Here is the answer, I have been looking for...

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Heb 11:13-16 (NLT)

This verse just wrecked me....split my brain open....tore my heart out and poured the love of God over all my insides.  I know it is weird verbage but it is how I feel, like my insides are vulnerable and accessible and this verse has just met those parts...brain and heart and brought hope and revelation.

I know this it many, many times.  But these words just jumped out at me, "They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it."  Sometimes you don't get what is promised here on this earth.  

All my questions and wrestling is answered in this simple verse.  Sometimes you don't get it here.

All those horrible thoughts:  It's not my fault, its not because I didn't have enough faith, I didn't deserve it, it wasn't punishment, etc.  You can insert all your stinking thinking in here as too can be set free with this truth.  

All these thoughts, all these doubts, all the regrets can be left at the foot of the cross.  Great men and women of God have not received what God has promised.....yet.

I am not alone, shunned by God, somehow chosen to not receive....I am in good company, with all the other misfit foreigners who don't belong here, who didn't get their answer here....I know a few...

Here, here in this verse.....My question of why couldn't my son be healed when we prayed, is answered....

I see the promise in the distance....a heavenly homeland....a healed and whole son...a city prepared for us.

This disappointment turned to appointment...divine appointment.

I can learn to welcome this.  I will not go back.  I am looking towards my heavenly homeland.

We all will face disappointment, prayers unanswered.  It may shake you, that's okay.  It happens to all of us.

However, maybe just maybe you will remember this verse and it will bring you comfort and the love of God will pour into your heart and you will know that sometimes the promise isn't delivered's waiting there. 

Because, there is a heavenly homeland where every promise is delivered.

Hang on friends, we are going to get there...together.

Much love to my misfit foreigner friends!


Turning a Hole into Holy

There is a hole in my future.
It can't be fixed in this lifetime.
I live with a pain that is unexplainable, a loss undeniable.
In the midst of the loss of a son, and the dreams I had for him,
there is a sacred place that offers peace.
It's a hard to find place and often hard to stay there.
Sometimes I am like a blind person,
stumbling about in the dark trying to find it.
I bump into others, grasping at them to stay on my feet.
Sometimes we link arms and we search together.
We cry out to find the secret place, the sacred place, the holy place.
Pushing past the anger, leaning into hope, pulling open the curtain,
and stepping into the sanctuary.
There I find rest, there I find peace.
My mind wrestles with my heart,
when it is weak and tired it surrenders to the Spirit,
gasping for breath, desperate for hope.
Holy, Holy cries my heart for there it finds rest,
there it finds hope, in the sacred space, the Holy place.
Tears are welcomed, tears are counted, breathing feels lilke worship in the Holy place.
In the Sacred place, Jesus can turn a hole into a Holy space, He can turn tears into treasure, breathe hope into my heart,  replace pain with heavenly expectation and give me just enough grace to get through my day.


This is one of my most precious memories...all my boys, united with one heart. 

As Thanksgiving marches towards us with a fast paced vengeance, and Christmas music is already playing everywhere I go, I am reminded of what is really important.  I already feel the Holiday grumble, the cantankerous Christmas, the commercialized, the politicized, the rushing reindeer, the jumpy elves, the mad dash, the endless task and I am exhausted already.  I want to crawl in bed and hide until New Years.  Well, that is an exaggeration because I can't stay in bed past eight....I want to, I really do but it is just not how I am wired.  I can hardly stay home for a full day without going slightly stir crazy, let alone in bed.  But that's not the point.  I hate all the hustle and bustle that can take over my life...event after event, until we hit Christmas and then even then, it will take me several days to unwind.

Last Christmas was hard, as I looked all around.  A smile plastered on my face, I wanted to yell at every passerby....don't waste a minute, there may not be more.  Hold their hand, kiss them bye, buy them treats, breathe in their smell, make a joke, laugh loud, give the money, help the less fortunate, make every second count.  I want to scream at the top of my lungs, for God's sake don't you see what a distraction it's become.  The gifts and the parties are not Christmas at all, in point they have become quite Christless instead.  I am not a Grinch but last year was a fog and all I could think about was whats is this all for?  All the misplaced happy, rang empty and frantic.

This year I can see a tad bit clearer.  I want to celebrate Jesus and the people that matter.  It's moments like the picture above that make a difference.  A Mother with her three sons at the altar, for this, this is the reason that Christmas matters.  Heaven's own son, came down to us and this Mothers heart had all her son's home.  Now it is different, one is truly home and we all recognize that this, this is not really our home.

So we join together, come together for parties and events to celebrate the Saviors birth. There are holy moments in the rush, sometimes even a holy hush where love seems to be evident and hope permeates the air.  Gifts are great, but nothing can compare to sacred moments like these.  They don't involve gifts wrapped in pretty paper, they involve presence, His presence.  So set the stage this year for His presence, plan the event with Him in mind, breathe in the true meaning of Christmas.

