Friday, September 24, 2010


Yesterday I shared part of my story over at Thin Places. It’s not often that I allow myself to travel back to that time when wounds were fresh and raw. Healing has a wonderful way of dulling the pain of the past.

It’s fascinating to me how we view things differently in different seasons of our lives. When I was a fifteen year old girl my parents’ divorce shattered my world as I knew it. From as early as Eden we’ve learn to cope by placing blame. And that’s exactly what I did. I blamed my mom.

Now, as a grown woman, and a mom myself, I look at the circumstances of my childhood through different lenses. I see my mom differently now than I did then.

Redemption is a curious thing. True redemption causes a change of heart. I can look back at my own life thankful that I’m not the same person today that I was decades, years, or even months ago. I’ve grown, evolved, changed. I’ve been redeemed. I’ve been forgiven. I’ve been loved.

And through my redemption I am free to forgive. I am free to let go. I am free to accept the truth that just as I have grown and evolved, so has my mom and also my relationship with her.

I’m overwhelmed by the healing God has done in both of our hearts. I’m so grateful that God has restored our relationship. But before healing came I had to let go of the pain of the past.

I was thinking this morning about how we love to hold tightly to our hurt. We grip it in white knuckles. We hold our hurts up to God asking questions that begin with “Why?”

The problem with holding tightly to pain is that it hinders us from being embraced.

I’ve learned that God very rarely answers the Whys. But He always comforts His child. And in His arms the Whys slip away. It’s simply enough to be loved.

But we must first let go. We can’t hold on to our hurts and God.

I remember when my little boy was around 3. He had an obsession with trucks. This particular afternoon he had tripped and the truck he was hugging busted his lip. He came to me with tears streaming down his face wanting me to hold him. But I couldn’t get my arms around him. There were too many trucks between us. Eventually his longing for me superseded his need for his trucks and one by one he handed them to me. I took them from him then gathered him in my arms and soothed his anxious heart. We sat and rocked and snuggled until his cries turned to sweet peace.

God stands ready and able to do the same for us. His arms are wide open waiting for us to run to him for healing. The choice is ours.

We can hold on to the truck.

Or we can hold on to God.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Thin Place

It was 3:25 in the afternoon and I stood right inside the threshold of my front door. Just like every other day of my sophomore year of high school. Only today was different. Something wasn’t right.

As I slowly made my way through the house I noticed things missing. A couch. A chair. A bookshelf. Pictures, rugs, tables; just disappeared.

Will you join me at Mary DeMuth's for the rest of my Thin Place Story?

Friday, September 17, 2010


This morning driving to work I was talking to Jesus about love. I’ve been struggling lately with the concept of love being a two way street. You see, past hurts have caused me to be a bit reluctant when it comes to trust, and without trust it’s hard to love. I’ve begun to realize that I’m better at giving love than receiving it.

I was talking with my friend Holley over some BBQ the other day about this dilemma… and we seem to feel as though it might be tied to control. My heart feels safe when I’m in control. So, if I show/give/express love to you then I am controlling the situation. But receiving love gives you control. So, I keep people at arm’s length. I pull back when you reach out. I hide when love shines on me.

I know it’s not right. This is not how God wants me to live. He wants me to have an open heart and open arms. Its dangerous stuff, letting your heart be open. It means I might get hurt. It means I might get betrayed. But… it also means I might find hope. I might find healing. I might find warmth and acceptance and… LOVE.

Anyway… I was talking it all over with Jesus this morning and decided that I was going to open my heart up to Him, freely and unreservedly with no strings attached. 1 John 4:19 says we love because He first loved us. So all love must start with Him. I decided to go to the source. To sit as His feet for a bit and learn from the Master what it means to be loved.

I thought that maybe, if I can learn to be loved by Him then I can learn to be loved by others.

My heart was set and at peace. Then I reached for the dial and turned the radio on and literally in that second heard Matthew West singing this:

I love you more than the sun

And the stars that I taught how to shine

You are mine, and you shine for me too

I love you yesterday and today

And tomorrow, I’ll say it again and again

I love you more

It’s like that fight that parents like to have with their kids… you know the one. The “I love you” “I love you more” fight. This morning I whispered a quiet I love you to my Father and He shouted back to me… I love you more!

And now I am overwhelmed. How absolutely amazing is He to orchestrate the minute details of my life in such a way that that line from that song would be playing at the exact moment that I would push the power button in my car at 5:30am on a Friday morning. I’m sorry but that cannot be coincidence. That to me is proof…

He wins!

He loves me more!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This past weekend I decided to tackle the mess in the garage. Fun way to spend a Saturday. In the midst of sorting I found a few boxes my aunt had sent me after my Bompa (grandpa) passed away. I knew they were filled with pictures, and at the time I didn’t have the emotional strength to sift through the memories. For the last two years these boxes have sat in the corner of my garage.

I decided it was time to tackle them. So I had my hubby drag them in the living room. I poured myself a soda, grabbed a bag of chips and plopped down on the floor to explore.

