This song is an all-time favorite of mine. I suggest it as background music today as you celebrate Easter!
This song is an all-time favorite of mine. I suggest it as background music today as you celebrate Easter!
I have been asked several times these past few days to comment on the marriage equality debate that has been front & center this week. Well, I am not going to tell you what I think the courts should do & nothing in this post is a hint at it either. But I will say this:
Easter couldn’t come at a better time. I’ll tell you why.
It is an important discussion. What is marriage & what is government’s role in it all? I am not here to make light of the issue or suggest you stop communicating your beliefs. This is a diverse group of readers. You range from missionaries to lesbian couples. I am sure that opinions run strong and are deeply personal.
I have watched on Facebook as people have been attacked for changing their profile picture to support marriage equality. I have watched people being attacked for not changing their profile picture. I have seen slanderous things being said about people I know.
Have your beliefs, express them and exercise your right as a voter. That is what makes America beautiful in my opinion. My prayer is that this week we don’t become arrogant in our opinions. I hope we never think that the “other” people are the problem. Some people are extreme and fanatical, but most people have a good reason they believe the way they do.
I feel like we miss an opportunity for helpful dialogue when we begin to dislike the people we are talking to. It begins to shift from people not supporting gay marriage to disliking people who do support it. And it shifts from people supporting gay marriage to disliking people who do not. I wish we listened to more of the ‘why’ after finding out the ‘what’.
Which brings me back to Easter. It is the ultimate story of love. The story of a God who so deeply longed to have relationship with us. We were each broken in our own way and unable to reach God on our own. He didn’t demand what we could not give. And so He came. God sent His son, Jesus, who died on a cross and paid every price that we should have paid. His payment on the cross bought our freedom. It bought my freedom.
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem before His death, the people surrounded Him shouting “Hosanna!”.
Hosanna. It means “save us”. This is what Easter is about. Save us!
Hosanna isn’t “Jesus save those liberals and gays who are ruining our families and destroying our nation.”
Hosanna isn’t “Jesus save those narrow-minded Christians who are promoting discrimination and hate people who don’t believe what they believe. “
Hosanna. Save us. All of us.
Easter is just as much about God saving us as it is everyone else. Our addictions no one knows, our envy and manipulation, our fear and all the things deep in the hidden places.
Easter is coming just in time. Believe it or not, I think our nation is actually crying “Hosanna” this week.
So, as we engage in this discussion and prepare for Easter this weekend, let’s be humble.
Lets come together , put down our stones we love to throw and with one voice cry “Hosanna”…God save us.
( please leave comments, but disrespectful ones will be deleted )
Cages. We all have them. Those places that trap us and cause a sense of restriction. The wall we keep hitting no matter how hard we try to get free. Our arms squeeze through the bars and grab just enough life from the outside to keep us afloat. We accept that these walls hold our destiny within them. My cage is dangerously addictive and naturally hidden. I long to get out, but cling to it for dear life. It is the deepest place of weakness for me.
Some of you were put in your cage by someone else. Maybe it was an abusive experience or a dysfunctional family. I don’t know how I ended up in mine. It was so subtle it almost seemed invisible. Intangible.
Growing up I would dread people asking me how I came to know Jesus. I didn’t have any tear-jerking story about neglect or abuse to tell them. There were no dramatic addictions or cheap romances. Jesus came to me softly. In my tender and kind childhood He came for me and has been with me since.
It was my mistake to think this meant I didn’t have a cage. My friends had eating disorders, absent fathers, cheap sex and the ghosts of abuse. Their cages were obvious and understandable. Mine is an internal one.
This past year is when I realized I had a cage too. Fear. Not a fear of sharks, snakes or the dark. ( okay, sometimes the dark ) But subtle fears. Ones that are easy to brush off and ignore. I am afraid that people will think that I am too overbearing. I am afraid I have to work non-stop to make sure that life is what I want it to be. I am afraid people will never understand me. I am afraid something might be wrong with one of my kids. I am afraid this headache is actually caused by a rare brain tumor… I am afraid of lots of things. The buzz of anxiety is a constantly in the back of my mind.
