Tempted to Quit

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This is not a post about weight loss, though if you must know I can now brag about my ability to play give-and-take with the same 40 pounds. I can list that under my super powers along with my ability to sausage myself into a pair of spanx like it is an olympic sport! But that is not the point of this post.

Sometimes I am tempted to quit.

Do you ever feel like just giving up?

The hard space you are in never seems to end,

The doctor calls with the news that you have cancer,

You never seem to overcome that thing that seems to be destroying you, or maybe

the pain is relentless and you are weary.

And the elixir of despair roles in, blankets you and tempts you to just quit.

I have learned that some people quit showing up for their life long before they actually die.

Unable to cope, they mope and they turn to whatever can offer some whisperings of comfort.

I have been there.

It is the space of defeat and disillusionment.

9 years and roughly 70 pounds separate the woman in these 2 photos.

But the digital numerals on the scale were never the point, the storyline and the struggle can’t be tiddly summed up in a photo. Oh, photos can be so misleading, so let me peel back the curtain of what you do not see…

The photos don’t tell of the children missing, the health battles, the parenthood struggles, the marriage counseling, the parents dying, the rejection suffered, the pain continuing, and one thousand other tear dwelling spaces.

However, the photos DO silently proclaim a woman who has not quit and will not quit.

They hint of a woman who keeps showing up for her life and fighting for her freedom.

And today, dear one, that is my message to the one who is weary…surrender but don’t ever quit. In the midst of the storm Jesus is there, offering to carry you through, giving himself, and declaring His love for you.  With Jesus, surrender feels a lot like freedom. And I am slowly but surely learning that you can find freedom in the hard spaces because God never wastes a hurt. He has you.

Focus your gaze carefully, breath deeply, surrender completely, and take the next step holding onto the One Who Has Mighty Plans For You. This too shall pass.

The question is always, will you allow God to shape you through it, or the enemy to destroy you because of it? We freely choose. And I pray today that you will always choose freedom.

Share with someone you love and remind them to keep taking the next step.

 

Suffering

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Delicately pink and offendingly small.

Small enough to hold what once was two souls in their unfinished frames, and yet big enough to bury all my hope for the future.

I stared at the coffin as the numbness ran through my flesh, the numbness felt like a protective cloak that was holding in what was left of my sanity.

How do I grieve the loss of my children, God? How can I possibly keep going?

I looked down at the ground, carefully covered in that fake plastic grass carpet that attempts to pretty up a dying scene and hide the newly hewed out hole of earth that will welcome the latest to their return to dust, and I kept picturing my flesh falling forth into the hole.

I thought, just fall into the freshly turned dirt, heavy with the dust of those who came before. Fall in and join the dead, for what is left of you now? Hope is gone.

Let me die here with them, Lord. Why did you let me live? 

The melody began in my mind, softly, tenderly declaring words of hope and truth that were not felt by even one bone of my flesh. A song of praise, of praise to the God of dust, to the one who gave and to the one who took away.  All of my spirit joined in the chorus playing in my mind as the tears poured down my cheeks in surrender. How could I be filled with a song of praise to God while I stood at my twins’ graveside?

Was that one moment any less miraculous than if He had saved them? Or was it simply not what I would have chosen?

When would I ever choose to suffer? When would I ever choose pain? No, I would choose what I could control and fix and whatever felt good, but never would I choose pain.

What if there is profound purpose in the pain? Even as I type those words my flesh is ridiculously offended. Because, really, my self indignation wants to tell God how He should write the story differently, and it begs the question of his goodness. But does God owe me anything at all? And what could He possibly give me when I am faced with suffering, apart from my cries to remove the pain?

I am sitting in this space, over 13 years after the burial of my twins, asking the same question as I sit in yet another season of suffering and pain.

I read from Genesis to Revelation of some who came before, of God’s faithfulness, of His abilities to do far more than we can imagine, of His love. While something deep inside me cries out a deep and resounding, “Yes! True!,” they also feel like mere words on a page as I sit in this season right now. Should my feelings be what lead me? Only if they lead me to Him in eventual surrender of the simple realization that I am not God.

Remember.

I read of monuments they once built in the times of the Old Testament.

Monuments to remember what God had done.

Monuments that declare that God is bigger than their battle, bigger than their pain, that He always has a plan.

