Becoming Known

Life is hard….and there’s a whole lot of us just trying to survive these days… to make it through without getting injured or injuring others.

We wear our scars hidden, covering them up in shame.

But healing comes when we expose and allow them to be known.

I was sitting in a counselor’s office the other day doing a bit of that myself. 
Because if we don’t heal the hurt it ends up hurting us and others too.

Anxiety I’ve battled for so long, I thought I’d beaten has been whipping me lately. 
Most the time I don’t like to speak of it.
I blame it on the busy or the stress. 
It somehow sounds a little less shameful.

But this year as the holidays are unfolding I realized a consistent theme and decided to get curious …

It’s funny how sometimes we think we aren’t broken up enough to need help, but truth is we’re all carrying a whole lot of it around these days.
Our chests tighten from the pressure within while we tell ourselves to just keep on breathing. 

But whether I give it words or not it still exists…

Many times we don’t want to appear broken, yet there’s something inside us that desires to be seen and cared for.

Did you know the Hebrew understanding of ‘knowing someone’ attaches itself to the idea of caring for them?
I just learned this…and it’s blowing my mind!
{thank you lisajobaker@outoftheordinarypodcast}

You see, most of us just want to be known and cared for without revealing ourselves.
We want our pain tended to, acknowledged and to be loved through it…but we are so afraid of how we might be sized up, so we resist speaking it. 

Are you known like this?

Perhaps it begins….
when we choose to push pause on our busyness and press into another’s heart. 

I want to live like this…

And I’m learning when I do—layers get peeled back and souls get seen. 
Courage rises and warriors get birthed.

The times I’ve felt the loneliest in my life was during bleak seasons of isolation when for one reason or another I didn’t vulnerably expose myself. 
Times I even tried to hide from God…

Truth is<>
-I’ve spent more years hiding than choosing to be seen.

-I’ve believed there was greater protection in secret spaces than inside sacred community.

-I’ve shamed myself when what I really needed to give myself some love.

-I ran away when I needed to be embraced.

God has been letting me see the beauty that grows in healthy spaces of vulnerability.
He’s showing me the refinement of His Spirit seeps into the deep spaces of my soul and has the power to restore.
I am finding my worth in being truly known, loved and cared for by God.

Sure love still comes with a great risk, but the un-breaking of our soul allows us to be known and cared for.

There was a lie that was strewn across the landscape of my life…I was told to never tell. 

They were the things you didn’t speak of. 
But this is a trap of our enemy…he’d rather keep us sunk in untruth, shackled to our past than for us to be known. 

And we believe if we don’t speak it, 
-if we bury it far enough below, it’ll die. 

But friends, this isn’t true.

When shame is given words, it loses its power and beauty grows where brokenness once lived.

These days— I’m choosing to live in the tender places of authentic love, cultivating life rather than letting things die…seeking truth instead of lies, because in the end I’d rather be known than never be found every.single.time. 

Thursday’s Thread: Looking past our pain

Stories get written from brave moments we choose to live in.

Life has been hitting me hard lately…there’s not been one exclusive event that has crashed into our home- its been more like a continuous stream of small things that seem to be lasting longer than I’d like. 

Seasons of hard can sometimes be dangerous if we choose to let them drift us away rather than causing us to tread water…it’s far too easy for us to fall into despair.

Forgetting there was a time we weren’t struggling and the hard we’re currently in will  one day cease. 

So, as I woke up  this morning and told myself to muster up some strength a strand of hope by listing particles of gratitude.

My perspective was drastically changed when a string of texts and an urgent call came in…

It’s strange how what seems so big in our lives shrinks in the presence of greater need…I’ve been told my whole life when something hurts real badly if you cause pain in another part of your body it will dull it.

It’s funny but it’s true…

As I found myself this morning thrown into someone else’s pain-mine dulled…
I found a friend whose hurt was so deep it caused gasping breaths and tears to flow as I hung onto them tightly. 

You see, although we might have battles we’re fighting of our own-
there’s a whole lot of brave being mustered up around us.

I was faced to release what was building within my own aching chest to feel the brutally hard others were facing today-

This is the place our heart meets others in these tangled places of vulnerability….when we connect in ways we don’t entirely understand but for some reason it doesn’t matter because what does is why we’re lingering longer in their broken arms.

Friends, we may not be able to take the pain away but we can somehow ease it by ceasing our overcrowded lives and walking beside them…their pain is our invitation to come….it requires us to hang on, to be present and engaged.

To begin remembering some of what we’ve been forgetting lately…

To remember life won’t always be like this and hasn’t always been as it is.

