Thursday, August 15, 2013


The older I get the more I realize there is no need to be impressed by people. I put myself at the front of this list, and since I have no need to impress myself, I am beginning to find no need to impress others. What a huge weight lifted!

It happens to all of us. We meet that dazzling person who shines above the rest, outwardly successful, easy to like, and hard to compete with. We are star struck and we think, "Now that's really someone." It doesn't ever look the same. It could be someone who looks like Mother Theresa, always offering something of value to everyone around her. It could be the mom who appears to juggle life with ease, always organized, always doing something creative and fun with her kids, yet still somehow managing to be an amazing wife to her husband. Maybe it's a missionary who is giving up his whole life to live in a foreign country to take care of orphans. It could be the straight A student, the athlete, or the celebrity. It could be a million different people doing a million different significant things that we ourselves wish we could emulate.

We are so easily impressed. We are so drawn towards putting people on pedestals. I'll tell you what happens to people on pedestals. They fall. The higher the harder. I've seen it happen. We all have. Presidents, actors, pastors, family, friends... anyone we exalt above imperfect humanity will disappoint.

This is what is so beautiful to me about the concept of sinful humans needing a perfect savior. This is why I am so enthralled by Jesus, who He is and what He stands for. We don't need to look far to realize that perfection in this world is obsolete. We allow ourselves to be impressed with seemingly good people only to be hurt and disappointed. This sounds critical and pessimistic without the other side of the story. The grace side.

You don't need grace if you don't have a problem. And boy do I need grace. I have a problem... a sin problem. My motives are selfish in everything I do. I enjoy self-promoting. I like to make my life look perfect on Social Media (or funny, or ironic, or interesting, or dramatic). I sometimes look through all my "likes" on Facebook just to see who supports me, cares about me, and is watching me. I think if we're all honest, we can say the same things. Sure... these things may be a little ego-centric, but they are essentially harmless, right? Wrong. What I say with my actions, what is emerging from the depths of my heart is that I want to be lifted up, noticed, and admired. I desire man's approval. This heart condition rebels against the God who made me. He made me to reflect His glory. He did not create me to be the center. He is the creator, I am the created.

Art is to be greatly admired. It is to be appreciated. It is even to be praised, but the Artist is the one who gets the glory. I believe it is possible to appreciate people, to admire people, and even to praise people in a way that glorifies God. It all centers around grace. You never expect a piece of art to fix a flaw in itself. You immediately look to the Artist. In the same way, I cannot look at another person, or even myself and say "right this wrong." I am forced to look to the focal point. The Artist must hold my attention.

When our eyes are fixed on perfection, everything else around us looks dim. People seem less impressive, and rightfully so. We stop giving ourselves such a hard time. We aren't surprised or even upset when we fail. We take correction because we know we need to be corrected. We give more grace to the "just people" who are stumbling through life just like we are. We stop judging, and we are moved to come to each other's aid, saying, "Look! Do you see Him? Perfection is calling out to us! He is making us more like Him. He is doing what He said He would do. He is righting all wrongs. He is faithful. He is beautiful. He IS!"

Monday, June 3, 2013


It's late and I am tired. I am lying here in my bed, keys clicking, while my sweet husband faces the wall patiently so that I can write. I am writing because I cannot sleep. I cannot sleep because there are so many things on my mind.

I am praying. I am praying for family. I feel so acutely aware of some of their situations right now. It's like a window has been opened suddenly and I am looking through. When I was four my grandmother had an aneurism in her brain. She should never have lived, but she did, and for twenty two years my aunts have taken care of everything for her. They have fed her, bathed her, given her meds, taken her off meds, changed her, watched her diet, changed her diet, taken her to thousands of doctor appointments, lost countless hours of sleep- they have lived and breathed all of her needs for over two decades.

