Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hangry Baby Bird

As I was putting a clean bowl from the dishwasher away in the cupboard today, the tears started again, making my Bobbi Brown mascara make thick, black, expensive tracks down my face.
The ugly cry.
(And I don't mean to obsess, but that mascara is not cheap, girl friend.)

So I called the dogs and headed into the sun-dappled woods to give God a talking-to.
WHY was He letting my family fall into pieces?
WHY doesn't He just fix this now?
WHY do my precious, loved, adored, beloved beyond anything babies ever have to suffer like this?

My knees are weak from the thought and I can't even pretend to stop my tears.

The other morning and before I even have a coherent thought, I wake myself up hearing  my prayers to God, "PleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodDontLetThisHappenPleaseGod...." I told Rod I felt like a helpless, completely vulnerable baby bird in a nest with my mouth wide open in need and continuously asking to be fed.
That is me all right. 
But I have a God who cares for me.
 Protects me.
 Feeds me.
 (And pushes me out of the nest i.e. "comfort zone" when it's time. But that is a whole other blog post.)
This visual made me think of a verse that kind of talks about that. "How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me." Luke 13:34
It was comforting for me to think of God taking care of us that way, the way a mother bird cares for your babies in the nest.
This old hymn has been on repeat in my heart lately.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
  All other ground is sinking sand.
So very true. Although I am beyond sad, devastated, crushed and all the other synonyms that you can come up with, my hope is NOT built or dependant on Josiah and Ashley working out their differences and Max and Lilli living with their Mom and Dad who love them and each other.

If that were the case, then my total well-being would be tossed back and forth on a daily basis based on whether my kids were happy or sad.
Although there is some truth in there; that I am sad if they are sad, and happy if they are happy.
But I know (know know KNOW) that the God who loves each of us is in control of this whole situation.
 And yours as well. If you think for a moment that you are in charge, you've got some learnin' to do. No joke.
God is large and in charge and THAT is what I base my hope and future on. He is a happy-making God who walks with me, carries me when needed, and has a plan that is for my benefit, not against me. I can't always see the big picture, but I know who is painting it, and He is GOOD. ALL THE TIME.
Even now, while we're hurting.

My plan today is to be still and know He is God, pray like crazy and watch and see what He is going to do.
 Because it'll be good.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Welcome to the Jungle

Okay it is not an actual jungle. But it does feel like one.
Some might call this a season in the desert, all this grieving and anguish and gnashing of teeth. But , for me, it is the jungle, and it is a dark and scary place to be.

The jungle is very dense and we can't even see a few feet in front of us. It is even hard to breathe. There is no trail  that we can see  there doesn't seem to be a way out.

As the month has gone on, we are facing the fact that our son is probably going to be divorced soon.

Divorce. It is now one of the most despised and hated words in my vocabulary.
Is it common?
That does not take even an iota of the sting away.

(Death is common, too. Does that negate the pain? Not  a even a little bit.)

The word represents the unbelievable pain, betrayal, weeping and fear of the future and what this means for my grandchildren. My precious, loved, adored grandchildren. It can feel like I'm dying inside every minute when I think of them. The fact that I can't fix this could destroy me.

Our. Family.Is Falling Apart.

And we can't stop it.

This hurts so bad that I hear myself moaning from it.
How is a  mother supposed to just watch her children and grandchildren in such anguish and not be able to help?
Our prayers to God have sounded something like this: PleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodFixthisfixthisfixthisfixthisfixthisfixthisPleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGod...and on and on.
And He answers us by reminding us that:
 we are not in charge.
 He loves us
He is good, all the time.
 He is faithful
He will work everything out according to His plan.
 He is HERE.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Believing these things in our hearts and not just knowing them in our heads has allowed us to look ahead.
He has given us strength to carry us through each hour of each day.
I have been clinging to Him in the middle of my jungle like never before.

