Monday, June 27, 2011





I have written lots recently about the ways that Jesus radically entered my life 4 yrs. ago and pretty much changed everything. 
I do this for one reason.
 Because I had no idea that He could.
Change EVERYTHING...
I was under the illusion that salvation meant that you prayed a prayer and life was instantly easy.
And boring.
And full of rules and people happy to let you know if you broke any.
It seemed naive.
And judgemental.
So I avoided Him.
And charted my own course.
I focused on all of the things that were supposed to make me feel on the inside the way other people looked on the outside.
I wanted more. I needed more. I deserved more.
My eyes focused only on the voids that needed filling.
And I tried harder and harder to write the story.
The one where I was the star.
And I kept coming up empty.
Afraid.
Exhausted.
Mad.
But one day I heard the right thing at the right moment.
And I chose.
I released my hands and surrendered the pen to Jesus.
It wasn't instant.
And I doubted.
It definitely hurt. 
What if?
Reborn and vulnerable,
it exposed me.
What if? What if? What if?
Surrender was scary.
It still is.
It forced clarity.
Many have not understood.
And the "what if's" have not disappeared entirely.
Joy seeped in.
Flooded in.
And it was different.
Radically different.
Simple.
Filling.
Relational.
Perfectly imperfect.
Always...imperfect.
ALWAYS.
A life now aware of  and transformed by moments, stories, choices, pain and blessings.
All of it designed to forever point me back to HIM.
Grace and deep dependency.
Truth.
Promises.
 And daily I learn to wait, to trust, to see.
To count.
This is how he fills the emptiness.
He is the gift.
His story is the only one that needs to be told.

Focusing my eyes on the gifts that are right in front of me and all joy,

  • beautiful and sweaty boy hugs, kisses and I love you's
  • a morning at the beach watching brothers laugh and ride waves
  • the tiniest seashells
  • 12 years of marriage...trusting and loving him more
  • hard conversations that lead to deeper understanding
  • long walks in muggy, hot weather
  • celebrations of baptism
  • the sound of beyblades in tupperware
  • aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and grandparents cheering on my oldest in his baseball tournament
  • his smile when he sees them all there and how he watches them
  • late night conversation with my brother
  • a seagull on the baseball field
  • girlfriends who tell it
  • grasshoppers
  • puppy love and hugs and kisses
  • singing in the car with the boys
  • the little people I get to work with who create and heal and trust me to walk beside them

Friday, June 24, 2011

WONDER

Here in the south, wonder and wander kind of sound the same.
As I am thinking through the word wonder, my mind keeps wandering and that is the way it goes with me most of the time.
I wonder about everything.
Choices, decisions, justifications, rationalizations, fears, forgiveness, celebrations, success...you name it...
I wonder about it.
I ask questions and try not to make assumptions.
Try is the key word.
And then I wander.
In and out, above and below, around and through the truth of my faith, the truth of His promises. 
I contrast this truth to the worldly interpretations, meanings and counsel that are abundant everywhere I go.
And I get confused.
And wonder.
When I will ever stop wandering from the Truth?




Monday, June 20, 2011

The Land of Rejection

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8)



I have been focusing on the word "obey" this year and don' you know that God has just thrown open the floodgates and taken lots of opportunities to show me just how disobedient I really am.
And because I like to torture myself by processing everything to death...
my disobedience has pointed me in an unlikely direction. 
The rocky, yucky, prickly plains of REJECTION.
God has used the first part of this year to shine a big ol' bright light on how rejected I still feel and how hard I still work to avoid feeling that way.
Uggh. And to think that I had no idea that I am still so insecure.
So last night, in a hot bubble bath I took a little mental ride through history and into the present. 
 I ended up with a crinkled nose and squinched eyes...it hurt that bad.
Here is a little preview:
I am the girl who morphed into whoever and whatever you wanted me to be to ensure I had your approval and you didn't walk away.
I am the girl who rejected others in an effort to ensure that no one rejected her. 
I am the girl who obsessed over and rejected her own appearance believing that clothing, highlights and numbers on a scale would prevent you from knowing how imperfect I felt on the inside.
I am the girl who got married but did not trust that her husband could lead her family and tried to control everything, even him.
I am the girl who overmanaged every aspect of her life in an effort to avoid criticism and rejection and ended up so anxious she could hardly leave the house.
This next one really hurts:
I am the girl who just realized that her lifelong fear of rejection has been impacting her view of her own children. The girl whose vision has been clouded because she has been trying so hard to prevent them from ever feeling the way she did.
OH yes, girl.
Obedience is hard. God has redeemed so much. I am transformed yet far from perfected.
I have experienced His freedom.
And He is not finished.
But sister, I am still a scared, hot mess and this is so not an all inclusive list!
I am coming clean on this one in whole hearted obedience because this is where JOY comes from.
I know that God will bring me past this sneaky fear that often masks itself as something else and continues to creep in when I least expect it.
Nothing I ever do will prevent me or my children from feeling rejection.
This world is hurting and it will hurt them. It hurts me all the time.
But they are not me, they have their own calling and I will not scar them, hold them back or diminish their light with my fears...my brokenness.
Jesus saves.
  I will walk with Him in transparency and brave my imperfections.
I will make every effort to point my children solely in His direction.
 I will pray for Him to guard their hearts and minds as I witness their stories unfolding.
And I will remember that God uses everything. Every experience. 
Every bump, bruise and open wound.
And everything calls me to Him.
Counting and counting His grace...