To remember the hard we’re currently fighting through will get better…

Because healing always comes…

And although life is hard and painfully messy at times,
this is the kind of crazy stuff stories are written in…
brave tales we trade and the exact ones that give us compassion to pour into another’s life…to help us sit on broken knees as we beg God to intercede-

You see sweet ones,
without brokenness there is no need for healing and no imminent need for God in our lives. 

Our brokenness intertwines our lives with humanity as it so beautifully invites Christ in.

Last night my husband fought a battle of his own as his sugars sank into a deep low…the kind that can hurl worse things to come. 
He fights his own kind of brave every day as his body tries to make sense of this broken world we live in.
Yet so many days we can forget its there…forget he’s fighting this battle.

And I’m reminded of years ago when this crazy road began and it landed him into the hospital. 
He was so sick at the time we didn’t fully see his room mate who was hidden behind a curtain dividing their room.

But it happened the next morning when I came into their room and found out that the man on the other side of the curtain had spent the entire night whispering brave words of hope into my man’s ear. 
As my husband groaned through his pain in the night this audacious man trickled encouragement through their curtain.
He told my guy he would be okay and the worst of it would soon be over. 

We could all use some brave souls who call us to the finish line…

If this wasn’t enough though there’s more…
For this one who was fighting his own brave battle on the other side of the curtain that was kind enough to get past his own suffering and love on my guy all through that long night…he was climbing a mountain of his own…
-as I drew back the curtain that morning and exposed this dear man my heart sank into my chest as I found a man laying in a bed, who was missing all of his limbs from the diabetes.
A man whose wife also bore this disease and who was never able to have children because of its wreckage. 
Yet this one daring soul chose to vulnerably love my husband all the night through…I couldn’t have hugged him tighter!

I’ve never been more beautifully affected by a person than this day—and it’s these things that help me to remember what I seem to be forgetting lately. 

To remember we can truly love others with even the tiniest bit of what we have.

To remember my stuff may be hard but there’s others that have it even harder.

To remember the night may be painfully long but in the morning there comes a reason to be grateful.

And when we do all this pausing to remember,  
it has a beautiful way of helping us see our world with fresh new eyes.

Thursday’s Thread

Hey you-
you got a minute?

I need you to take a moment and stop what you’re doing.

I need you to hear this because this is life….it’s your life.

Sure our lives may not be at all the same.
Perhaps yours isn’t going the way you expected, in fact maybe it’s a little rough or it could be that you’re living the best life you’ve ever dreamed of living.

And if so, although that may be true and real for you right now-
It’s in moments like these that anything can change and it’ll still be the one life you’ve got left to live. 

—–

It was about three years ago, that a fierce north wind blew into mine and it nearly took my breath away.
I was sitting in a quaint coffee shop designing my first blog with a friend when I got a call that changed the trajectory of my family. 

We’ve always been a family of twelve, but one was fighting for their life. 
My Mom was in surgery because her aorta was bleeding out and it didn’t look good. 

You see change has a way of blowing into our lives and it’s here we make the decision how it’ll affect us. 

—–

Well, now….I have something that’s been circling back around and its something I think you’ll want to know.

There’s days, I wish someone had been there to tell me the changes we’d walk through.

I’ve been told I offer too much and not enough at times…so here’s one I’m going to bravely step out in and hand you in hopes you’re a little like me, just waiting for it to be said.

About five years ago when my life was in a rough spot.
When it felt full and overwhelming-
I realized in these moments, I was doing so much of it wrong…
when disappointing others and insecurities were ruling my life;
I cared more about what others thought than even my own interests and desires.

That’s when I knew something needed to change… 
So, I took a deep look within and started speaking out fear…reaching for others rather than shutting them down and chasing feelings that ruled my life. 

I began finding who I was and not who others wanted me to be and what I noticed was,
I began to heal and change.

The strange thing about change though, is when we draw a line in the sand others sometimes want to come and wipe it away…

Because we’re not the only thing shifting-
change has a vicious way of rippling out and affecting all sorts of layers…
and as we begin to grow and change our relationships and how we do life changes too.

It’s funny how something that feels so good for us on the inside can wreak havoc on our outer world, but it does. 

We often do our lives as if change is written by us.
As if, we get to choose when someone dies or walks out on us.

But truth is
-the only thing we get to change…is ourselves.

How we respond through change….

Like when we’ll get up and walk again or take that deep breath that keeps us from passing out, when we’ll find healing for our shattered heart and whether we’ll choose forgiveness over a heart that rots us out.

You see, I’m going to fail people and let them down.
Because being the best doesn’t always happen and very rarely shows up in my life. 

