A Soul’s Dawn

Those expansive desolate saturated monoculture February fields
Might tempt me towards gray and soggy.

That dissonant electric guitar wail 

Could draw me closer to fear or discomfort or distrust.

But I know what’s above the clouds and beneath the surface. 

There’s plenty of evidence of what’s not seen too. 

A smidgen of belief catalyzes right vision: no airplane’s needed to remind me of light’s sunshiney warming horizon-presence.

Some remembrance goggles is all.

Seeing through a glass darkly

Isn’t the only way to see.

A day’s heaviness of soul

Can break to light.

“I can feel it/Comin’ back again” a fitting and timely song confession cry just now for 

Grace’s scandalous help and palpable presence.

Suddenly all this light amidst all this gray

Lights up everything

And I’m reawakened and

Woken to glory.

Glory’s in every song

Every word 

Every breath

Every thought and I’m

Opened up to the pleasure and profundity and nothing’s-left-untouch-ed-ness of Love:

I’m right saturated.

A soul’s dawn 

Testimony to Life given and repentance honored.

Your condescension is Your glory, and unexpectedly, remarkably, wonderingly, my benefit, Lord.

What a wonder that simply admitting wrong, desiring better, discontent with wasted time, resources, self is enough to turn it all upside down and back to glorious where before there was just muck and gray and a slough of despond. 

What a wonder that forgiveness looks more like liberation than penance.

That turning toward the light – even when it’s not in plain sight – is enough to dispel the dark. 
And that repenting – literally “turning away from” what’s wrong is all that’s needed to turn toward that light.

That the remedy that ushers in the right comes from a willingness to face where one’s wrong.

What a blessing to serve a God Who’s much more interested in my redemption than my wretchedness.

What a joy that He gives 2nd, billionth, zillionth chances to turn toward Him and that He honors such turning every. Single. Time.

Hallelujah that the prodigal son is me and the welcoming forgiving father is Him, and it’s all real and better than I could have imagined. That I’m not just in story, but the story because it’s His story, and wonder of wonders He invites me into it.
What an opportunity to get to live into love’s inheritance and come into “love’s discovery” as the Indigo Girls sing it. 
Husband’s air guitar and

Happy belting “free fallin'” and 

Radio crooning and on the way to grocery shopping in all this gray early February day and who knew it could all be alight with wonder?

Who knew that yesterday’s despair could be today’s joy? 

Ah, love. You’ll always surprise, won’t you? 

You’re the God of the new and the old, the tiny and the magnanimous, the God of the unexpected, the grays, the rainbows, and the everything in between. 

You’re in the mud puddles and the pure waters and the failures and the successes. 

Thank You. Thank You for being available and awesome and impossibly huge and big enough to come down to the tiny. And thank You that Your coming down enlarges rather than shrinks power and purpose and love and goodness.

I’m smiling and almost overwhelmed with the goodness and the happiness of being back in my Lord’s sight.

Thank You, repentance. Thank You, redemption. 

Thank You, Lord, for these, for You, for LOVE… In all Your parts and effects.

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Value

Desperately trying to make right yesterdays’s lack of motivation and hence the resulting lack of real or meaningful work accomplished because of it, I started writing in my journal this morning about value. I felt guilty over yesterday’s ineffectiveness (and yet, how do I even know whether or not I’ve been? Why this constant bent towards quantifying everything that’s done/not done? How in the world can time spent possibly be measured? And yet, I torture myself with all this ridiculous energy on measuring my activity or self’s output.) so in trying to be gentle on myself (I’m calling that progress), I started reading Jesus’ words in Matthew, looking for words of affirmation to remind me of my value to Him. (And the fact that I was looking for something specific to feed my own ideas about things ought to have been a clue that I was already out of whack.) I needed to be reminded about how God feels about me really. Jesus’ perspective. The one that loves and sees me as precious (and likeable even!) regardless of how “good” or “effective” or “hardworking” or “cheerful” or “altruistic” or skinny, self-controlled, kind, selfless I’m being or have been on any given day. That is, I am loved and delighted in just by virtue of the fact that He chose to give me life.

It’s amazing to me how much I continue to quantify. And when I quantify and/or measure my value based on what I’m  doing, I fall short of any and all marks. Or, horror of horrors, if I happen to do something well or “right” (again, because I’ve quantified) I may just end up chalking myself up to alright. I may start believing that I’ve added something. Been worthy of credit or praise for a second. But regardless of whether what I’m doing is “good” or “bad,” “sinful” or “righteous” (depending on your persuasions or affiliations), none of it really matters at all, makes not one tiny scrap of difference. None of it either qualifies or disqualifies me from the value I get to enjoy because of what God’s done. For me. Without a single iota of participation from me. 

