How about a cup of coffee?

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How about we sit down for a cup of coffee or if you prefer, a cup of tea?

How about we commiserate over the evils that have befallen our fellow moms?

How about we share the pain and the worries…what if it was our children and how can we possibly keep that from becoming a reality?

Do we see each other? Do we hear each other? Is social media robbing us of our humanity while promising incredible connection?

Are empathy, compassion and caring translated through the text on our tiny handheld devices? Is the benefit of the doubt erased with the flatness of the screen and the ease of a keyboard? Are clever quips and creative memes replacing genuine relationship?

How about we sit down for a cup of coffee or tea? Tell me your story. Tell me about your worries. Tell me about your dreams. Face to face. Heart to heart.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 

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Empowered

 

I didn’t feel empowered when I walked into that old converted house in Richmond.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was educated that abortion was safer than child birth.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was counseled to continue the process in spite of my reservations.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was given a sedative to take the edge off.

I didn’t feel empowered when I sat in a tiny room with a dozen other broken women waiting for our turn.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was herded into a procedure room.

I didn’t feel empowered when I was hurried out to recover.

I didn’t feel empowered when I drove away bleeding.

I didn’t feel empowered when counterfeit love couldn’t bear the weight of loss.

I didn’t feel empowered alone with my secret.

84% of post abortive women felt they had no option. No power to choose.

Abortion doesn’t empower. It steals. It robs. It abuses.

Real power came when I found forgiveness and healing in Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).

By His grace, a loving husband and subsequent pregnancies followed.

The most empowering moments of my life can be found in newness of life.

Redemption. Child birth.

I will be a voice for the unborn. I will be a voice for women.

#whywemarch

Who said Perfect?

When did being a Christian mean perfection?

Sure, those who reject God want to reject Christians for their imperfection which gives them assurance that their rejection of God is grounded in reason.

They don’t understand the real power and meaning of the gospel.

Some misunderstand out of ignorance. Some choose to miss it out of hardness of heart.

Are believers helping to dispel this notion of perfection?  Have we forgotten?  Have we misunderstood?

No one is righteous. None. Not even one. (Romans 3:10)

Elite soccer teams select elite players to complete their squads. The coaches start with excellence, way beyond the average. Through strategy and the cohesiveness of the team, championships are won.

Is God merely selecting people who are extraordinarily good to play on His Christian club?

Nope.

God is calling all to Himself. Not wanting any to perish.  Not wanting any to live or ultimately to die separated from Himself. (2 Peter 3:9)

Far from perfect. He takes the least of us.

The harlots. The thieves. The murderers.

The selfish. The mean. The liars.

When we accept that we are broken. When we agree with Him that we are fallen, He adopts us into His family (Ephesians 1:5). He washes away our sin. He clothes us in righteousness. He makes us new.

All for His glory. All for His plan. All in His strength.

All because of the perfection of His Son.  All because of His sacrifice.  All because of His resurrection.

I still fall short. I still stumble. I still fall.

By His grace, I am striving. By His mercy, I do good.

I am a Christian.  I’m not perfect. He is.  I’m not strong. He is.

An imperfect Christian is not a gotcha moment. It’s not hypocrisy. It’s not a contradiction. It is truth.

Because He is perfecting me. I want to love like He loves. I want to see like He sees. I want to be like He is. I want to think like He thinks.

My desire is to be a reflection of the Perfect Christ.

I want you to see Him in me.

Don’t let my imperfections cloud your view. 





Miracles from Heaven

To celebrate Todd’s birthday, I took him to a fabulous dinner at a restaurant that has super tasty gluten free food. Real gluten free. Not just food with the gluten-ful food taken out, i.e. hamburger without a bun. Extra bonus:  the menu had gluten free chocolate cake to happily end his birthday meal.  


That’s about as far as my plans went. Not wanting to rush home, he suggested a movie. There were only two choices at the Pitt Theatre:  Batman vs. Superman or Miracles from Heaven.


We chose Miracles from Heaven. Enjoying each other’s company, we laughed out loud at the previews. We settled in for the feature presentation.


Almost immediately, as the little girl in the movie became gravely ill, we turned to each other in agreement that this true story might hit a little too close to home for us.


As the characters on the screen began to chase a diagnosis for their daughter, so many personal scenes jumped into my mind and emotions bubbled back to the surface from our very own struggle with Chloe’s health. 


I could relate to this desperate mother, as she watched her child in pain and languishing, forcefully questioning a doctor who said that everything was normal or that it was only lactose intolerance.


The fear.  The anger. The sadness. The grief.


All threatening to swallow up the joy and the hope…and my faith.


Like a toddler, I assumed that when I asked nicely.  When I said “please” and “thank you,” surely God would answer my prayers exactly how I wanted.


