Saturday, October 31, 2015


"...after you have done everything...stand." 

 Ephesians 6:13b

There are days in this last year plus that just getting out of bed has been a huge victory.  Standing and walking have been huge, too.  In the midst of a fierce, draining battle, standing is actually quite a remarkable and courageous act.

I know these verses are clearly couched in the heart of some of the most powerful and specific teaching on spiritual warfare in the NT.  Sometimes we differentiate between "trials" and "spiritual warfare" when really there is a complex overlap.  Isn't it all about living in a visible earthly realm with a heavenly invisible perspective?  Isn't it all about "making known the mystery" through our lives - especially in our suffering - whatever the catalyst or form our suffering has?  It may be that "simply standing" shows others God's amazing grace in far more tangible & dramatic ways than walking or running.

I have yet to meet someone who likes to be weak or to just "be standing" but if we had any kind of perspective on what it takes for a lot of us to "just stand", they would hold our deepest respect!

On my days when discouragement hovers over me because I get caught up focusing on how long it is taking to recover my physical strength & energy during this time of grief, how little I seem to accomplish in a day compared to before, the anxiety that quickly rises up in me in the face of any stress, the yo-yo of emotions that still overwhelm me, my lack of usual vision & passion in our work, my diminished emotional capacity for people and the spiritual questions that haunt me...I have to remind myself that it is just a day for standing.  "Just stand," He whispers to me, "Today, just stand."

So I am trying to rest in my standing.  To be patient in my standing, to be ok with my standing.  To let others stand with me and to let the world see that I am "just standing" at a time when I could be laying down.  Oh I pray they will see the mystery and grace of my standing!

In the words of Melbourne Street Artists Avant-Garde:

First photo by:  Hamed Masoumi

Monday, October 26, 2015


For my treasures, Daniela & Jordan

How my mother-wings long to stretch out over & around them!
Protecting, insulating, harboring...
I long to be a barrier between them & life.
Perhaps because there has been so much in the last year that I have been unable to control,
that now I feel an overwhelming desire to overprotect them -
from pain, sadness, from all that goes wrong, from defeat, rejection & shaken theology.
It is not right that they experience any more pain!
Any hint of potential hurt feels almost unbearable to me.
I feel so helpless before their vulnerability, so inadequate to shield them!

I never have been the hovering type -
but that was before tragedy touched us.
That was before our hearts were broken,
before our lives were changed forever.
Now I want the future to look differently,
And their safety has taken on an inordinate priority!
I have never been as conscious of their emotional safety in all my years as a mother.

Herein lies my struggle - the struggle  of all mothers, really -
I cannot keep them safe from everything.
Mother-wings are not enough.
Oh what a defeating thought for the mother bear inside me!

There is only one thing to do...
the thing that is always right to do...
surrender them to the One with Father-wings,
to the One who is Omni-Everything to them in all places & at all times - I cannot be that.

Help my heart at this altar place, Lord.
Help me in this surrender of my babies!
Help me to surrender the safety of their heart, their emotions, their well-being, their relationship with You, their self-confidence...
Help me in this stubborn wrestling to see them be insulated from what feels like a very big, bad world right now.
And please help me lay down my parental weapons and any illusions of control.

They really are safest in your Omni hands.
My Mother-wings are good for certain times & places -
Your Father-wings are good at all times and in all places!
Their safety is, in reality, only ever in Your control, in Your hands...
in the Shadow-Sanctuary of Your very Almighty wings.

Friday, October 23, 2015


"Then Peter got down out of the boat,
 walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and,
 beginning to sink, cried out, " Lord, save me!"

Matthew 14:29, 30

my eyes
on the One.
Who knows, who loves, who cries.
my heart 
on the immovable Rock.
Who stabilizes, secures, is unyielding.
my mind
on enduring Truth and Goodness.
My underpinning, my bedrock, my infrastructure.
my body
to the healing road of Life.
Sound, flourishing, wholeness.

Fix all of me, God,
on Your face.
And on Your extended hand to me.
The one stretched out across the rising waves all around me -
For You are ready to save.
I see it in Your face;
it is fixed with love on me.

Save me, O God,
from this ocean of emotions!
from tumultuous waves of fear & sadness,
from tides of regret & loss...
Calm the storm - the one inside me.

my eyes, 
O God.
My heart, mind & body, too.
Focus all of me...on all of You.
my eyes.

¨...let us run with perseverance the race 
marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes
on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...¨

Hebrews 12:1,2

Photo by:  Vagelis Kalampalikis

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


¨He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...
to comfort all who provide for those who grieve...
bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
 instead of a spirit of despair. ¨ 

Isaiah 61:1-3

In the midst of this pain, Lord,
Make me attentive.
Attentive to unexpected beauty.
Help me to see it, to perceive it.

Let me be in synch
with the Spirit´s redemptive craftsmanship
against this backdrop of tragedy.
A backdrop of ugly rawness, 
painful memories & the smoldering of death.

You say You will bring beauty -
Beauty from the ashes of death,
from the ashes of mourning...
You say You can transform even that.

So let me discern, O Lord,
this promised artistry.
Let me participate in its unfolding,
delight in its telling,
take comfort in its transforming blessing.

Grace my head, O King,
with the garland of beauty.
Grace my heart & life
with restored joy,
with laughter,
with dancing and song.

Make me attentive, Lord,
to the beauty.

Photo by:  Noukka Signe