And then I was Chosen

We stood in a circle on the playground, nervously laughing, chatting, and looking over our shoulders. The boys stood, bowed up like a flock of Banty roosters, strutting their masculine sixth grade stuff and talking among themselves. We knew exactly what they were deliberating. Ben, taller than the rest and with dark-brown hair and sky-blue eyes, the most popular boy in the sixth grade, the one all the girls wanted to “go with,” kept looking at me. I wanted so badly for him to choose me, but I was still fairly new to this school, and my friends’ perms didn’t make their hair frizzy, like mine did. They were allowed to wear makeup; I had to wait another year. They were skinny; I was on the fluffy side. And unlike mine (my dad was the “preacher-man”), their dads had normal jobs. As the five boys turned around and began walking toward us, we broke open our circle and unfolded into a straight line, as if we were about to play Red Rover. But we all knew better. My heart was racing, my hands were sweating, and I was silently praying Ben would choose me. Then everything would be right in my sixth grade world. We made eye contact—a sure sign, I thought—but within an arm’s length, he shifted to his right. And chose the other girl. My heart shattered. Ben didn’t choose me; no one chose me. I was the leftover sixth girl to those five boys. “Not chosen” became a recurring theme in my life. Until Jesus. I love The Voice translation of Ephesians 1:4: “God chose us...

If Jesus Loves Me, Why Does My Coffee Taste so BLAH!?

Coffee. Just the thought of it makes me smile. Mmmm…coffee. Every morning my favorite mug sits ready for me to brew of fresh cup of coffee into her; I think the warmth and richness of it makes her smile too! After Jesus and my man, I’d have to say that this delicious beverage is my next best friend. Coffee, oh how I heart thee! But here’s the deal…I do NOT like, love, nor remotely consider sipping on a cup of “blah!” coffee. By “blah!” coffee, I mean bitter, flavorless, icky coffee; it makes me gag. I like to show my coffee a little extra lovin’ before I begin sipping. For instance, I add one packet of yummy Stevia in the Raw and then pour in Vanilla Caramel creamer. And yes, there is an exact method to this process. Brew the perfect cup of coffee. Pour in the Stevia. Stir. Shake creamer and begin pouring. Count slowly to three- 1…2…3…- stir. And ta-da, done! “Blah!” coffee made oh, so scrumptious!! “Blah!” coffee has got me to thinkin’ about something. My life; my sometimes “blah!” life. I know God loves me with an “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3, NLT) and I know Jesus came to “give me a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT), but sometimes I don’t feel so loved or rich or satisfied. Sometimes I just feel “blah!”. Sometimes my life is bitter, flavorless, and plain out icky. Have you ever been just “blah!”? There’s myriad of circumstances and situations that can push us into the “blah!”. Loss of a job, illness, dwindling funds in the checking AND savings...

If I Must Eat Locusts, Can They be Chocolate Covered?

John the Baptist. The cousin of Jesus. Leapt in his mother’s womb when he was in the presence of the King as He grew in His own mother’s womb. The prophet Isaiah foretold that John would be the one to prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3). And that He did. Prepared the way. Preaching a message of repentance while dressed in camel’s hair, John captured the attention of the people so that Jesus could capture their hearts. Quite an odd fellow to be the preparer of the Way. But, God often takes the unlikelies and turns them into heroes, warriors, leaders in His army. Yet as odd as John was, people were drawn to him. They came from all over the land to see this peculiar preacher-man who ate locusts and listen to his foretelling of what was to come. Maybe it was his oddity that drew in the crowds. Maybe it was the timely message he preached. Maybe it was his out-of-the-box style. Or, maybe it was his boldness. Maybe it was his acceptance of all men and his intolerance of the religious leaders that turned the heads of the people his way. Maybe it was the Person behind his message that beckoned men and women to come. Whatever it was, or wasn’t, the people came, and they came in droves. John the Baptist conveyed a message and he conveyed it well. This man was created for a purpose. Every day he fleshed out his faith and belief in that purpose through the way he lived his life. And in the end, John the Baptist died...

A Prayer for the Day(s) After Christmas

The day was the same when each of my children were born. Friends and family came. And they waited expectantly. They paced. They lined the hallways. And they giggled as they talked amongst themselves about what our babies would look like. Would they have their daddy’s long toes? Their momma’s heart-shaped lips? Would they have a head full of hair, and oh, what color would it be? My husband and I (nervously) waited too. We watched as nurses came in and out of our hospital room and we answered their questions and gave our consent. I bravely endured the pokes of needles while my husband endured my squeezing his hand until it turned blue. We listened to the beating of our baby’s heart and the flutterings of that little one who would soon be in our arms. And we talked amongst ourselves. We whispered I love you’s and are you ready(?) and this is really happening(!). And then the moment came. The moment everyone had come to see and celebrate and ooh and ahh over. The wonderful, amazing, I-could-kiss-his-feet-for-helping-me-birth-this-child doctor pulled that blinking, wide-eyed, little human from my heap of a belly that he’d just cut open and said, “It’s a girl,” in December of 1999. And, “it’s a boy,” in October of 2002. And, in May of 2007, we heard those familiar words again, “It’s a girl.” Friends and family filed into our room, surrounded the hospital bed, and passed around each of our babies. They unwrapped the swaddled blankets and counted fingers and toes. They peaked under those tiny hats to see what color hair lay beneath....

The Epicenter of Good

I don’t like noise. It hurts my ears, makes my heart race, and jumbles my thoughts. It leads me to cliffs of anxiety and panic, so I tend to slowly back away from the ticking time bomb. And oh-my-gosh, there’s been a lot of noise lately. In the media, around dinner tables, on courthouse lawns, in churches. And I’ve been standing on the sidelines, not because I don’t care or have my own convictions, but because I don’t feel like I need to contribute to the sounding sirens because: 1) I’m not jumping on the bandwagon of “Jesus is coming soon because the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.” Listen, Jesus has always been coming soon—sooner today than yesterday. And the world has always been going to hell because, sadly, too many Christians—Jesus followers—believe what they have to say is more important than what Jesus had and still has to say. 2) I hate dividing lines. I hate picking teams. I hate that I stand here and others stand there. I hate that navigating through this world is hard. But… Jesus drew lines in the sand. And what He divided was the stone thrower (the religious, ahem!) from the one who needed love and acceptance, healing and freedom. Jesus picked teams, a team of twelve whom He’d pour into and teach, correct, lead, challenge, and send out to change the world. A team of ordinary people who wouldn’t always get it right, who’d speak out of turn, who’d act on impulse, who’d deny Him; but they were still His team, chosen to make other disciples, teaching them...