Friday, August 25, 2017

He bends down to listen

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!

I enjoy some great relationships with children.
Often, if they are having a tantrum,
If I can make eye contact with them,
and ask what's wrong,
they usually calm down and explain the trouble.
It's not that others don't elicit the same response,
or others didn't ask “What's wrong?”

It's just that I bend down and listen.
I fix things for them,
or help them,
as if they are the only one in the room.
They know this about me
and my presence, calms them.

When I read this scripture,
I get it.
“I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.”
Like, he's not distracted keeping the earth spinning,
or helping someone's football team win;
he hears my voice.
And he understands,
things are hard,
and I need him.

I usually have a good rapport with kids in public
(that I've never met)
mainly because I get down on their level and speak to them.

Rarely will I talk with them from the height of an adult to a child.
When I bend down, I am instantly nonthreatening.
I am a friend.
Usually I am greeted with twinkling eyes, and a wide grin.

God does that for me.
And “Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!”
How cool is that.?.
I see many adults on their phones or otherwise distracted
by important things
while their child is feeling frustrated,
scared, insecure or overwhelmed,
so the child gets louder,
and more scared and helpless feeling.

God bends down and listens.
He hears my voice and my cry for mercy.
So peace comes over me.
His strength, wrapped up by the will of his love,
are present and focused on me.
I'm not even sure how that's possible,
but I know beyond a doubt that it's true,
so like David,
I will pray as long as I breath.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fear is a lie

Fear is a lie
It's always about the next moment
(not the current one).
You ignore the current one
and all past moments,
where the Lord has been with you
and is with you.

And you imagine
He will not be in the next moment.
And perhaps,
you won't be able to handle it,
or He won't be able to handle it.

In my MRI, I was afraid.
The magnetic field was so strong
so disorienting I was terrified.

But I began to lean into God.
He walked with me through visions and dreams I'd had in the past.
At one point I thought "What is there to fear?
God is there (just like here).
God will be with me on the way
(just like now).
It would be as unfounded as a baby fearing birth.
Mother is there the entire time.
And her arms await us after the trial ends.

Fear has no power,
it's a lie that God wont go with us.
Nothing shall separate us
from the love of God.

I never meditated on those words
or had revelation about them (until now).
God loves me
so He protects me.
God loves me
so He sustains me.
God loves me
so He comforts me.
God loves me
so He fights for me.
God loves me
so He guides me.
God loves me
so He redeems me.

He qualifies me
He strengthens me
He carries me
He consoles me
He attends to me
and He guards me
and He cherishes me
and He rejoices over me
and He will never leave me
and nothing can separate me from his love.
He is love,
His power is love,
all his ways toward me are love
all my trials are given boundaries
by His love
all my sorrows are met
by His love
all my fears are quieted
by His love
and nothing can separate me from his love.
Not pain
not radiation,
not weight gain,
not MRIs
not tamoxifen,
not injections,
not wrong diagnosis,
nothing can separate me from His love,
not slander,
not floods,
not bombs,
not job loss,
not insults
not tragedy,
noting in all creations,
in fact no power or principality,
can ever(!) separate me from His love.

And so I rest.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Next Thing I Write

I wrote "Beauty For Ashes"
and it all seemed so sad.
I couldn't wait for
the next thing I write.

I usually love to go back to what the Lord has spoken to me
in my last blog.
I'm almost always encouraged
struck by a new thing,

But every time I read the last one,
I just think "man, that's really sad"
it makes me wonder if anyone could be helped by it,
it makes me excited for
the next thing I write.

Excited for the next step in this journey.
The "joy that comes in the morning"
after the "sorrow that may last for the night".

Well, wishing for the morning doesn't make it come.
Only waiting does.
I don't think I'm good at waiting.
It's not an active stance.

Today someone said she was taking a day of rest,
and asked if anyone had any ideas of what she could do.

That seemed wrong,
but I totally understood.
is what she was meant to do.
"doing" is not resting.
You can't rest,
and do.

Maybe that's part of this time.
and why it's so hard,
I'm not doing.
It's not by choice,
and I don't love it.
But I think it's good.

God created things for 6 days and then said
they were good.
Then he rested.
Did he say rest was good?
I looked it up.
He rested and said the day was holy
and sanctified it.

God rested.

This is not the next thing
(that I'll write)
(that will be encouraging)
(at least to me)
this is the intermission
where everyone takes a break
and runs to the bathroom,
or in my case,
just sits there
and wishes the real adventure
would start again.

Except in this story
(my story)
the Lord sits down beside me
and says:
"Now that it's quiet,
now that you're still,
let's chat."

OK, I'm thankful for that picture.
I'll hang on to that one for a bit.
God bless your day!
I need to go,
Rest. And listen.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Beauty Out Of Ashes

How can I bring you glory, Lord
in weakness?
How can I bring you glory
gripped by fear?
My body becomes entranced
by fear and sadness
while my mind
searches for your hand to lift me up.

Your Word to quench my tongue,
is what I long for.
Your Word to still these fears is what I need.
How can I benefit from this breaking, Lord?
How can this rubble
bring you praise?

