stop. rejoice. remember.

rockerfeller center

Maternity leave … I guess that’s what I’m calling the last four months of writing silence.  But, as all seasons end, so, i think, has this one.  I am looking forward to starting up again.  I miss the clarity of having thoughts, strung together so perfectly I have no right to claim them.  Here’s hoping we all get the chance to stop and take a moment to rejoice in what God has done this past year and what He will continue to do in the one to come.  Remember. Rejoice.  I’ll see you soon!

one on the ground


Waiting … we don’t like it.  Sometimes it’s a long drawn out process of what seems like agonizing question after question, even defeat after defeat.  But in the process God is molding us and shaping us, stripping from us the ugly and replacing it with beauty.

And we must wait for many reasons.  If we truly want to know the heart of God, we must wait.  If we’re interested in developing in character we must be willing to wait and if we want to LIVE instead of breathe we must wait.  We wait on God and for him, to speak and to act in our lives, reveal his heart and display his power.

Slow is not a bad word.  Sometimes we need time, and there are places in our lives where we just need to heal, we need to be worn, broken and raw.  And, it’s ok to live in those places where it seems so hard to breathe.  These are in fact some of God’s best tools in bestowing our lives with blessing.

I’ve been waiting for some time now … in many ways, I still am.   The loss of a child hurts.  There’s no other way to say that.  And this past 9 months, as we greeted the news of a second pregnancy, my awkwardness with people came rushing back.  The familiar question began coming more frequently … is this your first?  And I’d respond, unsure of the best reply but needing to speak truth.  After all, I do have a son and he matters to me.

So, as I had learned to love others through the process of my grief I was once again learning how to speak regarding my children.  One was on the way and one, with Jesus, had already made his mark in our lives.  For most, this won’t be understood, but I experience great pain when my son is overlooked.  Allowing this has been one of the hardest experiences of my life.

I have a son.  I will never count him out when I run the tally of the number of children God has gifted me.  He is and I love him.   I will see him again.  But when people ask, what do you say … after all, your tally will never match what they see with their eyes?

And so it is God gave me another gift in the form of four words.  As things stand now, I can’t even remember how it started.  But when people asked the inevitable question, “is this your first?”, as if we’d be granted special access to words, we started saying “first on the ground”.

Most people knew instantly what we meant.  But, instead of feeling sorry for us and apologizing for something none of us could control they suddenly had the freedom to rejoice with us and celebrate the arrival of the baby that was to come.  I began to see those words:  “on the ground” as the gift they were.  We had started to build positive, rejoicing relationships with people, while still including Eben, and Ella was on her way.

A few months into the “one on the ground” experience I realized it was exactly the truth of our situation put to words.  Eben would never set foot on the ground.  His life was spent in our arms.  How amazing to be held for the entirety of your earthly life.

Ella, on the other hand, has already experienced tears.  She has experienced pain and while she’s been held, her feet have “hit the ground.”  She’s my one on the ground.

whose? lens.


Photo By: Laura Ruth

We’ve been planning for baby.  And in the midst of ultra sounds and diaper stock we decided to revamp our closets.  The plastic hangers were getting all tangled up with the wire ones and nothing had room to breathe.  That was the consequence, and choice we made, upon downsizing from our spacious luxury closet.

So this past weekend was our time to shop, for hangers … something I’ve NEVER done.  And it was in this process we became aware of the struggle that’s raging round us.

“I just don’t believe in a God who would … ”   (a list of requirements followed).  The person speaking had a view of God that said, “I will accept you on my terms.  I believe you exist for me and I can accept you when you fit the mold I have placed you in.”

We continued to shop and we continued to hear the conversation that refused to be shut down in front of us.  I felt like an eavesdropper, but everyone did.  It was hard not to pick up the pieces of voices floating through the air.  It was hard not to notice.  And then I heard it … “I read a book some time ago and I was finally able to accept the version of God set forth.  He is all loving, but is definitely not all powerful.”  My mouth dropped open.

Upon reading a book that someone else had written this person had formed a view of God that they could accept, one that fit their mantra … their life pursuit.  There was no relationship here, just a one-sided process of selfish indulgence and demands.

And, because God had to “fit the mold” there was no God, not really.   He’d not been given a home and a lie had been put in HIS place.  So, instead of running to Jesus this person was running to books … arguing theory and debating the goodness of God.

