Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

It’s the last day of 2009. I’ve spent the last few minutes re-reading some of my blog posts for the last few months. Ugh. Pretty ugly. But needed. Healing can’t come until it’s first brought to light.

I’ve been reading Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. Yesterday’s devotion was incredible, and timely.

“That rough looking diamond is put upon the cutting wheel. He cuts it on all sides. It loses much—much that seemed costly to itself. The king is crowned, the diadem is put upon His head with trumpet’s joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that crown, and it beams from the very diamond that was so sorely troubled by the cutting wheel. Let faith and perseverance have their perfect work, for in that day when the crown is set upon the King’s head, one ray of glory will stream from you.”

The last few months I have felt like that diamond. Like pieces of me are being cut away. Pieces that seem precious and costly to me. But there is a purpose to the purging. There is a revealing that is taking place. A beauty that is being created. And who am I to question the artist?

The thing about diamonds… sometimes to the naked eye they seem perfect. But through the jewelers loupe subtle imperfections become visible. If there’s something in me that is keeping me from shining for Christ, then I want it gone. Cut it out, sand it down, polish it away. Even if it hurts.

This is the process I am currently in.

More from Spurgeon:

“See that creeping worm, how contemptible it’s appearance. It’s the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life. It’s the end of the thing. That caterpillar is you, until you’re wrapped up in the chrysalis of death. But when Christ appears you’ll be like Him, for you’ll see Him as He is.”

Today I am so thankful that “the end of a matter is better than its beginning” (ecc. 7:8)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The Word became flesh
and made His dwelling among us.

One of the highlights of Christmas is spending time with family and friends that live far away. My brother and his family are driving home to mom’s house today, and I can’t wait to see them!

Visits are great. We look forward to them every year and before you know it it’s time to say goodbye again.

2000 years ago God sent His Son- not to visit us but to dwell with us. Webster’s defines dwell as: to live or stay as a permanent resident.

I know you’ve heard it a million times before. But today think about it once again... the living God, the creator and sustainer of all things chose to leave the glory and splendor of Heaven so He could come and live with you and me.

In the business and chaos of this Holiday season stop with me for just a moment... Stop and enjoy His presence.

Can you hear Him? He whispers to you... over the ads on television, the barking shoppers, and the whining kids. Can you see Him? He’s right there beside you... stuck in traffic, in line at the checkout stand, in the messy house.

He didn’t come to visit. When our homes are clean, and fresh sheets are on the beds. He’s not here for the weekend. When the bows are handmade and the cookies are home baked. He’s here to dwell. To live... In the mess. In the chaos. In the imperfection.

And He loves every minute of it. Every minute of our perfectly imperfect lives. He loves it, because He loves being with you.

Emmanuel, God with us, here to dwell. Praise His name, Emmanuel!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

So.... I did it.

I decided it was time to make some changes in my life.
Step one: Say no!

Sounds easy enough. But saying no meant having a difficult conversation (which was actually quite healing). It meant stepping down... relinquishing my role... letting go of... and it was HARD!!!

But I did it. And now (after 1 whole week of insane guilt) I feel FREE!!!

Free to heal, free to think, free to process.

We can only pour out so long before the vessel runs dry. And then it is time to travel to the well and be filled again. So here I sit, beside the well, waiting.

In the meantime I will....


I'm not one to make New Years resolutions. But usually by this time every year I start anticipating the New Year.

About 10 years ago we started attending a church where the Pastor encouraged us to spend the first week of the New Year in prayer and fasting. He has since left the church, but it is a tradition I carry on. It's probably my favorite week out of the year.

Every year leading up to it it seems like God speaks a word or two into my spirit that will be the prayer focus of the next year. The last few weeks I've felt it beginning, but it wasn't until this last week that it all came together.

There is a Holy dissatisfaction in my soul. A longing for something I can't quite name. Mark Batterson figured it out for me and his new book, I'm sure, will be the theme of 2010 for me.

The book is called Primal and it's all about returning to the roots of Christianity. I'm reading his words with tears streaming down my face because finally someone has put into words the longing I've been wrestling with in my heart.

