Tuesday, December 25, 2007


the ripping begins
bows fly, shiny paper ocean with floating toys
and I see one year with You
in ten minutes of her faces
surprise, gratitude, plans for play
savoring the beauty and possibility in each package
this year
I unwrapped new depths of You
new levels of Your story
shiny packages of loving me in my mess
new house
new job
new trust in Your provision
new history of Your stomping grounds
new lens to see the world beyond my own
new faces I might never have noticed
more ache for the broken-hearted as mine began to heal
more love for my husband
more freedom from perfection
one small candle and a call to pass the flame
You surprised me
confused me
moved me
tested me
held me
taught me
warned me
laughed with me
and gave much better gifts than Santa Claus
Merry Christmas
Happy Birthday
and thank You
for a year of undeserved gifts
You must have smiled at my funny faces, too . . .

"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Said the Nightwind . . .

In the next 24 hours
thousands will come
to hear Your story
again yet for the first time
like waiting for Lauren to open her gifts
the corners of my mouth rise
as the snow falls with my eyelids
two simple bedtime prayers
like flowers leaning toward the sun
bless all involved
like walking with the wind
Let it Be

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snowed Out

"The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball."
Doug Larson

"He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'
So that all men he has made may know his work." Job 37:6-7a

I saw Your Beautiful work today
We seized the moment and ran out to play
snow angels and powdery "whahoooo"s
pink-cheeked inspired I love you's
giant back yard angel food cake
reminding us to take a break
Your Snowy blanket allowing grown men
to shake off their work and be kids again.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Duct Tape, Broken Glass, and a Puppy

A Duct taped mouth
may keep you nice and silent and safe
but you don't get to eat much.
this business of pretending
like a boulder on the chest
we smile with a step back
questions with more questions
in the polite dogfight of evasion
until the bell rings and the subject is changed
an age old tradition in the church
it used to be that trouble in your life was sin
you just need to find the mouse in your house
and the problem will go away
like old hymns rearranged to rock out
we've updated the ritual to our iWorld
where fear of rejection and duct tape are married
under a pretty stained glass mosaic
that's really just a bunch of broken pieces
who came together to make something beautiful
but sandy friendships always slipped through my fingers
I never knew an empty hand could hurt so much
was it something I said, something I did?
You're the one who held my empty hand
and when something slips through
You pour out a little more, endless refills
cool and smooth like fingers in the ocean
You're the one who never leaves
the sun who comes up every morning
You're the only place where
pretending doesn't make sense.
But with people,
Your gift of free will makes me nervous
like a puppy at Christmas.
As soon as you open the box,
there goes the carpet, the furniture,
and I'll end up falling in love
with something I know can't last forever
it's quieter in my house with no puppies
so I listen and I love them one-sided, all the while
You're the only One I really talk to
one broken piece with a little duct tape
but maybe I'll never be a part of something beautiful
until I trust them like I trust You
but every bounce out on the limb
feels like one bounce away from the fall
every time I speak
the duct tape loses it's stickiness
the glass might scratch someone
and you can't put the puppy
back in the box

"Repressing and stuffing and refusing to acknowledge never works . . . We have to get it out or we all begin to die on the inside. Some of the most comforting words in the universe are 'me too' . . . Love is handing your heart to someone and taking the risk that they will hand it back because they don't want it. That's why it's such a crushing ache on the inside. We give away a part of ourselves and it wasn't wanted." Rob Bell, Sex God

"Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you." Nelson Mandela

"Our churches are filled with people who outwardly look contented and at peace but inwardly are crying out for someone to love them… just as they are — confused, frustrated, often frightened, guilty, and often unable to communicate even within their own families. But the other people in the church look so happy and contented that one seldom has the courage to admit his own deep needs before such a self-sufficient group as the average church meeting appears to be. " Keith Miller

"Pretending is the grease of non-relationships . . .When you and I stop pretending, we expose the pretending of everyone else. The bubble of the perfect Christian life is burst, and we all must face the reality of our brokenness. " Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