And I will myself to remember that scene, in that cemetery, with that small, soft pink coffin and with God pouring forth a song of praise in the darkness of death, and I remember anew how unfathomable His love really is. My mind still can’t comprehend how He was able. He became my hope without end. I did not come to my end that day, and light and beauty did dawn again.

In the suffering seasons, I have learned that His greatest gift to me has not been in the removing of my pain, but in the depth of His presence.  I have no words to express the mysteries of intimacy with God, apart from the deep certainty that He is worth everything, He is who I was created for, and He is my perfect peace in the storms. It is a gift of knowledge and intimacy with God only learned in the profoundly hard spaces, quiet possibly because that is what it takes for us to see and hear Him most clearly– the certainty that we need our Creator for our very next breath.

My feelings, while informative, are horrible drivers.

I have to fight to see the truth-

And to hunger for Him like the thirsty long for water in the desert.

God promises it will be hard. He promises it will cost us. He promises it will be worth it. But most profoundly He promises to give us Himself. In this we receive the most incredible gift, and this is the detail that changes everything, making the impossible possible.

This, my friends, not the absence of suffering, but the presence of the Savior, is the very pulse of the abundant life.

 

To Be Seen

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I have eyed the medicine sitting in its bright blue plastic bag in my refrigerator door off and on all day; tonight the shots will begin.  It is a 3-pronged approach to hopefully wake up my ovaries and shock them into function–not that I will need the eggs for the transfer we hope to do, but our bodies are picky-down to a cellular level-when it comes to breeding life. I need an egg. Technically, I need 1,000 things to go perfectly; the egg is just one part. My head throbbing, thoughts racing, all the improbability I seem to be facing, and I hear the familiar thought echo through my mind once again. “Now God? Now we are hoping for a child? At our ages? With this body?” My thoughts cascade into a familiar loop of all my fears and I feel the heaviness growing within my chest.  It feels like the choking of impossibility.

Remember the story of Abraham and Sarah?

Not that story again, not now.  How many times have I read through different writings of this familiar story, a seeming favorite to quote to the barren and infertile to remind of God’s ability.  Honestly, I have found it irksome. Our stories could not be more different. Sarah and I are in different worlds, and what could I possibly be reminded of that I haven’t heard a hundred times before?

Read it again. Dig. Look at it as you are, a woman who has long journeyed with barrenness and infertility. 

Sigh.

That was several days ago…and I am still blown away by all I had never seen before about my girl Sarah.  So, I invite you to pull up a proverbial chair and sneak behind the scenes into my favorite chapter of Sarah’s story, the promise, as I unpack what I think the scene may have actually looked like on that day so very long ago.  One infertile woman’s look into the day of another…(Genesis 18)

….

Sarai. She had always heard of her incredible beauty, some even believed she was the most beautiful woman alive.  Even middle aged her body showed all the firmness of never having carried a child, another attribute of her beauty in others eyes, but a searing daily reminder of what had never been.  Her golden skin tones, her symmetrical features, she was a prize for any King, and once already she had been captured by a King because of her looks. Her worth as determined by her beauty fell flat as she considered how time had passed her by. Would she trade it all for a child? The one thing that every woman could do, she could not– she could not bear a child.  There was not a day that had gone by since early in their marriage that she did not hope for a child. As year after year passed, her desperation grew. There was only one thing left in her power to try: to substitute another woman in her place to be her surrogate. The desperate try turned into a cold reality of yet another hope broken when it worked, and Sarai still felt the same inside.  Her womb was still empty as she watched the swelling belly of another offer proof that it was her shame that made a child impossible. Not even Abraham could make her pregnant, though he could her surrogate. The world now knew without doubt it was Sarai who was broken. Her beauty, her freedom, and the wealth she enjoyed would never comfort that deep ache within her for a hope that seemed to be impossible.

Her hands went to work preparing the bread like she had done a thousand times before–the flour, the water, the kneading. She created the bread absentmindedly as her thoughts wandered to the guests her husband had said arrived.  Both culture and status demanded their hospitality today, but this was something more. Something inside her whispered these were no ordinary guests. She remained in the tent, hidden away, unseen, doing as was expected of her. But when the food was done, something drew her to the tent door, to the men that sat just outside of it.  She had to know more. Who were these men? Why were they here?

Then they said to Abraham, “Where is Sarah your wife?”

