Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Daily Adoring #49: In the Messy

It never fails - the moment the whir of the mixer begins, his four year old feet come running to our kitchen table and he wrestles his chair over the rug near the sink and presses it up close to the counter.

He climbs up, with much pomp and flair and leans in close against my arm. Which, apparently is never close enough because before I know it, he is on top of the counter with his nose inches from the bowl.

I crack-a the eggs, Mama? Please? I won't make a mess! 

And his hopefulness is tempered by the reality that nearly half of every egg ends up on the side of the bowl or on the far depths of the floor - egg cracking is a skill he is still learning.

Without any prompting this past week, as he bowed his head with his daddy to pray for the day - with eyes pressed tightly closed his prayer included a form of this request,

And Jesus? Help me to crack-a the eggs good!

I sometimes wonder if part of the fascination of watching me in the kitchen isn't to see how a jumbled pile of the dry and the wet coming together all sticky and clumpy transforms into something that deeply satisfies the senses.

I could be over-complicating the thoughts in his mind, true. But that hand that reaches out to touch the stilled beater and swipe a gooey bit of dough reveals a lot more than it hides.

His mama makes messes.

And not just the culinary kind.

I make messes that are soul deep and heart wrenching and the outcomes are rarely ever good.

I think of those recipes I follow that call for the tablespoon of baking powder and the teaspoon of salt and I realize too late that I've mixed up one with the other and they both have become irretrievable - the dough is ruined and the only thing it's good for is the trashcan under the sink.

Is there a trashcan large enough for life's big screw-ups?


I didn't think so.

But there are potatoes.

Not much use in baking, they are the saving grace in an over-salted pot of soup simmering on the stove. Too much salt? Throw in a potato and it soaks in the excess and saves what should be thrown away.

Saving grace.

I mess up daily in big and small ways but there is One Who looked through all the moments of time and decided that for His purposes and plans to be fulfilled, right here in this place and time, He needed to create me.

Not, create a mess.

But, create me.

Before the creation of the world He looked ahead to all of the moments I would get right and all those moments where I would stumble around in my sin and before I even existed He hung on that tree, taking in of those sins to present me holy and pleasing before a Holy and Loving God.

The cross held my Saving Grace.

He created me - in fearful and wonderful ways, whether my soul knows that full well or not. The Creator created me and regardless of the cracked and broken places of a heart being healed and made new and He has made me His Own.

There is no sweeter truth - to know that in spite of my failings, He loves me. His Life given is greater than my sin and His Life raised transforms with Grace the ugly that sin creates.

He is the One Who created Me and because of His Grace and my simple faith, I am His.

                             Know that sthe Lord, he is God!
                   It is he who tmade us, and uwe are his;1
           we are his vpeople, and wthe sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3


You are Creator, Holy and Strong, and You call me to know You. It's an invitation terrifying and beautiful and the Holy comes near to dust.

Your hands formed me and You created this heart that is so prone to walk away, prone to distraction and pride. And yet, in Your unfathomable goodness, You never let me go - I am Yours. I am Your people, a sheep in Your fold.

And You speak and this heart responds because like any clueless sheep, I know my Shepherd's Voice.

So I still and I listen for Your Words - I rest in the knowing You.That in the knowing perhaps my soul will settle, will  stop flailing in the restless and instead find rest in Your Grace. 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Daily Adoring #48: The One Who Knows His Beginning from His End

I may not always understand the why behind babies dying in their mamas arms. I may not understand why that one young man who surrendered his life to Jesus got shot and killed last week. The police sirens may wail 2 streets over for reasons that I may never know.

I may live in a world where truth is no longer based on fact, but on personal experience - absolutes may seem to be obsolete and to claim I follow Jesus is either met with rage or sarcasm.

I may look towards a future and feel my soul tremble as my little one plays at my feet - as I read statistics and hear the predictions of the loss of believers and the growing numbers of cynics and I begin to wonder where my children will land.

Things can suddenly seem too big and too uncertain until I read the words of Jesus,

In the face of the Pharisees who hated Him and didn't believe, Jesus spoke words true and strong.  He didn't have to question where He came from and where He was going - He, the Light of the World already knew the path that got Him there and where it would ultimately lead.

