Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dear Levi (For Your 6th Birthday)


6 months 

1 year

2 years

3 years

4 years

5 years

Almost 6 years

Dear Levi,

Tonight I tucked you in for the last time as a 5-year old.
Tomorrow you turn 6. 
Old enough to need two hands to show your age.
You are growing - taller and smarter; in wisdom and stature.
Some of you remains as similar as when you were toddling across the carpet.
Other parts of you have altered with passing years and increasing maturity.
All of you, no matter how you change, stays extremely loved.

You've traded your interest in cars for all things Super Mario.
Your love of animals, however, has stayed intact.
You can easily navigate Netflix and any given Wii game.
You are a thinker, not one to act rashly.
You are a sensitive brother, yet you are good at pushing the buttons of your sisters.
Blue blankie is still a constant companion, although occasionally you'll now choose to leave it home.
I wonder at your artistry that already surfaces as you love to draw, color, and create.
I am fairly certain, you could eat pepperoni and green beans all day.
You keep us in stitches.
You're always good for a cuddle or a kiss.
You do things with excellence and you give attention to the details. 
Both of which will serve you well in the future, my boy.

Ahh, the future.
It seems so distant, while simultaneously chomping at our heels.
Tomorrow will be here too quickly. 
And so will the time when two full hands won't be able to show your age anymore.
And then adolescence
And graduation.
Boy into man.

You tell me, with arms snug around my neck, that you always want to live with me.
And while those words spoken in your sweet voice warms this Mommy-heart, 
I also hope for the day when you will leave grown and full, rooted and winged.

I can't teach you to be a man; that will be a job for Daddy.
I can, however, teach you how to cherish a woman. 
It will be my privilege to be a trusted teacher of yours.
So much to teach and to learn.
How to tie your shoes.
(Given your propensity for Crocs, shoelaces aren't very common for you.)
How to ride without training wheels.
How to multiply. And add fractions.
How to love learning.
How to respect others, even when you disagree.
How to love well.
How to listen because everyone longs to be heard.
How to speak honestly with gentleness.
How to practice patience 
(although what I teach you on this matter might be more from my own failings).
How to say I'm sorry.
To be humble.
To not always need the last word.
How to point others to Jesus.

Above all my hopes for you, Levi, is this single desire...
I hope for you to fall in love with Jesus, everyday for all your life.
To be found fully in Him.
To chase hard after Him.
To pursue the will of this One who knew you when He formed you in my womb.

Nothing else in life really matters at all.
Just Jesus.
Just choosing life that only He gives.

Sweet, precious Levi, 
there is not one single ounce of you I would change.
Not one hair on your head that I would alter.
I love you, just as you are.
And just as you will be.

No matter where you go
or what you do
or what you say...
I will always love you!

You make Daddy and me so proud!
You bring us joy. 
You complete our family!
Happy Birthday, Levi!

With love...for always - 

Friday, July 26, 2013


When I join up with FMF over here, five ticks on the clock go very quickly.

Here's my effort at a full hand of minutes writing about "Broken"...


I can think of worse things to be called.
Worse than broken.

These are worse.

Broken, while stating a present reality
does not have to be my terminal diagnosis.

Broken can sound like my end
but simply make way for the newness of beginning.

Broken doesn't mean useless.
Neither does it translate to unworthiness nor insignificance.

puts me in the company
of Jesus, 
like the bread he tore in the upstairs room.

puts me in the presence 
of Paul, 
who shares in vagueness
his side-thorn.

makes me pals
with the likes of
fearful Moses, 
indulgent David.

keeps company
with the prostitute Rahab, 
and deceitful Tamar, 
and grieving Martha.

has the potential
to plant me 
in front
of a miracle.

Yes, I can think of much worse things to be called than broken.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

In Which I Get Some (Prayer) Things Off My Chest

I lead the weekly prayer time at our church.
And I believe in prayer.
And I believe prayer is important.

Most believers would probably not disagree with me.
At least in word.
But what am I to presume when, on average,
3.4 people show up 
to pray together at our weekly prayer time?
Is it not our behavior that proves our beliefs? values? priorities?
Isn't that the point James was making?

Words are really only hot air unless we give them feet.
So what does it say when christians recite the importance of prayer 
but do little to practice it?

Oh, I know what some might say...
I have heard it ad nauseum lately - 
"Just because I don't come to prayer time doesn't mean I don't pray."
"You can't judge a person's spiritual walk by whether they show up for prayer."

Both of those statements can be full of truth.
Both of those statements can also be 
defensive justifications of living life on our terms.

And my truth is this, 
I think these statements are more often, 
most often, 
simply deflective, defensive statements 
to hide our luke-warmness.

If the church really believed prayer was powerful and necessary;
if the church really believed prayer was important enough to practice both privately and corporately...
don't you think we would see evidence in the body of this passionate pursuit of God?

Prayer is fresh air.
When is the last time the majority of a congregation 
knew they were gasping for breath because they were God-deprived?

Prayer is connection.
How often do we look on prayer as an obligation to fulfill instead of a privilege to embrace?

I am not trying to point fingers.
I am not out to book anyone on a guilt trip.
(Both of which I could easily be accused of 
because we don't like to talk about these things.)