  • my youngest after a bath, "mom, i look shiny".
  • glitter


  • baseball with my oldest and the way God is using it to help me dig deeper and closer
  • my niece's dedication
  • my puppy who sees me through Jesus glasses
  • seeing a friend in a parking lot and being so excited by her blessing counting
  • "Bulletproof" and "Witness" by Nicole Witt played at full volume in my car
  • a full and double rainbow after a scary storm
  • blueberry muffins and scrambled eggs
  • my husband who has been oh, so very patient with wonderful me and seen me through many seasons
  • LAB who throws hundreds of balls and pitches without complaining and until they say they've had enough
  • a dedicated, Jesus loving father for my boys who understands sacrifice and works so hard
  • movie night, popcorn and snuggly boys
  • sleep
  • snow cones, hot dogs, chili fries, double bubble and pixie sticks for lunch



Friday, June 17, 2011

Home



So here are the rules for 5 minute Friday straight from thegypsymama.com
1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Go buck wild with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.


Home took on a whole new meaning the day that my father left. I was twenty-six years old, newly married and living in a different state but I loved going home.
My parents marriage had been tense and distant for many years but when I stepped into their home, I had hope.
Hope that change and a renewal of love and sacrifice was possible.
Hope that my presence, my brother and sister's presence, all of us being together and remembering better days would be enough. 
So when he left and did not turn back and moved into a new home with a new family, my 26 year old self had to accept that home would never feel the same...at least not in the way I craved and sometimes still do. 
Several years later, we welcomed home a 5lb 15 oz baby boy  and my life began to shake and shiver. I remember walking him through the doors of each room in our house and the way that hope and fear settled deeply into my bones. I was full of joy and scared to death.
This was a love I did not know and the walls that I had built to protect myself from hurting, believing, hoping began to reveal so many flaws.
And the more unsteady I became, the more I tried to control, the more I could feel Him pointing me towards  my Heavenly father and my real home.
And at home one night, sitting in an overstuffed chair, desperate with tears that seemed to stream forever, I opened my hands and received a new life, a new hope and a new forever home.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh my! What a weekend.
My sister and I headed to the NC mountains Friday for the Image of the Maker retreat with
Christa Wells, Nicole Witt and Ann Voskamp.

It was 24 hours of pure nourishment full of laughter, tears, creativity and brave transparency.
I just love being with groups of women and hearing redemption stories.
Combine that with some of the most beautiful worship music I have ever heard, an author who has surrendered her comfort zone in obedience to Christ and taught me how to count all over again and
 the chance to embellish a cross with glue, rhinestones and seashells.


Well, let's just say...it was pretty close to perfection.
I was unprepared however to be absolutely smitten by two beautiful Texans, runners from SC and KY, a NC author whose jewelry I just know I would love to raid, a Compassion advocate full of stories and talent and an incredible mother of 8!
It was truly the most amazing time...
embracing brokenness, the pea of possibility, giftedness, stewardship, long faithfulness, healing,
culture making and the lens of Jesus.
May all applause be for my Creator alone.
Dear God, lead me to faithful and joyful obedience and the courage to run towards your healing.


Counting the ways he loves,
  • Boys in swimming pools, dripping wet and welcoming me home
  • All the baseball mamas I met that laughed with me and understood
  • violins, voices and pianos that bring cleansing tears



  • just not being able to get enough of our 4 legged family member
  • a little one sooo dirty I couldn't help but smile
  • my oldest smiling, sweaty, arm around my waist and head on my side
  • LAB getting everyone where they needed to be while I was away
  • gifts given and stewarded well
  • all the possibilities of summer break
  • this post that i suddenly remembered this weekend and how very much I needed it at the time http://www.aholyexperience.com/2007/09/baptized/
  • this baptism that paved the way for her to join me this weekend (my sister) http://vimeo.com/19544839

Monday, June 6, 2011

And then came All Stars


 

 
So this post might make some people feel crazy and others just might relate, even if it's only a little bit.
I need to write this one to just break it down for me and me only.
This year after the regular season of coach-pitch baseball, my oldest son was asked to participate in "All-Stars". I did not grow up playing sports and had no idea what this "All Star" gig was all about. I was a "dancer" meaning that I spent an inordinate amount of time in a dance studio, going to competitions and conventions and auditioning for all sorts of productions.
While I look back at that time in my life with some fondness, I have never really wanted that kind of pressure or focus for my boys. I have only wanted for them to sense God's calling on their lives and follow Him.
When word of All-Stars made it's way to my ears, I actually prayed that God's will be done and believed that He would see to it that my summer was spent on the beach, eating pb&j's and collecting broken pieces of sand dollars and seaglass.
But then he was offered and accepted a spot on the team and the temptation began.

