Monday, June 29, 2015

Love Won
















Would you believe me if I said I believe homosexuality is a sin AND I love and care about all people, including those who identify as homosexual?


In the wake of the supreme court's decision last week, it would seem that the only way #lovewins is if I endorse both homosexuality and the right of homosexuals to marry.

But I don't, and I can't. 

As a follower of Jesus, I'm bound to both grace and truth. I realize the Christian church has had a hard time keeping a firm grasp on both of these, but the one is lost without the other.

Truth without grace ignores Jesus' sacrifice and our inability to save ourselves. It makes little of love, because love is what gave birth to grace.

Grace without truth is a lie. It denies our guilt before a righteous God and makes Jesus' sacrifice useless. He becomes nothing more than a good man who showed us how to love our neighbor and died for . . . . . what?


Much has been said lately about keeping silent in the face of sin and injustice. People's passion for the oppressed has caused them to overcome fear of ridicule and even hate. It is this spirit in which I'm writing. I realize my stance lends itself toward being labeled as hatred, and that's scary. But I won't allow fear to silence me. 

I'm writing because of love. The love of God shown to me through Jesus, and the love I have for Him, for His word, for truth, and for the costly grace He secured for me and all who would repent of their sins and call on His name. 

Yes, love won on Friday . . . Friday a couple thousand years ago on a hill in Jerusalem.



Because love won on the cross and will win in our world, I will love. 

(I commend to you the entire chapter as an accurate & beautiful description 
of Christian love . . . "the kind of love the Father has given to us")

#lovewon




Friday, June 19, 2015

Morning Walk


Creator
You embody action and purpose in beauty



















It's been said the process is the purpose
But oh, how I lust after accomplishment


But You
You are I am




















There is no artificial divide
Creator. Create. Creation.




















Joy woven throughout



















Would You sanctify my mimicry?

Infuse

Reveal




































The holy



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Weathering the Storms














Credit: cjohnson7/Used with permission.


My husband Jeff is an air traffic controller at an enroute center. What that means is he works in a big dark room with a couple hundred radar scopes with green blips representing airplanes. The air traffic between airports is managed by the controllers sitting in front of those scopes.

The months of May through August are the hardest months to be an air traffic controller at an enroute center, because that’s when the most storms occur. It’s known as SWAP season. SWAP stands for Severe Weather Avoidance Plan.

The controllers do their best to guide planes around the severe weather. Remember that the next time your plane's takeoff is delayed . . . you’re probably happier sitting in a cramped airplane on the ground than one in the middle of a thunder storm in the air! 

But sometimes the storm is unavoidable, and the plane must fly through it.

Storms are a rich and often used analogy for the Christian life. In the Bible, there are numerous stories of storms. I appreciate that, because the longer I live the more it seems storms are the rule than the exception.

This morning I was reading about the biggest storm of all . . . the flood in Genesis. It’s a familiar story, but what struck me was that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came! 

Though rain had never fallen, I can’t help but wonder how many “storms” Noah had already encountered in his lonnnnng life! 

I want to live long. I used to tell my kids that I planned to live till 105. But after my mom’s death, I decided I’d leave the length in God’s hands (since it is anyway) and make my goal to live all the days I’m given well.

But 600 years?! I don’t think my soul could weather a life’s portion of that many storms.

I’m not even halfway to 100, and my body feels like it’s giving out on me many days. My soul gets weary and wonders how to face another twenty-four. Some days (and long nights) the storms feel like they’re going to take me right under.

And then I remember . . . “The wind and waves still know your name.”

Our Father made the storms. 

His Son silenced them. 

And as His children, we weather the storms of life best when our eyes are fixed on Him.

Today, your storm may be threatening clouds on the horizon, thunder and lightning in your present circumstances, or a raging flood in your soul. In the face of life's storms, there's another "cloud" we need to remember.


Because whether His plan is to take you around or straight through, He is the best one to navigate your storms.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Life On Vacation

















"As soon as I stepped foot on the beach, I could feel the stress melt away."

My freshly tanned friend looks like she's just returned from vacation. Her golden skin gives it away, but there's something else too. The tension in her face and body is gone, and her eyes come to life as she describes her family's short getaway.

Our conversation continues, as we discuss what it is about vacation that makes life so enjoy-able and how we might bring some of the vacation lifestyle home.


We may not be able to bottle the ocean's negatively charged ions, but I believe we can harness some great life lessons from our time away by looking at some of the most enjoyable facets of vacation!


SIMPLICITY

Vacations are manageable! We have limited clothes, limited stuff, and limited food. The clothes we bring are comfortable, practical, and usually our favorites. We may have a book or two, just enough stuff to meet our needs, and a few diversions. Meals are usually simple and planned or, even better, eaten out!

The key word here is limited. A vacation powerfully reveals how not only are we fine with just a few things, but we're actually much happier and freer!































EXPECTATIONS
Fun tops our "to do" list on vacation. Our days are designed to meet both our needs and desires. Yes, work has been set aside, and that certainly makes it easier. But there's something about expecting to enjoy your day and family that positions your attitude to receive good things.























INTENTIONAL REST
Rest finally gets its due! Our days have rest built into them with books, naps, and other leisure. If we stay up late, we can sleep in! For the first time in a long time, we really feel how tired we are, and we rest.




























JESUS
Our maker and lover of our souls is found in stillness and deep breaths. On vacation, we slow down enough to see His glory in the sunset, the stars, the waves, the trees. We hear his voice and pleasure in the quiet and the raucous laughter of our loved ones. He reminds us in powerful ways of His love for us and His good gifts.




















It's tempting to believe that it's the ocean, the condo, or the ice cream every night that makes vacations so magical. 

Our hearts yearn and strategize how to get back to that place, until we resign ourselves to the reality that it only happens for a few short days once a year. And we go back to "real life."

