cleansing her by the washing with water through the word

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's really the need, anyway?

I dislike thrift stores. I like the idea of liking thrift stores, and being one of those thrifting ladies, but once I get in there I sort of feel like parts of me are dying inside. I have no idea why, it just feels so depressing. Maybe because it's SO MUCH TIME. Not to mention your hands feel all "thrifty," but not in that"oooh, I found some great Target clearance items" thrifty. More like the "there is this strange film of dirt and stale cigarettes that I have on my hands after sifting through clothes not in the properly marked sections and I STILL didn't get what I came here for even though it's been two hours" kind of thrifty.

But it came to that yesterday morning. Calvin didn't have winter pajamas. He didn't have summer pajamas, either, but it's different. Babies can sleep in their sweaty rooms in just their diapers and belly buttons all summer. But in the winter, it gets a bit cold for belly buttons (bye-bye bee-bo). Grandma got him some rockin' outfits, but I have this thing for babies in feety jammies, and we were fresh out of 12-18 month boy size. And if you don't know, I've got 3 kids on a tight budget, and it's been overwhelmng to think about our big family living on this one income. Especially lately, but more on that in a few weeks. Let's just say, I've been actively trusting God to provide for this family he's given us. Or I've been trying to trust him, anyway.

So I looked online for the best price for the ones I wanted. $12.99 on sale. Take that times 4 or 5, and, um...a thrifting we will go! Old pilled-up Cherokee pajamas that smell like sawdust would have to do.

But let me tell you what God did.

Stop one: ARC. One pair of red Land's End jammies for $3. Not too bad. A little awkward, but sleepable. But I also found the cutest "wool" lined vest for the same price. And Miss Iris got her sister some pom-poms for the upcoming birthday, so I felt okay about that stinky stop. Still, I thought at this rate, it would be a loooong morning. I was after 5 pairs.

Stop two: A little shop called Bellies to Babies on 66th and Penn. Maternity and baby clothes, up to 2T or something. One little round rack for each size. Walked straight up to the 12-18 month rack, which seemed very bare. And I stopped in my tracks. 6 pairs of feety jammies, the exact kind I had googled in the morning, were right there. All together, the feet dangling lower than all of the other fancy sweater vests and tuxedo pants, all looking like they barely made the cut for this "nicer" consignment store, all brightly colored and out of place amongst the trendy light blue and brown. All three dollars each.

The first verse that popped into my brain:

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Almost, KB. That's close, but not quite. Come back to that...

Hmm...Toddler pajamas. Is this a need? I mean, really. I mean, really, really.
It's pretty basic. Clothes during the day, jammies at night. But no jammies at night, that's not really going to damage a 16 month old. Him wearing his jeans and long sleeved t-shirts to bed, that really isn't a big deal. A little counter-cultural, but not that big of a deal.

And on top of that, Carter's microfleece, anti-pill, extremely soft, very warm, super cute, all-boy, $12.99 on sale, gonna-wear-them-for-36-hours-because-your-momma-doesn't-change-#3-into-real-clothes kind of jammies. Not a need need.

Not a need need at all. That, ladies, is called a wish-list item. All 5 pairs. And when someone gets you something off your wish list, it's probably because that someone loves you and wants to give you a gift.

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11

I don't want to cheapen God meeting our basic needs. At all. Because it is a lovely, totally beautiful, totally amazing thing. That I certainly have experienced on a regular basis. I often don't thank and don't notice. I can take that for granted. It can feel like the soup kitchen on the corner who serves everyone. Maybe they don't know the name of the person they ladled chicken and wild rice to that evening, and they totally didn't need to do it, they just cared. In a general way. Everyone gets the same thing, but there is no personal in that.

But lets say that soup kitchen volunteer walks up to the little girl with scraggly hair and hands her two heart shaped barrettes covered with glitter. There's the hug. "I noticed you, I love you, I care about you, you matter to me. I will take time for you."

God knows I dislike going to thrift stores in sort of a bratty way. He knew I wanted those specific jammies. He knew that by there being 6 pairs I got to actually choose the ones I wanted like I would have in a "real" store. He knew I didn't need them and I certainly wasn't expecting them. And He knows that I would feel absolutely adored when I walked in and saw them all lined up on that rack.

