Thursday, April 24, 2014


The quiet restaurant with high backed booths offered the perfect setting, the privacy we needed to get reacquainted.

My cousin and I couldn’t remember the last time we were together—well over 40 years ago.

We started with small talk learning about each other’s families. It morphed into what we’ve been doing, she a marriage and family counselor, me Navigator staff and basket lady. Cautiously we began to trust each other and our conversation dove deeper—beyond the whats to who we are. That’s when we made an amazing discovery.

Beyond our kinship, beyond being moms and grandmas, we were black sheep.

We both grew up near the Atlantic and both moved west—away from our families, away from Thanksgiving tables, away from summer days at the shore, and other traditions that claimed our family identity. So we began to believe we were the black sheep.

Really?  We laughed. 

“He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.”                 Isaiah 53:12, The Message Bible

He, Jesus, took up my cause. On that awful Good Friday he went to the cross for my black sheep status, for my sin, for not believing who I really am.
"... they shall be white as snow ..." Isaiah 1:18

On Easter morning, glorious, victorious, resurrection. He is risen; He is risen indeed. We testify to that truth as we greet each other on Resurrection Sunday. Because of the cross, because of the resurrection I have a brand new identity.

And I need to remind myself of that every day! Romans 6:4 says, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” 

What for me does a new life walk look like? Whether Friday, or Sunday, or Tuesday, or Thursday, I review truth; I remember who I am. I am not a black sheep of my family (I was the only one who thought that) or of God’s family.  

*I am a beloved child of God.                                                                                                                                                                                                     *I am chosen and consecrated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   *I am known and belong.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      *I am righteous and holy.                                                                                                                                                                                                 *I have purpose.                            
                                                                                                                                                                    *I live in an environment of grace.  

I must access these truths every day! Forgetting is easy.

“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”                                   Romans 6:11, ESV (Italics mine)

Please click over to Mundane Faithfulness for another testimony of Jesus is Alive.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Emotional Suicide

Physical suicide never considered.

Spiritual suicide never entered my mind.

As Lent draws to a close, the scattered pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. The beauty of the picture becomes apparent. Emotional suicide, coming to the end of myself, brokenness redeemed.

I am a broken woman. Broken exposing need; broken so my insides leaked, desires known; broken to be part of community; broken so his light shines. Brokenness seemed to be a theme these past 40 days.

Praying Psalm 139:23 and 24 daily.                                                                                                      Planning an evening of honoring special friends around II Corinthians 4:7.                                      Reading the book below.                                                                                                                      Once again writing about that time in 1997 when I gave up and pulled my mask on tight.                    Reading Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy.

These words of Charles Martin from his novel, Unwritten, capture for me part of God’s purpose in

“I used to think that a story was something special. That it was the one key that could unlock the broken places in us. What you hold in your had is the story of a broken writer who attempted to kill himself and failed who meets a broken actress who attempted to kill herself and failed and somewhere in that intersection of cracked hearts and shattered souls, they find that maybe broken is not the end of things, but the beginning. Maybe broken is what happens before you become unbroken. What’s more, maybe our broken pieces don’t fit us. Maybe all of us are standing around with a bag of the stuff that used to be us and we’re wondering what to do with it and until we meet somebody else whose bag is full and heart empty we can’t figure out what to do with our pieces. And standing there, face to face, my bag of me over my shoulder, and your bag of you over your shoulder, we figure out that maybe my pieces are the very pieces needed to mend you and your pieces are the very pieces needed to mend me but until we’ve been broken we don’t have the pieces to mend each other. Maybe in the offering we discover the meaning and value of being broken.” (Italics mine) I love that last sentence.

"There is no shame in brokenness. We are all shattered pieces of the body just trying to heal up and close the holes that sin leaves behind. replacing the darkness with light. Hope lives. Resurrection awaits." Holey, Wholly, Holy page 28.

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given to you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” Luke 22:19 (bold, mine)

Easter is coming!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Embrace the Grace ~ Tuesday Grace Letter

Mundane FaithfulnessI wasn’t sure I wanted to link up with Kara this week.

“Dream big, pray big, and anticipate grace this summer.” That was the assignment.

This summer could look different than our dreams and anticipations.

But that pray big phrase admonishes. And am I really anticipating grace this summer? Or am I living in a place of I don’t think it will look like we hoped or planned. 

Henri Nouwen writes in Compassion, “We do not have to go after crosses, but we have to take up the crosses that have been ours all along.”

And therein is the other reason I wasn’t sure I wanted to link up this week. Our family is not battling cancer. My cross seems puny. Does anyone really want to hear?

And then God whispers,
“When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” II Corinthians 10:12b NIV

Our cross rests with my husband’s back surgery last Valentine’s Day. He is not healing like we thought. Pain is a daily reality. Walking is slow; bending is very slow; roads with bumps (all of them) are almost intolerable.

And we are campers.
Cabin in Progress

Also we are building a small cabin in the mountains, The Sanctuary. Yes, We. Are. Building it. Our Amish friends put up the shell for us. From the outside it looks finished. On the inside not so. We’ve experienced much fun working together. Bill became an electrician; I’ve learned to use a power saw. That was last summer. Our do-list for this summer loomed big. But we looked forward to the next challenges.
Our summer dreams included making significant progress on our Sanctuary AND taking our pop-up camper on vacation. 

Will those things happen?

The dreams are there. The anticipation of grace was not. Conviction! And where has my prayer life been?

This week, Holy Week, the week leading to Easter reminds of the HARD of Jesus’ reality as He walked toward the cross. Jesus embraced the grace. He walked toward the last supper with his friends; he walked into the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter; he walked toward the trial that convicted him; he walked to the cross; all the time embracing the grace of resurrection.

As I walk toward summer, where are my eyes? Where is my heart? Where is my focus? Is it on the disappointment that I think will characterize the summer? Or is it on the God of grace who knows how to redeem even when I can’t see it?
The details of the summer are foggy. God’s presence is reality. I’m turning my focus to God. I want to embrace the grace.
“… My grace is sufficient for you …”                                                                                                                            II Corinthians 12:9