are Alive!  
Let our lives reflect that we belong to You.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Matthew 28:19-20

Lord, Thank You that You are always with us.  
Please help us to be bold in proclaiming the Gospel to the lost.

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:14

Help Your people to live by the law of Grace that saved us.

We will not forget You, Jesus.
Thank You for dying so that we might LIVE.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

When You Need to Live Again

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.  Song of Songs 2:12

Are you out there wondering where God is tonight, and are your heart holes spilling this dreadful feeling that maybe He's forgotten about you?  Maybe He's forgotten that your body isn't fixed, and the doctors don't know what to do now.  Maybe He's forgotten that you're carrying a burden so heavy that all you want to do is lay it right down.  Maybe He doesn't see that you're struggling to pay the bills and struggling to parent single handedly and struggling to live and breathe and move. Maybe He doesn't understand that you're only human and that you're only hurting.  Maybe... 

Friend, what can you do but trust in Jesus?  If He leads you through the valley or to the top of the mountain the foot of the cross, won't you slip your hand right in His and...

follow Him?

Casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter5:7 

He cares...

He cares so much that He went all the way to the cross...


And He died...


And He said it was enough, and that it was finished, and that your works stink to high heaven and so...

Why in the world are you trying to earn your way?  

If Jesus had Himself nailed to a tree...


Why do you keep running away...

from Him?

He paid a decent price to be your friend, and to win your love, and to...SAVE YOUR LIFE.

He rose from the dead, and He wants to raise you too.

Don't you believe that?

Don't you remember your first love?  (Revelation 2:4)

Aren't you tired of pulling alone and...

Don't you want to start living for God?

You don't have to prove anything to Jesus.  You can sit with Him like the oldest and best friend you'll ever have, and...


And if you think you've got nothing to offer?  Believe me, I understand, but...consider the lilies of the field.  
(Matthew 6:28)  See what they bring to the table?

It's not about easter, see?
It's about a God Who came to earth to die...
so you might live.


Don't.  You.  Want.  Your.  Life.  Raised?


And those who know Your Name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Springing to Life

When hope springs and the celebration of the Resurrection draws near.
What has the power of the Risen Christ wrought in you?
What has spent the winter dying and...
What, with spring, is being reborn?

What has been the sacrifice, the cutting-away cost of you pushing through the old onto something gloriously new?
Something alive?
Something fresh out of the grave?
And what has the Lord been up to, Friend?

And what are the things that lie buried still?
The things beneath cold and snow and frost and...
Are you hanging in there?

What dead fruit hangs on lifeless vines and...

Can you bravely ask the Lord to help you prune and cut until it falls away?
You want to lay that down now?

HE says, "I am the way, the truth and the life." so...
Are you listening for directions?
Are you in the Word reading the truth?
Are you looking for life in this Christ?

The rope swing hangs silent on what looks like a dead tree now,
but here comes spring and life and the laughter of  all these children.
We begin to come out of the buried winter and turn our faces to spring and the Son...
The Giver of Life.  The Originator of Love.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12
"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
 and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land."


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Better Together

I spent a lot of years protecting my kids from friends.

Yea, you read that right, but if you knew the whole story, I know you'd understand.

When my daughter, Little Sister, comes in off the ski hill with her smiling, blue eyed beauty-friend, my heart melts clean, and that sad grave stone rolls away, leaving something new...something resurrected.  This friend of hers...just busting the buttons off her coat at how well Little Sister is doing out there.   'Coaching and encouraging her through each run, and staying with her the live-long day when she could have been skiing the hard stuff.

I thought only her mama was like that...the way she wooed me into our friendship by teaching me how to trust authenticity.  The way she encouraged and coached me through the hard runs.  The way she said, "Lazarus, honey, take off your grave clothes." in the way she loved me.

Little Sister's friend smiles at the camera, and her eyes light up, and my world lights up and these two girls... they love each other, and I find myself staring at this dear friend who is changing my daughter, and...

Changing me.

I thought only her mama could do that.  The way her eyes light up, and the way her mouth utters truth, and the way she changes the way I think about things.  The way she reminds me that it's never too late for God to redeem the lost, the broken, the scared out their minds,  and us two women...we love each other.  My life is being raised, and He is using His very own daughters to manifest His power here on earth.  It's taken a lot of years and a whole lot of Jesus for me to gather a handful of the dearest friends in the whole wide world.  I plan on living the second half of my life more deeply, more joyfully and more truthfully...because of them.  I plan to live the truth:  I have been raised with Christ, and I am alive in Christ, and I am in love with Christ.

