Life as Story


Your life. At any given time. Is a story. A direction.


She tells a good story.

I mean, the kind that rivets normally squiggly kids’ bottoms like cement to their seats. The kind that opens eyes all wonder-wide and silences every other voice in a room. The kind that will be remembered warmly on down through the telling generations.

Yeah, she tells stories about her experiences.

Like a time she visited Yellowstone and wished she could unsee what her eyes didn’t ask to see; a Hulking Bear mercilessly dragging off a helpless, Baby Elk. Feasting on the poor little thing right out there within shocking range of her binoculars.

Nope. They’re not epic stories, really.

Not hair-raising yarns of dangerously fantastical adventures only the audacious and dauntless kind of person ever earns the right to tell.

Just simple, home-spun stories of the every day kind of stuff of which life is generally made.

But it’s the WAY she tells them.

The passion she puts behind those telling words. The all out, no-holds-barred voice beneath them that fills up the emptiest corners of one’s imagination; that draws wild pictures against an everyday background of plain, old simple.

That’s the cement factor.

The wide-eyed wonderment.

The breath-forgot-to-breathe magic.

Because when Mom starts spinning a tale, you’re caught. And like an ascending whirlwind, you find yourself drawn up and in; spiraling, twirling, untethered to gravity and all of life outside of her exuberantly expressive voice.

Because even though the story may be a simple thing like Bear Dining on Baby Elk; (or a Man Who Washed Blackboards Every Friday Night); it’s her story.

And she owns it.

Yeah, she’s passionate about it.

And the telling of it is the life behind it.

In all its mundane glory.

...Cause at any given time, even the most mundane life is a story. A Pointing Direction.







Do you ever wonder why the average person so often feels like their lives are so ordinary?

There’s just nothing at all unamazing about being alive.

When every breathe our lungs breathe in is a miracle.

A gift.

When every second our hearts beat brave is an astonishing act of life.

I mean, we – every Jack one of us, are a living, breathing miracle!

And the bold truth of the matter that we’re created in the very image of God Himself just blows the mind wide open.

And wherever He’s placed our breathing lungs and beating hearts is right where He has sovereignly destined our stories to be made – and to be told.

Cause He created each one of us for a time such as this… for such a place as the one you find yourself in right now.

Right. this. moment.

Soapy, dishwater hands? He has a plan to tell a story through them.

Calloused farmer’s feet? His design.

Busy city businessman? Banker? Baker? Homemaker? His purpose and intent are all over wherever you are.

And He’s writing and working through your singularly distinct story.

“The Kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Your midst.

In the midst of your wild, mundane, hair-raising, simple Life Story.

…Because every single ordinary person is an extraordinary story. Pointing.




I learned something recently that captivated me. I learned of Indian Trail Trees. Sometimes, called Marker Trees.

They’re trees found scattered throughout the forests, right here in America.

They figure Native Americans of old deliberately bent them in order for them to grow up deformed.

In order for them to point in a certain direction. A Telling Direction.

That was their purpose. To point. Towards a thing that should not be missed.

Like a path. Or stream. Or body of water. An unseen precipice. Or maybe a sacred place of prayer.

There are still many around our country left living, standing, pointing. Not yet fallen to modern progress or age or fire or wind.

And I saw this one day not long ago, on my way in to our Post Office in our small, backwater town of Roy.


And I had to stop and get out of my car and gaze up, full of whimsical wonder as to whether or not this beautifully deformed giant might very well be one of those fascinating Trail Trees of old.

If it was…to what had it been pointing?

To how many Native Americans did it offer guidance or some kind of warning?

Standing mute now beside a modern road of unseeing travelers, it remains a silent, haunting reminder that we are – all of us, Guide Posts of one kind or another.

Trail Markers for those who are coming up behind us; those who have yet to experience some of the things we have; find some of the treasures we’ve found; know of some of the quiet, soul-restful places we’ve known.

