Saturday, May 29, 2010

I Just Know Him As My Son

Yesterday I sat in the doctor's office with a lot of time to kill, so I passed the time by flipping through my medical chart. Okay, so I wasn't so much randomly flipping through my file as I was very intentionally looking in there for anything I could find about March 20, 2007.

That was the day I was blindsided to find out the son I was carrying no longer had a heartbeat.

I found the ultrasound pictures and just stared at them. From the still shots, you couldn't tell anything had gone wrong, because there was a baby. There just wasn't a heartbeat. I cried as I looked at the pictures.

But it was much more difficult to read the medical report following the surgery I'd had the following day. It was so cold, so clinical.

It referred to my baby as "products of conception."

I absolutely get the fact that they have to use medical terms. But what they called "products of conception," I only knew as my child. The one I wanted to name and hold. The one I hoped to play with and pray over.


It made me consider the heart of my Heavenly Father who watched as a crowd crucified His child. They accused Him, they ridiculed Him, and they said He was a blasphemer.

But the Father knew exactly who Jesus was--the King of Kings. The Messiah. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But in those moments when He watched His own child breathe His last, I wonder if He looked upon Jesus and thought...

"I just know Him as My Son."

Never Meant to Carry It

When we come home from the grocery store, I always insist on having the kids carry in one of the grocery bags to help me out.

And for some reason, they always insist on carrying the heaviest ones!

So there I am, easily carrying the bag with the loaf of bread while my children struggle with the bag with the large jug of juice. And as much as I try to get them to trade me, they refuse.

Seems crazy to me.

And yet Jesus recognized this tendency in you and in me when He declared in Matthew 11, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (v. 28-30).

So just as I try to convince my little children to trade their heavy bags for my light ones, Jesus bids us to come and TRADE YOKES with Him. We're urged to cast our cares upon Him, because waiting for us in the exchange is his light and easy burden.

It's exhausting carrying the things we were never meant to carry.

So when are you going to take Him up on His offer to trade yokes?

Up On the Mantle

First we had dogs. Dogs who would take valuable things and chew them up (in preference to the chew toys we'd purchased for them, of course). A cell phone, a wedding picture frame, flip flops--the list is a long one. So our mantle became the "Safe Place" on which we'd place things that we didn't want the dogs to destroy.

Now it's not so much the dogs, but our kids who get into things. And sometimes we're in the middle of a task so we need certain things to be accessible, but still out of harm's reach (and by HARM I mean our kiddos). Because they try to take pictures with my camera. They try to "fix things" with Justin's screwdrivers. They like to draw with the Sharpie pen I'm using to label things. And so to keep things safe, we put them up on the mantle until we're able to put them away.

This morning I was reading in Proverbs 29, and saw "Whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe" (verse 25). I love looking at the original Hebrew to see what things mean, and in this verse the word safe (sagab) means:


I had this picture of all the things in this world that come against us, that threaten to devour, destroy, and use us. But as we TRUST IN THE LORD, He reaches down, takes hold of us, and we are

kept safe.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Yesterday my stronghold broke. I remember the exact moment I was aware it had happened. All I can say is that I did not know it existed until I realized it was gone. And the peace that followed was overwhelming, and unfortunately unfamiliar in recent days.

A stronghold is JUST THAT -- it has a strong hold on you. Anything that masters you, rather than the other way around. Food, relationships, debt, possessions. Anything from which you don't feel like you can simply walk away, but from which you must be extricated.
And yet Jesus is my stronghold. He has a strong hold on me, and loves me enough to want to be my one and ONLY stronghold.

Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have
divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Come Back When You're Clean

I've had lots of haircuts in my life, but I'll never forget one I got when I was in 4th grade.

I was sitting in the chair as the stylist snipped away. Then she suddenly stopped, and after a long pause she said, "Sick!"

I looked up into the mirror to see a look of horror and disgust on the stylist's face.

