Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fires and Fish and Jesus

There's something about the filling of hearts in church that empties the stomach.

Sunday just has a different kind of ravenousness to it. Perhaps that's why 'Sunday lunch' is a thing.

This past Sabbath was no different.

Before we even left the parking lot of the high school my church congregates in - all five of us were pining for a filling. So I handed out snacks to hush the hunger and we rushed home to whip up lunch.

Upon making it to the driveway - I made like a mule (as moms often times do) and grabbed all fifteen bags that I had taken with us, then ran inside to prep meat.

My husband went out back with the blondes to strike black coal - so that our food could sizzle over fire.

And that hot simmer - it made the Sunday sermon come full circle.

Because the pastor had us consider John 18:18 and John 21:9 that day.

Let's start with the former.

Jesus had just been bound by a band of soldiers and taken. Peter followed them. But when he was asked if, indeed, he was one of Jesus' disciples - Peter denied that he was. And then verse 18 says this:

Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

When the pastor read that verse aloud - something in my gut stirred over the word 'charcoal'. The Spirit impressed that there was something with that stay alert to it.....that there was something in it for me.

We moved on to the words in chapter 21.

At this point - Jesus had been beaten, thorned, hung, placed in the tomb, and risen again.

Jesus' disciples got it into their minds to go out and catch fish, but alas, no fish were being caught. Suddenly, a man (Jesus) appears on the beach near them right at daybreak. Jesus tells them to drop their nets on the other side of the boat - and when they do....their nets can scarcely hold the amount of fish found. Of course - it was at this moment of overflowing abundance, that they realize the man was Jesus. And then this happens:

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.

A charcoal fire.

Do you have any idea what this must have meant to Peter? What this means to me? To you?

When Peter got to the shore - and saw the charcoal fire that Jesus had built to make them breakfast...

- all after Peter himself had denied even knowing Christ.....
- all after Peter had abandoned the Lord.... 

He sees the Lord, sees the fire, smells the charcoal - and is taken right back to the moment of his denial of Jesus. 

Jesus meant for it to.

But now - He sees this very same Jesus serving him, the denier, breakfast - on charcoal......that same substance that Peter stood next to while falsely denying the Lord.

Jesus knew that the coal would take Peter back to his moment of betrayal - but He also knew that the coal - and the food being prepared on it - would reveal Christ's crazy love and forgiveness for him, too.....

Plus some! They now had an overflow of fish to boot!

Do you see it?

Isn't this just so God of God?

To reinstate and restore and offer up - to the very ones who gave up? All in a manner that shows them....

The abundant kind.

Meet Jesus, friends. 
I just took a pause from writing  - to take the kids on a bike ride. We whirled down warm sidewalks throughout our neighborhood, fed ducks, and worked up an appetite. Mama here - pushed the stroller and pondered this post for much of the outing.

On our way home - my older two slammed on the breaks of their bikes and stooped over to look at something laying on the pavement.

There between two bayous - laid a perfectly preserved little fish. It was dead - but completely and totally intact....odd site - considering all the fish-eating wildlife that's around these parts.

When I bent down to take a look at the out of place creature- my mind instantly went to the scripture we just discussed. 

Yet again....

He meant for it to.

Perhaps.....for you. Perhaps you need to know, like me, that no matter what you've done or where you've been or who you've hurt....

His provision and restoration and revelation await.

He'll use fires and fish and all manner of things to show you so.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Her Song

Bellies were empty and bladders were full as we approached the home-stretch of our weekend road trip.

After a long ride down I-45 through the flat country of this great big state - we needed a place to relieve and refill.

All three children were complaining loudly and Mama here was teetering on explosion.

We came across an exit that advertised a Chick-Fil-A - so we skirted off the highway to give ourselves a break and a breather.

The youngest always wants 'oop' (soup) from there....and so we ordered his favorite, stuck a spoon in his hand, and let him have at it.

'Oop' ended up all over the table, all over the booth, all over him, all over everything - but I'm pretty sure not one drop of that 'oop' landed in his little two year old mouth.

He tried to sit on the table rather than at the table.

He screamed at all four of us.

He threw things.

Including fits.

It was a spectacle. A stressful one.

Mommy was losing it.

But in the midst of all this flying 'oop' and toddler screams - my girl blonde began singing something.

Right there in the middle of her brother's meltdown mode - she quietly bellowed the following....

"Holy Spirit You are welcome here.....

come flood this place and fill the atmosphere....

Your glory God is what our hearts long for...

To be overcome by Your presence Lord."

She worshiped right when her withered mother needed it most.

And those lyrics....of all lyrics the Lord could have prompted her to sing....

"Holy Spirit you are welcome here."


Even here.

Even this loud, draining season.
Even this restaurant.
Even the mess and the crazy.

Perhaps, especially here.

She invited the holy in - and it ministered to her Mama.

We strapped everyone back in that tight car - and hit the highway for home.

I did get hyped a few more times. And I did want to stick my head out the window to escape the noise at one point. And I did have to say some breath prayers to keep myself sane.

