Monday, December 30, 2013

HIS Will.

God's will. My will. HIS will. My will.

I can say, "not my will, but thine be done, Lord." I can say it with the best of them. I've said it most my life but what about living it?

I haven't lived His will. I've lived mine. I've stumbled ahead of God, thinking I knew better than He, what lay ahead.

I was reading in Ezekiel and these verses spoke loud and clear.

"And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit, I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God."
Ezekiel 11: 19-21

As I read the verses I knew that I wanted a heart of flesh, not one of stone. I asked God to replace my stone heart with one that is soft and alive. But I couldn't know just how soon He wanted to do that.

And oh, it hurts.

I've had a heart of stone, because then you don't hurt. You don't feel just how broken, messed-up and torn you are. The shards of yourself don't cut so deep when you're stone.

But when you're stone, you're not clay in the potter's hands.

When you're stone that doesn't feel, you're not living. You're just trying to survive on your own.

God has started cutting out that stone in me, replacing it with a warm, pulsing, living, moldable, hurting heart of flesh.

I'm bowed with grief over my hard heart. I'm terrified by my weaknesses. I'm terrified when I think about living surrendered and vulnerable to God's will that I can never see completely. My self wants to stay here, where it's safe with a stone heart that doesn't hurt. In my mind, I come up with all these good reasons to stay right here with stone inside me.

God will have to do this. He'll have to do it ALL.

And maybe that's why He's calling me to this loving, hurting, vulnerable, living with a soft, flesh heart inside. Because He knows I can't do it on my own. He's made me know that I can't do it on my own.

When I live stone-hearted and stubborn, I don't want God's will for my life.

I need God to give me the flesh heart that desires HIM and HIS WILL.

And so,

With HIS grace I will start fresh and new. I will live daily with a beating, flesh heart. I will be vulnerable and weak and afraid. But I will bind myself to CHRIST.


And then I can say; I can began to live:

HIS will. NOT, my will.

HIS will be done. HIS. My Savior who knows all. His will be done in me; through me. For His glory.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Actively waiting.

The air is stagnant. Little light reaches this dull place. The chairs are old and worn. People sit and wait. Some know what they're waiting for, others don't. But they all wait. They just sit wearing the dim paisley thinner. A sigh escapes. A sliver of light exposes a shower of dust particles. Cracked clocks tell the wrong time. But no one seems to notice. They wait because they don't want to choose.

I used to think waiting was the absence of choice. We wait because we can't, or won't, choose. We wait by default.

I now know different.

Waiting is a choice I make every minute of every hour of every day. It's an active surrender. I don't wake up, and find myself sitting in God's waiting room. I wake up and I choose to wait on the Lord. It's not my default mode. In fact, it goes against the grain of my nature to wait.

So often, I just want to know! I want to act, I want to choose. But I'm finding, that waiting is knowing. It is acting and it is choosing.  

Waiting is knowing that Christ knows my every need and desire. It's acting in Christ's strength not my own. And it's choosing to be surrendered to His will.

This waiting is breathing, living, acting.

In every season of life I'll be waiting for something. And right now, I can practice the choice of waiting. I can practice following God, fully surrendered.

I wait for a letter. I wait for a time to speak.

Grey clouds cover the summer sky tonight. They take the sunset and wrap it up tight. But they're moving clouds. Shifting, churning. I can spot slivers of pale blue showing. I wait for stars to peek out.

I choose to wait.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shelling peas and a hail storm.

It was Saturday. We were wearing white and black, selling our products at the Farmer’s market. It was a hot, humid day. Clouds hung low over our heads holding the warm air close. The sultry heat drove the customers away early. It was closing time and we were ready to get out of the warmth. We just carried the last boxes to the trailer when the first rain drops splashed the pavement. The wind burst, driving storm clouds over-head. We rushed to help our neighbors pack up. Rain came harder. Pounding in sheets Wind blew fierce. Canopies toppled. Venders scrambled to save their wares. The road was a river of water churning up past our ankles. We were all soaked and struggling to hurry weighed down as we were with rainwater. Then the hail stones came. Solid ice the size of quarters beat down on everything and everyone. Stunned, we tried to keep moving, to keep hauling things to safety. Bags of vegetables, framed pictures, strings of jewelry, and beeswax candles, all of it needed stowed in the vender’s cars. Somewhere under the cover of a building, street musicians played on through the storm. It made me think of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Clouds moved letting sun stream through the rain. We smiled at each other through the wet. We were able to help all who needed it. We splashed in the water that reached our knees. We were so thankful. God had sheltered us in the midst of the storm. On a typical Saturday, we usually wouldn’t be packed up so soon. But this time we had every piece packed safely in the trailer before a drop of rain hit. And then He allowed us to help all the other venders caught in the storm. Stories of God’s protection and thankful hugs were sweet gifts to take home with us.

