Friday, May 30, 2014

Free From Why

Why is a prison.
Why boxes me in and locks me up.
Why convinces me to seek an explanation rather than seeking Jesus. 

My daughter interrupts my weighty words. The animals she holds are talking to me. I’m polite and ask their names.  In her best animal voice she replies, “Hippo, Lion, and Rhino.”  Well, of course.

She tucks each one inside the red cage and snaps the bars together. She spins the animals locked inside, tells me to watch them play.  All I can see is dizziness, endless confusion, anger mixed with deep longing, and an empty desire for explanation. In a convincing tone, she informs me her animals love their cage.
“Oh really?” I ask. 

She argues that they love it because it’s their home. I'm pelted with the reality that I’ve lived in a cage for way too long.  I’ve made myself a home within bars of reason and logic.
I’ve been deceived into thinking this search for why was enjoyable.
I’ve been deceived into thinking this search for why was safe.

I was not made to live inside a cage, and neither were the animals. She decides to release them and as I watch her fold down each side, I notice that the walls lay completely flat. Collapsed, deflated.  That’s how I felt when God let my why fall flat. He left it there unanswered, void of any explanation. It resembled failure, hinted abandonment.  But when the walls of reason were flattened, I was set free.

I recall that this red cage belongs with her brother’s rescue helicopter; it’s for transporting animals to a place of refuge.  It’s temporary yet necessary. God used my why to carry me to the cross. He knew that Jesus is the only explanation that can truly cover any unanswered why.  He knew understanding His love for me was my only shot at freedom.

As my girl runs off to play with her brother, I wonder if she will ever ask why. Will she ever question the pain that interrupts life? Will He intercept her why like a rescue mission, too? I’m asking these questions and other ones too, as I watch her play, happy and carefree.  Lost in my thoughts, I realize how important it is that I learn this well… for my sake and for hers.  

Jesus never intended for us to carry our why beyond the cross.  In the presence of His Love and Grace and Mercy, He can set you free from why too.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Lie I Almost Bought

My eyes were brimming and I had nothing to catch the slow motion cascade that was coming.  I’ve never been more thankful for sunglasses that know just how to hide the hurt. As I drove home, this unexpected release was evidence of a storm on the inside. A shaky “help,” escaped my lips as the downpour threatened to take over. 

The morning had gotten away from me.  The bickering, procrastinating, whining, and flat-out ignoring had all taken turns whittling away my resolve.  The conversation from the day before was set on repeat in my head, pausing every now and again so I could gather up my assumptions.  As I pulled up to a stoplight, it rose to the tip top of my meltdown: You are not heard.

Of course.

The light turned green and the faster I drove, the deeper these words traveled into my heart until at last I came to the conclusion that they must be true. I agreed and in a split second and that hurt twisted itself into an angry ball of pain. 

You are not heard, so just be quiet.

As I pulled into the driveway, I became strangely aware of a familiar pattern unfolding like a bad case of déjà vu.  It reminded me of the other conclusions I’d accepted over the years. I’d collected them and lined them up on the shelf of my heart, but all they did was mock me.

You are not accepted, so just stay out.
You are not worthy, so just walk away.
You are not enough, so just quit trying.

Be quiet. Stay out. Walk away. Quit trying.  Stunned as the truth of it slapped me in the face, I recognized the enemy behind this lie.  God doesn’t speak that way.  Those words clash 100% with His character; they contradict who He is. When He speaks, it sounds more like this:

You are heard, so ask, seek, knock.
You are accepted, so reach out in love.
You are worthy, so come close to Me.
You are enough, so accept this free gift I’ve given.

Ask. Reach out. Come close. Accept this. That’s Love full of truth.  Jesus did not die to save us and forgive us and make us whole again so we would be silent, absent, neutral or defeated.  When He gave His life and rose from the grave, sin and death were conquered.  And so was our enemy... forever.

Because of Jesus, you are heard.
Because of Jesus, you are accepted.
Because of Jesus, you are enough.

And because of Jesus and His victory, the enemy will always try to get you to believe otherwise.

Friday, May 9, 2014

When Mother's Day Is Bittersweet

Mother’s Day is such a precious day, but for so many of us, it is bittersweet.  
I’ve wondered about this lately,
 how one day can be packed with such conflicting emotions.    

I’ve come to the conclusion that a mother- who she is and all she represents-
is a beautiful picture of God’s unconditional love for us.  
Which is why we experience joy when it’s there and sadness when it’s missing. 

Whether Mother's Day is bitter or whether it's sweet, 
soak up the love of Jesus right where you are.  
 His love is the same no matter what day it is.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


How does a heart survive a storm?  I certainly don’t know how.  A storm can stomp a heart, shatter it even, but it is possible for a heart to break and still survive. This I know with every thread of my soul. This I know.

This is not a post about God picking up the pieces and making something beautiful from the wreckage; He does, oh, He does. But when you are holding shards of your shattered-to-pieces heart in the palm of your hand, you can’t see past the hot, red mess of it all to the place where Beauty is born. You can’t see. You are blind to beauty because your dreams are covered in death’s cloak.  Covered, invisible, gone.  And that is often where the Lie begins to speak. 

I am covered in this mess. 
I am invisible to God. 
My entire being… is gone.

And whether it’s a slow, agonizing death or sudden and tragic, all of life gets tipped upside down as you attempt to sort it out. And in the searching and seeking, you realize that you can’t see.

I took the kids on a walk this morning since it finally stopped raining and the sun showed up after a long vacation.  Flanking either side of the road, ripples of standing water reminded us that there had been a storm. Some were deep and ran like rivers. Others were shallow and still.  My first thought was to classify each one as proof- hard evidence- that a storm had ripped through this place.  But the more I let it collide with the question how, the more it occurred to me that perhaps I was looking at this upside down. 

Puddles aren’t just proof; they’re collections. 
And puddles can be pools of blessing.

Read the rest over at Part of the Miracle.  
(And while you're there, like POTM on Facebook!)