These writings are for the imperfect person searching for more of the Perfect God.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

out-of-order?

Nothing has the capability of frustrating me more than seeing an "out-of-order" sign on something I had my heart set on getting or doing.

My youngest son, Jesse, loves to put a quarter in the gumball machine at twelve oaks mall.

 It sits directly in front of the pet store and he knows the route in which to get there.
He bubbles up with excitement, as he white-knuckle grips his precious and sacred quarter in the palm of his left hand, while holding my hand in the other.
He eagerly expresses to me, repeatedly, how excited he is to get his gumball, all while skipping from the car directly to the pet store.

Over the last number of months, his eagerness has been met with a simple white sign that states "out-of-order" taped to the front.  His lit-up joyous face takes seconds to dissipate.  His joy is stolen.  His eagerness is squelched.  His hope of what he thought would happen is shortly severed.

The question I'm asking myself this morning, how often do I live a life with a simple 'out-of-order' sign taped to my soul?

And Just as the sigh disappointment engulfs Jesse's spirit at the sight of that white paper with three words in black stating 'out-of-order,' so it is when we encounter others (or ourselves) with this same taped paper reading the words we often ache to read.

We breathe that same sigh of disappointment.

It's a let down.
It's a source of discouragement.
It's a grief felt deep in the fiber of our being.

But what if this person is you, is me, is us, is them?
What if I'm the out-of-order one who has the key to life & joy at my finger tip, but feel as if I'm a continued source of discouragement and disappointment to others & myself?

Have you ever been there?  I have.
It's a slow torture knowing you've been designed for a specific task (like providing a gum ball to a child to make them smile) and not operating out of my God given design.  The white paper of shame stating "out-of-order" is a blatant continual reminder I'm not living or providing God, myself and others with what I was designed to do.

Webster defines 'out-of-order' as "Not in the correct sequence." 
Pausing,  I stare in amazement at the the simplicity of these five words.... reminded of God's desire to keep Him first in all I believe, think, feel and do.... but do I?
Is it possible, than, if anything or anyone is first before Him, spirals me into an out-of-order life?  And if so, then what?

And as God usually undeservingly does, He revealed illuminating truth off His pages of Hope yesterday afternoon.
I caught a glimpse of God declaring the deep significance of 'right-order' VS. 'out-of-order' living in James 3:16:

"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find DISORDER and evil of every kind."

Could it be this simple, yet powerful verse is the key component to identifying an out-of-order life? Lets go back for a moment.... James states if there is jealousy or selfish ambition of any kind, there we will find a life in disorder (aka: out-of-order) and every kind of evil practice.

So, in other words, if I choose to dwell and meditate on jealousy, envy and selfish ambition, I will naturally usher in a life that is in disorder and suffocate any and all chances of Gods root to grow.

It's a law.

It's a promise.
It's a guarantee.

As strong and real as the law of gravity, so is the law of out-of-orderness.

If I lived my life as this truth being an anchor to my belief system, I can only begin to imagine the radical change I would witness in myself and others.
If I truly recognized the severity of jealousy & envy and making my self the god-of-my-heart through selfish ambitions, I can only imagine the beauty of the heart within.

But wait!  There's more to this verse- and unfortunately, as much as I desire for it to stop here... it doesn't.
My eyes wander to the 3-D words glowing off the pages of His word....the natural byproduct of out-of-order living is evil of every kind?

I'm reminded that God designed our lives to experience His love and produce fruits- whether good or bad, each choice has a consequence.  The negative fruits of out-of-order living is catastrophic.
It's a matter of life or death.  It's a big deal!
Yet, in todays culture, my heart wonders and grieves over why there's such little clarity into the severity of out-of-order living?

Precious people desperate to experience the freedom and love in Christ, yet filled to the brim with hopelessness, discouragement.  Church pews filled with souls desperate for more of Him, yet  tangibly experiencing the impossibility of grasping a  loving God with all heart, mind and soul.

