Friday, December 25, 2015

It is a Merry Christmas

The house is quiet.  Funny how I usually am praying for some peace around this time any other day.  Sitting here mixing between laughs from this morning and tears from this afternoon...I had a thought.  I wonder if this is how God felt when He watched his son wrapped so lovingly in a manger? Did his heart bend and break as He watched someone else love on his son?  Did He miss him? Is that what God was feeling?  I couldn't feel more thankful at the list of people who love my children.  To see them surrounded with family and friends that build into, take care of, and adore them.  My heart bursts to watch them spread the kind of joy that only innocent hearts can.  They are a source of beauty and sweet love to so many.  I can reflect on those things and feel so overwhelmingly grateful.  In those same moments, tears blur my journal page.  I long to be with them.  I wish to be a part of that joy.  I see pictures of their laughing faces and my own joy and sadness hold tightly together.  My children are loved.  My children are safe.  My children are hugged and kissed by people who want good things for them.  I can just imagine God watching Mary wrap Jesus and rock him so lovingly.  Was He hanging on her every lullaby? Did He feel conflicting emotions?  Does God do that sort of thing?  For me, today, I choose to believe He did.  He knows how I feel.  He trusted Mary to take care of his baby boy while He was here.  God loved her and knew Jesus would feel so well loved by her.  I am choosing to allow both tears and laughs to get me through the day.  The kids are being loved on by their daddy.  His joy in them is being grown.  They are in great hands.  I am known and I am loved.  It's for good.  It's all for goodness sake.

Monday, November 9, 2015

There were fireworks.

How do you say a million things at once?  How do you feel so incredibly humbled while your little world pats your back and strangers tip their hat?  How do you crumble from exhaustion while your mind keeps racing? How do you say thank you and you're welcome to every one you talk to?
I have felt more emotions in the past 2 weeks than I have in a time span that I can recall. The depth of those emotions has brought much needed clarity.
We all want to be known and we all want to be loved.  We put ourselves out there and hope someone takes notice.  We pray that we're the story that gets people to move, think, feel, snap out of it.  We daydream what it would be like to walk into a room and see glimmers of acceptance.  We use that for our hope.  We put all our effort in keeping our houses clean and smiles white...yet our houses are empty and we have absolutely no clue what makes our mouth naturally turn to the sky.
And then there is Willy.  His energy. His smile. His ability to remember EVERYONE.  His love for people that makes people flash back their pearly whites. This journey was what I could have only hoped for.  I laugh that I wish I would have combed my hair and put on makeup...had I only known that the world would meet me by that picture.  But then again...this was never about me.  Somehow my heart got put on a big screen and I held my breath.  There were no glimmers of acceptance.  THERE WERE FIREWORKS.  There was thunderous applause.  There were people standing as if to say, "I see something bigger than myself and I want to be a part."
On the Crossroads team we are sacrificial givers, tireless workers, and obsessive includers. This venture screams why the truth is magnetic.  People that read a story about someone they don't know donated money because it stirred their soul.  I wish I could tell you all the stories I've heard in the past two weeks.  Strangers pouring their hearts to me because I've become a safe place.  And their generosity to me was one of the most humbling things I think I will ever encounter.  Willie is the picture of a tireless worker.  I took him home tonight after dinner.  I may or may not have had a good cry as I realized just how far he pedals to sell those papers.  On a broken bike.  Lord forgive me for the unthankful parts that are too overwhelming to even look at.  We don't strive for those things because it's trendy. We strive for them because it's what our hearts naturally long to hold on to.  If you love Jesus or don't believe in His love for you...it's still down in there.  Somewhere.  This fund caught fire because we want to see good.  We want to see it and we want to be a part of it.  We want to fuel it.
Thank you.  Everyone.  This campaign has started so many sparks.  Willie and I plan to meet every month for dinner.  Maybe one day we'll invite the rest of the world.  But for now...we have a friendship to foster.
You're doing great work.  Keep going.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The time to love is NOW.

