Breath of Heaven

It was almost 23 years to the day. I was 9 months pregnant and due on January 8th. That’s what THEY SAID; SHE had different plans. When the doctor finished his examination, he calmly stated that I would be having a baby, “TODAY.” “TODAY, as in TO-DAY?” “Yes, and we’ll need you to head to the hospital – NOW.” “What? That is NOT the plan. This baby isn’t due YET.” “It is now and if you can’t assure us that you’ll head straight for the hospital, we can arrange for an ambulance.” I went out to my car, a baby blue Ford Escort, on an absolutely frigid day in Chicago, ice and snow covering the ground. That little car needed time to warm up, so I sat reluctantly patient for a moment and waited, all alone. I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that I WAS GOING TO HAVE A BABY! The journey had been a long one. I had prayed for years, endured fertility treatments for years and I knew the magnitude of this event. The day had arrived and it looked NOTHING like I had planned. My husband was downtown in a pre cell phone age, and I needed to get word to him. Travel plans needed to be changed. I still had Christmas shopping to do. I was told that I could not even PACK my own bag; I needed to get to the hospital immediately. As I sat there in the car, overwhelmed in the moment, a song came on the radio. Now, it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it, but the first...

Taking Care of the Temple

I will never forget the conversation that took place several years ago now and since that day, I have watched several friends walk through breast cancer, three this year alone, including a fellow Café writer who is currently on the mission field. This post has been re-posted for several years, and until there is no more breast cancer, it will continue to appear every October. This year alone another friend lost her battle with cancer that began in her breast. I have friends who are terrified to have a mammogram. CALL a friend. TAKE her with you. I’ve scheduled mine for next month. PLEASE JUST DO IT. If this reminder causes just one woman who joins us at the Cafe, to make that appointment, then we just may save a life. One precious life. Flashback to October 2010… We sat at breakfast and I reminded everyone that I had a doctor’s appointment. “For what?” asked my 9 year old at the time. “I have to have a test done that detects breast cancer, a mammogram.” “Oh yeah, I saw the NFL players all wearing pink shoes and helmets because it’s breast cancer month. It was cool.” He dumped his cereal milk in the sink and he was off. The girls lingered. “What exactly do they do at a mammogram?” I described the procedure and they looked with twisted faces and giggled, “Have fun!” I laughed at them and quipped, “Just taking care of the temple.” The older one smiled and they were off. It was certainly NOT the way I’d choose to spend a glorious October afternoon. You KNOW...

A Fast from WHAT?

Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13 It sat in my inbox for nearly a week. The title simultaneously stirred me and scared me. I knew I NEEDED to read it. I knew simply by the title of the email that I needed some time to prepare to enter this ring. The other day, I felt like a boxer prepared to fight. I opened the email. The email with the subject header: A Fast from Judgement. This could take awhile. We are undeniably a culture of JUDGEMENT and this was a challenge to fast from judgement. I was hoping for coffee. I was convicted not only to read it, but study what the Bible really says about it and take a long, hard look inward. It doesn’t take much to see that we’re caught up in it y’all and it’s making us a hot mess. It’s destroying what Jesus died for; the heart and soul of mercy and grace. Okay. It may be just me, but my judgement comes in the form of THOUGHTS and unspoken ATTITUDES rather than vocalized social media commentary and since it’s just between ME and JESUS, it’s justified, and considered discernment, right? Uh, no. It’s still merciless. It’s conclusive without ever seeking Jesus. The unspoken thoughts and attitudes are just as relevant, destructive and sinful as ones openly expressed and for me, a fast was in order to expose the weakness of my flesh and to draw me into Jesus. Let’s be clear. There seems to be some confusion, especially in a social media obsessed,...

when there are no words…

There are simply times when words are inadequate. In those times, we go to the only place where comfort and peace remain. As those in Las Vegas begin to walk out the long walk of grief, we offer prayers for strength and community to walk alongside them. We offer prayers for those who are overwhelmed; for those whose new reality looks so very different. We pray for mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, best friends, neighbors, aunts and uncles who will mourn in the coming weeks, months, and years. We pray for the first responders and all who offer hope in the midst of chaos. In times such as this, it’s really all we have. All we know to do is...

