Category Archives: 1 Christ is All

Jesus loves me, this I know. This category is about Jesus, the Living Word, my prayers to Him, my worship of Him, His relentless pursuit of my heart and His invitation to me to come to Him in Sabbath, my Savior, my Rest.

The Snap-Dragons and the Chamomile

A weed is just a plant that is growing where it isn’t valued. Or growing in the super-healthy-I’m-so-glad-to-be-alive way that it infringes on another plant that is actually desired.

It’s gardening time!

I went to  prepare the rock garden for some squash and pumpkin seedlings. It’s a spacious area where they may curl and swoop and tendril freely while my grandbebes may happily traipse through on pretty stones they fashioned to watch the fruit grow.

You’ll note from previous garden posts in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, etc… that I spend a great deal of my first gardening days each year attacking and battling hollyhocks, garlic chives and Russian Sage. The Cold War is not over in my yard!

le potager chamomile

So, that is where I started again this year…trying to remove what shouldn’t be there and is growing like a weed, so I can place other plants I do value and will almost certainly have to coax to grow.

The point of the tale

I went in with a vengeance, hacking away at those irrepressible hollyhocks, so deeply tap-rooted, so strong and very prolific. I was digging out the garlic chives who believe themselves to be welcome anywhere and everywhere and I was beating back the Russian Sage, reminding it of the boundaries I had insisted upon less than a year ago.

Then I spotted them, hundreds and I mean hundreds of short, sturdy seedlings, snapdragons, all, at my feet. Somehow, last year’s snapdragons had left their prodigy in the rock garden in literal droves all the way around each grandbebe-designed and crafted stepping stone.

012

A few feet away, I saw a huge patch of happy white chamomile, yellow-dotted daisies on bushy, strong plants totally filling one of my 4 foot by 4 foot square gardens, as if I were going to live off chamomile tea forever.

I cannot leave these plants. The chamomile isn’t useful to me in the spaces where I’ll get so many wonderful fresh vegetables for the summer. And the snapdragons, though one of my favorite annuals, can’t grow around the stepping stones or they’ll be no place for tiny feet to walk safely through to enjoy the irises and pumpkins and day lilies and moss roses and butternut squash and yes, even the Russian Sage and hollyhocks.

009

Snapdragons are wonderful, Chamomile is glorious. But when they are where they shouldn’t be, well, then Houston, we have a problem.

The Chamomile is fully flourishing, flowering with divine joy. The snapdragon, if given just a few weeks would provide an amazing and colorful show. I couldn’t just rip them out and throw them away.

Just because you can’t grow here, little seedlings, doesn’t mean you can’t be a star somewhere else.” That is what I told my little plants.

You’ve heard the old saying “Bloom where you are planted?” But sometimes there is an uprooting, for whatever reason. Sometimes you may have put down roots and thought you were at your forever place. But you couldn’t stay.  Your value couldn’t be realized there. It’s just part of living.

Just because you couldn’t bloom where you were planted doesn’t mean you will never get to be everything He created you to be and do everything He has equipped you to do. It doesn’t mean you can’t be saved. Grace saves.

Don’t worry,” I told the flowering plants, “you can’t stay here, but we’ll find you a spot.”

I felt like God re-affirmed that to me, even as I said it.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.”  1 Peter 5.10 Amp.

Our God, the God of all gardens and life and living and roots and growth, our God, who makes all things new, is able to establish us, heal us, ground us securely and strengthen us and actually cause us to flourish!

“The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”  Psalm 92.12- 15 Amp.

Just because you couldn’t stay in this garden here, don’t give up hope that you can be the upright, strong, fruitful star of that one over there. Bloom where you are transplanted!

Living on Snot-Trail Lane

Ok-so I wrote this in 2007 and never shared it because it sounds like one of those e-mail forwards people used to send around. But I am emptying out my drafts folder and this is definitely the oldest one. And, it made me laugh because it was based on the true story of a certain period of my life, in its’ own metaphorical way.  And I could you tell exactly where every one of these locales exists!

So, after 6 1/2 years, don’t be hating. Let me have my fun!

snot trail lane

The Move (because “Snot-Trail Lane” didn’t actually end up in the writing):

I had moved into the sagging house on Agony Avenue, just southeast of the Sorrow Circle and Heartsick Street intersection, when I pondered how many of my belongings I’d lost at my last house on Baggage Boulevard.  I hadn’t wanted to leave there, I had been kicked out unmercifully by a demanding landlord, but the widening of Woe-is-Me Way and the incoming Melancholy Mall development were forcing me to move on, anyway. I hoped my time on Agony Avenue was temporary.