And if not for our pointing, may well miss out. May well stumble into danger. Or walk right on past that refreshing spring water just over the next rise…

…Yeah, our lives are meant by God to be guide posts. Often bent and broken, but always meant for purpose:






Right up until He writes the final word of our closing sentence of our Life Story Book…


So fellow Christ Follower, I pray you tell a good story.

I pray you own the story He’s writing your life out to be. I pray you point to Him with so much passion and fire that angels stand up and applaud. And human hearts become as captivated with Christ as your captivated heart is.

And I pray you will never give ear to the mutinous lie that life could ever be common, or insignificant – or is anything less than an extra-ordinary gift with a Divinely appointed purpose!

I pray you revel in every chapter of the story He’s written for just you. Even the hard ones, cause those are the ones that will be speaking loudest to the folks going through the same things.

And may you fiercely believe with relentless, bulldog faith He’s working right through the broken, messy, imperfect things to make you stronger, full of His character, and more beautifully like Him.

Yeah, I sure do pray you tell loud and clear the story of God at work in every part of your mundane,



well-worn life with a boldness and passion that makes others sit up and take notice of the One who holds you all together;

who pours out daily grace like hallowed rain…

…and mercy with every rising sun.

Yeah, I pray with all the strength He gives you that you point real bold to Him –

knowing the Kingdom of God is within you –

and waiting to be released through you into the lives of the characters He has sovereignly written into your own unique, powerful, compelling story.

You. Are. Story.

His telling story.

He’s the Author and He’ll be the Faithful Finisher.

And all we need do is trust Him with every single, stunning page He methodically and deliberately writes between the front and back covers of our Life Book.

And never stop believing our stories, through the work of the Holy Spirit, have the power to affect and influence someone else’s life in a dramatic, transformative way!

He has put us right smack where we are this blessed minute for a reason! And we can bet it’s a darn good one.

So lean into what He’s weaving together through all that you are; in every season; through every chapter.

No matter how mundane, hair-raising, common, extra-ordinary or just plain hard.

Because He only writes the most beautifully sacred stories ever.

Stories with purpose.

..Because every life is a story. A direction. Pointing.

So purpose to point.

To Him.


“I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King!
and I’ll bless Your name into eternity.

I’ll bless You every day,
and keep it up from now to eternity.

God is magnificent; He can never be praised enough.
There are no boundaries to His greatness.

Generation after generation stands in awe of Your work;
each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
I compose songs on Your wonders.

Your marvelous doings are headline news;
I could write a book full of the details of Your greatness.

The fame of Your goodness spreads across the country;
Your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.

God is all mercy and grace—
not quick to anger, is rich in love.

God is good to one and all;
everything He does is suffused with grace.

Creation and creatures applaud You, God;
Your holy people bless You.

They talk about the glories of Your rule,
they exclaim over Your splendor,

Letting the world know of Your power for good,
the lavish splendor of Your kingdom.

Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
You never get voted out of office.

God always does what He says,
and is gracious in everything He does.

God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.

All eyes are on You, expectant;
You give them their meals on time.

Generous to a fault,
You lavish your favor on all creatures.

Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all His works is love.

God’s there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.

He does what’s best for those who fear Him—
hears them call out, and saves them.

God sticks by all who love Him,
but it’s all over for those who don’t.

My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
Let everything living bless Him,
bless His holy name from now to eternity!

Psalm 145 The Message


Sidewalk Jesus

I went outside my comfort zone.

Way outside.

I went way outside my comfort zone and there.

I saw Jesus.

“Do you see?
Do you see?
All the people sinking down?
Don’t you care?
Don’t you care?
Are you gonna let them drown?

How can you be so numb?!
Not to care if they come.
You close your eyes,
And pretend the job is done.”

It was a Keith Green song that brought me back from a cop-out.

A few days before the Conference, I’d decided I wasn’t going to go.

There was a half a dozen reasons, none of them good.


