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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jesus Is A Girl's Best Friend

I could hardly believe it.

I was driving north on my way to the bookstore when I stopped at the stop sign and saw a tiny teenaged girl sitting on the ground at the intersection.  I rolled down my window, and asked her if she was okay.

"No.  I've been walking for four hours trying to get away from my dad.  He hit me across the face, and I need to get home."

She had no coat, and her lips were blue so I told her to get in.

Yes.  My heart was pounding.

I let her use my cell phone as we drove to the bookstore.  Call your mom.  Call your grandma.  Call your grandpa.

"Somebody come and get me!"

When she wouldn't let me talk to them, The Spirit was talking to me.  Nudging.

So I took her through the drive-thru at McDonalds, and I was suddenly so thankful for The Boy.  I know now that even liars need a Happy Meal once in a while.  Everyone needs love.  Period.

I kept my voice low and quiet, even as I trembled inside.

Divine appointments.

God put her in my car.  Safe from danger, but not safe from the Hound of Heaven, and friends...

I gave it all I had because...

Jesus is the only friend worth having when all the chips have been cashed in, and your parents have sent you away, and you find yourself sitting in the dirt by a stop sign shivering cold at a busy intersection.

God intersects us.

I grabbed the phone away from her when it rang again, and the police told me where to meet them.  Asked me not to tell her so she wouldn't run again, and I prayed she wouldn't bail out of the car while we were moving.

Don't bail, Honey.

She said, "I guess I'll go to jail now."

She looked frail and frightened when I told her the honest truth. "Jesus will find you even in jail.  This I know.  He loves to set captives free, and darling, you are so caught.  Ask and see if He won't.  You want out of here, don't you?"

One tear and a nod.  "Feels like I've been forgotten by everyone."

"Jesus will never leave you or forsake you, and you know, don't you, that those words are true?  You know it somewhere in there?  Under all the junk of what your life has been so far?  He is the way and the truth and the life.  You are precious to Him."

The police came to the car.  HappyMeal and Coke.  Little tiny teenager.

She looked at me, but couldn't say thank you.  Why would she?

I looked back at her and said, "I'll never forget you, and I will pray for you for the rest of my life, do you here me?  I will never forget you."

She looked fragile walking away, and I longed to pick her up and hold her in my arms, but I stuck to my errand of going to the bookstore.  Started up a conversation with Jesus along the way, and took my prayers boldly into the throne room and up onto the alter.

Because... this world is full of girls with out good daddies and mommies.  This world is full of grown up little girls with hearts broken because nobody told them the truth about Jesus.  Nobody shared the good news of the gospel that no matter how dark the pit, the Light has overcome it.  Nobody ever explained forgiveness, grace, mercy and the blood.  Nobody gave them a Bible and told them it was God's Word.

Nobody ever told them about Jesus.  This Jesus.

A Girl's Best Friend,


Sunday, March 10, 2013

When The Stars Point The Way

We had the hardest conversation last night.

The Shoulders and I.

We left the restaurant about to cry.

But when we pulled in.

Stepped out of the car.

I looked up into the heavens.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  John 1:5

The stars spoke the Word back to me.

And it took my breath away for a moment.

The Shoulder's reached his hand for mine.

Held it warm.

Learning to trust God together in the darkest place.

Lights the night.

Lights the world,


Saturday, March 9, 2013

When You Start Seeing His Goodness

Sun dumping golden warmth on snow dripping drifts.

Son drenching joy cascading water on parched souls.

Beauty dancing crazy, pony-tailed flight in the kitchen.

Her little brother laughing all up in his eyes.

Secret handshakes.

Target tour with a brown eyed boy.

Finding a stuffed animal in the cart when he is almost 16.

And a fuzzy blankie.

Oh.  And a giant bean bag chair.  (I guess he didn't think I'd notice?)

That same boy coming home with a fuzzy blankie and a big, big smile.

The Shoulders comforting math-induced, tear stained, school haters.

The two becoming one flesh.

Learning to juggle.

The Psalms, always, the Psalms.

My LPG and his love down through the years.  Thank you.

Just someone named WendyJohn.

Overcoming impossible pain.

Doing the right thing.

Elbows in the Body.


Arms that circle right 'round.

Her letters to the wounded #2 (

Freckles on the dearest of faces.

Prayers that bring him right close.

A God Who makes you cry because He wants to set you free.

Wind in my wings,


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Into The Light

Oh, God of the impossible.
You make me want to laugh.

When things shake loose.
And the light breaks right in.

Your Face.

Lovely, Lord.
You are lovely.

You are the God of the broken.
The God of the brave.

You are the God of revelation and relationship.
The God of practicing and process.

You are the God of glory.
And You are God of the impossible.

Thank You, Jesus.
Thank You.

That You are the God of me.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

On Titanics and Fishing Boats

When you find out that you're no fishing boat, but rather, the Titanic sailing full steam ahead into bergs of brash pride, you better have some decent friends around.  You better call out for help so they can come and haul you out of the freezing waters and the breath sucking cold.  You better reach for hands that are willing to pull you into their own life boats.  Willing to risk capsizing their own souls.  Willing to give you mouth to mouth and wrap you up in blankets of pure love even though they know it as well as you that you've been the fool.

And when you sit in their love, wrapped up in grace, and floating on wood?  When you look back to see your ship split clean and sinking fast?  When you can't help but wish...somewhere deep...that you were going down with it?  Hold fast the hands of love.  There is nothing warm in an ocean grave full of you and your grave choices.

Sit and be still.  Sit quiet.  Take it all in....

You were running hard and fast.  Unsinkable. You thought you were okay, and that it would be alright, but as soon as the iceberg ripped you open, you saw everything suddenly clear.  All that jagged ice beneath the water is what got you in the end, and you were just foolish enough to think the little piece on the topside was all you were dealing with.

Titanic mistake.

As soon as you were cut, you knew.  Felt it down in your bones.  You knew that the old things weren't  healed and that it didn't take much at all to tear you straight through and plunge you headlong down into dark waters.

Take it all in.  The ship split clean in half and sinking fast.  You might be sleeping in an ocean grave tonight too, if it hadn't been for love and for wood and for friends with strong hands and hearts pulling you into their lives.

You curl fetal at the bottom of her boat while she rows you to the safety of shore.  She speaks in low, gentle tones, and the rhythm of the oars splashing and lifting lulls you to sleep.  She does it all.  You have no strength for the work.  No words to explain that you understand now about icebergs.  Nothing to ease the pain that soaks your very soul, and the question that haunts your mind.

How will you ever be well?  How will you ever be whole?

Love listens, and you listen hard for Him.

He has taken the Titanic away, and placed you at the bottom of a tiny fishing boat made of wood.  He has given a net which must daily be cast out into the open sea.  Your net worth.  Your worries.  He has taken your icebergs,  and He has given the cross.  He has called you His child and He has said, "Peace.  Be still."  He has given you your story and His blood, and in these two things, the gouges cut into your life are bound up once again.  They are bound up in His grace and His mercy.  They are bound up by His love, and He is the best of all friends.

He stands in your humble vessel, and you can see His hair tousled in the breeze as He watches the water swallow the sun.  He turns in the shadows that remain.  

"And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death."  

He looks at you hard, and you know.  Jonah-girl, you know.

Overcome the enemy of my soul?   By the blood of the Lamb.  By the word of my testimony.  "For they loved not their lives even unto death."


Revelation 12:9-11

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.