So, I continue by peeling back yet another layer to this out-of-order verse and my spirit promptly poses another  question...  What could evil of every kind mean?
Evil is not of or from God, right?
And evil involves the actual fingerprint, the DNA, the presence of the enemy to my soul.

A common theme I often ask for during times of prayer is a hedge of protection around my life and lives of those I hold dear and near to my heart.

A thick hedge.
A strong hedge.
A protective hedge.
A tall hedge.

It ushers in a sense of protection, an assurance, a peace of mind, a provision of safety from the enemies decietful craftiness of harm.

Immediately, my heart returns to a verse a dear friend shared with me in Ecclesiastes 10:8 in which it states that through my choices (of living out-of-order) I'm actually punching a hole in the hedge I just prayed for God to build!

I'm vividly picturing myself punching a hole through that thick hedge of protection. My barrier. My protection.
It would leave an opening just small enough for a serpant to slither his slimy way into the  inner circle that once was a safe haven and place of refuge.

Like a puzzle finally forming, I recognized my out-of-order life naturally opened my hedge and permitted the evil one access into the very place of protection and into my life.

Satan enjoys torment.  He generally begins with the emotions, unstabalizing our thoughts and feelings.  As a result,

disconnection.
hopelessness.
discouragement.
shame.
rejection.
pride.
loneliness.
isolation.
fear.
anxiety.....
furiously flow into the very fibers of my being.

Left with confusion, chaos and exhaustion, I look to God with a deep aching...
"Why am I not experiencing Your love, freedom and presence?"

With this question in the back pocket of the heart of so many precious souls, I'm left asking what if just maybe, possibly, somehow, God loves us enough to not rip away the natural consequences of out-of-order living, so that we come to the firm realization that nothing is worth living with "evil of every kind" inside our hedge?

I think the obvious question now is, what is a right-ordered life?  Because we want it, right?

It never siezes to amaze me how God, in all His greatness and enormity, chose to give just two simple statements, through the tender lips of Jesus, that will guarantee a life of internal joy, a life of righteous fruits, a life of power, a life of wisdom, a life of love, a life of knowledge, a life of compassion, a life of holiness, a life of eternity...

Who wouldn't want this?

Okay, so back to a right-ordered life... how?
Ive pondered this question, for years, months, weeks, days, moments.
All to come to the honest conclusion that God has given us two pieces of direction for the heart, with a deep promise that will save our lives, not just eternally, but here on earth as well.
Jesus would not of promised this life can offer each of us..
connection * peace * joy * life * grace * freedom * wisdom * love.... in abundace if it weren't so.

If it's not based on circumstatnces, or perfection, or laws, than how do I obtain this life Jesus desires and gives so freely?

And that's when I ask the obvious... What if it's based on two simple statements that no longer are dictated by law, but by heart?
Could it be that once heart transformation begins to take place, all behavior modifications can be eradicated...?

And so I venture into the two most significant callings on a life.
The two callings that convert an out-of-order life of chaos into a right-ordered life of wholeness?

'Love the Lord with all my heart, all my mind and all my soul'
                                   and
                     'Love others as myself.'

That's it?  Could it be possible these two sentences hold enough power to free a soul, unchain a captive, unravel a mess, bring order to the confusion, birth life from death, catapult me out of out-of-orderness & overflow me with His spirit and His love?

Simple right?
Okay, but wait... so the complex God who designed, originated, mastered this intricate and detailed unfathomable universe and everything in it, chose to come to my level out of pure love, understanding, compassion, and provide only two simple sentences that have enough power and weight to provide life in abundance?

YES.

Ah, the sweet taste of a simple yes.  A yes that flows a river of peace in every corner and crevice of my being, while fiercely and purposefully washing away the toxic residue of out-of-orderness.