But the Lord swooped in through the crooning of a little lady last night - and it renewed, reminded, and refreshed - right there! Right there - with a gaggle of kids in a fast food booth off a highway in Texas.


It's easy to think that God, and all of His hugeness and omnipotence, wouldn't or couldn't fit down into the smallness...... into the most unknown crevices of our lives.'s because of His hugeness and omnipotence that He can, and will.

God is so big - that nothing is too small.


Friday, February 14, 2014

His Journal

A re-post for your Valentine's Day. Have a splendid, love-filled weekend, friends :)


He was working on a sermon.

His notes were sprawled out all over the table, the kids were sleeping, and the house was rare quiet.

I walked up to ask how he was fairing.....

Was the outline coming together?

Was the Spirit speaking?

We're thoughts flowing?

As he answered all my inquiries....I happened to look down and catch a glimpse of his journal - the one I bought for him just before the first of the year.

It was open wide - one page all inked up and the other bare....

almost bare.

Some words scratched out ...up in the corner of that blank page got my attention:

"LOVE HER", it said.

"What's this?", I asked out loud.

"Look at the next page.", he answered.

As I turned the journal to the next fresh sheet -  I saw it again:


I kept flipping...and I kept seeing...


All the way to the end.

And my tears didn't need any time to muster...

they just fell and fell and I buried my face in his neck blubbering thanksgivings.

Because the 'HER' ME.

To have a husband....that would write those words on all the pages of his journal ....the place he visits everyday to pen out prayers and list out heart cries.... it hits me deep.

The awe of it isn't lost on this woman.

Because in these 8.5 years - we have struggled.

We have struggled ugly...and hard...and weak.

We have battled through much.....we have battled each other, we have battled our pasts, we have battled intruders, we have battled addictions....

.....we have gone to war over this union.

(Gladly so. Fighting for a marriage is worth it.)

So to have him etch those words out as a reminder - it flat out makes me fall apart.

And it makes me fall right into him. (His plan all along, perhaps?...wink,wink.)

And it makes me grateful.

Because a man of this kind...

an undeserved, unwarranted, absolute gift from the hand of God.

To the one who wears the ring that matches mine:

You live Ephesians 5. You don't just read stride it out. And me? The recipient of it all? To be the one that gets lavished on in this way? It shows me Jesus. You bring Him into our union...into our family...into our home. You walk out the words of Paul....'love your wife'. And our children - they see God's Word played out here. Thank you a million times over. You're unparalleled. "LOVE HIM....RESPECT HIM" - it's now my anthem - and it's perched right there in the corners of my mind for you everyday. Thanks for showing me the way.

And friends, just for fun....just for proof....take a look at love leaked out, for yourselves:

Sunday, February 9, 2014



We will all pack diaper bags, and quickly feed children, and throw our Bibles in cars - and head down the highways and side roads to gather together again.

We may or may not be a few minutes late. Our children will probably pitch small fits as we drop them off at the sitters. And while the adults meet for Bible study and fellowship just down the road - all the Mama's will say a prayer and check their phones in hopes that all is well at the childcare house.

Thankfully, the company of all the others....the fellow parents, the singles, the divorced, the newly weds - will calm us.

We will put on name tags for the new ones as soon as we enter the door. Some type of fine Texas food will meet our noses and we will all fill  paper plates with southern goodness.

As people go to and fro from the kitchen - we will sit and engage and ask and listen and laugh and feel free. Free to be self - free to drop the facade - free to chase deep faith....together.

And then.....when all the tea and lemonade have made their way into Dixie's - and all the tacos or pizza or barbecue or casseroles are consumed.....we will pull chairs and stools and benches out of every nook and cranny in the house and we will glean.

From the teacher.
From the passage.
From the scripture.
From one another.
From the Spirit's speaking through it all.

And we'll nod, and rebuttal, and scribble down notes - as we sit in circles and take in all the company and all the wisdom shared.

But before the ladies find their purses and the men find their coats - we will do the most important work....

 of prayer.

Splitting into small gendered groups - this is where the vulnerable light shines bright - and this is where the things in our hearts get worked out.  

It's safe. It's real. And it's a balm.

Not in a corny kumbaya kind of way - but in a brave, comforting, needs-meeting kind of way.

We share the ugly, the beautiful, the true. And then we cover that stuff in petitions. 

At this point - the sitters house is busting at the seems and parents scramble out to vehicles to fetch children.

Then everyone...the marrieds, the singles, the searching....will all head home.

And we do so a little bit lighter, fuller, whole.....

thanks to.....

community group.

Because even us introverts.....we need others. And even though some of us have been burned in the community setting before.....and even though it can make us tired and turn us on to the weary of the world.....The Christian life was meant to be lived in a communal fashion. Living life shoulder to shoulder is best. Arm in arm is even better.

The risk of putting yourself out there - is worth it.

Pope Francis tweeted just last week that...."People can't save themselves. The community is essential."


The baby has woken up from his nap early. And here in the next hour I will put shoes on toddler feet, and fix the girls hair, and pack that diaper bag I mentioned, and usher them all out to the grey bullet of a Honda.....

and head towards togetherness.

And the God of the universe...

He will meet us there.