When His answer wasn’t a resounding “yes,” I acted like a petulant child who didn’t get her own way.


Sometimes God’s answer is “yes.”  Sometimes He says “wait,” “not yet,” or “no, not on this side of eternity.”


His desire is for me to come to Him. Fully surrendered. Submitted to His will. Trusting His plan. Seeking His comfort. Resting in His peace.


Chloe is in remission. It’s been nearly two years since those super scary months of tests, hospitalizations and new diagnoses.




How many miracles did I miss while I crossed my arms over my chest, furrowed my brow and stomped my foot at my Heavenly Father?


When my faith was rocked to its core, I wanted to talk to Him. I wanted to trust, but somehow God just didn’t seem so safe anymore. I stepped back when I needed Him most. 


The movie, Miracles from Heaven, reached right into my healing heart. Reminding me that my God loves beyond measure and exceeds my understanding. 


A miracle itself. 


In the midst of sorrow and pain, He is good. He is faithful.


Joy, beauty, each small triumph. All sweet gifts from His tender hand.  


Lord, give me eyes to see.  



Matthew 13:16.
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear…

The Heart of Prayer

An amazing thing happens when you pray for someone. You begin to love them.

Chloe told me that one of the Teen girls at last weekend’s retreat hugged her…twice. This young woman has been praying for Chloe, and she loves Chloe because of that prayer.

These hugs from relative strangers have happened before…often.

Many people are earnestly praying for Chloe. Many have grown to sincerely love her.

Our family has been praying for a little girl with brain cancer. Although we have never met her, Haley wiggled her way into our hearts.

Haley passed away last night. Our hearts hurt for the family’s loss. Our hearts rejoice that she has no more pain and is present with The Lord.

Family honors Haley House in Heaven–Cumerland Times-Mirror

We never met her, but we loved her.

Through our prayers, God knit our hearts to hers and to her family’s.

Not simply words. Not simply thoughts. Hearts changed. Hearts melded.

Prayer is an amazing thing.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Chloe drew this picture after I shared with her that Haley had passed away. She captured the bittersweetness. This beautiful young girl is no longer “caged” or constrained by her sick, failing earthly body. She is free, healed and in the presence of her loving Savior.

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Greater Love

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Seventeen years ago, I was finishing up preparations for my wedding. My bridesmaids were arriving from out of town. After a major delay, their dresses arrived in the store just after lunch, and overnight alterations were promised with delivery scheduled just in time for wedding pictures to begin before the ceremony.

Surprisingly, I was not stressed out. Early in our planning, I had boiled the wedding down to its most important components. We absolutely needed Todd and I to say “I do” and a pastor to pronounce us “husband and wife.”

Dresses. Flowers. Decorations. Cake. Beautiful weather.

All were extras. Icing on the cake. Window dressing.

I knew Todd was handsome and athletic. I knew he was fun to be with. I knew he would scratch my back. I knew he loved me. I knew he was faithful. I knew he took his relationship with Jesus Christ seriously.

But standing on the threshold of marriage, of joining my heart forever with another, I had no idea how well Todd would love me.

At the birth of our first son, he loved me by remaining by my side and holding my barf bag.

He loved me by holding a crying baby through late nights so I could get some sleep.

He loved me by celebrating my birthday during the busy summer camping season.

He loved me by not taking the bait when I tried to provoke a fight.

He loved me by telling me over and over, until I began to believe, that I am beautiful.

He loves me each day by faithfully praying. By forsaking his own hobbies to spend time with me. By leaving some work undone, so he doesn’t rob family time.

On the eve of the seventeenth anniversary of our wedding day, I feel loved and cherished because of a wonderful man who chooses each day to lay down his life for me.

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His Eyes

Worry darkens my joy.

In the pit of my stomach where my anxiety drops, my food churns losing the pleasure of its taste and my hunger.

I feel unsettled. My thoughts keep fast forwarding to the possibilities.

But I must walk in truth. The truth of today not the borrowed troubles of tomorrow.

The truth of concrete facts. The truth of God’s promises.

I force myself to lay down my worries, my troubles, my burdens at God’s feet. Before His strength. Before His might. Before His power.

I force myself to look at Him. To not hide…my tears…my heart…the authentic me.

Lamentations 3:22-23
It is of the Lord’s mercies that [I am] not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

I feel relief when I see the immeasurable love in His eyes. When I see that my pain hurts my Father deeply. When I see His bright tears threatening to spill, I am reminded that this world is not my home.

I can strain to look into the distance. Into the future. Through the haze of what ifs.

Past the joy of today. Past the mercies of the morning. Past Him.

Each moment, I have to choose. Worry versus trust. Anxiety versus faith. Despair versus joy.

Romans 12:12
…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.

My eyes lock on His.

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Up till then [Digory] had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.

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