I wasn’t about to forget my stuff, though, so I headed right back to the old home place.  To get there I needed to hop on Heartbreak Highway and get off on the Teary-eyed Turnpike, but I ended up having to take a detour on Burdened Bend which got me lost and absolutely stuck on Wounded Way, which is a completely dead-end street. I thought turning onto Pity Path would get me out, after all, I’d been here so many times I should have known it like the back of my hand, but I ended up hopelessly lost on Blame Lane.

A Truth Taxi happened by and the driver told me he could get me home, but there wasn’t room for my lost stuff, only what I was carrying and that Baggage Blvd. was under construction, anyway.  So I asked him to take me back home, my home on Agony Avenue. Hopeless, I figured there were just things I had lost that I would never get back.

As I turned from watching my old neighborhood fade from view, I saw the Truth guy was taking me a way I had  never been.

He turned north on Peace Parkway, and though Rage Road looked like a major thoroughfare , he told me it was too dangerous, the traffic heavy at all hours and wise to avoid it like the plague whenever possible.

At Joy Junction, I saw a sign “This way to Forgiveness Point.”  I asked the Truth Taxi guy if we could stop there for just a minute or two.  He parked at the entry, where the Comfort Creek waters had risen and were covering the Burden Bridge, leaving me no option but to slosh through.

I was surprised the path up Healing Hill to the Forgiveness Point wasn’t any easier.  It took a lot of effort, but I was compelled.  I ended up having to leave all the things I was carrying on the side of the road, one by one.  But when I got to the top, the air was fresh, the sunlight sparkled, the breeze was gentle and my heart was light.

When I spotted a ‘for sale’ sign on a beautiful home in Righteousness Roundabout, I was surprised to see the Truth Taxi man there ahead of me, somehow. He was removing the sign and handing me keys. “It’s yours,” he said, “I already paid for it.”

Home. Where I always belonged.

“He drew me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my steps as I walked along.” Psalm 40.2

Thought-Collage Thursday // Thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes, oh my!

So, hello there, May (the month), oh, yoo-hoo???

Been planning some excitement for us, I guess?

Crazy weather here. Saw a bunch of tornadoes pass through yesterday, had to pray for our eastern-plains of Colorado peeps who were banished to the basement for two hours in the height of it.

Got lots of hail. Lots! It was so loud on the roof of Chili’s last night!

More crazy today. Cold, brrrrr….rainy. And it looks like my Mother’s Day trail riding by horse in Estes Park will have to be postponed due to the 70% chance of snow they have going up there, plus a high of 37-degrees. *sigh.

Throwback Thursday #tbt dedicated to my mom because Mother’s Day is coming up.

My mom was in her mid-fifties before I actually knew her as a person. Before then she was my mom, my mom. Then, I realized she was a woman with hopes and dreams and passions and interests and that all of it had been on hold until then – because of family and church and ministry and life and obligations. Which she did fully willingly! And then…

I like her so much. I mean, yes, I love her deeply. I still hope I’ll be more like her before the end. But I also just like her as a person.  Her beginnings were kind of rough. But this baby (pictured below) turned the frowns upside down, trusted God and has made so many people smile.

baby norma jean 1938

Here she is, all madly in love with my dad. He has been the lucky recipient of her deep devotion and zealous love for 57-58 years now.

mom and dad dating

My mom loves all creatures great and small. She really loves her horses. She became a professional horse photographer in her mid-fifties!

mom and her horses
She was once given the nickname “Abnormal Norma.” And I guess if by “abnormal” you mean uncommon, exceptional and unexpected – then yes. She is abnormal. She is abnormally sweet and longsuffering, she is abnormally forgiving and understanding. She is abnormally optimistic and energetic for a woman of 76, or any age, really.

When we get together, we laugh. It is what we do. We laugh and until we are weak. And we do ridiculous things like this:

mom and me indiana

I consider it my mission to make sure she gets all the laughter that was allotted to her in life, even though the first 10-12 years had some really hard, laughter-stealing things.

Mother’s Day = warm weather (final frost date) gardening!

