Sunday, December 16, 2012


I wish there were a breathless font. A font that could communicate a whisper. 

I am unable to even process what is going on in my life at this moment. 
This week has left me with an ache in my gut that won't stop. 

I ache for the horror that has happened in my old neighborhood mall...

I ache for the families and children in Newtown....

I ache for my father who is slowly dying, a prisoner in his own body....

and then last night the new ache, a new diagnosis atop the old one, an accelerator revving up the destruction of his brain... his body.... him.

Again. I wish there were a breathless font. It's where I am tonight.

I'm comforted to know Jesus was a man of sorrows.... He understands all of this. All these sucker punches. 

I'm trusting He will help me to sort it out as well. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Love in the Waiting...

Marriage, commitment, devotion, and chronic illness.

I sit this morning in a sanctuary surrounded by the beauty of the season. Glowing golden lights suspended in the air, representations of that Light, that Star that led the way. Trees perfectly placed, boughs laden with white fluff, sending their own light twinkling from deep within.

And yet I see something that shines with a light and warmth so true, so sincere, so beautiful that all else pales in comparison.

There is a man at our church whose wife suffered an aneurysm over a year ago. I did not know this couple before this event, I don't even know this man well now. But I noticed them the first time I sat in this sanctuary 10 months ago. It wasn't because of the wheelchair  or the way she seemed to be asleep throughout the service.


The teaching was on marriage that Sunday. On love. On commitment. I remember seeing this man holding his wife's hand. Not just resting his on hers, but holding onto her hand. Intermittently he would caress her fingers, reposition her arm, covering her hand with his.

It was a poignantly beautiful picture of the words that were being spoken. Devotion and commitment with skin on. Love in the real, painful, day after day waiting.

This morning as I look at the trees in our sanctuary, I visualize that kind of love in an arboreal form. I think of the trees on the rugged coast of Northern California, forced to dig down deep into the ground. To network their root systems and in so doing finding strength that they never would have had alone.

But the thing that strikes me the most this day is their beauty. The constant beating of the wind has forced them to warp and bend. To create a stance and form that never would have happened under circumstances that are mild and calm. People come from all over the world to photograph these trees. To admire their gnarly twisted majesty.

To stand in awe of the ability to adapt and become stronger, even more beautiful in the midst of the beating. And the wind doesn't stop.

I stand in a similar awe today. I see the wind blowing, and it hasn't stopped. Stronger than the wind, more majestic than those awesome trees, I see the love of Jesus in this place. Causing this family to stand. In a strong, adaptive, majestic way. A perfect picture of His devotion, His commitment.

This is Love.

Love in the waiting.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Close Proximity (Copied from my journal) written 12-1-12

This happens a lot. I open the journal and words flood like people through an airport terminal in my brain. I'm not sure what to write.... I know I NEED to, but I'm always so concerned about the message I'm sending, the possibility of hurting someone's feelings, even my handwriting.... And now, my body has decided to finally truly freak out so there is the added concern that my swollen first-finger knuckles won't let me write at all. This seems to be a strong pattern in my life; fear that I'm missing something, doing something wrong, waiting for the 'fly swatter', then ultimately throwing up my hands and giving in to defeat based on the 'knowledge' that I'll never get it right anyway.

Defeated living.

Waking up with a frown in place, muscles tight, ears ringing, stomach ache, pale bloodless hands, in a ditch where joy should be. A ditch that started out as a rut. Then comes a book, a magazine, a devotion, a song... and I hear His voice. I've heard His voice many times in this stumble, crawl, sprint-walk we've been on this last 21 years. He has often had to repeat Himself, one phrase in particular stands out... "Do you trust Me?". The answer has changed several times. Initially it was an emphatic, "Of course I do!". Then a miscarriage, "No, I don't. Why?". Then a decade of abuse and the fire-storm of consequences rained down on me and my children, "Not very well...". Next a divorce, titanic panic attacks, children hurting, acting out of their pain, knee-jerk responses, running from His voice, "I'm too scared to, I can't..... I won't." Then more pain, more consequences, broken hearts, broken dreams, selfish choices, regret, shame, guilt. The deepest part of the rut. I couldn't hear His voice at all.

