Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Heart of a Mother

Her arms may be empty
The tears flowing fast
She cries out from the barreness,
How long will this last?

Each month that passes,
Every test that's not blue,
Makes her ache to be a part of the masses
Wondering how long she'll ache for you.

Yet her waiting is not in vain,
Her mother's heart is being refined
She's learning to love with hope
Even if her womb is denied.

Her legacy is in her loving today,
In the way she tries again after each fall.
As she dreams for the future, answers today's call.
She knows that she has gifts and value, so today she gives her all.

Her pain is one we all can feel,
For each of us is tied to a mother.
We all weep in disappointment,
Every person longs for dreams made real.

Today let's let her know she is loved, no matter what happens tomorrow.
Her mother's heart is celebrated too.
In the way she embraces those around her,
Even as she waits for the new.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The lessons of loneliness

              Loneliness isn’t a place of lack—it’s a lesson.
A year ago my life pretty abruptly went from weeks of scheduled out activities to a blank slate. Weekly meetings were now a blaring reminder of painful decisions by others instead of community. I didn’t ask for things to change, I wasn’t given a choice. Sure, my actions made a difference, and I take responsibility for them, but they were not decisive, I was uninvited and it felt like I was unwanted.
              But over the last year, I realized that time of loneliness was a lesson. An opportunity to live loved when so much around me shouted rejection. People who had spoken words of life for years stopped calling in a moment. Vibrant friendships wilted with harsh words and misunderstanding. The death of friendships hurts because you mourn someone who is still alive. In the throes of upheaval its easy to forget that the ones who hurt have been hurt themselves, that they are not the enemy. When a friendship dies, no one wins.
              As I look back, I know I wasn’t perfect. Could I have fought harder--probably, had more humility—always. But one of the many things I’ve learned is to have grace—that I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. Maybe someday when the sting has lessened we can try again. If they’re reading this today I hope they hear my heart and hope for reconciliation where we can meet in the middle instead of drawing lines in the sand—to listen out of love and assuming the best.  But for now, I will pray for their flourishing, for their growth and joy. Does it still hurt- absolutely—faithful are the wounds of a friend. And yet, new life comes from ashes. I’m slowly re-entering community at a new church. I’m putting one feeble word in front of the other trusting that the God who brought me through last year is faithful. I’m trusting Him to be faithful and protect my heart and words—even if they’re misunderstood today. He knows and understands. If anything this last year has taught me that He alone understands my heart. He alone loves unconditionally, He alone defines my worth and my value no matter how full or empty my social calendar.

              He led me beside still waters as a means of restoring my soul. The glassy lake of loneliness was not a punishment, it was provision. I am loved when I am lonely. I am heard when friendships grow silent. I am valued when gifts are decried as idols. I am surrounded by His presence when none go with me. The truth sets you free even if no one else hears it. I know I’m not the only one who feels alone—who’s been rejected, who’s been misunderstood. The still waters were an invitation that I never wanted to receive, but I infinitely needed. Living loved in loneliness is based on who He says you are—no one else. Let the still waters of loneliness restore your soul as he speaks in the silence, walks with you in the solitary, and loves you in the abandonment. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Love them anyway-- a poem

“When people hurt you, love them anyway”
Doesn’t mean you excuse their sin away
Say “no big deal, it’s okay”.

To love them anyway means so much more
It means calling them to His way
Tell them the truth, open the door
Call them to see, let Jesus their hearts sway.

Love is patient. Love is kind.
Does not translate to silence, assuming like-mind.
Love is kind because it calls out sin.
Love is patient-knowing change begins within.

Love them anyway
Love them enough to know when to walk away.
Love them by forgiving what they wont say.
Love them by trusting Jesus, Him obey.

Love them anyway-love is a verb
Love is action-and spoken word
Love is truth-a God-given ability
Love is pure when given in humility.

When people hurt you,
Use you, lie about you, shame you—
How can you love them anyway?
Know that one day He’ll make it okay.
God will wipe the pain away
He will speak truth, change hearts
God will mend what they’ve torn apart.

Love them anyway
His love is the only way
By His truth a hardened heart is swayed.

Jesus died—so you can love them anyway. 

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.