Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hearing Test

"Potential" from eyemotion on Vimeo.

It was a suck in through the teeth moment
hands over my eyes Spock style
peeking through one pirate eye cringe
like that dream where you go to school in your underwear
the risk of listening to You
and following through
when I wound the clock
my wounds on display
praying that it will never be
about a cool piece in a service
but a new peace in their hearts
as someone looked down and opened up to say "Me, too"
while pointing up to You in a broken hallelujah
like laughing at all of Peter's fumbling
and sinking and back-pedaling
then silence in the power of that Pentecost speech
when you took his failures
and began a revolution
I'll never be a revolutionary
but I'm determined to listen for You
whether I fail or succeed
and both are inevitable in this rubber band life
Thank You for my brilliant husband
who is listening along side me
who inherited Your storytelling gene
in a way that still takes my breath away
too bad there weren't silver screens on those hillsides of Yours
You took what they knew-- seeds, harvest
wages at the end of a long day
to bring them to the truth of You
and that's all we really want in all this
so here we are, Lord
waiting, wounded, wound up
and ready to hear
what's next

Function: noun , an injury to the body (as from violence, accident, or surgery) or a mental or emotional hurt or blow.

"Wounds. By his wounds we are healed. But they are our wounds, too, and until we have been healed we do not know what wholeness is. The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort toward wholeness . . . It is a listening, unself-conscious love, and many artists who are incapable of this in their daily living are able to find it as they listen to their work, that work which binds our wounds and heals us and helps us toward wholeness . . . But it is not only our hurts which we are required to give over but our wholeness, too. It must all be his."
Madelaine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Funtion: verb, past participle of the verb wind, as in to wind a clock.

"We must daily keep things wound; that is, we must pray when prayer seems dry as dust; we must write when we are physically tired, when our hearts are heavy, when our bodies are in pain. We may not always be able to make our "clock" run correctly, but at least we can keep it wound so that it will not forget."
Madelaine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

"Safety is only an illusion, and letting go is part of listening to the silence, and to the Spirit . . In art, either as creators or as participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure, we who are children of God by adoption and grace . . . The artist cannot hold back; it is impossible, because writing or any other discipline of art, involves participation in suffering, in the ills and the occasional stabbing joys that come from being part of the human drama . . . we are meant to be real and to see and recognize the real . . . We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through the plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love . . . when the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant, then the writer has been listening. And sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand."
Madelaine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

"I was reading my Bible the other day, and do you know what I realized? The main word in the word 'heart' is 'hear'. All He wants me to do is listen." Lavon Kil

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind all this." Proverbs 3:5 (MSG)

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I jog today with extra weight
the image of a blank screen
stalker deadlines in the bushes
and a mound of expectations
like a high pile of clumsy gadgetry
that only slips when I try to climb to the top
and the cords keep wrapping around my ankles
and pulling me down like evil seaweed
the world feels like it might be caving in
but I know You too well to believe it
and I listen for Your truth in the first song
in our little love story soundtrack

"Is this the new fear or just another fright?
Is this the new tear or just another desperation?
Is this the finger or just another fist?
Is this the kingdom or just a hit n' miss?
A misdirection, most in all this desperation
Is this what they call freedom?
Is this what you call pain?
Is this what they call discontented fame?
It'll be a day like this one
When the world caves in."
("The Blues" by Switchfoot)

I bring it all to you
the weight
the ache for You to fill in my blanks
running to catch You in the wind
or following only fast enough to see You turn a corner
I didn't sign up for a one woman show
I need You
in every assignment
every moment
every word
every syllable
breathing You into their ears
until it tickles and they have to choose

"What can I do with my obsession?
With the things I cannot see
Is there madness in my being?
Is it wind that blows the trees?
Sometimes you're further than the moon
Sometimes you're closer than my skin
And you surround me like a winter fog
You've come and burned me with a kiss
And my heart burns for you
And my heart burns . . . "
("Obsession" by Delirious)

all I can do is pray
for Your words, not mine
to feel You surround me like a winter coat
and burn me with a kiss
because my worst nightmare is that it's just my words
and they are so few in this moment of fear
so my few empty words cup like a bowl
waiting on the Spirit to pour in
writer's block paralysis
from heartburn
for others to know You
or come back to make the angels sing
louder than my ipod

"There are many prodigal sons
On our city streets they run
Searching for shelter
There are homes broken down
People’s hopes have fallen to the ground
From failures
This is an emergency!
There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We’re crying for them come back home
We’re crying for them come back home
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home."