"Let's not pretend this is easier than it really is." Matthew 5:29A (Msg)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Let Go of the Rope and Stare at the Sun

the tug of war of truth is getting old
heals dig in and the rope leaves teethmarks
that sting after we walk away
but its not all just fun and games
the mud pit in the middle
is deeper than we think
some pull with heroic strength
hoping to reel in justice like a drowning child
others grip tighter with a lust for beauty
biting their lips as if planning the first brush on a canvas
determination furrows the brows of some
or maybe it's the questions
as they wrench for balanced equations
all the while knowing someone must win in the end
others heave and draw for a connection to the opposition
like the end-of-the-movie kiss when the war is over
But I can't record Your still small voice
just like you can't see a toothache
And I can't hand out Your presence
like mittens on the sledding hill
So today, I'm letting go of the rope
loving them all like You do,
and looking up to smile and
stare at the sun

"No one wants to deal with these facts. But anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth." John 3:31b

“We’re disconnected from each other and we know it. It’s not how things are supposed to be. Even people who would say they have no faith in God or in any sort of higher being or supreme power still have a sense that there is a way things are supposed to be. And that way involves us as human beings being connected with each other.” Rob Bell, Sex God

"Over the last generation in Western culture, truth has been like the rope in a tug-of-war contest. On the one hand, some want to reduce all truth to "facts" . . . some believe all truth is relative . . . Ordinary mortals, dimly aware of this tug-of-war, and its social, cultural, and political spin offs, may well feel some uncertainty about what truth is, while still knowing that it matters . . . we must take a deep breath and plunge into the center of the story which, according to Christian tradition, makes sense of our longing for justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty, and indeed truth and love. We must begin to talk about God. Which is like saying that we must learn to stare at the sun . . . it's dazzling. It's easier, actually to look away from the sun itself and to enjoy the fact that, once it's well and truly risen, you can see everything else clearly." N.T. Wright, Simply Christian

Saturday, December 08, 2007

5 years old

When we got home from a long day of
food-dropping, chuck-e-cheesing,
pizza-munching, present-opening,
birthday-praying instead of wishing,
cake-smearing, token-clinking,
doll-toting, mommy-waiting,
and two services of seeing You
she finally got to play a little
But when I entered her room,
it was like a tsunami aftermath of toys
I looked down at her and told her
those who make messes
become those who have to clean them up
she looked around like a rotating fan
blinked her big eyes up at me and said
"But mommy, the bible tells us
to help others . . ."
(sigh, lips purse, laughter hissing through the nose)
well, at least she's learning Your word
one day she'll use it for good and not evil . . .

Thank you for my beautiful little girl and five years of growing closer to You through the gift of mommyhood.

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Messy Me

I hate messes.
donning the cape with
P for perfection
on a mission for beauty
kicking curled up rugs to flattened perfection
squeak-squeaking the glass to pristine
erasing spills with the swish of a cloth
file folders neatly alphabetical
and the calender speckled with plans
checkmarks in line like an army salute
scrubbing stains with white knuckles
and the only kind of grease I allow . . . elbow
the sparkle twinges on the teeth as I grin
but if You wait long enough
look close enough
and love deep enough
You see the biggest mess of all.
If I was You, I'd give up on me
write me off
and screen Your calls.
Lucky for me,
You just keep loving messy me
right into Your open arms.

"His works are perfect, and the way he works is fair and just; A God you can depend upon, no exceptions, a straight-arrow God. His messed-up, mixed-up children, his non-children, throw mud at him but none of it sticks." Deuteronomy 32:1

"I'm not surprised there's only one way; I'm surprised there's any way at all."
Dr. R Mark Beeson, "Nothin's Gonna Change my World" sermon Dec. 1-2, 2007

"Spirituality is anything but a straight line; it is a mixed-up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter godliness that turns our lives into an upside-down toboggan ride full of unexpected turns, surprise bumps, and bone-shattering crashes. In other words, messy spirituality is the delirious consequence of a life ruined by a Jesus who will love us right into his arms. Jesus is not repelled by us, no matter how messy we are. " Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality