Saturday, December 31, 2011


The moments between holidays in December roll lethargically around here. Fresh memories of time well spent with relatives bounce in between the thoughts of the coming new year. A fresh start in a couple of hours. It's coming, and all I can think is, am I prepared?

I get so frustrated sometimes when preparing for life. I have to get the changers up and see to it that they have their stuff in order, sign planners, mittens for the youngest, and money for the oldest. Then there is meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry, and then ever present mess left by my four resident ADDers. Sport and music schedules, financial records to keep and balance, beds to change and floors to sweep. Lesson plans to find and prep, and taking out and putting away all my creation supplies. Life is so messy when I don't prepare, and I'm not even that good at it. It's details. The constant fight between who I am in Christ and who I slipped into believing I was. 

A wise man in my life once said, "Prior proper planning prevents piss pour performance." Even if you don't like those words, you can't argue with that truth. Preparing is everything. 

John the Baptist. He gets a bad wrap sometimes, eating weird things and proclaiming words that didn't help him seem off his rocker. He was given the ultimate job of preparing for Jesus's ministry here on earth. John, a baby from the womb of a woman, was given the task to prepare the way for the Lord. Thats a high calling, and I half wonder if John ever wanted to say "to heck with this whole thing, these people are too stupid, why on earth do they even deserve you Lord to come?" He didn't of course. He kept on keeping on preparing the way. He painted a picture of a different life. A simple, better way to live. Someone has to go first, and John was picked to prepare.

Someone has to go first, to show people there is a different way to live. To take the brunt of the change and make it a doable thing. Full time job, of course, but it starts with me, and my heart. Do I look at preparing with details and drudgery? or do I look at it as blessing and making my paths straight for others to follow? Answers come, but I'd rather not answer here in public, because I very often fall very short of preparing well. Then the words of a dear brother in Christ ring very loudly in my soul, drilled there by him many times over, "Give yourself grace sister."  Grace given, I begin crying out again in preparation of the new. 

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, 
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  
Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight."  
Matthew 3:1-3

 "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen 
no one greater than John the Baptist." 
Matthew 11:11

Preparation is important. Jesus had it, so I'm thinking we could benefit from it... a little. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

for a Savior, we wait.

The world would stand as it was. Beautiful and wanting. Decaying under the penalty of the snatched power it had thought it carried. The world, everything in it, needed the Word at that it waited. 

Thoughts and questions ring out generation after generation. Were the Words true? When He spoke were they all true? Will the Word ever become flesh? Who will save us if the Words aren't true?

 Words, it was all words. Just talk. Here Say. Years pass. People forget. Broken lives happen. 
Words lost then found. Words fought over, and rejected. Words heard and forgotten. 
It was the Word that could change the world, unless the Words weren't true, 

 The world waits for a Savior. 

"So, you, by the help of your God, 
return, hold fast to love and justice,
 and wait continually for your God.
Hosea 12:6

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

always covered

First day of winter. Shortest day ever and I have so much to do, blogging shouldn't be one of them, but I have had this on my heart for a while now, and interaction with a few close friends tell me I'm on the  right track thinking that the next few days are filled with a couple of things that trigger something deep within us all.

It starts with the big picture, everyone excited to see each other, together. Family under one roof, for what may seem eternity. Struggling as you go through the motions because someone somewhere a million years ago decided for you that family was a great thing and buying gifts and eating together were expected, especially on this day. Christmas. A day when it seems the world stops and the focus on family takes center stage. A day when drinking is at it's all time high I'm sure. Used as a numb out, to kill those feelings like you don't exactly fit in. To kill that growing sense of failure, that trail of guilt, to deafen constant bickering between those you love. Have another drink, this day will be over faster. The day ends like all other times... you wanting nothing to do with those whom you call family. Thankful that there are 365 days at least until the expectation is on you again. Collapsing into bed you cry yourself to sleep... why is life with family so hard? 

Patterns repeat themselves, generationally speak of course. You do what your mom did, or what your father didn't do. It's a lens in which you see the world. A chain reaction that you had no choice but to follow. Feelings of regret, guilt, behaviors, hang-ups, emotional garbage all passed from one generation to the next. Freely. Unintentionally. 

Once you are blessed enough to know that you don't have to live like that. In that same chain.. you  decide. You choose to live differently. A motivation from Above that requires an emotional distance from the chain you grew up in. Living differently requires courage. The link you have become doesn't quite fit. You have chosen to not believe the lie that life needs to be this way with family. You choose to be in a different family. A family that loves, accepts, and honors your steps. A family that cherishes your heart, and encourages you on your journey. A family that isn't the one you grew up in. This family is the Body. The hands and feet of the Savior. Jesus. 

I personally can't change the days ahead for you, my sweet reader. I can only encourage you to look for the good in life. The candles on the table, the way your mom's cookie jar is always full, a brief word from your father that blesses you instead of curses your heart, the phone call from your son. It's the little things. The joyful admist the painful. Think about the Truth you know. The way God loves you and the way He shows you while your exchanging gifts, and sharing that meal. Then, when the holidays are over... 

Do some hard work and plan to spend the next 365 days intimately connected with the Father who loves you, cares for you, and would never ever do anything to harm you in anyway. You just might.. if you look at the past images.. find that He was your covering all along. In fact, He covered your whole frost on this first day of winter. 

"Oh Lord my God, I have cried to you for help, 
and you have healed me." 
Psalm 30:2

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

love is baked.

They needed cookies, but I'm not convinced they realized that making cookies took all day. 

Cracking eggs, learning the abbreviations for measurements, washing dishes. 
It all was a process. A messy baking process. 

In the end, we had cookies. Yummy cookies. 

 I hear a ton of talk about the absence of snow in our little corner of the world. I'll agree snow is a wonderful thing at Christmas time, however I wonder if the lack of snow means the abundance of something else we miss when we look at what we don't have. Like the lack of cookies means you need to get together with friends and intentionally bake some.  

Of course it's a process that might take all day... perhaps longer. 
Just focus on what you do have, call a few friends and in the midst of the mess 
you just might see God showing His glory to you. 

And when your cookies are done, you can be thankful and share them 
with friends who need some fresh baked cookies. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

intentional death

I brought my camera intending to capture the night. Wanting desperately. Seeking silently. Ever watching for the moment when a small click in the corner would be appropriate. It never happened. I couldn't capture it. The raw emotion. The feeling.  It became apparent that I was to play a role in the night. A bystander that needed a fresh touch of the blood. Willingly covered. What I witnessed was death. or was it life? 

The best laid paths are the ones you build yourself right? Measuring so carefully that your steps and plans will be fulfilled. Until you find that when you look backwards it wasn't a very straight and narrow built path. Instead it's strewn about with wreckage and carnage of good intentions and destruction from the pit of hell.  Misspoken words, a heart that wasn't always looking for the good in others, actions that were far away from the life you wanted to lead. It's sin. All that stuff behind you is sin and lies and it needs to be covered in the blood that Jesus freely gave to save you. His death can give you life. A life that you will never experience unless you die. 

In that room, where people had done the hard work to examine the path that they had walked and were willingly, in front of others, dying to themselves was a feeling that I couldn't capture. Any image I would have taken would have been a substitute for the real thing.  Pornography. A cheapening of the real deal. I couldn't. I didn't want to lessen anything. Instead of looking through the lens as a bystander. I grasped onto it with the eyes of my heart realizing that none would ever "get it" until they sat in my chair, in that room, with a God so big who became so little to show us how to love each other, love ourselves, and love Him.  It was intimacy that I came to capture in my camera, but I captured it in my heart instead, a branding of Him. I had died to live, again.