I’m not always the best of friends…I’m not very easy to figure out or easy to love…

I often go to the wrong things and people to fill the deep well that burrows within…

I fear failure so many times I won’t even try…

I’m the first to leave a hard situation and disappoint the ones I love…

I struggle through grief wrestling between loving deeply and grieving even deeper.

But what I’ve found on the other side is we don’t really like change and sometimes we even resist it…but here’s what I want you to know it might be hard to change-
but you should do it anyway… set your fear aside.

Sure sometimes your heart will ache and keep you awake in the dark but whether you see it or not growth is happening. 

And as it does…you’ll heal, you’ll grow and you’ll find the strength to do that thing you’ve been so afraid to step into. 

You’ll discover it’s okay to be you and even better-you’ll learn you like the you that you’re becoming. 

Because although there will always be space for growth within us, if we choose to walk in the continuous rhythm of being changed by God we’ll find we won’t be changing who we were meant to be, but becoming who He intended for us to be all along…and in the end that’s how life is meant to be lived.

Because friends, I’ve found there’s nothing greater in life than one human being sacrificing their pain and discomfort for their love of many… 

Thursday’s Thread

It was an early morning and I was sitting in an old medical clinic in Mexico circled around a group of humans all called there for different reasons when one of them jokingly referred to me as ‘the first lady’. 

Funny thing I didn’t even know who he was talking to. 

You see I’ve heard it before and every time it takes me for a loop. 

I don’t think of myself as that.

My husband happens to be a minister and that sweet soul was saying it as a term of endearment but for me it’s a tagline everything in me wants to lose.

We’ve been doing this thing for over 30 years. 

Not looking for titles or positions of honor,
just doing what we love the most.

The thing that makes our hearts pound the hardest…

Truth is the title had a nice ring-
but there’s too many expectations following that thing which I’ve spent a lifetime running from. 

I’ve always struggled with wanting to be seen, known and yet unseen. 

The strangest mixture of desires.

Truth is most people know my life as it is….
4 sons doing what we love,
passionately living out lives of purpose,
a man beside me who I’ve given my life to and

that day crossing borders to a place I’ve longed to travel and trading stories with people..
this is the ME they see and know. 

Yet there’s so much unknown to this view…
as we post filtered pictures of meticulous settings,
art linked with popular hashtags,
perfectly chosen moments of interaction
-what is it we expect people to see?

And not everyone’s ready to carry our stuff….
To know the realness of our pain.

For there’s really no space to live completely wide open when we only have seconds to exchange in our day. 

Whenever I’m referred to by a position rather than my name I am so tempted to open the pages of my story and share some of the disturbing details.

The ones which really outline who I am…

the fact I haven’t lived for Jesus for a lifetime,
in fact out of all the people in my high school I was the one leading people down paths of destruction,
how I spent years of my life harming myself in hopes to find beauty,

how I am the girl you would have kept your daughters from and your sons as well,
that even after I came to know Jesus I spent hours a day hating on myself,
that jealousy and comparing has owned a piece of my heart,
that I often said all the wrong things to my kids,
that I spanked them when I was angry, that my kids have carried a lot of pressure to be who others have expected them to be, that I’ve lived more of my life pleasing others than freely living, that I’ve said hurtful and hateful things during periods of pain and how loss has owned my life. 

Yet I know so many are not ready to hear the ugliness of this truth for I know how overwhelming it is to thrust such a load on others.

We’re not usually looking to know each other to this depth…. 

This woman who sat there in their midst that day was not the woman I am….a frayed child so often of times. 
A woman longing to be loved and to be fully known and although I know I am a child of God,
I continue to struggle so many days.

If only they knew,
I am nothing of the ‘first lady’ material…
for if others saw us as we are….
if we opened our hearts for others to see inside instead of posting polished portraits of lives we desire to live

-if we flashed unfiltered pictures of naked truth,
what would they see? 

Last night while scrolling away I saw a picture of someone gone viral exposing her scars for others to come alive where they feel dead. 
The kind of photo that sends chills down your spine and causes eyes to look away,
not the kind of beauty we’ve been trained to like….
the plasticity we’ve come to prefer instead
it was a body ravaged by suffering and pain…scars exposed and undone. 

I wonder what would happen if we came to life each day with this kind of exposure…
we’d see a different person looking back at us.
I’ve always been fearful of living like this and being unaccepted or rejected.

I’ve wasted years of my life anxious about what others think of me.

I’ve been more consumed with myself than others.

I hate being unliked. 

I speak even when I have nothing to say to end silence in a room.