Tara planted her first boxes this year and Ryan is going to garden, too! Gavin is the old-pro by now. It’s going to be exciting as we all not only grow our own, pesticide-free goodies, but exchange recipes when we have certain crops coming out our ears!

Dave is supposed to be building me some brand new tomato boxes today, *ahem! I do not hear the hammer going.

mel bartholomew all new square foot gardening

Square Foot Gardening, people! Mel knows EVERYTHING! If you want to grow any edibles at all, please buy the book (or check it out from the library): All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. I was a total city girl who thought I would never want to garden, but this book, written with concise explanations by an engineer, explains all you need to know!

Colorado is one of only 4 states with no felony penalty for repeat DUI offenders.

While it seemed widely favored on both sides of the political aisle, I am disheartened that the Senate Appropriations committee voted 4-3 to kill House Bill 1036 Felony DUI for Repeat Offenders.

Fran Lanzer from MADD talked to us about it at the fashion show last week. Our fingers were crossed, but then this:

“For two fundamental reasons, I cast a ‘no’ vote,” said Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “First, I think more emphasis needs to be put on addressing the disease of alcoholism and not us locking people up. Second, the bill was changed to take effect next year. Because of that, I think next year’s appropriations committee should address it.”* from The Denver Post

I am perturbed by this, so I shouldn’t say much. To me, it sounds lazy and weak – a failure in the courage it takes to address a complex issue. By saying, “I think the emphasis needs to be put on addressing the disease of alcoholism and not us locking people up,” Mary Hodge has simply passed the buck instead of the bill.  Because “addressing the disease of alcoholism” is going to finally, fully happen – when? Right. Sometime in the future.

*Read more: Measure to create felony DUI in Colorado rejected by Senate Democrats – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_25710804/measure-create-felony-dui-colorado-rejected-by-senate#ixzz31A24CApz

Tomorrow is my first born’s birthday!

When she was in pre-school, her fav song was “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!and I came across this Pomplamoose version the other day. Much pretty-colored hair and reminded me of the girl who made me a mommy.

Be sure to come back tomorrow and read my love-letter and blessing to my darling daughter, whom I have loved beyond my ability to express for 35 years.

I saw this on Pinterest and I like it.

over my dead body

He finished it. He did what needed done!

Happy Thursday, aka day before we actually know we’ll make it to the weekend!

The Earth is the Lord’s and Everything in it!

Earth Day 2014

I believe that! This sphere, in all its amazing splendor, beauty and creativity – ALL a gift of the creative imagination and infinite ability of the Maker of heaven and earth.

Oh how I wish we were taking better care of it, being better stewards, enjoying His creation like we should, and really – could.

Earth Day and Christians: 7 Ways to Observe it

I just read this blog early this morning and LOVED it!  The writer referenced Isaiah 11.9, which is a favorite-favorite-hope-filled scripture!

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.

The sun is shining here in Denver today. The grass is brilliant spring-green and the skies are blue with puffy white clouds. The shrubs are flowering.  And the dandelions have once again blanketed the nearby fields, not to mention how they are traipsing boldly right down the block in this HOA-protected neighborhood, with great glee as if they weren’t sternly chased out last year. *sigh  Must be Earth Day! Happiness.

Hard to believe, but true – in my lifetime, I have known Christians  who have resisted things like “Earth Day,” allowing it to be spoiled by supposed political associations or some fear of earth-worship.

Psshhhht, people. The earth is His. “Bless the beasts and the children” and get on board today by thanking the Creator and Maker of all the incredible, life-sustaining beauty in the earth! He has surrounded us with His very glory, this Great God of ours!

Note to my children about your children:

Please get them outside often, out-of-the-city on purpose when you can (read the aforementioned blog post to see why – I know you’ll want to, then). Teach them to lie in green grass and watch clouds and to run barefoot, plunge their hands in to black soil for planting, get muddy, splash in puddles, go where there is no cell signal and listen to birds chirp, throw rocks into creeks and rivers, and yell really loudly where no one can hear. Give them Psalm 23 experiences for their body and soul’s health.

And you, too, my sweets. You get out of the city and go where you can see a million stars in the night sky and hear nothing but the beating of your own hearts – just long enough to regain your bearings.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”  Psalm 23

drive me wild
Happy-blessed-joy-filled Earth Day, everybody!

Thought-Collage Thursday // I gave up perfection{ism} for Lent

If you happen to see me and I look dazed and confused

It’s probably because I have been collecting songs for the fashion show. And high-energy club music makes — me — craaaaaaaaaazzzzeeeey!