I haven't been handling this the best though, with grace and dignity like I would have hoped. I swear, in my mind I always handle tragedy so much better, with maybe just a tear or two glistening in my eye, a calm demeanor and a few wise words.
 Well, if grace and dignity look like laying on on the fir needle and dirty ground in a pile in the woods sobbing my eyes out, or walking down the trails waving my arms around like a lunatic as I shout to God to HELP US NOW!! then I handled it like a boss. (and there was that one night with a bottle of wine. Just keepin' it real.)

I haven't been able to go to church because the thought of walking in and worshipping with all my people there just wreaks me. Honestly, I feel like my weeping and wailing would scare everyone. I am terribly afraid I would just fall apart in front of everyone and I am scared of that. Oh, and there is no oil for this. I tried them all. :-)

 So, please do not think I am avoiding you.
Well,actually I am avoiding you.
 But, don't take it personally.
It's me. It's not you.
This is not my church people's fault; just how I have been dealing with it lately.

Some things that have helped all of us in the middle of this mud puddle are the kind caring people that have come alongside of us and loved us. Notes and messages, phone calls and texts, flowers, hugs, meals, books and other encouragement. Just grieving/crying with us sometimes has been the best thing.
For all of you that helped and encouraged us during the planning and carrying out of our daughter's wedding; what you did will never be forgotten. We owe you all a debt we cannot repay for the thousands of details, big and small that you took care of during those days.You made it possible for my family to have a beautiful, meaningful and profound wedding celebration in the middle of our family tragedy. It was truly
And now she is a Blaesing!
stunning and miraculous, made more so by the way you all took care of us. You carried us when we didn't know how we could do it.
Seriously, God bless you people!

 And prayers. Oh my gosh, to know that you are praying for this family has been more helpful and encouraging than you know.

 For those of you who have jumped head first into the middle of our /mud puddle/jungle with us, regardless of how ugly it is; we thank you.

You have taught us by your example how to better help and reach out to those that are hurting around us. You have showed us how to be Jesus to our friends going through hard,life-altering circumstances. We will never forget what each of you has done to make our burden lighter. I hope and pray that I can be the friend to you that you have been to us.
So, I apologize if this post is scattered and nonsensical to you,( and needs editing) but I am just trying to let you know where we are. If you remember, please pray for my son and daughter-in-law and Max and Lilli.
Divorce hurts. But we are learning to rely on God in a new and deeper way, and for that we are thankful.

“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 4:8b-9 NLT)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Self...

I found this blog post under my draft folder from last winter and thought I'd post it today because I had a big ol' Costco chocolate cake on my counter yesterday. Do you even know how HUGE these cakes are? It is seriously surprising that my kitchen island doesn't collapse under the weight of this monster. (It's surprising I don't collapse after I eat a half  a piece a forkful .)
It kept talking to me when I would walk by."Diane....Diane....just have a teensy little taste....It'll be okay..." The fork laying right next to it DID NOT help the situation. Who on earth would put a fork RIGHT THERE anyway?
Why can't Rod like chocolate cake? He should eat it.
Truth:Costco chocolate cake is my kryptonite.
 Well, it is NOT okay and that chocolate cake has sung it's last siren song. I shoved that entire sweet talking dessert down the garbage disposal. I did that yesterday and it's almost as if I can still smell it. Still taste it.....Oh. That's the frosting still of my  lip. Adios, sweet delicious cake. Adios.
 (I miss you...) 
Anyway, here is the post:

I know you've been under pressure lately. So, what's new? 

Finding peace by watching a sitcom? Or Grey's Anatomy? Or a season or two of "Breaking Bad" or "Parenthood.?" Scootch over. I'll watch with you.

Looking for comfort in the middle of an All-American chocolate cake from Costco?

Venting bygossiping talking it out with friends?

Relaxing by reading a crime novel? Or the newest Food Network magazine "The Bacon Issue." (I am not making this up. It is the Bacon Issue.And....I'm back to food.)

Drinking a bottle glass of vodka wine?

Shopping and buying more mascara because it is a new brand and a fantastic new technologically advanced formula which is proven with studies to actually grow your baby lashes to indescribable lengths? Because we all need that.

Spend meaningful hours on Facebook looking at  duck-face selfies, pictures of their dogs in the snow, wild animal videos and their freshest grandbabies making spit bubbles.

Finally pass that freaking level 142 on Candy Crush? (PS. Please send me a life. I'm stuck again.)

These are all just hypothetical scenarios. Just so ya know.

But, honestly? Sometimes the pain/fear/whatever is so horribly overwhelming that I will try to do all these things at once. This is not pretty. Or practical. It ends with me having to clean chocolate cake crumbs off the keyboard and/or phone.

Why do all these things I do have to be so bad for me? Why couldn't I go run a half-mary or clean my hall closet with a vengence?

I am not saying these things are wrong at all. I'm saying that sometimes when I am crushed but not destroyed, I will turn to the fast-food ease of one of these band-aid solutions rather than to the actual healer of my soul.

Because sometimes I want to avoid pain and so I will muffle it with Candy Crush or..candy.
Do you do this, too?

 I know if I go to God with it, I will have to open up and spill it all, my pain my anxiety my worry my fear my anger my bitterness my sadness my aloneness. And it's SO BIG.

That's right. He wants it all.
And then he'll walk through it with you.
Holding you.
Encouraging you.
Reminding you.
 Loving you.
Reshaping you.
(And, yes. By "you" I do mean "me.")

 So that is what I choose to do.

Pursue the Lord by spending time with him. Walking in the winter woods with only the dogs and Jesus for my companions. Praying unceasingly when I wake up and can't sleep again because of worry and anxiety.
 Let HIS words wash over me..........

Turn on music that points me to true joy.

Listening to sermons by theologians that admonish me, teach me and direct me to search out God and live for him.

Reading bible study books that help me unravel the mysteries of God and show my how to wrestle out my salvation.

Go and serve God's people at church in whatever capacity. Serve the community and be Jesus with skin on to people who don't know him yet. What greater happiness than sharing the Good News? Uh, none.

Being still and knowing he is God. Relaxing in the knowledge that he has EVERY.THING in his hands...hands that have my name engraved on them. Ahhhhh.

All these things earthly, fleshly things promise me peace and happiness. They deliver moments of forgetfulness and numbness. A few minutes of fleeting pleasure. Then I need to watch more, buy more, eat more, drink more.

Actual joy and contentment are found when I drink from the source of joy and contentment. All the other things are just distracting me from what I really want and need.

 Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Colossians 3:1-4 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
And finally, this song is running through my mind and heart this morning...  Go ahead; sing with me. I won't judge you.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus 
  1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free!
    • Refrain:
      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Shame on you

I have been doing pre-Easter dinner cleaning at my house today.I'll be honest; deep cleaning is not my spiritual gifting. We have animals who really seem to delight in bringing in their dirt and their fur. Bits of their kibble are spread here and there like canine confetti all over the floor and carpets.(I won't tell you who the main culprit is, but his initials start with COOPER.)

Combine that, all the horse dirt, the smells and my lack of deep cleaning and you have one of the reasons  I hardly ever have anyone over for dinner or coffee.
Feelings of inadequacy.
People will judge me.
(Well, that and I am a natural hermit.)

Don't we all have this to some degree? Maybe not over your cleaning ability (or lack thereof) but something else?
Has it been a long time since you've come to church to worship with your family in Christ? Are you worried about how people will view you? Is it easier to just stay where you are?

Feeling that you are not good enough can freeze you in place.
The thing is, our embarrassment keep us from doing good things. Our shame paralyzes us and we don't invite people in. We don't want to go anywhere, even church, because of our fear of being seen and found wanting.

 I personally, cannot relate to this at all. But I've heard other people talk of it.

Only kidding.

Some of our shame is really guilt. Deserved guilt. I get that.
But, you do know, don't you, that is exactly why Jesus died. To pay for that thing you are guilty about.
Some of it is stuff Satan makes up and whispers to us, over and over again, in order to keep us chained up. (You are bad, you are ugly, you are a loser, you are a failure, just give up...etc.)

But here is the thing: This is why we celebrate Easter. He came to bear our shame and sinfulness himself. That is the Good News!
When I look at that truth, I will tend to open up my home and invite people in, pull on clothes that don't fit so great and go to church anyway. He gives us freedom from constantly judging ourselves.

So, quit looking at your imperfections. Don't listen to the voice that says you are not enough.

We all need to look at him and quit studying ourselves. (I preach loudly to myself.)
I read this today from "Jesus Over Shame" by Jen Smidt.:

"If you are carrying the weight of shame, Jesus is calling you to give that burden to him and rest in the new identity he has given you. Because of shame, you may feel unqualified to speak truth into areas where you have influence. Whether you’re a Bible teacher, a neighbor, an employee, or a stay-at-home mom, you lead others. Don’t allow shame to silence you, but instead live in the freedom of Jesus’ grace, which eradicates shame. Don’t use shame to motivate yourself or those you lead. Point people to Jesus, who conquered shame.
Christian, from this day forward, choose Jesus over shame, every time."
Isn't that perfect? Choose Jesus over shame. Every time.
Love that.

This song makes me celebrate every time I hear it. How can we not just sing along and celebrate Jesus this weekend? Remember, take your eyes off yourself and look at Jesus.
Now go to church!

"Greater" Mercy Me
Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain

Don't you know that's not you're name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I'm not right
But that's alright

'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
Bring your doubts
And bring your fears
Bring your hurt
And bring your tears
There'll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed
Every time I fall
There'll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that's OK
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
(He's Greater, He's Greater)
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter
'Cause the cross already won the war
He's Greater, He's Greater
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He's Greater, He's Greater
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter
'Cause the cross already won the war
He's Greater, He's Greater
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He's Greater, He's Greater
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Read more: Mercy Me - Greater Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Remember the Fourth of July celebrations when you were a kid and you and your siblings ran out to the curb of the street with your bundle of fireworks that your parents brought home? Remember the snakes and how fascinating it was to watch them grow right there on the cement? (I can still smell them.)
 Remember the sparklers and how fun it was to whip them in circles as you raced around the yard at dusk?
Remember all the brightly colored ones that you lit up and then they either twirled around on the pavement or made a noise like a siren? Or both.

Or the ones that did that shooty thing straight up in the air? (that is obviously the technical name.)

Or the one that you lit in anticipation and they just sort of spark once or twice and then fizzled out?

That was called a "dud" and we would just shrug and move on to the next smoke bomb or twirly thingy.
Sometimes I feel like I'm a dud. Like I spark and then just fizzle out on the sidewalk.
 A dud.
A dud for Christ.
I know I'm feeling that way because I said no to a speaking engagement for next week.
Rod and I prayed about it and for a variety of reasons really felt I should say no at this time. But that doesn't stop the voices in my head saying I messed up. Again.

Like God will turn his back on me and never ever use me again.

Do you ever feel like that? Like you messed up so bad that God doesn't even want to look at you?

One of my favorite things in life...no, my favorite thing in this life is being able to share what God has done for me. How he took a girl who was living only for herself, harming herself and others in the process of being so selfish, and let her know that he loves her and has saved her from herself.

My story is not really about me. I am definitely  not the hero in my own story. God is and will always be. He saves. He loves. He chases me and finds me...a dud.

So when I get the chance (and I do very often) of sharing my story, I am terrified and thrilled all at the same time. Terrified because I feel very naked and vulnerable while I talk about what I have done. Then thrilled when I get to talk about what Jesus has done...anyway.
 I absolutely explode with joy and am just on fire to share how God loves us enough to overlook everything we have done and adopts us in to his family. I so do not deserve that no matter what I do.

 "Baby, you're a Firework" by Katy Perry is playing in my head because that is pretty much is how I feel when I have to chance to let broken people know that God loves them and forgives them. Not usually a song when we think of worshiping God.

 But it fits here.

The accusing voices in my head need to just shut it.
Zip it, for Pete's sake. Or for mine.

