Friday, May 29, 2009


I love this poem. It's taken from the book, "Leading from Within: Poetry that sustains the courage to lead."

The Trough

by Judy Brown
There is a trough in waves,
a low spot
where horizon disappears
and only sky
and water
are our company.
And there we lose our way
we rest, knowing the wave will bring us
to its crest again.
There we may drown
if we let fear
hold us in its grip and shake us
side to side,
and leave us flailing, torn, disoriented.
But if we rest there
in the trough,
in silence,
being in the low part of the wave,
keeping our energy and
noticing the shape of things,
the flow,
then time alone
will bring us to another
where we can see
horizon, see land again,
regain our sense
of where
we are,
and where we need to swim.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I'm reading through "31 Days of Praise" by Ruth Myers, a treasure of a book. Invariably, the morning's praise is exactly what I need to see (and do).
I had to laugh when I came across this morning's section on Day 20. How timely!

Here's a small portion:

"Father, I thank You for the people in my life who seem to bring more pain than joy, for I believe You have let our paths cross for important reasons. Thank you for the good things You want to do in my life through the things that bother me (their irritating habits, their moodiness, their unloving ways, their demands, their insensitivity, their unrealistic expectations). I'm grateful that You are with me, to meet my needs when others -- even those close to me -- fail to do so. I'm so glad that You are also within me, working to make me more like Jesus -- more patient, more gentle, more loving -- through the very things I dislike... And so, though I may not feel grateful, I give thanks for them by faith, trusting Your goodness, Your wisdom, Your power and Your love for them as well as for me."

Isn't that powerful?? Sometimes, I think I tend to look at people (like my husband, for instance -- hey, just being real here!) like they are rough, unattractive, abrasive, hurtful stones and that's all they'll ever be. But the Lord has a different vision -- both of them and of me. He looks at us and sees precious gemstones.

He sees the beauty that He is forming deep inside -- His own character, His sweetness, His fragrance. It takes faith to see through the ugly exterior to the precious heart inside. Faith that I don't have -- but that He gives freely. So in the strength of that faith, I lift my thankful heart to Him.

Father, thank you for my husband. You formed him with all his amazing strengths and vulnerable weaknesses. You know his hurts, his wounds, his fears. You see far beyond what I see. Your grace is enough. Thank you that even at this moment, You are at work deep in his heart, growing him into a man that is like Jesus. Regardless of the future of our relationship, I am thankful for the years he has been my husband. I am thankful for the blessing he has been in my life. You chose well when you gave him to me. Please pour out Your love and grace on him today so that he knows how deeply You value him and care for him.

"I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples. For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, let Your glory be over all the earth." Psalm 57:9-11

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


From my earliest memories, shame has been a constant part of my life. I've read that it's a common thing for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. (One day -- maybe -- I'll share some of my story here.)

Shame is like a gray fog that hangs over everything. It's a dark heaviness that sits in the middle of your chest and runs deep into your abdomen. It weighs down on your shoulders and makes you lower your head, not daring to look anyone in the eye (especially not God). It's a tired sadness that something is terribly wrong with you and that no matter how hard you try, you'll never be good enough to get rid of it.

I was fortunate and blessed to have a dear friend trained in healing prayer ministry to walk with me when I first began to remember. We spent many hours laboring through the mire of emotions. Anger, grief, hate, fear, betrayal, loss, shame. She courageously faced every memory alongside me, helping to identify the lies I believed, praying with me to ask Jesus for truth and healing. She rejoiced as the Lord took the awfulness, the filth, and gave me His truth and His peace. It's been several years since we made that journey. God has set me free from so much.

But shame has continued to drift out from dark corners at unexpected moments. When my husband told me he was through with me and wanted a divorce, shame grew so thick and black, I could barely see.

It doesn't matter what anyone says, a woman being rejected by her husband is going to feel shame. There's just no getting around it. That deep sense of failure, of something inherently wrong with you, that something is missing in you as a woman, that you cannot measure up no matter how hard you try -- it fills your entire being. It was in those desperate days, the beauty of the cross became so real, so solid, so true. I hung on for dear life.

Grace removes shame. Grace comes into the darkness, that thick, suffocating fog, and begins to radiate. A quiet light that gets brighter and brighter, dissolving the darkness, sweeping everything clean, making my soul beautiful. Grace is Jesus saying, "Dear heart, I know you can't do it. It's okay. I've already done it. Now come rest here, Little One. Rest in My love."

