All tagged Here Goes Nothing

Journeys That Transform

On that first journey, Mauricio had worn the dress shoes that I had given him, because he was told that they would make him look less like an immigrant. 

The only problem was that within the first hour of a four day journey, his feet were covered in painful blisters!  On this second journey, those same shoes hung from his backpack the entire time as we sojourned together as brothers and companions on the Way. He had walked in my shoes, and I was now walking in his, trekking northward in solidarity with all those who make this pilgrimage to escape violence and poverty, and to bring life and sustenance to their families and loved ones. 

The arc of my life had taken me to an immigrant neighborhood, to a shelter for refugees, to a food distribution for recent arrivals, to a tiny room in a flat filled with immigrant families. Inasmuch as a privileged gringo could do, I had walked for many years in the shoes of my sisters and brothers. They had become family and taught me more than I could ever imagine about what it meant to be human, and what it meant to be a follower of the forsaken Christ. We could never abandon one another. We discovered that we were related and that made all the difference. 

An Antidote for an Introvert

Even simple words are powerful. They can be cheap as we’ve seen in the recent news. But they can also be priceless. Healing. Affirming. Remembering. And everyone wants to be included. To be recognized. To be noticed.

Not All My Neighbors Like Me

Loving my introverted husband has taught me how to love my introverted neighbors. When meeting a new neighbor, I have to be careful to not come on too strong. I try to read their subtle body language and verbal cues, and not take offense when someone doesn’t react with the same enthusiasm I bring to the table. I need to know what’s happening inside an introvert’s head when I say “open house” or “party”.

Privileged {Coming Face to Face with My Hidden Sin of Favoritism}

Before that evening I would have said, without hesitation, “I love being the hands and feet of Jesus, and I love loving His people.” But for the first time in a long time, I was pushed to engage with His people that weren’t my people. Sure, I think I can be great at loving my friends and being kind and compassionate with people who are like me, but when confronted with people who made me feel uncomfortable, my compassionate, privileged self became entitled and superior.

Being confronted with your own ugliness—staring at your flesh in a spiritual mirror— is physically painful. I didn’t like the woman who showed up that night. I liked who I thought I was. But that person was shaped by theories and ideas, not by truly living out the hard things that make us human.

This experience pushed me out of my comfort zone—out from behind my books and Bibles and blog—it pushed me to actually see and interact with God’s people. And in this pushing I came face to face with my own worldly preferences, my favoritism toward people closer to my own social status.

Stretching in the Gap

It was a rare moment; I had the house all to myself.

I was on my knees, feeling overwhelmed, praying to God for each of my three daughters by name.

Who can weather these times?  How can I effectively parent my children so they grow to fear God, love others and be the gift they are?  I lay my tear strung questions and bleeding heart before the Lord.

In the midst of my overwhelming emotions and questions, I sensed the Lord urging me on: “keep stretching in the gap”.

Mommy Missions

I don’t rub shoulders with too many unbelievers.

But God showed me that just because this was true, didn’t mean that I was somehow in the wrong place, had built my life in a way contrary to His will, or couldn’t be used to impact a hurting world in need of Him.

He laid on my heart that for each person who rings me up at the grocery store or Hobby Lobby, I can offer something in return: I can offer to pray for him or her.

And that’s it. Or is it?

Uncomfortable: A Story About an Introvert in Youth Ministry

But that’s kind of the beautiful thing about following God. He puts you in places where you’re 100% uncomfortable and out of place to show the greatness of who He is. Did I want to be in a job where I’d be forced to stand and share in front of people every week? No. Does God seem even more awesome because I’m allowing Him to work through my weakness? Yes.

Uniquely Equipped

What if families were intended for more? What if our families were meant to be a subset of the church, with open doors meant to serve and care for those in need? To be honest I'm not entirely comfortable with these questions, these thoughts. I am a definite introvert, and my home and family are my safe places.

But then I look into those giggling brown eyes, and I see the answers. I see that the Lord intended big, restorative things for family. Families are meant to bring healing and redemption. Family exists, just like the rest of creation, to point others to El Roi, the God who sees, to echo the redemption and restoration of the cross.

I see this every time that beautiful, now two-year-old boy smiles easily into the face of someone he doesn't know or confidently waves goodbye to us knowing we'll be back. I see that by offering nothing more than our family, and Christ within us, this boy was given a chance, a new beginning.

Seeing Glory in the Grind

The big picture is this: we are raising the next generation. Mommas, we are raising the next generation.

This is huge. And the days in which we live? It is an all-out battle for the minds of our children.

The world will offer confusion. We must teach truth.

The world will push for selfishness. We have to teach servanthood.

The world will tell them what they must do to be loved. Our children need to know they are loved by the One who paints the sunsets.

The Road I'm Taking

Eventually I moseyed down the path of realization that I was giving myself the “I'm Just Average” message. BAM! It was like being hit by a bus.

All those times I thought I was somehow being humble by not being passionate about things, or I believed I was being loving and kind by agreeing with someone to avoid conflict, it all just came down to me not having any self-confidence in who I was. The fear of failing at something crippled me. Not trying too hard was my mantra, and if something didn’t work out: “Well I didn’t really try my hardest, so I’m not too disappointed.”

Get a Free Download from My Book!

So, I want to do us all a huge favor and take a break from talking about that one thing that happened this week. Instead, let’s talk about the second most taboo subject for anyone to mention pre-Thanksgiving. And that is: Christmas.

{Why yes, you are more than welcome to reach through your screen and backhand me with your pumpkin spiced latte if you so wish.} But I promise this post about Christmas comes with a Christmas gift as well – A FREE DOWNLOAD FROM MY BOOK!

Here Goes Nothing {the new title, the gorgeous cover, and the opportunity to join my launch team!}

I lied to you. I told you my book was going to be called Gentle Whispers, but that is false, so I apologize.

When I first introduced the title eight months ago, I mentioned that the book is kind of like a Midwestern casserole: it covers a lot of different topics. For that reason, Thomas Nelson and I weren’t sure if the main ingredient of the book was potato or beef or vegetables.

You see, in the book I prayed each day for thirty days: 

God, help me to maintain the joy of being Wife and Mommy amid the daily grind. To see the world through Your eyes. To live intentionally. To build relationships and share Christ’s love with our neighbors. To learn what it really means to give. To collide motherhood with mission.

And when you pray prayers like that, you receive a casserole variety of answers.

Gentle Whispers

I share these stories from last Thursday to demonstrate the answer to the “Big Question”: So, what's your book about?

Sometimes that question stumps me. The book covers so many topics that it’s kind of like a Midwestern Hot Dish Casserole. {A little of this. A little of that. A little of last year’s Christmas ham.}