The first box I opened was filled with old black and whites. Great-great-grandparents, relatives I’ve only heard stories about and never met. Turning over each picture I was greeted with my grandma’s beautiful handwriting… Mary Abrams, 1903, 4 years old; John Halleck, Emma’s father, 1856.

I continued to dig, began to find pictures of relatives whose names and faces were familiar to me. Then I found a simple flat box. I assumed it was just stationary. Noni (grandma) was a letter writer and was always well stocked with beautiful cards and stationary. But there, buried beneath the cards were 7 small, aged pieces of paper. And written on them was poetry. Poetry that she had written to her sweetheart who was off fighting in World War II.

There in my hands I found my legacy. I poured over each word, tears streaming down my face. You see, it was Noni who taught me to love words. She is the one who encouraged me to write. My passion for pen and page came directly from her. And there in my hands… a treasure. Private, poetic words of love.

Their marriage lasted 55 years. I remember the weekend I had to say goodbye to her, sitting in that hospital room listening to a machine breathe on her behalf. I remember the restaurant we all went to for lunch, the park bench my Bompa and I sat on as we waited for our table. I remember the words he spoke to me, “Keri, she wasn’t just my wife. She was my sweetheart. I want you to know that. Know that I loved her, everyday.” As I took his wrinkled, arthritic hand in mine my heart was full. Full of joy for a couple who stood the test of time, who loved freely, who left a legacy.

And now, evidence of their love hangs in the entryway of my home. It greets me every day. A reminder to love.

One day, 50 or so years from now, someone that I’ve yet to meet will unpack a box filled with memoirs from my life. I wonder what they will cherish. Will they find something of mine that causes their heart to be filled with longing? Will they find something worth framing and hanging on the walls of their home. Will they talk of “grandma” and “grandpa” with pride?

I know what a gift it is to leave a legacy. For it is a gift I have received. It is a gift I desire to pass on to my own children and grandchildren. And so, today, my heart is filled with questions… Have I loved well? Have I cherished deeply? Have I laughed freely? Am I leaving a legacy?

Friday, September 10, 2010


If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

I have good news. Abide is a verb!!!

Seriously, it is!

Do you know what that means? That means that when we are abiding we are doing something! When we decide to ignore the To Do list and turn off all electronic devices and sit on the carpet and think about Jesus we are doing something!

When we choose to say no to the committee, and let someone else bake the 500 cupcakes for the school fundraiser so we can spend time soaking in God’s word… we are doing something!

We are not being unproductive when we abide!!!

We are not being unproductive when we sit in silence longing for Him to speak to us.

We are not being unproductive when we turn up the worship music and dance like crazy.

We are not being unproductive when we fall on the floor and sob our eyes out.

We are not being unproductive when we drive the long way home to steal a glimpse of His creation.

As a matter of fact… abiding might very well be the most productive thing we will ever do.

But abiding requires us to reposition ourselves. We cannot go full steam ahead every waking moment and abide. Abiding requires us to say no to things that would distract us. Abiding requires us to come to grips with the fact that God doesn’t want our accomplishments… He just wants us! He wants us to come, to sit, to rest, to love.

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught. But Martha was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary had discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NLT

Mary discovered it—the one thing worth being concerned about.

Lord, let me discover it too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beware the Barrenness of a Busy Life

This is a snapshot of the bulletin board in my office. Yes, that’s a napkin… Almost a year ago my hubby & I were at lunch with our spiritual mom and dad (in the pic above) and in the course of conversation Pops started writing on a napkin.

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life. Do what bears fruit with the seed of reproducibility.”

I thought it important enough to put in my purse that day, important enough to hang on my bulletin board for almost a year now.

And now, this week, those words of wisdom have returned to the forefront of my mind.

Over and over I keep hearing… slow down, be still, do less, rest in me, come away, quiet your heart…

But it’s hard! It’s hard to stop, to rest, to breathe. We run and go and do and where does it get us? Burned out. Washed up. Tired. Sick. Barren.

Barren (adjective):

1. Bare of vegetation having no trees or other growing parts

2. Not fruiting producing no fruit or seed

3. Unable to have children not able to bear children

4. With no useful result producing no valuable results or interesting effects

5. Lacking in something completely lacking in a particular thing

God, save me from such a life! I want growth, seeds, children (spiritual, not physical mind you!), and valuable long lasting Kingdom altering results!

Jesus said my life is to bear fruit. Fruit with the seed of reproducibility. But when I don’t abide in Him all my busyness is in vain.

Live in Me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only be being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you are joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown into the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who He is- when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. John 15:4-9 The Message

It seems to me we often times have it all backwards. We fill our days, schedule our lives, and then stop for a moment to ask God to bless the work of our hands.

Abiding should be our preeminent goal. Above all else. We should guard it as if our lives depend on it… because they do!

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

Abide in Him.

Rest in His love.

Then, and only then… do what bears fruit.

Then Jesus said, “Let us go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31 NLT