I wish I could say that shame is completely gone from my life. But there are times (like today) when that gray heaviness creeps over me, whispering accusations, drawing me into isolation. "If they knew you, really knew you, they would leave -- just like he did. Because that's what you deserve."

Yet Grace is quick to reach out and pull me close. "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. Don't be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name. You are Mine."

"I sought the LORD and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:4, 5
"I trust in Your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me." Psalm 12:5, 6

Monday, May 25, 2009


This weekend we celebrated my daughter's 9th birthday. She was desperately hoping our adventurous friends could hook up the zip line for the party (like they did for my son's party). It looked doubtful with all this rain we've been having. The forecast even said to expect showers and thunderstorms. But she prayed and guess what? We had our first blue sky in a week! Just in time for the party.

Here she is, coasting down the zip line with a big grin on her face. The party was a huge success. I lost count of how many kids (of all ages) that were running around the place. But aside from one girl who got a tummy ache and had to leave early, everyone else had a great time.

I was so thankful -- especially for the sunshine (I was praying fervently too!) I think sometimes I forget how much it means to have God answer these little prayers. It may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things. But it's the small details, the little kindnesses that build a relationship.

The Lord is building a relationship with my kids. I'm in awe sometimes at how He goes about doing it. Whenever He does something for them, it just gets me. It just makes me love Him more.

"He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


It's been raining all week. We've had torrential downpours, thunder and lightning, soft misty drizzles and everything in between. The sky has been overcast and gloomy without a trace of sunshine.

And I'm here in the dry, safe comfort of my home, listening to the steady beat of raindrops on the roof, remembering all those days in Colombia during rainy season. There's nothing like the sound of rain on a thatch roof.

I feel like I'm wrapped in a gray cocoon, secure, quiet, waiting. . .

The hill behind my house has burst forth with shades of green. After months of dry, brown, lifelessness, the landscape has been transformed. Almost overnight, the jungle is reclaiming its own once again.

There has been little going on in the externals. I've found myself pushing against God's limitations out of a sense of duty and obligation. Surely I should be doing something! I can't just wait here, I'm wasting time!

After calmly waiting till I get through with my internal strivings and restless activities, and finally sit in silence and stillness, the Lord begins to speak. It's always so beautiful when He does that.

These things that are happening outside my door -- this quenching of a long thirst, this renewed life -- are vivid pictures of what God is doing in my soul. All He asks is that I open myself up to receive. He is the one who transforms and gives life. He is the one who satisfies. He is the one who begins and finishes.

So I sit and wait, letting the rain of His love pour into me, down into the deepest places inside my heart, making me come alive.

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10, 11

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I've been pondering the story in John 9 of Jesus healing the man born blind. Something that struck me is that this man had only interacted with his world by touch, taste and sound. But when his eyes were opened and he could see for the first time, everything changed. How strange it must have been! Maybe even overwhelming.

All his previous definitions didn't work anymore. I wonder if he had to go up to something and touch it before he knew what it was. His whole way of life was changed in that one moment. Even though I'm sure he was thrilled and excited, yet there may have been times where it seemed easier to go back to darkness than continue to adjust to a new world of sight.

I'm experiencing something similar myself. Some of my long-held patterns of thinking and interacting with people and with God are being changed almost overnight. I'm excited about the changes. But it leaves me with a sense of uncertainty. I don't know how to do this. I mean, it's wonderful. But I don't know the rules to this game. Maybe there aren't any.

Not trying to sound cryptic or mysterious here, but I honestly don't know what to call it. The Lord is doing some deep changes inside of me and it's affecting every aspect of my life. In a good way. But I feel like how that blind man must have felt. I like this. A lot. But I don't know what it is. Freedom? Something more than that? I don't even have a name or a definition.

There's a part of me that keeps trying to go back to the old ways simply because they're familiar. But it's like putting on clothes you wore when you were 10 -- they don't fit anymore.

I'm sure that as we go along, the Lord will give clarity and understanding. I get the sense that He's enjoying this very much. It's something He's been waiting to do for me. He's changing our relationship into more of an adventure.

"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths." Isaiah 2:3

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I was awakened this morning by sounds of two kids bustling around and hushed whispers. I knew something was up, but tried to catch a few more winks of sleep.

Next thing I know, two faces are grinning above me singing "It's a happy, happy day!" (That's the song I wake them up with every morning for school.)

They led me out to the kitchen where I discovered roses on the table with two very sweet, handmade cards. They had also prepared my coffee and gave me three options for breakfast: Raisin Bran, leftover pizza or yogurt. I was so touched! It was all really special.

