Unlikely hero

You.

The Father says, pointing his finger at an unlikely hero.

Cowardly.  Deceitful.  Broken.

Follow me, and I will bless you.

I will make you a blessing.

(Genesis 12: 1,2)

Abram hardly seems the example of obedience.

Leave your family, the Father says.

Abram brings them along.

Trust me for your child, the Father says.

Abram tries to help God along by having a baby with his wife’s servant.

And yet.

Abram believed God.

He believed in the promise of redemption.

And from this childless man, a nation.

And from this nation, a Messiah.

And from this Messiah, a hope, our hope, that all will be set right again.

The world has changed since Abram’s time.

The Father has not.

He is still calling unlikely heroes.

He is still using cowardly, deceitful, broken people to build his kingdom.

He is still bringing beauty from barrenness, hope from despair.

He is still whispering promises of redemption,

If we are quiet enough, still enough

To listen.

And to believe.

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All is well.

A few weeks ago, I was at the pumpkin patch with my daughter when my phone needed some pastoral counseling.

I accidentally dialed my pastor (y’all have your pastor on speed dial, right?).

He accidentally hung up on me.

And then I got two urgent texts full of profuse apology and genuine concern.

No, no, I texted back.

No emergency.  All is well.

Friends, it’s true.

All is well.

Yes, there are those moments when we sing Little One’s lullaby right there in church followed by a whole sermon on the redemption ache and then closed out with a little Laura Story.

And, yes, right at that moment I am a mess.  A hot, bawling mess.

But I think folks expect me to be a basket case at all times.

And I’m not.

I’m really not.

And here’s why…

I know with unwavering certainty that all is well.

It’s a wellness that has just about nothing to do with me.  Or my circumstances.  Or the messy, broken world that I am called to love.

Nope.

It’s a wellness that rests squarely on my belief that my God is big enough, powerful enough to handle it all.  The cries of the little ones.  The stories of their mamas and daddies.  The voices of the overworked, underpaid social workers who are doing the best they can.  The heart of my baby as she continues to learn lessons of trust and love and family.

As I reread that last paragraph, I realize that it might sound trite.  Simplistic.  Naïve.

I hope, if you know me, you will hear my heart, my life, beyond the words.

Because I will still have my moments.

My hot, bawling mess moments.

But I want you to know tonight that I have no doubt.

Today may be dark.  Heavy.

Or not.

But ultimately?

Ultimately

All is well.

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Do you like it?

Little One has come and gone again from our home since I’ve written last.

Amidst a whirlwind of frantic phone calls, sick social workers, misplaced information and procedural demands, I held a miracle.

It did my heart good to hold him, even though I knew it was most likely only for a short time.

I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but I swear he smiled twice when I started to sing about His love.

Twice.  People, I’m telling you he did this on two separate occasions.

In any case, while we were out and about this weekend, I ran into an acquaintance.

So, you’re fostering again?

Yes.

Do you like it?

In retrospect, this seems like kind of a strange question to ask.

In the moment, the answer came so quickly that it took me aback.

No.  I heard myself say.  No, I don’t.

It’s true.

I don’t like any of the reasons that children come into foster care.

I don’t like that it’s the little people who are caught in the crossfire.

I don’t like knowing nothing.

I don’t like wondering whether I should buy more formula, more diapers.

I don’t like waiting hours, days for a return phone call when I am expected to respond to requests immediately.

I don’t like feeling like somebody’s job.  A case.  A resource.

I don’t like having to drop everything to comply with absurd demands.  I teach kindergarten, for goodness’ sake.  I cannot just tell the five year old to watch themselves for an hour.

I don’t like wondering if all will be well after we say goodbye.

I don’t like having my heart torn out and stomped on.  Again.  And again.

I (really, really, really) don’t like that my daughter cried herself to sleep last night because of the choices that I am making for our family.

I don’t like any of it.  Truthfully, it sucks.

And yet.

When I get the call asking if Little One can come stay for a few days, the answer comes so quickly, so confidently.  Without hesitation, without reservation.

Yes.  Yes, of course.