"For God is not a God of Disorder, but of peace."
1Cor 14:13





































Monday, May 25, 2015

Pain's so ugly it's beautiful


It was as if someone put the moment in slow motion.  Hearing her words pour with ease into my spirit and beauty flowing effortlessly from her mouth, I digested and filled up on the wisdom that nourished my soul.

Similar to the many other conversations with individuals who left a stamp of satisfying hope, contagious joy and unadulterated encouragement on my heart, I recognized for the first time a common denominator amongst these people who managed to quickly cross my path and yet leave a permanent stitch of wisdom and hope.

What did they all have in common?

Pain.  Suffering.

They each had it.
They each endured it.
They each walked through it.
They each found the beauty in it.
They each had a story to tell of it.

It's unavoidable, isn't it?
Pain.  it's a luring unwanted guest whose presence is never too far away,
My natural default button is to run.  Run from the pain.  Avoid its presence.  Seek a remedy to extinguish its power.

Drowning in the presence and weight of the pain, survival mode takes precedence and searching for a life boat of safety and survival becomes the central focus of my mentality, of my life, of my moments.
Survival.
Pain's haunting presence has the capability of being closer than anything or anyone and it's ability to take my life and hold it hostage is overwhelming and fear-driven.

It's here the question stirs deep within... What if the pain, the unwanted house guest of my mind, my soul, my spirit, my body, serves a unique purpose?
A purpose of release?
A purpose of healing?
A purpose of freedom?
A purpose of redemption?
A purpose of restoration?
A purpose of surrender?
A purpose of meeting & knowing God?

Pain has a statement to be made.  It has a purpose to fulfill.  It has a mission to accomplish.  It has a life to unfold.  It has a captive to release.  It has a chain to snap.  It has a spirit to awaken.  It has an enemy to discard.  It has a love to release.

Oh, but the pain.  It's awful. It's tormenting.  It's heavy.

My spirit consistently asking "Am I willing to allow the constant presence of pain, in return for the final destination of its purpose of existence?"
The enticement to locate relief from it is appealing.
Anything, anyone.  Release me of this pain!

And just as the enemy of my soul desires, my focus becomes skewed, misplaced and tunnel visioned.

Now searching for release instead of searching for its purpose.

But... what if its unwanted existence serves the very purpose of my purpose?
What if its sole existence is to catapult me into the very plan God predestined for my life?
What if is unappealing presence is the final key to unlocking the mystery behind God's plan?
What if its exhausting  weight has the supernatural capability of speaking life-giving hope, not only into me, but countless others?
What if its bitter aftertaste is used to blaze a trail of beauty and courage for my family line?
What if its nagging persistency leaves the actual DNA,  the cemented footprint, of my legacy?

What if?


My humaness tells me to avoid. Search and locate a mechanism, a comfort, a person, a place, a substance, a thing to cover the pain and convince my heart it's really nonexistent.

But it's there, in the deepest area of my being, it remains.

Only growing wider, longer, deeper, higher.
It's interesting how undealt-with pain grows in darkness.  Grows in denial.  Grows in cover-ups.
It enjoys the chase and I'm completely incapable of out running it.

Then I hear it.  A gentle deliberate whisper within from the Holy Spirit.... "It serves a purpose."
Yes, it's not in vain.  It's not wasted time, resources, emotions, energy, days, moments, life.

It's not wasted.

Not one moment of pain's counterfeit quicksand mentality is wasted.
Whether if be physical, emotional &/or spiritual, it always, always, always  serves a purpose.

And it's here, when I reach and pull the pain out from the darkness and shine His light into its very core, that I can begin to see...
the hope it entertains.
The joy it introduces.
The purpose it reveals.
The person it seeks to restore.


Truthfully, some pain is chronic and constant.  Hope of release may not be visible or obtainable.

What then?

This is the question my heart poured over last Friday morning as I inhaled the words of God in 2 Corinthian.

"My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness."  "When I am weak, then I am strong."

