Just Show Up


Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed" - Mark 1:35

I think devotions are extremely important, and yet I think many of us are scared of them.  I know I used to be.  I thought every devotion needed to have this earth shattering moment where God spoke directly to me and my world would be changed.  That my heart would be full and I would walk away renewed and in touch with my soul.   But then there is the question of "what to do for devotions?"  Pray? Journal? Read?  But read what? The Bible? A book? What book?  Of Poetry .short stories with meaning...a chapter in the Bible, but then where do I start with that?  Good grief, it's just easier to ignore it all together.

I think Satan speaks these things into our Spirit to keep us from even trying.  We come to a devotion/quiet/ meditation time with expectations.  We hear people speak of how God is changing them, speaking to them, revealing things to them.  We show up once, it doesn't happen, and it becomes harder the next time to be as open, be as vulnerable.  We show up again and we read text but it doesn't really get down into our soul. (and then there is the issue of being terrified of what God might reveal to us, or what we might see in our own souls that we don't want to see and will have to confront.)

I can't believe I am actually going to say this, but because I hear Tony Horton's voice every day in this house, (God bless my husband for his dedication to his health and workouts), I am going to repeat what he tells his clients,


You don't always feel like it.  You may suck at it some days.  You may feel nothing some days, but you have to show up.


I had a friend who decided to just show up to silence every morning for 30 minutes.  She wasn't sure what she was doing.  She wasn't sure if she was going to think on a passage, or say something, or wait.  She didn't know, but what she knew is she needed to show up.  If she kept showing up then something was going to happen.

There is no right way to do devotions.  Over our last Sabbath, I read all of C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce" I never opened my Bible or prayed.  But I read a book on spiritual matters.  My soul was stirred and my heart was full of new thoughts regarding God and his love for me.  That was my devotion time.  It was refreshing because there are so many days where I read the proverbs or the Psalms or Hebrews and...there's just nothing.  I don't know what I am supposed to be hearing or learning.  Nothing jumps off the page at me and grabs me.  I read.  I close the book, and then I'm done.  It was nice to feel something after doing a devotion.

We have to acknowledge that there is a lie here that says that devotions have to be hard, complicated, intimidating, long, life changing.  Most devotions/quiet times/meditations are just showing up.  Because something beautiful happens in the showing up.  When we consistently show up, we change our habits to include a greater force than ourselves.  We train our brains to remember that we are not alone and are under a higher authority.  It forces us to remember that God is there.  We are not alone.  God is there.  When we show up it creates space for God to be God.  When we show up we will slowly chip away at our independence and fear and control issues and slowly and gently God will take them from us and replace them with his compassion, forgiveness and love.


Doesn't matter what you start with.  Doesn't matter how terrible your prayer is.  (I love to pray. I like to pray more than I like to read the Bible.  I like to pray more than I like to listen to God's answer.  Some would say they like listening to me pray.  But in devotion time, my prayers are horrible.  They are scattered, they are confusing, they are distracted.  They are jumpy, meaning they go from something very real and deep to something like, "please God help me not to forget that my son needs a special treat today."  A lot of times, my prayers are begging God to help me stay focused.  I struggle with saying the things I think I am supposed to say and what I really want to say.  They usually end up being both, just in case.)

Devotions can be short to get started.  Devotions can be listening to a song with a strong spiritual meaning.  It could be reading a book that teaches you or encourages you in spiritual matters.  It could be a Bible Study.  It could be a Portals of Prayer, which I've actually never read before.  huh.  It could be prayer.  It could be journaling.  Doesn't matter, just show up.  God still shows up, so you won't be alone.

Start where you need to start to have success.  If that means 15 min. three days a week, then start there.  Start in a realistic place where you will have success and be encouraged to get to the place you want to be.  Remember, there is no right or wrong in this.

But let's be honest here.  If we aren't spending time re plugging into our spiritual source, how can we expect our faith to flourish?  How can we be strong and courageous if we aren't doing anything to strengthen it?  Our Christian faith is like any other living thing.  It needs to be fed and strengthened, otherwise, it withers and dies.

I wish I was better at devotions on a daily basis.  A lot of times I am so exhausted from staying up late trying to do too many things.  This last Sabbath was a big reminder to me how important taking time out, making it a priority is.  Taking time to learn from the one who made me.  Feeling my soul shine a little brighter, feel a little more alive, a little more real and full.  And to learn a little bit more about the one who loves me.  To challenge my preconceived ideas and stretch my understanding.

I need to remember...Just show up.

It's not about how to do devotions.

It's about why we do devotions.

Proverbs 2

I wanted to share something that was encouraging to me with you.  You can read Proverbs 2 straight through, or you can throw vs. 9 after the first few verses, and then it reads like this:

I love this reading and think it is very important to read this, pray this and meditate on this for our own lives and those of our children.

Proverbs 2:1-10

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God

and you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you.

Andrew Peterson - The Chasing Song

Andrew Peterson sings my heart better than I have words to write it.

If you have time to listen to this song you should.  He is an artist to support by purchasing his music.  Trust me, you will be blessed.

The Chasing Song

Now and then these feet just take to wandering
Now and then I prop them up at home
Sometimes I think about the consequences
Sometimes I don't

Well, I realize that falling down ain't graceful
But I thank the Lord that falling's full of grace
Sometimes I take my eyes off Jesus
And you know that's all it takes

Well I wish that I could say that at the close of every day
I was happy with the way that I'm behaving

'Cause Job, he chased and answer
The wise men chased the Child
Jacob chased her 14 years and he
Captured Rachel's smile
Moses chased the Promised Land
Joseph chased a dream
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me

Well, they say a race can only have one winner
And you know you've got to pull out front to win
God knows the only time I'm winning
Is when I'm chasing Him

Well I wish that I could say that at the close of every day
I was happy with the way that I'm behaving

'Cause Samson chased a woman
and he chased the Philistines
I'm not quite sure what Jonah chased
But I know he caught the sea
Cain, he chased the harvest
While Abel chased the beasts
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me
And Jesus chased the money men
And he chased his Father's will
He chased my sin to Calvary
And he caught it on that hill
Saul, he chased the Christians
Till his blindness made him see
David, he chased God's own heart
All I ever seem to chase is me

Please do me a favor, when you click on the link below, after you press play, close your eyes and listen.  It's the only video I could find and its terrible.  Don't be distracted by the crappy pictures posted to go along with this video.  Close your eyes, let it speak to you, and you will be blessed.

At least I have been.  I am glad we have resurrected this album.



The Forevertron

I love those times when you can see a physical representation of a spiritual experience.

For over 10 years, Paul has wanted to take me to the Forevertron Art Park in WI. A couple weekends ago, all the stars aligned and we were able to go. Paul and I are big lovers of art, and we frequent galleries whenever possible. Going to multiple galleries and the sculpture gardens here in the twin cities was actually our first date.

Here is a shot of the main attraction, Forevertron

This is my favorite shot we took.

We spent most of our time looking around and enjoying the experience with the kids, so our pictures aren't the greatest. If you want great photo's please check out the link below. Also, all the amazing details that make up the Forevertron are listed below.

Here is an excerpt when researching about the Forevertron:

Dr. Evermor's Forevertron, built in the 1980s, is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world, standing 50 ft. (15,2 m.) high and 120 ft. (36,5 m.) wide, and weighing 300 tons[1]. It is housed in Dr. Evermore's Art Park on Highway 12, in the town of Sumpter, in Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States.