I have my own shortcomings on this issue.
I, too, can lack zeal and commitment in my own life.


I sometimes wish I had the ability to call the church to prayer. 
Solid prayer.
Unending prayer.
Constant prayer.
With no agenda.
Only expectation.

I wish I could clear the calendars.
Stop the activity of doing.
And just be.
As a congregation.
A body.

I wish I could help others taste the sweetness of
"wasting time with God" 
as Henri Nouwen describes it.

I wish I could help another savor the moments of relationship
with the One who knows us best and loves us most.

I wish the church would wake up.
I wish sleepy headed christians would become passionate dreamers.
I wish church leaders would see prayer as the first step 
of decision-making 
not the last resort in a crisis.
I wish followers of the Way 
would show up to do the things we say are important.

Either that or forget about prayer.
I am quite tired of talk.
Saying something is true doesn't make it true.
Nor does writing something down as a value make it valuable.
Sometimes words are just hot air
and written values are just good kindling.

It's ok.
You can tell me I am oversimplifying.
You can tell me I have no idea what your quiet time looks like.
Both of those statements are probably true.

All I know is the church is lacking passion for the One who called her.
And I don't like it.
In fact, I hate it.

All I know is prayer is a conduit that keeps passion alive.
So I will keep at it.
And pray for awakening.

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible 

than to be alive without breathing.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Linking up again with Five Minute Friday, where you take the dare to write for five unedited minutes. This week we are writing about "Belonging".


Don’t think he didn’t know what he was doing.
He most certainly did.
This persecutor turned follower.
This wayward son turned to the way.
This apostle whose name change came along with a heart change.

Paul, he knew exactly what he was doing.

In Romans, Paul writes that through faith 
we come to be a part of Christ’s body.
And all it’s parts belong to one another.
Paul writes of the value of the body 
in an age where intellectuals 
dared to philosophize that the physical world was meaningless.
Belief and spirituality were existential 
and the material realm was insignificant.
But in the midst of a culture with gnostic thinking, 
this Paul shouts the importance of the particular, a body.

The one that belongs to Christ.
Submitted under His headship.
The one where every one is valued.

And, when in faith, I find myself belonging to Christ
I also find myself belonging to others who share my faith.
And they belong to me.

And it seems, that this ancient man of Jewish heritage
knew belonging begets belonging.
And belonging begets responsibility.
And consideration.
And compassion.
And humility.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,
so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, 
and we all belong to each other.
Romans 12:4-5 (NLT)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Of Water and Spirit

my son gets baptized.
Steps into water.
Clear and clean.

my son will follow Jesus' example.
Professing faith.
Before others who belong to Jesus.

my son will go under the water. 
Be brought back up.
A symbol of the Kingdom's required second birth.

I will baptize 
this blond boy with whom I labored.
This little man I delivered
against doctor's odds
and medicinal predictions.

this symbol of rebirth 
will be performed 
by the mother who pained 
to give him birth in the first place.

My second born
at second birth.
My flesh-son
now Spirit-brother.
Levi has been born.
And is born again.  


we celebrate 

what God has 


And today
I am thankful
for the tender part I have been allowed to play in each birth.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What Pandora Showed Me About Faith

I stood staring at the Kindle screen.
A song played on my Kari Jobe channel.
I liked the song...I thought.
Until I went over to press the thumbs up icon.
And then, I froze.

photo credit:

Just standing and staring.
And debating.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Linking up again with Five Minute Friday so I can just practice the discipline of writing.


Gifts don't have to be wrapped in paper and bows.
The best ones usually aren't.

Some presents from this week of living...

An unsolicited "I love you"
An acceptance for master's degree work
A friend paying my dinner bill
A child unafraid and jumping off the diving board
A unrushed walk with preschoolers
The body of Christ honest yet loving (and still intact)
Anticipation of children awaiting family's arrival
Practicing for a coming baptism
A 4-year old writing letters
The writing success of a friend
Mid-afternoon eats with a best friend
Communion with 2 children
Saying I'm sorry
Knowing I am loved 
Clean water to drink
Air conditioning for that humid day
Wireless internet
Onion on a salad
Running with a friend

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above...
James 1:17 (NASB)

Friday, July 5, 2013


Wanna know what it's like to write for 5 unedited minutes and then link it with others who have braved the same experiment? 
Here's my addition to Five Minute Friday.

He agreed to officiate the funeral. 
The family, after all, was dear to him. 
It just wasn't right, though.
The circumstances that stole life.
Cancer. Pain. Suffering.
And young, comparatively,
with children in high school and college.

He agreed to officiate the funeral.
The family has long been an important part of the music ministry.
They've adopted him almost as a family member.
They are special to him.
He is special to them.

He agreed to officiate the funeral.
But it was hard.
Difficult to speak final words
of memories, 
and comfort.
Grasping for control of emotions
as he led others to whisper tearful goodbyes.

He stood at the pulpit, 
handsome in his blue blazer.
And he cried.
Tears of sadness.
Of sympathy.
Of loss.
Tears of the pressure 
that had stayed for days
as he prepared for this moment.
And he cried.

He wondered later if it was wrong.
Attention drawing.
But my husband's tears, 
they were none of these things.