She then turned and called loudly to my dad sitting over in the waiting area, "You need to get here out of here. She has lice."

So after she yanked the apron off me, I was forced to do a walk of shame from the chair to my dad while people looked at me nervously. After all, everyone in the place had heard. It was a nightmare for an already-starting-to-feel-self-conscious 8-year old.

I felt humiliated and unclean.

Can you imagine how the lepers in Jesus' time must have felt, being constantly and publicly declared "unclean"? If my hair salon experience was even a glimpse into it, then I cannot imagine a lifetime of such public rejection and disdain.

Since I was mid-haircut when the kind lady with the scissors discovered the lice, we had to go to the store to buy a headlice kit, go home, do the treatment, and THEN return that same day to have the other half of my hair cut.

I understood one thing that day--I was not to return until I was clean.

I'm so grateful that our God speaks the exact opposite over us. We're not commanded to clean up our acts before we run to Him. In Christ we're welcomed when we're unclean, even rescued from the dirty depths and pulled from the miry pits. We are received in our filthiest state...and are deeply loved.

But God demonstrates His love for us in this:
While we were STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Power, My Hands, Myself

"I do it myself."

These words come from the mouth of a tiny little girl who thinks she's got it covered. She doesn't want to need my help. But it doesn't mean she doesn't need it.

And while it's a good thing for her to learn and grow and try things on her own, her insistence to "do it myself" sometimes results in a big mess. Do I want my 2-year old pouring her own milk out of the gallon jug into her tiny cup? Um, no. Mess, mess, mess.

Isn't that the way?

"You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this abundance for me'" (Deuteronomy 8:17).

Can you relate?

* The Lord says, "I want to make a way for you in this ministry." You reply, "I'll do it myself."
* He extends the offer to meet your needs according to His glorious riches, but you reply, "No, I can do it."
* He offers, "Let me give you the words to say in this situation." You refuse, saying, "I'll do it myself."
* He promises, "I can bring restoration and healing in this." You reply, "Thanks, but I got it."

He declares "I AM YOUR HELP"--in relationships, finances, ministry, and the tiniest details of life. But our whole "I'll do it myself" thing is a refusal of His offering, and it seems like the result is always a mess of mistakes and misunderstandings.

One of my last posts starts with the words, "Would I like to be self-sufficient? Sometimes, yes." And it's true. Not even because I think I can do it BETTER than God, but because I feel like I SHOULD be able to do it by myself. I get to be a stay-at-home-mom 90% of the time, so is it fair for me to ask Him to provide the work for me to do the other 10% of the time? I've not been flawless with finances, so why should I ask for His help as I dig out of debt? So even in the times of my greatest need I find myself calling out of the pit, "I'm good, Lord. I'll do it myself." But why should I expect anything BUT a mess to be the result?

"I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

In what ways do you find yourself telling the Lord, "I'll do it myself"?

Our Birds: The Conclusion

If you're interested in reading how our bird saga wrapped up, click HERE. Enjoy! And thanks for bearing with me through multiple bird-related posts! :)

Monday, May 3, 2010


Would I prefer to be self-sufficient? Sometimes, yes.

But I'm not. I am hungry. Desperate. In need. DEPENDENT.

As I walked out the door this morning, I saw three tiny beaks poking up out of the top of the nest on our porch. Mouths wide open, stretching upward to receive sustenance.

That's when the Lord said, "That's you."

And it's true. In a season when I am feeling like I've run out of myself, it's become clear that I am stretching my hands upward, opening all of me to the Source of my life and breath, asking for more of Him. And just like those baby birds, I really get the fact that everything is riding on me getting fed by Him.

Lord, I'm getting glimpses of how utterly dependent I am upon You. We're talking make-or-break. I need You, Lord. Seems like the freedom should be found in not needing anyone, but I'm learning more and more how true freedom dwells in acknowledging just how very much I do need you.