The sculpture incorporates two Thomas Edison dynamos from the 1880s, lightning rods, high-voltage components from 1920s power plants, scrap from the nearby Badger Army Ammunition Plant, and the decontamination chamber from the Apollo 11 spacecraft[2]. Its fictional creator, Dr. Evermor, was born Tom Every[3] in Brooklyn, Wisconsin[disambiguation needed ] and is a former demolition expert who spent decades collecting antique machinery for the sculpture and the surrounding fiction that justifies it. According to Every, Dr. Evermor is a Victorian inventor who designed the Forevertron to launch himself, "into the heavens on a magnetic lightning force beam." The Forevertron, despite its size and weight, was designed to be relocatable to a different site—the sculpture is built in sections that are connected by bolts and pins.[2]

In addition to the Forevertron itself, the sculpture includes a tea house gazebo from which Every says Queen Victoria and Prince Albert may observe the launching of Dr. Evermor; it also includes a giant telescope where sceptics may observe the ascent. Dr. Evermor's art park is home to scores of other sculptures, many of which relate to the Forevertron, such as the "Celestial Listening Ear" and the "Overlord Master Control Tower". Other large-scale sculptures include gigantic insects (the "Juicer Bug" and "Arachna Artie"), the "Epicurean" bellows-driven barbecue train, "The Dragon", and "The UFO". The most numerous sculptures are the "Bird Band and Orchestra" which includes nearly 70 birds ranging from the size of a child to twenty feet tall, all made from scrap industrial parts, geological survey markers, knives, loudspeakers, springs, and musical instruments, among other salvaged materials.

Tom Every says he takes pride in allowing the original materials to remain unaltered as much as possible, using their original forms in new juxtapositions to create his aesthetic. While he himself is not often available for tours of the art park, the site can generally be accessed from passing through the surplus store adjacent to it, Delaney's Surplus. Mr. Every also created much of the installation art for the House on the Rock, including the world's largest carousel.

If you want to read more, check out this article from PBS (which is great!)

One especially inviting aspect of this park is the field of Song Birds.

The field of Song Birds were all created and designed around an instrument. The heart and soul of each piece has its heart beat in music displayed in a unique way. It's beautiful and worth a slow walk around to appreciate each piece.

Here is my favorite. (We had each person stand next to their favorite piece after exploring through the song birds. It was fun to hear the kids reasoning behind why they were eliminating certain pieces.)

Here is the largest and most intimidating piece in the field of song birds, and the boys favorite. Isn't it stunning and amazing!

It was very spiritual for me to walk around and see bits and pieces of metal, car scraps and radiators and instruments and bowling balls all designed in a whole new way. Something that would normally be thrown away was created into a new artistic expression. Dr. Evermor sees past what others see. He sees something new out of what can't be used for it's original purpose anymore. He can imagine and dream something broken into something that inspires life. It can be hard for me sometimes to push past what is. To see past what was broken.

I often think that one of the greatest tools used to keep people from living freely in Christ is the guilt over what they have broken in life. To just see the strangled pieces. The hurt that they have done to themselves or to others. To see trust broken. To see relationships damaged. To see mistakes that can't be undone.

For some it's addiction, or abuse, or lying and cheating. It could be divorce, death, disease, or hospitalization. It could be obesity, or impaired mental and emotional health; it could be a natural disaster, or a shooting or car accident. It could be disappointment, resentment, anger, sadness, or pain.

Brokenness comes in all shapes and sizes. People wear it differently wherever they go, and thus making it impossible to see sometimes. It can come out at judgmental, or fear, or OCD, or short tempered, or irritability. We become afraid of others seeing that we are broken, or weak, or all used up. That we actually could have life left to live but feel lifeless. But it's there and we all have it. We can either let it sit there, suffocating our existence, stealing our joy, or we can own it and see how God takes us on a journey to turn it into something new and amazing!

Brokenness can stay broken. It often does if we hide it, or run from it, or ignore it like body odor. But broken it remains.

Or, it can be given new life. It can be healed. It can be beautiful.

Do not be afraid of the road or the work that it takes to move from broken to beautiful, from old to new.

I loved visiting the Forevertron, it breathed peace into my broken places.

Have hope today. Beauty is in there.

Intentional Spiritual Time

This past summer at a musical festive in WI, my friend and speaking partner Pastor Henry Graf and I led a session on Dirty Parenting. Yea, you read that right. Dirty, as in the screw ups, the loss of control, the freakouts all teach us, mold us and help us get to our knees in prayer and invite God into the mess. It is a reminder that real life doesn’t look spiritual. Most of the time it just looks like a mess.

At least it does for me.

After one of the sessions, a woman came up to me and asked how I found time for spiritual fulfillment. I thought that was funny considering most of the time I am wondering that myself. I told her in the last few months I had found a good balance of accepting my reality with adjusting my expectations.

I told her this is what I wanted: Every morning wake up at least half an hour before the kids. Open my Bible, pray, journal, read, pray, cry, let go, be filled, be ready for the chaos.

Then I told her this happens maybe once every two weeks.

Then I told her this is what I strive for every week now.

Once a week I pray over my children after I put them to bed. We have read stories, teeth are brushed, our devotions and prayers and thankfulness to God are done. Then when our ritual is complete and everyone is tucked in, I pray. I pray out loud with my hand on the child I am praying for and I pour out my fears, my weakness, my dreams, my hopes, and my control. I lay down my expectations for my child and pray that God gives me eyes to see them for who they are. I pray for wisdom, for me and for them. I pray for their friends, their future spouse, and their relationship with their siblings and father. I pray for truth, for the men/woman of God they will become. I lay it all out there for them to hear. I let my children hear my heart for them and lay them back down before God almighty.

If nothing else, when they are in counseling when they are older confessing all the ways I screwed them up, they may hopefully remember that I tried. That I loved them enough to give them back to God every day. I tried.

Once a week my husband and I do our Managers meeting. This is spiritually fulfilling because it is prayer time with my partner. It is coming before God Almighty together, confessing together, gaining strength together, supporting each other, loving each other at the feet of God. This is hands down one of the most centering, balancing discipline I have.

Once a week I wake up early to journal, to read scripture and to pray. This is my truest form of honestly I can strive for. My journal has horrible confessions and crazy thoughts and emotions. It has questions that good Christians don’t ask anymore. It is my time to gain wisdom from scripture, lay down my sense of control and seek God’s counsel for the way I live my life.

I used to strive for five days a week waking up early, and when I couldn’t accomplish that and was struck by feelings of failure, I would eventually stop. Once a week is very doable if you are smart about the morning you choose to wake up early.

There are people out there who can accomplish devotional time every morning, and I congratulate you on your success. However, for those of you who can’t because your current life circumstances don’t allow it, I want to encourage you to find what works for you. Be creative, and find your vibe.

Once a week we do a family devotional and snuggle time. We read from Paul’s Bible and we just ask the kids questions about what we read. There aren’t any great activities and no the questions are planned, we are kind of fly by the seat of your pants people. Then after the Bible reading is done, we just hang out on bed, snuggle, giggle, tickle, laugh, snuggle, and hang out. It is a time to reconnect and push the pause button on life. It is full of love and therefore a deeply spiritual act.

This year, our family motto is to be intentional. When we discuss our priorities, humbling ourselves and subjecting ourselves to God’s authority needs to be intentional. If you aren’t intentional about your spiritual life, be aware that regular daily duties of life have a tendency to steal your spiritual life.

Creating these weekly ways of connecting your soul with its creator is our way of being intentional.

Four days a week I try to plug my soul back into my creator in an intentional way. The way I figure, four out of seven ain’t bad. I’m over half covered. The reason I have found success with this method is that each of my four days fills me in a different way and it looks different so it keeps my interested and forces different habits from me. Healthy habits with my kids, with my partner, and for myself.

Devotional Expectations

Expectations give hope to our ability to control.

It can be anytime of day, the outcome is usually the same. It’s me, the Bible and my journal if it’s a good day. I sit there on my comfortable reading chair, with a blanket halfheartedly thrown over my lap. I have a candle lit at times, a small lamp glowing next me, and there’s….what? Hope? Excitement? Fear? Anticipation?


There is always expectation in my devotional life. Expecting God to show up. Expecting myself to show up. Waiting to see what incredible insight God has for me this day. What will I see in scripture that I have never noticed before? Today I know he will give me the answers I have been seeking for so long. This will be the time when I can finally, for once and for all lay down my fear and control. After waiting all these years, I know that this will be the time where God chooses to speak to me. I will be filled with truth, and knowledge and peace. This is why we show up to devotions right? You hear people say, “Today in my quiet time, God revealed to me…..” (Fill in the blank). Where is that for me? Why does Scripture still not make sense? What do I do with the pieces of Scripture that I don’t understand? What do I do about the situations in my life where I can’t seem to get it under control? If I keep showing up, won’t something happen? Won’t I get my answers?

I come to my devotional filled with Hope. I come wanting. I come expecting.

Unfortunately with expectation usually comes disappointment. When we place our own ideas into the present moment, we are trying to control it. When we are trying to control what is happening, we aren’t allowing our Spirit or heart to accept what really is. We steal our opportunity to be open and see what will happen when we try to control with our expectations what we want.

In life there are healthy expectations, unrealistic expectations, and low expectations. I am speaking directly to the unhealthy expectations and baggage we bring to the table in regards to our devotional life. For me, when I come to devotions I am usually burdened, heavy, selfish, distracted, wanting, hopeful, tired, and ready to be filled. Ready to be strengthened, to release all that I am carrying and set my heart on the cross once again. I am a firm believer that whenever you are putting the word of God into your heart and mind, or you pray and speak with God Almighty, you are being strengthened. You do point your heart in the right direction. It just isn’t earth shattering or revolutionary every time.

It’s hard sometimes when I go and speak at youth conferences and adult retreats. They hear me relate stories and experiences of times that God has really revealed himself to me in my devotional or prayer time. They were life changing moments where he revealed sin and asked for repentance. They are the moments that change the way you live and understand grace. But those are only a handful of moments compared to the hundreds of times I’ve shown up. I have nothing to say to the devotions where I read three Psalms, prayed and then go about my day. Sometimes I don’t remember the Psalms by the end of the day, and I need God’s mercy even more by evening than I did that morning. Nothing soul changing happened that day.

But in our conversations with other believers we hear of the times, the moments where we really heard God speak into our life. For me it sets this expectation that those moments happen every time. That I must be doing something wrong if it isn’t. That I can control the depth, the wisdom and intensity of my devotional life. Do it earlier, light a candle, pray harder, read the passage again because I didn’t get anything from it. Please God show up because I have to get going to work!

Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t why more people give up on a devotional life. They show up a few times and nothing magnificent happens and so after a few days or weeks, they just stop. Their expectation hasn’t been met. They don’t have a “God revealed this to me today…” story to share or cling to and so it feels empty and they walk away.

I have a friend who started to practice the discipline of just “showing up”. That was it. Just. Show. Up. When you just show up, there is no expectation. She wanted to create the habit of showing up. To form the routine and understanding that just showing is critical to the souls survival. And even though, if you keep showing up, something will happen at some point, that is not expected. The practice, the devotion is just showing up.

I think of my husband and I. We don’t have an evening filled with romance or deep conversation every time we hang out. I don’t learn something new about him every time we hang out. Some times we are just there, sharing space, breathing the same air, being in each others presence. It’s good, I like him. But there are times when I walk away from our time sharing the same space neither feeling more loved or less loved. I virtually feel the same. I think the same can be said for devotional time.

So here is my encouragement if you want it. There is no right or wrong way to have a devotional life. Just show up. Every time you train yourself to show up, you strengthen the discipline inside you. And when you show up and you pray and read scripture, you are encouraging your faith. You never come away unaffected. You will always come away having spent time with God. Being in the presence of God is good for everyone. Lay your expectations down. Get rid of them. Be present in the moment and just let it be what it is. Let God do what he is going to do. Don’t try to control it. Trust God to teach you and guide you and strengthen you as he knows best. Don’t give up. Just keep showing up.


I got to speak at Treehouse tonight. Its a ministry where kids who are often forgotten have a place to go and be seen. To be encouraged and supported and learn about the God who loves them.

I have spoken there twice now and it continues to be an honor.

Tonight I talked about King David and King Josiah. The two greatest kings to be in the Bible, (except of course for our Lord, I wouldn't forget him). What makes these two men so great? Simply... their heart.

David was claimed, he was anointed and chosen by God. All other kings were measured by David. David was passionately in love with the Lord and was dedicated to honoring him. Christ was even called, "The son of David." In his love and devotion to God, even David committed multiple sins. And not just sins of passion, he was plotting and scheming and planning. He had time to rethink and stop his actions, but he didn't. Even while being claimed by God, David sinned greatly. And when he was called out on his indiscretions, he didn't run from it or try to explain it away, or even blame it on someone else. (That seems to be man's MO if you ask me. Or my children. They love blaming someone else for what they did wrong.) David was convicted of his sin and instead of running away, he ran towards God. He claimed forgiveness. He clung to God's mercy. His heart was longing after God.

It wasn't David's accomplishments that made him great, it was his heart for the Lord. Even in sin, he sought God. He didn't allow Satan to use guilt to keep him away. Guilt is powerful for me. It is often the greatest tool to keep me from forgiveness or even a fulfilling faith journey. Guilt allows us to believe that what we have done, or the promises broken are the last straw. That you have reached God's limit. You aren't worthy of what is freely offered to others. Guilt makes you believe Love is not for you. Guilt paralyzes your heart.

King Josiah didn't have guilt, but he had excuses. Scripture says that Josiah's dad did every kind of evil in the eyes of the Lord. Think about evil. Neglect. Abuse. Adultery. Theft. Scheming. Murder. Lies. Hate. Pornography. Anger. Blame. Jealousy. Manipulation. This was his role model. This was the man who was supposed to teach him all about life and love and trust. Josiah became king at age eight, and he walked in the ways of his father David, doing right in the eyes of the Lord.

Josiah had all sorts of excuses to not trust God. He had excuses for living life in outright sin, and yet he didn't. He chose God. He chose love. He chose life. His heart was striving for God.

Joshua 24:15 says that, "Even when serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, choose this day whom you will serve." Even when we don't feel like it, we have a choice. Yes, guilt and excuses are great crutches, but is that what we want? Doesn't God have more for us?

I think of these kids at Treehouse. What is like to live their life and sit there listening to a gal talk about how God is there for you. That we all make mistakes, but its not about that, its what we do after. Do we run from God or towards him? We all have excuses, but God wants more for us. I can lean on God's strength to trust him and give him my heart.

How do you choose that when your parents never notice you and you feel alone?
How do you choose that when your boyfriend is pressuring you to have sex and you don't want to, but you love him so much and don't want to loose him?
How do you choose that when you want someone to ask you to hang out over the weekend and you've been waiting for a friend. You know God is there, but you want a friend to hang out with.
How do you choose that when your parents expect perfect grades and you can't handle the pressure?
How do you choose that when life seems so much easier with the edge taken off by ____insert drug name here.
How do you choose that when you know you have to stop hanging out with your friends because you aren't strong enough to say no to them, and you aren't proud of who you are when you are with them?
How do you choose that when the pain you inflict of the cut on your arm or leg actually gives you release and prayer doesn't?
How do you choose that when taking the diet pills makes you feel like you have some sort of control in your life and you are afraid all the time of what people think of you?
When you feel alone.
When you feel unloved.
When you feel unseen.
When you feel scared.
When you feel torn.
When you feel weak.
When you feel lost.
When you feel guilty.
When you feel depressed.
When you feel ashamed.
When you feel afraid.

How do you choose God in those moments of weakness?

It can't be easy being a teenager without a faith support system at home. When you feel alone in your relationship with God.

I ask that you please keep these students in your prayers. For all the hard things they face everyday and the people who hurt them or neglect them. For all the kids who don't even have Treehouse as a refuge. Pray for them. Pray hard for strength and conviction and courage. Pray that they know they are loved.

