make it personal

This morning it is extraordinarily windy on the lake. Huge gusts assault our back deck and rattle windows. Seagulls dance on the air and there are literal whitecaps on the water. I absolutely love the wind; it’s simultaneously jarring, and exhilarating, and I often muse about the “winds of change,” whenever it blows in a decidedly evident fashion.

Years ago, heading up Mt St Helens, it was particularly blustery coming out of the tree line and I made reference to the promised change to my husband. Unbeknownst to me, it would be only a short time before I experienced a change that radically and permanently adjusted my understanding of an important relationship.

Winds of change indeed.

Looking back to that day, I could have never expected what was just around the corner, nor its significant affect on my sense of value and security. At the time, it felt as though the world I knew could never be the same, and in reality, it has not been. Simultaneously and most significantly, however, is the truth that while my existence had been rocked, that experience also shook loose parts of my heart, soul and identity which were too closely tied to things of this world, instead of grounded in the truth of who I am in Christ.

Change had come.

Moving into 2019, I am choosing to resist the desire to throw 2018 away, or to take loss or disappointment as a personal affront. When we step into the position of recognizing God’s sovereignty over our lives, we can begin to forgive those who perhaps have disillusioned us, or situations that feel as though they may break us. We can honor the truth that life happens, and sometimes awfully, but that God can and will bring about blessings and refreshing, revelation and growth, even out of the most horrific of circumstances.

Never the same, but always redeemed.

Forgive. Release. Take that experience and honor it for what it is; grief, anger, loss, pain… Fully embracing the most significant of life’s challenges is the single most effective way to open doors of growth, revelation and authenticity. Never doubt your significance, or the value of recognizing God’s hand over your life.

For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. – Psalm 126:5

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. – Ezekiel 37:26


christmas cards & holiday sentiments

On Sunday I received my first Christmas card. It sits, currently alone, front and center on my card stand in our entry way. Oh, I know others are coming, but there is something powerful that happens each time I walk by.

I know that someone was thinking of me. 

My first round of cards went out a couple of weeks ago and I quickly ran out. It is truly amazing the diversity of people who occupy different spaces in my heart. While some friends are a part of my daily life, others were a large part years ago, and remain in my thoughts and prayers – even if only once a year.

One of those dear ones I sent a card to, thanked me for it and stated she believed it would be the only one she would receive this year. 

Her sentiment stopped my heart.

What might seem a silly sentiment, or the most insignificant of gestures, can to some, mean everything. In a world of email and social media, we have moved further and further from the more costly efforts of hand writing a note, mailing a card, or taking 30 minutes of our week to call and speak to an old friend in person. Instead, we rely on ecards or worse yet, 
“Merry Christmas to all” posts, that while well-intended, can never take the place of a heartfelt, tangible gesture, to someone who has been, or is, a part of our life’s journey.

Now, don’t take my words as an indictment and one more “should” on your plate, but, please do hear my heart when I say to you that your tiny expressions of love and thoughtfulness might just mean the world to someone else this holiday season.

Ignore the world. Set aside the perceived differences and just love. Send a wishing of a blessed Hanukkuh if you are Jewish, a wish of peace for Kwanzaa, an extension of grace if you celebrate Christmas. Or, buy and send cards to others honoring what they themselves celebrate. When we honor one another from the well of authenticity within our own hearts, we change the world around us one sentiment at a time. 

If only for one moment. 

Merry Christmas, friends.  

proverbs 31 (joy to the world)

For those of us who are familiar with the “Proverbs 31 woman,” (Proverbs 31:10-31) I think I can confidently state that we all can find her a bit intimidating at times. This chica has it all together and then some, and I will admit that there have been seasons I have my level best to achieve such greatness, only to fall flat upon my face. 

Many times.

When I was younger I envisioned her doing ALL the things every day, and I felt as though just ensuring that my toddler survived the day (or my infant through the night!), was all the effort I could muster. As I was making breakfast and washing the dishes as I went, refilling the butter plate, feeding the cats, rotating the laundry while alternating bites of toast and sips of coffee, I realized that I AM a Proverbs 31 woman. 

Every. Single. Day.

From the moment most of us ladies awaken, the game is on. Shower. Feed the pets. Clean up after the pets. Make breakfast and lunches. Throw on some mascara and style hair. Make the bed. Drive the kids to school. Run to the store to be sure we don’t run out of TP or batteries or favorite snacks. Plan dinner. Thaw meat and do prep. Work on the computer for a bit with my “real” J.O.B. Send a note of encouragement. Do some lunges. Pay a bill. Update the calendar. Check on the hubs to see what he needs. Make dinner for a sick friend or send money to a favorite charity. Pick up kids. Drop off dinner … 

Sound familiar? If so, then you too, are a Proverbs 31 lady!! 

I think what I love most about this particular passage is that it communicates so effectively just how powerful and capable women are. It’s not a mandate to be perfect, but rather a beautiful picture painted by a Heavenly Father who acknowledges that what we do, day in and day out, matters. When we honor the work of our hands and intentions of our hearts, in the manner of which God Himself honors such faithfulness, we find that we, like she, laugh at the days to come and live from a position of joy and hope, with a lightness in our steps and kindness on our lips. 

Oh joy to the world!

Take a deep breath, my sweet friend. Read this and find the parallels in your own life. Honor gently what you want to work on differently, and release the burden of perfectionism. When God made you, He broke the mold, my sister.

Proverbs 31:10-31

10Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff

And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.