I talk to people everyday who are frustrated with "religion". It seems to me as if God is trying to re-awaken His children to a deeper passion than we've recently known.

Batterson writes: “The Holy Spirit reminded me of the raw spiritual intensity I once had. He revealed how calloused my heart had become. And I realized that I had somehow lost my soul while serving God. And it wrecked me. I realize that in many ways I had become a paid professional Christian.”

For weeks now these words have haunted me. It's time to return to that place.

So... no resolutions. Just a returning. To the Primal roots of our faith. Are you with me?

You can read the first chapter of Primal here:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flight or Fight

The “flight or fight response” is the biological response of animals to acute stress. It has also been used to describe human reactions to stress.

I fall in the flight category. Always have.

Sometimes fleeing a stressful situation is a good thing. For example: when I have an overwhelming desire to yell, scream and throw things at the people I share a home with I will retreat to the privacy of my bathroom and a tub filled with bubbles and warm water. Ahh! It’s a good thing. Or, when wrestling with a life altering decision and emotion is clouding judgment I go looking for trees and trails. I sit by quiet streams with the company of birds and my Father until His words fill my heart with peace.

But then there is the kind of flight that brings harm instead of healing. It’s the kind of fleeing that leads to dark places. Caves of doubt, rooms of loneliness. It’s the running that causes me to not answer phones or emails. That turns down dinner invitations. That makes eye contact with carpet and ceilings. It’s the flight response that leads me to show up late and leave early. Where the only trusted friends are my pillow and journal.

It’s lonely here. And quiet. And for a while… I welcome it. Life goes on without me, outside of this cave. And I don’t mind. Really I don’t…. for a while.

But after a while…

After a while I am reminded that quiet places are meant for moments, not months. And fleeing the stress of life should be immediately followed by running into the arms of someone who loves me. And caves are not meant to be dwelling places.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I have become a cynic.

And it’s ugly.

I’m not sure how or when it happened. But today it hit me like a bolt of lightning how bad it’s become. I’ve tried to find a better word to describe it. Something kinder and gentler than “cynic” but none of the watered down words can describe the hardness of my heart.

Cynic is a harsh word. It’s cold. Heartless. The definition will make you cringe.

Cyn-ic [sin-ik] –noun

  1. A person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view
  2. A person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude

Ugly isn’t it. And yet, that is what I have become.

The antonym for cynic is “believer” or “optimist”. And that is what I used to be. In fact my husband used to tell me I need to quit being so trusting of everyone. I always had compassion for everyone, believed the best in everyone, and was optimist that everything would work out just fine thank you.

So what happened? I’m not sure exactly. I could say that I’ve been hurt. It’s true. But I’ve been hurt before and kept believing the best. I could say I’ve been cheated. It’s true as well. But I’ve been cheated before and always been quick to forgive. I could say it’s because I’ve been disappointed. Another true statement. But disappointment is nothing new. My reaction is the only thing that has changed.

Perhaps the cause is unimportant. It is the solution I seek, not the cause.

My cynicism is a defense mechanism. It’s “safer” to be detached than to invite injury. When you believe the best in people you are almost guaranteed that you will be disappointed. If you expect to be disappointed… well, at least you knew it was coming.

The question that is haunting me is: “If my cynicism is protecting my heart from being hurt then why am I still hurting so much”.

It seems as if my logic has failed.

When we close ourselves off to others we miss out on the bad. But we also miss out on the good. We miss out on the disappointments, but we also miss out on the joy. We may miss out on some hurt, but we also miss out on the wonder.

I used to believe that people were by nature good, kind, and generous. Perhaps that is still true. Even if it isn’t, the God I serve IS good, kind, and generous. And He has created me to be like Him.

I confess to you the bitterness and unbelief in my heart. My heart has been closed off to people, but You are really the one I have sinned against. Create in me a clean heart and make me faithful again. Make me happy as You did when You saved me, make me want to obey! You, who have every right to be cynical towards me chose instead to extend mercy and grace. Help me to extend that same mercy and grace to others. Help me to love without limit. To have compassion once again. Help me to trust You with my heart, for only You are able to protect it. Amen