Friday, March 10, 2017

A poem for the misogynist

My word should be enough.
My stop! No! Listen to Me!
Shouldn't be seen as a challenge
They're not a question, His word has set me free.

My words should be trusted--
not discounted because I am a woman.
Don't patronize out of misogyny
Even if they mean your reputation is busted.

Don't you know, brother,
He trusted women with the tomb,
That our Savior always values woman's words
He entered the world through the womb.

Blinded by your fear, ego, and pride,
You let boys' actions--emotional rape, slide.
While your sisters cry in agony,
"Won't someone listen and see?!"

That the savior you claim to follow
Didn't die so You could rule.
No, He died for all that are equal
So no woman's words are hollow.

Listen, brother, to His words that can set you free,
From a life of misguided fear--
that silences instead of loves.
For when you listen to your sisters, it allows you to truly lead.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter Hope-- a poem

Snowflakes dance
The Holy Spirit speaks,
"The new is coming,
I work as you seek

This year has been marked by pain and tears--
Loss, brokenness--at times nothing quieted fears.
Oh beloved, I make all things new
My grace covers all, cleansing you.

I know at times my voice seems faint.
Precious one, I delight as you wait.
I work all things for you good.
One day it will all be understood.

As you trust and move forward,
Know I lead each step you take.
Just as I have sent my son,
I will guide the decisions you make.

I love you just for breathing,
Nothing done diminishes my love.
Winter reminds you of death's sting.
Yet, dear heart, next comes spring.

Trust me to work where life seems bare.
Christmas reminds I brought my son with infinite care.
I have worked. I'm moving still.
Trust Boldly, walk humbly--that is my will.

Now rest, dear one.
The snow settles,  winter's begun.
My loving will is moving swiftly.
My heart is for you--come, follow me.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

I'm not waiting for a husband.

I’m not waiting for a husband.
  Yes, you read that right. It’s okay, I’ll give you a minute.

This is not about desire, its about perspective. Do I still dream about marriage and a family—absolutely. I long to be a mother, to have faces to names I’ve pondered and prayed over. But I don’t want to spin my wheels in life until I’m pushing that stroller. The wife and parent I want to be starts with today-my habits, my choices—they are foundational for the future, yes, but important for today.
Living like I’m waiting implies that I’m not where I should be. If I approach my days thinking that they will some day look different—then I’m not really “all here”—and that robs where I’m called today of my full attention and heart. The waiting mentality implies that right now is not enough—and that causes me to miss “right-now’s” joy. The joy of returning to a place I’ve furnished and made a home after a long and rewarding day of teaching. The joy of being able to “drop everything” if a friend asks. The joy of solitude and study.

So, future husband—I’m not living like I’m waiting for you—because if you come, it will be right on time—and no amount of waiting idly will change that. I want to live loved today—knowing that my heart, my hopes, my heavenly Father holds and knows. He’s called me to this place, this season with just as much tender care and divine appointments as our wedding day. Even though I can’t wait to meet you, should God provide—I’m not living like I’m waiting.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Trust Boldly. Walk Humbly--August 27, 2016

Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
    synonyms: confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence; reliance
Boldly: (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.
    synonyms: daring, intrepid, brave, courageous, valiant, valorous, fearless, dauntless, audacious