He knows this girl really, truly, need-needs a Daddy who delights in her.
He knows this girl didn't ask, but she need-needed a "I noticed you" hug.

And in His riches in Christ Jesus, He provided. Abundantly. This is our God. And I am so grateful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

9 years

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:4

Today, Jason and I are celebrating 9 years of marriage.
And all I can do is look back and sort of get that chest-tightening, suck in your breath, stomach in your throat sense of "I can't believe we made it."

Similar to the feeling I had after experiencing the Sponge Bob Square Pants Rock Bottom Plunge ride at the Mall of America Nickelodeon Universe ride.
Only, I wanted to do that again (only once more, though-after the second time I was feeling very 30).

I hear folks all the time say things to their spouses on their anniversary, "If I had to do it all over, I would" or "I'd love to have 9 more years just like the last."

Well, not me.
I wouldn't and I don't.

Because the first year was awkward. The 2nd year was heartbreaking. The 3rd-6th years were lonely and fearful. MAYBE I'd do the 7th-9th years again, but they involved two uncomfortable pregnancies and very painful deliveries, so I'd be okay just moving on.

I told Jason (on facebook, because it's sort of like today's city gates, right?) that what I will do, though, is stand on top of the mountain we climbed and enjoy the view. The exhilarating, terrifying, glorious, take-my-breath-away, GOD-CREATED view.

Of suffering. Of perseverance. Of character.
Of so, so much hope.
And of love.

Because now, and I say this with a bit of fear...
I understand that God has made all of those trials "worth it."

In so many ways we are still damaged people from what we have gone through, which-as the years stretch by-seems like less and less. (Yet another benefit from the view at the top of the mountain verses right next to the jagged rocks and inside the deep crevices.) Things that we should have been sorting out for the first three years of our marriage we are just now getting to. But what we have been through has caused us to be extremely, incredibly, beautifully and tightly braided together with God. Who plans the dates and who balances the checkbook is so secondary when my hand has been held at my daddy's viewing. Or when he had to tell me that, again, he lost his job, only this time we have a newborn. And on and on...

But they must be figured out, and that is what we are doing now. And I could almost laugh at how blessedly about small-stuff our arguments are. Because it is bliss in comparison.

I do not expect the future to be perfect. Almost daily I whisper to my Father, "Please, please be gentle with us." I know that this particular prayer is not quite the right prayer, but I also know that God wants me to give Him my heart, so I must say it for now.

But I can rejoice that the past is over. I thank Him that we can trust Him with our future. And I praise God that the fruit is being harvested, a little at a time. In ways that I can see, and in ways that are hidden to us.

God always means it for good.

So, because my man speaks in song lyrics, here is the one I picked out 6 months ago for this day.
better than our promises
is the day we got to keep themI wish those two could see us now
they never would believe how
there are different kinds of happy
(Sara Groves, Different Kinds of Happy)

And, if I knew how to work my scanner (it's been 9 years-we weren't digital back then!), I would put a wedding photo right here. But I need him for that, too. So here's one that makes me smile more.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Momma and the chocolate cake...

Maiz came up to me the other day, in confusion more than sadness and said,
"Momma, I keep praying and God doesn't answer."

Being the good Christian mother I am, I answered her with the correct, "God always answers. He has three answers. No, slow, go. Like a stoplight." There's that. Spiritual truth communicated. And I went on with my important tasks of nothingness.

Holy spirit punch. It was a light one, but a punch nonetheless.
This is the moment, kb. She's opening her soul.

You see, my spunky sunshine of a 5-year-old has been discouraged lately. She has had some of the same struggles in a certain area for about a year. Now, she's not a walking ball of discouragement. Just in this one thing, she feels defeated. Like she'll never get it right.

"Maiz, come here. You know what momma said is true. But I didn't mention that it's HARD. And sometimes all we can do is just keep trying. Sometimes God lets us struggle through things so that we can learn perseverance and obedience and dependence on Him."

Another holy spirit punch, get real with her kb.

Deep breath...
"Maiz baby, it's like momma and the chocolate cake..."
A little light goes on in her brain and a smile goes on her face. NOW I'm starting to get through. Momma's been at this for years and she absolutely gets what you are going through, kiddo.