PLEASE Ladies…

It’s only a brief mention. But it’s a brief mention in The Bible. Certainly not the mention they hoped for. Euodia and Syntyche. If they were here today, I’m sure that they would at least quietly mention that “all the work we did, and he mentions THIS!” They are considered ministry partners to Paul, who play a significant role in ministry, as do we. If you are reading through Philippians, and you blink or sneeze, you’ll miss the mention of them. It’s that brief. “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good news. They worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers whose names are written in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:2-3 These stories are our stories. Euodia and Syntyche, it could be Lucy and Ethel, or you and I. What we know of them is that they BOTH have been encouraging and helpful to the Apostle Paul, engaged in active ministry. We know that they were instrumental in this new church in Macedonia. But as we all know, women have opinions and perhaps, at times a tendency, to disagree, emotionally process and sometimes cause the water to ripple. You know what I mean. The tendency to let our differences get the best of us and threaten so much more than we ever intended. That is exactly what is revealed here in Philippians. We have no idea what they were arguing about, but it was...

Life!! It’s a ROLLERCOASTER!

Recently a friend told me that they were on the “bottom loop” of the roller coaster. Isn’t that just life. Up and down, twist and turns. Funny that sometimes the anticipation of the next loop or deep dip doesn’t feel quite the same when we’re “living” it. But what a gift we have! We can be reminded, by God, in His word, that this life, with all the unexpected loops, does NOT surprise Him…not one bit. EVER.  He’s working and moving in it all; even when we want OFF the ride. He is working, He is moving and HE goes with us through every detail of the roller coaster called life! He’s working and moving in it all; even when we want OFF the ride. He is working. He is moving and HE goes with us through every detail of the roller coaster called life! He is working. He is moving and HE goes with us through every detail of the roller coaster called life! He is moving. and HE goes with us through every detail of the roller coaster called life! HE goes with us through every detail of the roller coaster called life! THAT is something worth throwing your hands up...

Freedom to SERVE one another…Happy July Fourth

As we pause to celebrate the many freedoms that we enjoy this July Fourth, may we too pause to reflect on how we serve our fellow man, regardless of those things often taint our view of each other. Pause for a moment and reflect on how you express your love for others, even the unlovable, by serving them in grace. May we ALWAYS see freedom as the opportunity it is to not serve self, but one another, the way Jesus would, setting aside pride and embracing the real gospel of love and grace. We have the freedom to love because LOVE freed us, and we are challenged to LOVE our neighbors, and that means all of them, (even the ones you disagree with.) It’s only in freely loving each other in grace, that we walk out as real witness what the Gospel of Jesus was all about. Enjoy the fireworks. Enjoy the picnics. Enjoy the celebrations of freedom and reflect on what it really means to one who has been made FREE. It was and never will be about you. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke...

Could you use a little “re-prioritization?” Stop, Look & Listen!

Stop, Look and Listen A summertime re-prioritization guide Stop! For many of us summer is a time to re-group and re-focus but let’s be honest for a minute, what often happens is that summer slips away and all too soon and the leaves begin to change, temperatures cool, Christmas arrives just around the corner faster than we can say “sunscreen,” and we’re back to making New Year’s Resolutions! What if we took the summer to pause mid-year to prayerfully see where we’ve been and where we’re headed?  Summertime is a perfect time in the year to re-prioritze and reflect on where and how this year is going in your life.  Pausing mid year to evaluate is a perfect way to assess life; the perfect time of year to “Stop, Look & Listen.” It just may be the re-prioritization you need to begin the second half of 2017 refreshed and renewed, there is no need to wait until January! Here’s how to begin: Write down each and everything that fills your day. (ALL of it!  No cheating! I KNOW how tempting it can be! Include Household duties, commitments and ministries at church, outside and part time jobs and ANY other commitments that you regularly schedule into your week. This INCLUDES blogging, and social networking ladies!) It will also help to include HOW MUCH time a week or month is dedicated to these activities. There may be several ministries or groups that you belong to or participate in, include them each as a separate category in order to see later which ones need another look. DAILY ACTIVITIES & MINISTRIES:     WEEKLY...

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?