Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Isabelle came into our room last night after getting her PJ's on and said,

"Momma these PJ's are so cute but it's to bad the put the words on backwards!"

As I turned to her to see just what she was talking about, I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

So, I replied, "what are you talking about, Baby."

Taking her finger to  underline the words, she said, "In my mirror these words are backwards."

Trying to suppress my giggle, we had a little impromptu science lesson about mirrors and reflections.

Then a little light bulb went on for her and I got an "Ohhhhh! Well, that's good so now these PJ's are just cute!"

 A hug and kiss goodnight for her, but me left with a mind that can't stop turning.

Earlier that same day, I'd learned that a sweet friend from high school had passed away after fighting the good fight against colon cancer.
She left behind her high school sweetheart and husband, five beautiful children and a family and community that loves her dearly.

It feels so backwards.

Yet, she is whole and healthy and dancing with Jesus just in time for Easter.

Grief and Celebration.


We've had a special conference at our church the past two days.
An amazing time spent deep in God's word.

As one of the speakers began last night, he started talking about his friend who'd lost his wife yesterday to cancer.

I made a beeline over to him after the service, and asked if it was the same family.
Yes, it was.

Turns out we'd gone to the same college and that's how he'd met the family.

So, I had to ask him how a graduate of this particular school ends up at a SBC church, and in New York City. Because none of those things go together.

His simple one word answer to me. . .


Yes, I believe that's true, because I look at my own life and see grace written on every page, but

it's just seems so backwards.

That a Holy, Just God would pour out His grace and mercy over my life.

I am a surefire testimony that He does indeed use the simple things.
You can't get much more simple than me.

I can't pretend to understand it all.

I do know it feels so backwards at times, because I know how wretched I really am.

And, yet He does too. . .it's not like we can hide anything from Him.

The Bible says he knows us to our inner core, our very being.

Even that knowledge doesn't stop him from calling us His beloved.

So many times, I let the Giver of all Grace completely down with my disobedience, my hypocrisy
my defiance. . .but still He keeps pouring out the grace.
A never ending supply. . .never tells me, "That's it, you've had enough! I'm moving on to someone else!"

It feels so backwards in our humanity.

Today, I'm reflecting and giving thanks for His overwhelming, backwards grace.

 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Cor 13:12

Grace and Peace,

Monday, March 11, 2013

Identity Crisis

I love basketball.

And I live in a border state that has a long history of rivalry. 

Where I live most people tend to be for one particular team, but I still cling to my roots, win or lose, and cheer for my beloved Tigers.

With all the tournaments beginning this week, it's not uncommon to hear people refer to themselves as their favorite team.

I'm a ___________.

We identify ourselves with that team. They win, then we win. They lose, we lose.
No matter that never once have we actually PLAYED on the team.

It's not just sports though, we do it with our politics too.

I'm a Democrat.
Or Republican.
Or Libertarian. . .or all matter of variation there can be.

And then we do it with our churches as well.

Baptist (all kinds)
and on and on it goes.

Labeling, putting ourselves in groups. It's nothing new and yet,  the more  people I'm around the deeper I find this labeling-this  longing for identity  going. 

And we'll put that identity on anything and call it who we are.

But really, it's who we THINK we are.

We label ourselves by things we typically would never call someone else.

Stupid, loser, lazy, bankrupt. . .

Or by things that once marked us that we broken free from physically but mentally still identify ourselves by. . .

Addict, divorcee, adulterer, thief, gossip. . .

We say we believe God, but when He calls us Friend we laugh to ourselves and claim that to be true for someone else but surely not for us.

Or beloved.

All things we would so easily tell someone else they were in Christ, but for us we may say we believe but we certainly don't live like we do.

Otherwise, we wouldn't be nearly so mean to ourselves or each other.

If you are a believer in Christ, today no matter where you are or what you're doing, God calls you Friend.

What would happen if we started living like we believed that?


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Struggle

This morning as my little was getting ready for school, she was really struggling with the button on

her jeans.

I can't do this Momma!

Yes, you can Baby, remember how we practiced. Try again, You got this!