God, to my last breath I will confirm your goodness.
In my last effort
I will seek your face.

But while I live, Lord
help me see you.
While I live, Lord
attend my frame.

Once protected from this weight of uncertainty,
let me now dance by the power of your grace.

How can a gift you've given
be taken from me?
How can my joy
be stolen away?

Remind my flesh
of your keeping.
Remind my countenance
of your care.

I'm so sorry Father
for my fear.
I'm so sorry
for shrinking back
I'm sorry
to be frozen by this sadness,
I'm sorry
to be slow to praise.

How can I bring you glory
when I'm broken, Lord?
How can I praise you
from here?

This pile of rubble
belongs to you, Lord.
I surrender what's left of me,
to your care.

You say you make beauty,
out of ashes
and I've felt you carry me
thus far.
So although I'm longing
to see the finish,
I will wait,
my Lord
and hope in you.

How great is the goodness you have stored up
for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you
for protection,
blessing them before the watching world.
Psalm 31:19

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How Can I Help?

What a thoughtful question.
I confess:
I have no idea.
I hope when a need arises,
I'll be brave enough to ask,
but right now,
please pray.

It's what folks do
when they don't know what else to do.
"All I can do is pray".
But really it's the best gift.
It says:
I don't know what's best,
will you (God) give what's best?!

The heart of one,
desiring to assist another.

God likes that.

Sometimes in the asking,
the gift is given,
it's an expression of love,
of nearness,
of willingness,
a precious gift.

Once at the gas station a man asked:
Is there anything else I can do for you?
I said: Laundry, maybe?!
and we laughed.
"Can I help you?"
was my favorite question,
I would tell my kids.

To see me washing dishes
or folding laundry,
and have someone sit with me,
and work with me.

Truthfully, I didn't really need the help,
but I loved to spend time with them.
Some of my fondest memories
are of loading dishwashers,
folding laundry, and doing other
menial tasks along side one of my kids.

It was the togetherness
I loved.
So how do I answer the question:
How can I help?
When it comes from a friend
who wants to assist during a trial?
Pray my cancer is not aggressive, please.
I would rather avoid Kemo.

Pray I would stay close to the Lord.
Pray I would make the most of every opportunity.
Pray I could do this well.
(be broken and scared)
(be not healthy)
(be able to receive well)
(I realized it's easier to give)
Pray I hear the Lord well,
and not be rendered ineffective.
Pray I give him glory.
Pray I could rest,
(that one's hard too).

And thanks for asking.
God bless you
richly and deeply
I mean it,
God bless you.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The fog is lifting

The fog is lifting.
I'm finding myself looking for the on-ramp,
to get back into life.

I wanted to write a funny story called:
"The Year The Easter Bunny Got Cancer"
to talk about how my family helped me do,
what I wasn't feeling up to doing.
How I confessed "Everything is half done!"
on Easter Eve,
(the job abandoned
when the biopsy results came back,
positive for breast cancer)
and how my daughter could now say:
"I told you that drink causes cancer!"
which seems funny
[maybe only to me].
I told a few of my kids about the story,
and it's title.
and that I should send it to Tiffany,
so she would understand why her Easter basket sat on our table,
for 6 days past Easter,
and as the fog cleared,
I realized I should send it out, but also,
it was sweet to have her basket on the table with the others.
And my kids said:
"It's OK that the Easter bunny got cancer,
as long as Santa doesn't!"
And we all laughed,
and I felt blessed to have the family I have.

It's been a bit of a challange
to say (to all those whom I'd like to tell)
all that I want to say,
and that I wont probably die from this,
but this is why I'm having surgeries,
and this is why all the doctor appointments,
and this is why the sad, far away, or concerned looks
have invaded my normally jovial countenance.
And I would say, I've been in a cloud,
and I'm facing mortality,
and God is helping me,
and humor helps me,
and death has no sting,
and life is beautiful
and we will all get there
(to the end of our story)
and some are just lucky enough
to think about the end,
as they walk in the middle.
I woke with the words:
"Teach us to number our days,
that we might gain wisdom"
And I said "Thank you".
Thank you, Lord.
Thank you, cancer,
thank you for helping push pause.
I live in fast-forward,
I think we all do.
We race to the stop light,
when we could have let someone in.
We long for tomorrow
and damn the day we're in.
Wisdom says life is short,
do it today.
Slow down and savor the moments.
I think that was the point of the words I heard.

So where's that on-ramp
(to re-join life)?

I'm tempted to just remember what I used to do,
and just do that.

But I want to take the blessings of this season with me.
So I'm going a little slower.
Noticing more,
praying more,
and trying to be present with my thoughts
and with others.

Because God is beautiful,
and the things He whispers to me are so sweet.
And people are so dearly loved by Him.
And I'd like to help others see that.

If you read this,
I hope it blesses you.
I hope you enjoy your day
(like it was your last day)
I hope you look to the Lord,
and just receive His love,
because it will change you,
heal you,
help you.
God's love does that.

God bless you my friend.

Teach us Lord to number our days,
to realize the brevity of life,
that we might gain wisdom.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Agonizing Love

Every mom who prays for her children,
Every dad who grieves the loss of his son,
Every child who's parent is taken,
has a taste of agonizing love.