Ah, my current pain is considered weakness, from human perspective.  But looking beyond what my eyes can see, I'm standing where I can finally and fully be strong.  His power now has been given permission and access to be activated in my life due to my pain.

And it's in this moment, my spirit rested.  Yes, still in pain, but at rest.
And rest is what every soul thirsts for, isn't it?

I, too, have experienced depths of physical and emotional pain intensely and still too fresh to accurately depict with this pen.  But whether it's emotional or physical; on-going or seasonal- the cry of my heart remains for it to never be endured in vain.

My heart overflows with gratitude for the handful of courageous friends in Christ who found redemption and purpose because (not in spite) of their pain- and shared their contagious joy and wholeness through the gift waiting for them on the other side- restoration & purpose.


As I write this final thought, next to me the family bull dog snores loudly into the fresh air, while the hanging tongue, just surfacing the kitchen floor, dances to the rhythm of each snore.
Oh, she's so ugly she's actually cute!
My mind races to the sheer contrast of this thought.....

Could it also possibly be that pain is so ugly it's actually beautiful?


"We can rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.  And this hope will not lead to disappoint."
Romans 5 3-5.















Thursday, May 21, 2015

Love you mostest

 Oh, those faces.

From a mama's heart, you've been there.
Watching your baby sleep, while tenderly stroking your index finger on the roof of their button nose and gently around their freckled little face.

Fascinated with the miracle and beauty of each and every delicate detail of their soft and scrumptious features.

There's a boundless peace that ushers into a mothers heart at this very moment.
An indescribable emotion that's not fully activated until this very first moment occurs.

It's also an indescribable emotion that never seizes to exist with each passing month, year, decade- still stroking the pillow creased face at every stage of life.

But then...

There's the days in between the sleep filled, peaceful moment.

Even at this very moment, in the faint background, I'm hearing echos of arguing and controversy on the trampoline, riding on wings of the wind through the window screen next to me.

They've woken up!

Days of exhaustion
Days of chaos
Days of frustration
Days of fear
Days of sibling rivalry
Days of worry
Days of doubt...

Will I ever feel equipped enough?
Good enough?
Sufficient enough?
Worth enough....
To be responsible for the weight of these unique and individual souls in which God has entrusted in the palm of my hand?

How often I fail to make the right, the wise, the intentional, the strong, the transformational decision for them.

How deeply I recognize these three dependent little people deserve the best mother God has to offer.
Nothing less than the best for these three little ones.

Yet, God chose imperfect, flawed me?
With each decision, reaction, response, I'm tormented with the stark reminder I have the challenge of either bubble wrapping their fragile souls or breaking them like the egg that slipped onto my kitchen floor from the fridge this morning.

The mama guilt is tormenting, isn't it?

Nothing else in life has greater capability of reaching into the deepest reservoir of the human heart.
Especially after a...

failed reaction
failed response
failed decision
failed impatient moment

And just when the enormous weight of failing at this thing called mamahood begins to root itself in the garden of my belief system, I hear a familiar gentle whisper in my left ear...

"I love you mostest..." I hear.
You see, Shea has an on going game of I-Love-You's, with me.

"I love you"

"I love you most"

"I love you mostest"

"I love you unconditionally"

And the first to arrive to the unconditionally part, wins.
And then I see it.   The same moment I experienced the previous night while delicately and secretively stroking his sleep-filled face.

I see it again.
Love and Forgiveness.
These two go hand in hand, don't they?

There can't be one without the other.

Jesus spoke of this when He said those who've been forgiven much, love much.

And those who've been forgiven little, love little.


Children forgive well and love even better.
With all my failures, all my incongruncies, all my flip-outs...
forgiveness flows naturally and effortlessly from these little people with boundless and endless unspeakable love.

They've lavished me with the gift to love, simply by offering an on-going moment by moment blessing of forgiveness.  Had I originally gotten this mama-hood gift down perfectly, I would of missed the treasure.