I belong to the One Who knows every beginning all the way through to every. single. end. and each thread that seems to be flailing in the early fall wind - it has a purpose to alone bring Him glory. And whether I see it now or when I see Jesus face to face, I have hope. Not in tomorrow, not even in the next five minutes.  But I have hope in Jesus alone because each beginning and each end has already by seen by His eyes and allowed. I still don't understand babies dying and gang shootings and families falling apart.  I don't. But I trust in the one Who does and Who is good and Who can bring about good when we open our hands to Him in trust.


You have no beginning and there is no end and this life You have given to me? It is so small in the light of all that eternity is. Less than one hundred years to walk on this earth and each hard thing You allow and each moment that seems to be a blessing? Could it be that these moments that cause my heart to panic and race are actually gifts to see Your face more clearly?  Because this life isn't about me and it isn't about how much I can store up and how easy I can make it all - it is all about You and how my life poured out can somehow give You, Eternal One, glory.

The One Who Knows Your Beginning from Your End, You are unfathomable and the depth of You is unending, but that You would come near and let me abide in You, let me draw strength and call upon You and You take this life all marred with sin and You give up Your life and now it is Jesus You see? I choose to trust in You and Your grace - choose to trust that when everything else around me grows darker and darker that You, Jesus, will begin to shine brighter and brighter - because You had no beginning and You will never end.


Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Monday

It's Monday, which means the beds sit bare after being stripped and wait for their new linens. It means the washing machine competes with the whirring of the dryer and in between lessons and reading and those tear-inducing math equations, I fold warm towels and stack clean clothes and I bend over to put it all away.

It's taken a little under 12 years for me to begin to see the holiness of the quiet things, to actually begin to long for the simple ritual that seems to slow down the moments and in between the wooshing of water and the tumbling of half-wet jeans and the occasional quarter clanking against the drum, I am learning to find Jesus there.

A little over a year ago, I began to pray The Hours - a purposeful stopping in my day to sit before Jesus and when everything else pushes me to rush, He meets me in the slow and the constant pressing in suddenly looses it's pull, because my heart meets with the One I am really pushing through at breakneck speed to find.

And I can breathe.

And everything gets sorted into place somehow, even without my flailing and panic.

We had to make some decisions this past month and we find ourselves in the middle of that place of questioning...questioning that choice, questioning Him, questioning where and when we will see His Hand.  I looked at Tony this morning and asked if he thought this was the trusting phase.

He smiled that smile I love and then said quietly, Isn't all of life a trusting phase? When I slow to meet my Savior in the middle of the day, am I not trusting that what may seem like wasted space is actually being used for His glory?  Aren't I trusting that by giving Him what we have, that He will take care of it better than I ever could?  When I give up my rights, am I not trusting Him that His outcome will be sweeter?  By choosing to forgive, am I not trusting that He will heal my heart pocked through with bitterness?

By being faithful to the mundane on a Monday, am I not trusting that He will be honored somehow, even if my eyes don't see it now?

It's never about me, but I can trust that He can use me for whatever purpose and to whatever end.

So I fold back the covers,

smooth the sheets,

plump up all those pillows,

and bow before Him and pray.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Learning to Love through the Tension {Daily Adoring #41}

I thought it would be so easy, come so naturally; if I had dreamed about it since I was a little girl, how could loving well not be natural?

But the heart of a mama and wife wars daily with the selfish heart of me and there are moments that I wonder when this heart of mine will finally land and stake a claim fully on one side or the other.

The sin nature runs deep and can so quickly mar a day.

I can sit at a table with coffee cup in hand and listen to the conversations around me while feeling totally and utterly like I will never belong,

I can feel like I'm too much for one group and not enough for another and by the time the quiet of a day rolls around, my heart is broken and I can feel like I will never quite fit in.

I can hear the news of my home country and hold the coins of my current one in the palm of my hand and both feel equally foreign and I wonder when one or the other will truly hold my allegiance.

And the chronic tension I feel between the white of my skin and the comfort I feel around the Hispanic community we have come to love. There is still so much I don't understand, and so much of the language I butcher and what happens when you don't feel like you really fit in with either race or community?

How do you begin to love well when you don't even fit in well anywhere?

The car was loud as we headed home this evening, after the chai I ordered was too strong and one of my four was car sick for the first time. After the man standing on the side of the road smiled at me as he picked up his pins and walked into the intersection and began to juggle for change.  Most of my small brood was singing loudly and off-key as I drove into a bright sun and squinted away tears...

