What God Told My Daughter

268305_1848503014398_7445680_nOne night I found myself immersed in the ocean of grace, absorbing truth more than shame.  Oh, how I wanted it to be endless and take the moment into today.  And tomorrow.  And the weeks to come.  But I haven’t reached the Shore yet, and so I etch His mercy onto my heart to revisit the next time I forget.

“Mom, God speaks to me sometimes,” my baby said as I kissed her forehead goodnight.

I’ve loved her forehead — and her brother’s — from the first night I met them… from the first nights I pulled back their newborn caps in the hospital to reveal their faces, ripe for kissing.  A decade later, I still love the precious spot above their eyes that calls to my mommy lips.

I silently tell them to stop growing up.  But not in moments like that conversation.  Their maturity leads me back to the ocean of grace when I’m least expecting the journey.  When I can’t feel the slightest wind.  When the calm is so quiet it leaves you numb.

“He speaks to you?  Really?  Tell me more about that.”  Silence.  “What does He say?”

“Well, He just says stuff to me.”

When does He talk to you, sweetie?”

“He tells me that you really do love me when I think that you don’t.  And He tells me that He loves me, too.”  Her eyes could avoid mine no longer, and she risked a glance into my soul.

She was only eight, but the storm was already raging in her heart.  In her thoughts.  Yes, that storm — the battle between truth and lies, between the Redeemer and the Enemy.  Oh, she’s just a girl, and Satan wants to make her his victim.  But Christ’s pursuit is so very real already, too.  I saw it that night.

It’s amazing to watch the Great Story, the Sacred Romance, unfold in your child’s bedroom.  I know it’s unfolding in your homes, too.  In our ordinary homes…

“And, you know what?” she adds.  “Sometimes I feel pressure in my mind, and I know He wants to talk to me, but I don’t want to listen.”

“Oh, honey, I know how that feels.  I avoid Him sometimes, too.”

“I don’t want to hear what He has to say, so I quickly think of something else when I feel that pressure,” she risked again.  Quick glance into my eyes.  So healthy that little one was, speaking of her heart’s idols openly.

“Does He ever speak to you, Mom?  What does He say?”

I told her how He confirms His love to me in those moments when I think I’m a really bad mom.

And I revealed my own idols and how God reminds me He’ll satisfying more than a bigger house with a better floor plan.  More than achievement.  More than success and the admiration of others.

Yes, that night, when aspects of life were unraveling… and I was over-sensitive… and I was choosing to be numb rather than real, my Maker sent a messenger to remind me of His Love Story.

I’ll have to tell her about this someday.

3 Ways to Stop Being So Busy

busyWe had just emerged from another evening meeting, but I wasn’t ready to emerge back into my life.

“I don’t know how I got so busy,” I confessed to a friend.  “I hate living like this.  It’s as if every hour of my day is planned before I even step out of bed.”

Spreading myself thin with numerous volunteer commitments, I was getting more anxious by the day.  With each new request to organize, lead, or simply get involved, I found myself surrendering my time.  And then resenting it.

relevantTo read the full article, head over to RELEVANT magazine where I’m writing today.  Uncluttering our schedules helps us run to what’s important.  Can’t wait to hear what you’re running to.

The Songwriter’s Baggage

carpentryLittle Edward.  He ran through the streets of England while his parents managed a pub and had no idea God even existed.  But his Maker pursued, and Edward eventually responded.  And he worked as an unimportant cabinet maker for years and years.

His ordinary work was actually rich and precious solitude.  For as his hands carved, God was carving Edward’s heart.  And from the etchings of His truth came songs of God’s grace to an ordinary man with the baggage of being forgotten as a child.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.  All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand.  All other ground is sinking sand. —Edward Mote (1797-1874)

God’s pursuit.  My hope.  And nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.  Nothing can take away my relationship with Him and the worthiness He’s secured for me on His cross.

The burden and the baggage and the unanswered questions – well, even those things can’t steal away the identity I have in Him.  I am the child running through the streets.  Running.  And running some more.  I am the man carving over and over again, stabbing at anything to find beauty.

And He takes my hands, my tools, and turns them on me.  On my heart.  And all the running, and all the striving – He’s bigger than it all.