True honesty in humlity

I try hard to be honest, to not mislead or misrepresent myself .

I would compulsively lie in High School. I watched it damage my relationship with my parents, friends, co workers, and teammates. I hurt people and scarred myself for life. For years it took an active choice on my part not to lie.

To lie all the time, you have to be constantly aware of the stories you are telling people. It takes up all your brain power and energy to keep all your stories straight. Lying is exhausting. And in the process, you loose yourself.

I hated living like that.

That is why honesty is so important to me now. I don't like to hide things and most of the time I will say what is on my mind. I also never want to appear as something other than what I really am. (I hate the idea that some could look at my facebook photos and think my little family has it all together. Shocker: WE DON'T!!! We are a mess, truly.) I want to be real and transparent. I want people to know they can believe the words that come out of my mouth. I want to be honest. I want to live in truth.

But I am terrible at being honest to myself or about myself.

I have found that as honest as I can be with others, I deeply struggle with being honest with myself about myself. Even more specifically, if being honest paints me in a good light, I really struggle with that.

I was reading the Momastery blog the other day. It is a great sight and was wonderful getting to know the woman behind the blog. As I was reading her story, I was struck that she could say great things about herself when describing herself to us, the reader.

When I found that odd, I realized that if someone asked me to describe myself, I'm not sure how many good qualities I could list. What I would say is, "I am a mess. I'm too lazy to get up early and get dressed most days, I am addicted to TV, I am controlling, I am a secret eater, I don't manage time well, I am an overachiever, I loose good people and friendships in life, I'm too harsh on my kids, I am unbalanced, I'm too hard on myself, I am a perfectionist, I procrastinate, I am forgetful, I don't know contentment, I am a binge spender, I don't do life well, I don't trust God very well, I am a control freak, I live in fear, I don't know AGAPE love. I am a mess."

I see this list and I agree with everything I wrote. You may not or you may excuse some of the things I wrote, but the bottom line is I believe these things about myself. The sad realization is there isn't one good thing on here. It isn't even on my radar to think of something positive about myself, and if I do then it just feels wrong. Saying that feels even worse. Knowing our positive qualities and acknowledging the good in us is a healthy self-esteem.

What's funny is if I was going to list some of my better qualities, I couldn't do it in a concrete way. Sometimes I am thoughtful. I can be patient. I am loyal to friends who live close. I am fun to be with short term.

It's tough and frustrating to know that I have a much unhealthier self awareness than I realize. I thought I was pretty confident and self aware, but I didn't realize that I don't have a very high opinion of myself. I don't say that to beg or illicit compliments, I just wonder if this is true for others.

I wonder if our effort to be humble, we depreciate our value.
In our effort to think of others as better than ourselves, we emotionally sabotage ourselves.

My weakness and shortcomings are apart of me. But that doesn't mean that God doesn't work good in me also. By not acknowledging the strengths, I am discounting the progress God has made in my life. The things he has done through me. The characteristics I want to pass along to my children.

We all possess good and bad. Strength and weakness.

Why is so hard to stand strong in our strengths? By admitting to my strengths does that mean I am then conceited? I think too much of myself? I am now better than others?

I think that is only true if we separate our strengths from our weakness. If we look only to our weakness, then we have an healthy low self-esteem. If we look only to our strengths than we have an unhealthy high self-esteem. When we can see the good, the bad, the ugly, the grace, the strength, the weakness, and Christ in the middle of it all, we are humble. We are humble because we realize for all the weakness, he is there. For all our strength, he is the source.

I wasn't expecting to read Momastery and have this reaction. Clearly I have some work to do in my prayer time this week. I need a healthier self-awareness.

I heard someone say one time it isn't self-esteem, its God-esteem.

I like that.

I have a dream

Thank you Martin Luther King Jr.

Thank you for a being a voice for so many.

Thank you for having a vision and a dream.

Thank you for giving others a vision and a dream.

Thank you for standing up.

Thank you for your faith.

Thank you for acting out in faith.

Thank you for dedicating your life for others to live.

Thank you for being an inspiration.

But I hope that we can live up to your dream. I hope the everyday people of this world can live in your dream and fight for your dream and be a voice for that dream.

I hope that everyday people don't just leave it up to you. Or Bono. Or the Jolie/Pitts. Or President Carter. Or President Clinton. Or missionaries. Or pastors. Or gang leaders. (Yes I believe they are trying to fight for a dream, just in the wrong way, the only way they know how.) Or celebrities. Or government officials. Or NGO's. Or non-profits. Or your neighbor.

I have found that often times I leave the responsibility to make the world a better place or live differently to inspire others, or to truly make a difference up to others. I leave it up to the people who have the money to do it. The time to do it. The education to do it. The desire to give their lives to the cause. I mostly leave it up to others because even though I want things to be better, I don’t know where to start, or I honestly am just too lazy to do it, clinging to all my tried and true excuses.

I believe that what Rev. King was trying to do was empower the average person to live differently. To live outside of their prejudice. To turn away from hate and embrace love. To hold their tongue when only destructive words were going to come out. To pray to the almighty God for strength to change their dark hearts and hard habits. To live in big life changing moments in our ordinary days.

But that takes active participation on our part. We have to engage in being the difference. We have to do our part.

A speaker I heard once said, “The need is the call.” What this meant to me was that all throughout our day we are presented with needs. There are people in our everyday lives who desperately need us to intervene. God needs us to intervene, to be apart of bringing love into this place. Where the prayer says, “Thy kingdom come…” we are able to bring small glimpses, diving moments of the holy into this place. To be apart of the dream.

So I challenge myself…Where in my life can I bring divine moments into ordinary life? Where can I serve my family? Where can I heal my neighbors? What can I do to love a stranger? A co-worker? A kid? The elderly? My enemy. The person I don’t notice?

I want to live in the dream.

I want the dream in my heart.

I want to be an inspiration for others to live the dream.

I want to teach my kids to be the dream.

Jesus' many super powers

In the car earlier, middle asked out of the blue,

"What super power did Jesus use on the cross?"

What brilliant response was, "What do you mean?"

"I mean he could have flown away, but he didn't. He could have battled all those guys but he didn't, so what super power did he use?"

I thought for a moment and said,

"Obedience. Jesus' super power on the cross was listening and obeying to his Father to stay on the cross so that we would all be healed. His super power is obedience."


That one had me thinking me the rest of the day. Thinking and being grateful and trying to do as Jesus did.

Never underestimate the power of obedience.

Moments make a difference

Most days I can look around and you would have no idea what I had accomplished. OK, most days I look around and I don't even know what I accomplished. I think most of us can say that.

When we measure life by what we accomplish than we will forever be disappointed, depressed, and unsatisfied with life.

Does what I say really matter?
Is what I am doing really making a difference?
Am I contributing anything to the betterment of mankind and the earth that God created and entrusted us with?
What am I doing with my life?
Does anyone see me? Does anyone hear me?

Almost exactly one year ago my husband and I were on Mackinaw Island with my parents at an adult retreat. They host this retreat once every three years and we get to stay in the grand hotel, and it is MARVELOUS! I spend three days digging out all my fun clothes, accessories, and jewelry that doesn't fit in my normal life, and I let it live in the fantasy of fancy. It's lovely, and romantic, and refreshing. (Paul just looked at me today and said, do we get to go back next year? No honey, two more years, but I feel the same way!)

Last year we took a bike ride around the island. Here's my folks.

And here's Paul and I. Yes we are on a tandem bike, its the romantic thing to do. (And lazy thing to do for the person on the back. Yea, that's me. I'm no fool, but the view is nice.)

On our way around the island, which is an 8.2 mile ride, we were talking, laughing and enjoying each others company. Then each of us individually were noticing these rock statues.

I remember seeing my first one, and thinking, "that's fun. Someone created a fun statue and its still standing."