That was their lens.  There was the lens of the one they were arguing with, my lens … my husband’s.   We all came into the room with a different perspective, a different point of view.  Each of us carried different thoughts, gifts and emotions.  And, our experiences, whether we liked to admit it or not, colored our world.

So often these are the differences that make us struggle and argue and clash.  But they are meant to draw us together, unite and make us strong.  We aren’t meant to use our lens.  We need to see through God’s.  He can make our vision clear.  He wants us to believe HIM.  He wants to be our teacher… our counselor.

Sometimes we need to lay aside the book we think is so profound and seek HIS face.  Ask Him what that means!  He is not to be accepted on our terms and He will not change because we have a mold to fill.  Our voids can only be filled in relationship with HIM, and relationship means living in reality … accepting GOD for who he is.  We may have to get to know what that means.

What does it mean to seek HIS face?  What does it mean to believe HIM?  Is there something He’s asked of you … something He wants YOU to BELIEVE?

Relationship is a process … and, for most of us, process is just hard.  But, relationship IS worth it and we were meant for this.

through a lens


Photo By: Laura Ruth

It’s noise and frenzy outside my window as the weed wacker eats my bushes and inside all is quiet.  By that, I mean not productive.  It’s another one of those days.  The kind where looking at a computer screen hurts your eyes and not doing it seems out of the question.  What is my hang-up with productivity?

I’ve always felt that pressure to perform.  Not so much for myself, but for “those” looking in.  Does it really matter? Do they really care?  Probably not.  The question doesn’t really even need to be asked.

I realize now it’s why I plan so heavily for dinner guests.  The new dessert is better tried when no one’s looking (just in case I made a mistake) and that new salad … well, if I dare to try it I HAVE to follow the recipe.  I don’t invite you over if the house is a mess.  But, I always wish you didn’t care so much about inviting me.  What’s wrong with that picture?  Maybe I should start.

Then, there are those situations when I invite you in.  I don’t even care.  My exterior shouts … “See … I’m real!” As if daring the world to judge my mess, I let them in and then I wonder … did it matter? Usually, it doesn’t.  My mess says I’m one of them and when it says I’ve lost it … well, sigh … we all have those moments.

For all our appearances we’re still damaged, broken and less productive than we’d like to be.  We want the perfect life … the Martha Stewart cover and the perfect interior to match. But, isn’t this rare?  Just when I feel pretty, all the way around, I end up landing in some sort of mud puddle.  It’s my proverbial way of saying, I’m just not perfect.  God invites us … damaged, broken and we don’t even have to clean the house.

making babies


Photo By: Christa Kimble

Before Eben was born my mother received in her mailbox, mail addressed to me.  It had come to their new home, where I had never lived and using my maiden name, a certain company had very generously donated coupons for baby formula to the “happy couple.”

I received a call soon after. “Is there something I should know about?”  I replied with a laugh and a quick, NO!  The conversation soon became all about baby food.  There was nothing to know about then, but there would soon be; and a few weeks later, I called with very different news.  We were expecting.  29 weeks later, we said goodbye.

Seasons change and they did …

And, two years later I was opening my mail in Nashville, TN.  Looking down I could see something precious peeking out from amongst the other mail.  I am a sucker for colorful mail.  I looked at the pamphlet and realized I’d not received mail from “THIS” company for 2 years; and I’d never updated my address.  Clearly marked on the front page was my new address.  There was no forwarding sticker, just a clear indication that someone, somehow knew where I lived.

The front cover made me smile.  Pictured, was a baby girl in winter wear and the caption at the top of the page read: “Making Babies!”  Lord, is that you?  I knew God could work out his plan through any means (even advertising) and life with Him was no formula, it was a relationship.  I knew those two words, “Making Babies,” were life changing.  Was it really time?

We’d been thinking about kids … wanting them, but needing to heal.  We’d also been realizing we couldn’t wait forever.  The pamphlet stared up at me, it’s silent plea: “meant to be” and the same baby gracing each page with a bold cry towards LIFE!

We’d been planning a trip to Italy over Thanksgiving, so we packed our bags and headed for Rome.  We returned 10 days later accompanied by our daughter.  She is due Aug. 20th and we are excited to meet her.

We’ve held the news longer this time.  I may talk about that more later, but it’s probably time to allow you to rejoice with us as we anticipate the arrival of our sweet little girl.