Then came the wall.

The emotional, physical, spiritual wall. I hit it with the force of a freight train. Months turned into years of strange physical symptoms; mood swings, low blood pressure, inability to swallow, panic, depression, unmaintainable thyroid levels, insomnia, fatigue, hair loss, weight loss, no appetite, muscle spasms, arthritis, TMJ, visual disturbances, and the crowning glory: tinnitus of every variety.
Something inside of me had been sending smoke signals for many years and I had either looked the other direction or closed my eyes altogether. Well, the smoke signal fire had blossomed into a wild fire that threatened to engulf me. Dr. after Dr., specialists, blood work, live imaging. I watched myself wasting away. Unable to swallow anything but the clearest liquids. I lost 17 pounds. 17 pounds that were not extra by any means.

All the momentum of my sin, the consequences of my rash decisions, the stress of legal battles, the abuse, the loss, the heaviness all finally threw it's weight right into my throat.

I remember wondering, as I closed my half-open eyes at night, if I would awake the next morning. Feeling my heart pound out it's slow, hard, beat that rang in my ears... at times it would be at 50 beats per minute. Some of those beats so haltingly that it seemed there were no guarantee of the next one. The sensation I recall most acutely though, is the nearness and the tenderness of the Lord. At the most desperate point in that acute 2 month span I heard Him clearly... First, "You are forgiven. Completely." Then, "I love you. I'm here." And finally, "I will renew and revive you." All the while the sound of this whisper, "Trust me", came filtering in and out like the sound of the waves rolling gently, constantly on the sands of my heart.

I had the opportunity to respond, "Help me to trust you, Lord." Then, "I want to trust You, Lord." Then, "Take my fear and guilt and shame. My hands are so full of their residue that I can't hold onto Yours." Then, "I trust you Lord." Wince... "I trust you Lord." Gritted teeth. "I trust you Lord" But let me help you out with this mess, that child, this man, my life...

Renew and revive He did, only to find me sprinting ahead in short bursts... with the end result always being me snuggled up the wall I hit before. Never with that same intensity, but always ending up in close proximity to it.

Fast forward to now... several months ago strange symptoms began to creep back in, with some new ones to keep things interesting. I smelled 'smoke' but went looking for water in the wrong places. Again, unmaintainable thyroid levels persisted, white hands and face, hair loss, weight loss, foggy thinking, depression, irritability, suicidal thoughts, louder tinnitus, chest pain, muscle spasms near seizure intensity, and no appetite. Doctor visits became weekly, blood work, dosage changes, prayer for answers, dead ends with lab results, MD's stumped, no energy, kids frustrated, husband scared and tired (again), and responsibilities and obligations mounting like fresh snow fall on Mt. Baker. With joints swollen, head ringing, muscles wound tight, I seek His voice. He speaks to me, "Have your magnesium checked." And, "Go to this Naturopath." Then, "Buy this book." And in reading Lucado's GRACE, I heard Him speak loud and clear, "You can rest now." 

Those words hit me like a brick. The tears flowed instantly.

"YOU can rest NOW."

I'm realizing that rest and trust go hand in hand. Trusting the He is in control, that everything that needs to happen will, trusting that He is more than able to watch over and reach my loved ones. Trusting that He is able to carry me and that His promises ARE true. Only when I relax in that trust can I truly rest. Laying down with a head full of worries and a heart full of doubt makes for tossing and turning, there's no rest in that. So, one step at time, in step with Him, learning to breath in His rest, and breath out Faith. Just as our dog Louie the Meatball needs a gentle leader harness to remind him that he doesn't have to be on guard, that he really isn't in charge, to RELAX. My sweet Gentle Leader is doing the same for me. Each pain, swollen joint, with every tone only audible only to me, I hear trust, rest, trust, rest.

" God my Shepherd!
I don't need a thing
You have bedded me down
In lush meadows,
You find me quiet pools
To drink from.
True to Your Word,
You let me catch
My Breath
And send me in the
Right direction."