But I have decided that it is time to stop. These past few months have been filled with me discovering just how boxed in I am by fear. I want out of my cage.
How fitting that we celebrate Good Friday and Easter this week?
Good Friday – The day Jesus got in my cage for me.
Easter – The day Jesus busted out.
So, I’m following Him. There is no need for me to stay in a cage whose bars cannot contain me.
Over these next six Tuesdays I will be posting a series about the lessons I am learning in my journey out of fear. Embarrassing? Yes. Crazy vulnerable? Yes. Doing it anyway? Dang straight.
Before we go, I have to teach you one thing. These past few weeks whenever I feel anxiety and fear creeping in, I say the following phrase:
“Fear, I have a destiny & you will not keep me from it.”
So here is to our destiny and the removal of our cages.
Thanks for journeying along.
On days like today I am so very thankful that I follow a really big God. When I was in college I dreamt of law school, prosecuting dictators for their war crimes, helping run political campaigns, planting churches by the hundreds…and lets be honest…we all secretly hope to be discovered for some deep wealth of gifting. Be interviewed by Oprah, have 100,000 followers on twitter, and run the circuit of late night talk shows.
This is what my day looked like. I cleaned the house. Went grocery shopping and ran errands. Went hunting for socks that were separated in the laundry. Pulled a Lego out of my son’s bottom (no, I’m serious ). Made dinner. It is really easy to feel average on days like today. Who wanted to know my opinion and ask for advice? My six year old. Thats pretty much it. What did I run today? The vacuum.
On days like today there is a temptation to look back at all those dreams of potential and God’s heart for this earth. Its so easy to feel like they are slipping away. Then I remember. I spent all day caring for people. Just like Jesus. I didn’t learn law, but I helped Sophie learn to read. I didn’t use my skills at logic and deductive reasoning inside of a court room…but they did come in handy as I helped my kids learn how to resolve their conflict.
I can end my day knowing that I was loved today and I gave love in return. What could be better than that? Really, all the dreams in our hearts are put there by God. Because He has dreams for us. I don’t really have ambition to participate in war tribunals or run political campaigns anymore. But I still beat to see justice established in my generation. I want to scream at the top of my lungs for all those in the world who are trapped in silence. God knows that. He made me.
Life is full of seasons. Some people are running campaigns longing for the day that they have families. Its the nature of longing. Every season has it…until we get to Heaven. In the midst of waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled we have grace to thrive in our season. Resting in the truth that God is faithful. He isn’t constrained by time limits, resumes, or people who feel hidden. He sees, He knows, He calls. I am at peace.
Now I am going to clean the kitchen.
Really excited to introduce you guys to my friend Francie Winslow. I met Francie years ago when she married a college friend of mine. I have gotten to know her even better recently through her blog and was fist-pumping excited when she agreed to guest post.
Without further ado, lets give Francie a big Lark & Bloom welcome. ( high five the screen, cheer or just keep reading)
To Be Known
One of my deepest desires is to be known.To be truly seen, and fully accepted.Isn’t that true for us all, on some level?We crave being seen.I mean really seen.Really understood, known and then as we are known, to be loved in that place.
It was after mid-night on a flight home from Thailand when I was first able to verbalize this need. Just hours before I had been sitting in brothels talking with girls my own age who were trapped in the sex trade. I was feeling raw and overwhelmed from the experience. I needed to hear from Him. I had seen so much, and needed someone who can speak to my heart- right where I was with the questions, doubts, fears that were in me.
Everyone on the plane was asleep, but I was wide awake. As I sat in the silence of that plane, God showed up. I felt like I was having a face to face encounter with Him, a private meeting of sorts. He had seen me, and heard my cry for Him. My heart became quiet and honest and wide open. And as I opened up to God, God started speaking to me.