And as they played in the yard, I sank down onto the couch and suddenly realized that He lived in tension too -

The One Who spoke creation into existence, Who is nothing like us but became like us. The One Who lived and loved perfectly in the middle of the tension of not belonging to the world, but being in it - Jesus understands.

So how does one begin to love well when there doesn't seem to be a space to fit into well?

By drawing close to Him - by realizing that without Jesus, without the Holy Spirit living and moving and breathing inside of my soul, there will be no love to bridge the gaps my quirks and oddities and sin create.

Because the much larger picture is that my sin created an uncross-able chasm that left me hopeless and helpless and never able to fit in with His perfection; until that rough and blood-stained cross held His body there and His sacrifice filled in the gap my sinfulness created.

So how do I love well? By looking to the One Who Modeled Love. 

And by clinging to the One Who calls me His own.


Maybe You allow the tension so that the sense of belonging never really settles in - maybe You create spaces like this to keep us longing for our true home with You.  Maybe the restlessness deep in a soul keeps us chasing after something until we realize that the something we are after is really a Someone and that Someone is You.

You Modeled love while you lived in the middle of the tension of not belonging. Unfathomable power and majesty wrapped in bones and blood and dust and whether or not your skin felt too tight, You loved in powerful ways regardless of the otherness of You.

So You said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. And how did You love? Sacrificially, selflessly, gently, confrontationally, and perfectly. You modeled a love that loved in the middle of the not-belonging-places and it was the otherness of that not-belonging that drew others to You.

That tension is what gives Your Love a vibrancy, an urgency, a mark of something different.

And it's Your Love that can heal all of those gaps that my sin has ravaged through.

Love through me as the sun begins to rise again, when little faces push their noses against my own in early morning hours, when a husband leans against me and presses in close, when friends and strangers and random street jugglers raise their eyes for a handful of Hope...let it be You they see in the middle of my learning to walk in the tension of belonging to You, My Sovereign God.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mid-afternoon Adoring: #40: The Creator of Me as New

Yesterday, we started school - and in the loss of a relaxed summer schedule and in the gaining of a school schedule, my morning rhythm was thrown a little off-kilter yesterday.

This morning? Started back at 2 AM when a certain baby girl decided to forego any sort of slumber and talk to her feet and squawk at her mother's form for a couple of hours because sometimes a girl just needs to chat and it doesn't matter the time.

My mind was a little fuzzy and any sort of normal routine just crawled right back under the warm covers with me.

So, then I wonder - could my Morning Adoring be moved? Could it turn into an Evening Adoring instead? Maybe... I'm not giving them up, so could they be moved, just slightly, so that my night-owl brain could keep up and my mornings be spent more in quiet closet-prayer and Bible reading?

I think so.

Because, just when everything seems to slow down, when wait seems to be the word on our house and the move and when I take a deep breath and agree and pull out everything and begin to decorate and organize and sort and settle into our home here, Tony gets stopped on a weekend and presented with an option that still holds a tag with a clear "wait", just not as long...and my morning already scrambling and full screams out for a quiet meeting with just my Savior and my journal. So when my mind that has meditated on that one beautiful thing of Jesus all day needs some release with words tapped out onto a blank screen, I can do so in the quiet moments of a day done and over. 


Paul said in Ephesians 4:24, "...and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." There is something about Paul that after years and years of despising him, I actually find compelling and maybe it's because I have messed up larger in my adult years then I ever did in my childhood years, but as a respected and devote Pharisee, he didn't outwardly need saving. Maybe that's why he hated Jesus so much - by focusing on getting the outsides right, he could more easily overlook his insides. And what does Jesus specialize in then to transform our dark and sin-full insides into lives that shine brightly with and for His glory?

He knew firsthand his sin - he didn't shrink from it, he didn't cover it in shame, he didn't fight to clear a tarnished reputation because to do so would be to protect his inner man which could only lead into more bondage. This man who hated Jesus and killed His disciples was powerfully transformed by the Transforming Savior and instead of being bogged down by everything he did, he fully embraced the new self he was given in the mercy and grace of what Jesus Christ had done.