I may or may not have a throbbing pain behind my left eye, while my right eye is twitching. I won’t say. But I am enjoying these three songs, only the first of these made the show cut. But the other two are fun, too!


Sometimes a small phrase turns a very nicely written article into something quite fanciful~

Dessa Wedding

Nibbles, Tredessa’s wedding 2011

That happened with a Laura Gaskill piece at Houzz on Sunday. She was advising us all to “Cultivate Everyday Joie de Vivre.” Upon her fourth suggestion, “Entertain with Abandon,” in which I felt fully encouraged to have guests over often without worrying over perfection, she wrote,

“Offer aperitifs and nibbles as soon as guests arrive to put everyone at ease.”

“Offer aperitifs and nibbles.” Doesn’t it just sound divine?

Well, it does, but of course, I don’t do alcohol {teetotaler, here}, so I won’t be – serving aperitifs. I’ll serve lemonade or green-sherbet punch,  and root beer floats a-plenty, instead. Sorry.

But there will be nibbles. I could not and would not have guests without nibbles. Of this you may rest assured.

I LOVED this blog post today:

How to Fail and Still Win, a Guide to not losing your cool. Donald Miller. Big fan of his writing and life’s work.

Because yesterday, I was feeling completely ill-prepared for an important meeting with people whose time is very valuable. I really wanted to cancel, even though I knew I would be enriched by them.

Then this simple Donald Miller post, just spotlighted my rather exuberant tendency to treat any bump in the road like a major wreck , to beat myself to smithereens when I have not achieved perfection. How did he know what I was thinking this morning? The conclusion:

“The next morning I got up, made my to-do list and pushed on. It’s a long season, after all. You’re going to drop a couple games on the way to the Superbowl.” -Donald Miller

Thank-you, Donald Miller.  And so I am pushing on.

They just don’t make TV like they used to

My silly little secret is that I loved music so much, any kind of music and song, I used to watch Lawrence Welk on TV every Saturday at 5 pm – when I was 14! I knew his bubbly brand of American standards and Martini music weren’t “cool,” but if there were going to be singers with bouffant hair in fancy dresses and fabulous, colorful sets and antics, I was going to watch!

Last Saturday evening, PBS was airing a Lawrence Welk “special.” They sometimes take a theme and air the best of his many years on television. This particular theme was the month of April, all bright and spring-y and hopeful and romantic.

I totally got sucked in to the special. Of course, it still isn’t “cool” for some one of my generation to be watching Lawrence Welk, but I was thinking – these people, these singers and dancers and the orchestra – they worked so hard to entertain. They are certainly considered quaint by any of today’s standards, but I found the show beyond enchanting.

lw collage

Check out the “rain” in this video. So low-tech, So perfectly charming.

Effort. Lights, Pretty clothes. Color. Sentimental songs. I loved.

Lawrence Welk would absolutely have served aperitifs with his nibbles!

Lumosity Brain Train

I love those silly Lumosity things. It’s my brand of gaming. Sometimes I do the daily suggestions then try them several times to beat myself. :)

I assumed my weakest area would be “flexibility.” But it is my highest scoring area, with speed and problem solving right behind.

Attention (What? Where were we?) and memory are tied for my weakest areas.  I used to have this amazing memory, like – AMAZING (In 1974 April 17th was a Wednesday – that type of memory)…but I can’t quite recall when that was…before the flood or something.

Sometimes I just don’t know what to do.

Or what to say. Or what to think. Or which way is up or right or the best. I feel surprised at this age and stage to not know as much as I once thought I did, to not know what is expected of me or how to make hard things work.  Sometimes I just don’t know…which is tough on a striver like myself.

And this is really the bravest thing I will admit today. Or maybe over the course of many days.

I did try to give up perfection for Lent. But…

I was remembering my younger self – back when I thought I knew an awful lot about a great many things. And even if I didn’t know, I still had a strong opinion. I really miss those days, sometimes. I really thought I was going to conquer everything before the end.

Now I know much better, which is to say I know very little. In my life, there is so much I will absolutely never know, ever learn, never experience. And while it wreaks havoc on my pride to know less than ever, to be less certain and able to tout my absolutely correct and utterly right viewpoints and finely tuned belief system, I’m wondering if that isn’t the point, anyway?