But what if the way of life on vacation is meant to be our reality? 


What if the life God promises His children is what we're tasting when we're on vacation? 

Could it be that what we experience on vacation is not meant to be dessert but our main course?

Ultimately, I believe we find a bit of ourselves again on vacation.




Recently, our family was offered two free vacations . . one in the Florida Keys and another in Puerto Rico! Unfortunately, we can't take advantage of either offer. I'm tempted to be bummed, but I know the real blessing of a vacation is the mindset and not the location. 

As we begin making plans for our upcoming week at the river,  I'm excited and looking forward to simple days, fun and rest, and time with family and Jesus. 

And today, I'm working on making those things a part of life at home.
























Come back to the Lord and live! 
~Amos 5:6




I'm linking up with Holley Gerth & Jennifer Dukes Lee!








Monday, May 25, 2015

A Prayer for Our Soldiers & Resurrected Dreams


























“There’s nothing glorious about war, Mom.” With eyes focused straight ahead on the road, Josh spoke with all the conviction that comes from a newfound revelation.
I listened as I drove him home for spring break from the Naval Academy. A history major at a military academy, Josh was getting an in-depth education on the history of war and all its atrocities.
He continued to tell me how the evils of war are unimaginable. Hellish even. “I can’t even tell you about most of them,” he said protectively.
And I saw the dream dim.
Please join me at the God-Sized Dreams website for the rest of this story and a prayer for our military.



Saturday, May 9, 2015

Messy Mother's Day Sentiments


Me, Mom, & Missy

I always worried about what to give her. So I usually sent her a book.

She said I was really great at picking out cards, the Hallmark kind. I guess I had a knack for finding sentiments expressed by other people to match my own. But over the years, it got harder.

Life has a way of taking the stuff we feel like is solid and orderly and making a big, fat confusing mess of it all. Relationships that you thought were just fine, even really good, have a way of morphing a bit as the seasons change. That’s what mine and Mom’s relationship was like . . good, confusing, messy.

In the ten years before she passed, there wasn’t a card that even began to have enough or the right words to sum up my sentiments. I won’t go into the details. I’m still figuring them out myself. But in a way it’s easier now, because they’re somewhat static. 

I read once that when someone dies you are given the gift of their entire life. Your relationship is no longer confined to what’s right in front of you and a few select memories. Instead, you have their whole life, and the present and the past begin to level out until they have equal ground. Childhood memories merge with those of adulthood into one big box of memories, both good and bad.

And for me, the more recent hurts and conflicts, the mess, it seems to have a way of blending into the background of happy memories as they've begun to resurrect.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Exactly eight months after her death on September 10, it will be the first one I’ll ever live without my mom. This year I’m not worrying about what to give her, but I wish I was.

Instead, I’m reminiscing and loving my mom in every memory of every season. I will share that detail. Love marked our relationship. That’s what kept us in it even when it got hard. 

And that seems to be sentiment enough.

I made her a mom.




























She loved our family so well.


She loved Dad really well too.


Mom left us all a beautiful bouquet of memories.


My friend Laura Brown wrote a book about moms and memories. Everything That Makes You Mom: A Bouquet of Memories is designed to help you recall memories of your mom, record them and then give her your "bouquet." But if your mom has passed or you're in one of those messy seasons right now, maybe you'd enjoy using it like I have and filling it out on your own. For you. Sometimes just a sweet sniff of even a messy bouquet can do a world of good for a daughter's soul.



I'm giving away a copy. Enter below!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mom, You're Enough

























Sam's half-numb smile.

"Can you please come back?"

Hurriedly, I grab my bag and walk back to where I just left Sam minutes earlier after reassuring him I'd be in the waiting room. "If you want me just point, and someone will come get me."

"He wants you here," the dentist says, as I sit in the chair they've set just outside the room.

"I'm here, Buddy." I reassure him from behind in the hopes that my voice will be enough to set him at ease.

My presence. That's all I can give him.

The dentist continues her procedure. I watch. His foot wiggles and shakes. His hand tenses and squeezes his leg. And with every motion my teeth clench and my stomach knots.

I'm a mom. So his pain hurts me.

Sam is 11 years old and enduring a root canal. Plagued with teeth problems for years, his pediatric dentist says it's due to him being born prematurely . . that his teeth didn't get sufficient enamel. I'm sure being the youngest and having a mom who is a tad less vigilant with diet and dental care on number six than she was on kids one to five doesn't help. But I'll take the dentist's explanation and anything to relieve mom-guilt!

"Do you feel pain?" she asks.

He nods. I frown. He's always had trouble getting numb. He's one tough kid! His dentist says he's better than 99% of the adults she sees.

So I sit. And pray that God would guide her hands and keep him calm and lessen his discomfort.

She keeps asking him if he's okay. He keeps saying, "Uh, huh." I love that kid.

I'm not used to sitting still and doing nothing (hence I type out this post with thumbs on my iPhone). I'm a fixer. But I'm not a dentist, and I can't do root canals.

Even though he can't see me, Sam wants me near. That's all I can give and as far as I can go to "fix" this trying situation for my son.

I want to go rub his foot like I did earlier when he was being shot up with Novocain. But I'd get in the way. So I sit.

Soon enough it's over, and my warrior rises from the chair battle worn but triumphant. And still smiling.

But he's not offering to show the dentist card tricks like he was when we arrived. He's ready to go!

On the drive home I praise him for being strong. And then I ask him, "Why'd you want me back there with you?"

"I just did."

"It can be scary, huh?"

"I wasn't scared. I just wanted you there."

And a window opens in my never enough paradigm. A possibility.

My presence. Not my work. Not my words. Not even my touch. Just my presence.

It is enough.



A repost