I’ve spent many of my mothering days feeling inadequate and ‘not enough’.

I thought my husband could never find me beautiful for all the days of our life.

And I stand amazed at how many times he says I take his breath away!

I am embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve ached and cried over other’s perceptions of me. 

I once thought a suitable place for me was on the streets.

I spent years starving myself hoping to be noticed.

For years I did anything to be accepted and liked.

I am terribly afraid of mice and once unashamedly stood on my counter until my husband came home hours later. 

I wanted to become a psychologist because I couldn’t make sense of the mess inside my head. 

I struggled for years with God because of the broken people who followed Him. {and now I am one of them. Lol}

I hate being lied to and fear not seeing it when it happens. 

I have a heart that gets easily broken by hurtful words.

I love deeply and grieve even more deeply.

Titles can’t describe me. 
Taglines won’t follow me.
And none of this will probably give me a book on NY’s best sellers list.

Yet all of these tell my story that I will spend a lifetime trading. 

Helping brave souls find the courage to expose and trade their story regardless of how many followers they have or likes they get. 

Trading stories because that’s what we were made for.
To live our lives out loud and vulnerably. 

So, hit enter my friend on your story and let it get published…

No more standing in the dark, for you are not isolated or separated from the rest of us-your story matters and needs to be heard!

Thursday’s Thread

There’s a saying somewhere out there that says….
some people feel the rain’, 

Well, I’m one of those people.

I feel the rain, not merely the wetness of it but I feel it deep within my bones. 

All of my knee surgeries in junior high are what I have to thank for this.

The Dr told me I was born with broken knee caps….

It’s something that was handed down to me…who gets gifted with brokenness?

This confirmed the brokenness Id been limping around on for months…

The diagnosis also validated what I feared -that I was indeed born broken.

There’s more to this story….you see,
I grew up afraid of love-
Terrified to open my heart up to someone who might one day cause it unbearable pain. 
I was scared that the person I fell in love with would eventually fall out of love with me. 
I feared with everything I was –I’d never be enough.

And I was certain two people couldn’t stay in love for a lifetime.

Id seen how love could spoil and turn into bitternesshow it shattered hearts within its spaces.

So, I decided to not get in its way…and declared I’d never marry. 

But then something happened…
someone‘s kindness captured me and showed me the other side of love.

He reached inside my wounded heart and loved every bit of brokenness I owned

He remained faithful even when I believed a man never could…He restored my view of men and has helped heal my once shattered pieces.

He and God together are showing me what love really is...oh to feel it even in the midst of the aches it can bring.

…even in the hard & holy moments when life gets messy and love hurts, I am reminded how loving something can also bring the ache of brokenness with it.  

It’s funny how this is…
But its real…as soon my hip and knee start to ache I’ll hear the pitter patter of raindrops outside my window.

And my heart swells two sizes bigger as rain has a way of doing this to me.

It’s as if the pain shooting up my leg is numbed from the beauty of a rainy day.

The pressure that builds up somehow escapes when I’m listening to the drumming of rain.

It’s as if rain has always had a special way of keeping my heart in rhythm and reminding me how even the best things in life come with some aches and pains. 

There’s something about loving others and feeling the coming on of rain that has a way of reminding us just how human we really are…

Thursday’s Thread

I love cooking and feeding people…

I love filling tables with delicious food and sitting for hours picking at it until my belly and heart are full.

I love the conversations that encircle tables and the beautiful moments hearts connect through stories. 

Funny thing is I spent many years dodging food and escaping tables.

It had become a battle for me…

Food & I had broken up when I realized it left me feeling inadequate and broken.

The person I was and who I thought I needed to be was always waging war against me.

I was 14,
when I first remember no longer fitting into the words that people once used to describe me.


My body was going through its natural changes but I found myself gripped with fear as I strived to fit into a perfect size…


I had no idea what exactly that meant and when it would end

-I just knew it wasn’t who I was.

The problem with comparing ourselves to others is the measurement is forever changing.

~This battle warred deep within my inner self and set up camp in my mind for many years…

I longed to be noticed and discovered…I wanted to be known as beautiful…to be accepted and to be popular….to never feel the pain of being left out.

I wanted the perfect body I didn’t have to work for…

I even remember being nominated for prettiest once to only lose to someone prettier.

So, I sought attention in other ways….
I strived to be the best athlete…to really stand out amongst the crowd,
yet I never seemed to be good enough.
….my inner voice was always telling me someone was ‘better’.

I wanted friends who liked me for who I was deep inside and not for the spot I earned on the court.