But it boils down to this, I really want to know {need to know} and never forget this thing: Jesus loves me. I am in my 50s and I have yet to comprehend the depth and breadth and width and height of it – this lavish love.  “Jesus loves me, this I know,” and that knowing  is still where I often find myself stuck. I am glad the Ephesians needed understanding for this, too. :)

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3

Anne Ortlund, in Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, said she jotted in her Bible margin next to that passage, “How do you put the ocean in a teacup?” That is the question!

His love

Amelie was practicing her cutting and gluing skills in pre-school with Nonna today. I masked off the shape of the cross and we talked about all the things for which we thanked Jesus – besides dying on the cross for our sins and then beating the devil by being raised from the dead.

amelie and her cross

I may or may not have misspelled “Easter.” Proving my point. Ha!

But as she cut and glued and looked through the newspaper and found more images, she just kept saying, “I know Jesus would love this – let’s give Him this!” Instead of thinking about what He has done for her, her love response was to give Him something in return!

“We love Him because He first loved us.”  1 John 4.19 NIV

This, is turns out – is pretty perfect!

Oh, don’t do that

And so, I preach to myself…

Don’t do that, my sweet.  Don’t dismiss some one else’s pain and affliction with pompous platitudes and sanctimonious scrutinies.  Don’t rattle off Bible verses like an automatic machine-gun clip meant to prove your prophetic prowess and settle your spiritual superiority. Remember how that cuts.

you are valuable quote

Don’t speak of the weak with haughtiness, as if you can possibly know the attack they have just endured.  Don’t dismiss the sensitive soul for feelings that are transparent.  Don’t assume because you can see the tears that they are weaklings, inconsequential, insubstantial  humans too fragile to be of value to kingdom warfare.  Disclosing pain doesn’t reveal a flimsy, powerless soul, but a heart of flesh, not yet gone to stone.

There is nothing wrong with that.  Feeling agony while suffering through a situation almost unbearable to share is not a sign of ineptitude or of being some feeble, worthless body part.

leave your capativity scripture quote

Be encouraged.

note to self, more than to anyone else…when I am tempted to roll my eyes and dismiss some one who is not as strong as I think I am… {bleh}

…how do we see the life of Jesus and act so contrary and haughty?  how do we have the written words of God and still not understand that it is not by strength, nor by human power in any way that accomplishes anything at all, ever?  it is by His Spirit.  get off your high-horse, self.  the way up is down.  the first shall  be last.  don’t despise the weakest one just because you can…because that is where His power will be made strong…

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.   Matt. 5

Be nice. For the love.

cheered up the sad print from etsy
 Etsy Print by romawinkel

Thought Collage Thursday // shameless

It’s a shame isn’t it?

When you catch one of those awful, terrible, no-good, super-nasty, gross and disgusting food bugs and the meal you had last gets the blame – so sad, ne c’est pas? It might be your famous chili recipe or KFC, but whatever was “in there” when it hit, that horrid ugga-bugga, well – you won’t like that food again for a long time, a very long time. It’s the blame game.

I am a grape

So says one of those online quizzes:

You are Grape

You’re adaptable and intelligent. Always one step ahead of the rest, your friends often rely on you to know the answer to any question or help update their resumes. If everyone would just let you write ‘The Rules for Life’ that everyone must follow, the world would be a better place.

You can’t argue with truth. That last sentence pretty much sums it all up.

“Nothing stays in Vegas” – Gretchen Rubin

Probably good to remember that.

#tbt Throwback Thursday

Easter 1970. I actually asked to have my hair fixed like that. My mom’s friends took me along to a beauty shop the day before and they ratted and spray and piled and swirled. It’s all my hair. I had to sleep with toilet paper wrapped around it, haha! I felt like such a mature church lady.  Oh my.

Easter 1970

Remember when these trucks delivered potato chips right to your door? No? No one else is that old?

charles

We never had potato chip delivery, but our friends, the Courtneys did! And oh how fun it was to look in the pantry and see several giant cans of potato chips there for the snacking.

Those were the days!

When the chips are down

There is a major non-chip chip craze happening. Potato chips are out. But kale chips are in.  And spinach chips, turnip chips, zucchini chips are all ok. Butternut squash chips, eggplant chips, Brussels sprouts chips, and beet chips are on the acceptable list. And of course apple chips are fine, and carrot fries – not a chip, but who doesn’t love a fry?