God shows up with two angels, shares a meal with Abraham and asks where Sarah is.  The omnipotent God knows exactly where she is. He knows she is listening at the tent door; it is His presence that drew her.  He sees her, not for her physical beauty like everyone else, and not for her barrenness. He is not hindered by her hiddenness; He has shown up, and He wants her to know that He sees her, truly sees her.  And he calls her not by the name she had known all her life, but by Sarah, the Mother of Nations. He lets Sarah know with one question that He sees her and exactly how he sees her: not as barren, but as exceedingly fruitful.

Sarah. Sarah? His words touched places deep within her. They held power; they held life.  This is what it feels like to be seen?

He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.

Sarah couldn’t believe her ears as she laughed to herself.  Her heart raced. Had she heard him correctly? She would have a son next year?  Now, Lord? Now we are hoping for a child? At our ages? With this body? When it has been proven impossible for me by time? When we feel old? Now?

It was the thing she wanted most. This was the promise she had dreamed of having for most of her life.  Just when she surrendered to the reality of never, God spoke of a certainty her mind could not compute easily.

And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old’? Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah, hidden within the tent, silent, her thoughts completely seen before the One Who Created Her.  Can you hear His tone as He pours His love into her? Sarah, I see you. I know your thoughts. I know you’re struggling to understand. I know it is hard to trust that the day will finally come. I know you don’t want more pain.  However, I am going to blow your mind. I am the God of the impossible. Nothing is too hard for me, and this is for my glory and always has been.

Sarah, shocked and fearful that her thoughts were known, and sad that they showed her vulnerability, her tenderness, and her pain, immediately sought to erase them.

Sarah denied it…

And He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

Seen. No hiding. Jesus is not mad; He is honest. He understands. He isn’t surprised. He wants her to know she never needs to hide from him her innermost thoughts and pain.  He has her. He is the God who sees.

Her pain was never without purpose. In her season of waiting, she may never have imagined the plans God had for her.  The waiting was not by accident but by design. In a time where the only certainty of barrenness, of impossibility, would be time, he allowed the time to pass so he could perform his miracle.  God wanted to give her a front row seat to see that He is the God of the impossible. The one who the world thought was barren would become the Mother of Nations.

The tears keep filling my eyes.  He is the God who sees, not just Sarah, but me and you.  In our heartache, in the deserts, in the brokenness, in the waiting, He sees us.  He is the God of the impossible, and He always has a plan. And He is inviting us to have a front row seat to watch Him do immeasurably more than we could ever comprehend. Whatever OUR impossible, He repeats, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Walking in that truth changes everything.

 

Untethered

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“Go back.

It was supposed to be my time to recharge, not to revisit places that seared my soul like a branding iron.

Go back.” Over and over the thought pressed, set on repeat, echoing in a gentle whisper.

I drove out of town, willing myself forward as the sweat made my palms slippery on the steering wheel. I drove the once familiar path that led out to my childhood.  To a town so small it feels hidden away and untouchable.

Unconsciously I began slowing down as I crept closer.  The sights, the smells, the atmosphere of the place bringing back a host of memories that were unwelcome.  I slowly drove down the street where I grew up and was struck by the realization that I was still tethered to this place, to the past.  Flashbacks tore through my mind like an old-school flip book, flipping to the rhythm of my increasing pulse. It felt like a noose tightening.  It was then that I grabbed for my cell phone, my tie to the present, my unconscious lifeline, only to realize I had forgotten it at home. Without hesitation, I found my foot gunning the gas before the invisible noose finished closing around my neck.  Picking what seemed like a random road out of town, I drove and frantically prayed for deliverance. It was instinctual and so familiar. The further away I got, the easier it was to breathe, and the angrier I grew.

That night I sat and cried ugly, angry tears for hours.  It has been over 30 years since the searing; that place doesn’t get to have a hold any more.

Again, the gentle pressing: “Go back, you are not there anymore.”

And so, the next day I returned, this time with my husband driving so I would have no excuse to leave.  He drove faster then I desired, doing the speed limit. He had no apprehensions toward the place.

The town was still with the white noise of chickens clucking, and we were clearly outsiders.  My childhood home now changed, blue paint replacing the once pale yellow. Attempts to modernize the simple home were evident.  And yet, the random yard furniture continued to be a theme– trailers, cars, random sheds, grassy overgrowth, the accumulation of stuff in wide open spaces.