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Seeing past it.



Do You know you're exactly where you're supposed to be?


With...
ALL the shame.
All the failures.
All the defects of character.
All the guilt.
All the fears.
All the addictions.
All the anxieties.

God see's it.

Nothing is left unexposed.  NOTHING.

But His filter is unlike anything we can fathom...

He sees past the issue and straight to the need.
He sees past the anger and straight to the pain.
He sees past the adult and straight to the child.
He sees past the addiction and straight to the wound.
He sees past the mask and straight to the deprivation.
He sees past the perfectionism and straight to the shame.
He sees past the obsession and straight to the fear.
He sees past the guilt and straight to the grief.
He sees past the codependency and straight to the loneliness.
He sees past the hate and straight to the rejection.
He sees past the denial and straight to the violation.
He sees past the sarcasm and straight to the insecurity.

He sees us.... and loves inspite.

Cleaning up.  Picking up.
Purging out.  Plucking out... This IS God's job, not ours!

Come as you are to Him.
Authentic imperfect you.

His heart explodes for the perfectly imperfect people, such as ourselves.
The one's who recognize we don't have the power to change without Him.

Spend one afternoon reading the short three year life span of Jesus and you will quickly recognize his tenderness, his kindness, his grace which knew no boundary.

Except... when it came to one group of people... the hypocrites.

The one's who claimed to have it together while rotting away inside.

The one's who presented themselves as of importance, yet ignored those who were not.

The one's who preached a good talk, but lived a different walk.

The one's who fed on praise, but ridiculed others.

These are the one's Jesus became angry with... And I'm talking angry!!
If I've learned anything from reading about this, it's not to be these people.
Yet... my flesh fights me on this EVERYday of my life.

Ah, but the one's who humbly admit
weakness
sin
failures
pain
disappointment
rejection-
Jesus' compassion flowed through them like a purifying stream of beauty.

I can almost feel it through the pages of His word.
Strengthening
healing
equipping
to be who He originally designed them to be.

God's very character is turning ashes into beauty.

Nothing brings greater joy to His heart than doing what He does best-
Restoring and reviving a willing, imperfect soul.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Run Forest, run!


They're sneaky little suckers, aren't they?

Maybe it's a toxic relationship, over eating, a controlling emotion, compulsive shopping , an addictive substance, a coping mechanism, an obsessive thought, a memory, a fear ... it makes no difference, really.

They each have potential pull and power to dethrone Jesus and resurrect itself as King of the heart without even so much as permission!  They can all become a counterfeit comfort.

It's engrained in us to worship.

Sound familiar to our ancestors from the Old Testament, struggling day after day with the inherent desire to worship something, anything?

And when God, in His timing, didn't move, respond, react with their timing, they quickly defaulted to worshiping an idol.

It's a God-designed gift that was stitched into the very fiber of our soul.  But just like anything, it also has the potential to become twisted, perverted and skewed in the residue of this fallen world which belongs to our enemy.

Remembering how often my own heart is so easily deceived to the deception and affection of a counterfeit comfort, as I meditate on the beauty & wisdom within the pages of God's word.  Reading words of preparation- preparing for battle, for standing firm, for confidence against opposition, for taking thoughts captive, for loving immeasurably, for serving beyond measure.

But I'm noticing His warning on idolatry- all together different than the standing firm advise He gives towards other enemy attacks- He's fiercely warning me to tie up my shoe laces and run! Flee! Don't look back!  The muck of idolatry is thick and is a deep, costly, stronghold that has the potential to fling me into an out-of-order lifestyle faster than I'll know what hit me.

My heart whispers "at all cost, be sensitive to even an inkling of tasting possible false-comfort."
The remedy?  Ah, so simple, until...

God becames quiet.

God doesnt respond as I  desire.

My fears dictate my reality.

My anxiety is given access to the drivers seat of my life.