Photo By: Laura Ruth

March, April …  is it really almost MAY?  The months tick off like a clock, faithful to come and go, and somehow I manage to barely see their passing.  It’s felt like that lately.  We moved.  I am now greeted by a tree, green grass and the postman each morning and have said my goodbyes to the glass tower I used to call home.

I’ve said goodbye, but I’ve been in transition.  For about a month I fought with the not knowing.  Where will we live?  Where should we live?  What is wise?  Question after question peppering the circumstances that we dealt with regarding housing and the clear directive to move with no location in sight.

Our hearts were bent on loving God and doing what He desired, but we were still torn with the issues at hand.  What about this … and that?  Sometimes we need just to be still.  Sometimes we need just to trust.

Through all the movement, I’ve found it hard to find the silence.   I asked the wrong questions for weeks and then I stopped asking.  Sometimes God is just saying, be still.   After asking God what about this … and that, I finally heard, “Listen.”

I was so busy wondering, posing mentally and running to find my future, that I had missed hearing, what God wanted to say, in those moments where friends meet in quiet.

I hate thinking I’ll ever cycle back … that my flesh is prone to wander.  But I know God is working His plan.  He is calling my heart to listen.  Lord, may I respond with gentle fire.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it

Seal it for thy courts above.

Psalm 46:10

“Step out of the traffic!  Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”



Photo By: Kimberly Blok

It’s been weeks, no … months since I last wrote a line, a memo.  I’ve been in what I call a slump.  That’s the sugary way to say it. Part of this comes from accepting the lazy tendency that demands her way.  The reality is, I have walked right into the trap of doing nothing and filling my life with my wants and pleasures.  I’ve chosen sin.

I’ve been struggling.  I sat in our apt., surrounded by beauty the other day and all I could see was the wall.  Directly in front of me was a wall so secure I’d no way to cross it.  A wall so tall I’d no way to get over.  My wall needed to come down, so I sat and said, “Lord, what is up?”

It was a frustrated, flippant question that dared asking, but wasn’t ready for an answer. I was asking God to show me what my issues were, but I really didn’t want to know.  I did … and, I didn’t.

We tend to do this.   We run.   We don’t really understand the heart of God and why wouldn’t we be scared?  He may ask us to actually do something that would change our lives.  It might be amazing, but it might just rock us a little more than we want to be rocked.

I like to think I don’t mind a bit of rocking, but in reality I like the calm much better than the storm.  I know the storm with Jesus is a beautiful place to be and he’s taught me to walk IN HIM in it.  But I still fight this battle with the flesh that means I sometimes flee from the one I love and then run back, tears pouring down my face, wishing I were meant to be strong.  Relying on Jesus is challenge for me.

And that’s where this story begins.  I cannot write apart from him and without him there are always walls.  Only IN HIM do my walls come down.  He’s had to bring me to this once again in the last few weeks.  I’m to write about what’s real. Real is me: fallen, broken and saved by a Father who calls fallen, broken people.   He is revealing my sin and breaking all the walls.  It’s not pretty all the time, but it’s going to be a beautiful thing.

Rom 5:8 But, God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.



Holidays come and go.  I began mine on a plane to Rome just before Thanksgiving and when we landed in Venice (only a slight detour) a change of pace was expected.  I didn’t realize the changes I would make.  I began trading my silent and precious moments with Jesus for moments filled with cultural joys; and though they were wonderful and different and good, I was missing my time with my first, true love.

I hadn’t planned this.  Yet, somehow between amazing cappuccino and pasta primavera I was just overtaken.  And, it showed.  By the end of the trip I was dry, weary and desperately longing to be in HIS presence.

Oh, I may have looked great to the weary outsider.  We weary ones have a way of seeing each other and believing the other has it all together.  Why must we compare?

For the record I was weary because I had walked away from my life source.  I knew where he could be found and I was choosing to spend my life on other pleasures, for the moment.  And in my weary choosing other than him, he chose me.

I could hear him showing me his goodness.  His effort towards me never failed and somehow, he still chose to speak to my heart.  I wanted to run back into his arms.

Holidays come and go.  My holidays came and went.  But Jesus, he remains.  He enters in and he has chosen love.   He sent his son and came to us.  He is still coming to us, speaking to us, wanting us to know him.  Are you listening?  Have you been ignoring that tugging at your heart?  Have you been taking “holiday?”