Get out and walk this road.”

I didn’t want to.  This was not a town where you walk the streets unnoticed, nor was it welcoming.  Plus, 2 of my children were now with me. Wait, why did I allow them to come along?  A panic swept over me.

I have you, Crystal.

We parked in quite literally the only place possible, the town park.  The town park, with it’s single swing set and rusting baseball diamond.  As my daughters rushed toward the swing set to play I walked into the past.  Slowly, I walked to the back of the park, to the ditch where I was once held down by the teenage girl as she instructed her younger brother on how to violate me.  Hidden. Her voice echoing in my head, my pulse started to race. But now, a new thought. What had happened to her to lead her to do that? Why? A new and unfamiliar sadness swept over me. What was their story?

You aren’t here anymore.  I want you to see.”

Loudly, I spoke truth in that space; loudly I declared my freedom.  The weight began to lift off my shoulders, and laughter began to pour out of my chest.  I turned around to walk back and watched as my children laughed on the swing set as my husband pushed them.  A new memory in this space.

I walked on down the road, remembering.  I looked over at the little market where I would take all my parents’ change and buy every piece of candy I could. Then I would hide and eat every last piece until my belly ached–the birth of my eating disorder.  I stood at the bus stop where I would wait every morning to take the long bus ride into another town where I attended school. I rode with two of my abusers. Me, the elementary school kid, being beckoned to the back of the bus after a certain stop along the way, to hang with the “cool high schoolers” and do their bidding under the hiddenness of a jacket.

I walked on and stood before the home of my littlest years.  I remembered the trailers, the “friends.” I remembered the abuse, the theft of my innocence. I remembered the pictures, the child pornography.  And again I wondered why they did it, what had happened in their stories. Again, I spoke the truth in this space, loudly, looking like a crazy person.  I am not here anymore.

And then, with incredible clarity and indescribable power I realized–

Where do you think your passion was born?

Where did the seed get planted for who you would become?

Where did you find your voice?”

This place.

When the enemy said, “I will destroy her,” God said, “Wait until you see what I do.”

God has used all of it.

I looked down at my girls who were trying to take in this strange place and realized they were the ages I had been during that season. Age 3 when we moved there, about 10 when we left.  God had me. Intimately, always, he was with me in that fire.

As we left, I realized we had even retraced that old bus journey I once took daily.  He had covered and redeemed every single inch of the journey. I was free, finally untethered from this place and space.

“Mommy, what was that place?” asked 3 year old Victoria.

“That was the birthplace of Mommy.”

 

Persistence Over Perfection

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By nature I am a quitter.

Quit the hard.

Somewhere along the line I bought the lie that the dream life was one of my comfort.

Today I looked longingly at the park, blanketed in a thin layer of fog, and ached as I thought back to all the hiking I used to be able to enjoy on its crazy lava rock terrain. How I had gotten to the point where I could run its trails and hike for miles… It feels like a lifetime ago.

I had worked so hard to get there, and now, after the last 3 years, that all seems like it was really not so hard after all. Perspective.

I have lost count of the number of times I have been tempted to quit in this season, often wondering if it was a season or instead a lifetime sentence. I don’t know how many setbacks there have been–too many to count. It has been 3 years of pain, surgery, rehab, and work. It has been wanting to quit a thousand times a day and battling fear. It is hearing my littlest ask over and over again, “Mommy, are you still hurt today?” It has changed me.  And along the way I found myself desperate to quit, for God to fix it all and take away the pain, and if he wouldn’t, then to find some crutches. Crutches, the things you can lean on instead of God.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

I wanted to mute the megaphone, all the while believing I was trusting God. This week God pointed out the crutches by informing me of some painful truths, and asked me to stop quitting. The crutches were costing me.

Hard seasons demand change. That I change implies my discomfort, that I grow, that I seek, that I am chiseled and that I trust Him.

The hard keeps me at the feet of Jesus, acutely aware of my need of Him. There is a profound gift there, even when we can’t see it through our tears.

This week I laid down my crutches.

I leaned on Jesus.

Persistently pursuing Him instead of trying to do any of it perfectly. Just as I am, fears, tears, and ugly bits pressing without ceasing into his arms. Persistently pressing my body forward through the squats, the lunges, the walking, the fear.  Perfection implies no mess, but my mess is exactly what he wanted me to offer over to Him. Persistent over perfect, always.