So this past Sunday, as I walked through the crowded hallways of church and felt the attack of the Accuser ringing in my ears, when I let who I had been and what I had done wash over me in shame and regret, I wasn't walking in the grace that is already mine - and that's the thing - this new self that Paul talks of, the one created after the Likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness is already mine.  Tuning my ears instead to the lies of satan is like walking around in the finest of jewels claiming that I have nothing valuable on me.

It's ludicrous.

Yes, I have failed - until I face Jesus and no longer breathe earth's air, I will fail. But that's the beauty of it - by embracing the gift He sacrificed everything to give, my life can bring Him glory as I tenaciously cling to The Creator of Me as New and live out my love for Him.


It is mine, whether I choose to walk in that belief or not. It is mine if I choose to hear Your Voice or not. It is mine if everything and everyone else around me claims that I can never change...because I already have. You have already created me new - and not just a new Kimberley - but You created me new in Your very own likeness. That you would entrust the sacred and holy to a woman who is cracked and broken is a grace that is overwhelming and tender. You are so good  and so loving and so patient with this heart who so often chooses my own way.

Creator of Me as New - thank You. Thank you for the refreshing mercy of new life and salvation and the gift of Your Spirit to enable me to walk in Your ways.  So I cling to You and trust that when the enemy screams out my sins, Your whisper of grace and forgiveness will remind me of Whose I am. Keep me turned to You.  


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Morning Adoring #37: God Who Turns My Utter-Weakness into Strength

For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses,
insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10

So what happens if my weakness really does showcase God's power and glory? What if in my weakness, God showed Himself?

What happens if I embraced being nothing so that He can be everything?

What would happen if I stopped striving and actually purposed to be content with everything I am not while being a life that sought after everything that He is?

Paul? He had been ship-wrecked and beaten. Whipped and stoned and left for dead. He had known no-food days and the grace of church-provision days...and in each situation, He found contentment in it because He knew that God was using his weaknesses and all those horrible moments to prove Himself strong.

I read this week that contentment is found in submitting to God. The thought of submission in any form has been made to look so ugly, but there is such beauty in such a quiet act. I look at the brilliance of the sun - as it sets and rises each day and the earth turns its slow dance it all submits to an order that God set into place since the beginning of time and even nature bows before a Holy God. He brings beauty and growth and order out of a broken and dying world and when I submit myself under His plan, He picks up all the brokenness of my sin-messes and His Life begins to grow through the cracks.

So my weaknesses, my brokenness, each and every hardship? They aren't something to be afraid of, to be ashamed of - I can find peace in them because He is stronger, He is so much more and in His grace, He redeems each one for His glory.


God Who turns my utter-weakness into strength - Paul penned those words that are my own for today: For [Your sake] then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong - only because You are my strength. You are beautiful and good and a strong tower to run to when I become overwhelmed. Keep me from being afraid of failure and messing up (again) and confident instead in the Holiness and Strength of You.

I am content with all of my failures when I am content in You, my Redeemer-God. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Morning Adoring #36: The God of the One Necessary Thing

I have a daughter, she may or may not be the eldest, who struggles with deep anxiety and fear. I would like to think that I have no idea where she gets it from, but really, her apple doesn't fall very far from my tree.

And anxiety has been just under the edges of my heart this past week - and for many "legitimate" reasons, if I begin to lay them all out. It doesn't seem to matter how small, change affects me greatly and it doesn't take much for my hands to begin to wring and those lines in my forehead to appear. 

Yesterday, when I first woke up, it had already settled heavy on my chest, already threatened to make it hard to breathe and already sleeping past when I should have been awake, I flew out of bed to find a cup of coffee already waiting for me.

Small graces come in large coffee cups.

Feeling restless, I felt for His Word and I opened up to John 14 where the very first line found me,

Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me.
John 14:1

Big graces come in quiet Words.

His command wrapped around my heart all day, when decisions needed to be made, when I had to turn left on a busy road (I really dislike turning left), when I tried to find just the right present to touch a heart and make it grow, when I began to wonder about all the when's of our move...

As though my Father was wrapping His Words around His daughter to reign in her heart and bring her mind home close to Him.