Days after the storm, it was time to harvest the shelling peas. The pea plants were bruised and bent from the storm. Their shells scarred from hail stones.


But beneath the damaged shells there hid perfect rows of tender, bright green peas. Breaking the shell open, I slid my finger along the tight row. One by one the peas break off and tumble into the large bowl.


It struck me. The storm, like the damaged pea shells, had concealed bright, tender gifts.

How often does God send us gifts wrapped in hail-damaged shells? These gifts take unwrapping to really see all they hold.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at a hail-damaged pea shell quite the same.



Monday, June 10, 2013

The beautiful ugliness.

Beautiful ugliness.

Do you know what beautiful ugliness looks like? I thought I did. I thought I knew how to look at the awful, broken, and disgusting, to see beauty.

But what about the times when the ugliness spills out of me? Out of you?

Often I feel this happens to me. The pressure, the stress and strain, some of it real, some of it created in my own mind, born of paranoia and fear, comes crashing through my being. Instead of leaving to rest in the arms of my Savior, my stubborn sinful side takes charge. I lash out in anger. I hurt people. I say things I know are not true.

A day not too long ago, all this was poignantly true. In the beginning of the day my eyes were anywhere but on Christ. The "to-do's" crowded in. The pressure of meeting deadlines took precedence in my mind over the far more important care of the eternal souls living around me every day.

And then it all crashed in.

My foundation of sand crumbling. But instead of fighting the tide of sinful nature that comes over me so strong, I succumbed. I gave in to the anger. The selfishness. The pride. I said things I knew were not true.

It all came gushing out. All that ugliness inside of  me that I like to turn away from. It sat crumpled in a heap right in front of me. As I sat looking at it, grief for my sin and anger at myself for not living in Christ welled up. And I wept.

I wept and I pleaded forgiveness. They all forgave me. Those around me who I hurt forgave me in love. My Savior forgave me all and washed me clean. I live in constant awe of the miracle of forgiveness demonstrated in me and around me every single day.

I was broken. Seeing yourself as you really are when you try to do it on your own, is bleak and frightening. But the day was not over yet. Loose ends had to be gathered so that things could be accomplished. I should have already left. A dear friend of ours dropped by as I was trying to pack the stray things I needed. This white-haired friend is dear to me because she's a follower of Jesus Christ and she's truthful. She's so honest with herself, honest with me, and her eye's beg me to be honest with her.

I tried to avoid the honesty. I felt the tears would come fresh if I didn't. I backed out of our driveway, Mary in the car with me, I didn't pause to look. There was terrible screech of grinding metal. I stopped. And I think my heart stopped too. I pulled forward and got out. A crater of a dent starred at me from the side of her car. I felt my insides crumble. I can't believe...

And then a struggle. Should I just leave? Maybe she wouldn't notice the crater? But I knew. I couldn't just leave. I couldn't run away from my mistake. I walked back inside. The words choked my throat and the hot tears came all over again. Her first words were: "are you both alright?" And then she enveloped me in tenderness. Hugging me as I sobbed and choked on my pitiful, "I'm sorry." She didn't even go out to see the damage. She just forgave, loving me and giving me grace I didn't deserve.

I'll never forget how she gave me 'grace.' She gave it like Christ gives it. Freely, abundantly, holding nothing back and asking nothing in return. One day, I pray that I can be the white-haired lady giving grace to the one choking out "I'm sorry."

That night as I lay in the darkness of my room my eyes red from tears; my body tired, I thanked God for such an awful wonderful, beautiful ugly day. At my core I was truly thankful. What if I never had to face the angry, selfish part of me? That part, I wish wasn't there. What if it hadn't spilled out, forcing me to take in its ugliness. If the heat and the fire don't bring the dross to the surface, how will the gold ever be fine?