(Side note: My girls LOVE hearing about momma and the chocolate cake. I think they just get a kick out of momma struggling with something as silly as triple-chocolate cake with pink frosting, but what do they know, right?)

Fast forward-two days later, I am at a point of discouragement. I have had some of the same struggles in a certain area for about a year (or 10!). I'm not a walking ball of discouragement. Just in this one thing, I currently feel defeated. Like I'll never get it right.

The chocolate cake is not always just an example. In fact, despite all the victories I've had, "it" still tempts me regularly. And even if I stand firm and say "no," lately the subsequent pity party and bitterness that could follow are still a victory for Satan and my flesh. The script is so common.

God, this is still so hard (true). I still want to go back to my old ways even after a year of small victories, even after I just boasted that I've lost 50 pounds, I STILL want to eat this (true). And, one piece of chocolate cake wouldn't hurt me or make me gain the weight back (half-true). After all, it seems so unfair that I can't enjoy something-you made life to be enjoyable (half-true). And I can't possibly be expected to abstain from eating this food my entire life, because that is simply just unfair (lie). I've obeyed so long that I deserve this (lie). So I am going to do what I want to do, because I know what is best for me (lie).

And I bought it-hook, line, and sinker. Or maybe I should say, hook, line, and stinker.

"WHATEVER IS TRUE...think about such things." (Phil 4:8)

I should have stopped it right away at the truth and then thrown those at God for Him to deal with, because those mental half-lies quickly become full lies. And the thought process is so fast that we don't even see it coming.

Back to Genesis 3.
"Did God REALLY say?"
RUN, Eve! Call out for God! He's RIGHT THERE!!!
"You will not surely die."
Eve, you have no idea of the epic battle that you are becoming a pawn in. Satan cares NOTHING for you.

What's telling, though, is what I did next, after the chocolate cake with pink frosting (you get now that it wasn't REALLY chocolate cake, right?). Instead of calling out to God, I went to my friends. Yes, I need accountability, but what I really, REALLY needed was to repent and to run back to God and have Him clean me up and help me. But I was looking for the next program, wise comment, friendly exhortation to help me.

And YES, following a program can be a good thing as can all those other things.

But, the truth is that Katie already knows what Katie needs to do and, frankly, she's just tired of doing it. And to be honest, she feels as if it's a bit unfair. She wants the easy button.

Neither friends nor accountability nor exhortation nor a program can change our hearts, whatever it is that our hearts are struggling with.

But Jesus can.
Through our offering of obedience, Jesus can.
And I was tired of obeying.
I had actually been obeying very well for what felt like forever, so...
I just wanted God to answer my prayers to take the struggle and the rest of the hard work out of the equation. I would rather have a fairy godmother and her magic wand just until I lose the rest of the weight rather than my Father in Heaven who has a long-view of this thing and of me. He doesn't disappear at midnight.

Just like my girlie and her struggle.

After I talked to her, the next morning in fact, I read this timely "surely-this-Bible-study-was-written-just-for-me" verse in my Bible Study (Beth Moore's Breaking Free):

Isaiah 30:15
"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.'"

And the Lord said the exact same thing to me as I said to Maizie.

To quote Beth Moore:
"The exact Hebrew word translated trust in this verse appears only once in the Old Testament. The word bitchah means "nothing more that one can do." Once we've obeyed God, we can do nothing more. We then wait on Him to bring the victory, knowing that the consequences of our obedience are His problem, not ours."

For some reason, in this area of my life, continued victory is taking a while. Despite my crying out and my what feels like constant praying to be free, I haven't woken up free from the struggle. There are things that make it easier (like accountability and not having chocolate cake in the house), but the truth is that the only thing that will bring me freedom is continued dependence and obedience.

And when I obey, all I can do is trust Him with that. So, I will repent and rest in Him. I will lay my heart down, the part that keeps wanting to run from one program to the next. The part that wants to stretch the boundaries He's given me "just this once." The not quiet and not rested part that is constantly and chaotically looking for new and better answers. The part of my heart that "would have none of it." I will repent and choose to stay in the knowledge that if I quietly persevere with that which I know He has called me to do, I can trust that Him with the outcome.

God always answers, but sometimes God waits us out and in the process we begin crying out a different prayer.

Help me be more like you, Jesus. Whatever it takes. However many "no thank-yous" and strange looks and crying out to you to fill up the holes that I would love to dump food into. Thank you that I have to depend on You this hard for something in my life.