I was only four. When you are young and something drastic happens, you slowly forget, and over time, things become normal. At least that is what happened for me. It has been that way for me since I can remember, my grandmother being taken care of and my aunts doing the caring. It hit me like a ton of bricks tonight for some reason or another, what that must take... the kind of sacrifice involved. The kind of will power to put what you want in life aside for the sake of someone you love. And I'm thinking, "would I do it?" I hope so. It has meant so much, seeing it all play out. Even though I never really realized it at the time, looking at it now, it all means so much, the things they do and the life they lead. It literally squeezes tears out of my eyes and makes my heart ache with thankfulness.

I can so closely relate my aunts' sacrifice to another one that has been made on my behalf. I am the needy one, and the caregiver is Jesus. He made the ultimate sacrifice. He lived his life not to be served, but to serve. He did not have to come. He could have passed us off and let us die. But He did come, and he gave everything so that we could have life, and he did it from a perfect heart. No home, rejected, accused, betrayed, disbelieved, spat upon, beaten, cursed, and eventually killed. The tears are really coming now. The hope is palpable. Where my aunts could only provide a temporary life, fraught with health issues and pain (and they have done the best job possible... it's amazing really), Jesus provided abundant, eternal life. He satisfies every need in life. The life He gives starts here in the shadowland, where pain is ever present, but it goes on forever. It begins in pain, but it ends in endless euphoria. I know it does. I believe in the power of Jesus Christ to save. I trust him with my life. I trust Him with my family's life.

All these things are running through my mind tonight. It makes me miss my family. It makes me sad that I don't live closer. But it gives me hope for a better future where pain doesn't exist at all, and where every heartache is healed.

Jesus said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."     -John 14:6

I suppose the verses below sum up what I feel right now.

Romans 8:18-30

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Monday, April 22, 2013


I am a mom.

It hit me like a ton of bricks today as I struggled to keep up with my laundry and dishes, simultaneously taking care of my sick husband and my sick 10 1/2 month old.

I'm really only writing for some kind of mental break right now, so if you're not a blog fanatic and you get bored reading about an average life, you should probably just stop reading this.

Despite my seemingly bleak introduction, it really has not been a bad day.

God has revealed to me over the past several weeks that I am engrained with a complaining spirit. I see it most clearly when it rubs off on David, and yes, even a baby who can't talk somehow picks up my negativity when it rears its ugly head.

At first I was offended.

"Obviously, I complain... look at how many inconveniences I suffer through. Look at all the work I do that no one sees. I HAVE to talk about it to get the necessary affirmation."

Next the shame hit, but only for a minute.

God has also been freeing me from years and years of built up guilt over being a human. I saw a glimpse of my heart's true intent underneath all the layers of pretense I so carefully weave together to cover my naked desires, the desires that seek to lift myself up, make myself look better, and get as much as I possibly can from everyone else. You know... those desires. So I was ashamed.

Finally, the true repenting feelings came. The ones that bring me to my knees in desperation, but not in hopelessness. I confessed. I thanked God for showing me yet another layer of the sin that He already paid for. I thanked Him for the freedom that comes through that payment and also for the Holy Spirit who helps teach and guide me. I told him I didn't know how to change, or even want to really.

I asked God to change me.

Today could have been a hard day. It could have been one where I add up the lists of things I do and hold it against the world, saying, "SEE ME STRIVE!" But God quieted my heart. He actually made me able to enjoy caring for my sick family, cleaning my dirty house, and having hours of no conversation. He did it, not me.

So here I sit at coffee by myself, processing this hectic day, and I am peaceful. I feel refreshed and made new. Praise God for transforming every day ordinary life into moments of worship. Praise God for being everything I need.

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." -Romans 12:1-2

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Lately I have been incredibly emotional. It bothers me, because I have grown to look at emotionalism as weakness, and have attempted to dull my feelings, or at least the expression of my feelings. Children express every emotion freely. Sophisticated adults contain themselves properly.
So I've tried.

Generally, I succeed when I'm with most people. It's David who sees the worst, and I even feel ashamed to allow him to view the raw parts of my heart. I don't believe this is "right," its just that this is where I'm at if I'm honest.