 

 

 
This post is not about my beautiful, amazing first born son who I love so much, it really does hurt sometimes.
It's about his terribly imperfect mother who has a superbly hard time getting it right and trusting the Lord in all things. In the red smoke screen of All-Stars...I lost my focus and I started to worry. A LOT. I worried about whether this was the right decision for our family, I worried about whether he had what it took, I worried about the pressure, I worried about the amount of practice time scheduled, I worried about his atttitude and whether his frustration at leaving his friends to go to practice meant he wished he had chosen differently.
Bless my heart....
I got lost in an All Star fog,  fell back into old coping patterns and decided to try and take over God's job. I forgot that my sweet boy is eight, that he is prone to various attitudes regardless of circumstances and that this was not a forever decision.
I forgot that he is not me and that my experiences don't have to define his.
I also forgot that whenever I try to take over, I wind up depressed, sad, anxious and the joy and peace just is not there.
And here is an even deeper yuck, ick, blah truth that I have not wanted to admit...I am the one who has a hard time handling the pressure. Yep, I have the DNA to go certifiably crazy. I fear getting overinvolved so it is easier to avoid a lot of new opportunities my children can participate in than face my own fears.
But God is so good. Yesterday it was as though He placed His hand on my head and brought me peace through one song and one sermon that refocused my attention on the one thing I had forgotten in my self-created All Star madness...
His sovereign grace. 
I have experienced this resistance because God can use it. He can use this experience to shape me, to mold my family, to reveal our strength's and weaknesses and to remind us that we are second and he is first. We are embracing our choice to participate today and who is to say that if we have a similar opportunty in the future, that we won't choose differently. I have heard Beth Moore say that we often don't know if we have made a good decison or a God decision until after the decision is made. The jury remains out on this one my friends. But for today, I will drink from this cup and give thanks. I will allow the resistance to make me stronger and  point me towards my Father.
And please try to offer me grace when you see me tearfully cheering on my blue eyed boy whether he hits, misses, drops the ball or makes a great play. To God be the glory.

 
Loving, learning and blessed by the counting:

  • An All Star boy that is really proud and a mama who might be stronger than she realizes
  • the anticipation of Kindergarteners in caps and gowns
  • High tide, pink sunsets and a hot grill
  • my first born learning with his mama and loving her
  • a bouncing, silly puppy that keeps us laughing
  • time to be creative
  • Christy Nockels, Waiting Here for You http://youtu.be/J3OEGnH5x8g
  • church nursery overflowing with children
  • love
  • beach days with friends
  • Image of the Maker Conference with Ann Voskamp this weekend
  • butterflies and blue skies
  • kind words, smiling faces and encouragement
  • the preciousness of my little one's red hair
 

Friday, June 3, 2011

5 minute Friday



Here are the rules straight from thegypsymama.com:


Indulge in five rich, delicious minutes of pure writing.


Tell your readers you’re linking up here and invite them to dig in too.


And most importantly, go visit, read, and compliment the five minute chef who served something up right before you.



Every Day...

Every day I wonder. I wonder about the future. About the choices I am making.
About who I am really living for.
It seeems like pressure abounds these days.
There are stories surrounding me of children living abandoned and in horrific poverty, children abused and neglected, children with horrible/preventable illnesses, children who have lost hope that they will ever have a family where love abounds.
And then there is the juxtaposition of my own children. We are so not perfect parents but we L-O-V-E these beautiful boys who are perfectly and wonderfully made even in their imperfections. We praise our Creator for allowing us to be parents...their parents.
We wrap them in blankets, snuggle tight and count blessings and milestones.
We make mountains out of molehills when it comes to how they will be educated, the activities they participate in and
how best to raise them to be on fire for and unashamed of our God.
And oh how the juxtaposition hurts.
Because even though I know that we are all loved and the cross reminds me of that every day, it still stinks that some of us don't get to be in earthly relationships
where someone is on fire for us.
And this reality, this reality that fills my little office, fills my computer screen and fills my heart reminds me to keep the fire burning and spread the Gospel message
by loving, loving, loving...every day.





The Joy Project 40

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