But check this out – right now, while the spring radishes are large and well-hydrated and tasty, but not too spicy from the heat of summer, I just found out you can make radish chips – which was actually what got me on the chip train, anyway. I was enjoying a whole bowl full of beautiful red radishes and wondering if anyone in the course of humanity has ever cooked them (I am very sheltered) and OF COURSE they have. Radish Chips. I shall try them soon and report back! CLICK FOR RECIPE

Possible Chip Theft!

Speaking of which  – I just pinned a paint-chip birthday “cake” on Pinterest, but Pinterest has an awful lot of “paint chip” projects that may or may not be using stolen paint chips.  I mean , ok, maybe make yourself a bookmarker with a paint chip from Home Depot once you have chosen a color and are finished with it. Maybe even make 6 notecards using them, but when you are covering an entire wall in paint chips – I am thinking you are not buying enough paint to cover that expense. I suspect you only buy the mis-mixed paints on occasion.

paint chip cake

And I sincerely hope you’re not ordering paint and returning it to re-buy it cheaper later because that would be way bad! Let us not steal paint chips, people.

We should all give up our shame for Easter

Since Jesus died to set us free from the law of sin and death and everything…don’t ya think?

“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”  -Brene Brown

I have been thinking a lot about shame and how it sticks to us like glue and we walk around under the weight of it. And I just wanted to say, to anyone I have ever cursed by saying, “Shame on you,” I do hereby withdraw it and strongly encourage you to be free from it. Really – run like the Dickens, as they say – I take it back, I release you from it. DON’T be ashamed anymore.

As a priest in the kingdom of God, I can pretty much do that.

In fact, let me turn it around. I’ll trade you:

Don’t be ashamed. Be forgiven, if there is something that needs forgiven. You know how, right? “If we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and just and He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”(1 John 1.9) So – do that simple thing and be forgiven.

Or, don’t be ashamed. Because I was maybe judging you wrongly and made you feel bad when I shouldn’t have. In which case, please be blessed, instead. I approve you, I esteem you now. Better than that, God does. All good things are from Him, so please avail yourself of them and forgive me for making you feel shame or ashamed.

 “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 This week’s mission: be shameless.  :)

A man falls in a hole…

From The West Wing, season two, Leo to Josh – when Josh is covering his deepest fears (and post-trauma, troubled behavior) so he won’t lose his job/identity/purpose/friends/center-

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.

A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on

Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole.

Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'”

First minute and a half:

Sometimes people fall into holes too deep to climb out on their own. Don’t ask me how I know. Sometimes, if not for the one voice saying, “I’ll help you out, you’re worth fighting for,” we’d fall deeper, become more lost than ever.

That West Wing exchange (I am watching it on Netflix, currently), reminded me of this RSA Short. It’s an incredibly smart animation of a Brene Brown talk about empathy and it makes me so mad at myself for all the times I have been the person looking down in the hole offering a sandwich or a silver lining or an “At least…”

And it makes me so thankful for the times I have thought I was doomed to die in the hole, alone, afraid, trying so hard to look like I meant to be there and had it all under control, and some one just came and picked up the burden with me – even when I couldn’t ask for help out.

True confession: I have been among those people standing on the sidelines, shaking our stupid heads, giving dumb narrative to stories we can’t comprehend.

In times of trouble, when some one really needs help, our drive-by prayers or ten-point “do this” lists are really the last thing a person needs.

photo

Watch this. See anyone you know?

But, this:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4.15-16 NIV

I am so grateful that Jesus still shows up, through flesh and blood people, He remains touched by the very feelings of our infirmities. He enters our chaos and our pain in the form of a friend with skin on. And through people so like Him they fairly glow reflecting HIs true nature, we are led out of captivity, out of the hole.

And finally, we can become those who can now (ridding ourselves of the head-shaking and wholly unhelpful commentary) jump in and comfort and help others out of their steep despair.

What a great plan. Jesus in us.

There is Hope for a Tree // Song for a Sunday

Job 14 yet at the cent of water

It’s spring, but still the trees are bare, save for the few buds beginning to emerge. On frosty, gray mornings, even though the grass is slowly greening, it can still look like winter and feel like it, too.  We can start wondering – will spring will ever come again? Will this deathly, barrenness last forever?