I was cuddled up under an airline blanket. My eyes were filled with tears. I stared out my window, looking at the heavens that He created with a spoken word. Stunning stillness, yet loud love. Then I stared down at His living and lasting word that lie open in my hands. He was speaking through it all.
Within that nearly silent airplane cabin, He was thundering His love all around me. He was captivating my heart with truth that has become foundational to who I am. Truth that was at the core of His heart for me in that moment flying home to my free country, but also for the women I had just met, who were trapped in unthinkable slavery.
A truth that is foundational for all of us, really. The truth that He knows us, right where we are. He loves us right where we are. No one will ever fill that need we have to be known, to be seen, and to be loved. No one but Him.
To me, to them, to all of us in our own forms of bondage, He whispers this eternal truth:
“I know you. I know you deeply, completely and more fully than anyone will ever be able to know you. I see you – to the core of your being – and I love you. There is nothing you can do and nowhere you can go to escape my loving and knowing gaze. I am with you, before you and behind you. You are known and seen and loved and accepted by Me. I delight in you, my marvelous child.”
I was stunned speechless. My heart skipped a beat as I soaked up this His love. The familiar words of Psalm 139 washed over me afresh, like I had never read them before.
You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
1even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Amazed. Awed. Surrendered to such an expansive, knowing, intimate God.
He knows me.
This one reality brings me more comfort than almost any other. I am known. Not just partially by someone who is as frail as me, but completely by the One who made me. The One who is flawless and holy. The One who sees me, knows me, and STILL fully delights in me.
He meets us right where we are.
And knows us.
And His love sets us free on the inside.
I specialize in moving piles of laundry from one room to another and making tents out of old sheets. During any free time I have, you can find me writing blogs, Bible studies, and speaking to audiences of mostly moms like me.
The thing that excites me most is inspiring others to experience the heart of God, be transformed by His love, and make a difference in the world.
I think I speak for all of us that it seems like God can be forgetful. I know we don’t like to admit that, but if we are honest there are sore spots on our hearts it feels like God has neglected.
*** I am currently out of town for spring break. So, this week I am pulling posts from the archives. Enjoy! ***
What I am about to say, I say without shame. Cast your judgements if you must, but I can not deny it. I LOVE reality shows. I do, I can’t help it. Not the ones about Housewives who have WAY too much time on their hands or the Bachelor. Those are completely stupid. Top Chef, Shark Tank, Chopped, America’s Next Great Restaurant, Biggest Loser…I love them. I also like The Apprentice.
Thanks to hulu I can watch them while I fold laundry at night or clean the house during the kid’s nap. The other night I was watching The Apprentice and thinking to myself “If they gave me that task, I would completely get fired.” Later that night I was having trouble going to sleep. So, I whittled the time away laying in bed and thinking about the jobs I would most likely get fired from. Most of these on my first day.
1. Waitress. I would be a horrible waitress. I’d be the one who stops to chat at the tables and forgets the other people at my other tables. My trays would spill regularly because balance isn’t my strong suit. I hate to admit this, but I know that I would zone out when people tell me their orders. I’d probably be thinking about something else, get back to the kitchen and realize I don’t remember what they said. So, I would just end up sitting back down at the table of friendly elderly people and avoid my other tables again.
2. Engineer. Any kind of engineer. Not only does my mind refuse to work in this way or at this capacity, whatever I worked on would be a safety hazard. If I designed anything, national security levels would be elevated. My planes would crash, my bridges would collapse and my computers would explode in people’s faces. I would in fact, destroy America.
3. Personal Trainer. Ha! I can’t even get my mind around this one. Not only do I not work out regularly, I haven’t a clue how to use the equipment. I’d get a cute outfit , wear a whistle around my neck and drink lots of water. Thats about it. People would be bench-pressing treadmills if I were in charge. I would be useless at spotting while people did weight training because I am a weakling and can barely pick up the bar. This means smashed faces and ambulance rides. I don’t see that working in my favor.