 From Psalm 23 (MSG)

Adrenal fatigue, anemia, arthritis, hypo-thyroidism.... all His messengers. All the same message, "You must rest now. You will rest now. You CAN rest now."

Thursday, June 7, 2012


My weakness is not a surprise to Jesus.

I know that that sounds ridiculous, nothing is a surprise to Him.
I, however, have felt like a failure, frustrated, and disappointed when faced with my own frailty.

Today the Lord showed me that He actually rejoices when we discover our weaknesses. 
That He intends for us to recognize them and become dissatisfied with our own 







He loves it that when we realize that our own strength only drives us to a dead end, He is there to carry us.
That when we have used the last ounce of our own cleverness and wit, He offers true wisdom.
When ideas are all scattered on the ground and there are no thoughts but hopeless ones, He renews our minds and gives a new perspective.
Time after time our efforts leave us exhausted and frustrated, He says "Rest".
Plans for your marriage, plans for your children, plans for your health, your finances, your home, you.... slip right through your hands and down the drain... He offers guidance and direction, a way back through redemption.
Self. Coming to the end of it is quite a process. More resilient than Morning Glory... more versatile than blackberry bushes in the North West ..... the clear call is to die, to die to self, to lay it all down... to live in Him.

I'm truly starting to see my weakness as a good thing. Like a road sign, pointing me back to the Savior every time. Like a need for nourishment, or a deep thirst, the message is clear....

I need You.

I need You.

I need You. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

I just want to be Normal......

There I was, comparing my outsides to everyone else's insides. Always a bad game to play.

It's something that I've done since I was a young child.

Sitting in the auditorium at my elementary school on performance night wondering where my dad was.
Where he'd been.
Why he wasn't here, again.

And the examples go on and on.

I don't dwell on the specifics of my past much, it isn't pleasant by a long shot, and I have the assurance that the Lord is indeed working it all together for good.....

..... but every once in a while..... WHAM! It hits me like a lightning bolt..... how broken my life has been. The focus becomes really sharp on how fragmented my life is, how much pain my children have had to endure, how much I STILL struggle emotionally at times....

And then the words:


Tonight was a bit different than the previous times that I have dwelt on those words....

I began to think about what I would have missed in my life had I not had the broken, fragmented life I've had....

Like knowing to the innermost part of me that my Father in Heaven is truly MY FATHER, because He is the only one I had for so long....

Like feeling His arms around me holding me like a child as I fell asleep when the pain was more than I could bear.

Like hearing His voice so clearly comforting, correcting, and guiding me when there was no human who I could turn to.

In my loneliness He has shown me His constant Love.

In my all consuming pain He has shown me His comfort.

In my betrayal and abandonment He has shown me His faithfulness.

In my wounding He has shown me His healing hand.

In my rebellion He has shown me His kindness.

And in my brokenness He shows me grace.

Oh the lessons and transformation that has come from the fractures and pain.

Looking back, I wouldn't trade any of it for 'Normal'.

(Not that I honestly believe it exists.... other than a setting on my dryer...)

Thank you Lord for using the brokenness to show me who You are.

I wouldn't want it any other way.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Through the Fire...

We all have our own versions of what I'm about to share. Our own seasons of fire. 
Everyone, all of humanity does.

I'm just so unbelievably thankful that as a Christian the burning has a purpose.
To Refine.

Not just to wreak havoc. Bring Chaos. Devastate. Shatter. Destroy.

No, to rid of impurity. To reveal what is beneath. 

I had a vision a bit ago, (and as an artist I get them often), a vision that helped me to understand something in a deeper way. 

There was heat all around me, the kind of heat you can see. Not fire necessarily, more like the kind of heat wave that you see on hot pavement in the middle of August.

As the heat moved from my head to my feet, my physical exterior became thinner and thinner. In some spots less opaque, some near transparent, some just.... gone. 

And in the places you could see through, or in the absence of my flesh...
there was Gold.

I wasn't in any pain, and the Gold was so pure it was reflective.

There was movement in the reflection, but I couldn't make it out. 


I know that this probably sounds gruesome to a degree, but it wasn't sci-fi yuck at all. 

It was beautiful. 

These last few years have had much fire, in many forms, and my husband and I have sought to follow Jesus even if it meant walking right through the middle. 

On more than one occasion, it has.

We have come out the other side of these fires with a better understanding of His faithfulness, His constancy, His provision, and His unfathomable Love. 

He is enough.

Life is full of fires. All shapes and sizes. 

But if a pure reflective Gold is the end result, then praise Him!


it is.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Stretched so that they might bear fruit...

I was at a great informational meeting, (about organic family farming in our area), with my sweet mom-in-love this week when I heard that concept.....

Stretched so that they might bear fruit.

It hit me like a verbal frying pan when I heard the farmer that was speaking say it. There was much deeper meaning that the Lord was speaking to me than shaping young apple trees into a particular position.

As the farmer spoke about the process of stretching the young trees into specific shapes so that they might bear a better harvest of fruit in the future, the Lord began to allow images of the last many years into my mind.

Painful images, sad images, hard images, and current trying images as well. He spoke to me about the process of 'stretching' that is going on in my life. That has been going on since before I even knew Him. He, as the perfect Farmer, has been stretching and pruning and positioning, even re-planting, for years. All because He knows the good fruit he has intended for my life, and for the lives of those around me.

The stretching is so that they might bear fruit.

Then I began to envision the process of the stretching as described by the farmer. The potential braces, wires, tools, and most important of all.... the hands that would be skillfully and purposefully moving and bending the branches.

The Hands.

I thought of the Lord's hands. Nail scarred hands. Hands that have touched the leper, the prostitute, the blind, the hopeless. His Hands.

The Hands of Jesus.

His hands hold the World. His hands knit me together in my mother's womb. The same hands that reach out to the broken, weak, and weary. THOSE hands are shaping me into the exact person that I need to be to bear the fruit that He has had planned since before time.

All the tension.

All the breakage.

All the stretching, and wounding, and healing.....

It's all stretching me into a shape.

Into His Shape.

So that I might bear fruit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I got my Washington State Driver's License today.....

I am such a girl.

I don't often admit that, but it is so true.

I looked at my Driver's License photo today and the first thought through my head was, "WOW. I sure have aged a lot in the last 2 years...."

It bothered me for a bit. Well, more than a bit.... but then I began to give my feelings and thoughts over to the Lord about it.....

.... and He began to show me all the beautiful ways that He has 'aged' me in the last few years.

He has matured my trust in His faithfulness.

He has grown my love for his Word.

He has caused my desire to obey Him to increase by leaps and bounds.

He has expanded my view of who He is to me, and who He is to my children.

He has broken and mended my heart in more ways than I can describe.

He has carried me when my strength was gone, restored me, and underlined the fact that He does not despise weakness.

There is so much more that He has done, and WAY more that He is doing......

Thank you Department of Licensing!

Apparently I need the reminder!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Looking back...

Looking back is hard.

There is pain in the foreground. Lots of it. But not looking at all isn't the right thing either. Amidst the rubble of the past are treasures. Things and people seemingly lost, just waiting to be remembered and found.

It's all about the right perspective and focus.

I have to have Christ-tinted lenses to enable me to see things accurately.

Once in place, I begin to recognize that the work of making all things new has begun.

Thankful. So thankful that He is faithful and completes what He has started.

And what He begins is always Good.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Create in Me A Clean Heart...

Or at least one that beats normally.

My son Gabe has been having heart issues for years. Probably 4 years. But no one knew it until his symptoms were severe and required medical attention immediately.

There's much more to his story, but I want to think about the first part. The part about how something was very wrong for years but no one suspected until it became excruciatingly uncomfortable.

How many times in my life have I ignored or excused away the 'symptoms' of something much deeper. Serious spiritual 'heart' issues.





The list could go on and on.

Uncomfortable has a way of forcing me to cry out to the Great Physician for help. He knows better than anyone how desperately I need healing. How I need sin to be ablated in my heart of hearts.

Oh Lord, thank you for being so faithful and patient to show me those areas that I might have an opportunity to release them to Your Hand.

Truly Lord, only You can Create In Me A Clean Heart.