Then we saw another one.

Which lead to dozens more.

It was beautiful. We all felt the same thing and stopped to take it in. For more than two miles the statues just kept showing up. Then we saw some folks building their own. Paul decided to do one too.

Some folks built their own. Others were adding to what previous artists started. They were continuing the project.

I don't know who started the rock project, but here is a small look at where it went and where it is going.

The horizon is filled and scattered with one idea transformed into hundreds of interpretations. I don't know if one person or one group of people started the rock project, but in its idea and execution, it inspired others to participate.

To move.
To act.
To add.
To create.
To be apart of something.

Mile after mile we saw these rock creations. Dozens turned into hundreds and then we stopped counting. We built our own. We added to others. We watched others stop in awe, take photo's. We listened as others talked about it. We witnessed dozens of others be moved to create their own. To be apart of the project.

To be apart of the idea, with their own creativity put in.

I'm not sure that the original creator(S) thought this would catch on as it has. Rumor has it (according to the web) that the rock project also exists on the east coast and in other countries along their coast.

One idea.
One action.
One creative moment.

It's turned into island wide project, that went global.

I give and give and give. I pour out into my children and youth groups. I try my hardest to be there for friends in need. I talk and talk and talk, and wonder, truly if any of it matters.

I, like you, have no idea where my words and actions land. I can't control what memories of me my children will choose to hold onto. I have had people repeat my own words to me, and nothing is scarier to me than that. Hearing from them, what they gained of what I said or did.

We are creatures that pour out ourselves into others to strengthen life, but most often we have no idea about the effect of our pouring out. What result does it provide? Did it do anything?

A life is filled with small moments. The moments that make up the whole of our life. I think often times I am weighed down by the grand gestures, or looking at someones whole life instead of the moments that lead them there. This is how ridiculous it is. I saw the movie, "Social Network" and was struck by how one person changed the course of history. I thought, what I am doing with my life? I think of Mother Theresa whom I admire with the depth of my soul, and think, can I love and live like that? What about all my friends who travel the width of the world and are giving up everything to love and serve those in need. I see all these great and grand lives and I feel small. I wonder if what I do matters at all.

But I think of this huge art structure and how one person inspired hundreds by one moment.

This is the truth that we need to hold on to. It isn't in the grand scheme of life, but in the moments that make up our life. Those are the moments that inspire and change the course of history. When I pour out into the people around me, I will most likely never know what effect I had on their life. I will not know how God uses me to help, love, inspire, change others. Just as I can think of dozens of things others have said to me that have influenced my life, and they don't know that.

If I live for the grand idea of the whole of life, I will miss the moments I live in every day. The moments where I hold my kids tighter. When I can sit on my stoop and then neighbors start gathering and we start talking about life and faith. When my kids want to give money and pray for the homeless man on the street. When I pray over my children. When I talk to customer service and we have a nice chat and we both feel blessed by it. (not usually the case) When I can weep and share my burden with my mom and her encouragement and listening ear is when I can feel God sharing life with me.

I may not get to Haiti this year. Even putting that our there, I want to take it back. I am starting to cry already. Going to Haiti each year feels grand to me, and when I feel sad a little depressed about it, I have to remember, that I can serve, love, and pour into anyone and all people. They don't need to be half way around the world.

The important thing to remember is that we must pour out. To give. To love. To listen. To invest.

I believe compassion is mercy without judgement. Getting to know someone. Loving them for the sake of love and letting God take care of the rest.

Make your moments count.

You never know when loving someone catches on. When listening to someone becomes all the rage instead of giving advice, give your ear. Give your heart even if its scary. Give your honesty to yourself and be free from expectations that only you hold to yourself. Give your life to Christ and find the fulfillment of loosing yourself to one who loves you more than you thought possible.

To find this truth, one must pour out and live in the moment.

When we add up all the little things of life into the whole of life, that is when the picture becomes complete. We see all that our moments of our lives have made a difference.

Be encouraged today that God is working through you whether you believe in him or not, he believes in you.

God is in each moment.

Life Lessons with Middle

Sometimes I think I have this idea in my head about what time with God would look like. Time where he teaches me, calms me, reminds me of his power. Time to talk with him and time to listen.

Ideally, this time would be when I am alone, the space around me is quiet and I can concentrate. I would also have have a book of inspiration, the Bible, and my journal.

Lately, when I think about my conversations and times of learning from God, none of these things are present. I'm not even alone.

What I have learned in the last two weeks is that if we are paying attention, we will notice that most of the time, these ideals won't be our reality. We just need to be present with our minds open, our hearts attune, and our ears listening, with our eyes keeping watch. God is ever present and always speaking.

Since Big has been in school, I have had lots of time with middle in the car. Without Big to share the conversation with, middle has my undivided attention to ask all the questions rolling around in his brain. And as all four year olds do, the questions are never ending and always completely random to the adult ear.

In the last two weeks middle has developed a thirst for theology and all questions relating to God and his power. Cement trucks, car engines, stores, money, food, poor people, superhero's, his questions all start somewhere in here and end up in the Bible. Here is what we have been discussing;

Why is a cement truck always moving?
What does a solid mean?
What does a liquid mean?
How does a car get liquid gas and turn it into a vapor that comes out the back?
If its like magic than it is more powerful than God?
Why didn't the disciples just go to the store when they were hungry?
If we are like the disciples and we go to the store, why didn't they? And if God can make a lot of food with a miracle why doesn't he just always do that?
When that guy in the Bible went up to heaven in the Chariot, God wasn't with him, and you said God is always with us. We should draw a picture of God in our Bible so we know he is always there.
Are engines hot?
Why don't we pour water into our cars to cool them off?
If we are going down hill, why aren't we moving? (while we are stopped at the light)
What moves the car, the wheel, the pedal or the tires?
Can clouds move through anything?
If things go through clouds than why didn't Jesus fall through the clouds when he went up into heaven?
Why can't we reach the end of the rainbow?
If I was bigger than Noah would I be older than him?

(And this is just a small taste of what I get. I didn't include my answers because frankly that would take way too much time. My husband and I have the unfortunate ability to answer our children with very adult answers which just brings on more questions. But we love their curiosity and don't ever want it to go away.)

The thing about all these questions is that it has revealed to me things I knew but didn't realize I really knew. Ever do that? Not ponder how liquid becomes a gas, but then when questioned about, you realize you know how its done? This has been what it's like with middle. His questions range from the deep to the wide, and I am surprised by my limited knowledge that I don't ever explore.

But there is also the faith issue. The theology, the understanding, the belief in something that I go weeks, or months, or years without pondering, and then when questioned, I have to answer. I have to think about what is it that I believe. If I don't have an answer, it challenges me to think about it, to truly develop an opinion about what I am about to say.

What is my belief about people being inherently good or evil?
Do I describe people as good or bad, or just people who make good or bad choices?
How does God make grass grow?
Why if God can feed the 5,000 with a miracle can't he feed the homeless person?
Why is it so hard to make good choices?
Why doesn't Jesus fall through the clouds when he flies up to heaven?
If God is always present, why isn't he painted in all the pictures of the Bible?
How can God be in my heart and up in the sky? How can he be in all places at one time?
Do I really believe that God is all powerful?
If God is really bigger than the boogy man then why do I get scared?
Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
What kind of bodies will we get in heaven? Is it our baby bodies or our old bodies?

You know what's hard about having and not having answers to these questions? (and yes these are all questions that I received from my son these past two weeks in the car, or his questions have lead to me to ask the questions above myself.)

The answer to these questions don't just shape my life, my faith, my journey, they are also shaping the highly influential lives of my kids. My answers shape their understanding of God and who he is, who they are, and what life is about and how they exist in it. That task feels overwhelming and exciting.