("Tears of the Saints" by Leeland)

tears and sweat drops meet
in V's and Y's and hold onto each other
until they hit the pavement
like the two halves of me
meeting in the crux of
full doubt in myself and
peace in Your arms when I fall
like Peter sinking in the waves
and calling out to you
arms that lift me back up
and increase my pace
with the rhythm of the next song

"Complexity haunts me for I am two men
Entrenched in a battle that Ill never win
My discipline fails me, my knowledge it fools me
But you are my shelter, all the strength that I need
It's my will, and I'm not moving
Cause if it's your will, then nothing can shake me
It's my will, to bow and praise you
I now have the will to praise my God."

("My Will" by DC Talk)

I can hear my breath gasping
but there's no pain
only me smiling like an idiot
flying through suburbia
with no concern for communal proprieties
unaware of anything but You
a child running on the playground again

"Here we are now with the falling sky and the rain,
We're awakening
Here we are now with our desperate youth and the pain,
We're awakening
Maybe it's called ambition, you've been talking in your sleep
About a dream, we're awakening
Last week found me living for nothing but deadlines,
With my dead beat sky but, this town doesn't look the same tonight
These dreams started singing to me out of nowhere
And in all my life I don't know that I ever felt so alive,

("Awakening" by Switchfoot)

The blank screens flash back in my mind
along with the blurred faces
of all who need to find You
the steps start to feel heavy again
that stitch in the side begins like a little flame
but I refuse to slow
because I'm not relying on my strength alone
boot camp training for the real battle
of sitting back down
to face that white rectangle head on

"Let the wars begin, let my strength wear thin
Let my fingers crack, let my world fall apart
Train the monkeys on my back to fight
Let it start tonight
When my world explodes, when my stars touch the ground
Falling down like broken satellites
Let your love be strong,
and I don't care what goes down
Let your love be strong enough to weather through the thunder cloud
Fury and thunder clap like stealing the fire from your sky's
All that I am hanging on, all of my world resting on your love."
("Let Your Love Be Strong" by Switchfoot)

the confidence gets overzealous and crosses the line
from free-flow faith into scheduled checklists
determined robotic item completion
the drill sergeant is back with my raging voice
reminding me of those stalker deadlines
and the shrinking clock
tick tock click
the next song begins to makes me smile
an old favorite love song
Cody added when I wasn't looking
but again I listen for you . . .

"Sometimes, I get so tense
But I can't speed up the time
But you know, love, there's one more thing to consider
Said, woman, take it slow
Things will be just fine
You and I'll just use a little patience."
("Patience" by Guns N Roses)

Guns N Roses . . . who knew?
and I grin as I turn a corner
You have my attention
You have my faith
You have my heartburn
but I still need Your words
all I've ever wanted was to bring more of You
from up there to down here
so people can reach out
to touch You, see You, know You
to share You
but I'm feeling tongue-tied
so You start with the words
of my own prayer
as the next song fades in . . .

"I need a sign to let me know you're here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
'Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup
When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you feel the world shake from the words that are said
And I'm calling all angels
I'm calling all you angels
I won't give up if you don't give up."
("Calling All Angels" by Train)

and I turn the last corner into the tree tunnel
the route back to my front porch
back to the blank screen
back to the calling
with old songs in the ipod
new truths in my mind
like Your water on my fiery fears
and I know the words will come
because I won't give up if you don't give up
and after 2000 years
I think we both know
You'll never give up on us
so neither will I.

"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." Acts 4:31

"Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn't go away. Self doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as indicator of inspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it . . . The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death." Steven Pressfield
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

"God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us." Acts 15:8

"This question of meaning of being, and dying and being, is behind the telling of stories around tribal fires at night; behind the drawing of animals on the walls of caves; the singing of melodies of love in spring, and of the death of green in autumn. It is part of the deepest longing of the human psyche, a recurrent ache in the hearts of all God's creatures. So when the messages, Listen to the silence. Stay Open to the voice of the spirit, and Slow me down , Lord, came, I was forced to listen and even to smile . . .The Holy Spirit does not hesitate to use any method at hand to make a point to us reluctant creatures."
Madelaine L'Engle
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith in Art

Thursday, August 14, 2008


"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe." ~ Abraham Lincoln

I love our little secrets
inside joke theophanies
where I giggle and cup my ear to listen
like playground telephone games
without the funny confusion
and the dusty rough-edged boys
who always changed it on purpose

reading Your word reminds me of cloud-gazing
where the shape of John the Baptist looks a little like me
a weird diet and What Not to Wear show waiting to happen
never really fitting in, wandering off alone
to dig his toes in the sand and think of You
somehow shy and a bold teacher all at once
he probably got those "What is that all about?" looks, too

our goal is the same
to prepare the way for You
I've always loved preparations
and perhaps my over-preparing was what pushed me over the line
from the "odd" or "special" column to the full-blown nerd
complete with home-made flashcards
appendix look-ups
and extra laps around the track
an extra credit junky
chasing the next fix of creative opportunity

Geeking out over preparing the way for others to shine
so they can morph into a closer image of what You have in mind
for them and through them
for my husband
the hidden hero
who is sometimes caught holding the wrong measuring tape
my daughter
who tries on things a little too big for her
and makes me smile
my family
who follow you all over the globe
and see suffering as just a little pop quiz
my friends
who know how to argue and agree
on You in a perfect teeter totter thrill ride
my pastors
who challenge and love us
with their patchwork quilt words of truth and grace
my team
who are so gifted and wise it freaks me out sometimes
and let me sit at the cool crowd table
my volunteers
who don't just squeeze serving in their calendars
but give their all to You

and all of this to really prepare the way
for You
and that cloud-gazing Kingdom playground
that whispers in my ear
and tells me
to keep loving You
in all the preparations.

"It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
'I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way
a voice of one calling in the desert,
Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.'"
Mark 1:2-3

Saturday, August 09, 2008

In One Ear and Stay

Thank You for two days of good advice
and follow-the-leader games
that challenge me to jump in the puddles
get my hands a little dirty
chill in the plans You've made
and remember to take some flyers
let it go in one ear and stay

"Listen, friends, to some good advice; sit up and take notice so you'll know how to live. I'm giving you good counsel; don't let it go in one ear and out the other."
Proverbs 4:1

"Dear friend, take my advice; it will add years to your life. I'm writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way, I'm drawing a map to Righteous Road. I don't want you ending up in blind alleys, or wasting time making wrong turns. Hold tight to good advice; don't relax your grip. Guard it well—your life is at stake!"
Proverbs 4:10

"Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed."
Proverbs 15:22

"When something feels funky, engage.
Take a 'flyer' (a calculated risk).
They will never be rocked until you challenge them." Bill Hybels

"I ask myself everyday, are Jesus and I really interested in the same things?
If you want your leadership to matter, lead in the things that matter to God.
Some of us go on the trip, but we miss the adventure.
Something isn't right when Jesus' burden is light and mine is still heavy.
The first thing to disappear when spiritual health departs is laughter. The joy of the Lord is our strength." Gary Haugen

"Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us. It's in everyone.
Follow your compass and not your clock.
If you don't get feedback, you get blind spots.
Leadrship is not about having power over others, it's about empowering others." Bill George

"It's your own personal conviction that makes your leadership work." Wendy Kopp

"Making and maintaining good soil is everything. What kind of soil do you think people need to grow into the masterpieces God made them to be? Leadership is the act of providing the right environment for people to grow. But are you willing to get your hands dirty? We need to ask ourselves are we teaching more like Jesus or like the Pharisees? Are we leading people to see others first through the eyes of grace? If you had a masterpiece of art with some mud on it, would you throw it out? No. Jesus saw in all people a masteriece worth dying for. The pharisees just saw mud. What do you see first? What are the barriers to grace in your cultural context? You won't be able to recognize them unless you get your hands dirty.
The core problem of humanity is not behavior, not that we do bad things, but a broken relationship to others. When we learn to live in authentic confessing community, it heals us.
I know what youre thinking. if we invite these people in, what if they never change?Our job is not fixing or chagging or growing people, we cant only god can. We can only cultivate the soil.
Stay connected. fruit happens." John Burke

"God so loved the world, but guess what? He wants to love it through us.
When God comes back, that's the ultimate justice. But until then, it's just us.
Its not about qualification, its about being picked up by a force larger than yourself.
Tribalism is still a deep evil force that courageous leaders must take on.
Sometimes the storms arise because the high pressure of what God wants to do come against the low pressure of what we want to do.The low pressure of what's comfortable against the high pressure of what Jesus died for.
What if we stop making excuses and create churches that are sneak previews of heaven?" Efrem Smith

