Single Eye

Y’all know I am a doer.

But the more I’m learning lately, the more I think that faith is so much less about what I do

And so much more about who I believe I am.

Even before the sermon this morning, my mind is drawn to Peter.

Swept up in the moment, eyes locked on his Savior, he jumps out of the boat.

It’s only when he is distracted, when he hears the waves and lets his eyes wander that he starts to panic.

And sink.

We’re talking about money this morning.

I don’t mind this.

But Matthew 6:22 catches me a little off-guard.

The eye is the light of the body.  If your eye is single, your whole body is full of light.

Right in the middle of talking about money, Jesus starts talking about a single eye.

An eye focused on just one thing.

An eye like Peter’s, for just a moment, locked in on a beckoning Savior.

A Savior who says, “I am trustworthy.  I will meet your needs.”

Friends, I believe that God cares about how we spend our money.

But I believe he cares even more about our eyes.

When we are distracted, when our eyes falter, we make decisions out of fear.

Fear that others will look down on us.

Fear that we will not have enough.

But when our eye is single,

When our gaze is locked on his,

We know the truth.

We are dearly loved children of a God who does not hesitate to give us every good gift.

He is trustworthy.  He will meet our needs.

We are free to live abundantly, to give joyfully, to store up treasures in heaven.

Because our eyes are focused on just

One thing.

Leave a comment

Filed under sermon notes

Tetelestai

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

The Easter story is not new to me.  I’ve known it just about as long as I’ve known anything at all.

And so the sudden wash of emotion surprises me today.

I hear the Good News and my heart reaches out for it again.

You see, I need this Good News just as much today as I did once upon a time when I was a little girl who said all the right words and meant them in the best way she knew how.

Maybe more.

I’ve loved Jesus for a long time.

And still the voices sing their taunting song.

Work harder.  Run faster.  Do All The Things. 

Then, then you will be good enough.

Tetelestai.

It is finished.

Because of this Good News, because of Easter,

I don’t have to be good enough.

Pull yourself together.  Say all the right stuff.  Be a good Christian girl. 

Then they’ll all be impressed.

Tetelestai.

It is finished.

Because of the cross, because of Mercy personified,

There is only One opinion that matters.

And when he looks at me, he sees Easter.

But you are scared.

You have a good game face, but you are always, always scared.

You are a worrier.  It just who you are.

The voices yell this loudest of all, their taunting song ringing in my ears.

But, friends, the Good News speaks louder.

Tetelestai.

It is finished.

Because of this Good News, because of Easter

I know perfect Love.

The perfect Love that drives out fear

One hundred thousand times.

And then some more.

Friends, he is risen.

And it is finished.

The struggle to be good enough.  The quest for human approval.  The authority of the thing that lies to you about who you really are.

It. Is. Finished.

Tetelestai.

Leave a comment

Filed under sermon notes

Hosanna

The music was super-loud at church today.

Or I am becoming an old person.

Or possibly both.

In any case, the volume was such that no one seemed to mind the extremely loud babbling of a Little One.

Little One always loves the music at church, but today he loved it more than usual.  Clapping and dancing, he yelled at the top of his lungs.

DA DA DA.

Little One has been practicing lots of sounds lately.

One of the favorites is Da.

There is no Da in our house.

I actually think it means “that.”

Or maybe nothing at all.

Today, I imagine a crowd gathered to greet a humble king.

A celebration of One who upended expectations by embracing sinners and welcoming the marginalized.

I lay me down. I’m not my own.  I belong to you alone.

DA DA DA

Break my heart for what breaks yours.  Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause.

DA DA DA

That.  That.  That.

I am grateful for a Savior who treasures the Little Ones.

I am grateful for a church that doesn’t mind the loud babbling of a toddler.

Because today, I’m pretty sure DA DA DA means

Hosanna.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beloved

Who are you?

When you introduce yourself to someone new, what do you tell them?

I mother.  I teach.  I write.

So quickly, I jump to what I do.

My accomplishments.

I measure my worth by how well I think I’m mothering.  Or teaching.  Or writing.  Or Christianing.

And I am way harsher with myself than I would ever dare to be with anyone else.

I am my own worst critic.

I read that I’m supposed to clothe myself with compassion.  Kindness.  Humility.  Gentleness.  Patience.

And immediately I start judging.

Oh, my compassion is running low this week.  Gentleness isn’t up to par.

I go right to the what.

And I skip the why.

Why can I clothe myself with these things?

Because I am chosen.

Set apart.

Dearly loved.  (Colossians 3:12)

It’s here that I need to camp out today.

This week.

Maybe you do too.

We are not what we do.

We are not our own perceived success or failure on any checklist.  Even a really religious sounding one.