I feel very angry frequently. Angry, misunderstood, and lonely. The anger isn't directed at anyone specifically, but it lands on David the most. This grieves me. I think I struggle... well I know I do, with doing.  

I don't do because I am called or compelled by something greater than myself. I do to impress and to earn. So I do and do, and when it seems no one is impressed and I seem to receive nothing, I become angry. 

There is a story in the Bible about two women named Mary and Martha. Jesus visited them at their house, and they were sisters. Mary was so overwhelmed and wrapped up in Jesus, that she forsook all her responsibilities to sit at his feet and listen to him. Martha was indignant. She scurried around the house doing. She was probably even doing some things that Mary ought to have been doing. She worked and worked for recognition, but she was ignored, and no one even seemed to notice the things that were getting done. Finally, she burst out in anger to Jesus: 

"Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all of the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10:40b)

Jesus' response is unexpected: " 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.' " 

I so envy Mary in this story. She had no guilt in sitting still. Martha was self-righteous, proud, indignant, and exhausted. I get it. That is literally who I am most of the time. But today, I am listening to the gentle rebuke of my Heavenly Father. I am listening to his beckoning to come and rest. 

Acting on the call to obediently rest in Him is more important than what other people think of me. 

"Holy Spirit, beautiful Helper of my ragged soul, enable me to grasp Jesus' insructions and to act on them immediately in obedience. Teach my soul to rest in You. Then, and only then will I have something to offer other people."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Peelin' Carrots

Man... two posts in a row about my kitchen and my mom. **Somebody's homesick!!!** I seem to have flashbacks of my childhood when I'm in there, peeling, chopping, shredding, cooking, cleaning. I think kitchens remind me of my mom because that was sort of her domain when I was growing up. It was really comforting to come home from school every day and smell something amazing on the stove or in the oven. I hope I get to be that kind of comforting presence in our home as our kids grow up.

Today I was peeling carrots for a chicken soup, and I had a funny string of memories about my family, specifically my mom.  I was probably l0 or so, and we had gone to the New Hampshire State Fair. We came home on an emotional high. It was like we had seen one of the Seven Wonders of the World. At least that was how I felt. Dad bought me my first ever pocket knife while we were there. It was wooden on the outside, nice and sharp on the inside, and with it I was sure I could do amazing things. I planned on whittling things no kid had ever whittled and impressing everyone with my skills.

My mom was having her own thrill. She has always been a passionate person. Black or white, in or out, all or nothing, she has no middle ground really. At the fair, there had been a man selling vegetable peelers. Not just any vegetable peelers, friends. Oh no, these were the real deal, made to peel with great ease and comfort! They had a funny handle that was easy to hold, and the blades... the blades would slice through the thickest of squash skins with never a sweat broken. The man charismatically showed off his prized peelers, and we watched in fascination. Mom was hooked. She immediately bought two. I remember how excited she was because for the next week or so (maybe several weeks, because it's burned pretty well into my memory), she told everyone about them. She exhibited them in front of friends and family with flare. She openly cast aspersions on the old peelers, and she asked everyone she talked to what kind of peelers they used. There was a new way to peel vegetables, and we were on the cutting edge. We had the best vegetable peelers in all of New England, and maybe the world, right in our house! I was sure of it. So was my mom. It was a joyful time indeed.

All this came rushing through my mind as I peeled my carrots today. To this day, I take pride in my peeler. It isn't the same funny shape as my moms, but it glides over my vegetables just like I remember my mom's doing. You have to have a good vegetable peeler. I learned that from my mom.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I Started to Chuckle

I was cleaning out my kitchen sink today, trying to enjoy being faithful in the little things, when a memory popped into my mind that made me chuckle. Yes, chuckle, like a plump old man with a beard in a flannel shirt tucked in with his belly hanging over his belt. No, not Santa Clause... just a nice plump old man.