And I'll go on gladly and happily being a dud for Jesus.
 One who explodes with joy on a regular basis over the things he has done.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


My good friend is throwing a wedding this weekend for her daughter because her daughter's fiance is getting deployed much sooner than expected. I am aching for them because I know they were anticipating throwing a fantastic wedding and reception that reflected all the love and joy they felt for this occasion.
Right now I wish I had a good eye for design. I wish I could decorate a wedding cake. I wish I could make beautiful centerpieces and help her make the best of a rushed wedding reception. Honestly, I am wishing I were someone else that could actually help them.
Right now I am feeling useless.

I am going to the place where the reception will be held the day before to assist in setting up tables and chairs,and anything else that needs to be done. But honestly?I am scared to death that someone will unwittingly  ask me to hang bunting or arrange flowers.
Oh, the HORROR!!

I am almost frozen into immobility while I focus on all my short comings.

This morning while I went on my walk with Coops and Lucy I was praying for my friends and this wedding and this marriage. My prayers turned to asking for wisdom for ways I could help and before I knew it, I was rehashing all the ways I couldn't help because I am not talented or skilled enough.

Nothing like some lovely ingrown eyeballs.

Society tells us our problem is that we have low self esteem and so we go looking and searching for that thing that shows that we are good at something, that we have worth, value and are successful. We need something to give us our identity and worth.
Growing up, I felt like everyone in my family had something they were extraordinarily gifted in, but I could never seem to fine my niche. I wasn't athletic, I couldn't sing beautifully (cough-cough) I wasn't an artist, I didn't do very well in school (cough-cough).Oh, I was skilled at being sneaky. Ask anyone. But I felt I had no identity, aside from being the stereotypical, troubled middle child.
I am truly not writing this to garner compliments and assurances of my skills and worth. But, if you feel led...
(Just to clarify:I am obviously not trying to say I have no worth or value what-so-ever.  I am a Jesus-loving, goat whispering, dog walking, duck chasing, stall cleaning,ferocious Mama Bear, fluffy Nana-bread and best friend to the best guy ever. It's just that those things don't help my friends out when they are trying to throw a wedding that means a great deal to them. So, I wish I could decorate a cake right now. That's all.)

It wasn't until I met Jesus that I found my true identity. What a huge sigh of relief!

God, who is all-powerful,compassionate, eternal, faithful, a consuming fire who became man chose and adopted me, the stereotypical, troubled middle child with no discernible skill or talent.
 And if you believe in Him, then He adopted you as well.
 Yeah, I'll take that identity. I'm good. (He does tend to use the weak and the foolish...just sayin'.)

This morning, while on my walk, I stopped in my tracks and reflected on Jesus Christ and who I am because of Him.
I'm forgiven.
I'm redeemed.
I'm a child of God.
I am a friend of God.
I've been set free.
I can love others because he loves me.
(fyi: imagine each of those points above written in  flaming, neon font, italicized and underlined and bold. Because that is how I am imagining them.)

When I start thinking like this I wonder how I can ever stop gushing the Good News to everyone I see. Seriously.

I need to quit looking for the good things that can make me feel worthy and look at the good things Christ has done for me.
Instead of finding my identity in my skills or talent or job or relationships I have to find my real identity in the cross.

Cake decorating, designing beautiful wedding venues, flower arranging, etc. are all excellent skills to have. Ones I really, really wish I had right now. But I need to constantly remind myself  that my value is not based on having ( or not having) those talents.
Because all those skills and talents will eventually let you down.You'll lose your ability or get older, or people will disappoint you. The applause and accolades will die down and fade away and then you will have to try more and try harder to get them again.
 True that.
Here is a song by Matthew West that helps remind all of us who we really are.
Enjoy your day! (and if you are helpful planning last minute weddings, hit me up.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014


In case you didn't see the fireworks, standing ovations, marching bands or the military jet celebratory flyovers, my daughter Amy, had her baby last week. It was a joyous, emotionally charged,laughing-mixed-with-crying kind of week.

