Friday, December 17, 2010

Aisle Party

Three weeks ago, my best friend, Jourdan, married a great friend, Jeff, and it was beautiful. The engagement was fast, not even three months, but we gathered together as a community of friends and family and helped them celebrate the beginning of a marriage ten years in the making. And God was there.

He was there in the laughter, the songs, the creativity, the words, the beauty, the errands, the food, the prayers, the dancing, the tears, and the ten year process of joining a man and a woman in spite of themselves -- for his glory. What I witnessed three weeks ago, God did. He just did. And everyone in attendance could sense it. The presence of God hovered on a cold, November night and reminded us all of his tender sovereignty, and our hearts were warmed.

When Jourdan walked down the aisle that night, she was indeed radiant. Aglow from the inside out, peaceful, expectant, breathtakingly beautiful, filled with inexpressible joy -- and her community agreed and broke out in spontaneous applause. We clapped and whistled and yelled as she walked with her daddy to finally meet her groom.

I have never experienced that at a wedding, but our hearts were united in joy as this part of Jourdan and Jeff's journey ended at the altar as the two became one. What a picture of redemption. Of the larger narrative. Perhaps, one day the angels will sit on either side of the aisle and watch the church, washed clean and radiant, walk down that aisle to finally rest in the God who sees her -- who has always seen her.

And like the guests at Jourdan and Jeff's wedding, the angels will undoubtedly celebrate. For they, like us, have observed the journey -- twisted and heavy at times, yet now sensing the imminence of completion. And they become overjoyed in anticipation of a long awaited conclusion. My mind is limited as to what that will sound like --- perhaps peace, love, hope, perseverance and joy blending into a score that will move us assuredly toward our groom and prompt us to exhale at long last as we gaze transfixed at the one who has chosen us.

Thank you Jeff and Jourdan for letting us do life with you through your journey. Even the twisted and heavy parts. For those parts allowed us to celebrate more fully and glimpse the compassionate grace of the God who saw fit for you to walk towards him together in this life as he patiently awaits his own bride.

And Jourdan, your John 2:11 prayer offered earlier that day was abundantly answered on your special night. The wedding absolutely uncovered his glory and many of us there believe him a little bit more because of that sacred time together. May it be even more so as you strive together in marriage.

Love you both.

I mean, what if?

"What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him."

John 2:11

For a more detailed description of Jourdan and Jeff's journey, check out their story at

Sunday, October 31, 2010


My sins are before me

The looseness of my mouth
The lust of my flesh
The pride of my heart

I am reminded of who you are
Of your holiness and of my haughty obstinance
And so your grace means much today
Saving a wretch like me

Make me a woman ready to encourage instead of criticize
Ready to listen rather than rambling hollow words
Soaked in insecurity and deceptive pride

That I might hear
Then filter
Then encourage

Becoming a glimmer of redemption
Instead of compounding brokenness
And adding to foolishness

Root my words in silence
In wisdom
In humble confidence

On earth as it is in heaven

I mean, what if?

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 12:18

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
Proverbs 31:26

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sudan Bound

In just a few days, God is shifting my path to Africa again. To the Sudan more specifically. Yep. I will head to DFW airport on Monday afternoon, meet up with my eight team members in the sleek international terminal, and we will travel to the beautiful, but long-suffering continent of Africa.

While I have a few ideas of what awaits, I go with little expectation. A fresh canvas in my mind for God to create his story. To be sure, we go ready to impart the hope of Christ to a war weary people, but I have this odd sense, that I am going simply to be present. To look in the eyes of those dark, soulful faces and just remember them. Remember their stories. Remember their hope. Remember how they choose joy over circumstance. Remember we are indeed family. And to remember that there is a life we are called to live that is so far past our often binding comforts. A life that is not necessarily safe or easy, but very good. And immensely purposeful. And worth the risk.

While flipping through my journal the other day, I came across an entry from December 10, 2009. One of the lines simply said "...send me to another nation in 2010." And He is. To a place and a people I am humbled to see and serve. Theirs is a pain I cannot fully comprehend, which initially made me question my usefulness on this trip. But nearly in the same breath, I remembered the Christ I have come to know. This savior that redeems, heals, and restores -- from anything. And while I do not understand the specific sufferings of the Sudanese, I am familiar with the hope of Christ, and stubbornly but gratefully realized somewhere along my path that He is enough. Not just for a white girl living in Dallas, TX, but also, and perhaps even more so, for the oppressed people of Sudan. He just is.

If you get this far and are inclined to pray, my team and I would love that. Pray unity, selflessness, and a great love for each other and those we serve. Pray physical health and stamina. Pray joy over and through us. Pray we would be fully present in each moment. Pray we would not forget.

These final words that follow, I wrote in a blog entry from last year but seem almost hauntingly appropriate again: Let us draw near to Christ in such a way that our ears would hear the groans around us, our eyes would risk looking at people and then loving them, and our lives would become his patient relief.

A beautiful wrecking approaches.

I mean, what if?

" justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."
Isaiah 1:17

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


So today is my birthday. And I find myself in tears. But these are good tears. In fact, a couple of years ago, I cried on my birthday but they were tears of desperation. Of wondering what in the world was happening with my life. Of succumbing to feelings of total insignificance. Which in hindsight was absolutely untrue, but I couldn't, or possibly wouldn't, see past myself in those moments.

Conversely, today, I find myself crying with gratitude. I am overwhelmed by the kind thoughts and words of people on my path, and I cannot believe God would choose me to sprinkle his life on anyone else. But he has. Surely a gift of immeasurable proportion. If it were only one other person that would be incredible, but he has somehow allowed jacked up me to be life to many over the years.

Foolishness of the gospel indeed.

Please know, I type this in as much humility as my sanctification will afford me thus far. Not in arrogance. I just find myself staggered that I get to live a hopelessly flawed life and somehow God makes something lovely with it. Fragrant even. For others.

And while too many of my moments I surrender to accusation, brutalizing myself with how I failed someone else or was either too much or not enough in a situation -- today, on my birthday, God has been especially tender with me. He has given me eyes to see how he is making all new in me, but even more surreal, through me. An allowance I pray he will bind to my heart and forehead to combat my impending times of forgetfulness.

If you are reading this, thank you for gracefully allowing the Christ in me to be life, if even for a moment. For in these small moments, I gratefully recognize the measure of this gift.

Thank you, Jesus, for being my life. In both hope and heartbreak, abundance and little. You really are the God who sees me. May this year find me moving in wisdom and grace with open hands, spilled out. Giving, receiving, laughing, and loving in a way that dispels the dark and perhaps even compels others to do the same.

Christ in me, the hope of glory.

And you too.

Let's be life today.

I mean, what if?

"For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power if from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:5-7

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Great Hope

For whatever reason, I get the opportunity to do life with some amazing women. I'm not sure how I happened upon this hand, but I am increasingly aware of the unmerited gift that it is to glean from the wisdom of women of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences. Their unique stories continually make me better, while their joy gives me great hope, and their silliness encourages my own -- which I'm convinced is always a good thing.

On Tuesday nights, I meet with an assortment of gals for a couple of hours each week. While girls have come and gone from the group over the years, each leaving their special imprint of the Christ in them on all of us, for the past several months, we have come to a place of consistency among those that are attending. There are probably around ten of us that are faithful to come and although we are all around the same age range, give or take five years or so, we are vastly different. Married, single, pregnant, new moms, single moms, heartbroken, frustrated, peaceful, content, satisfied and dissatisfied in current jobs -- we run the spectrum.

The purpose of our Tuesday night time together has always been to open the Bible together, and allow the words to settle on us and hopefully spark some reflection and transformation. Sometimes this happens just though reading a specific passage aloud, but often it's through each other's perspectives and experiences that we are challenged to become more like the women God perhaps originally intended.

A few weeks ago we found ourselves at the beginning of 1 Peter, and I had the responsibility of facilitating that week as we waded through Peter's words in chapter one. My beautifully vibrant friend, Brandy, had challenged us to read 1 Peter by asking ourselves "how do the verses give us direction in our role as Christ following women?" So as I sat down that Tuesday afternoon to prepare for the evening with that question running through my mind, God very kindly met me and directed my thoughts.

A couple of the verses that would not quit were verses 3 and 4 excerpted below:

"...He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade..."