I celebrate because Jesus was born a baby so that my baby could go to heaven.
For unto us a child is came down to bring salvation to pay a price that we could never pay.

This year I don't need a gift, just pour your heart out to all those you love.  Do it in memory of a boy, that grew into a man that always had a tender heart under the hard candy shell.  He was sticky sweet and salty tears, he was contradiction and joyful laughter, he was all boy yet so much a part of me, he was my son.  Don't allow bitterness, unforgiveness, pride and separation to have room in your heart. Make room for the Savior, to fill up your heart.  Seek healing and restoration, let things go, they really don't matter.  Love with every inch of your being because you never know what tomorrow holds. Prepare today to have no regrets tomorrow.

Slow down, take a moment, create your own holy hush.  Love others well and change the atmosphere wherever you kinder, simpler, more at peace than ever before and remember tomorrow is promised to no one, live today like it is your last.  Kiss your spouse and your kids, don't sweat the small stuff and tell everyone you love how priceless they really are, and that will be a Holy Christmas indeed.

As for me, this Christmas it will still be event after event, but I am changing the atmosphere.  Instead of becoming a reflection of the chaos I will bring peace with me into the middle of the chaos. There won't be many gifts, simpler, quieter, calmer will be my Christmas season.  At least I will try.  

You are priceless!

Love you,
Oh yeah, and do your shopping early and online, that will help too!

Broken, beautiful, messy, grace filled truth and my cracked, broken heart

I  had a bad couple of days.  Such a broken world,  full of broken stories, including mine.  I tried to be happy, I really, really did.  I tried to be thankful, but my mind just couldn't stay there.

This is how it started....

Monday, I went with my bestie to see her cousin whom I dearly love.  She (the cousin) is a beautiful, brave amazing wife, mother and friend.  She is fighting cancer and cancer seems to be winning.  The juxtaposition of her losing a battle while winning a battle swims clearly in my mind.

Paul's says in scripture.... for me to die is gain.  These words ring through my mind.  Logically, I know the right things, theologically I know the right things.  Our loss, her gain.  She sweetly tells me how she will hug Justin when she gets to heaven.  This cracks my heart open, this makes me happy and desperately sad all at the same time.  This gift she shares is full of hope and sorrow. I can envision it, this joyful reunion.  All of heaven waiting on her arrival and my boy there waiting too.  I am jealous for a moment of her ascension.

Just as suddenly, I am sad.  Sad for the sorrow of those left behind. They are losing greatness, gentleness that has lived among them for years and the hole will never be filled.  They will honor her, they will live on full of her greatness and grace but the pain will be unbearable and the only thing any of us will be able to do is hold them and be Jesus with skin on for them.

Jesus is there, in the hospital room and He will be there in the deep grief that will come.  It makes me sad.  I am thankful to be a part of the glory in the room but deeply sad at the same time.

Then Monday night I can't sleep.  Imagine that.  I pray, I talk to Jesus, I ask him a hundred questions but He is silent.  I answer my questions myself.....I still can't sleep.  I judge myself harshly about how I can be so unspiritual.  Why can't I just trust God?  Why do I have thoughts that run through my brain like a crazy rabbit?  Have you ever tried to chase a rabbit?  Yep, that's what I mean.  A thousand thoughts that I cannot capture.

By one in the morning, I am a crazy person.  I decide to take a sleeping pill (I know it's bad, I know I have taken them for too long in the past, don't judge me).  I try not to take them very often but at this point I am desperate.  Sleep comes, sweet sleep.  Suddenly it is time to wake up and I have to take my thyroid pill, because you can't eat or drink anything for an hour after you take it.  That means groping around in the dark, finding the pill bottle, downing the pill and trying to go back to sleep because who wants to wake up without being able to drink coffee right away?

I doze back asleep but awaken crying...I need to get up but I am so sleepy.  I drag myself up, have a teary eyed, brutally unkind conversation with myself and then with my husband.  I am sad for everyone and I am sad for myself.  That's right I, I was feeling sorry for myself.  I admit it, acknowledge it.  It happens.

I am emotionally bankrupt and consider not going to teach bible study.  What kind of teacher can't quit crying?  My lovely husband tolerates so very much.  I am wrapped up in fear as I realize this is 11/11 the date we almost lost him.  I am frozen in time as memories march through my mind.  Flashbacks are not my friend and fear is not of God, but still it sometimes lodges itself right alongside Him in my heart.  That's right I said it....Fear is nestled up in my heart right beside Jesus.  

I sit at the kitchen table reading scripture and seeking desperately to win the war in my brain.  I am too tired to function, I am so very tired, so very scared and so very sad.