Little Sister's friend tells me, "I prayed, 'Lord, please don't let her get hurt.'" when she got going too fast and she thought she was going down a black diamond.  Little Sister disappeared, and her friend got scared.  So she prayed.

  I thought only her mama did that, and thank you, Friend, and  the rest of you who know who you are, for all the times you've been on your knees for me and this family of mine.  Thank you for doing life together which means practicing this holy experiment of living and trusting Christ with all that we are.  It means that I choose to live with the story of my life, even the dark chapters, laid open on your lap, and it means that you actually turn the pages and keep reading.  It means that I find more of myself and  more of life in the reading of your story too, and it's called choosing love.

Life together is better.

On the drive home, I keep checking on them in the rear view mirror sitting side by side.  Little Sister is out like the lights in Georgia, and the blue eyed beauty-friend, the real hero of the day, stares out the window.    I wonder if there's any chance she can see the reflection of her own face in that window, and if so...

Does she see God?


All photos on this page are taken by the talented, artistic, beautiful, and amazing young lady mentioned in this post.  She is not only a great friend to Little Sister, but she's a great friend to me.  I love you, girl!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Godly Man

To my Shoulders in Chile,

You must get tired carrying all the seven of us sometimes, and I wonder how you don't just sit right down and bawl.  You are strong.

I've been thinking about the dark days.  Remember them?  It plain hurt to breathe, didn't it?  The house was cold, and the bed was cold, and our two hearts were dead cold.  Dead.  Didn't Jesus do something  for us?  And didn't we do everything not to deserve it?

I want to hold your hand for the rest of my life on earth, and I want to cup your dear face in my fingers. I want to kiss the "worry wrinkle" between your bushy brows, and trace the creases next to your eyes as we grow old.  I want to tell you over and over again that I see Jesus in your eyes and in your service to our family.  I see Him shining in all this new tenderness of yours, and I wonder what it is costing you.  To grow the way you are takes skin on the line, and I want you to know that I see it.

I am finding me feet because of you.  Who says, "Too late?"  Not you, and what would I do had you given up on me?  Walked away?  Said goodbye?  And who would I be if not for your love?

When you got down on one knee, slipped the ring on Little Sister's hand, and asked her for permission to guard her heart and her purity, I about died.  I thought she would cry tears of embarrassment, and I was more surprised than anyone at the expression on her face.  She sat with her legs crossed on the fireplace hearth.  Huge smile.  Waiting and expecting her daddy to do the right thing and make her a promise.  And when you took Big Sister's hand in yours?  Honey, I thought she would laugh at you.  Instead, she had to work hard to hold back tears.

Your commitment to seeing our boys through the dark times has won every inch of my heart.  You face the hard road with your life motto: "Do the right thing."  Our boys will become men like you and men like their Father in Heaven because you have loved them with His everlasting love.  You shall win the day, most certainly, you shall.

Your love is ruining us for everything but the pure love of Jesus Christ Who dwells here by grace on Lazy Lane, and Michael... I am undone.

When we sit around the table at night, and you teach us about Jesus?   Sir, sometimes I feel like I'm going to fall right out of my chair.  A godly man...I love a godly man.

I am my Beloved's and he is mine,

Your Bernadette

"His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable.  This is my beloved, and this is my friend"  Song of Solomon 5:16

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


"I am with you always..." Matthew 28:20

In the gutter.
On the throne.
In the confusion.
When you feel alone.

When the tears won't come.
When the tears won't stop.
When you're down at the bottom.
When you're way up on top.

"I am with you always..."

When you don't know the Truth.
When you forget you are free.
When you doubt, and you sin.
When you are unfaithful to Me.

When you're buried in shame.
When you wander away.
When you don't count your blessings.
When you are afraid.

"I am with you always..."

When you're not in My Word.
When it hurts just to stand.
When sons and daughters grow up.
When you need to hold My Hand.

When you become different.
When your light starts to shine.
When you don't care what's said.
When you trust Me with your time.

"I am with you always..."

When you need Me like a child.
When you come to your knees.
When you're looking for a friend.
When you want to live free.

In the gutter.
On the throne.

"I AM with you always."


"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written; 
"For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."  

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:35-39