My life a combination of brutal and beautiful....brutiful!

I am turning fifty this year.  To be honest, it is filling my mind with something short of obsession. How could I be this old?  I don't feel that old?

It sounds so old?  I thought I could handle it with grace, uum apparently that was wrong.

I want to kick and scream out, I am not old!  Even the doctor is condescending and treats me like I am old.

So I was wondering why does it bother me so much?

Expectation, I think.  That always gets me.....

I expected things to be different.  I thought by the time I hit fifty, I would have it all figured out.

Turns out, I have nothing figured out.  There is a chance I may never have it all figured out.

Not for a lack of's just that the game keeps changing.  It is like you are playing Monopoly one minute and the next you are playing Sorry.  None of the pieces work and your little shoe from Monopoly has no place in the Sorry game.  I want to scream at everyone....THIS WASN'T THE GAME!

It took me awhile to figure out how to be a good Mom, by the time I was feeling pretty decent about my ability they grew up.  Then it all changed...seriously, it all changed.  

I thought I could be a good wife, that playing field is changing all the time too.  Finding time for one another, working together, building a life together, it changes as our life morphs into new stages. Still working at it, after all these years.

I couldn't have dreamed up this life that I have.  In some ways it is much more than I ever imagined. There is a beauty, a love that has gradually worn down my cynical heart.  I believe in love, now more than ever.  

There are friends, relationships that have shaped me and filled my life with joy and hope. Friends that have been Jesus with skin know who you are.  Old friends and new friends that have loved me and taught me what love looks like.

In other ways it is tragic and I never saw that coming.  A combination of beautiful and brutal...I heard someone say brutiful...That is it.  Perfect description.  Brutiful.  I didn't see it coming.  The ugly stuff that weaves itself through your life and it changes you.  How can it not? It makes you stronger and more compassionate, and if you are very fortunate it reminds you of how amazing the people are around you.  Because, in the darkness the light shines the brightest.

I love the light bearers.  The brave ones, that say the unspeakable, that pray in the midnight hour, those that can look past the ugly and believe for healing when you just can't believe for anything. When it feels like the grace is wearing off and they come and they bring the grace with them.

Sometimes however tragedy....well, it walls you in.  It isolates you.  It sucks the hope right out of your heart, and you are ashamed to tell anyone.  Sometimes I find myself struggling through the pain alone, surrounded by people.  It's a weird place, to feel alone while in a crowded room.  People have compassion fatigue, you grow weary and they grow weary.  Isolation feels easier.

Yet, we all feel that way sometimes.  Like we are alone, like no one can understand what we are going through.  For at least ten years, I have told people we all will feel alone, angry, sad, depressed, anxious, at some point in our lives....we just can't set up camp there.  Don't set up camp in the dark, lonely places.  

We all are searching for the Promise land....that place where everything works out, where everyone likes you, where no one gets hurt and no one dies.

The problem is...that place is not this place.  

So now as I get closer to fifty....I see the fault in my thinking.  We can't set up camp in the dark place, in the isolated place, or keep going from place to place.... we can't stay wandering looking for the promise land of all things perfect. All things perfect is a myth.  A lie, the enemy wants us to buy into so we will be subtly unsatisfied, discontent.  So we won't develop holy relationships, deep relationships, rooting relationships.

We have to set up camp, in the holy place.  In the presence.  In the presence of friends and family.  In the safety of loving relationships, honoring relationships that is where we pitch our tents.  We take the PRESENCE with us into our world and into our relationships and we build the best we can.

It won't be perfect, but if we carry the presence and walk in honor it will be a promise fulfilled.  It will be full of love.

But in order to be open to that place, W have to be open to the risk.  There is a cost to love, it cost Jesus everything and it will cost us, but it will not break us.

Turns out we are unbreakable...Oh sure we may fall to pieces, but they can always be put back together....woven with love, taped back together with hope.  

Trust me, I thought "all this" would break me, but it didn't.  It can't.  It is somehow, impossibly, making me better...stronger.

People are imperfect, we hurt, we disappoint...basically we have all been the one to do wrong and the one done wrong.  Fact of life. Forgive, move on, love anyway.  TRUST God and LOVE people.

