Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Writing the Mess

I am just an ordinary woman wanting to make a difference in the world—

Somebody’s world.

I choose to be real and vulnerable for someone—


to be impacted by the extreme and relentless love of God.

My journey is no different than yours.

It’s messy.

In a life marked with both wrestling and surrendering to Jesus,

I find purpose.

I write of God’s pursuit to fully capture my heart.

My journey is no different than yours.

It’s messy.

It’s real.

I am just an ordinary woman wanting to make a difference in the world—

Your world.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Knee Deep in Manure

The blaze of the fire warmed the room. Rich green garland dressed the mantle as ornate stockings hung expectantly. In the corner stood a magnificent pine tree adorned with twinkle lights and shiny red ornaments.

These were the signs of Christmas.

Yet somehow this familiar scene brought restlessness to my soul. I dared to ask the unthinkable.

Is this really Christmas?

Is my soul satisfied from the aroma of pine swirling in the air, the flickering of lights, or the brightly wrapped packages under the tree? I wrestled to find Christmas in candy canes precariously hanging from branches and Santa Claus staring at me from the fireplace.

Is this Christmas?

Climbing into my car, my heart raced with desperate need to seek contentment for my soul. Where can I find Christmas? For miles I drove—my heart searching the sights around me. Passing streets adorned with wreaths, Santa’s ringing bells, and tree lots.

Is this Christmas?

My heart grew expectant as my search led me to a local farm. My soul anticipated discovery as I quietly walked the dirt path through stalls of animals.

And then I saw her.

I. Couldn’t. Stop. Staring.

All four legs of this dairy cow were standing in none other than wet, soggy manure—the stench intolerable. Devouring every last bit of hay from the dirty steel trough, she paused to lift her contented face towards me. Her gaze told me she knew what I was seeking.

And it was in those moments I not only found myself—I found Christmas.

I also stand in the muck and mire of my brokenness.

Yet if I lean in, like she does, I can hear the Christ Child call to me. The God who rose from His throne, left heaven, and stepped into our world—naked and vulnerable. It is this God I hear wooing me to draw near and feast on His goodness and grace from His humble trough-like crib.

And when I do—I find what I was looking for.

This, my friend, is Christmas. 
Will you lean into the Christ Child today?

Here or real. Share your journey.

Sounds for the Soul
The Gift by David Nevue

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV 1984

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10-12

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hopeful Again

This week’s post is straight from my practice journal. This time my oldest son would accompany me. The timer set for 15 minutes and we began our separate assignments. He was to write sixteen spelling words into sentences for homework and I was to craft those same spelling words into a blog. Writing without lifting my pen these third grade words took on a life of their own. When the buzzer sounded I only added the last line and have left it as is--unpolished. By the way, my son was done with his sentences in only five minutes. J (spelling words are bolded) The unexpected surprise was not only was this fiction—but I think I know that little girl…

Hopeful Again

How do I begin?

How does one retell a story of an unhappy girl who found life through the friendly Farmer?

Her life was desolate, desperate, and despairing. But what He said…caused her to feel hopeful.

Hope was a foreign thought and feeling. She, the scrawny girl with the scraggly pig tails. The one always shamed and treated unfair by the cross Mrs. Rally and deemed unimportant to most of the townspeople. Unlike the others, this same girl was accepted by the Farmer.

She remembers that day vividly.

The sky darkened by heavy clouds pouring out buckets of rain to the town. The dirt roads were wet, and soon her boots, the ones worn through at the toe, were splattered with mud. Even the hem of her dress was covered with mud.

The rain and mud would not stop her. She promised the town seamstress to deliver a package. Mrs. Rally said if she was a good helper she would give her one quarter—a shiny one. One whole quarter would give her milk and oats for a week. She must be careful as to not slip in the mud and drop the package. She walked slowly. The rain pounded down on her. Clothes soaked through. She was almost at her destination—the Farmer’s house. Just a few steps from His porch lightening flashed and peals of thunder shook the sky.

It frightened the poor girl and she jumped at the noise. Sadly, she lost her footing and landed in a pot-hole—filled with mud.

Unhurt, she stood up. Tears mixed in with the raindrops as she reached to pick up the package from the mud. Silently she wept. The package wet, soggy—completely ruined. She stood there for what seemed like hours as the rain pelted her skin.

“How will I ever remake this package and make it new again for the Farmer?”

She thought of the shiny quarter. The milk. The oats. She wouldn’t have any of it. Only be shamed once again by Mrs. Rally.

The porch light suddenly lit up the porch and the door creaked open.

She looked down. Pretending to be invisible. Pretending it was just a dream.

The Farmer spoke. “What have we here, Little One?”

His voice was kind. He gently took the package from her grip.

She dared to look up.

And when she did…

She saw Him looking at her...

with kind eyes and a smile.

And she knew.

Everything was going to be okay.

I need to know everything is going to be okay…how about you?

Lord, let us see Your eyes and hear Your gentle voice and know…You are near to pick up the mess and make everything new again. 

On the journey with you...  lk

Relevant Worship

Embrace (It’s All Gonna Be Okay) by Jake Hamilton

Reflective Scripture

The LORD watches over all who love him. Psalm 145:20

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Even This?

I ran my finger over the inscription of the silver heart. Those words—I swear I could hear them mocking me—even laughing as my soul wrestled with its meaning.

G r a t i t u d e    i n   a l l    t h a t   i s

What is that supposed to mean?

On a better day it would have been a sweet sentiment—one quickly forgotten. But that day wasn’t good. I suppose a “good” Christian would accept the seemingly kind cliché and take it as a sign to praise the Lord through the valleys of life. But I don’t want to be a good Christian—just a real one.

I sneered at the words in disgust and abandoned the pendant to the sales clerk. But those words, already impressed on my soul, would never leave me.

Gratitude in ALL that IS?

As the days followed the He urged me to find the gift in each day—everyday. Tell me—how am I to find the gift in dark moments and seasons of life?
How does anyone?

I wrestle for the gift as the First Boy defiantly ignores my direction. He says nothing, but his eyes tell me ‘no, never, and I will always hate you.’

Gratitude in ALL that IS?
Even this?

The Blonde Boy hurls a pinecone at me. He is angry for my thoughtlessness of putting both open and closed pinecones into one single bag. Seriously.

Gratitude in ALL that IS?
Even this?

Even when…

            a car slams into mine?

When my child is sick?

When there is a water leak?

When my son gets picked on at school?

When the ledger shows more red than black?

When a friend rejects me?

When there is no hot water for days?

When business is molasses slow?

When the child can’t keep any food down?

When I boil pots of water to wash the dishes

and wash soiled sheets in cold?

When ants greet me in the food pantry

and when they surprise me in the loft?

When my boys won’t get out of bed in the morning,

and when they won’t get into bed at night?

When the plumber gives the bill?

When my mother-in-law’s health is threatened,

and I hear my husband holding back the tears?

When the car bumper is cracked?

When my neck and back begin to ache?

When no one takes the trash out?

When the bank account is drained?

When shame wants to reside within me?

When expectations hound me?

When the smallest one runs away from me—

                        down the street

                                    and around the corner?

Even in this?

Gratitude in ALL that IS?

God I don’t like what IS right now. Just saying.

Thank you for the grace to be real and not have it all figured out.
On the journey with you… lk

How do you embrace gratitude in all that is in your life? Here or somewhere…be real. Share your journey.