Thursday, July 29, 2010


As you may have noticed my blog is looking a little bare.... not sure what happened. I'm not techy that way. But, I'll be working on a revamp in the next couple of weeks :) Thanks so much for your patience!

Hope you are enjoying the last bit of summer as much as we are!!

Much Love,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shatter the Darkness.

As many of you who read this already know... I'm not the greatest at blogging consistently. It could possibly be the fact that I'm far too busy staring at my newborn daughter... or that the Lord and I have spent a lot of time together in the wee hours of morning together lately... hashing some things out. Could be that my heart has all the words... but my fingers can't seem to find the keys.

During my entire walk with the Lord... Okay... I'll be honest... walk isn't really the right word for me... During my entire love affair with Jesus the most ardent, consistent, pleading prayer I have ever prayed has been simple.

"Give me your heart..."

I have wanted and ached for that more than anything else. To be the gospel here... now... in the midst of a life that sometimes feels so... ordinary. And I've been battling lately with a few very real truths. I fell in love with Him on a basement floor in Chicago and my heart came alive... and then part of my heart died in the slums of Africa... And at 20 years old I held a baby boy who changed the entire course of my life... and at 21 I married a man who changed the course even further... and somewhere in the last several months... the months where we didn't know if she would live or die... the lights of all I thought I knew about Him went out... and I felt like He left me standing in the dark.

And you're probably wondering what's wrong with me because my daughter is a miracle and she lived and the story ends with happily ever after right?

And I haven't said it here because how do you say it...? In those months I stopped seeing people... really seeing them. And I didn't want to enter into their hearts or their pain and I didn't want to know their stories and that's not normal for me because I'm generally the person who introduces myself and then asks you what your deepest hurt it... I'm not very good with small talk and I get really uncomfortable when the expectation is to put on a smile and fake it. I'm the kind of person who has invited numerous women out for coffee after just meeting them simply because I wanted to know them... know their story... know their pain and know the Jesus in them. I'm the one who got voted most likely to save the world in high school and have spent countless nights awake trying to figure out how I can enter into the hearts of those around me. And as much as I called out to Him in the middle of the night... as much as I worshipped Him not knowing whether she would live or die... as much as my heart poured out onto these pages into words that were black and white... my world just felt grey. Areas of my heart lay in the shadows... in the places I had no words for...

and I'm so incredibly honored that so many of you walked alongside us in this... were moved to your knees by the story of my daughter. I am. But for the sake of honesty... transparency... truth... I need to tell you what else was going on all those months...

I was screaming at Him.
I was pounding my fists on the steering wheel of my car and begging to know why....
There were days I cried so hard I could barely breathe.
And my heart became divided between two things... wanting His heart no matter what the cost... and wanting to know why for so many... the story didn't end with happily ever after.

It ended at a grave... in a divorce... a broken heart... a shattered dream. Why some... when they are old and gray... die bitter and angry. Why some... after searching their whole lives... still feel as if they've come up empty.

Why my parents had to live every parents nightmare and stand at the grave of a son.
Why my dear friend had to live every wife's nightmare and hear her husband say "I don't love you anymore and it's... over."
Why the little boy who changed my life was sent back to abusive parents...
Why the old woman I met in Kenya rotted away in a hut in the middle of nowhere...flies waiting to devour.

We got the miracle. We saw the healing... We watched in awe when she screamed and we could all finally breathe. We held the full term baby who they told us may not even make it to "viable". We watched as our greatest fears were laid to rest when they put her in our arms.

So why am I still beating the steering wheel... fists clenched?

Why, for so so many... did the story not end the way ours did?

And I'm going to give you the most biblical... profound answer that I have.

I don't know...

I wish I did... I wish I had a better answer for those of you who have emailed me seeking. For those of you who have let me into your life... your pain... your story... but all I have is I don't know.

I don't know why you were asked to stand at the grave... or asked to face your worst nightmare. I don't know why He didn't heal her or why He let him leave. Why, sometimes, does it seem like the tears of the saints far outweigh the miracles?

And in the months we didn't' know... I just couldn't go there. I didn't want to know anymore. and I am so sad to say that this bitterness grew in my heart and I put up this wall that divided my heart and I was open about the times we praised Him... open about the fact that I told Him I'd love Him either way... open about how I ached for Him and knew Him in a way I hadn't yet known. But the other side of the wall... The side where I slammed my bible shut and threw it across the room. The side where there were days when I didn't feel Him... The days I felt abandoned and alone and afraid and aching... The part where I snapped at the smallest thing and began my obsession with clorox wipes... (and if you know me at all you know where this is going)

The part where I stopped inviting you out for coffee.
Stopped letting anyone see me cry.
The side of my heart that ached for all of the mommies whose stories didn't end like mine.

And please don't read me wrong here... I have rejoiced every day that Jayda has breathed. And my heart is so full... but until very recently... last night in fact... the lights were still out.

Until, in one breath... He shattered the darkness. And the scales over my eyes came off and I was able to see so many situations in new light. Someone who felt like an enemy became human... A shattered dream became a greater capacity to love. Fumbling for words became a way to tell the story... And for the first time in a very very long time...

I felt alive again.

Alive like I felt before the devastation of the slums in Africa... Alive like I felt before I rocked the little boy with the broken arm... Alive like I felt before they told me there was a good chance I was going to loose my daughter. Alive like I felt before I saw people's lives fall apart.

