Friday, March 28, 2014

For Somebody Besides Me

I had read that passage dozens of times.

I had underlined and starred certain sections.

I knew the story in and out and could tell you the beginning, middle, end.

Yes, I had heard about Lazarus - all wrapped and cold and days dead in a tomb..... answering the call of a Savior telling him to come out.

My mind's eye had conjured up the image, many times, of a stenched dead man rising to life and stumbling out of a cave tomb.

I had pictured Mary and Martha - Lazarus' sisters wailing in grief over the loss of their kin - only to then picture them at the feet of Jesus.... crumbled in heaps of thanksgiving and outright awe.

But yesterday - sitting on the far side cushion of my stained couch, under a broken lamp shade that fell prey to a soccer ball being kicked in the house -

A certain verse from Laz's story leapt off the printed page and settled down right into the depths of my soul.

This is what the Lord said to Martha right before her brother was brought back to the land of the living....

Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40)

Read that again. Roll around in it, if you will. Let it tumble off your tongue and let it seep deep into your psyche.

Ah. Somebody besides me needs to sit on that verse for a while.
"Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"

The reading of this passage was so timely and pertinent for me - and the Spirit knew it.

So in His goodness, He all but highlighted that verse, as I sleepily made my way through Bible reading that morning.

It was as if the Lord was sitting right in front of me....asking me the very same question.

You see - there's been lots of changes taking place in these parts lately. There's been a job change. There's soon to be a slight location change. And the trajectory of our lives has shifted a bit.

All good. All God. 

But change is change. And leaving something known for something new - it can feel risky and odd and it can be dredged in worry. It's certainly been all those things....


When God's hand is on something or somebody - your doubt-filled mind will eventually end up seeing it.

And see it, I have.

Oh friends....just in the last week alone - God's provision has been unprecedented. His presence has been thick and His direction glowing.

I cry at the thought of it.

It had all come to a head the night before. All the blessings and gifts and guidance that the Lord had been providing....all came into the light at once. Many of the whys and whens and wheres - were revealed.

And so - sitting there with my Bible open to John, with all the blondes still quiet in bed... He asked me...

"Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" 

And my bottom jaw fell open a bit - and I sat in silence for a moment and I answered Him aloud...

Yes. Yes! Good Lord, yes.

And so today - if you find yourself on the dark side of things....if you find your life dead and drying in certain areas - I urge you to believe! And if you struggle to believe.....tell Him! Ask Him! For even our faith in Him comes from Him!

What a gracious God!

And then - when you have stood in the faith He Himself has given you....and when divine time is right...

You'll behold His glory. You will.

And when He asks you....

"Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" 

Sister, you will give a hearty and a resounding head-nod of a 'yes!' as you blink through faith-filled tears.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Be encouraged. You'll witness His wild glory and grace before too long, sweet one.

It's on it's way.


*Note: Right before I hit the publish button on this happy little post here, I got an email with disappointing news. Nothing serious, just something dear. Something that I had gotten optimistic about that fell flat. Very flat. So know - I'm well aware that being hopeful.....can be very hurtful, at times. Therefore, on many fronts I stand with you.....waiting. Waiting for grace and glory to come in. Hugs to you all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The trampoline's been our teaching table here lately.

Since Spring has mostly sprung in these parts, bringing a new warm wind with it - the blondes like to sit in the sun and study....rather than sit in a seat inside.

And I'm with them.

There's something about open air that opens up the mind, it seems.

So this morning - with the sun rising high and hot....we started out our day with Bibles sprawled on black canvas.

And we did our memory verse, and we added to our gratefulness journal, and we prayed over prayer requests....

All out there under a blue Texas heaven - suspended over a thick ground cover of clover.

And the break of the day - with it's breeze and sent us flying.

Or walking, rather.

Usually after Bible study - we do phonics, handwriting, math.

But today - after cracking open those Scripts under sunshine - we hit the pavement.

For over an hour we stopped to stamp buttercups on our hands, and we gathered weed flowers, and we watched ducks land on bayous, and we heard turtles diving into water, and we breathed deep and long of all things outside. 

Our afternoon was much more 'productive'.

We did eventually get around to opening up those lesson books - and we did tend to everyday chores - and we did go through the ins and outs and ups and downs of our ordinary day...

just not until after we reveled in creation for a while.

As for our wasn't as generative, I suppose .