I yearned to be chosen…to not be compared one more time with my beautiful sisters who seemed to always be turning heads and getting glances…to stand out in the crowd and be fully seen.
I longed to wake up and fully know who I was and to know what it was I was created for…the start of what I had spent so much time waiting for.

…..

To say I’m past it all would be false.
That just because I know who I am and whose I am
– it’s disappeared.

I wake up more often than I like to admit worrying more than trusting God,
struggling to know I’m enough for my world…my people and all the things that come knocking on my door.

I sometimes go throughout my day forgetting His truth and what He says of me, somedays I do more grieving losses than counting blessings,
I spend too much time worrying about what others think of me and wandering through my days rather than living my life on purpose.

…..

I bet many of you feel the very same way;
perhaps we look differently and feel differently,
our struggles may not be each other’s,
but the basic ideas haunt your inner thoughts too. 

I know because I’ve listened to gobs of women and young girls spill out their hearts on this matter.

…Somewhere in your past or present there’s a desire;
like mine
-to really matter.

Even though we’re children of God we will still possess the scars we’ve collected along the way.

Scars that mar our appearance and make straight lines appear crooked.
Ones that we’ve gathered from varied seasons of pain and words thrown us like a plague.

But there’s a few things I’ve learned about this…

Scars invite others into our story.

I was once told that my scars from three knee surgeries would never be seen as beautiful.

Since I was little I’ve been warned that scars were to be avoided.

I was told they indicate imperfection.

But that’s not true….
scars always appear after seasons of greatest bravery and courage.

Impressions of the biggest battles ever fought.

We all carry around a little imperfection that we bury far below.

Well, friend its high time we allow our scars to tell the stories of the brave lives we’ve lived.

Of how our BIG God has done some amazing things to turn our once dead end lives into a lives full of passion and purpose.

Where we let our scars speak comfort into another’s pain.
Where when pressed up against ours they somehow feel the scars of our Savior who also bears scars upon His hands.

His wounds given for us to have life.

We find a closeness in the breaking of bread and the breaking of hearts…for it’s here we become one with our Father and He becomes one with our world
-as we share in His suffering in some small way.

You see, when our scars meet another’s it’s here in these sacred moments they’re able to receive the healing they need…

In caring for other’s brokenness,
while exposing our own,
we become a way for others to meet God in flesh.

In the sharing of scars, we get the privilege of participating in the healing of another’s pain.

For those who know the deepest pain of brokenness are able to speak some of the bravest words to those crying out in the night.

I know because I once remember listened to a young girl emaciated from starving herself tell me of how it all began.
As I listened I saw images of myself.
Her wounded heart, her fears and her insecurities that were buried down deep.

She wanted her life to be over.
And as we spoke throughout the months & years ,
I kept pressing my scars up against hers letting her feel that I was real.
I worried my imperfections would somehow send her running away but its funny how God can use the offerings we bring to the table.

She’s finding her way as we all seem to be doing…
Because there’s nothing easy about uncovering what we’ve been hiding and
telling others how we’ve hated our bodies and starved ourselves all because of a skewed image we sought.

We often share pieces of ourselves that are easiest to reveal…
that we think others will accept.
We forget we all have beasts that whirl around in our minds and portray  the lies we believe.

…..

My prayer is that we will see ourselves in the beauty we’ve been created for…
that our scars will be our brave battle wounds speaking of God’s grace and how we survived. 

I pray that we as women can embrace and celebrate one another wholeheartedly rather than from places of competition and inadequacy. 

One soul aching and one healing…

May we really see ourselves as we were created to thrive and love others more deeply than ever before!

Thursday’s Thread

For years my husband and I have been taking broken things and making them new.
But even when I was younger I felt banded together with brokenness, somehow drawn to it.  I’m not exactly sure where this came from, I suppose it’s the brokenness that I’ve always felt fastened to; a deep desire within to restore something back to its intended purpose. It’s the same reason many years ago when a sweet older lady Billi  gave me an antique teacup with a chip in it, I treasured it. She told me it was a reminder that everyone carries around some cracks and brokenness within them.

This was a marker of discovering my brokenness with new eyes…It had always been with me I was just scared to uncover it. A deep seeded fear that if I exposed my brokenness others would see it and deem me somehow less valuable
….that I’d end up being tossed aside.

We see our brokenness as a place of rejection rather than a place where love is embraced.

It’s happening right now as I walk through this year of losses.
As the grief rises to the surface I try to snuff it out feeling like it’s been long enough that I should be over it by now. But the triggers pass through my hands as one holiday leads to another and I am reminded of the losses daily.
Grieving how time has changed is a starting point to look into our losses.
Every reminder is an opportunity to break vulnerability wide open even with the risk of being found out.

I often wonder…
What if I didn’t shudder at its presence and withdraw?
What if I looked at brokenness as a way to my Father’s love & healing?
Brokenness becomes a way to God’s loving restoration rather than a place for fear.

Billi’s words were ringing in my ears….she didn’t want me to know I was broken but that my road through brokenness was to my Father’s loving arms.
Wow, yes brokenness reminds us of our need for a Savior.
What if we didn’t live our days afraid of exposure, fearing where we are shattered and splintered, trying to hide the ugliness of our brokenness?

So much brokenness inside the walls of every home…in the ministry we often get invited into other’s tender spaces of their hearts and sometimes it’s more than I can bear. My heart hurts with them and I so just want to stop the bleeding. But I am finding these days sometimes the bleeding slows down from just my presence….just in the showing up. Last night I was reminded of this as we split God’s word wide opened and traveled through its pages, so much wealth exists in one book. 
A statement was shared and it cut deep within my own hurt…

‘Sometimes as Christians we have to believe for others what is too hard for them to believe on their own.’

Yep friend this is where its at. 
Sometimes there’s so much hurt oozing from our heart we miss the opportunity to enter into another’s brokenness and show them God’s faithfulness. 
Perhaps their hearts are just needing to be massaged with the love of our heavenly Father.
Oh friends, if only we could see brokenness through the lens of our Father’s eyes who sees it as an opportunity instead of a place of shame or division. 

Just like Joe and I love broken things, we even go to great lengths searching for these treasures, so does our heavenly Father. He sometimes travels long and exhausting roads in  pursuit of us to make us new!
The same exhilarating feeling we get when we discover something placed upon a shelf and give it re-new-ed purpose
—>God feels this too when one of us who are broken surrenders to His healing and restoration.

Our purpose gets birthed through brokenness!

My friend, Billi is gone and I may have failed to let her know how valuable her words were that day, in fact I’d do anything to get a day, a conversation back with her and tell her the impact her words and life had on me. For when she spoke her goodness over me I was so covered up in brokenness. I was the one who woke up with shame and went to bed with even more as my broken edges cut the ones closest to me. I wandered through my days striving more than receiving and yet crawled into bed every night and cried myself to sleep. You see brokenness has a way of speaking lies over us when God is trying to tell us how much He loves us. Billi had a way with her presence, it was in hers I felt truly seen and loved. That was God using her to remind me of His love. For God truly loves the brokenhearted and desires them to be brought back to life.

This is what God did with His very own Son….
His love got split wide open for us…broken to be made new.

I sometimes wonder why I shudder at my brokenness rather than seeing it as an opportunity for my story to be told…a place for restoration…there’s no better brokenness to tell the story of Jesus’ love in our lives than the remnant of our brokenness that lies beneath our skin for it’s here God’s imprint on our lives is seen for our wounds become His story of love and restoration.   

Thursday’s Thread

As we recently drove all over the coast of Maine where I grew up, I thought about how impactful ONE decision can be in one’s life.

Years ago I knew my life wasn’t headed in the right direction.
There was too much brokenness needing a whole lot of healing more than I’d found.
I longed for relief from the pain that was pooling deep within…some people really never find the healing their hearts are looking for…I wondered where I’d end up in it all.

My husband leaned over as we were making our way toward Boston we were both stealing glimpses of the colorful trees out the window, who were giving us a sneak peek of their fall foliage. My husband thoughtfully apologized for stealing me away from the beauty of this place I once called home. What he didn’t realize was if he hadn’t found me thirty some years ago wandering through life I wouldn’t have been given the life I now have.
The chance to live free… to break out of the cocoon I had wound myself in, sheltering my heart from any additional pain.

Funny how our lives crashing into one another back then eventually became the wholehearted healing I was needing. The ministry God called me to was the very thing God used to draw me closer to Him.

Not all brokenness curses us for a lifetime sometimes it’s just for a season that we limp.

That ONE decision I made to follow God’s leading so long ago bumped me straight into the one I gave my love to for a lifetime doing what I love.  

When all this happened my life was in such a shattered mess…the numbing of pain, the days striving for approval and scrubbing away any hint of abuse, feeling so used up and believing lies I was nothing special, always hiding in the shadow and never feeling seen.
A lonely girl who longed to be found while all the time I didn’t know what my life really needed.

Not sure how quickly a life gets off course but thankful God’s able and willing to redirect us.

Honestly though it wasn’t God I was looking to find me…I had grandeur hopes of being discovered.