The enemy whispers lies of individual worth and value, or lack of.

Insecurities take root in the depth of my belief system.


My heart knows the remedy is clinging to Him.  But how easily reality chooses to not match theology.

It's here, if we've tasted it enough (and, honestly, who hasn't) the bitter-after taste of counterfeit comfort -


Poison to my heart.
Poison to my mind.
Poison to my soul.
Poison to my spirit.

Then it dawned on me... the FOUR areas God desires for me to love Him most are,

My heart.
My mind.
My soul.
My spirit.

Ironically, the same four areas false-comfort threatens to steal the most.

Ah, but the deception of the comfort is convincing and deeply luring, isn't it?  Promising joy that's fleeting and falsely dressed up as beauty.

But under the deceptive mask is often a death to the heart, a death to a relationship, a death to a mind, a soul, a spirit and even in some circumstances, a body.

It's as if I can hear His gentle voice speaking straight to my spirit, warning me that these idols often sneak in subtlety through the back door and slither their way to the throne of the heart, all the while planting seeds of lies of God's love, or lack of.

The difficult position, however, is it has now been given access to the holy and sacred place of the heart, fully and completely convincing the emotions that I am unable to live without it.  


It manifests itself as a false sense of identity and false-security. 

And this is often why releasing an counterfeit comfort often feels like losing a limb.

It ushers in deep grief even at the slightest thought of saying goodbye.

It catapults emotions of overwhelming despair at the hint of release.

It's powerful grip derails us into hopeless disillusionment.

Even though surrender, trust and faith are the bedrock to full intimate right relationship with Jesus, it just may be the most difficult and most courageous decision we will ever make.

Oh this process hurts.  But this decision, this choice, this action, this step of love brings wholeness. Brings life back into the dry bones.  Brings joy.  Brings peace.  Brings fullness.  Brings redemption Brings restoration.  Brings FREEDOM.


Easy?  My spirit chuckles at the word.  No, it's not easy, but it IS possible.  If it weren't, I wouldn't be here writing this.  I'd be elsewhere nursing my harmful and self-destructive false-god-of-the-heart. And quite honestly, there's no where else I'd rather be, than here with you.

God is desperate and passionate about releasing us from the heavy, painful, exhausting, destructive and toxic chains of idolatry in order for our soul to sing a new song.  

"I waited patiently for the lord to help me and He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set me feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise.
Many will see what HE has done and be amazed."
They will put their trust in the Lord." 

Psalm 40 1-3









Monday, May 18, 2015

The back row

I passed an elderly woman sitting in the back pew of a church gripping her warn out bible while her soul cried out in a natural hymn of joy & wholeness.
My eyes catch a glimpse of her gentle spirit but my head reminding me not to stare.
But I want to stare.
I want to soak in the raw beauty of her gentleness, her love, her life story written in the distinctive wrinkles of her face.
My mind wanders into her world.....

Oh, how vividly I see she loved well without asking for anything in return.
She sacrificed her own desires to live fully dependent to His desires.
She gave up her dream of being known amongst a crowd for being known by her Father.
She was a light and source of hope to all who encountered her.
She was a shelter of refuge, safety & love for her spouse and children.
Her family knew that no one, besides Jesus, came before them.
Her love naturally bubbled over, reaching any and everyone in her presence.
She may not have reached the millions or even thousands, but she transformed lives.
She didn't have the letters of degree after her name, but she was fully convinced God knew her name.
She lived not as an orphan, but as an adopted and loved Child of God.
She didn't know all the popular books in the christian circle, but she knew the One book that transformed her soul.
To an outsider, she may have received empathy for her wrinkled face and worn-out body.
But to God, His heart gleamed with inexpressible pride over His beautiful treasured daughter who chose not the things of this world, but simply Him.
The one who gazed upon the old woman with empathy most likely struggled with emptiness, loneliness and unwanted disconnection from God.
But, little did they know this frail, insignificant woman gripping her bible in the last pew was God's apple to His eye.
Little did they know she rarely experienced unfulfillment or loneliness or lack of purpose or disconnection from God.
Why?  This old woman found  the key to life and chose to use it.