There is so much more hope in that.

So, I guess, for Maizie this looks the same. Continued obedience even when it's hard and no Maizie-visible results are happening. And it may be hard for a long while. But, I guess if I really think about it, I'm not praying for that girl to have an easy life. I'm praying for her to have a God-dependent life.

Lord, give me patience with our situations as you works with our hearts. May they not become strongholds of discouragement, but a reminder that we absolutely need you. And may that knowledge cause us to obey your word and REST in you-that you will bring the ultimate victories.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There's hope for us...

I am a first generation born-again/sold out for Jesus/God is the only reason I'm on this earth Christian. I know that my family somewhere up the line went to church and had a belief in God, but I'm the first in a long line of mothers that is raising my kids from before birth to hopefully follow Christ.

As such, I take great, great comfort in the story of Rahab. At first glance, it's unlikely.

This woman was a harlot. Which means a prostitute. And, no, I wasn't a prostitute. But a big sinner, yes. And going the wrong way, yes.

That famous battle at Jericho? Where the walls came-a-tumbling down, down, down?

That's the battle that Rahab hung out the red cord. She had lied to THE KING regarding two Israelite spies whereabouts. They were hidden on her roof, and she was savvy enough to gain the promise that she & those in her house wouldn't be hurt by the Israelites when they came into the city because she had helped them. And they kept their promise, because she identified herself with the red cord out her window.

But the story doesn't stop there. You have to go to the New Testament to see the rest. In the usually skipped over lineage of Jesus.

Matthew 1:5- "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab..."

Boaz, Boaz, half of the most beautiful and heroic love stories in the entire Bible. Ruth and Boaz.

Ruth, who was a Gentile woman. Who chose to leave her people and her country and her country's gods to travel with her mother-in-law (one of God's people). Which meant following her to Bethlehem. Where Boaz was an extremely successful and respected man. But there is so much MORE to it.

I am going through Ruth with Maizie (5) right now. By chapter 2, the girl was HOOKED. So we've been reading it a lot. And she asked to do a Ruth "lapbook" (homeschool talk for big project with lots of glue and scissors). So I oblige. I mean, I suppose I could handle that since I don't have to feed any winged insects with an eyedropper.

One day we went through the book of Ruth and listed all of Ruth's character qualities. And as I did that, I thought, "Why not? Boaz is in here, too, let's do him as well." And ladies, what I saw brought tears to my eyes. I have scripture references for all these.

generous, observant, kind, honest, respectable...
protector, wise, caretaker, compassionate, cheerful...
available, teachable, understanding, strong...

I'm sure it could have gone on, but I was loosing the attention of the five year old. And weirding her out a bit.

"Mom, why in the world are you crying?"
Because there's hope for us, baby. There is hope.

You see, there is a lot in this Bible story. The whole thing is actually (for lack of a better word) momentous in relation to Jesus. To have not only Rahab, but also Ruth in his lineage is

But there's something else, too. Sort of a whisper. That I've missed in the past. And it takes my breath away.

Boaz's mother won with her son.

Rahab, whose upbringing probably wasn't that great, whose life was a mess prior, who possibly knew nothing of God's law before hearing about what He had done with the Israelites...THAT WOMAN partnered with and was led by her Israelite husband to raise a son like Boaz. Because God was bigger than her stuff and her past. She's called a prostitute a couple of times in scripture (Jas 2:25, Hebrews 11:31). We can praise God for the mighty work He did in her life, and because her past-sin included-probably made her one spitfire of a walking testimony for the one true God.

God redeemed her. And He taught her. And He blessed her. And she was faithful. And, YES, she helped the spies. And, YES, that was huge. But I could just weep with thankfulness over the legacy that she left in Boaz.

Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.

King David. And his descendant, King Jesus.

Oh God, make me like the redeemed Rahab.
One faithful and blessed spitfire.
With a legacy that points only to You.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My heart longs...

My heart longs for the midwest country. For the birch trees shimmering in the sunshine. For peeling wooden footbridges and fireflies. For patchwork quilts and that single windchime harmonizing with the chirping birds. For actually seeing more than 3 stars in the night sky and breathing in wildflower air.

But I've got 38th and Bloomington.