Growing up, my favorite Precious Moments Bible story was "The Good Samaritan". I still remember sitting up at night, the pastel heart comforter tucked tightly around my body as to not let spiders, bugs, or monsters creep in my sheets. My tiny mind would strain to think of what the men who walked by the bleeding man might look like. I couldn't do it. I simply wasn't able to imagine a face of someone who could do such a thing.
Tonight, hopping on facebook for the first time in a few days, I am bombarded with gut wrenching pictures. Babies. Those sweet babies. I try to imagine them alive, preparing for the trip. I try to imagine their parents. I can't. I can't do it. I literally went in and picked up my sleeping babes and cried while I squeezed their tiny bodies. Charlotte had come down about six times with excuses as to why she was still not asleep. The last time I sent her to her room without another hug goodnight. She cried her tired tears and I went back to trying to fix a broken toilet (really I was just staring at it and feeling sorry for myself). I see these pictures of kids and I have to wake her up to let her know I hugged her and that I love her and man...who could turn these people away?
If I had a boat or a plane or a contraption to help me fly, I would get those people, one by one. If those people were to make it here, I would feed them food and listen to their stories, and help them heal any way I could figure out how. Isn't that what we are called to do? Isn't that part of our story? How could we not? Are the same people who think we shouldn't bring them here more than likely the same people who don't care where their products are from as long as it's a better deal? That might be presumptuous of me but if you are reading this and this is you...you are who I am talking to.
I can't even think right now about what else we could/should be doing. I had to stop looking at facebook with all the bickering and finger pointing about the lady (who's name I can't remember) and her stance on issuing a gay marriage license. How about we use facebook with a purpose other than just stating our opinion? How about we save lives and take action? REAL EFFING ACTION. I just know that the pope has the right idea...and if any refugees want to come to my house, you should believe they would get a meal, hugs, and my support.
You can join me. https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-rt-hon-theresa-may-mp-we-are-willing-to-house-syrian-refugees-please-rescue-more-of-those-fleeing-the-conflict?recruiter=376798648&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

Friday, August 21, 2015

Love wins.

Think about all the things you have done in your life.  The beautiful things (we can probably find those on Facebook). The honorable things (we can probably find those on Facebook). The fun things (we can probably find those on Facebook).  See a trend?  It's not a bad one.  I enjoy watching other people enjoy things.  Now think about those things you did that you shouldn't have done.  Go back to those parts of your memory you wish to forget ever happened.  Take a moment and reflect on those moments you did/said the unthinkable.  Maybe no one knows.  Maybe your very best friend or your spouse knows.  Imagine if it was put up for the world to know.  And then you were mocked.  You are no less a victim than a villain.
Here is my two cents about Mr. Duggar.  He was clearly wrong.  Clearly.  What he did is incredibly sad and hurtful, not only to people who have looked to him as an example...but to his wife and children.  The snide remarks I have seen against him rock my core.  Yes EVERYONE he was wrong.  He should be held accountable.  But look at the big picture here. We teach our children to be kind yet we cyber bully a perfect stranger and share and spread the hate.  I just don't understand why you feel power over someone who is wrong?  They are wrong.  Life is not fair. It is not your duty to deliver the thrashes. I know this because I've been there.  I've held that rock with perfect aim.
This world is so full of hate.  Honestly, at times, I struggle to keep it at bay.  I have my own hurts.  I have my own feelings about all of this.  Most importantly I have my own sin that gives me plenty to focus on (and the grace that covers a repenting heart). I have said and done MANY MANY MANY things I am not proud of.  Some I have shared with trusted friends and asked for forgiveness.  Some, I will take to my grave, as only I know where my wondering heart has taken me.
I just ask, that before you throw stones at a person who will undoubtedly receive his consequence, throw grace.  Grace doesn't look like acceptance.  Grace looks like forgiveness and the awareness that we have all fallen short.
I don't come at this from a pedestal.  I come at this subject from someone who has searched every last part of my soul for forgiveness of myself and others. Hate doesn't make hate ok (the comments about Christians worrying about gay marriage ruining the sanctity).  Hate breeds more hate with deeper roots and vicious cycles.  Just my two cents.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The only words I could find.