Anyway, I was chuckling because I was remembering a scene in my old townhouse kitchen where I lived during college with three other girls (and whoever else needed a place to stay at the time). My mom was in town, and we were standing there in the kitchen by the sink. I was staring at it with that sort of hopeless vacant look, when my mom said, "Wow! You're sink really needs to be cleaned out!" Understatement of the century. It was horrible. It was so bad that it made the whole kitchen smell old. None of us were amazing housewives (yet!) except one of us, who was on her way, but was also taking like a million credits in classes, working, and keeping up a long-distance relationship. Needless to say, we had let the kitchen sink fester in its filth for... well for who knows how long.

My mom, like moms do, whipped out the Dawn, grabbed a scrubby something (who knew we even had that?), and went to work. Within minutes it was like we had just driven ourselves to Lowes, bought a new sink, and installed it in place of that nasty old thing. I was floored. No, seriously, in that moment, I thought my mom may actually have possessed a super power.

In that very moment, I thought, "You have to clean sinks?!?!" It was a revolutionary idea. In my mind, sinks were FOR cleaning. Why would you have to CLEAN a CLEANER??? And to think that all these years my mom had been doing that... I had no idea!!! I know, people, it's not rocket science. Give me a break. Or don't. I've heard it both ways.

So there I was in my shock and awe, my life changed forever in regards to sinks and their hygiene. Thanks, Mom. How many things do moms even do that no one realizes? The longer I'm a mom (and it hasn't been long at all) the more I realize.

So that's who this post is dedicated to. It's to moms everywhere, but especially mine. I love you, and I'm thankful for everything you did all those years.

The End.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Will Not Give You a Snake

Lately I have been in an all-out battle with fiery darts from the enemy concerning the goodness of God. I wake up. I thank God for David and Macy-Beth and for the roof over our heads. I take care of the cozy home He has blessed us with. I keep thanking Him and I try to listen too. I ask Him to help me understand His Word in the Scriptures. I need to spend more time reading them so I can defend myself against these lies, though. I feel bad about that and I tell him. I ask Him to provide what we need for the day, and I try to believe He will. Mostly I worry about the days after today though. I feel bad about that too and I tell him. I spend time with Macy-Beth and start to prepare for my day and the things in it. I fight worry. I stuff down doubt. I war against the lie that I am teetering on the edge of God's good graces, and that someday I'm going to do something bad enough to screw it up.

What would become of me if God's good graces depended upon me? Holy crap. I'd die. No... like literally, I would just become a pile of mush. Shame would eat me up and everything. The thought makes me shudder. I know more about myself than you do. I know more than the actions I take every day. What I do looks pretty good I think. But I know the why. I know the reason I do the things I do. Mostly it's to make myself look better than I am. I desperately want people to think I am at least pretty good. Thank God he knew all of this long before I did. I remind myself he has it covered; to breathe deep. So I do. Did I use that semi-colon correctly? I always get confused about the semi-colon.

So I breathe deep. I re-collect myself, no, I spill myself out in the presence of an infinitely good God. I remind myself of his promises. I tell myself that it's ok that I'm not good, that I can never become goodness itself. Only God is good. The rest of us are depending on that.

Last night Macy-Beth was playing in her bouncy seat, and David and I were just watching her. I was pouring out my thoughts about the lies I have been fighting on the goodness of God. David, never taking his eyes from our beautiful daughter asked me, "You never thought you could love anyone so much, did you?" I stared at her with so much love it hurt and said, "Never." He kept talking, "...and would you ever want any harm to come to her?" I shook my head even though he wasn't looking. I moved and sat closer to him and he put his arm around my shoulders. We just sat there looking at this tiny cooing creature who we love so much it hurts. "It doesn't even come close." It was all I needed to hear. My eyes filled up and I succumbed to the emotions that were welling up too strong for me to stifle.

It doesn't even come close. My love for her is nothing compared to God's love for me. It leaves me speechless.

"You parents- if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 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 7:9-11