Set up camp in the Holy place...under the shadow of the Almighty.  In relationship with God and relationship with others.  We need each other.  No doubt.

So yeah, I am turning fifty.  I am evaluating everything. It is such a milestone, isn't it?

It comes with great perks...I get to be an old lady and love on young people lik a Momma.  What an honor.  I don't care as much about what people think and I feel more freedom to be me than ever before...yep it is getting better and better.

My life isn't perfect, but who's is? It's not what I expected, that much is true, but it is my life.  It's the only one I have.

It is my promise land, my holy place, my family...chosen and blood....I choose to set up camp right in the middle of the messiness of life and trust God and love these people, my tribe.

My promise land is full of brokeness and authenticity and love and hope and joy and sometimes I get hurt or disappointed and that makes me scared.....

Turns out we are all a little scared of being hurt I will try my best to honor and love others and you do your best to honor and love others and together we will bring a piece of the promise land to earth.  If and when it get's messy, I promise not to run and hide.

One day we will get there...the real promise land, but until then it is up to us to pitch our tents under the shadow of the Almighty, to allow the fire of His presence to fill our camp and risk being hurt so that we can love more!

 Let's create our own promise land, bring a little heaven to earth.  Create a culture of love and honor and let's watch with anticipation to see what happens....can't wait for the next fifty.

Thanks for being my tribe, near and far.


Living in Freedom

This morning I was thinking about Freedom.  Freedom comes in an instant, yet we are practising it all our lives.

I don't know about you but I can find myself quickly in the shackles of the disease to please or the virus of perfectionism!

I can end up so busy that I am caged by my activities, captured by all the things I must do.

Jesus died to give me freedom from everything, but finding that balance and walking in that freedom is a different story.

Even Jesus pulled away from the crowd and rested, sought out the beauty of the sea, left people when necessary...shockingly He didn't minister to everyone.

Freedom is ours but like so many things in the Kingdom, it must be learned and practised.

You must believe it, live it, breathe it....

Like so many things in the Kingdom, what we are is already a finished work....I AM FREE.            

You are free....

How we live, that is up to us.

Today, I choose to live free.  Tomottow I will try to remember to live free too, as long as I don't forget....because sometimes that happens.

I am a Peace Flunky!

I search continually for peace.  I am a peace flunky.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  I need Him in a world that is full of busyness and crabbiness.  In the midst of all the anxiety and pressure to get things done.  
Aren't we all suffering to some degree from a lack of peace?

Peace:  freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.

I can't control the outside of my life.  It is a circus to put it mildly.  Three dogs, two sons, ministry, job, husband, friends, and let's not forget the messy grief that encompasses it all.  Events, work, ministry, reports, teaching, preaching, loving, serving, writing ....not complaining just explaining....

I want peace, but I don't want quiet because in the quiet I get crazy.  Anyone know what I mean? 

So what is this peace?  

Why is it so difficult to find it, to find Him?  I have Jesus, so come on....bring on the peace.  

Just like in war, peace is hard gained.  It comes at a great price.  Many lives have been lost to attain peace by war.  

Many arguments faught in vain, all in the name of peace.  Guilty as charged....

Many trials come and go trying to teach me to hold unto peace.    It slips through my fingers like water.  Fear creeps into my mind and just like that peace is gone. 

It's not that I lose Jesus, it's just that I lose His attribute, my mind slips into a rythm that beats out the peace.  

It's just that for me peace is hard to hold unto, the way I am wired seems to work against His gift of peace.  

I go into battle mode instead of throwing up a white flag and surrendering or I's that fight or flight thing.  

Instead of walking in peace I am warring in my flesh. Overthinking, a hundred different things all at one time.   Sweet peace alludes me. 

But then...I worship, that is always where I find peace.  Where all of me is involved in seeking all of Him.  

That is where I encounter the person of peace, the music crowds out the noise in my head, His presence fills the space in my heart, the clamoring of responsiblity quiets down and there in that moment I surrender to the one who is peace.  

Hope is restored, balance attained, peace invades my heart, if only for a little while..... till the circus monkeys start again.

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