I am not complaining (right now). This is DEFINITELY where God wants us as a family. I think the journey to getting this house had so many of His fingerprints on it for that reason, so that I would know without a doubt that this is exactly where He wants us. So I obey.

And I CLING to the heart-blessings that I know will come with obedience.

But, oh, how it stretches me. And many, many times a day it can feel so overwhelming. Vigilance, constant noise, sirens racing down the street, the neighbors loud-music-filled-house ten feet away, electrical cords and large chipmunks out my back window, other peoples swearing children at the park, double-locked doors, drug deals in front of the barber shop, people always wanting bus fare.

LORD, I want peace. I just want peace and quiet.

You'll have to fight for it, kb. And it won't come how you think it will come.

It seems as if the antithesis of peace would be fighting. But, I am seeing that, for me, the antithesis of peace is actually fretting. Because what we are fighting is our flesh, and (gasp) our deceitful hearts. The defeat of our flesh by the Spirit of God (through obedience and choices) will bring us peace.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Gal 5:17

But when we FRET, especially as women, that is when we just allow our flesh and our hearts to carry us away with "if onlys" and "maybes" and daydream up realities and lies that do not exist for us at this moment, we MISS GOD RIGHT NOW. The longing for fireflies isn't sin, I do believe that it is a desire that is deep in my heart and it's from God. The sin-what I am fighting-is the constant focus on it, the staring at what I don't want about my life, the thinking about how I can wriggle out of what He has before me, the ungrateful heart

...and the believing that ANYTHING outside of Him will fill my deep desires for peace.

But, how do I fight this, God? How do I fight against my fretting and fight for your peace?

He's so gracious to tell me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition...

God, about this city thing. It is so overwhelming. I feel like I can't even breathe. I feel like all of the lives are closing in around my heart...

...with thanksgiving...

But, I must fight my fretting heart with true gratitude. I thank you for Jason's heart for people. Thank you for this big house. Thank you that I know I am exactly where you want us and thank you for making that so clear. Thank you that I really can just drive a couple of hours and be somewhere full of shimmering birch trees. Thank you for the fact that I belong to you, because if nothing else ever went "right" again, that would be enough.

present your requests to God.

Could I please have your peace and a heart like yours, Lord? Can I please have my inner heart be still and quiet? And, Lord, can you please give me little glimpses of your beauty through creation within the blocks of Minneapolis?

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Gal 5:17
Philippians 4:6-7

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Healing at the Pool

Today I am thankful for my friends who point me towards Jesus. God used one of my dear and special friends who shared that God really spoke to her with this section of scripture (in a really unique, but so like God way), and I couldn't shake it, either. So glad I didn't let it go.

There are areas of my life that I keep struggling with. Despite all of my attempts to do better, or just stop, I can't seem to. And it feels like the more I pray about them and "work" on them, the bigger & more impossible they seem. Our pastor once said that our Goliaths get bigger the closer we get to them, so maybe that's why! Maybe I'm close enough to lop one smooth stone...

Yes, God, please let that be the reason this seems so hard...

Anyway, here is the scripture.
The Healing at the Pool: John 5:2-11, 14
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool...Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

(v. 14) Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

I'm sure Jesus did this for some very intentional reasons, because in the verses I left off is some stuff about healing on the sabbath. So I always thought that was the point. See? Jesus healed on the Sabbath, so that means I can go to Target!


But here is what God had for me in this passage of scripture this morning.

1. He DOES have time for me, but it's all about His timing.

The world is full of "sick" people, but Jesus singled out this man. (Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.) Even though it took 38 years for full healing (which seemed like forever in the man's mind, I'm sure), it was His perfect timing.

2. JESUS WAS RIGHT THERE and this man was putting his hope in a method!

This was probably the biggest thing.

The man was so focused on the healing, that he was missing the HEALER. Jesus was right there, asking him if he wanted to get well. RIGHT THERE. And the man said to him, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

This is so me. So me. Not that there isn't a time and a place for getting the right "help," but I can focus so much on the tactics and the theories and the methods, and the fact that they just aren't available to me or impossible or are beyond my reach.

And I miss who is standing RIGHT there, right in front of me, offering His hand of healing.