Not one of my favorite places. Nothing personal, mind you.

Cities just aren’t.

Cement. Skyscrapers. Noise. Traffic. People everywhere.

But that was the point.

The point of the Conference.

The point of the Conference was that there would be people everywhere so as to provide hands-on training in sharing the love of Christ everywhere I went.

The point of the Conference was to provide an opportunity for me to develop a deeper understanding of my God-given identity and receive tools to help empower me to reach the lost who would be right outside the walls of the conference building, every time I stepped outside.

The point of the Conference was to ground me in God’s true purpose for my life which is to walk in love and impact people everywhere I go, for their good and His glory.

Beginning with people right there on the sidewalks and restaurants and shops and malls of downtown Portland.


But I have this terrible, lifelong case of spiritual stage fright.

I like to stand in corners. In shadows. Behind trees. And behind others braver, more gifted than I.

I hear the stories of God-followers and their incredible exploits for the Kingdom…but when I contemplate stepping out of the hazy, cool, comfortable shadows into brilliant, white-hot sunlight, my spiritual knees just go all weak.

Whispers of doubt and fear buzz my head like summer gnats;  “They can. But who are you? You got nothing to offer. You’d make a fool of yourself – and Jesus while you’re at it! Safer to stay hidden. Better to let others.”

“Oh, bless me, Lord!
Bless me, Lord!”
You know, it’s all I ever hear!
No one aches,
No one hurts,
No one even sheds one tear.
But, He cries,
He weeps,
He bleeds,
And He cares for your needs.
And you just lay back,
And keep soaking it in.

Oh, can’t you see such sin?!
’cause He brings people to your door,
And you turn them away,
As you smile and say,
“God bless you!
Be at peace!”
And all heaven just weeps,
’cause Jesus came to your door,
You left Him out on the streets.”

And when I’d finally wrestled down my conscience silent, agreeing with the gutless whisperings that I was not one who could ever do this type of Conference, God broke my self-inflicted choke-hold with this Keith Green’s old, soul-convicting song.

And blinking my spiritual eyes like I’d just emerged abruptly from the swallowing black hollows of a too-dark cave, I had to ask myself how could I be so numb? How come I didn’t ache? Why wasn’t I hurting for those who lived everyday unaware of a God who had paid the high price to ransom them back from darkness?

I confess. My life is comfortable. I kinda like it that way. And it’s just too darn easy laying back and enjoying Pleasant Valley.

And it’s just too darn easy to believe that there’s others who are more ‘gifted’, more ‘called’ than me to this sort of thing.

You know…evangelists, missionaries, people who’ve been saved out of a life of drugs or prostitution, or crime, and have a heart and a passion for this kind of ministry.

But oh! I’ve prayed for God to grant me a heart for the lost. A heart that wants others to know how much He loves them; how much He cares for and values them…

And now, when He starts stirring things up in me?

Well, I just want to run.

All Jonah like.

“Open up! open up!
And give yourself away.
You see the need,
You hear the cries,
So how can you delay?!
God is calling,
And you are the one.
But like Jonah, you run.
He told you to speak,
But you keep holding it in.”

And with just a few days before the Conference, God showed me I was modern day Jonah in my own right.

Running from what I was called to do.

Running from the Rescue Plan.

Running because I wanted more to relax in Happy Valley than force my feet to walk the formidable streets of downtown Portland and learn the way of the Master.

Yeah, He told me to speak. And pray. And show His love. And shine His light. And give of my time and finances and attention.

And my self-centered heart just wanted to sleep.

“Oh, can’t you see such sin?!
The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church just can’t fight,
’cause it’s asleep in the light!
How can you be so dead?!
When you’ve been so well fed?
Jesus rose from the grave,
And you!
You can’t even get out of bed!”

He hit me hard and my heart stung raw as I listened to the message in that old song. And my resistance melted. My resolve, fueled again with Holy Spirit fire, came back to life.