I am still fighting to memorize those words in Romans, and hidden in chapter 8 is this, 

Those who live according to the flesh have their 
minds set on what the flesh desires;
but those who live in accordance with the Spirit
 have their minds set on what the Spirit desires...
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh
 if indeed the Spirit of God lives in You.
Romans 8:5,9a

There is freedom when you begin to realize who you are in Jesus and the freedom found within Him and how the chains you thought were bound so tight snap in the very presence of Him.

In the realm of the Holy Spirit I find life.

So when I read last night what the adoring would be for today, I sat with it for a while. I know Jesus is the One Necessary Person for my life - to be healed, to be made whole: but the attribute for today - "The One Necessary Thing" found in those verses in Luke, didn't seem to mean Him.

So I dug a bit deeper and this is what I found:

When faced with distraction (worry, service, good works) I can choose to allow myself to be swayed and swept away with everything else, or, like Mary, in the face of what makes sense, I can still in the chaos and place myself before Him and be in His presence to receive the one necessary thing.

Today, when all those little distractions and worry begin to creep in, I have a choice - let it be the One Necessary Thing.


Jesus, You decided my days long before I ever existed - long before the world was even spoken into existence and You know already what lays before me this day.  There is comfort in that, comfort in knowing that each moment is no surprise to You.

And there is a choice that You continually place before me - will I bow to the chaos of distraction or will I bow in surrender and worship to the Only One deserving of my life? 

Keep my heart submitted to You, let me care more about what You are saying than the opinions of others or the anxiety that threatens to take over. You tell me not to be troubled, to believe in You and so I put my trust in the Only One who is unmoveable and unchanging and trust that by choosing the only necessary thing that I will find Your peace there.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Morning Adoration # The God Who Invites Me into His Family

There is trepidation when He asks for everything - the very human part of a heart wrestles deeply with the question of will God come through?

But He asked and we opened our hands and said it was all His.

But there was still a list of things needed and by giving it all up our options became very limited, but when it's all gone, what really can you do?


I think maybe Jesus waits to the last minute, not to be cruel, but to strengthen a trust barely beating out a pulse weak and quiet.

Today was marked on the calendar as the day that so much needed to be done and so yesterday morning, after the start of my day, I sat down and listed each need in pencil.

And at the top it said,

Jesus, You know...

And Tony and I both have lost our fathers - both in different and distinct ways and the anchor of family that seems as though it should always. be. there. isn't for us and in our floundering for a footing, we have overwhelmingly found Him.

I tried to approach Him as my Father and trust that He saw what was needed.

And I rarely answer my phone, there is no point - it's not like I can hear the caller anyways with all the noise and life that surrounds me for most of the day, but yesterday as I was preparing dinner, as the kids were chasing each other in circles, my phone rang and when I hesitated, I felt it deep in my soul,

Answer it.

Yesterday - I adored Jesus as the One Whose Mercy is everywhere and He was laced all throughout that phone call as small chitchat turned into the answer to the largest of our needs.

Taken care of,


And in the losing of our anchor of family,

in the gaining of God as Father and Provider,

He has opened up our eyes to the beauty of His family - the brothers and sisters that reflect His love and grace in the most unexpected ways.

He invites me into His family and in the most merciful and tender way, He calls me daughter.


You are the God Who invites me into Your family and it is in this space that You are healing the broken in me and whispering life back in. Thank You for the way that You prove faithful ~ even in the moments where prayers are not answered, even when the need remains.  But thank You for using a sister and a brother to show Your tenderness to my heart that was trying so hard to trust.

In that day you will know that I am in My Father and you in Me, and I in you.
John 14:20

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Morning Adoring #34: One Who fills the Earth with Mercy

I had been pointed in the direction of a steep path and a quiet walk so as children went loudly running in one direction, Zeruiah and I went walking in the other.

I had been told, but I didn't understand until I rounded the corner and stood on the edges of a space quiet and holy.

We are back from the intensity of  2 weeks at camp and as we settle back into schedules and routines, the noise of excess can begin to sneak in and around us and the mercy found on a hilltop can quickly be lost back down on the hard packed earth of the valley.

But His mercy? It fills the whole earth - in the cool of a mountain forest and the heat of an inner city - I don't have to hike up a steep path to find it, it is right here because He is here and my life, my home, the work I do becomes a hallowed sanctuary made still for His glory.