3. One thing at a time

This part is hard for me. The pick up your mat and walk part. Because I do feel like I'm trying. And it seems like it's not that simple, or maybe I'm missing something. But today, I feel like it just said, "Believe me just enough to obey me right now."

Jesus can heal us even if we don't have much faith, but we need to believe Him enough to obey Him. And He so far hasn't asked me to do giant things like "pick up my mat and walk," but a bunch of little (yet significant) things.

This seems so hopeless and the fact that while my head KNOWS you can heal me my heart maybe no longer believes it. But I am going to trust what I know is truth and obey you one step at a time. And I am going to trust that all those little steps will add up to complete freedom.

4. We haven't made such a mess of ourselves that he isn't willing to help.

I almost missed this. So thankful I kept going.


My first thought is that this is the impossible problem. I can't seem to stop. And while that is true, I am going to find the hope in here that, he man's sickness was caused by his own sin. I'm not saying that individual physical illness is directly caused by our own sin as a generalization-(see John 9) but in this case...

Despite the fact that it was his own doing, Jesus healed anyway.

The stuff I keep going back to is a choice. It really is. Nobody put it on me, it's not something physical I was born with, it's just a choice to sin. But Jesus is willing to heal me anyway. I can think that I did it (true), what I get is what I deserve (true), and Jesus won't bother with me because he is so disgusted with me (LIE!). I did do it, I do deserve what I'm going through, but Jesus loves me so much he's willing to make a whole bunch of people mad and heal me on the Sabbath.


And Jesus, do I ever need your healing! Thank you, Jesus, for standing right there offering it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Psalm 86:11-13

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.

Oh God, please...

Grab that piece of heart that wants to believe that eating triple chocolate bundt cake and chocolate chip cookies will make her life happy. She's just making herself miserable. And while you're at it, could you grab the piece that believes that being skinny will make everything easier? They're sitting right next to each other.

And that one, Lord. That piece of heart that is over there wandering around in the dream of open spaces and apple trees. She is drifting about believing that anywhere except in the middle of the city would bring her peace.

And way over there...way over there over that hill, God...that's the one that keeps looking for Jason to fill it up. She gets really close, God, but he's always a few steps ahead.

Don't be fooled by this piece of heart that follows you quickly, God. She looks all right with her clean house and big smile, but that's just a front. That piece just wants you to believe it's perfect so you'll keep loving it, but you know better, Lord.

Go quietly to get the piece shivering in the dark corner of fear over there. She'll run, because she thinks you are going to hurt her, God. She doesn't trust you, so you'll have to tiptoe.

There goes the piece that wants to be everything to everyone. She's fast. She has to be.

And Jesus. This piece is going to fight. That's the piece that doesn't trust that you'll do what's best for her babies. She's going to hang on, and she bites.

Oh, please grab all the pieces I can't see. I know you see them. Get the ones I don't even know are missing. And unite them into a new heart. I don't care if it's painful, I just so badly want it to be done. And only you can do it, God.

And I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;

I will glorify your name forever
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

Crocus blooming

I know it's a bit late for crocuses, but I found this treasure tucked in Isaiah today and wanted to share.

My soul is parched today. My heart feel like it's running on empty and I look around and feel like this cyclical work is for nothing. My kids are sick and cranky. My laundry is piled to the moon. There are a lot of ants in my kitchen. But mostly, I feel like I've been battling the same stuff over and over and getting nowhere.

Maybe you're like me and everything little is adding up to one big tired. Or maybe you are in the trial of your life. Something so heavy on your heart that feels like it is pulling you under and your arms are too tired to keep trying. Don't fret...He is right there and is stronger than any current.

Take heart. It's not meaningless. Big or small, it is all being seen and remembered. And God is going to do that thing that He does where He makes it all beautiful in its time. Where he brings life and beauty back into the dry land. I say it because it's true and because He has done it so many times in my life.

Isaiah 35:1-2a
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

I'll wait for it with expectation.
For the here on earth blossoms.
And for the ones we won't see till Heaven.

Thank you, God. For all that you are. That you do not just set the world spinning and forget about us till we die, but that you are accessible in Jesus, and that you see it all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This is our God

Father's day. When your dad has been dead for 7 years, this holiday is tricky. Because on one hand, you're MARRIED to a father. But on the other hand, you don't really have a father anymore. So, while I attempted a celebration of the father my children have by running to Cub to get the biggest cinnamon twist you ever saw (seriously...what in the world? are they feeding bears with the day-olds?), my heart was heavy as we entered into church.