Amy and Jason went to the hospital Tuesday evening and breath-taking contractions had started every minute by 7:30 AM. By 3:00 PM they broke her water and shortly after began Pitocin. By 5, they administered the spinal epidural.

At 5:30, after an exam, we were told she would have to have a c-section immediately.

Not what she was expecting.

Not what we were expecting.

But, it all worked out and now we have the most gorgeous dumple in the known world.

She has a voracious appetite and a temper that shows itself when she is bathed or her diaper is changed.( Gracelynn, not Amy.)
We love her to the moon and back. (Both of them)

When she was 4 years old When she was close to her due date, Amy began planning her baby's hospital-leaving outfit. She brought three or more choices with her. With matching headbands and booties.
Can you say Fashionista?

I was there at the hospital when the new, sweet little family was packing up to leave, and there was Baby Gracelynn in her hospital issued onesie and wrapped in a faded hospital receiving blanket.

All her sparkly, carefully chosen, obsessed over outfits were packed in the car already and Amy was not feeling terrific yet after her surgery.
"She looks like an orphan-ghetto baby." Amy lamented. But, as exhausted as she was, there was nothing we could do.
(Apologies to any actual orphan-ghetto babies.)

Not what she was expecting that day.

Amy has been absolutely exploding with joy since Gracelynn arrived. She was so made for motherhood.

She said the other day to me that she has never been so happy. In fact, she is so happy it scares her. She almost feels like she is waiting for, or expecting, something bad to happen and the joy to be snatched away from her.

Oh, Amy.
 I so understand that feeling.
If we are honest, we all do.
I have felt like that.

Feeling like I am so happy, but knowing that I don't deserve this happiness. I haven't done anything good enough to earn this happiness.
That something bad must be right around the corner.

 Almost  as if I have stolen joy,like a cookie from the cookie jar, and any minute now, when God starts paying closer attention, He'll  surely realize that I am happier than I should be, than I deserve to be, and He'll make the necessary adjustments.

 I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Who hasn't felt like that, at some time or another?

But here is the thing.

We are God's children.

 Amy, you are beginning to know what it is to have and love your own child. How you would never do anything to hurt her and only want to help her. (sometimes in a frantic, mothery kind of  way)

You are a child of God. (John 1:12)

Does this mean nothing bad will ever happen to you?
Of course not.
But it means you will have your Father, a parent,  with you through it. Carrying you through it. Never leaving you alone for an instant. Watching you, hearing you, loving you, obsessing over you. (Sound familiar?)

A Parent that you can trust with your life because He has your best in mind.
And He doesn't give us what we "deserve." He gives us what is best for us. It won't always look like what we think it should
That's for sure.
But He loves us and we can trust Him.
Believe it.

So let me just end with this.
(And, yes. I know you already know all this stuff. But we have to remind ourselves of it all the time. Daily.Hourly, if possible. Because we are only human beings and we all forget to live like we know it; like we believe it.)

Believing in Jesus is the only religion where you aren't accepted because of how good a life you lived, or how many rules you follow, or how much money you give,how often you attend church, or how many orphans you feed. You are not accepted because of how good you are.

You are loved simply because you believe in Jesus Christ.

Nothing. Else. Counts.

You are His and He is yours. Forever.

All other religions say that God saves the worthy. If you want God's blessing and God's salvation, you must be worthy of it and live a particular kind of life. So, in other words, what saves you is how well you perform and conform to a life of self-denial, love, selflessness, forgiveness, etc.


Jesus says he came NOT to save those who think they are worthy or righteous, but those who know they are sinners.
Paul says in Romans 4 that God saves and justifies the ungodly apart from anything they do.

So, Christianity says that we are saved NOT by our lives and how we lived them, but by HIS.

The crushing burden of having to be worthy, good enough,and trying harder is lifted.

All of our expectations of what we deserve or don't deserve explode in this vision of amazing, crazy, scandalous GRACE. Grace means undeserved favor.

It just makes no sense and doesn't seem fair.

(There are loads of people, sometimes Christian people, who don't like to believe in grace because it isn't fair and doesn't make sense. Grace-haters)

But it is true.