Who are we?

We are loved.

Dearly loved, passionately pursued, extravagantly welcomed.

Beloved children.

The rest is what we do, but this is who we are.

This is the core of our identity.

Beloved.

And this is enough.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Slippery Beast

Life with Little Ones from hard places is crazy sometimes.

It’s a kind of crazy that is near impossible to explain.

You see, trust is a slippery beast.

It’s imprinted on tiny hearts and minds through hundreds of thousands of gentle, loving interactions in the first few years of life.

Or it’s not.

Can trust be learned if this foundation is crumbly?

Absolutely.

Hope is powerful.  Healing is real.

And progress is imperfect.

You feel like you’re trucking right along…

Doing fine, doing fine.

And suddenly you slam headfirst into a brick wall.

What looks like defiance is really fear.

Forever?  Are you sure?

Will there really be enough?

It feels kind of like rejection.

Yes, Little One.  How many times do I have to tell you?

I am trustworthy.

Why don’t you just believe me already?

And then I remember that trust is a slippery beast.

Little Ones grasp and cling because they are afraid it will slip through their fingers.

It has before.

It feels kind of like failure.

We have been here.  We have done this.

We said all the right things.

And now we’re back at the beginning.

And then I remember that trust is a slippery beast.

This is not failure.

It is progress.

The crazy is less often.

Or less intense.  Or less long-lasting.

Or maybe all of these.

The brick wall is shorter than it was before.

Because, together, we have been dismantling it

Brick by brick.

Yes, trust is a slippery beast.

But we’re going to catch it yet,

Little Ones.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Broken Together

Grief is weird.

I don’t feel emotional, but my body betrays me.

I am ravenous and I suddenly realize that my hands are on fire.

Too much washing.  I do this when I am stressed.

I’m never much for small talk, but in these days I cannot stomach it at all.

And so I push away from people and lock my eyes on

The Things That Must Get Done

Feed the babies.

Take the babies to school and daycare.

Eat something.

Drink some water.

Try to sleep.

The rest is left undone.

Sixty emails that I cannot bear to read (if they are from you, I am sorry).

Piles of papers that I do not have the energy to carry six feet to the recycling.

Crumbs on the dining room floor that I cannot bear to bend down and throw away.

It is ok.

I give myself permission to lie on the couch while the littles play.

Because I know this will not be forever.

I am a good faker, I think.

I will smile and lie to your face if you ask me how I am.

And I will fool most of you.

This is ok, I guess.

But even though I push away, even though I tell you I am fine.

I am grateful for the ones who come sit anyway.

The one who watches my littles so I can have a minute alone.

The one who arrives on my doorstep with dinner.

The one who prays and texts even when she doesn’t know what’s going on.

The ones who show up when there are no words.  And stay when I insist I am fine.

I am grateful for the ones who let mourning and hope exist in the same space.

Today, when my pastor talks about being broken together, he is not just talking about husbands and wives.

He’s talking about us too, friends.

About the sisters of my heart.

The ones who come sit anyway.

The ones who admit they don’t know what to say.

The ones who know intuitively that healing sometimes happens when we just let ourselves be broken together.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Heart of Flesh

I yelled at Jesus this week.

Right out loud in my car.

Futilely fighting the tears, I yelled.

“You said, nothing wasted.

But all I see is waste.

Mess.  Drama.  Ugliness.”

It’s true, friends.

I want so badly to see hope win.

To see redemption.  Deliverance.

And I have a very real picture in my head of how that should look.

Today (or, preferably, this past Wednesday).

And I drive home with all of the feelings

But none of the answers.  None of the resolution.

A heart of stone doesn’t sound too bad right now.

Less to feel.  Less to lose.

And yet

These are the words that come…

I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh

(Ezekiel 36:26)

Words that breathed life to me once upon a time when I was young and knew betrayal

When I felt the waste for the first time.

Words far from my mind for many years

But near today.

Home with the babies, I slow my breathing.

And talk with a sweet friend.

She doesn’t buy all this Jesus stuff.  Not just yet.

But it is here, in this conversation, that I feel him chiseling away at my stony heart.

The Light is breaking through.

I am not pretending when I tell her about the mess.

About how it all feels like a waste.

And I am not pretending when I speak of hope.

When I tell her I still believe in deliverance.  In redemption.

We know this, together.

And there is something beautiful in this moment.

Something beautiful and strong and right.

No easy answers.  No resolution.

No altar-call moment (y’all know you were thinking it).

Just a feeling that maybe my idea of hope is too small.

That deliverance might look different than I imagine.

That I need redemption as much as the next guy.

And that though stone may feel safe,

Light can only shine

through the cracks.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized