January 31, 2014


Five Minute Friday HERO

I don't know what to write today. Hero? Well, I am not a hero. I can think of my heroes: William Wilberforce, Ann Voskamp, Mike Donehey, Abraham Lincoln, Ruth, Rahab, perhaps  few more.

They were and are all brave. I am not.

But maybe that is just what I see. Maybe, just maybe, they were as afraid as I am at some point.

Maybe being a hero isn't about fame.

Maybe it is about small brave. A small brave that grows and grows.

And maybe it is about the Hero who gave the biggest brave of all: Himself.

Maybe that is where we start, the unlikely heroes in a story that has many parts, but has only just begun. What do we have but ourselves to give? He gave us those, these bodies, these souls, and if that isn't a start, then I don't know beginnings. Which is possible--I was never good at beginnings.

The goal shouldn't be to be a hero.

The goal should be Him.

January 24, 2014

visit--five minute friday

The day began in darkness, with only the moon and her sparkling courtiers as my traveling companions through the city, a sky itself with glittering lights and dark splatters, crowded spots and lonely spots that wove like a terrestrial picnic blanket on the Midwestern ground. When sleeping fields finally appeared, the sun eased himself awake and warmed my back, lighting up and painting the barren trees and broken stalks amid snow. Snowdrifts graced the side of the road like frosted peaks, and I drove steadily west.

I neared the X at the end of my dashed line, and when I had looped around it like a bird landing, I found a sister to warm my soul and tea to warm my hands.

It began as it always does when we are tired: a story, some silence, some cooking, another story, some trying to wake up, some grocery shopping, this unsteady pattern. We always sort it out, and end in ferocious sister-laughter, sides hurting, hearts healing, a melody inimitable that tumbles like a leaf in the wind.

What we always find is how big He is in the small things. I fight for joy, counting, looking with faith that joy will be found. She sighs with the ease of old company, and I pen, and sister visits are always the best.


January 19, 2014



If I could use one word to describe myself, that would be it.

Sounds a bit depressing, eh? Well, it is realistic. I am not a good person. I have fallen short of the standard, I have lied, I have run away in cowardice, I have been horridly selfish, and I have been insupportably proud. I have thought myself better than others. I am not.

I have failed to meet God's standard. It is impossible for me to reach it. Broken laws must have consequence, there must be justice. Otherwise, we would all be thieves and murderers. Still, in His eyes, we are as bad as thieves and murderers. He is so good and holy, that our goodness, the good things we do, is barely a shred of what He does, and our endeavors can never redeem us.

Today I received a gift from my church. Some people went to a concert where my favorite band would be jamming, but I could not go. This morning after service, my pastor handed me a bag. "Tenth Avenue North" the bag read, and inside was a t-shirt from the band--a beautiful one with a ship sailing in a storm. I have done little if not nothing to deserve such a gift. Even before I had begun to be involved, at the third service I came to, I was told I was part of the family. I had done nothing, and yet they extended their arms and hearts to me, knowing nothing of who I was or where I'd been.

They preached the Gospel to me, without words. They gave me love I did not deserve, love I hadn't earned. That's the Gospel! The story isn't over where I left off. God sent His Son--Himself, in the mystery of the Trinity. He sacrificed, stepping into time, taking on flesh, and walked among us. He spoke truth, He loved, and a few loved Him back, but most ridiculed Him, most spat in His face and nailed Him to a cross to die a shameful, painful death. Even in the last moments, as they divided the spoils, He begged "Father, forgive them." (Luke 23:34). It isn't a myth--a man named Jesus died on a cross, and it was for you and it was for me, and it was not what we deserve.

At that moment, when Jesus surrendered unto death, bearing the punishment of our sins, our wrongdoings, our selfishness,  the curtain that divided the people from God was torn in two, rent from top to bottom. This was a big curtain--I believe it was close to 80 feet. And it was torn from the top to the bottom. There was--there is--no longer a divide between us and God.

All we need is to admit that we don't deserve it. That we are as bad as our worst thoughts say and more. “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”

When I realize that I am undeserving, then I am infinitely more grateful for every circumstance. It is today that I realized that the best moments, the moments that linger in my memory, the moments that have defined my life have not been moments that I was responsible for. They were not results of my own will or determination. The best parts of my life have not been things I have done, but things done unto me. By God, in saving me--my first memory is accepting God's love. By the generosity and love of others. 

Maybe I am crazy in the end, maybe I am a fool and will be forgotten and written off by the cynics, waved away by others. I haven't found answers to all my or their questions.

I found something better: Him. 

January 14, 2014

precious Jesus

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”
“My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.”

The familiar words swirled around in my head while hymns of old danced softly on piano strings.

My hope is built—is built. Not was built, will be built, but is built. My hope is not now what it will be and is not what it once was. We are so eager to quantify, to pinpoint that which shifts and grows. To lean on the surety of our own feelings instead of His promises, His actions, His love. We grasp for pinpoints because we grasp for control. I do it every day. I feel faithful today, maybe it will last me for a week, I say to myself.


I feel faithful today. Full of faith. Thanks be to Him Who gave me faith, loves me, builds my hope on His own sacrifice. Who makes me righteous because I am a coward who cannot even give a little girl a flower in the parking lot of the grocery store. His righteousness is enough to cover all my sin. And it is His righteousness that moves me to want to try again, to never fail to show a kindness where it is needed. I will fail, but I will do better, because of Him.

It ends with a quiet love song, not eloquent or full of imagery, or really profound in any way out of the ordinary. But oh, it is the ordinary that changes me more than the extraordinary. It is the smallest of moments that cuts to my heart and points me to the One who whispers “I love thee,” in reply to my simple tune. My Jesus, I love Thee. My heart dams the joy; joy brims in eyes. I know Thou art Mine. I belong to Him and He to me. He has given Himself, and I cannot ever count gifts enough to compare to that gift.  

         precious Jesus..."