I was reminded again recently that we don’t have an enemy who is just there to annoy us. He isn’t a comical character with a pitchfork who has just come to tempt us or trip us into sin. He has come to kill, to steal from us and to destroy our lives. We get cut and sometimes everything we have tried build gets knocked down, destroyed. And we’re shocked. We’re surprised it could happen when we were following all the Christian “stuff” like living for God, reading the Word, spending time in worship, attending a good Bible-believing church. Etc.

In this world you will have trouble, “Jesus said. What did we think He meant?

I’m surprised that I am still surprised at the enemy’s tactics, that though I have lived surrounded by God’s faithfulness, I still fear winter has come for good. I forget so quickly that He also said, “But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

I smell hope. Could new life be just around the corner?

At the scent of water…

There is hope for a tree. If it’s cut down, it will sprout again…

Last summer I fought the battle of the Cottonwoods and the Aspens. We landscaped our back yard from dirt ten years ago. Today it is full of bushes and trees and flowers and veggies, come summer. It is lush, verdant, full of living things.

Those first trees were coaxed, kissed, sweet-talked: Please grown here, little trees, please bring me shade and thrive.

Now though, the yard is fairly bursting with goodness and life {quite overgrown and out of control, actually} and years of compost and hearty feedings and love and attention have created living, oxygenated wonderland so that now Aspens and Cottonwoods try to hold conventions here. I barely turn my back and another hidden seed has become a viable seedling, planted snugly in fertile ground.

I consider it carefully {should it stay?}, but most times, I need to remove them or they’ll damage a pipeline or cover the vegetable gardens. I try pulling them out. There! Got most of the root I think. A few days later, proud, bright green leaves unfurl on sturdy, baby branches.

Foiled, I get the heavy-duty pruners out and I cut and I mangle and I damage them badly – on purpose. There, I think! Now it’s gone. But, no. New shoots, new leaves.

I generally cannot help but smile and actually am encouraged that, though the gardener has tried her best to get rid if it, another little tree has fought for life. The secret of existence anyway has been the roots were taking hold, establishing before I was even aware. My attack doesn’t have the effect I think it will because I have no idea how long those roots have been at work, of what has been happening under the surface. How true of you and me, too…

“Be well-balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.”  1 Peter 5.8-9 Amp

Like a tree – you may have been cut down, the enemy bent on stealing your identity, your life, your peace, your reason for living, and destroying the things you held dear. But that other tree, the one on which Jesus died with all the bloody hope that was buried that day, changes EVERYthing.

When Jesus emerged in an explosion of dazzling, bright light and life three days later, with the keys of death, hell and the grave jingling in His hands, our Risen Savior proved that being buried, cut down to the root, couldn’t stop the plan of God – not for Jesus, not for us. Regardless of what it looks like on the surface, no grave can hold you down, no death sentence, no curse, no sin, nothing.

At the scent of water, it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant…

Hear this :: Physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, sickness, inoperable tumors, cancer treatments, a ‘stage 4’ diagnosis, chronic pain, relational brokenness, financial ruin, disenfranchisement, illegitimate chastisement, paralyzing fear, suicidal torment, shame that flattens, depression, humiliation, guilt that shatters, fearful thoughts, unholy imaginations, competitive people, rejection, divorce, heartbreak, job loss or layoff  – Anything and Everything that the enemy has tried on you or stolen from you, may this now be the scent of water before the rains even fall and may the roots you have sunk deep into the mercy of Jesus see you through to renewal and transformation, and a spring-green, hope-filled life!

Zechariah 10.1

Hear this as a love song from the Father~to you.

Is that the scent of rain on its’ way?

romans 15

Song for a Sunday // A Whole Worship Set

You say to us seek Your face

Our hearts reply, Your face we seek

And come teach us Lord, reveal Your ways

Anoint us for the greater things

 

We have gathered with one thirst and hunger

We’re here to drink of glory and wonder,

Here to cry out

Come and fill this place

Come and fill this place – From One Thirst, Steffany Frizzell

From the Ransomed Heart Ministries Becoming Myself LiveStream Day Retreat yesterday (because the worship was so great!):

After a short introduction to the day, Staci Eldredge set us on a course of worship, thoroughly vertical, starting with a song of words from God to us, then our response.  She said it would be a time to align our spirits with the Truth, to get ourselves ready to receive everything God had for us, 10 of us.

It did, powerfully.

nothing but the blood

And there was this song, which I couldn’t find on Spotify:

“You show me the way to life” – Who Can Compare, Jesus Culture

In case you needed directions…