This week was my first week of victory in over 3 years.  It turned out I didn’t need those crutches after all; all they did was slow me down.  He had me. He was and is my perfect strength.

 

When You Are Certain You Are Failing

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Another academic year has started and the mommy taxi is always on the go. We are not even a month in and my phone is buzzing me with reminders of who, and what, and how often all the things are happening, and I can find my shoulders tightening. Then there are the curveballs– the colds, the shifts in schedule, the drama because of all the different things to navigate with all the hormones raging, and then there are the children…

I had these expectations for the year. I had goals and dreams and hopes.  And it took exactly 2 days into this school year before I started to watch them crash into the shore line, breaking along that jagged coast that is reality. Sometimes I am truly certain I am failing at all the important things… I feel like I should know better by now, and yet, here I am again wanting to cry into my latte, wondering how it is all going to roll this year if I am already so worn?

Then, I found myself having what I like to call a “come to Jesus moment” with one of my beloved children this week.  You know, when everything gets so real it might even hurt, and often does, because you have to own your junk? We were talking about school and choices and consequences when she asked, “so are you just going to quit on me?”

I had to hold onto my inner black granny who wanted to exclaim, “what you say chil’?”

Instead, I looked her in the eyes and asked, “have you met me?”

She needed a reminder.

I continued, “I will never quit on you. I will never stop loving you.  I will never stop cheering for you. This is forever right here. Your choices, not even your failures, nor your struggles will ever change my love and commitment to you. Period.”

Even when my heart breaks, even when I wanted better for them, even when they hurt me, even when they run from all that is good and true, even if it costs me everything, they will always have all of me–that is what parenthood looks like.  That is what God does with us…maybe I needed a reminder too.

Parenthood has taught me more about the deep, unwavering love of God then any other life journey– bar none.

So, when you are certain you are not enough, when things are messy and broken and hard…

Be quiet, breathe, and know that the most important thing is not dependent on you in any way. God has not changed his mind about you and he never will–even when you fail, even if YOU ARE doing it all wrong.  I gloss over that like it is routine, and maybe that it why I forget it too easily….maybe that is why my kids forget too.

So, like a broken record for my soul ears:

He has me in the midst of all the mess.

He is faithful when I am not.

He is never changing, THAT is why I can breathe…and that is truly amazing and exactly what I needed to be reminded of.

 

Maybe I need a tattoo to actually remember this…

 

The Hard Place

It wasn’t supposed to go like this.  14 years I waited, while hope of ever carrying a child myself grew worn and faint. Yet it steadfastly flickered on–unwilling to be snuffed out.  Three years ago this month God breathed life into her lungs as we heard her cry for the very first time. Hope majestically fulfilled, finally.It was one of the single most incredible moments of my life. It also marked the beginning of a journey through physical pain that I never even dreamed possible.

Hope flickers, still unwilling to die.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  I wasn’t supposed to be a broken mommy. And yet

It is life in the hard place.

The place of questions and fears and battling to hold onto hope and God when you just do not understand.

The hard place.  Perhaps you know it? If not, you will.

It threatens to steal your breath and snuff out the flame of hope.

Somewhere along the way He has drawn me in and completely convinced me of his greatness and his goodness, even in the waiting, especially in the hard. He is it. When he doesn’t quiet the storm, when the pain continues, when wave after wave of hard hits, he still has you.

And the gift?

You see him more clearly in the pain, all ideas of your “god-ness” fall away.  You finally comprehend that you can’t do this without Him. The sweetness of total surrender is now understood because you are certain of your need. Maybe that is the greatest gift in the hard–the pearls of his presence unequalled even in seasons of great pleasure.

I wish there was some other way, but we wander. We are too quick to believe the lies, and to take our eyes off of Him. And so, though it never ever feels like it, maybe it is one of his greatest mercies after all– lest we get so full of ourselves we believe we never needed Him.

My hope remains unbreakable because it firmly rests in Him.  Where is your hope today?