Love constrains us,
love thrills us,
it steadies us,
and it confounds us.

But it never fails
it's always patient
forgiving and kind.

"Not the love I've experienced!"
you might exclaim.
But then,
you've never experienced
the agonizing love
of Christ.

I mean,
once you realize how dearly loved you are,
and how much agony Christ endured
for you,
something happens.
You love differently.

The change is incremental.
Not all at once.
I mean there's a massive change
at first,
but then like yeast
it grows,
or it doesn't.

Love can choose not to grow.
We can receive great love
and let the lies of the world,
the enemy
or self-loathing
rob us joy
or stunt our growth.

But when we face Christ,
and the Father of all things,
when we are filled with the Spirit,
we will love like he loves.
We will endure and feel the sorrows and joys of others,
we will be transformed
into one with agonizing love.

Perhaps this seems unpleasant.?
But if you were stuck in a fire,
would you want someone to rescue you?
Would you do the same for another,
living a life of gratitude?

This is our gift.
The love given to us is not
a sunny day kind of love.
It's not for when your hair turned out nice
and you're wearing you favorite jeans.
It's not the kind of love
that catches you doing something nice,
and loves you more.

It's the kind of love
that suffers with us in our sorrow.
Rejoices with us in our victories,
loves us
at our most unlovable moments (and seasons).

This is the love we receive.
This is the love that kept Christ on the cross,
until it was finished.
This love brought him back from the grave,
and this love
intercedes for my victory.
This is agonizing love,
and it's powerful
and precious
and it's our gift.

Thank you,
thank you,
thank you,
oh God our Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
Spirit of God.
May we love with this passion,
and may we cherish this love
until you return or call us home.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Impossible Things

I want to do big impossible,
things today(!)...
while praying about this,
I realized,
overcoming my gift for procrastination
and ignoring piles of things
I don't want to deal with,
would be a miracle.

A friend who cleans our home bi-weekly
came in last week
(while I was cutting my son's hair)
she asked:
"Is there anything you can't do?!"
My funny (but true) answer was telling:
"Yes. Keep a perfectly clean and organized home!"

So today.

My goal is not to reach perfection.
I'm much too honest ((even in my optimism))
to reach for that goal.
My goal for today,
is God's to-do list (for me).
To see the tasks
that fall out of my reach
(without the help of God).
And then to tackle them,
with His help.

Pray for me.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Looking for love, in all the wrong places

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
but who is pure in heart?
Is that even a thing?
It must be, right God?
It must be...
I confess though,
my love is not pure.

I get mixed up
and love stuff.
Love gets mixed with lust and idolatry.
The love of the world
(deceptively) creates hatred
for the constraints of pure love.
The love of my eyes
blinds me to pure love.

So who will rescue me?
Who will fix, what I
perpetually, break?
Is all hope lost?

We sing:
Purify my heart, Oh God..
David sang:
Test me and try me
(longing for God's unfailing love to fix him).
We are told to love God
"with all our heart, soul, mind and strength"
and this is our best, highest, purest,


Why wish?
I wish, like I long for a thing
(so beautiful and perfect)
so pure,
it seems impossible.
I only want it.
I only wish.

Like a child who still hopes
a miracle will happen,
and it might come true.
Untainted by repeated failure.
Untrained by the world's lies.
Pure love.

So can I go back?
Can grown-up me
get that pure heart back?
I do (after all) want to see God.
The purest love I have ever known,
was extended to me by God.

He has shown me pure love,
He demonstrates it for me daily,
and if I keep my focus on Him,
His love changes me.

Bit by bit.

At times it feels like one step forward
and two steps back,
but God is patient with me,
and each day, He brings me farther
along the path to pure love.

Think about that,
daily, I'm closer,
daily I'm better.
I wont reach 100 percent pure,
on earth,
but one day,
He will finish what He started,
and until then,
I give Him my heart continually,
and ask that He fix it.
I surrender my longings,
and ask that He only give me
what's best.
I look to Him,
(the lover of my soul)
and He purifies my heart.
As I go about my life
I keep my best love for Him,
and He teaches me
(in His patiently persistent manner)
to love with a pure heart.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A little discomfort is not a bad thing

As often as we eat
out of boredom,
and are rarely hungry.

As often as we speak
without giving pause,
and fail to truly listen.

As often as we give-in
to cravings of the flesh,
(never hungering and thirsting
for righteousness).

We have lost something.
In our haste,
we rob ourselves
of rare treasure.

Waiting on the Lord
brings great gain.
Seeking God with all our
heart, soul, mind and strength,
takes some effort
some discomfort.

Have we,
in this time of
instant everything,
lost the art of

Given up our right
to indescribable joy?

Oh God, forgive us.
Us, because we all fall pray
to this deception.
Is there no good thing worth waiting for?
No treasure worth spending yourself to gain?
No good, you would sacrifice everything for?


Yes, there is.
Father forgive us.
Father forgive me.
Father, transform us,
in spite of ourselves,
for your Name's sake and glory
and for our greatest good.