One Who fills the Earth with Mercy, You are here in the quiet of a keyboard tapping, the cry of a baby waking up from her nap, in the laundry room that has a load needing to be switched over. You are here, Your mercy can be found wherever You are and when the noise becomes too much, when the decisions are too many, when exhaustion and sadness are soul deep, help me to remember that You are still more. Your glory rests on the most unlikely and I sit under the grace of Your mercy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Morning Adoring #33 ~ God of the Impossible. {A Birthday Prayer}

It's morning and midnight and her breakfast birthday cake sits in the oven and the timer ticks down slowly one moment at a time.

And I'm lost in memories.

12:10am and I cream sugar and butter but I remember so clearly the knowing I would hold her soon.

It seems fitting that today of all days, this one would honor Him as the God of the impossible.

Because that is what it all is.

And when her eyes open she will be six and all those sleepless nights that seemed endless and so long are gone - and those nights when she screamed and I swore I'd never want them back?

I do.

I want to walk beside that mama and wrap my arms around her aching heart and her restless baby and tell them both they'll get through this. They'll get through the exhaustion and the tears and the brokenness of it all and they will find Jesus there in the middle of it all - that He, impossibly, is holding it all together. Holding us all together...

I want that mama to know that each scream, each strong willed shout isn't breaking her, but is being used to make her stronger, putting a bit of steel in to her soul - that Jesus is using all of it to make her into the mama that this little one needs.

She looks at me, just the other day, and I can see how my hurry has hurt her and I take a deep breath, get down to her level and I whisper just how sorry I am.

She measures me with her eyes, her feet set just so and she reaches across the ache and cups my cheek with her hand,

I forgive you, mama.

And I am reminded just how impossible forgiveness really is. How broken without Jesus we really are and how precious His mercies are, every morning, letting us gasp in the new air of a new day once more.

That angel, so long ago, leaned in close to a young girl and shared a glorious secret,

And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a
son and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
For nothing will be impossible with God.
Luke 1:36-37

God Himself - the One Who fixed the stars in their place and Whose Voice called out to the sea - He formed my precious daughter out of the deepest places in me.

Impossible grace.

She turns six and she reminds me again how everything impossible is made possible in His Hands.


God of the Impossible - You remind me, everyday, through this strong daughter of mine just how possible everything is when You are in the middle.

Your Hands formed each part of her body, strung the strands of her DNA and set her wild heart in motion. You know her so well, so deeply and that You would allow me to be her mama? It is a gift that leaves me shaky under the weight of it all.

Mama-ing her well? An impossible task, unless the Hand I cling to is the Hand that knit her together in the deep of me.  Nothing is impossible with You - You call life into the barren places and You still raging storms with one word.

You formed the wild places deep in my Olivia and You know how quickly my heart becomes overwhelmed - but in the middle of the raging Your Voice calls for Peace and the impossible happens - the whipping winds still and we see You as Lord.

God of the Impossible - God Who formed Olivia and chose this day as her own - please keep her as Yours. Keep her heart seeking You. When the world stacks up against her and it all seems impossible to stand, let her remember...let my heart remember...that with You, the barren places in us stretch and fill with the miraculous.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Morning Adoring #32 ~ The One Who Created Me for His Glory

This Monday morning doesn't find me packing up the car again, loading up the car with four children again, driving down that winding mountain road again.

Instead, it finds me facing a cleaning schedule to resume, a homeschool schedule to prepare and a little girl sitting across from me slurping the milk from her spoon too loud.

And the mundane creeps in and I want to run for the hills because my humanity fights the valley. I want to sense Him near in the quiet again.

But His glory? It's here too. In the thrumming of the dryer and those shorts I've folded now for the hundredth time. It's found in the bending over the rack of clean dishes and it covers me as I nestle them once more in the cupboard above me. It whispers quiet in the 3 am feeding, giving strength when I can't even walk straight and in the counter swimming with water and a little boy's saying in earnest that he was just making super hero juice.

The trees lifted my eyes to God's majesty, but here - in this space, I realize that He formed these nondescript moments to show Him and His glory most of all.


To the One Who Created me for Your Glory, I give praise. Knowing, maybe more clearly this Monday morning that it really has nothing to do with me most of all. Today, in the bending low to kiss foreheads and scrub toilets and finding that lost toy deep under the couch, let my soul bend lower in worship of You. Each task on that to do list that threatens to overwhelm with the never-ending-ness of it all serve instead to remind my heart to worship the Never-ending-ness of You.