Don’t we all down deep long to become known.
Perhaps someone would see there was something more beautiful underneath all the mess I was lugging around….

Why do we have such a hard time believing in our worth?
I suppose we’re afraid there’s not enough of it to go around.

I was a young, insecure soul craving affection…desiring to be known and seen by others.
I can remember seeking attention for just the right look or approval.
While all the while God knew me so well and continued dropping crumbs to lead me to Him.
I was convinced He wouldn’t be enough to fill the bottomless cavern that was swelling deep within the inner walls of my chest…

I wondered what it’d take to fill my unending longings.
I begged Him to not lead me to a man, I needed healing from the brokenness several men had caused and I never imagined entrusting my heart to another.

But He tenderly whispered into my ear one day…. 
‘It’s him I’m giving you to heal the wounds which lay within your brokenness.’

You see every one of us needs to feel the power of love….God-size love that is!
And God knew my life needed to feel what love handed down from Him was like.

His Manna from Heaven!

I‘d already experienced the counterfeit kind-of-love….a seemingly small touch stolen without my permission….a dirty thing the enemy calls ‘love’ was not what God intended for me.
He had so much more for my life.

As He does for yours!

So, sisters whether you’re young or greater in daysknow God’s love can never be exchanged for something temporary or something taken without your giving.
A guy who leads you to anything other than the love of Christ is offering something that will quickly fade away.
Your heart was tenderly handcrafted by a loving God who made it for Him to embody and then to be shared with another. 

My husband’s apology that day didn’t find a home in my heart for it was through my leaving of this beautiful state I was able to have my life restored.
It was through the traveling down this road that I was able to be found by a loving God who is healing me and making me whole.

Friend, if your life feels like its traveling in circles and its got you wondering if you’ve been passed by or somehow been forgotten-
Know the God of this Universe who skillfully and wonderfully designed you made you on purpose for a purpose!
In His economy- every life matters!
Seek Him first sweet one..follow after His desires and in the process your heart will become satisfied. 

At just four years old a piece of mine was stripped and torn away.
We find this kind of brokenness when we are just living our ordinary lives in any given county or state. The boundary of land doesn’t make it’s choosing. 
Mine occurred in the walls of our home by a trusted individual. 

This pressure that causes a soul to finally bust can be different for each of us but the shattering of it occurs much of the same. 

The blessing of it all is my memory of this actual event lies below.
I have no memory of the details of its abuse but only the clean up that came from that day.
What beauty I’m able to find today within this memory comes as I think about how our God is a God who is all about the process of restoring the pain that our lives have a way of enduring. 
Many of us can sometimes wear our brokenness as a badge of honor, rather than seek for it’s healing. 
But brokenness is often how God is able to break through one’s soul…its here where He does the restoring of our souls. 

For there is nothing too big, too lost, too far gone for Him to make new and bring back to Him.
He longs for every soul to find it’s healing and worth!
And the road to this healing has no expiration
You see, reconciliation is God’s reason for sending His Son, it’s His greatest gift to us that often occurs through the pain of our brokenness.

Friend, the journey back to Him is a sweet one that reminds us of our deepest need for Him as our soul finds complete rest in His care! 

Thursday’s Thread

The Preacher said it one Sunday morning like it was something you hear every day. My mind keeps grabbing his statement as my chest wrestles with it’s truth and it find its way into every corner of my life and conversation over tables with the breaking of bread and sharing of souls.

Although the preacher continually speaks truth into my life he also happens to be the one I’ve vowed my love to. His words have a mysterious way of making me think….simple yet deep.

He said…

‘The children of Israel needed their own experience with God, they couldn’t rely upon their parents’ God-experience of the parting of the Red Sea without God giving them a faith experience of their own…’

When I was 6 years old we moved to Maine. I grew up in Maine always knowing about God but not really knowing Him.

My parents became Christians when I was around 10 years old. As I grew up my faith wasn’t grounded in seeing God work through my own life. Instead I often saw where God wasn’t active where I felt a void, instead of where He all along was crafting opportunities for me to see glimpses of Him. I can remember when I was in my early twenties and I began recognizing Him powerfully working in and around me. My parent’s conversion wasn’t enough for my faith to grow. Like the children of Israel I needed my own faith journey for me to really know God.

What about you? Do you feel restless in your life? Wondering if God sees you and really knows you? Do you often feel like He’s your parents long time friend?

But friend, God is for you-He’s not just the God of our ancestors. He’s a personal God here for us!