The fire hurts, and I have thick dross that needs burning. But, I praise God He loves me enough to bring the refining fire.

And that is what the 'beautiful' looks like in the midst of my ugly.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Psalm 72:19
Blessed be His glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with
His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Today, I've been thinking about God's glory. What it looks like; where I see it. I find that the whole earth really is filled with His glory!
I see it in the Spring rain filling the sky with grey tempest, pelting our green fields with wet. I see His glory in a smile, warm and genuine. Glory in reconciliation. Glory in pain that opens our hearts for healing. God's glory in the celebration of His Resurrection. I see His glory in the expanse of stars that hang over me at night. I hear Him in the Psalms put to music. I read His glory in the pages of my Bible. I feel it in hug. In an 'I love you' softly spoken before bed. I find His glory in truth. Truthfulness with myself, with others, with God. His Glory in prayer, that time to be quiet and empty before Him so we can be filled. I see His glory in my weakness, my failures. I see His glory in our neediness, our dependence on Him for all things.
His glory is ever-present, all around us. We can be instruments of God's glory if we're surrendered to, and filled by, Him. And Him alone.
This is my desire.
Psalm 27:4
One thing I have asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Like a stack of books...

Today, I'm revelling in the small things.
a stack of books.
A cold, wet morning.
Dark looming clouds.
A globe.
Someone playing piano on youtube.
Irish books.
A chubby cup of coffee.
Brutal honesty.
Chicken soup bubbling on the stove.
my head full of thoughts.
Agape love.
algebra problems.
Clean floors.
Savory pancake breakfast.
pictures of granola.
Reading from Esther and Psalms.
Whistling to birds.
Stacked rocks.
Being a sinner saved by grace.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Old skin.

Am I the same person I was 5 years ago? 2 years ago? 3 months ago?

My answer: I hope not.

13 years ago, the Holy Spirit pierced my black heart for the first time: I believed. I repented, pleading God's mercy and forgiveness. Immediately, He washed me in the pure flood of His Son's blood. I became a new creation. Leaving the old skin behind, I was robed in Christ's righteousness.

But I was still very much human.

In the moment of becoming a new creation, I didn't become a saint.

With Christ inside me, my heart was now a battle-ground of war between the flesh and the Spirit. The old and the new. The human and the holy.

As I ask myself if I'm the same person I once was, my desire is that I can honestly answer no.

Because, I believe God desires us to become new creations every day. He wants us me to shed the old skin with each morning. He desires me to become less of myself, so that He might fill me more fully. He desires His spirit to grow so huge and all-encompassing that the fibres of my wicked nature burst apart. He wants me to daily walk away from my old skin; the carcass of my self.

Like a spider who out-grows his skin, God's spirit inside me needs to out-grow my fleshly desires and wants.
I believe every day, I need to let this shell of myself die, so that Christ Jesus in me, may fully live.

It's a constant war inside of me. My old self raises its ugly, leering head, desperately trying to live. The hardest battles fought, are the ones we can't see. In the midst of the 'everday' can be the hardest time to put to death the 'flesh' inside of me.

Only, with God's strength and mercy can I learn to daily cast off this old skin, so that I can live fully alive in Him!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


is one of those days
where the 'to do' lists
loom long.
and the wind blows cold
and hard.
the sky hangs still
and grey.

I chased my golden-colored dog
down the street.
I cleaned.
I folded laundry.
I put on an argyle sweater.
I made mounds of sparkly,
red and pink

I want to crawl inside
a book store,
and I may not come out.
I will take french roast coffee with me.
a thick cable-knit sweater.
red pens.
I will find a small little nook
deep inside the bookshelves,
on the top floor
and I will read,
and wonder,
and ask,
and answer,
and watch.

But today.
I still need to make piles of
pastry dough.
cookies with pink
m+m’s in them.
bags of plum tarts
for a party tomorrow.
Spaghetti for dinner.
I still need to add words
to my paper hearts,
and words to white paper
for a blogpost.

the bookstore,
I suppose,
must wait
for another cold,
blustery day…


Thursday, January 31, 2013

6 July 2012

Imagine a world where time is churning, constant motion. It stops for no one. It waits for nothing. In this world where times moves constant and loud, people are frantic to grab hold of it.