The exciting part is watching how God uses my son to help teach me, challenge me, and encourage me in my faith, all the while to also shape his. If there are good guys and bad guys and life is that black and white, than which one am I? Can I switch teams, or am I always good or bad? (PLEASE don't let that be true, because I'm pretty sure I would exist on the bad guy team. It's just in my nature.)

So here I am everyday in the car, waiting for my time with the Lord. Waiting for him to teach me, challenge me and make me think about and own my faith. Two days ago, we picked Big up from school and had to head down to the energy assistance office in south Mpls. After that we headed to uptown because we needed some items from the Co-op. On our way out of the store, there was a homeless man standing on the corner with his cardboard sign. Middle begged me to give him a dollar so he could give it to him. Middle rolled down his window and gave the man two dollars and introduced himself. That's when we met Kurt.

Driving away, I suggested that we pray for Kurt. In our prayer we discussed that we didn't know Kurt situation and we hoped that someone who had more could come and help him. We prayed that through all the circumstances in Kurt's life, he would see God's hand guiding him and that he would never feel alone. We prayed that we would see Kurt again in Heaven. When the prayer was over, middle suggested that we should have invited Kurt home with us because he had more money in bank and he wanted to give it to Kurt to help him. I told middle it was a really great idea, but that it wasn't safe to invite people into our homes that we don't know.

Middle's response?

"Mom, if we invited home with us, we could get to know him and then he would be our friend. If we get to know him, he won't be a stranger anymore."

Mmmm....and there was the truth.

If we would only get to know him. Her. Them. Whoever it is that we keep at a distance.

After that, middle asked that when we don't have anymore money, could we stand on the corner and draw a cardboard sign? He was excited to work on his letters.

Hmmmm... Not sure how dad or papa will feel about that. Clearly we still have some work to do. I did mention to middle that we were blessed to have friends and family who help us when we are struggling. Which then threw us into another conversation about Kurt and how alone he was. We prayed again. Middle couldn't give up on the idea of giving Kurt more money, but then wisely noted, "But mom, if we give Kurt all our money we won't have any. We still need money too right mom? To buy toys?"

Close. Or food. We would use it on food.

I was touched by son's heart. A heart of compassion. A heart free of judgement. A heart willing to see what God would and could do if people stopped to get to know one another.

I love my afternoons with my son and with my creator God who can bring his truth into all avenues of my life, even when I sleep through our appointed time.

Don't get me wrong, I think appointed times are critical, crucial, effective, helpful, and full of blessings and wisdom. However, life happens sometimes and we can't ever assume that just because we didn't show up, God won't. He'll show up whenever he wants, and mostly when he knows we need it.

A moment to choose

"It's quiet.
It's early.
My coffee is hot.
The sky is still black.
The world is asleep.
The Day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive.
It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun.
The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day.
The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race.
The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made,
and deadlines to be met.

For the next twelve hours, I will be exposed to the day's demands.
It is now that I must make a choice.
Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose.
And so I choose.

No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.
I choose love.
Today, I will love God and what God loves.

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.
I will refuse the temptation to be cynical...
the tool of a lazy thinker.
I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings,
created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less
than an opportunity to see God.

I will live forgive.
I will forgive so that I may live.

I will overlook the inconveniences of this world.
Instead of cursing the one who takes my place,
I'll invite him/her to do so.
Rather than complain that the wait is too long,
I will thank God for a moment to pray.
Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments,
I will face them with joy and courage.

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.
Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.
And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.
I will be overlooked before I will boast.
I will confess before I will accuse.
I choose goodness.

Today I will keep my promises.
My debtors will not regret their trust.
My associates will not question my word.
My husband/wife will not question my love.
And my children will never fear that their mother/father will not come home.

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle.
If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise.
If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer.
If I make a demand, may it only be of myself.

I am a spiritual being...
after this body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.
I choose self-control.
I will be drunk only by joy.
I will be impassioned only by my faith.
I will be influenced only by God.
I will be taught only by Christ.
I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
To these I commit my day.
If I succeed, I will give thanks.
If I fail, I will seek His grace.
And then, when this day is done,
I will place my head on my pillow and rest."

- Max Lucado
When God Whispers Your Name

How God pursues us

The greatest proof of Christ in my life is the body of believers.

It is amazing to me how alone I can feel in the day and then be so overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and family in my life. And I know I'm not alone, but when I spend all day with my kids, I am often alone in my thoughts and feelings. I feel alone when I need to figure out lunch. I feel alone when I have to say no to the treat and snack that the neighborhood kids offer my children and I'm tired of always saying no. I feel alone when I go to the grocery store and spend twice as much time scanning the ingredient labels on everything and trying to make sense of new food products and how to make it good for my kids to eat.

I feel alone and overwhelmed in my head.


I experience both my mother and mother-in-law calling ahead of our visit asking and checking for all the food they are going to prepare and making sure I don't have to think about it when I'm with them. They are thinking for me, and checking and making sure there is nothing in the house the family can't eat.

I get a facebook message from a friend saying she found a really great cake recipe that I can make for my kids! She was looking for me and wanted me to have it.

I get an email from a friend asking if its overwhelming if she looks for recipes for me and sends them to me. She doesn't want to overstep or overwhelm me. Truly? Someone else doing half the work for me! I welcome the help!

I have another gal in my life who truly, by the amount of time we spend together we should really just be acquaintances, but she feels like a very good friend. A three page email of encouragement and advice with helpful hints about where to shop, and what her family did, but mostly encouragement. I couldn't believe how fast it warmed my heart.

We joined another family for dinner tonight and my dear friend went to so much trouble to make sure that there was food we could eat, and always asked if it was OK if her kids had something different, so as not to bother my children. She went above and beyond to make sure we didn't feel left out but loved and cared for.

Then one of my favorites is for the last three months, one of my dearest friends brings a bag of groceries every time I see her. At first I just thought it was my birthday present, but no, every time I see her, she says, "I have a bag for you". She spends time, energy, and money looking, hunting, and reading labels for my family. She wants to find treats that I haven't discovered yet and help support us financially since she knows how much my kids eat and now we are almost all raw veggies and fruit people.

I know I have already used a lot of words, but somehow I can't find the right words to describe the depth of love I feel from these people.

Then in this moment, the depth and awareness is revealed to show me how God's greatest tool of getting into my world is through the community.

The church. (the church being the body of Christ)

The assembly of believers.

Faithful followers to long to love others with the love that has been poured into them.

Through people who may not believe but love as God would dream we all could love each other.

God has spoken plainly to me that although I may not meet with him every morning, and I carry far too much guilt and expectations of myself. And although I may feel alone, I am not.

He has not left me.

He sees me.

He hears me and my silent cries of frustration and emptiness.

He loves me through the people in my life. He reminds me I am not alone by the constant reminder of all the people who are rallying around us to support us. He chooses to provide financial help, emotional support, and loving encouragement through the words and actions of everyday normal people.

I can't help but choose to see God in these things. Even when I feel I have abandoned our quality time together, he is persistent to remind me that I am not alone.

When I feel alone, I have a tendency to close myself off, and who would know that better than the one who made me?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Lord for pursuing me. For filling my life with love even when I don't deserve it.

Thank you Lord for the hearts of your people whom you have brought into my life. They long to follow you, serve others in your name and love as you loved them. They are such a strong example of what it means to love they neighbor.

I am always looking for the grand gesture, but have learned through this that is most often the small things that matter most and speak the loudest. I want to find the small things in others lives around me and share what has filled my heart.


For all the sunrises that I have seen in my life, I measure them all by one I experienced a few years back in Haiti. I woke up earlier than expected and noticed that it was starting to get light outside. I thought a sunrise would be a perfect morning quiet time. I remember sitting up on the roof of the guesthouse for over an hour waiting for the sun to come up. Dawn really is a truly beautiful process. Watching the world come to life, the sky, the earth and everything in it left me quiet and content and full of peace.

