Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joy Comes in the Morning

The preverbal straw that broke the camel’s back showed up last night. It’s silly really. This little thing that went wrong. But it’s the last in a string of bigger things that have gone wrong this week. I feel like I somehow have stuck a stick in Satan’s hornets’ nest… and they’re after me.

Then this morning I log on to Facebook to see that I’ve been tagged in a note from a sweet friend who is also being chased by a swarm of hornets.

Her take on life?

Be thankful.

Ouch. I’m telling you, reading her list of blessings my pity party came to a screeching halt. Conviction wrapped its loving fingers around my heart, and I knew… I knew that God would not be honored in my whining. He would not be glorified in my complaining. I knew that my response to any situation could only be praise.

So without further ado…

Today I am thankful for notes from friends that remind me of a gracious God. The perfect song at the perfect moment. Friends who know the deep dark secrets, and love me anyway. My sweet boy when he wraps his arms around me. Blue skies and white puffy clouds. Sprinklers and green grass. Teenage girls who are more concerned with their reputation with God than their reputation with their peers. A youth pastor who loves unconditionally and pushes students out of their comfort zones. Comfy pjs. Borrowing shoes from my daughters. My super-styling minivan (with the window that won’t roll up). Guacamole. Hagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche. Girls Night out. Mommas that didn’t birth me, but love me like they did. High school sweethearts that still love you when you’re all grown up. A job that matters. Facebook. Words. A good book. A king size bed that holds one mom and three daughters. Intimate conversations between said mom and daughters on said king size bed. Church. Pot lucks. (seems appropriate that they be together) My iPhone. Thunderstorms. Lakes. Woods. Peace and quiet. Libraries. Long hot baths where no one knocks on the door. Opening my Bible and finding comfort, every time. Texting. Teenagers. (those two go together as well) Theatre. Musicals. Sonic’s happy hour. Suffering with hope. Never knowing oppression, hunger, or war. Pedicures. Journals and the perfect pen. Blogs. Knowing He loves me, even when I’m acting crazy. Knowing that He knew. Before I drew my first breath, He knew me. He had a plan for me. He called me and anointed me. Knowing that suffering may come… but joy always follows.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"What ifs" and "you can’ts" are terrible things. They hold me hostage. Mock me.

What if I fail?

You can’t forget.

What if they laugh?

You can’t forgive.

They dig up my past and paralyze my today.

But what if I were free?

What would that look like?

What would that feel like?

Thinking about freedom brings to mind…

Little girls in spinning skirts.

Giggles. Dreams.

Cries of “push me higher” and “hold me daddy”.

Joy. Wonder.

Starry nights. Fairies and frogs.

Books under blankets.

Whispered secrets.

Buttered popcorn fingers. Sweet fizzy soda.

Popping gum and hopping scotch.

Prince Charming. White horses.

Castles. Queens.

Bedtime kisses and bedbugs.

Bare feet in the grass.

Ladybugs and fireflies.

Best friends.

Baby dolls.

Dancing. Skipping. Twirling.


But innocence has been lost. Childhood has been stolen. And the little girl’s dreams turned to nightmares along the way.

But what if

What if innocence could be restored?

What if what was stolen could be returned?

What if nightmares turned to dreams?

What if Prince Charming was real?

I’ll tell you a secret… He is!

When you were a child, I loved you. I took you by the arm and taught you to walk. I led you with kindness and with love. But you rejected me. War visited you.

But I cannot let you go. I cannot give you up. My feelings for you are much too strong. I will heal you and love you without limit. I will be like the dew—then you will blossom like the lilies and have roots like a tree. I will lure you into the desert and speak gently to you. From that day on you will call me your husband. (from Hosea)

We’ve been locked in a tower. Our only company our fears. But there is a Prince. There is a knight in shining armor riding in on his white horse to save the day. He longs to rescue us. To redeem us.

To set us free.

Innocence restored. Dreams renewed. Princesses crowned.

Go ahead… twirl away!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Keep Out

Lately I’ve noticed something in my heart that bothers me. It’s this innate reaction to keep people out. What is that causes me to put up a “No Trespassing” sign on my life?

In theory, I love people. And, in theory, I desire to be used by God to love people. But in reality, I shut the world out. I close the blinds. Don’t answer the phone. Look the other way.


Because I am afraid.

I’m afraid of meddling. Of butting my nose in where it doesn’t belong.

I’m afraid of not having the answers. Of being overwhelmed with the depravity of deep wounds.

I’m afraid of letting you down. Of letting you see my mess.

I’m afraid that I’m not good enough.

But then I read of one who wasn’t afraid. And one who was.

Jesus had no fear. He also had no walls. He loved people. Touched people. Meddled in their business.

Then there was Peter. He was afraid. He denied Christ. He ran away and hid.

And yet… Jesus called Peter. He sought him out. He appointed him as one to carry Hope into a Hopeless world.

And he did.

The man who denied Christ on the eve of his death, is the same man who proclaimed Christ on the day of Pentecost. The man who was quick to draw his sword in the Garden of Gethsemane is the same man who proclaimed to the cripple “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

And therein lies my problem. My focus is on what I don’t have. And I easily forget what I do have.

I don’t have wealth. I don’t have a clean kitchen. I don’t have the right words. I don’t have it all together.

But I do have Hope. I do have Peace. I do have Life.

A few years ago God called me, like Peter, to proclaim the Good News. In fear my heart clung to Jeremiah 1:5-9. Today I was reminded of those words.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

Before you were born I set you apart.”

“Ah, Sovereign Lord” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child’. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.”

The Lord says to me today…

Do not say,

I am afraid

I’m not good enough

I do not have

You must go. You must speak.

But don’t be afraid. You don’t walk alone.

I will rescue you. I will put my words in your mouth.

Tear down the “Keep Out” signs. Unlock the door to your life.

I know you. I set you apart.

Now… go!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I am a slinky...

OK, not really. But I’m aspiring to be a slinky. That is my goal. Right now I’m more like a Jenga tower.

This confuses you? Me too. Allow me to (attempt to) explain through pictures!

My life is like Jenga pieces:

Each block represents a different piece of my life. There is my public life. My private life. My life as a mom. My life as a wife. My life as a girl who gets irritated and wants to say mean things to the checker at the grocery store. My life as an aspiring writer. My life as a speaker/teacher. My life as a worshiper. My life as a housewife/maid/cook…. As you can see there are many pieces of me. For a while now I’ve spent lots of time and energy trying to figure out which part of me fits into which block. Does the funny interaction with the kids get filed under “mom” only? Or can it also be filed under “radio host” or “blogger”? And how do I make sure that the irritable girl never gets filed under “public life” or “worshiper”. I tell you its exhausting trying to keep everything categorized.

Lately I’ve been feeling like it’s time to bridge the gap between “public” and “private”. After all, I keep praying for God to allow my life to be effective. And how can I be effective for His kingdom if I’m worried about categorizing my life and filtering every part of me. So, I thought maybe I should build a tower.

I attempted to stack the pieces up. Instead of being spread out everywhere and trying to keep certain things “separate” I tried to bring everything together into one cohesive unit. There’s only one problem with stacking blocks. Especially when someone as clumsy as me is involved.

Inevitably, something will happen to upset the delicate balance of block stacking.

And when that happens…

You’re left with a big mess.

So maybe the tower isn’t such a good idea after all.

Thankfully God likes to send people into my life that are smarter than me. Recently I had an amazing conversation with someone who told me that God wanted me to be a…

That’s right a slinky.

Here’s the thing with slinkys.

They are made up of many parts:

But they are all connected:

Slinkys aren’t fragile.

You can stretch them:

Twist them:

And hold them:

You can even drop them:

And they’ll always bounce back.

Slinkys are fluid:

In motion:

Always changing.

Yet staying the same.

This is my slinky. It sits on my desk. Surrounded by pieces of me. My computer, my family, my calendar, my memory verse. It sits there as a reminder. A reminder of who God made me to be.

A multi-layered, transparent, flexible, fun, and whole woman.

My name is Keri. And I am a slinky.

Wanna play?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Something to Wear

Have you ever worn a jacket that doesn’t quite fit? Maybe the sleeves are too short, the shoulders too tight or the length just not right? I have. And I tell you, I turn into a fidgety mess. Pulling and tugging hoping that it will feel right if I adjust it enough.

Joy is like that for me.

It fits, but not quite right. It’s awkward, uncomfortable. But it looks good. When I go out I like to wear it. It makes others more at ease. But when given the chance I slip off Joy and hang it back in the closet. Then I slip into something a little more comfortable.

I wish this wasn’t so. I wish slipping into Joy was like slipping into my favorite pair of jeans.

I’ve tried to excuse it away. I’m a deep thinker, a ponderer, a reflector, a lover of stories and thus pain and sorrow are natural friends. I hold them close. Snuggle in them like a warm soft sweater on a crisp fall day.

But then I read of Jesus. Of Joy in suffering. Of Joy in pain. And I wonder… where can I buy this Joy?

Maybe it’s like a new pair of shoes. Maybe I just need to break it in. Wear it for a while. Maybe, then it will feel less foreign, more like me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You May Say I'm a Dreamer

I have big dreams.

Big scary dreams.

Always have. Years ago a friend said I reminded her of Joseph. A dreamer who is often misunderstood. For a while I had Gen. 37:19 (Here comes that dreamer) tacked to my computer. I’ve lost the post-it note with the scripture on it, but I haven’t lost the dreams.

They’re still there.

Lately my dreams have felt like sand. Big and vast yet slipping through my fingers. I feel like I can’t grab hold of anything. Like the harder I try to hold on to it the more it slips away. It’s exhausting, this grasping at sand. I’m working myself into a frenzy trying to fill my bucket.

But dreams weren’t meant to be carried in buckets. Dreams are meant to carry us. They are the path we walk upon.