"To reach people that no one is reaching, we have to do things that no one is doing. But to do things no one is doing, we can't do what everyone else is doing.
You have everything you need to do what God wants you to do.
Some of you have an obstace but God wants you to see the opportunity.
A lot of people say God guides by what he provides, but we've found that God guides through what he doesn't provide.
Shake it off and step up." Craig Groeschel

"We have transferred our allegiance to truth to therapy.We look for what we can get out of it.
If you are a leader, your job is not to pander to people, it's to lead them to the truth.
If the culture's sick, it means the church is sick. It means the church isn't doing it's job."
Chuck Colsen

"I just learned that God's ways are better than mine, so I just need to chill out and let go of control.
Just show up in the morning. Get your orders for the day, and execute in obedience.
If I'm not in good shape, I'm hurting the whole organization.
I have learned to sacrifice privacy for accountability.
I dare you to pray "Bring it on, God" and watch out for what God will do with you." Catherine Rohr

"Moses was 'called' to do his job. He had a long list of reasons he shouldn’t be doing it. But Moses did the job because he was 'called' to do it." Brad Anderson

"Be careful. God might be preparing you, and refining you, by the frustration of this era." Bill Hybels

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bated Breath

I've come so far
to grasp the hem of the garment of confidence
to feel the awesome power of You
flow out into me
and dance in the role You've tailor made for me
but now
it's itchy again
ants in the pants holy discontent
like crossing a ribboned finish line with arms up
only to see another longer race ahead
because I can hear You
calling me to something beyond me
and I don't know exactly what it is yet
like a slow curtain opening
but I do know
I can't breathe life into others
if I stay safe in my breathless fear and insecurity
chin on my knees
peeking through the blinds
and making excuses
because the sun seems too bright
and I forgot my sunglasses
Thank you for two days
of inhaling the wisdom of women who get it
who actually live comfortably in their own skin
a clear picture of who they are in You
minus the blurring lines of the blinds
that big picture comparison game
that really isn't the picture at all
who have watched the curtain open until it locks
so they can dance in the warm sun
of all You have for them
I'm breathing it all in
only so I can exhale
with my little voice
to bring some glory to You
and find my own voice
my own strength to open the curtain
so others can see You
and watch the real love story
that has the only true, lasting, and enduring happy ending
of breathing in and
breathing out.

Gifted to Lead Conference Wed. Aug. 7, 2008
"As I listen to my life and tell my stories, a voice emerges. It is my voice, and it connects to people in ways the voices of others cannot . . . do not try to be someone you are not .. .Trust that God has given you a voice that needs to be heard and stories that will connect if you tell them with a spirit of openness, discovery, and reflection on eternal truth . . . be a woman who examines her soul and who is used by God to breathe life into others. "
Nancy Beach, Gifted to Lead

"The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you're thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he's thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions. We didn't learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we're passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way. " 1 Corinthians 2:10-13

"Wherever you go, your gift is not as important as your pursuit of God . . . Stop being surprised that leadership is hard. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Obstacles are what your gift was created for. Seek a vision of your calling that goes beyond time and place, one the goes to the heart of God. . . You can't believe in the strengths of others until you believe in your own." Nancy Ortberg

"Where God provides a vision, he also provides provision." Teresa Hord Owens

"Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained." Marie Curie

"Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your own weaknesses." Mother Theresa

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sink Down, Raise Up

"A remnant of the family of Judah yet again will sink down roots and raise up fruit."
2 Kings 19:30

A weekend of legacy reminders
dressed in a whimsical pink t-shirt parade
a time to sink down the family tree roots
and listen for hand-me-down wisdom
from You
how You slip into conversation topics
like the rhythm of a cool, rotating fan
standing as the base of the family tree for years
with Aunt Norma in Egypt missions
with Cousin Kimmy Jo and her puppets
that bring You to children in ways only she can
with Amy and her new adventure of motherhood
as she extends another branch of faith
in the chubby cheeks of a little boy
with mom and her palm tree pain transformed
into the joy of trusting You
and with Grandma in her silent service
that can drown out all the bubbly teacher voices
with the power of her quiet peace and patience
that remind of us Jesus in ways we forget to admit
with each one of us in Your hand-crafted way
that we have trouble putting into words
but share with each other
in some common unspoken sweetness
I sink in the roots
knowing the nutrients of my family tree
will feed and ripen the fruit You are calling me to grow
and I thank You for a weekend of hymn-singing women
and cousins coming together
to love You
love each other
and slowing time as we chase moments
to sink down and raise up together
all for the glory of You