It’s a wonder we ever flee our father to seek rest and life elsewhere, for He IS REST and LIFE.



I am thankful! Thankful for a voice, which seems to already be on vacation.  Thankful for rain … I did feel it on my skin this morning and walked beside the umbrella with joy.  I am thankful for life, which is worth living.  I am thankful for Jesus.  I am thankful!

Between the lines of these days run my not so thankful moments, and I’ve had them.  The ones where I look at the dishwasher, knowing the contents have yet to run clean and I’m desperate for one spoon.  I didn’t press the button, but I stand there, not thankful that we have spoons, but frustrated at my lack of diligence.

Yes, those moments filter in and out and we struggle with the new man and the old. It’s an act of my will to surrender … to praise God for the spoons and the ability I have to clean them (BY HAND!).  It’s HIS work that changes my heart towards true thanksgiving.

May you be blessed IN HIM as you celebrate this week.


more than i know

Photo By: Carolyn Cochrane

Photo By: Carolyn Cochrane

I was leaving home for the first time in awhile.  Alone, this rings of a young girl, braving the world, leaving home truly for the first time.  My story is somewhat different.  I am married, old enough to know better by now, and living in a shelter of my own making.

Women’s retreats are not something I have experienced much of.   I am a conference sort of girl.  GO to a location, hear a bunch of speakers, worship, write a bunch of notes and come home with something to pray about.  But as I started to understand the dynamics of this retreat I started to get the feeling it was going to be different.  I was going to be interacting with women … a lot, and I was going to be doing things I didn’t expect to do.  I started to dread the moment I stepped out of the car and onto the pavement that placed me in someone else’s care.

Two years of pain and struggle have given Grant and I a bond I treasure.  He has taken care of me well and I am confident in his love.  As I left, the struggle showing on my face and the knowledge he’d be fixing his own meals setting in, I said this: “It’s going to be hard, I’m going to miss you!”  And he replied with, “Yes, but you don’t need to hide.”

How can a statement shatter your whole world and so deeply rock you?  I’ll tell you: Holy Spirit was speaking in that moment and was just beginning the process of touching the wound I didn’t know was there.

Cell service was non-existent during the “retreat” (that’s appropriate) and God’s purposes for me required this.  For years now Grant and I had been talking every night, even if only for one minute to say goodnight.  We ALWAYS say goodnight.  I had no goodnight, this night.  No texting, no call, no nothing.  All was silence and dark and for the first time I wondered, “Is Grant my shield?”

More stories, more speakers, more love from the women around me.  It was like putting puzzle pieces together.  I felt like God was showing up and hovering.  Sometimes I couldn’t speak, sometimes joy made me bubble.  Still, a question: who was my help?  OH, I knew whom it was supposed to be, but whom had I made it?

I had been wary of coming, not because I didn’t want to meet these women.  I wanted to spend time with them.  I wanted to know them.  But, in my hurt and pain I’d learned to retreat.  My habitual behavior was kicking in.  I needed Jesus, I knew, but I’d learned to rely on one man.

In the moment of our “death” when we struggle to move, God cradles us.  He shelters us and there is safety in the shadow of His wings.   He is with us … encouraging us to breathe, understanding the pain.  Maybe that’s what I appreciate most … he understands the pain and doesn’t rush us out of it, but grieves with us.

Somewhere in this safety I’d taken hold and I was holding on now, grasping, using Grant as my shield and making him my refuge when I didn’t know what else to hold to.  Somehow I was no longer being sheltered, I was HIDING.  Hiding from myself, from the world, from LIFE … from God.  Talking about life and living it are two very different things.

In the puddle of tears that brought cleansing relief I surrendered to God’s help.  He is my shield.  He is my restoration.  It is only here that I am sheltered.  Only here can I step into the great unknown and truly LIVE.  Only here can I accept it all with peace, knowing He has overcome the world.  I must step out of hiding.

But you, Lord, are a shield, that protects me; you are my glory and the one who restores me.  Psalm 3:3

I will articulate here that there are places in which God hides us.  His purposes and plans no one can fathom (rom. 11:33) and his ways are not like our own (is. 55:8).  There is a season for all things and I know God has hidden me and in some ways is still.

So, though I may be hidden, I hide no more.  Trusting HIM is a very real thing.  And He is more than I yet know.