Like a train chugging by, time huffs and puffs down the tracks stopping for no one. Some people clutch their belongings in one hand; with the other they reach out to grasp the time that is moving past them. Like the pink rays of the sinking sun, time slips through the fingers that don't hold it tight.

Some people stand in a constant state of readiness. They jump at a chance. Grasping it tight because they know time won't wait. A man is offered a job as a newspaper editor. He accepts the hour of his offer. A tall boy with dark glasses asks a girl to marry him. She accepts immediately. Her train is here; she figures she better get on. She knows it won't slow down and wait. If she refuses him, he will ask someone else tomorrow.

A girl steps out into the cool of evening air. A field adjacent to her property is filled with the lights of hay trucks. Their metal arms clank and churn as they pluck the hay bales from the ground. Their headlights are steady beams in the glowing dusk. The sound of the machines is constant and echoing in the small valley. The girl realizes that this is the way time is. The churning metal groans louder in her ears. Time won't wait. It's on the move. She walks back inside with determination. She will write her book. She will write it now.

To some, this constant motion of time is terrifying. They stand at the station frozen, watching time steam by them. But they can't gather enough courage to reach out and step aboard. They're paralyzed by fear. By questions.

A man in a checkered bow-tie, clutches his small suitcase. The trains whiz by. They blow his hair in his face. People walk by him. Close by. They brush against him. He doesn't move. Very soon he realizes that the hair he's brushing away from his eyes is grey. He feels weak and sits down on the concrete. Time is closing in. But he hasn't done anything! He stares into the face of a train engine nearing him. He feels his life has been empty.

He perceives the train is not going faster or slower then it ever has. It chugs along. Constant. Moving. Grinding metal gears. It waits for no one. For nothing.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A page with words.

When I don't write. It's not because I have nothing to say. When I don't write, it's because I have too much to say. Thoughts crowd my mind like so many books weighing on old shelves. Thoughts. Fragments. They float mid-air. If I don't write, I don't give shape and form to these floating things. I feel that I fail.

Lately the thoughts come thick and fast. They fill the shelves of my mind so full they tumble off into a cahotic heap. When I lay down at night my head is heavy as lead because it's so full of thoughts.

I know very well my thoughts are not always, if ever, original. My small mind contains questions that have been asked by millions of minds before me.

But there's something satisfying in expressing something in your own words even if it isn't your original idea.

What is the good of having thoughts, opinions; ideas, if you can't give them flesh and bones in clear words? Thoughts without words are faceless clocks that can't tell time, croissants without butter, books with empty pages.

I feel as though I could lock myself away for a long time and just write. The words would spill reckless over the pages. In the end, I wouldn't have an incredible manuscript, something brimming with oringinal ideas. I wouldn't have a New York Times Bestseller. But what I would have, would be mine. It would be my thoughts and ideas made flesh.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A truth, I think we all know...

Life is a gift.

I think deep down this truth is written on the cavernous walls of our hearts. We know that life is a gift, but do we live like it is?
Truthful, I don't always live like this.

This morning I was walking into the pale sunrise of morning, out to the white barn, to milk the goats. The air cold, but not freezing. All around me the world, dressed in white, gleamed in the yellow light. The light touches the folds of the mountains with soft hands. Snow and ice crunch beneath my feet. Above me, the blue sky is dappled in silver clouds like the spots on a faun's back. They shimmer in the sunlight. In the west, dark blue storm clouds roll and churn as they climb over the mountain's peak, spilling into the sky above our valley. Though the clouds still hover far away, I can feel their energy.

I walked into this beauty with a mind full of our mortality.

We know a man, our neighbor. His body is wracked with the incurable Lou Gerick's disease. The disease seeps into every part of him. He can't walk. Now he can barely speak. We each have a number for our days, but his number grows smaller. We pray for him every day. God is reaching his heart. I don't think this man has every let God reach into his heart.

With my eyes full of light, I was hit with the truth in a new way.

Life is a gift.

It is a gift to be alive. To draw breath. laugh. cry. talk. write. love.

I've always known life is a gift, but I don't simply want to know.

I want to wake to each sunrise and breathe deep this gift.

I want thankfulness for life to spill out of me every day.

I want to live keenly aware of the number of my days.
I want to live keenly aware of the gift each one contains.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


New Year.
is a gift.
a gift of time.
a gift of life.
Thank you God,
for this