It was all I could do not to reach over and end the struggle for her and do it myself.

It would have been easy, right?

However, just as I was  about  to reach over and help (do it myself), she got it .

The big smile and sense of accomplishment could be read on her face from a mile away!


As the kiddos ran out the door for school, I began playing that scene over in my head and I

so clearly heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, "See that's what I am doing in you.

I could end the struggle for you-easily-but you need to know that you can do this. Use

everything I've taught you-and  keep trying!  Remember, just like you with your girl, I'm right here

watching, cheering you on. But you can do this!"

Such a true word I needed this morning.

I am not alone in my struggle.
  My struggle is not in vain. It will be used to teach me something.
Even if that something is 'You can do this!' .

And guess what? Neither are you and your struggle, no matter how big or small is not for nothing.

He sees, He knows.  Yes, He could just fix it or do it for us-but how will we ever learn?

How would we be able to handle the bigger struggles that are sure to come?

So, today I am acknowledging that what I'm dealing with is a struggle.
And that's ok.

I'm remember what I've been taught and I'll keep trying. . .

Remembering that I'm not in my struggle alone.
My Father is right there, cheering me on-ready and able to step in at any moment, but He has the full confidence-even when I don't-that I can do this.

Grace and Peace in the struggles today,

Monday, March 4, 2013

Red Ink

This school year I've been helping out J's teacher by grading the students timed math quizzes.

(You know the stress inducing ones where you have to get as many questions correct as you can in a certain number of minutes. . .the cruelty of the elementary academic world!)

And, at the beginning of the school year when I first began to grade them, I tried using a pencil or ink  pen to circle the ones the students missed.

Since I was (and STILL am) not very good at math, I have deep sympathy for these kiddos who really struggle with just getting the test done much less getting the answers correct.

I remember getting my test back and seeing the teachers red ink on my paper and being so embarrassed and quickly turning my paper over so no one see how I did.
I could smile and pretend everything was OK.

But, my plan of using pencil or black ink just didn't work.
When I'd go to count up how many they'd missed it was so difficult to see what I'd circled.

So, I got out the red pen and hoped I wouldn't crush some precious third graders spirit.

As, I was grading another stack a few days ago, I was noticing what a great job some of them were doing. Some of the very ones, who at the beginning of the year, their whole page seemed to be one giant red circle.

 Some still struggle but all in all most  have come such a long way.
I prayed none of them had been embarrassed by that red ink.

Of course, they have nothing to be embarrassed about. They were and are learning.
The red ink was there to show them what problems they needed to practice on so they could improve.

And it's working-they are improving and passing the test with flying colors!

I began to think, isn't that exactly what God does with us?

Gets out His holy red ink pen and begins to circle the places in our lives that need practice and correction.

And  just like I used to do in school, many of us (ME ME ME) try to hide what's going one-cover our 'work' and go on with a smile as if nothing is wrong.

When really we have no need to be embarrassed, His goal with the red ink is not to humiliate us.

It's to point out where  we are wrong so we can fix it.

As life goes on the tests change.

Just like those 3rd graders, we get addition ones done, so He moves us on to the next test-a little more difficult this time.

And when we first begin maybe the paper of our lives are covered in red ink again.

But, don't be discouraged, He'll give us another test so we can practice on that one.

And maybe, just maybe with a little practice on the next one there will be less red ink.

 I'm striving to see the red ink that's written on my life as one more testimony to the

power of grace.

After all, He could just keep giving me the test and never  show me where I need to practice.
I could just keep struggling and struggling not knowing what I should be working on.

Because just like school, we KNOW there are going to be test.

Wouldn't you rather pass them then keep failing? I know I would.

So, instead of hiding my 'red ink' on my 'paper', I'm going to study those problems that need work.

And I'm going to thank God for using his 'red ink' on me!

Taking the tests with you,

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Natalie Curp, you're the winner!


Enjoy the book!

Thanks to all who entered and played along.

Enjoy your Saturday-I'm heading back to the second session of the Priscilla Shirer Live even in KC.
If you never read anything by her or  heard her speak, you really REALLY should!

Happy Saturday,