This morning I woke overwhelmed with the joy of knowing I have another opportunity to know Him more- and maybe one day, I too, can be the frail insignificant woman gripping her warn out bible in the back pew of the church.

Mind over matter


Mind over matter, is what they say.... yet, the matter of turning 40 is all too real.  So, for some much needed self-therapy, God and I spent an afternoon pondering what 40 years under His wing has shown:

It's not about status or being favored by others.

It's not about what I've done or where I've gone.

It's not about what I've accomplished or where I've exceeded.

It's not about knowing the right people or being recognized amongst a crowd.

It's not about excelling at a goal or fulfilling a dream.

It's not about being happy or even being comfortable.

It's not about being strong or experiencing self-empowerment.

it's not about my reputation or the consumption of what others think of me.

It's not about my failures or my successes.

It's not about receiving my needs or fulfilling my own desires....


The KEY to joy and the doorway to life is knowing Jesus.  Knowing I can crawl my exhausted and tired bones into His arms each day;

With all my failures, hopes, concerns, desires, fears, unmet needs, deep-seeded insecurities, joy's, wounds, hurts, habits, addictions, grief and all of me... knowing it's not through my good works I'm loved and received by Him- no, they're all like dirty rags.

He's after my heart.  He's after the true, sincere, raw, real me- the one He created perfectly beautiful in His sight.  Nothing is unseen by Him and nothing gives Him greater pleasure than when I peel the deceitful mask off my fearful face and allow Him to pour His life-giving water into the parched and deserted areas of my soul.

It's here I experience an all-consuming tenderness, a kindness, a compassion that engulfs every gap, hunger & piece of shattered brokenness within.  It's the kind of 'knowing' when John, in the bible, refers to Himself as the one-whom-Jesus-loves."  My identity is now living in the confidence that I, too, am one whom Jesus loves.

Knowing Jesus dismantles the counterfeit gods my heart once beat for.
Knowing Jesus plants seeds of truth into the toxic lie of living life for anything but Him.
Knowing Jesus ushers in right order in this short and fragile life.
Knowing Jesus floods in an all-consuming, healing light into the darkest corners of my heart.
Knowing Jesus flows joy into the areas held captive to anxiety, depression and confusion.
knowing Jesus, I possess the key, the hope, the remedy, the cure, the way, the truth, the life of each and every broken area this world contains.  Yes, He indeed is the answer to ALL the brokenness we consume and experience and see in this dark and fallen world.  HE IS IT- the only perfect source of wholeness and fulfillment every human heart thirsts for.

And while I process over the goodness and undeserved love of God in my life over this 40 year span, I inherently recognize, other than God Himself, no goal, or dream, or place, or person, or feeling, or desire will come before loving the four most beautiful gifts God has given me in this perfectly imperfect family.

While often looking like the circus came to town- they in an instant reveal God's wisdom & sweetness & grace & forgiveness & tenderness & kindness more than anything I have tangibly encountered in my life.

Loving my family goes beyond a feeling.  It's a choice. A choice of proving to them, in the safety of their hearts, they know that nothing will come before their own emotional, physical or spiritual needs. I no longer sit in the pit of fear of parenting wrong, loving improperly, or messing up this thing called mommy-hood, simply because I will.  I have. I've gotten it wrong.
I love improperly.  I mess things up.  I get it wrong.  But God, yes God, will and does over-ride each and every broken mama moment.  It's through my weakness His power is made perfect.  

It's taken 40 years to comprehend, to the best of my ability, the purpose and meaning of my life.   And as 2Corinthians so perfectly states... my goal is to please Him.  Yes, more of You Lord, and so much less of me.