Just 40 years before Joshua and his army had their own experience of parting waters- their parents, grandparents and families would have seen the waters of the Red Sea climb up to the sky and be held back by God for them to cross. And just years later God declared another rolling back of waters to allow their kids to KNOW God and be KNOWN by God.

So many times I’ve tried to feed my children MY experiences with God but…..

Oh God come and let them live through a faith of their own!! For a shared faith with you God is one that lasts! It’s one in which we stand firm upon for a lifetime.

So as we pray for our children navigating them through our prayers of safety. May we pray bigger prayers for them to see God. Let us not mince our words asking God only for their protection but give God space to usher waves of His grace into their lives.

As I sit by the ocean this beautiful autumn day in Maine…with the wind blowing my hair off to the side and as the smell of salt water is lining my nostrils one can recognize that the beauty of the ocean is not found in the smallness of waves but in the growing of their size as they fall. To know our God held back their strength not only for a nation’s safety but for a nations children’s faith.

You see we don’t see the power of our God in places of safety but in the midst of travesty and trials.

What hard is knocking on your door these days?

What pain seems to much to bear?

Know the God who held back hallways of water holds them back for us as well!

And for our sons & daughters they may have to suffer in order to know Him, their struggles are not in vain. None of our hardships ever get wasted by Him. We’re made richer through our pain. For it’s in these times we are able to see our need for God.

The giant steps I’m leaning on today lead into a vast deep ocean which have were handcrafted by a loving God who kindly chiseled them out for our feet to look upon His greatness.

God has sweetly carved Himself into our world and desires to do the same upon our hearts.

And we can rest knowing….within our children’s brokenness & hard they’ll find their Father calling them nearer!

Thursday’s Thread

When we started this thing almost thirty years ago I was dragging around a bag full of regret and pain. I had no idea what life was like without it strapped onto my back. It came with me everywhere I went. It was full of what I wish I hadn’t done & what I could have done better…..I thought it was how life was supposed to be.

I said ‘I’m sorry’ so many times a day I couldn’t have collected them all. I was sorry for just about everything under the sun, passing around apologies hoping to relieve a bit of the guilt that was piled up within. I didn’t know it wasn’t mine to hold onto.

It wasn’t until I began living free in the arms of God’s grace that I was able to shed responsibilities I never was meant to own.

We don’t have time to pick up what was never intended for us to haul around. Our lives have a purpose far more impactful than bathing in regretfulness.

As we drive down the road today headed toward all God has laid before us I can openly say-I’m not lugging around regret.

How did I get here from there?

Well I must say there’s been a lot of letting go mixed in with a whole lot of receiving of the goodness of God.

I remember the day like it was yesterday when I was sitting one leg tucked under another while my other leg was swung over the arm of the overstuffed chair in my son’s bedroom. We were opening up our hearts that day letting our wounds kind of spill out when the words seemed to be building up ever so much. They were dammed up in the center of my chest as I was trying to make sense of them all in my head before I let them gush forth. Finally when I couldn’t hold them back any longer I spoke aloud…’You know for far too long I expected perfection when I should have taught you to live in the rhythms of God’s grace…I’m sorry bud, I didn’t know but now I’m learning it myself. You see God doesn’t work with equations. It’s not the ‘if…then’ I’ve been preaching to you all these years. You see God is so much deeper than that. He cares about the inner beating of our heart more than our outward actions. I know we’ve read this in His word a million times but somehow between reading it and believing it- it got complicated. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m still learning this thing so I’m sorry if I’ve somehow scrambled up His sweet message of grace.’

And you know what happened when I let this wild thing spew out of my lungs it somehow began flooding my life with some of His deep soul healing. Somehow the truth God intended to set me free with got spun into a tangled mess of lies when in God there’s no room for regret.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret…..”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭7:10‬ ‭

Now we’re driving down this road twenty some years later looking through the window ahead not feeling the need to glance in the mirror of regret. God’s removed the urge to spend my days glancing at the past -He keeps directing my eyes to what lays ahead.

When we choose to let Him have and heal our brokenness we live life in a w-holy place.

So sweet Mommas as fast as transition seems to be coming down our roads choose not to live them smothered in regret but live them free in the grace He has for us.

We can get further & further down the road full of regret and miss what He designed for us.

Our road ahead will be just as dear as the one we’ve traveled. The memories we’ve made so far will get sifted through grace and will all be made perfectly beautiful in His time….living backwards from today will never get us to the blessings of tomorrow.

So if you’re like me leaving the days with your arms full of kids or you’re right in the middle of the crazy of it all- stay in the moment and risk all you have to do the something bigger He’s calling you to. And in the process we will all get a little closer to Jesus!