I think later we'll head out for a special treat -- a theater movie. "Monsters vs. Aliens" seems to be the unanimous choice.

It's easy in the daily routine of life to forget how important we are to our kids. But reading the things my kids wrote in their cards, I'm reminded that I represent a safe and loving place to them in an uncertain and changing world. It motivates me to keep running to the Lord day by day to be filled up with His love so that out of the overflow, I can love my kids the way their hearts need.

"Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Thursday, May 7, 2009


The rosebud tightly closed, showing only a hint of its glory.

The rose beginning to open its beauty to the world.

The rose in full bloom.

I think this is like a metaphor for women. Sometimes we can go for years, a tightly closed rosebud. A secret that only God knows. Once in a while, we relax enough to reveal a hint of our soul beauty, our true selves.

But in the warmth of God's love and delight, we begin to open up and blossom, inviting others to come near and know us, to see us for who we truly are.

Then, in an atmosphere of perfect love, we become unafraid. It frees us up to bloom with abandon, revealing the full glory of our redeemed womanhood in all its beauty and passion. And others get to see us as God sees us -- altogether lovely!

So the question is, which rose are you?

(P.S. Did anyone notice the little spider on that last rose? I think it was enjoying the beauty as well. Good thing I didn't pick that one!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Doesn't this look delicious?? I love sampler platters. You get to taste such a variety of flavors, each one more delightful than the last. I've got a thing for variety. That's probably why I usually have several books going at once. Here's a sampler platter of what I'm reading right now:

"Terrify No More" by Gary Haugen.

It's a fascinating book about the International Justice Mission team and their undercover work to rescue children sold into slavery to the sex trade. Here's an excerpt,

"We are paralyzed in a poverty of hope because first, we underestimate the value of what God has given us to transform lives. Second, we underestimate the value of a single life. And third, we underestimate God's determination to rescue us from a trivial existence if we will just free up our hands and our hearts from unworthy distractions and apply them to matters that make a difference in someone's life."

"With Christ in the School of Prayer" by Andrew Murray.

Not the most interesting of titles, but what a powerful book! The thing I love about Andrew Murray's books are that there is so much depth and truth that you have to read them slowly in order to think and ponder. I've been reading this one for several months because I usually read only a paragraph or two before I have to set it down and reflect. Here's a taste,

"The connection between faith in God and faith in His promise will become clear to us if we consider what faith really is. It is often compared to the hand or the mouth by which we take and use what is given to us. But it is important that we understand that faith is also the ear by which we hear what is promised and the eye by which we see what is offered. The power to take depends on this. I must hear the person who gives me the promise because the very tone of his voice gives me courage to believe. I must see him because the light of his face melts all my qualms about my right to take. The value of the promise depends on the promiser."

"Loving Our Kids on Purpose - Making a Heart-to-Heart Connection" by Danny Silk.

I discovered this gem just recently. I've been praying for some insight and wisdom in parenting and this dropped into my lap. Not only is it giving me a lot to think about in the way I interact with my kids, but it's challenging my view of God as Father and the way He parents me. Here's a statement I'm pondering:

"I want to propose to you that freedom is a top priority in Heaven, because it is what makes relationships possible. Heaven's culture of relationships is vastly different than most everything we see on earth because God the Father is less interested in compliance and much more interested in love. This is the reason that He is trying to prepare us to live absolutely free lives in an environment of unlimited options more than trying to keep us from sin."

"He Loves Me - Learning to Live in the Father's Affection" by Wayne Jacobsen.

The title pretty much says it all. This is the kind of book I wish I had a box of copies of that I could pass out to everyone I know. It's making a real difference in the way I interact with God. Here's an excerpt,

"Religion offers us the illusion of earning acceptance, but it is only a cheap substitute for the reality of life in him. God's desire is to engage us in a life-changing relationship. Thus, he demonstrated his love for us before we did anything to make ourselves worthy of it. By doing so, he wanted us to stop trying to earn it and just live in light of it."

And finally, lest you get the impression that I'm only interested in the deeper things of life, let me introduce you to my favorite romance writer of all time -- Georgette Heyer. I read my first Heyer book when I was 15 and promptly fell in love. I've read and reread nearly all of them. If you've never sampled one of her historical romances -- well, let me tell you, you are in for a treat!

I'm currently laughing my way through "The Unknown Ajax". This is one of the cases where you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I don't think there's a swan in the entire book! There is, however, a great deal of wit, humor, adventure and just enough romance to delight any female heart. As one reviewer puts it, "Life is never dull in a Heyer story."