I have to go, the disease of pleasing, the virus of expectation, the illness of perfection comes upon me and I go to teach bible study.  My imperfect, broken self tries to pull it together for a bigger picture, for the ladies I love.   I am messy, walking out in tears, worshipping loud and off  key, but Jesus is there.

We have a young boy(6 or 7 years old) joining us for study.  He is a dark haired, darling boy that looks and acts like my Justin.  I cry some more.  We pray and I know Jesus is with me.  In the fire He is there and in this weird, murky, sad place He is there.

This is the prize, His presence through the dark, lonely places.  He knows these places,  He has cried out in dark places, He was a man of many sorrows.  He is not looking for me to be perfect, He is just looking for me to stay connected.  To remember that He is there, He is fixing it day it will all be right.  By right, I mean...redeemed.

There will be miracles here in this world but sometimes they will be disguised as a brave friend who will let you hug her when everything is falling apart, or a cousin who will massage your feet with lotion because you can't do it yourself, or a super strong person who will admit they struggle too.  Miracles will come in many different ways, if we will just watch for them.  

I go through the day in a haze, alternating between fear and fuzzy.  I go home and lay on the couch and text my husband to make sure he is alive.  This is the weird place I live in; a place where someone calls to ask if someone is alive.  It dawns on me that I am much too tired, something isn't right.

Ding, ding, ding....It occurs to me that perhaps I took a sleeping pill instead of my thyroid pill.  I go to my room, the sleeping pills are in the wrong spot...yep I took a sleeping pill at seven in the morning.

Of course, that is why I went so haywire.  This is why I was so very tired, I wasn't having a breakdown, I wasn't in need of being checked into a facility for rest.  I had just taken a sleeping pill at seven in the morning.  This pill popping psycho is not really that psycho.  Well, maybe a little pyscho but who isn't?  

My husband is alive, my Jesus loves me(imperfect and totally messed up me) and the world is all wrong, but I am okay.

This journey, this unfolding story is always interesting.  I am learning that I can cry and laugh and trust.  That when my heart cracks open I am actually the most like Jesus.  Feeling everything.  Most days it's too much for me and I have to put up some distance between my heart and my feelings.  That collision between heart and memories is just to painful.  I can go there, I just can't stay there.  I have to focus on what I do have, and who He is.

I can practice cracking my heart open for others, sharing more than before. Stepping into their sadness and holding them tightly through their story.  God is good, this world is broken.

Job had to learn to love God not for anything He could do for him, but for who He is.  I am learning.  I trust that God knows best...Who am I that I should question anything?

Wednesday roles along and it is uneventful, I laugh, I teach and I have sweet sleep.  I don't lay in bed asking questions.  That is a good day in my book.

Thanks for letting me share my broken, messy, beautiful story, letting me be authentic.  I don't really know how God can use it for His glory....My job is just to share it, He adds the glory.

Let's be brave together, let's crack our hearts open a bit more, let's trust truth to set us free from hypocrisy.  Let's cry, laugh and trust more than ever before.  Let's give room for the glory to come into our stories.

Love you dearly,


Disclaimer:  I am not really a pill popper per say.  I take medications prescribed for me by my doctor.  I promise, I rarely take sleeping pills.

There is a monster in my head...

If I said there is a monster in my head, would you think I am crazy?
To be clear, I am not talking about a monster under my bed.
I have had my fair share of those, jumping and running for the light switch as fast as you can.
This is a monster in my head, that mostly comes out in the dark of night.
It whispers and sometimes even shouts, in my head on my bed.
It talks of regret and shame, and choices still to be made.
Like nails on a chalkboard, it grates on my soul.
The monster rambles on and on, drowning out truth and hope,
So I try to talk louder in my head on my bed.
I sing, I count backwards, I second guess, I rewrite, I sing, I count, I recite and rewrite,
and still it shouts a list of my failures, a mantra of my losses.
I try to fill every corner of my mind, every nook and crany is loaded up with truth and hope.
Till finally exhausted....
 I scream at the monster, you can't have this brain in my head!
Shout and scream, go right ahead but in the end there is one voice that is louder still.
There is a monster in my head, but a King lives in my heart.

The Tale of Two Princesses

The Tale of Two Princesses
The little girl crawled up on her daddy’s lap.  He was a perfect fit for her, as she nestled her head into his chest she whispered, tell me a story Daddy.   He laughed softly as he smoothed her long blonde hair. 
I’ll tell you a story honey.  There once were twin princesses (Bliss and Priss) born in a powerful kingdom called Judah.  The King loved his daughters dearly; they were beautiful and smart and loved to laugh.  He loved them so much that he divided up his kingdom and gave them each a large share.   