This is why I do it, friends.

I do it for this one.

This one.

I do it for the miracles.

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Hi, friends!

You might be interested in checking out my guest post (and all of the other cool things happening) over at the Sparrow Fund blog today.

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Falling Into Step

Walking along, their faces were downcast (Luke 24).

Their conversation was full of questions.  Sadness.  Unfulfilled hope.

On the way, a stranger falls into step with them.

He comes near.  He walks with.  He listens.

Haven’t you heard? they ask.

There was this one—a man, like us.

A prophet.

He talked about the kingdom of God.

He talked about redemption.

He spoke with power and we dared to hope.

We dared to hope.

The stranger listened still.

Deliberately matching their footsteps,

Letting them tell their story, letting them process it all.

But something went wrong.

He did not topple our political structures in a blaze of glory.

His story didn’t end the way we expected.

This redemption he spoke about—it didn’t look right at all.

And now he’s gone.

Still, the stranger walked.

***

Truth would speak.  Revelation would come.

The story would be shared.

But first?  First Grace fell into step with them.

First Grace came near.  Walked with.  Listened.

And, friends, it still does.

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Done Love

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

We are talking about giants this morning (2 Samuel 17).

I don’t have to think too hard.

Fear is a giant I’ve battled my whole adult life.

Sometimes I call it other things:

Stress.  Anxiety.  Multitasking, even.

But, deep down, it is a hard-to-shake belief that if I stop running, stop working, stop doing all the things

Everything will come crashing down.

I think I am well acquainted with this giant, and yet it still somehow manages to surprise me with its suddenness and its power.

What are our weapons?  My pastor asks.

Truth.  Faith.  Love.

I have fought the giant of fear with truth.

Just this week, I called it out when I felt it reaching for a stranglehold.

I spoke the words that I know this giant cannot abide.

Words of truth.

I have fought the giant of fear with faith.

I’ve written out all of the ways that I’ve seen my God show himself faithful.

In Scripture.  And in my life.

I’ve chosen to believe.

I am a fighter.  A doer.

So when I think about the weapon of love, I want to pick it up and beat my giant over the head with it.

But this is not the word today.

As I remember the body broken, the blood spilled, I am overwhelmed again with Jesus-affirmation.

For you, my heart hears.

Because I love you.

Today, the weapon of love is not about what I do.

It’s about what he’s already done.

His perfect love and my fear cannot coexist.

Perfect love drives out all fear.

Not my doing-love.  My striving-love.  My working-love.

His Done Love.

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On Feeling Known

I spent this weekend at an Empowered to Connect conference (sponsored by Show Hope).

Let me just say if you are a foster or adoptive parent, you have to go to one of these.

Seriously.

Find one.  Register.  Do it.

I had grand plans of writing about each of the sessions and what I learned.

Alas, I am an introvert and being with people all day (even the most wonderful people in the world) exhausts me.  So I went back to my hotel room, brewed a cup of decaf and flipped through mindless magazines.  I breathed deeply.  I rested.

But this is what I know.

For two days, surrounded by 700 of my closest friends,

I felt known.

Together we laughed.  We cried.  We shared stuff that only our nearest and dearest know.  We joked about stuff that if anybody else went there, we would be on the defensive so fast it’s not even funny.

Because when we did, heads nodded.  Amens resounded.  For the love of all that is good, someone got it.  Someone understood.  Someone could yell from the rafters, “me too.”

I have a tiny pocket like this in my real life.  Mostly people who are relentlessly loyal to me and my daughter and my foster babies and who have worked really hard to understand.  To get it.

I have a slightly bigger pocket online—foster and adoptive mama bloggers whose words resonate in my soul because, deep down, they could be mine.

But to sit in a (really big) room, surrounded by real, live flesh and blood people with big hearts and thick skin, with fierce devotion to their kids and a very real understanding that, despite what everyone else seems to think, love is not enough?

That’s powerful.

Like crazy powerful, people.

All this to say

Friends, you are not alone.

Find your people.

Be known.

And sign up for an Empowered to Connect conference.

For real.

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