Replaying these verses in my mind as I sat at the table with pen in hand and thinking through what those words meant for me as a woman and also for the amazing girls in my group, my thoughts interestingly began considering fears. Some are fears that are mine personally, while others are more specific to girls in my group. Regardless of who they belong to, if you are a woman especially, perhaps what came out of me through the nudging of God's spirit will resound with you too. What follows is what I scrawled out as fast as my fine point, purple Sharpie would write:

If I believe 1 Peter 1:3-4 is truth, then, as a woman, I have everything I need in Christ and I have GREAT hope -- no matter what.

No matter if...
  • my heart is broken
  • I never marry
  • I marry a deceptive man
  • I feel alone
  • someone close to me dies
  • I never have my own children
  • my children suffer
  • my husband is unkind
  • I feel labeled and branded
  • I remain where I am
  • I go to the ends of the earth
  • I struggle financially
  • my family remains in bondage
  • I lose my health
  • I gain weight
  • my beauty is assaulted
  • I'm considered ordinary by strangers
  • I'm considered ordinary by those close
  • I remain a slave to the opinions of others
  • no one notices my intelligence
  • no one notices my humor
  • no one notices my hard work
  • I struggle hard the entire time I walk this earth
  • Christ bids me come and die...
No matter what it is we are fearful of occurring on this side of eternity, as Christ followers, we have GREAT hope. We just do. An inheritance that will never perish, spoil, or fade unlike most of the things we cling to so tightly.

Let us be women with open hands causing fear to lose its sneaky grip and walking boldly and securely towards Christ's gracious right hand and his eternal pleasures. And perhaps our new, confident strut will cause some of the women in our lives to take notice, cast off their own fear, and come with us. I really cannot think of a better, more exciting girl road trip...

Cling to the great hope, it will not disappoint. It just won't.

As I read this over my girl posse that Tuesday night, I knew I could not claim any of the above revelation as my own wit or reason. God gave it to me, but the cool thing was, he granted it to me through my relationships with other girls just trying to figure out how to live Christ well and with authenticity. So thank you to Kristin, Brandy, Lauren, Ashley, Andrea, Lindsay, Liz, Kristen, Jessica, and the countless other women who have chosen to walk towards Christ with us on Tuesday nights over the years. Each of you sharpen me in ways that make me laugh, that sometimes mercifully wound, but that make me little by little more like Christ. Your presence in my life reminds me that a beautiful exchange occurs when I take the risk to come and die -- I get to truly live.

Clinging to the GREAT hope that refuses to disappoint and praying for your grip as well...

I mean, what if?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sliver of New

I live in the temporal
In a physical reality
And yet my soul senses his sovereignty.

When my actions are quieted
And my heart tuned to grace
I feel the orchestration of eternity.
Perhaps, I even hear it sometimes.

So what appears commonplace
Is in essence a sliver of redemption.

Making all new.

And so I rejoice in both extraordinary and mundane.
For rich purpose inhabits both.

That we might have eyes to see the imminence of a new heaven and new earth in all things.

I mean, what if?

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth...He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new..."
Revelation 21:1,5

Monday, January 11, 2010

To Another

I belong to another.
To Christ.

The one my heart loves with limited sight.
Even in depravity and through my idols.
Even when I have no awareness of Him.

He saves me.
He saves me.
He saves me.

And his love is deep.

His right hand holds me fast and I am thankful.
Thankful for his valiant protection.
For teaching me that in his presence alone resides the fullness of joy.
And fighting for me to grasp more of his glory with all of my life.

Through intense joy and severe pain, He is worth it.
He explains why I forget myself in grandeur,
And my carnal flesh longs for greatness.
His presence continually beckons and is alone worthy of all energy.
Of all fame.

Not me.
Not me.
Not me.

As I walk through life enclosed by skin,
Remind me of your steadfast hold. Your right hand.
And why it is there.
Because, while maddening, my heart will forget.

Let me be consumed by you.
More of you.

Grow yourself, dear Christ.
Grow your glory through me.
And your hope.

Establishing your work of my hands.

For yours is the kingdom
The power.
And the glory --

I mean, what if?

"So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God."
Romans 7:4