Beautifully Hard Lessons of Motherhood – Part Two

Like many of you, Chuck and I went through a ceremony with each of our newborns. Dedication, baptism, christening. Different words and rituals, perhaps, but these solemn moments were our humble expressions of thanks and need. We thanked God for giving us this child and we acknowledged that we desperately needed Him to be good parents. These moments were, in fact, acts of surrender. We understood it would take God to make us godly parents and thus raise up godly children. And yet.

Take a deep breath.

One of the most gripping and overwhelming emotions I see in parenting today is fear. Fear of sickness. Fear of un-coolness. Fear of being different, being picked on, or being left out. Fear of failure. Fear of lack of intelligence, beauty, popularity, or sports skill.  From the need to get all “A’s” in kindergarten (let that sink in a moment), to the need to wear just the right clothes, we fear that our kids may not “be enough.”

Widen out the lens to a bigger worldview and the fear factor only increases. Fear of not having a good job, fear of not marrying well, fear of not serving God, fear of not living well “enough.” Don’t even mention world tensions and local threats. We are consumed with the what-if’s.

We find ourselves living in The Land of Unknowns. From the child’s first night alone in the crib to the first day of school; from the first time driving behind the wheel to the first day at college; from the first kiss to walking down the aisle, we are forced into situation after situation where we have no control.

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Beautifully Hard Lessons of Motherhood – Part One

Somehow I want to soften this story to make it appear, well, perfect. But alas. That is the moral of the story. I am not. Neither are my children. And that is very good news. But first, allow me the story behind the moral.

A friend ordered Salem a customized potty training book. The little bear in the story was named Salem so page after page revealed a cute little bear talking to the Mama bear about how to go to the big potty and how “Salem” would soon learn to wear panties instead of diapers. We were both so excited to read it.

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Why I Still Go To Church

Ah yes. Hear that collective groan?  “To church, or not to church,”  that is the question among believers. Many of us are sick and tired of the way churches have become bloated institutions driven by the agendas of a handful of people. Many of us have been seriously wounded, neglected and rejected. Many of us, old and young alike, remark, “I just don’t see the point.”

I do not deny these stark accusations. And yet, I still go to church. Here’s why.

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When Dead Things Come to Life

It is one of those Holy Convergences. You know the ones? When God is trying to tell you something and He brings the same message from all these “random” directions? Yeah, one of those. It is freaky and delightful all at once. Let me break it down.

First came the lunch meeting at Aubrey’s.  I casually glanced out the window and time stopped for a moment as I watched this beautiful “pink snow storm.” Only it wasn’t snowflakes but seeds and petals caught up in the wind.  I couldn’t take my eyes off this magical display. The wind, like the hand of God, just wrapped itself around this life-laden tree. It  gathered up the pink promises, and in a gust, tossed the tree’s future into the air, carrying seed far from the original planting. Literally, it was like a river of pink seed carried through the current of air.

Are you seeing this? the Spirit whispered.  Yes, Lord. Yes.

Then came Easter. God always brings a new revelation around what Father, Son and Spirit did for me. For you. One revelation came as I was planting new flowers and seeds. I heard the phrase, “Jesus was  planted in the earth.”  A dead seed. But then God raised him to life and from his resurrected life came forth many seeds. That is me and you.

Our very spiritual lives are a result of His power to bring new life from the dead.

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The Launching…when God shows up

There are just these moments when other people’s stories collide with my own.  And when they do, it gets so crazy “coincidence” that you know in your Knower that God is up to something big.

I have had this ember burning in my soul for months now. It has been a mystery, a wonder, a prayer. And I have hardly been able to even speak it out and  be coherent. But every time I tried to release in the physical what is happening in the spiritual, the ember would flare up into golden flame.

And then I would hear comments about hunger, and restlessness, and even eagerness.  “I am never going back,” is a phrase I have heard not once but three times from women who have gone beyond the bible study, the church going, who have gone into the deep places of God. My heart beats with theirs. So much so, that I feel like now there is a rolling fire in my soul.   We can’t go back to okay, God is wanting to more for us.

And thus. “The Launching.”

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God is gathering women who are hungry,  even desperate for more of Him.  There is a rising ache and groan among women who have really tasted the beauty and closeness of Jesus. And we want more. But how?

So this event is to help women soak in His presence. Really. To impart revelations that we need to stay centered in the middle of our lives.

Rest. Dependence — which produces peace and confidence. And so much more. Continue reading

Is Forgiveness Real, or Not?

I really blew it with my kids yesterday.  Blame it on a toxic cocktail of hormones,  fear and the need to control.  Or.  Let’s just get real.  It was my loss of self control. 

Either way, when my emotional tornado passed, all of us looked and felt like one of those house-splintered aftermath scenes. They were hurt.  I was hurt. And I was pretty sure the Lord was sad too.  There was  a lot of debris to clean up.

As I made dinner, the scene replayed in my mind: my words, their faces.  My choices, their hurt. Over and over it played. My heart was breaking. I love my girls so much. And yet…I still said those horrible things.

“What do I do now??” I asked the Lord in a near panic.

Of course— I would ask my girls  for forgiveness.  But how do I be different next time? I was in a state of shock and disbelief.

Had He taught me so much only for me to lose it in a moment? Did His love not really matter when I needed it most? Was I ever going to learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way in the heat of the moment? Continue reading

Why More Sex Doesn’t Fix Porn

It makes me sick when pastors tell wives that if they had been sexing their husbands enough, then their husbands would not have turned to porn. But it makes me violent when pastors tell these now broken, betrayed wives that it is their duty to keep giving their porn addict husbands sex to make them better.

These same pastors misquote scripture to further beat up these wounded women. Well played guys.  Because orgasm is the god of the age.

One commonly misused passage is 1st Corinthians 7: 1- 7 Continue reading

The Happy God Who Cleans Your House

Monday night, Vince Gibson led an open worship session at Fuse Church. It was rich and intense and wonder-full. The Spirit was heavy on us and among us.  At one point, Vince started asking  Jesus to take us to the “deepest parts” and to sweep away the darkness and the lies.

While we were singing “sweep through the deepest parts,” God granted me an incredible vision.

I saw Jesus sweeping through my “house”  and I knew in the spirit that we were inside my tabernacle, my dwelling place of God. But He was whistling and singing and smiling.  Think of the seven dwarves singing, “Whistle While You Work” in Snow White.  It was like that. Yes. Crazy.

As I watched Him, I laughed and shook my head, clearly this did not make sense.   “What’s He doing? Why is He so happy? I asked.

“There is no shame in your dirt anymore,”  the Spirit said at my side. “He has already paid for it. So He is happy to get it out.”

The Spirit and I stood there together for a moment watching Jesus playfully  sweep up dirt and debris with a broom and dustpan. If you can imagine, He was kind of dancing around and laughing. A crazy kind of joy welled up in my heart. I was relieved and exposed and freed all at the same time.

Then Jesus turned and looked at me with a huge smile and said, “I love your house. I love it when it’s clean.”JesusLaughing

Wow.  I haven’t been able to shake the joy on His face.

Who is this God that does not shirk from our sin nor does He hesitate to get into our souls and get His hands dirty?  What kind of God is so full of joy in our process of redemption?

Praise the name of Jesus.

Yes I know we are responsible for keeping our tabernacle worthy of His presence. But His joy moved me to tears.

Something shifts in these moments. Motive changes. Desire increases. Love abounds. I want to keep my life clean when I know that He loves my house so much. Courage grows when I grasp  He willingness to take out the darkness and dirt that I am afraid to even acknowledge.

What I am afraid to touch, He sweeps away Himself.

What a Savior. What a Friend. What Life-changing Joy.