              New year, new theme. I’m so grateful for the last year—learning to embrace love was so painfully beautiful—most of the worthwhile things in life are. I’m excited to look ahead, look forward. As I prayed on the 25th, the eve of my 29th, I asked God what looking ahead and moving forward would look like—what it meant for me to “cross the Jordan” after a difficult year of loss. How do I live out embracing love in light of who Jesus is and who he wants me to be—trust boldly—began to echo in my heart. Basically, live out being loved tangibly—take risks, obey, speak—because you are loved. Embracing love is the first step of trusting boldly. You can’t trust something you don’t know—good lordy if people recognized this—trust is earned, not a product of a title or position. Trust is an action—it is faith in motion. Trust is full of hot air and meaningless until it is tested tangibly. So what does that practically look like for me now?
It means that I keep walking, keep moving where He leads—it means I get out of bed and go to church, I attend a small group, I make the effort.
I think it means I move forward in faith not fear. I have and will continue to make mistakes—but that shouldn’t paralyze me. I am loved by the one who died for all my mistakes—ALL. If I choose the “wrong church” he will be there, if I say too much or too little—He has been perfectly silent and spoken—for me.
One of the most surprising aspects of learning to trust boldly has been a freedom from a fear of being wrong. I know that I am human—perfection is impossible—and failure happens when we’re preoccupied with being right. Perfect love casts out fear partly because the burden is lifted to be “perfect” and “right”—replacing them with wisdom and discernment—a journey not an achievement.
The gospel reminds us that it is finished ultimately so live in freedom today—knowing that you will make mistakes—the Bible is full of redemption—learn from your past and move forward. Be humble and teachable and trust God to correct you—to lead you beside still waters and green pastures that strengthen your faith and trust.

Embracing His perfect love casts out the fear of having to be right---have the right convictions, read the right books, and the fear based avoidance of the “wrong” by instead focusing on pursuing the good. I don’t have to live in the fear of being wrong when I remember He is my rightness—Jesus lived perfectly, thought sinlessly, acted justly—when I stumble, ramble, live selfishly. Perfect love casts out fear, enabling us to trust boldly. 

Jesus Really Loves Women

Jesus loves women. Women make up half of his image bearers on this earth. In his 33 years Jesus turned the cultural tables on how women were treated. He let Mary sit at his feet and learn from him—showing that God wants women to know him and study just as much as men. Jesus looked at the broken woman at the well—the whore—and gave a way to become whole. Jesus healed and esteemed women. In a patriarchal culture that saw women as property—Jesus saw them as people.
Jesus loves women—and he loves you. See and measure yourself by His love for you--no one elses. 

Jesus loves women. He doesn’t fear femininity—he created it. The beautiful things women love—flowers, fashion, the irresistible aroma of a good pie—Jesus delights in beauty—he was the first creator of those things. Jesus loves the way women nurture tenderly and protect fiercely—for he is love. Every day women work for the least of these—the poor, their own babies, the outcasts—and Jesus says when we do that work—we have worked for him. The Bible is full of "birth pangs" metaphors--how creation is groaning and longing for new life to come--women uniquely can understand this.

Jesus never saw women as a possession or a body—he saw the heart and soul that he created and loved and called just as much as men. It was women who first learned of his resurrection—entrusted first with the commission to go and tell of his hope—women were the first human proclaimers of the gospel incarnate. So Jesus doesn’t dismiss a woman’s voice or shroud her gifts in patronizing parameters. Rather, Jesus speaks to women and teaches them. He calls women to live boldly and use their gifts—to image bear him wherever they are—home, office, classroom—your position is important, your voice needs to be heard, your heart is fiercely loved. Move forward today in light of that perfect love. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Embrace Love--a year later

Last year on the day before my birthday I was led to the birthday year theme of “embrace love”. At the time it felt ambiguous, flighty even—like, what does that even mean? Oh, maybe I’ll have a relationship, maybe I’ll grow in ministry, maybe…my mental “what-if’s” were endless. I was optimistic that embracing love would bring joy.

A year later, it has—but not at all in the rosy way I expected. Sure, I’ve bloomed in many ways this year—but roses have thorns. Thorns are protection of the bud, for the plant’s health—keeping the unsafe and the unhelpful away. Learning to “embrace love” this year meant blossoms and thorns.

In my professional work when we define a behavior we also define what it isn’t—we give concrete descriptions of the target behavior (e.g. aggression is defined as hitting an object or person with an open or closed fist), while also giving non-examples (e.g. aggression does not include yelling, running away, or lightly tapping a surface with fingertips).