Nothing got checked off the to-do list early today. A few emails didn't get sent. The laundry isn't as caught up as it should be. No....there isn't too much to show for our 9-12 time slot.

Not today.

Except, of course....

grin-streaked, sun-kissed faces.

And as a Mama who finally understands that freedom in the outdoors can sometimes be more fruitful than a long lecture in a hard desk seat inside...

I'm okay with that.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Preparation and Prayer

He spent most of his spare moments this past week...

praying for revelation, peering into commentaries,  and pouring over scripture.

He stayed up late, and got up early, and filled his lunch hour seeking and studying.

Because this whole preaching thing - it's precious.

The magnitude of it isn't missed on him.

The weight of presenting the very Gospel to people...the enormity of interpreting scripture... the value in sharing personal experience - it's all very heavy and grand and eternal.

And he knows it.

With no seminary degree, no theology classes, no pastoral training - it's all a stretch, really.

But oh....

It's when we're all stretched out for Him ....that He shows up for us.

There's no hype - just Holy. There's no training - just tracking.....

....with the Spirit - who is always so graciously faithful to fill and provide and roll out something new, needed, good.

My husband's been preaching every odd once in a while for years now.

And it still tickles me.

And it thrills me.

Because there's something about us coming to the Lord with nothing - nothing but our weaknesses and pasts and failures - that urges Him to give to the point of overflow.

It was St. Augustine who said "God gives where he finds empty hands."

There's such a calmness to that, isn't there?

Likewise - the Lord told Paul....“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

How gracious!

He's in the bathroom now - shut away from the loud noises of children...running through his notes.

And the wife here is praying....

asking for the Spirit to be thick
for people to be loosed of dark chains
for movement
for direction
for purpose
for healing
and yes....

for hearts to be bound to the One who frees. 

Exalt Yourself tomorrow, Lord
Get people and pride and prowess out of the way
Remove distraction
Expose shallow roots
And plant us all deep and down-reaching.


For them.
For him.
For me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


There's a vase of lilies on the dining table....

...all green and white and ready to open up in beauty. Every hour they expose themselves more - allowing us to see a pearl hue inside.


Just across the way...there's a seven year old boy blonde in the living room - setting up yet another train apparatus... that will take up half our living space.

This same train engineer of ours pulled not one...but two of his teeth on Friday. The baby is gone and the big boy has come.

Toothy, silly, and smart.

Sprawled out next to him is his Daddy - aiding in locomotive assembly - scaffolding our firstborn man-child so he can problem solve and make adjustments and handle life as it twists and turns, rises and falls.

This blessing of a man I married finds himself right in the midst of major changes himself, right on the verge of risk taking, right on the fringes of something new, uncertain.

The two youngest are quiet. Both bundled up in bed for nap. The youngest is fighting a fever that sprang from the shadows unexpectedly.

And I'm here - with candle dancing, and Pandora  playing....

trying to process life's shifts:

Buds to flowers
Babies to boys
Certain to uncertain
Well to ill

Sometimes....change happens all sudden like.

And ready or not - transition is immanent.

Knees tend to knock and hit the hard floor. 
Minds usually scatter and emotions fly.
Backs can ache - curving at the pressure....

Like the stretching and bending of the arched petals of those lilies.
Like the pushing through of adult teeth.
Like the coming of new roles.
Like the suddenness of an illness.

Yes - life has it's way of pouncing, doesn't it?

In both the good and bad. Life is usually a mixture of both, it seems.

But in it all - there's artistry.

That Creator of ours - using all things to push forth life and grace and goodness.

If you find yourself in a season of sudden change or in a moment of drastic turn-around....whether it was welcomed or not - understand that you have praying company.

Knowing that others are pitching up similar petitions because they are walking down parallel paths.... this helps us to take one more confident step into the shaky unknown. the lilies adorning my dining room....arc and open up and seize the change as best we're able.

And as we do so -  the bouquet is brilliant. 

Abba Father,

We crawl into your lap and nestle in...
knowing that no matter what changes here...
You're always there. 
And You're always aware. 
And always working for our good. 
Show us this...
And let us see it and feel it and know it. 
Speak to us loud - in Your Word.
In community
In the Spirit
In the everyday. 
Lead us during this time of change and uncertainty, God. 
Let us see Your hand on us. 
We thank you for Your presence and nearness. 
We thank you for this unique season.
Please let it be fruitful and worth it. 
Make us into a people that trust You. 
Bind every heart that passes by this Your heart, Father. 
In Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In the Hush

The sky was wispy pink this morning.