This morning I started out at 330am with my three kids to drive 12hours to my parents house just outside of Detroit. I knew the sun rose at about 530, so I was hoping against all hope that if we started in the dark, they would go back to sleep. I had them in the car at 3am. Then before we even left house, one had an accident and we had to get out, clean up and get changed. Then as we pulled away from the house, I dropped my cell phone and bent down to pick it up. While I wasn't looking, I ran into a parked car on my block. Just a bump, and no damage done, but not the thing you want to happen in front of your kids.

We were off to a great start wouldn't you say?

The kids were full of wonder and awe as drove away in the middle of the night and they watch the city lights. It's the best way to start an adventure.

We were half an hour into our drive and 37 questions later at around 4am, dawn started to break. I couldn't believe it. Just the very smallest crack of light changes that section of the sky.

The kids quickly fell asleep almost right after that and I had the incredible opportunity to drive, watch, reflect and listen to soulful music.

Its amazing to me how scripture says we are to be the reflection of Christ/God himself. That we are to point to the one to come. That our life is a smaller light to the real light that will cast out all darkness.

It truly reminds me of the dawn and sunrise. Our lives are the dawn before the sunrise. Our Christ like examples in how we live, speak and love one another is a taste of what is to come. It casts out fear, doubt, hatred, judgements, anger, and all things that take life away from us. We can be that light. We can be that foretaste.


nothing compares to the sunrise.

I remember sitting on that roof in Haiti and even this morning on my drive. It was light outside. There were no shadows, you could see everything, but then the sun came, and everything lit up. The trees reflected light. The water glittered. There was radiance around everything, and the sky changed. The light that seemed perfectly acceptable before was all of sudden less.

Twice a day the sky is different. It's pink, red, mauve, lavender, teal, orange, cream, tangerine as big would say. It's stunning. Of all the colors the sky can become, it is only at sunrise and sunset that these colors appear. The reminder that no matter what happens in life, you can count on the sun to rise and to set. It has never disappointed. It has always been faithful. It has always shown up. It has kept its promise to be there, even amidst clouds, it shines above. The Son shows up and brings radiance.




Breathtaking faithfulness.

No matter the beauty of the dawn, and dawn is critical to wiping out darkness, nothing compares to the Son.

After my pondering's, my peacefulness, and my hour of worship, the kids woke up.

We sang along to musical's, had diarrhea on the side of the road, made five potty stops, clogged a toilet and watched it spill over all over the bathroom, listened to books on CD, ate yummy food, told jokes, got stuck in crazy traffic, I drank two sodas (which is a lot for me), one large coffee and had more plantains that I care to recount to stay awake and finally made it my parents house.

The rest of my day was loud and filled with joy and life. I didn't see the sun set, but I know it did because its dark outside. I can count on the sun. I know that after the dark of midnight, the dawn will come and so will the sunrise.

Be the dawn.

Point to the Son.

Trust is hard

I'd be hard pressed to find a word to describe this past month. Overwhelming doesn't cover it. Paralyzing is better. Almost everything has changed here and it feels like all at once. I haven't had much energy to do anything. If I've cooked anything, it's because all the food that my kids can grab on their own is gone. They need me then to feed them. Most of the time I just go to the store to buy them more fruit and carrot sticks they can feed themselves. I've just been really tired.

I can admit that this last month has broken me. I have had no choice but to rest in God's goodness to take care of us. But this morning I realize that trust can be two different things.

I got to go for a run this morning. It's the first time in over a month and it was glorious. Running while the sun comes up in the morning is hands down my favorite thing in the whole world. It clears my mind, my body is moving, and the world is quiet around me. I can think or not think and nobody is asking anything from me. It's my perfect moment.

This morning on my run, I was reminded of running at my parents house last summer. We are headed to their house in a couple weeks, so my mind is starting to prepare for that adventure.

Last summer on one run particular, God revealed to me how little I actually trust him. I'm a pretty capable person, so I often live in a false security thinking I can do it on my own. The words, "Trust me" just kept ringing over and over in my prayer. It was very humbling to have God speak to me and realize that I'm missing out on a part of our relationship and a deeper part of life by not trusting him more.

So this morning on my run, it felt like that again, but somehow different. This last month the only thing I've been able to do is trust that God is enough. I have been the weakest version of myself and therefore can only trust that God will be enough. Enough to get us through. Enough to cover my lack of parenting. Enough to help my children. Just to let God be enough. I have only had energy to fall in the hands of God and let him take care of the rest.

That's when I realized that trusting God because I have no where else to turn, is different than choosing to trust him even when I feel capable of doing it on my own.

Yes I have trusted God more in the last month than I do on a daily basis. It has been amazing and humbling and overwhelming to watch Him provide, care and love our family. He is the only thing that has gotten us through, and I have trusted that He could.


In the last few days my energy is slowly returning. Things need to be tended to, and I have started to take over my life once again.

Active trust is different that desperate surrender trust. Both are needed, both are critical, but when things start going our way again, can we actively choose to trust Him, when we falsely believe we don't desperately need him anymore?

God as Mother

God is neither male nor female. Man nor woman. And yet, God is referred to in the English Christian faith as Father, He, Him, Male. There are three entities to YHWH, Father, son, and Holy Spirit. We know that Christ was a man, but YHWH in God’s completeness and in the singular role to Christ is Father – Male.

In the original Greek and Hebrew God’s name YHWH held both male and female understanding. It was read to incorporate all of God’s characteristics, both male and female. Humans are male and female, but YWHW is neither and at the same time both. But yet in our culture and translation, we have robbed our ability to understand YWHW entirely, completely, fully. Understanding YWHW as Father and Mother.

Yesterday I kept thinking about YHWH as Mother. So often we limit God to his male characteristics and then only refer to God as Him. Him as defender, protector, fighter, provider, and stronghold. When I read these words they automatically enlist an image of maleness. (Hint: all these words would also describe how I love my children as a mother. I would fight anyone who would dare try to hurt my children. But as Americans we don’t view these words as female, but male.)

I love that our YHWH is all of these things; however, God is so much more. YHWH is also tender in leading us back to him, patient to correct us, a teacher of his ways, full of compassion, love, and devotion. I believe some of YHWH’s greatest strength’s are ones that reflect a Mother.

When my children are sick, though their dad is very tender and full of compassion, they choose me. Let’s be honest, as a grown woman, I still want my mother when I’m sick. It’s a mother’s kiss that helps a child. A mother who faithfully lifts their child up in prayer. A mother that sacrifices so much of who she is for the betterment of her children.

Children and mother’s share a special bond. Though children carry part of their father with them, they are born from their mother. They are intimately connected and bonded for all of life. Isn’t that how it is our Lord? We breathe YHWH’s breath. We are a piece of YHWH here on earth because we were created by him/her. We are intimately connected to God and for all of our life here on in this place we are searching to be connected again. There is a space in our soul that can only be filled by God, much like our mother.

Yesterday when I was thinking about all that Mother’s are, it felt right to think about God that way. To reinstate that part of who God is back to my understanding of his/her character.

YHWH is my father and mother. I celebrated that yesterday and will continue to look to scripture to find my guidance on being a better mother from God herself.

The pocket

Last year we didn't get to do any family bike rides because we had a newborn and three kids now with a buggy that fits two. Noah didn't know how to ride his two wheeler yet, so we were stuck, and sad, and missing our family adventures on our bikes.

Two weeks ago my dad taught Noah how to ride his two wheeler and he is a stunt man on that thing already. I secretly got really excited knowing that adventures were coming our way this summer. I couldn't wait to get on my bike, put Noah on his and the other two in the buggy.

Yesterday the kids and I took a 5 mile bike ride together in the morning and after dinner after the kids were bathed and in their Jammie's, we broke the rules, because it was just so nice outside, and went for our first family bike ride in two years. You have to break the rules sometimes, and Noah has proved to be an AMAZING bike rider. It is so much fun! My heart was soaring as my dream of family bike rides were coming true. Caleb and Lu had a blast together in the buggy. It was fun to hear her instigate playfulness with Caleb. Music to my ears.

Minneapolis is known for its bike paths. It was actually claimed as the number one biking city last year. There are miles after miles after miles of bike paths. Even living in the city, within minutes, you are biking next to the Mississippi away from city noise. Its breathtaking riding bikes here, and we love it.

With this being our first time out on bikes with a child rider, we had to discuss some rules. We were riding in the street so I needed to be in between Noah and the cars driving. His safe zone was between the curb and me.

We called it the pocket.

I would call out, "Noah I need you in the pocket", and he would instantly slow down to ride next to me.

It was incredible to watch his awareness and comfortablity rise as he grew safer inside the pocket. He knew he was OK and that my job as his mother was to keep him safe. As the parent I was looking out for cars, other people, and I knew the way to go. At one point he even said, "Mom I like it in the pocket because you are here."

The pocket. The place where we are protected. Where we are safe. Where we are in the confines of a parent who loves us and is taking care of us. See Noah still had potholes and bumps in his path and there were still cars coming at him that he needed to look out for, but he felt different because he was in the pocket.

When Noah looks ahead of him, he only sees right in front of him. The stop sign, the turn, the tree, he only sees a couple feet around him. All of those things are very distracting and that is where his focus is.

Like Noah when I am looking in my life, I often only see my day or week ahead of me. I see the laundry, the dishes, the discipline, the teaching moments to my kids, the contracts to send out for speaking gigs, the gardening, the cooking, the bills, the etc, fill in the blank. I often times have blocked vision because I am human. I can only see what is right in front of me.

Like God, when I am the parent, I see the whole path. (only biking, not making any assumption that I have any clue about life or am powerful in any sort of way.) I can see over Noah's head to see if cars are coming. I know exactly where we are going and can direct him and help him along. I know when to help him slow down, when to stop, and when to go faster. I know when to move over and allow him more room, and I know when to snuggle up closer to him to offer my protection.

As the parent I am not taking the potholes and bumps out of his road. I am not controlling all the cars to keep them away from my kid. I am simply going along with him, loving him, talking with him, guiding him.

Living in the pocket. I started to really like that idea.

What would it look like to live in the pocket of faith with my life. Real life problems and issues would still exists, but that wouldn't be the focus. There would be peace knowing that I rested everyday in the goodness of God. There would be joy trusting God's presence in my life. Bad things would still happen, but sitting in the pocket would provide the right perspective.

It wouldn't be about the problem, because I would still have the Lord there to help me through. That's the perspective I want.

I want to live in the pocket.

The Pieta

I couldn’t take my eyes off her. It’s beautiful. All I can do is stare.

I stand there in Rome right in front of Michelangelo’s Pieta, his depiction of the moment they peel Christ’s body from the cross and lay it in his mother’s arms. A mother holding her dead son, her murdered son. She watched him suffer, she watched them beat him, and she watched him die. She saw the crown of thorns wedged into his skull and his flesh hanging on his bones. All I can do is stare.

I reflected on Christ’s sacrifice and offering of His life for me. Staring at the pieta and thinking of His death made my whole body ache. My heart was overwhelmed and breaking for what he had done for me. Was I worth it and why did he love me so, so much?

And that’s when it hit me. All I wanted to do was throw my arms around Him. I wanted to cling, hug, hold tight and never let go. I was full of thankfulness, gratefulness, and love.

Why isn’t she holding him? He’s just laying there draped on her lap and she isn’t even holding him? When my kid bleeds from banging their head, or knee or elbow, I hold them tight to help make the pain go away. My arms are instantly around my child to help heal and make it right. To show love and compassion.

Michelangelo decided to depict this treasured moment between mother and son in a very specific way. I was struck by my controlling response. She’s not holding him, she’s not gripping him trying to make the pain go away.

When we meet Mary, she is visited by an angel to declare her the mother of Christ because she is faithful. Her response to one of the hardest jobs of all time is “If this is what the Lord wants from me, then I will do it.” A woman of incredible faith which means trust. She trust God almighty to be who He is. She trust God almighty to have a plan. She trust that God knows more, loves more, and sees more than she can. She can trust that even though she doesn’t understand, God does. She trusts him.

Because I am a control freak, trust, yes even trust in God, is very hard for me. It is one of my greatest struggles in my relationship with Him.

So my response to Christ’s suffering is to cling and make the pain the go away. I want or have to do something. In this image, I see a woman who trusts that God has a plan. A son she bore, but was never really hers, Christ belonged to the world from the beginning, and He had a very special plan. She doesn’t make the pain go away because she knows that God is doing something rare and special in that moment. She lets go of her control and knows that her son belongs to all people in that moment.

She trusts God to be enough for her. She trusts God to know better.

I want to be more like her.

To this day, the Pieta remains my favorite piece of created art, both visually and spiritually.

Have a blessed Easter weekend.

Project Martha

The last few days the story of Mary and Martha have been on my mind. The story that celebrates Mary for sitting at our Master’s feet and giving him all her time and attention.

In my current state of life, this story just makes me feel like crap. I have a picture of how ideal this looks. Time to sit, listen, invest, listen, hear, think, listen, be in an uninhibited relationship with Christ where nothing else matters. Honestly, as a mother of three small children and running a household, this seems nearly impossible for most of my day when my kids are awake. I force myself to take time before they are up and moving non-stop, and after they are in bed, I collapse in exhaustion. I get it; if I don’t have time to spend with God, then I am doing too much. I must force myself to correct my priorities for my faith and relationship with God to thrive.

Be Mary.

However, my family needs to eat. They need clothes to wear. My daughter will continue to eat food off the floor from last week if I don’t clean. Diapers don’t change themselves. Kids don’t wipe themselves till their older. Dishes don’t wash themselves. Children don’t discipline themselves. Food doesn’t grow without some attention. Bills need to get paid, food needs to be bought, you know the drill. The list goes on and on. There are necessary daily living tasks that you absolutely have to attend to.

It’s called living.

So how do you balance it all? Balancing the Mary with the Martha.

Yesterday I was preparing for my son and daughter’s birthday party, while at the same time trying to also get the guest room ready for my parents visit. The list of things to accomplish was at an all time high. In one day, I went to Rainbow for double coupon day, Walgreens because I had free Walgreen money, Cub for the Leg of Lamb for Easter, Target for a new shower curtain liner (ours was going to walk away by itself soon), the bank, and Aldi for cheap strawberries to make homemade ice cream for the party. It was a crazy day. And the kids were with me. So we made up lots of songs. We played lots of car games. I gave them each an item to remember in the store and that was their job.

Then when we got home, each kid got to make something special with me in the kitchen to prepare for the party. It was amazing time with each kid. Noah got to cut up all the strawberries while I made hummus. We talked about the day. We laughed and told jokes. We were discussing Easter and all sorts of great questions about the Bible and death. Caleb and I did the same thing while we made bean dip.

So how do you balance Mary and Martha?

For me in life right now, it’s fighting for the Mary moments, but more than anything I want to bring Mary into the Martha moments of living life. Life responsibilities have to happen, but I can focus on relationships while I work.

I believe that when it comes down to it, I believe God cares most about our relationship with him. Are we looking for him, including him, loving him, trying to please him? Do we care about what he thinks and search him for truth and power? He longs for a relationship with us. The relationship is the key. Cooking in the kitchen with each of my boys separately deepened my relationship with them and the Lord. We got intentional time and it was a project we got to do together. Time spent investing in one another. Maybe not direct time with the Creator, but time with his beloved created, my kids. Spending time with His creation is a form of spending time with Him. And that’s what it’s about right? Deepening the relationship. Creating space for love. Making memories. Tightening our bond.

Love. It's about love in relationship.

My Martha responsibilities created the space for our Mary moments yesterday and for that I am thankful.