Go Ahead, Prune Me…

We are clearly not farmers.

We tried. We bought a peach tree, not for abundant August peaches, but for privacy. We come from the school of “plant a tree and sit back.”

We did.

That tree, for some reason, loves the Georgia red clay. She has flourished. She is after all a peach tree. Who knew?

Got Hupomone?

As we find ourselves in the MIDDLE of a week, we can pause and ask a few questions. Has it been exhausting? Has it been fulfilling? Yeah, well, the reality is that life is sometimes just hard and the weeks can be rough. And it doesn’t have to be monumental to be rough. It’s the little things, right? What we need is HUPOMONE to get us through life. A little Greek word, tucked into Scripture. We need it. We just do. Because it’s rough out there and we’re ALL in this...

“All” joy

JOY ~giggle, smile, chuckle, laugh out loud, be amused, happy~ Ever wonder if James was talking about having to sit on hold or wait in the doctor’s office? Think he was talking about forgotten lunches and spilled milk; out of order atm machines and copy machine jams? Late fees and leaky faucets? Interruptions and detours? That little word “all” in there makes me think so. I’m working on it....

Above all….

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.” Teilhard de Chardin (If you want to be reminded of this prayer on a more continual basis, here is a graphic for your phone, desktop, or bulletin board. May you know you are not alone in the cries of your heart.)...

• for mother’s everywhere •

I struggle with Mother’s Day. I just do. I’ve been accused of being a “bleeding heart,” but every year at this time, I find myself reflecting on Mother’s Day and what it means to those who, in a very imperfect and fallen world, try to navigate the day, when this day, any day, can be so difficult. In a perfect world, Mother’s Day would look like one of those sentimental greeting cards and life would be uninterrupted and simple. But life as we know it is not always that way. As I have become immersed in urban ministry, my heart breaks even more…for the mother who finds herself grieved after having lost a child to gun violence. The real and the raw stories of mothers on the front lines have shattered my already fragile heart. This Mother’s Day, I’m praying – warrior prayers for the weary mothers fighting all kinds of battles; the prayers we utter may have different content but they are the cries of women interceding for their children and those they love as if they were their own. If your Mother’s Day is uncomplicated and beautiful, I urge you to pause today, and amidst giving thanks, PRAY for those mothers, near and far, whose perspective looks very different today. Imagine if we women, mothers, grandmothers, friends, neighbors, spiritual moms, thought of ALL THE mothers and children today who have hurting hearts and actually PRAYED for them. FOR MOTHERS EVERYWHERE… •There are mothers whose children have been victims of gun violence…We MUST pray for them. •There are mothers whose children are battling mental health issues…We MUST join...

•remembering mothers everywhere •

I struggle with Mother’s Day. I just do. I’ve been accused of being a “bleeding heart,” but every year at this time, I find myself reflecting on Mother’s Day and what it means to those who, in a very imperfect and fallen world, try to navigate the day, when this day, any day, can be so difficult. In a perfect world, Mother’s Day would look like one of those sentimental greeting cards and life would be uninterrupted and simple. But life as we know it is not always that way. As I have become immersed in urban ministry, my heart breaks even more…for the mother who finds herself grieved after having lost a child to gun violence. The real and the raw stories of mothers on the front lines have shattered my already fragile heart. This Mother’s Day, I’m praying – warrior prayers for the weary mothers fighting all kinds of battles; the prayers we utter may have different content but they are the cries of women interceding for their children and those they love as if they were their own. If your Mother’s Day is uncomplicated and beautiful, I urge you to pause today, and amidst giving thanks, PRAY for those mothers, near and far, whose perspective looks very different today. Imagine if we women, mothers, grandmothers, friends, neighbors, spiritual moms, thought of ALL THE mothers and children today who have hurting hearts and actually PRAYED for them. FOR MOTHERS EVERYWHERE… •There are mothers whose children have been victims of gun violence…We MUST pray for them. •There are mothers whose children are battling mental health issues…We MUST join...

Lead me, this Good Friday, to the Cross

For forty-plus years, I’d heard the Scripture. I’ve seen movie portrayals of the Passion of Jesus, but several years ago it became real in a way that I neither anticipated nor prepared for. I sat in a meeting and we discussed how powerful it would be to have a cross made that was as close to the one Jesus would have been crucified on. “Can you do it?” “I think so.” We researched the facts and that is what they were, mere facts. Facts about the execution tool used by the Romans in the time of Jesus. We studied the dimensions and I set out to replicate the cross. Replicate the cross that my Savior was hung upon. It was simply a project, until the transformation of plain railroad ties began. The staining, the weathering. The distressing of the wood.  The distressing from being dropped and dragged. The deep imprints from the pounding of nails. The addition of red paint where the stains of blood would have been. It became real.  In all of its gruesomeness and brutality, it became beautiful. When the cross was assembled in the sanctuary it all came so overwhelmingly close. The reality of Jesus broken for me. Jesus broken so that my sins would be forgiven. Standing in front of this rugged cross I had a intimacy with the Lord that I had never had before. I sat with Him in the upper room, prayed with Him in the Garden of Gesthemene. I stood there with Him the day Pilate authorized His death. I walked alongside Him as He carried that cross.  I watched...

Solid

I’m not really fussy at all. Except when it comes to chocolate. I don’t require much. All I want is my chocolate, milk or dark, to be solid. No mystery filling, not a hollow shell. Solid. Simple enough. Mystery chocolate.  Those “mystery chocolates,” the ones that you are afraid to bite into for fear of what you’ll get. Sometimes it’s a nice chocolate cream filling and other times it’s some foreign jelly like substance or worse yet, a toothpaste like filling. In any event, it’s simply not fit to be paired with chocolate.  Hollow.  But perhaps worse than a mystery chocolate, in my mind,  is a HOLLOW chocolate. Ever gotten one of those? The anticipation of a SOLID chocolate egg only to be shattered, completely shattered, by the hollowness of nothing.  Our faith and walk with Jesus really is kind of like a box of chocolates.  Am I a mystery to those I meet? I admit, my heart isn’t always aligned with Jesus and there are times when it’s easy, in the rush, distractedness and circumstances of life to give off the, “you really don’t know what you’re going to get vibe.” And, there are times when it all looks good on the surface, but go beneath only to reveal some pretty disgusting inside filling. Pride, jealously, bitterness, idolatry. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 OR Am I hollow? The faith and walk that LOOKS solid but when tested crumbles and disappoints. The shell is lovely and enticing, but cracked,...