And I still don't have the answers to the questions that plague so many of us... I'm just no longer afraid to tell you I ask them too. And I want you to know that if you ask them... the hard questions... If you beat your fists against the steering wheel screaming "why?"

It doesn't mean you love Him any less. And it doesn't make you bad and it doesn't make you weak and it doesn't make you a failure and it doesn't mean your faith is too small...

It means your still alive.

It's when we stop asking... stop longing... stop crying out and just give up... that's when we should be scared. When we get comfortable sitting in the dark and decide to remain there because it's started to feel safe... that's when we should be terrified.

And I guess if you hear anything tonight... hear this. In those months I may have screamed at Him but underneath that still lay my desire to have His heart. There is much I don't know... there is much my heart breaks for... but there is no doubt in my mind that He is good. I don't know of another who would let me scream and pound my fists and then proceed to weep with me. I don't know of another who would walk me so gently through the dark parts of this life. And I don't know any other who can shatter the darkness like He can... who can break down the walls and allow worship and questioning to meet like He can. I don't know of another who would do this sacred dance of sorrow and joy so intimately with me.

And please don't be fooled... My faith is not that strong... on my best days it's a mustard seed. And if not for grace I'd be a mess... and on some days I am anyway. He's the one who claimed the mess of a woman with a mustard seed of faith could make mountains move. And I still don't get why the God I shake my fists at would be crazy in love with someone like me. And I don't know...

I don't know...

And when I was finally able to go back to the grave of my brother 12 years later He was the one who stood with me there... And when I lay awake at night feeling my daughter move He was the one who wept with me there and I don't know a lot of things... but I know one...

I'd rather do this with Him than without Him.

And that's enough to shatter the darkness.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Mercy

Dawn Breaks and I'm holding her warmth against my chest. We've done our mornings like this for awhile now and its a routine of sorts...

I nurse I diet coke (I know... I know...) while we watch the news... catch up on the blogs... and give Him thanks for mercy that is new every morning. And I need the newness this morning... My heart aches for the newness.

I need the newness because I'm grappling with the part where we love our enemies and bless those who harm us. And we've wrestled Him and I... and there's a part of my living room floor that's worn from the pacing and the praying and the asking and the pleading... And I'm wrestling with the part where forgiveness is not a magic wand that takes the hurt away... I'm having a really hard time with the part where I look the pain in the eye and say "God is bigger than this."

And in my hurt, human flesh I want the person to pay. I want them to know only half of the pain we've known. I want vengeance and I want to get even and I want them to know the sting of the words and the hurt of the glances. I want their heart to hurt like mine hurts... shredded from the years of the words... so many hurtful words... And the tongue really is a flaming arrow and it really can bring life or death... and maybe if they only knew the destruction it's caused they'd choose life. But I know that vengeance isn't mine to have... and I don't get to be the one to throw stones because what would that make me?

And the whore who washed His feet with her tears knew something I need to be reminded of... that those who have been forgiven much have a capacity to love much. And I pray for that capacity and the enlarging of my heart. And I want that for them... to know much forgiveness and maybe... maybe someday they will know much love. Because as big as this is... as impossible as it feels... I've known and I've watched as He does the impossible...

He did it in me.

And this is the hard part of the gospel... the part we love to talk about... the part that sounds pretty on the paper but is ugly when you face it. The part where we love the enemy and bless the one who has brought us much harm. The part where we choose to speak no evil... and oh Jesus how I've failed at that... The part that comes after the choice to forgive is the hardest part.

The choosing it over and over each morning... The offering of mercy over and over... and He's so good at that and I'm wrestling with the giver of mercy because it would be so much easier to throw the stone... write the angry letter... spew the hurtful words. And I want to go over every time and re live every situation and lick my wounds and we wrestle as I pace the floor and I'm begging for it to just stop... and I know the promises are true... how He will bring us out... carry us... sustain us... even in this. I know they are true... the promises... but right now they don't feel true and I'm weary and can't I just throw a stone?

And I want in my heart of hearts to be like Him... And His mercy is new every morning which means mine must be... And I feel like I'm working towards a graduate degree in forgiveness only I'm in the second semester and the road ahead feels long.

And the sun is up and she is sleeping and the wrestling is coming to an end... "God don't let me become bitter... I don't want to be bitter... I don't want a heart that's bitter."

And I know what that means... bitterness is fought only with the offering of mercy. And forgiveness doesn't mean enabling it simply means we release the other person from having to make things right. It means I don't have to wait for the change or the apology to offer the mercy. And it isn't about glossing over something. It's about releasing something...someone.

Because in the end... there is nothing I could release someone from that's bigger than what I've already been released from. And oh Jesus that's hard to swallow.

And bitterness chokes the grace of God and invades the lives of others and I can't... I won't let my daughter know a mother that's bitter. And I want her to know how to love and forgive well and I know it isn't up to me but it starts with me. And if I can't learn to offer the grace than I will miss what I want most in my life.

To preach the gospel without words.

And it's a beautiful idea but a really difficult thing to live. And the wrestling begins to end...

Because the mercy is new and I hold her and I thank Him for the newness and I need the newness because without it my heart would be as cold as stone.

A heart of stone... the throwing of a stone... I realize now how the two go together.

And if I don't want the first to be true than I cannot give in to the second.

and you could have thrown the stone but you didn't... and you could have left us here to face what we deserve but you didn't... and oh Jesus I'm grateful.

And as the newness comes... with it comes the hope that I'll speak life instead of death... offer mercy instead of a stone... love like I know what I've been forgiven of.