So breathe a sigh of relief and quit waiting for the other shoe to drop.

You didn't get to have Gracie because you did something good and deserve her,and she won't be taken away because you did something wrong at some point.

Gracelynn is simply a gift from God because He loves you.

If you forget this sometimes and find yourself working frantically to be worthy of this gift, just look at your baby and think about her name.
Grace Blaesing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Letter to my daughter

Dear Amy,
My girl, my girl. My own baby girl.
Tomorrow at this time, you'll be checking into the hospital getting ready to do the hard work of bringing your own daughter into this world.

I remember when you were born and, before they even handed you to me, I kept asking if they were sure you were a girl. I wanted you to be a girl so much. I would have asked your Dad, but he was passed out on the floor. I guess that hour or so of labor was a bit much for his sensitive constitution.

I remember how you slept through the night from the moment we brought you home and I used to tip-toe in to check on you and make sure you were breathing and alive. Scary!

I can  still hear your raspy, little girl voice yelling at your brother when he was teasing you unmercifully. He still does that, huh? But I adored your  husky, unique voice so much.

I'm laughing (and tearing up a bit) thinking of your four-year old, pink Osh-Kosh-wearing self weeping as though your heart was breaking when you figured out how long you had to wait before you could have your own baby. (You also did this when you found out how long it would be before you could drive a car, but that is a whole other story.)

That day has arrived. (Cue balloons and fireworks and marching band.)

You always wanted to have a baby and be a mommy. And, now, tomorrow, you'll finally get your wish and your dream. You are going to be such a great Mama. There is no doubt in my mind that God has created you specifically for this important job.

Amy, your life is about to change.

You'll begin to learn out how it feels to love with a mother's love.

 You'll find out how it feels to have your very heart forever go walking around outside your own body. It doesn't even make sense, but it is so accurate.

When your baby girl is happy,you'll be ecstatic.

When she giggles, you will laugh,too.

When she cries, your own eyes will fill with tears. When her heart is broken, you'll feel the sharpest pain in your own heart.

When someone hurts her feelings, your Mama-Bear will be born and come roaring out before you know what even happened. Truth.

When she accomplishes her goals and dreams, you will celebrate and feel as if yours have been achieved.

You will be filled up with pure JOY like you have never have before.

You will be through and through, bone tired like you have never been before.

You'll learn more about the unbelievable depth and the realness of God's love than ever before. You'll find comfort and joy in prayer like you never imagined.Your thankfulness to Him for this blessing will be endless and new every day.

You will put someone else's needs and wants before your own. Every.Single.Time. Without hesitation or question.

Never again will your heart beat only for yourself.

It's just not safe to love like that. Because, at times, it will  hurt.

But it will be worth it.
No question or hesitation.
 It is so worth it.
Love is always worth it.

 And tomorrow you will begin to see the truth of that.

 You are my heart walking around outside my body, and I love you Lumma Loo.
And tomorrow night, at the hospital, you'll finally get to meet your very own heart.
See you soon, best daughter.
Love, Mams

Monday, July 21, 2014

Remodeler's Log: 07/21/2014

It is day five of the master bathroom/bedroom remodel. Up until today we have been not only civil, but kind, patient and courteous. We have kept our sense of humor and encouraged each other.
Well, hello Monday morning.
Today neither of us would be commended on our civility.
Words are direct, short and clipped.
Most of the sounds are hammering, drilling and sawing.
Rod turned his head when I snapped this picture and it is good that the camera did not catch the look in his eyes. I rushed out before he could stop me.

Yesterday when we went to church I was really looking forward to losing myself in worship with God's family and hearing teaching from the book of Galatians.
On the way home, I confessed to Rod that my thoughts kept drifting off to the estate sale coming up, the upcoming new additions to our family and also which flooring to choose.
He said, "I'm not going to lie. I couldn't stop thinking about the bathroom wall."
Yep, we are that focused.
So sad.
We need to be reminded to be kind, loving and patient with each other.
Especially with all these power tools laying around so conveniently.
Have a great Monday!
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