Let my mundane give You praise and Your glory, invited into our home, transform this place.

...everyone who is called by My Name,
whom I created for My Glory,
whom I formed and made.
Isaiah 43:7

Friday, August 2, 2013

For Tony

The roads going home from those woods wound deep beneath the tires and the tears on my face were making tracks of their own.

I may have over-watered the pepper plants three days ago that I promised our older three I would keep alive, but I put them back in the garden window where the sun shines strongest...

they may perk back up.

It's been thirteen years since I said yes to that job - the one I accepted for all the wrong reasons. But you know that by now. You know that I only said yes because I knew that you would be there too, and despite my resolve of just being your friend, you had captured me all the way down to my broken and beat-up heart.

I look back at the two of us in my mind - under that dark prairie sky and I wonder: Two college kids tentatively moving towards the other while balancing school work and youth ministry and was there an inkling - the tiniest bit of one - at what was ahead?

I find it hard to look back and pinpoint what it was about you that captured me so. I find it hard to separate what i know now from what I just dreamed about then, but if there was one thing that bridges my now to my then it is this:

You have a strength that is gentle and good.

I used to think it was your humor - the way you could capture a group and have them laughing at some outlandish thing. Or the confidence that exuded from you - the way you stepped in front of my fears and gave me sure and strong footsteps to follow. It's always been the look of your face, the broadness of your shoulders, the arms that hold me close - all of these, deepening and maturing through the years, but it's the strength tempered with the fierce gentleness that draws out the deep places in others.

And you take this job because God burned in your heart and you are white and you are 38 and you don't speak any Spanish beyond the basics, but God burns and you have Him and so you go down across the tracks because He leads you there.

And you let me come with you. You invite me in to this sacred space.

Those red-brick walls, that cracked sidewalk, those pillars on either side of those stairs - that ground is holy ground and God is there and Tony?

I never knew you could love so deeply.

Oh, I knew you could love me,

could love our four...

But when your dad died, when my family fell apart, when I fought His plan with everything in me, we both began to protect our hearts from the outside in and those years when grief was fresh?  We fought to even breathe.

I've known that healing has crept in for a while now, that what encased your heart and mine has cracked free and somehow these hearts of ours have grown bigger, beat harder, burn with a passion for Jesus and for those kids that filled that lodge this week.

And I struggle to get out these words because they are swelling up my heart that used to be so shriveled-small, but they've been swirling in my chest since i watched you this morning and you have to know how proud I am of the man that you are.

I didn't know that you could love so deeply.

I didn't know that when you took this job, that it could make you even better then who you already were. I couldn't know that when you turned at me during that annual meeting and gave me that look that God would be using you to change the both of us completely.

I didn't know that our hearts, already full with love for our four could be busted wide open, but not broken, and filled with such love for a bunch of kids who feel like family and home.

I didn't know the passion that would fill both of us for the lost and the forgotten - the ones that society withholds time from and throws "why bother?" at instead.

I didn't know how your heart would remain so unsettled until you followed His leading and kept seeking out the one that didn't want to be found.

Can I say to the deep-soul places in you, that I think if your dad could have seen you today - could have stood in the back with me and watched you speak life and hope and the love of Jesus into each volunteer and staff member today that he would have nearly busted open with pride over his son.

Over you.

You miss him.  I know that has weighed heavily on you this week.  But Tony? Your Heavenly Father was standing right there, right there with you pouring His love into your heart that still breaks over your loss. And all those broken heart-places? They let His Love spill His glory all over that room, over each person sitting there.

God was in that space this morning - the Holy Spirit was moving in that place and when I think back to those two college kids, trying to navigate through the small beginnings of is it worth the risk?

I want to shout across the years at them, Yes!!!  But don't wait so long! Don't wait until crisis shatters the numbness that comfort and ease brings.

I want them to know that life will wind unexpected and the loss and the shock will feel like they will kill you, but that God is good, all of the the good moments yes, but more importantly in the worst of those moments.

But then I remember, you've been whispering that to me all along, because your strength knows its Source and your heart belongs to Jesus and loving you has made my world so much larger.

I love you, my Tony.