4. Weatherman. Yes, I am a woman, but “weatherwoman” sounds stupid so I am saying “weatherman”. It looks like a fun job and I could bob my hair and put on a blazer…that’s a good look for anyone. I just have a feeling that I wouldn’t figure out how to point to the right place when it’s just a green screen behind me. I’d point north instead of south on a accident. Then people in the north would think tornadoes were headed for them & take cover for no reason. People in the south would think they were clear of storms and get swept away when they went out for coffee…It’s not a good idea.
5. Archeologist. I wear contacts so this is automatically out. Too much dust floating around. Plus, I don’t think I would have the patience. I’d just yank things out of the ground instead of slowly brushing the dirt away. It would just be too slow paced. The one exception is if I did it Indiana Jones style. He was a professor (which I think I would be good at) that went on fun archeological adventures…and I don’t think Nazis can get in your contacts…
I did eventually fall asleep…
*** I am out of town for spring break, so this week I am pulling some posts from the archives. Enjoy!***
If you are just now visiting this blog, I am turning 30 on Friday. I have spent the past month writing lessons that I have learned in my 20s. Today’s lesson…There Are Some Things Only Art Can Say
I wish this was my idea. I wish that this was my title even. But I stole it. Jady preached a sermon several years ago with this title. As I sat in my seat listening I was stunned at the truth in what he was saying.
There are some things that only art can say. It’s not because artists are reclusive and lack social skills, so they are forced to draw out what they feel like a twisted game of Pictionary. Some realms of communication and expression that cannot be translated into any other median are left to be expressed by art alone. Some aspect of God that is delivered through our senses. Through vibrant color, a snapshot of a photo. A chorus that captures the inmost places of your heart. The poems that draw out your imagination & the smells that are produced as food is cooked with skill.
Here are some photographs that say a lot. I’ll tell you what they stir in me.
I can’t take my eyes off this photo. Something about humanity. The strength of love’s tender resilience. It speaks to the soul of beauty. It makes me feel secure.
An image of creation. The unexpected colors, and the blur
of the fog…
A firey peace fills my heart when I see it.
The childlike places in my heart smile. I am reminded of the wonder of life. The imagination spins and I begin to dream. What can God do next. What lies beyond the expected?
Movement. The physical expression of an internal pulse.
Oh! To feel something so deeply that my body’s response is
My husband is a very smart man. One of the smartest I know. He has severe dyslexia & school was always a challenge growing up. He was told that he was stupid. He was openly made fun of by his 5th grade science teacher. The school counselors told him he should just go to a trade school instead of finishing high school. When he told them he wanted to go to a four year college, they smirked. Told him that he couldn’t do it. So much pain, fear, frustration. He had numerous conversations telling people that he was bigger than his dyslexia. One day he was having a particularly hard time with fractions. He went to bed that night feeling the heavy weight of defeat.
Knock, knock. It was his mom. “Get out of bed Jady. Come to the kitchen table.” She had written the math problems that he had been trying to solve on a large poster board. She gave it to him along with some paint. “Paint over it.”And he did.
The harassing and accusing math problems were covered with swirls of color. Strokes of creativity took their place. Every ridiculing and doubtful conversation represented on the paper was overcome with beauty. He went to bed that night feeling free. He had said something that night. He had said that he was an overcomer.
Art brings beauty. Art brings comfort, hope, joy, reflection. A perspective of wonder. A dynamic tale told through our senses. Art says something of God to our hearts. We are all artists. Music, writing, dance, culinary, crafting, drawing, paint, drama…so many forms.
We are all artists with stories to tell. Get out your pens, paint, guitar, ballet shoes…and say something. Say it loudly from the deepest places within you. Be moved. There are some things that only art can say.
Well played Africa. Well played.