"I can't come to Bible study tonight b/c I have plans with my dad." "We can come over but have to leave early because we are having dinner with my dad." "I need you to remind me to call my dad today."

Leaving me with the all-day reminder of the always there hole in my heart.

But I put it aside, hoping that today, the stronger-than-she-was-a-year-ago Katie would be able to make it through her first father's day service since her dad died.

Buck UP, KB! This isn't about you!

Of course, someone had to mention it, bringing it right back. The elusive idea that God is our "heavenly father," the one who is so perfect but can never really hold me in a 6'2", 300 pound bear hug. So really, how does this help?

Then the offering music.

...I don't understand Your ways
Oh but I will give You my song...

Oh, she's good. She doesn't even sound like she's trying. I'm wish I could sing like her. This is nice. There's the basket...I wish I had a sign to hold up that I do EBT with our tithe so I don't look like I'm giving nothing when the basket goes by. I should have bought Jason a card. Pay attention, KB.

I'm desperate in seeking, frantic believing...

I love her outfit. Maybe I should offer to help with the kiddos. I hope Maiz does okay today. I wonder if I should ask J to pick her up...


It was like the song got louder. Like I was wearing an in-ear monitor with just the vocal.

wait...what Lord?


Wait, God? What?

This. That. That day. This journey. Your heartbreak. That hole. My faithfulness.

Tears are pouring out now.


Jason put his arm around me. The song is beautiful. My little tears were quickly turning into Oprah's "ugly cry." Why did I almost make us late because of mascara this morning?

See? 5 years ago he would have had no idea what your heart was crying about right now and he totally knows. It's gonna be worth it.

It's already worth it.

Oh the song done? I can't stop crying. I am going to be so distracting during the message. Curse my front row insistence! I should probably leave. Oh, Lord, please don't let Jason follow me out.

Um...there's, like, nowhere good to go to be alone in our church when God has something he wants to say to you that you know you aren't going to get through without some snot and sobs. There are people everywhere. So I went in the only place that offered any privacy, the newly remodeled one stall bathrooms. And like any good Christian girl wanting to hear from God, I bring a church-issued Bible and sit right down on the floor. Hey, I know who cleans it, and I know what their house looks like, so I think I'm okay.

And then the brand new, super-high tech, energy saving, motion detecting lights turn off.

Really? Are we really doing this?

There I am, in the darkness with a Bible that isn't backlit and my tears. And the holy God. The God who spoke to Elijah in the gentle whisper: the Elijah who, like me, had a God experience only days before and was already alone and searching for more.

I don't have anyone to call, God! I don't have anyone to take out to dinner! I don't have anyone to mail a meaningless $4 card to! GOD! I am fatherless and alone.

True, true, true, and then...there is the lie. Right there.

God, I can't even see my Bible, I need you to tell me the truth, AGAIN, with your word, God. I want to know it's from you...I already know it, but I need it again. I need it new.

Be still, Katie girl.

Wait. Wait. Oh, I hope the door is locked, God, this would be so weird. Wait.

Slow down.


Quiet. As I know He wants. Finally, quiet. On the floor of the church bathroom, the only light is coming through the crack under the door. And He has the message I have needed my whole life. The one that I have already heard, but that I needed to really, really believe.

I have summoned you by name.



But I know that....


It's sinking in...

I am father to the fatherless. YOU. ARE. MINE.

No, you don't have a dad on earth. But you have a dad in heaven. And I will be there.
I will be there. I will be there. I will be there.

He chose not to be there, but I choose to be there, because YOU ARE MINE. And you not having a dad and having to depend on me as your only father is gonna be worth it.

So I'll wait, God. I'll trust you and I'll wait. And in the meantime, this still hurts. But I am going to make the choice to believe you today. Please, God. Don't let me forget. I am not alone. I do have a father. And, no, I don't get a bear-hug, but I do get a new heart. So I'll take it. And I'll believe you that you are going to do that thing you do so beautifully and continue to redeem my circumstances.
Thank you.

Isaiah 43:1-2
But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Psalm 68:5
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

Song: Worth it All, Rita Springer