With cirrocumulus clouds stretched out over an early sky and a cold chill in the early-bird air....

....the oldest and I had to run out the door for a good long look.....

....because seeing spectacles through the lens of a window just often times won't do. 

The colors and majesty that arched over the atmosphere were thrilling.

Noticing the beauty of a sunrise is a grand way to start the day, yes?

There's such a quiet miraculousness to it.

The sun doesn't make a sound as it ascends and begins to shine. It doesn't shout to all that it's about to light up the next 12 or so hours.  There's no announcement or attention drawn. 

It just comes up and does it's gleaming.

Motherhood is a bit like that.

Here in the home - there's no applause or accolade or congratulations. It's all unseen. The work, the repetitive, the grind - it's all hidden here within these walls.

But...'s also hidden in tiny hearts.

Hearts that belong to three blonde birdies that will leave this nest one day - and pour out to the world the things that have been stored in the very crevices of their character.

The things I pour into them - might not be noticed now - but they will leak out eventually.

The same is true in pastorhood -

- those men and women who sink low, and deflect praise, and tend to the downtrodden, and fill cups and offer out Hope.

In our day though - it seems as if it's almost swanky to be a minister.  For many, it's become a very public thing. An external thing....loud and opinionated and frugal.

This scares me. Not just for pastors, but for everyone.

Because when all our works and toils and offering become fodder for the masses - when we end up being compensated for every sacrifice - when we let our goodness go viral...we run the risk of letting that worldly attention be our only reward.

Pity us if this is so.

But those works and actions and loves that are done in the secret - in the humble hush of the obscure - ah, a heavenly reward awaits for them.

Christine Cain calls this living in the dark room.

Like those photographs of old that had to be processed in the dim - are we, as we torque and spin in our love labor everyday.

While there certainly can be seasons where our works will be seen by others (to glorify God alone) - the most serious and worthwhile things we do - take place in the lackluster shadows.

But yes - like birds leaving the nest and cups running over and ripples rolling, reaching - the love and sweat and time and attention that comes forth from us in the dusk....

...will leak out into the day... at some point - in some way - through someone.

The skies have darkened over now. A blanket of white hovers high.... and rain seems imminent. 

But the sun - it's still doing it's duty...

even behind a widespread curtain of clouds.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent 2014

Ah, we're walking the road that leads us to the cross again, friends.

We're journeying toward that God-Man sacrificed on a tree....

...where ultimately - we'll find ourselves at an empty tomb.

An empty one! Hallelujah.

Oh that we may behold this season.

Lent - that section of about a six weeks time where we believers can prepare our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls - for grasping God on Easter.

That time of focused prayer, intentional study, self-denial, listening in, and looking on....

...not out of religious obligation or dogmatic guilt - but out of wanting to really get God....

...out of really wanting, hear Him, see Him, know Him, behold Him.
It's one thing to be saved by the Lord - yes! Glory for it! But it's another to be swayed by Him.

It's a whole 'nother thing entirely to be moved, changed, undone, held-together, taught, encouraged - by the One who wove us all.

Because when you get even just a toe-tip taste of His grace.....
You end up wanting full submergence.

You end up wanting to draw nigh to Him - because you already have drawn nigh to Him - and you know that

Enter Lent 2014.

What better time than now....during these weeks leading up to His sacrifice and rising?....for us all to really enter in.... to the Holy of Holies.

Because we can! Because Jesus came and tore the veil - we CAN know His presence!

Let it never be commonplace! Let that fact always be significant!

When you think of Lent - you might simply think about what you will let go of for a month and a half.

I get that - I've given up something, too.

But this year - let's let Lent go past the surface, past the dermis - and let it really linger in the depths of those places that need a reawakening to the Light.

 During these 46 or so days - let's knock on the door....let's be intentional.....

In quiet moments with Him.  
In creating an inner sanctuary with Him no matter what kind of noise haunts.
In really honing in on what the gospels say about our Christ.
In pouring out confessions to Him.
In hearing Him and then acting accordingly.
In really experiencing the King.

Friends, knocking..... results in knowing.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. - Matthew 7:8

This Lenten season - Lord, let us go all in. Yes!

I trust - I know - that when we finally let our knuckles do some knocking this year- He will answer the door. 

His Spirit has been the One beckoning us to the door frame all along anyway :)