What Jesus came for was the redemption of the human family. Any and all of my (or anyone else’s) goodness (at least as far as God’s concerned which is the only opinion that matters) is from Him. His gift, for free, to me, for us. Regardless of whether or not we deserve it (which we don’t), all that glorious inheritance (that is, any and every good thing in the universe) is ours to enjoy when we get this Jesus guy. (I used “get” in place of “believe in,” “have faith in,” “accept as true.” Sometimes our words have all kinds of nasty churchy attachments that we need to forget in order to properly remember what God REALLY wants us know.) 

And by “get” all I really mean is that we believe that all He said and did for others – for us, ultimately – is true. That we can totally not just believe the hype surrounding Jesus, but we can even enjoy it for ourselves. Yeah. We could totally enjoy and bask in and savor Buddy the Elf’s compliment, “You look miraculous” if we accepted this Jesus guy as a close, personal friend, counselor, guide, helper. And it wouldn’t matter how good or bad, lazy, fat, effective, or relevant we thought we were. None of that would matter at all. In fact, what we think of ourselves matters very little. What God thinks is what matters… And He loves us A LOT.

I’m a Fool, and other Glorious Truths


As soon as I put something “out there” I want to retract it, or I feel like a fool. “Do not presume to be teachers” rings in my head if I say anything with any degree of certainty. It’s a miserable way to live, constantly second guessing everything.

It’s tempting then to want to shrink back into oblivion, not take the risk and just do my best to stay out of everyone’s way. But there’s this glowing ember of a start within me. One that would burn away all that insecurity and self loathing, years of feeling defeated and stupid. 

At first glance I thought the doubt was evil – and maybe the accuser’s always at work trying to get us to undermine our value – but when I ask God to order my thoughts, to tell me what’s true He whispers that all this unknowing can mean freedom. Not being able to nail anything down, not ever getting to a place where I feel I know anything? This can be a  glorious place, and a perfect place from which to begin. Doubt doesn’t have to result in frantic scrabbling or overwhelming defeat. It can return me safely to the one and only thing that I can know and from which everything else may stem:

You are good, God. The remembrance of that, the looking to that, the basking, seeking, celebrating of Your goodness is all that needs known. May our eyes be good in seeing the goodness that then the whole body be full of light… Flowing out to all the spaces, beating back the dark and the the unknowns and the devaluing, useless questions. 

Praise God, He is good.

“For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5

Help! (Don’t worry… Think: road trip playlist. Good and fun helping.)

Hey, WordPress friends. 

I’m looking ahead to a 9+ hour car trip. 

That means lots of time to listen to music. 

Because I’ve been cultivating all things mom and wife for the last 16 years, I’m a little outta touch with all things new and music. It used to be the center of my universe – and it’s gaining momentum again since the kids are older – but there’s been something of a new-music lag in recent years. 

I’ve been racking my brain for my old favorites, but since I’m also a lover of the new and the old-but-forgotten, I was wondering if you’d be willing and/or interested in passing along your favorite songs? With the exception of polka and Sourthern gospel, I’ll listen to just about anything (and my kids will be in the car, so it can’t be explicit either.) I love a good lyric (Y’know, ’cause words keep me sane), but love all things melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, etc. and so forth. 

In other words, if you were anticipating a road trip in these days of the amazing and practically automatic playlist what tunes would you include? 

Bring it, people! Let’s make the best play list EVER! I promise I’ll think of you when I hear the song, but if that’s not incentive enough, please include your blog address with your song title(s). In keeping with the driving theme, at least we could make traffic (as in “traffic to your blog” and any driving traffic I may run into) pleasant, palatable, and productive!

Thanks in advance for sweetening some spaces!

Beautiful Outlaw

His ability to live with all these qualities we’ve seen, in such a way that no one quality dominates—as is so often the case in our personalities—eclipsing the richness of the others. To live in such a way that there is always something of an element of surprise, and yet, however he acts turns out to be exactly what was needed in the moment. Oh, his brilliance shines through, but never blinding, never overbearing. He is not glistening white marble. He is the playfulness of creation, scandal and utter goodness, the generosity of the ocean and the ferocity of a thunderstorm; he is cunning as a snake and gentle as a whisper; the gladness of sunshine and the humility of a thirty-mile walk by foot on a dirt road. Reclining at a meal, laughing with friends, and then going to the cross. That is what we mean when we say that Jesus is beautiful.

But most of all, it is the way he loves. In all these stories, every encounter, we have watched love in action. Love as strong as death; a blood, sweat, and tears love, not a get-well card. You learn a great a deal about the true nature of a person in the way they love, why they love, and, in what they love.

But it takes a beautiful heart to recognize the beauty in a scandalous act, and to love it as he does. This is why we say Jesus is beautiful. A Beautiful Outlaw. John Eldredge