Wednesday, April 8, 2015


I woke up this morning to dog poop all over my bedroom carpet.  Awesome.

I hardly even flinch at this as have an old dog, and so I clean up dog poop on a mostly daily basis.
And I will continue to clean it up because I am so thankful to still have my sweet buddy around.  But make no mistake, it is a lot of work.  I sometimes think God must be preparing me for a house full of toddlers b/c I am a poop maestro at this point.   Which is not really something I ever dreamed of being.

This morning my desire for a quiet moment of reading and prayer trumped the desire to steam clean my carpet at 6 a.m., so I got out of the room and drank my coffee while sitting on the couch asking God to meet me...because I need him.  I need him.

And it's not just the poop.  It seems I am often in a place where my needs and my sufficiencies do not line up.  At all.  I need far more than I have.  I am inadequate.  This lack can be in a sorts of categories - emotions,  wisdom,  patience, steadfastness,  trust, faith - I do not have what it takes... and I am regularly faced with this reality.

On these mornings, I sometimes feel like I need to fast, and when I think of what I would pray for during my fast, the prayer that often comes to me is "God HELP ME - God help me because I am desperate for you."  Really?  Is that a specific enough fast?!  And so I head out the door for the day willing to endure some hunger for that prayer.

Does anyone else feel this need?  This lack of resources?  This poverty?  This is, in fact, the definition of poverty - not having enough - and so when I am in poverty of faith or poverty of wisdom or poverty of patience or love or kindness I need to be on my knees before the Father asking him to meet me in my poor state.  I ask him to provide what I am lacking.

It does not feel good.  I like to feel adequate and competent and on top of everything.  But I am actually believing that perhaps these moments, days, and weeks of feeling needy is really when I am more in touch with reality than when I feel sufficient.  I am likely the most delusional when I do have brief moments where I feel like I've got it all together.

Paul speaks of this in II Corinthians:
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

This verse invites us to transform the our idea of weakness to see it as the avenue for strength.  Weakness as the path to strength...what a beautiful reality.

Weakness is the very place where I am primed and ready to see God's power break through in my life.  I cannot see him without recognizing my need for him, so it would stand to reason that the more I recognize my need, the more I am going to see him.  Because He is faithful.

Where are you in your weakness?  Are you delighting in it?  Fighting it?  Shaming yourself for your inadequacy?  Today let's boast in our weakness, not because we love failure, but because we serve a God who makes up for every bit of incompetence that we have AND even turns it into good!

This thing of walking with Jesus is really such a sweet deal.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


I cannot escape the desire to be beautiful.  It is there.  Strong.  It revisits - it always comes back around.  This longing for beauty is deep - deep in the heart of me,
and my guess is it is not just me.

We, as women, long to be beautiful.

The marketing world knows this.  They might know our desires better than we do, I suppose.  The quest for beauty...more beauty...unending beauty that might bring us what we want - at least that's what the world would think.

I do feel this desire for exterior beauty, and I choose to embrace it...but not as the purpose of life, or with the belief that it will make me happy.  I don't seek it with unfair expectations for what this form of beauty will do for me.

Instead... I ENJOY it.  I enjoy making the outside beautiful because God is the creator of beauty.  I relish in clothing that reflects this.  I adore great lipstick that brings out my eyes.  I delight in a fantastic haircut.
I hold it loosely, and I ENJOY that God made us beautiful. desire to be beautiful does not end there.  It doesn't end with clothing and fun hair and great shoes and color and design.  My desire to be beautiful reaches even to a deeper place of my heart and my soul and to what I would offer the world.  I long to be graceful.  I long to be merciful, kind, forgiving, loving.  I want a pure heart - a heart that delights in the truth - a heart that sees the good and brings out the good and GIVES more of God's kingdom to those around me.  I desire to have a nurturing heart that sees others and cares about their needs.  I long to be light in the darkness, hope in despair, a breath of fresh air on a battlefield where people are weary and scared.  I long to hold fear in my hand and choose trust.  And Joy.  And Hope.  THIS is the beauty that I desire too...THIS is the beauty that my heart aches for.

I remember feeling this desire intensely shortly after being widowed.  I had experienced the freedom of being Beauty standing beside a man offering Strength.  Beauty and strength - what an amazing design and what fruitful results can come when these two things are in harmony together.  I felt the absence of beauty in myself through sorrow and aloneness and in being an individual instead of a team.  One day during this time my mother-in-law gave me a bracelet that had a little prayer box attached to it....and the simple prayer that I wrote and placed in that box was, "God, please make me beautiful."  And today, even though I am not in that particular broken place any longer, I still find myself saying that same exact prayer.  "Please, God, make me beautiful."

Because the reality is that I am human.  Fallen.  Sinful.  I sometimes don't give grace, but instead heap up judgment.  I am NOT always kind, and have plenty of moments of mean.  I sometimes struggle to forgive.  And I seek my own good.  I probably feel this longing for beauty of heart and soul MOST when I'm overwhelmed by my sin...or my sorrow...or my fear.   I see who I am apart from the Grace of God and I want HIS redemption.  I want beauty for ashes.  I want the oil of gladness for a spirit of despair.  I want to be a "tree planted by streams of water" giving life, life, and more life.  Isn't that what we as women uniquely were made give life, to birth life, to bring forth life?  We are by design "Life Givers."

The beauty bestowed upon a woman's heart by the Lord
...has great power that He uses to change the world around her.
God - give me more and more and more of this thing called beauty.  For YOU are a God of beauty and I long to reflect you in my womanhood...bringing LIFE to those around me.

Do you see the beauty that God has placed in you?  Are you comfortable with your beauty?  How can you let God use you even more to offer HIS beauty to the world through you?