Wednesday, February 28, 2018



Your heart is my undoing.
Could I dive into the depths of your love?
Could I go, in my brokenness, to the deepest place where I can survive?
And there, could you heal me?
Touch the broken places so I can
Breathe a little deeper.
So I could go a little deeper into your

Take me to a revelation of You that requires You to
Live there.
Show me the bounds of my own understanding,
That I might tiptoe to the edge,
Outstretch my arms like the wings of a bird
Or maybe like your arms on the cross.
And then,
With a recklessness made in the image of
Your own loving abandon,
Might I throw myself headlong off the edge of
My own understanding.
Into the realm of Your understanding.
Into the wild and roaring sea that is the revelation of You.

See me, Abba.
Know me, Bridegroom King.
Unravel me in your presence.
And then hold me together with your merciful grace.
Allow me to drown in your heart,
So that you might breathe your very breath
Into my living water-filled lungs. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fear and Foot-Washing

Being a parent is terrifying. I used to live in so much fear that something awful would happen to my kids. Every news story was a one-way ticket to the Land of What-If. And it was a land I visited often.  It was a land in which I held duel citizenship.

I’d wake in the night and hover over their beds with my hand gently resting on their chest, making sure my imagined horrors had not spilled over into reality and, in fact, stopped their lungs from rising. Every time we were in public places, I scouted out the exits and planned my escape from attackers. Every stranger could have been a kidnapper, every bump or bruise could have been the first sign of a dire diagnoses, every moment of calling their name and not getting an immediate response could have been the moment that everything changed for the worse. 

I remember after the Sandy Hook school shooting, I checked my boys out early. They were in kindergarten and first grade, the same ages of the children slain by the shooter. We laid in bed and watched movies all afternoon. We ate ice cream for dinner. They thought it was the best day ever and I hid my tears as not to change their mind.

School shootings were added to the looming list of threats, alongside the rest of the possibilities that might snatch them away from me. This list was a vague and nearly palpable thing, whispering daily its intention of proving me in my worries right. I loved my sons so much that it seemed only right to worry with the same fervor. It felt like love to worry like that, even though it killed my joy.

A few months after Sandy Hook, in April of 2014, a tornado tore through Central Arkansas. It missed our house by about three miles, but it did not miss my friend April’s house. My sons slept peacefully that night as I laid awake in horror. The next day we told them that their best friends were dead, and the Land of What-If was no longer some imaginary and vague place. It became an inescapable reality.

It took a few days for God to break in. I was so mad at Him. His character was standing trial and I was judge, jury and executioner. Then I visited April in the hospital, and in her brokenness and newfound childlessness, she proclaimed the goodness of God to me and it sent me reeling. I simply could not process her faith. That night I laid awake again, this time not in horror but in a weak and flickering hope that maybe my fear could be overcome.

The next morning, from the end of my kitchen table, while I breastfed my son Ezra, I wrote a blog post about a tornado and a mother that knew the goodness of God. It went viral. So much so that four years later, it still receives a hundred hits a day. Beauty began to emerge from ashes, and I was set on a path into deep and meaningful relationship with the creator of the universe. God used a tornado to teach me about His goodness. In the faith of my friend and her unsurmountable peace, I found freedom from the chains that had bound me my entire motherhood.

It was in the midst of loss, pain and tragedy that I learned a lesson I had not been able to grasp before. Gripping my children suffocating tight while fear dictated how I raised them wasn’t changing the fact that our days aren’t promised. So I decided to be certain in His love and actually, really, fully live. The opposite of fear isn’t in nonchalance in the face of threats. The opposite of fear is found in love. That is where bravery and freedom exist. The knowledge that He is good and trustworthy is the only place unshakable by What-If.

Last week, while yet another school shooting was still trending in the headlines and while a tornado watch buzzed on weather channels, we met with a group of friends in our home. We get together weekly, a living room expression of church and community, and we teach our children to worship and to know Jesus. That night we sat before them, us completely aware of the state of disarray of our broken world, them completely oblivious to it. And we taught them about the bible story of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.

We didn’t expect it to be profound. We anticipated something of a zoo, one with seventeen children and several pitchers of water. As the story unfolded and we talked about what love looks like, the children settled. They began engaging in conversation, and when we asked who would like to help wash their friend’s feet, hands went up, some quickly, some apprehensively. Within minutes, even the hands that hadn’t gone up at all had taken part. Before we knew it, everyone was washing feet, praying over each other and receiving the same.

We wept that night as our babies carried out an act of love they were only beginning to grasp.  It may not seem like much, a handful of families in a living room doing something so menial as foot washing, but it stood for something incredible. It stood for the belief that the bad things happening in the world do not measure the goodness of God. It was a picture that grace means having the ability to navigate through brokenness with love and the ability to still have hope. 

My heart still breaks at the headlines. I am not under the delusion that I am immune from tragedy. I know that I can follow the traffic laws, and make my sons wear their helmets and follow every precaution to keep them safe, but ultimately I cannot protect them from the world. So I have decided to trust the heart and intentions of God, and to find my assurance in the promise of eternity. No matter what, He is good and He loves my boys more than I do.

So I will love them with a worry-free ferocity. They will never learn fear from me. It is my earnest hope that when tragedy brushes them in this life, they will be the ones that respond in certainty to God’s goodness. That on the foundation of His love and mine, they might be the ones that loose the chains of fear off their fellows by their own fearlessness.

Maybe, just maybe, they could be the ones to bring a little healing to this broken world. Maybe they could live as duel citizens to a different Land of What-if, one where only one question was begged, “What if the world knew that God really is, always and undeniably, good?

Thursday, February 22, 2018


I've been working on a project that the Lord put on my heart. It is a devotional of poetry and prayers, but I feel led to share some of them here.
I believe, in this hour, Jesus is asking His friends and lovers to rise up and teach people the way to the secret place.
Jesus preached the sermon on the mount, which is undeniably one of the most powerful sermons ever preached. But people did not say "Teach me how to preach." However, they did see the way He interacted with His Father and they said "Teach us how to pray." So He did. By praying and allowing them to hear so they could learn. If we go after the preaching, and the miracles and the works before we go after the relationship, they will be empty things. If we become familiar with the way the the secret place, though, all of these things will flow in power. 
I've shared before how I learned to pray by praying the Psalms. When my soul was tired, I borrowed David's words and became familiar with the nature of God through them.
When I first felt the Holy Spirit urging me to make parts of my prayer journals public, I wrestled. I couldn't imagine cheapening those precious conversations by allowing anyone else in, lest they bruise my heart with their opinions and point out my flaws as they saw me in the vulnerable place of being before God. But then that still small voice came and asked, "Aren't you glad David shared his psalms with you?"
So I'm going to share. Small snippets, poems and prayers. And I'm encouraging you to do the same. Those of you who know Him well, share that place of intimacy. Lead the way that those who are unfamiliar can follow you onto waters they have not charted.
Today is grey and I’m longing for you. 
Sometimes this world feels so completely separate from who I know you to be.
You, with your thundering and lightning.
You, with your emerald rainbow and your woolen hair.
You, with your eyes ablaze with passion. 
You are seated on a throne in a realm I can’t even fathom, surrounded by creatures declaring your holiness.
And I’m seated in a rickety coffee shop chair, surrounded by your beloved. Largely, they don’t even know your name. 
When the sky is grey, as it is today, and winter has stripped the world of her green, I feel like a foreigner more than ever. 
In the Summer, when I can plunge my hands into the earth of the garden and breathe in the thick, hot air that teems with life, I can feel you close.
Then, you cling to me like the sweat on my skin.
Then, the screaming cicadas and the call of tree frogs could be the distant echo of a throne room.
Then, the trees and the grass and the moss on the chicken coop all grow vivid green. So much so, that even a green tint hangs in the air and I think maybe I can understand how a rainbow could be called emerald.
But it is not summer.
It is not green.
I cannot feel the warmth of your breath of the weight of your right arm embracing me.
I cannot hear the echo of your throne room.
I cannot see you in heavy fruit-laden vines.
I cannot feel your eyes burning in the kiss of the sun.
All I see is barrenness.
All I feel is cold.
I miss the green so badly it hurts.
And right now, I am sustained by the fact that Truth does not wither as a summer garden does wither. 
Your kiss is more consistent than the sun.
Your touch far surpasses my capacity to perceive it.
Your goodness is everlasting. Never fading. 
You are good, God of everything.
You are sovereign, imaginer of the seasons.
You sustain. On grey days and green.
You sustain me.