When we look at the world around us, we see what we want to see. Big pictures of societies turning wrong directions. Small communities rising up to fight bitterness with forgiveness. As the view narrows we see friends suffer. Families come together.
Tonight my heart swirls.  We can be angry at things that don't add up. We can shake our fists at what life gives...or takes away. I can walk a very clear line of how unfair situations may feel.  It's easy to be sad.  I don't like easy. I like answers. Answers I will never receive.
I can get caught up in my tiny little world.  My mind, my circumstance, my pain.  Until I step away and see a friend suffer through what I would say is unimaginable loss. My grief seems petty in comparison.  And that's where it got me.  As I sat here and thought about what her heart is feeling and tried to imagine...I couldn't.  I can't compare.  Nor should I even try.
We all have a story.  We all have a path.  All the while we can look at ourselves, our community, our world and ask Jesus to get back here at once and save us from ourselves...I find these moments empowering to stare at my fears, hold tightly to the pain my loved ones might be feeling and cry out to that same Jesus...help me see clearly.  Help me fight.  Give me words, wisdom, grace. Take my expectations of myself and others and what I think life should look like and replace them with a heart that seeks truth and runs, no sprints toward what is right.  There, and only there, will I ever find the peace I long for. Only in that sweet spot will I have eyes that lead me out onto the water from this boat.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Beauty for the Broken

There are significant times in your life when you close your eyes, hold your breath, and use every ounce of energy to remember how you are feeling at that very instant.  Most that come to mind are the ones that give us life in our weary bones...from the exchanging of vows, to the first cry of new life.  Tonight as I sit here covered in blessings, cursing, tears, regret, and unfiltered hope...I can only thank Jesus that I can experience all of those at once. I hold tightly to promises that he has plans to prosper me. I burn these feelings to my most inner core. My secret places.  The push and pull of grace feels as if I am breathing underwater.  It's frightening and empowering all at once.
My head spins with options, decisions, proclamations. I am good enough.  No, I am great enough.  I am worth it. I am willing.  I am able.  I am defeated. I am gracious.  I am angry.  I will overcome...  not alone, but with the great cloud of witnesses that surround me and hold up my feeble arms and weak knees.  They carry me when I just can't.  They text. They call.  They bring food. They send money.  They cry with me. They care.  They are the audible voice of a God who loves me authentically. He is the perfect friend. He is the perfect Daddy.  He is the perfect husband.
The hard path gets it's name because you fight an uphill battle.  You work. You sweat. You cry. You want to give up.  The true gift isn't when you make it to the end of the valley.  It's the encouragement and beauty you get along the way.  Without suffering we can never truly dive into grace.  We can never know the blessing of a friend that steps into the pit with us.  We can't possibly understand the suffering that is bleeding out around us. We could not fathom that the earth could sink so low.
When I was in Jordan, one of my last days there, a woman asked me to her home for dinner.  I thought it was just a "goodbye" dinner. She had much more for me.  She told me that God gave her a vision for me.  It was a man who carried two pots down to the water to bring back to his home. However, one of the pots was cracked on the bottom.  By the time he got it home each day, all the water had leaked out. Someone asked him why he still carried the broken pot as it did not do it's job.  He laughed and said, "Look at the path.  It's filled with beautiful flowers that were watered with the broken pot.  It was doing it's job...just not what was expected." She then went on to tell me that God wanted me to know that beautiful things would come from my brokenness. What the world would discard, God would use for something amazing.  How beautiful to watch it all unfold.
All this to say, in your times of despair, take heart. Don't close your eyes and wish the pain away. There is so much beauty to behold.