None of my “maybe’s” imagined the “non-examples” of embracing love. But as I look back over the last year, I am so grateful that God in his infinite wisdom began to teach me how to embrace love by also teaching me what love isn’t—and the love to reject. He used hard circumstances where power and position “in the name of love” was mishandled to teach me to recognize His perfect love. He revealed areas of my heart that were prideful, self-sufficient, and clouded by my sin to free me to embrace his love. He healed in the midst of hurt—his is a love that embraces us in our pain and pride and calls us to be healed and humble. His love doesn’t demand devotion or submission. His love doesn’t use fear to manipulate—His love casts out fear. The love I’ve learned to embrace this year is a spoken love—the word became flesh. Speak the truth in love—it must be spoken—truth hurts to heal, faithful are the wounds of a friend. The love I’m learning to embrace is not self-seeking—emboldened by its seeking of the beloved’s best, this love speaks into darkness, tender words from ferocious care. This Love knows that silence is comfortable for the moment but cancer in the long run. Love doesn’t treat people like a number, a dollar symbol, a part of the whole. Love knows that to care for the whole you must care for the one. The Good Shepherd seeks after the one lost sheep—to love well we must love like Him. This is the love that is worth embracing.

The “love passage” in 1st Corinthians is often read at weddings—yet contextually Paul was yelling at the Corinthians—like a stern Father Paul was embodying the love he was calling them to—patient, kind, NOT self-seeking, rejoicing in the truth. He said the hard things because he had a Holy Spirit inspired love. That’s the greatness of love.

My heart wounds are turning to scars—reminders that healing is possible. I won’t be the same—and that’s a good thing. The Gospel has reminded me this year that the love I want to embrace is a scarred love. A love that entered into the mess of this world, the pain, the brokenness, the abuse—and took it on. Christ is quite literally love embodied. I want to embrace that kind of love—the one that flipped tables instead of sweeping things under the rug. The love that cares too much to stay silent in false unity and comfort—knowing wounds caused by words of truth heal. I want to be love like that— speak to heal, cry out for justice, defend the cause of the poor and needy, encourage the faint-hearted, and be patient with them all. Because as much as love endures it also evokes freedom for the beloved. A love that demands is not love at all—it is control, and power, and abusive—self-love is never selfless.  So as I look back and look forward—I’m grateful for this year of learning to embrace love. I’m thankful that God has allowed hurt to heal and to teach humility—to encourage and remind me that I can embrace love because he perfectly embraces me in his infinite love

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crossing Your Jordan

“Hear, O Israel: you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim,whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the Lord your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the Lord has promised you…“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord”
Deuteronomy 9:1-3,6-7
We all have personal “Jordan Rivers”—pivotal moments where God calls us to move forward, to walk courageously. These  moments often come after wilderness—times of pain, confusion, desolation in our circumstances or hearts. Often we’re fearful to take the next step—to end the relationship, to change our habits. Just like Israel we forget that God goes before us—that it is His power that equips us to walk, to fight our battles, to take the land He’s calling us to. If you’re like me, you do start to think that it’s all on you to make the right decisions, to say the right things, to remain silent—forgetting that it is not by our works that we are even where we’re at today.
I think our wilderness seasons are so pivotal because they forever remind us just how much we need our Savior. When everything around you has crumbled you’re left with the essentials—what you really needed in the first place.
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down” (A Grief Observed C. S. Lewis).
It is often in our wilderness seasons that we are humbled and refined. It can feel like punishment but it’s actually the most loving thing to be reminded of what matters. The wilderness prepares us for crossing the Jordan.
 I don’t know what wilderness you’re in—where your heart is parched by pain—but I know that He will not waste it and that it won’t last forever. Our God is the one who made water pour forth from rocks—and he does that with our heart’s too.

Know that your Jordan will come—and that He goes before you, prepares you, is with you, wherever you go.