When the princesses were old enough the father gave them his signet ring and sent them out to rule their share of the Kingdom.  The sisters were delighted of course, to have all the benefits of ruling a Kingdom.   As time wore on, the Princesses lives became very busy and Priss saw the King less and less while Bliss continued to travel in and out of the Kingdom in order to see her father, the King.  She sat with him and learned from him and sought to model his ways to those she ruled over.
The King continued to rule his Kingdom well, but adversity rose up against Him and the Princesses were forced into battle beside their father.   Their legions of loyal soldiers combined to give them great strength. They had great faith in their father to lead them all and in the face of the terror of an attacking enemy they were still giggling sisters with full confidence in victory.  However, in a cruel twist of fate the Father was killed in the battle by a stray arrow.  Victory was still won by the Judah Kingdom but the sisters had lost a Father and the Kingdom had lost a King. 

The princesses returned back to their palaces to rule in honor of their father, no longer as Princesses but now as Queens. Queen Bliss loved her people well.  She led them as her father had for generations before her, with honor, love and joy in her Father’s legacy.  Her reputation for love and justice grew as she became older and wiser. 

Queen Priss returned to her palace fearful and angry.  She ruled her palace out of fear, teaching others that they must protect themselves with whatever means necessary.  She built large walls around her part of the Judah Kingdom and encouraged her subjects to trust no one.  She grew more and more distant from her sister as the walls between them grew larger and larger. 
 Soon her walls around her share of the Kingdom prevented her sister from even being able to visit.  Queen Bliss was locked out of her sister’s life.  She walled off all contact with her twin sister and ruled her Kingdom with an iron fist, driven by the fear of losing someone else, she choose to love no one. 

Meanwhile Queen Bliss’ Kingdom grew and grew.  Her love was on display for all to see and smaller kingdoms were drawn to her because of her deep care for her people.  She took in all who sought out her protection and wished to join the Kingdom.  One day Queen Bliss decided she must see her sister and so she sent word for them to please let her through the heavily guarded walls of Queen Priss’ Kingdom. 

Queen Priss refused, believing that Bliss was somehow trying to steal her Kingdom.  Queen Bliss journeyed on and made it through the outer walls of the Kingdom only to discover that all the people had moved in behind yet another wall.  Her sister’s Kingdom was growing smaller and smaller, the towering wall blotted out the sun for most of the day and armed guards roamed the walls searching for any intruders.  Keeping intruders out as well as keeping her subjects locked in. 

Queen Bliss called out to the guards; take me to your queen. 
The heavily armored guards took her into the Palace.  Queen Bliss spoke with the head guard.
Don’t you recognize me?  I am your queen’s twin sister, Queen Bliss.  The head guard replied that he did not recognize her at all, she looked nothing like Queen Priss.
The head guard sent word to Queen Priss that they had captured a trespasser who was claiming to be her sister. 
Clearly he did not believe it.
Queen Priss arrived behind her guards and Queen Bliss ran to her with great love and expectation to see her long lost sister, but suddenly she stopped and looked at Queen Priss…
You are not my sister, she said as she looked at the woman in front of her.  Queen Priss’ face was haggard, deep circles under her eyes, pale skin from lack of sunlight, frown marks scarred her forehead and her lips were pursed and thin. 

And you are not my sister, for my sister was my twin and you look nothing like me.  You are younger and much lovelier than I.  My Sister and I are identical and we were terribly robbed of our Father by an evil neighboring Kingdom.  We have been viciously stalked for years by neighboring kingdoms and had to work constantly to keep from losing any part of our Kingdom.  I have been trapped in this palace for twenty years without seeing sunlight out of fear for my very life. 

Princess Bliss replied, you are right I am not your sister, for I was fortunate to have a wonderful Father for 20 years, to inherit a beautiful Kingdom and to grow it with love as my Father had.  That love has kept my heart open, my face free from worry and instilled honor and justice into my Kingdom.   Any pain I have experienced has propelled me to love others better, while you have allowed your pain to define your existence and to shrink your Kingdom and your heart. 
Queen Bliss held her arms out and said simply, return to the ways of our Father.  Queen Priss simply looked at her sister and replied, this is the only way I know and with that she turned and walked away.  Surrounded by her guards and locked in her Kingdom she grew old much to fast. 

Queen Bliss returned to her Kingdom which grew lovelier with each passing year.  She grew wiser and stronger and established a Kingdom that would one day rule the world with truth and justice. 
On occasion she would nostalgically wish for the Sister that had laughed with her and sang with her when they were younger but she knew that all must make their own choice and as for her Queen Bliss, she would choose joy for herself and her Kingdom. 

The End…said the Daddy.  The little girl sat quietly contemplating the story and then simply said…I choose joy too, and with that she hopped off her Daddy’s lap and skipped off to play with her brother on the swing.  

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My Heart is Full

I ran across this picture, just the other day.  It was painted way before my life turned upside down and inside out.  I thought my heart ...