 

To the Parent-Who-Just-Can’t-Today

To the Parent-Who-Just-Can’t-Today,

To the new mommy who is trying to figure out breast-feeding, is still rockin’ those awesome post-partum mesh undies, and cries at all the things, I see you. To the weary parent of littles who can’t use the bathroom without interruption, who hasn’t gotten a good night’s sleep since before parenthood began, and who feels their biggest accomplishment today might just be the shower they squeezed in during naptime, I see you. To the parent who faces the child entering the land of hormones, where their mouths can be as big as their mood swings, and are tempted to ask the doctor to medicate one of you so that you’ll both survive, I see you.  And to the parent who is saying goodbye as their adult-but-will-always-be-their-baby heads out into the world, who is flooded with all the feelings, who wrestles with wondering if their precious will be ok and if their parenting was good-enough, I see you. To those parents who feel like they just can’t today, and secretly wonder if they are failing at this parenthood gig, this is for you.

Just breathe– right now, right where you are. Just take a deep breath.  This is life in the middle of the beautiful and hard, the stretch-you, teach-you, touch-all-your-buttons-and-remind-you-that-you-need-Jesus messy middle. Just breathe.  You are not alone.  I am there along with all the others who do the work of showing up for this parenthood gig.

One question: What has captured your focus, the mess or the Maker?

That was the question that whispered over and over in my mind as I observed a newborn baby and her daddy this week.  The baby girl in his arms perfectly surrendered to his care, staring wide eyed up at his face, tiny fingers wrapping and unwrapping around his finger; perfectly held.  The love of the father pouring over his precious child was evident in every detail. The look, the attention, the hold, the provision–he had her and she knew it. Stunning.

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The mess was my focus. The strength was my own. The peace was gone along with my patience, replaced by fear and doubt while everything pulled for my attention and drained my emotions. Sometimes the busyness in the hard is the enemy of our focus and the thief of our peace.  Sound familiar?

The moment I decide to, I can be in the presence of my Father, eyes firmly fixed on Him while he lovingly tucks me in and holds me in the middle of the messiness.

Let this sink in a moment:  The God who heals the sick, who raises the dead, who gives sight to the blind, who touches lepers, who loves on outcasts, who walks into all the pain and all the hard of all the people who call on Him, who remains steadfast in every season, and can do all things is the God who says, “Come to me.”  Why would we not go to the one who CAN when we know darn well we CANNOT? He has us, but do we know it?

So, dear ones, I encourage you to keep your focus fast on Him and not on the mess.  Let your body relax as you lean in and he wraps you in his amazing peace. Let him quiet your heart, equip you with the strength you need today, and listen to His neverending wisdom.  He will hold you in His perfect love even when the storms rage…and that changes everything.

 

Love Wins

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I don’t remember the first person who told me about God.  I was invited to many churches and heard many things during the first 12 years of my life.  I didn’t doubt there was a God because I knew there was evil. For some, that is a stumbling block–the problem of evil–for me, it was proof.  If there was evil, but not ALL was evil then there MUST be the opposite and that opposite was God. He was just an idea until junior high; an idea that I wrestled with often.

My first memory of evil was when I was 4.  He was 15 years old and promised it would be “fun” but that I would get into big trouble if I told.  I would ride to school with that evil for years. There were so many moments of evil in that first decade of my life that I could never doubt its existence.  It crossed gender lines and age limits; it knew no bounds.

But God?  What about him?

If you had come to me and told me I was going to hell, I would have laughed and told you I was already there.  If you would have tried to explain to me that I was a sinner, I would have shaken my head and asked you to tell me something I didn’t already know.

When you live in the darkness you need not be reminded of its presence….you need to know that there is light.

Love.  Just as I was, right where I was, I needed love to wrap around me and promise to walk with me as it changed me.  And it DID change me…one bit at a time.

That is the Jesus I know–he meets you where you are, as you are, and calls you to himself.  People can represent him imperfectly, but they will never replace him. And so, my 7th grade year, several circled ‘round me -for a time- to represent him, his love.  Their love was beyond my understanding. Yet, I was SO hungry for it.

Love won me.

True love always wins, in the end–not the love offered by the world, that is temporary and conditional– but true love.  Love that gets down in the gutter where you live and raises you up, and then holds on, without end– THAT is the good news. That he loves us, and took it all upon himself to save us and he never, ever let’s go.

What are you known for?

The truth and love are not enemies, you don’t have to trade one for another, in my experience they go hand in hand.  After-all, wasn’t that what Jesus modeled?