And like a smelly, worn-out coat, I cast off my lame excuses and bright and early on a Thursday morning, I got out of  bed.

Because faith is spelled R.I.S.K.

Because I’ve been invited to play a role in Jesus’ Kingdom come!

Because theology is amazing and doctrine is important but what am I if I’m not out shining His light and being His love and sharing the Good News of the Gospel that takes sinful orphans and makes them righteous sons and daughters of the most high God?

Because I’m called to be a Kingdom-builder and not simply a Kingdom-protector.

Because people are sinking down and Jesus cares.

Jesus cares.

And so, I went.

And after each session of rich teaching and passionate exhorting to go be Christ’s hands, Christ’s voice, Christ’s love to the people on the streets of downtown Portland, we all left the safe and comfortable confines of the conference building to navigate the sea of souls beyond.

And what I saw there left me forever changed.

I saw Jesus.

Everywhere I went.

I saw the Savior.

And He looked an awful lot like love.

He looked like people stopping people to lay hands on broken and diseased, and praying with faith – in His Name – for healing.



He looked like people giving away money, socks, blankets, food – even airplane tickets home to long lost but not forgotten family!

He looked like kind words spoken and encouraging smiles given and generous tips left at restaurants and coffee shops.

He looked like worship songs sung spontaneously on street corners and dances danced in places where cars were rushing, simply because the Spirit was filling and overflowing with uncontainable joy.

He looked like the Gospel message being shared earnestly in crowded parks and down at the local river bank where repentance fell like holy fire and conversions led to impromptu baptisms then and there.

He looked like broken bones mending, and skin rashes clearing, and migraines fleeing, and hips healing.

He looked like the homeless being hugged and loved on and brought in, dogs in tow, right into the conference building itself so they could be warm and smiled at and loved on some more and hear the good, good news of this Jesus, this Savior who took on flesh and died in their place so they could know the Father and live with Him forever.


He looked like the woman in front of me.

The first day mostly wheelchair bound, hardly being able to lift her head, her feeble hands barely raised during worship to praise the God she loved. Only to be up dancing, smiling, walking, talking of her healing on the last day of that conference.

Yeah. I saw Jesus all over the sidewalks of Portland that weekend.

And in just about every restaurant we went in to.

And all over Lloyd’s Center. Right there in that mall. Jesus in plain, astonishing sight.


Because there were many of us Christ-followers following in His footsteps. And we were all wanting to re-present Jesus to that city. We were all wanting to be what He intended us to be.

And with the joy of seeing what I saw, part of me also wept that the Church isn’t this way all the time – everywhere.

Because beyond any doubt, this world would be a whole different place if we were.

And I speak to  myself most of all.

Because this was one of the hardest weekends of my life. And I have so, so much to grow into. And my growing is too slow. And the way, in spite of all I saw, is still upstream.

But oh!

That experience showed me another way. A better way. Something to strive for. To pray for. To surrender myself for.

And to not stop looking for opportunities to re-present Him everywhere I go.

Because the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk or excuses. It’s a matter of POWER.

Because I don’t simply want to admire Christ – I want to be like Him!

Because I’m called to continue Jesus’ loving and supernatural ministry here on this earth.

Yeah. I’m called to re-present Jesus to this world.

His hands. His feet. His prayers. His comfort. His love. His healings.

And as I connect to His righteousness in me, His Kingdom will become my everyday experience.

Can you imagine that?

An everyday experience?!

Because everywhere He went, Jesus brought hope.

Everywhere He went, He took the time to look people in the eye. To see their need. To see their soul. To offer His time and His love and His tenderness. And the Good News of His salvation!

Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

And occupy.

Every day.

Every day, occupy the street you find yourself on. The train you’re riding to work in.

The line at the grocery store. The library you’re checking out books for your kids at.

The mall you’re shopping in. The club where you’re exercising.

Occupy it in His power, in His authority, by His grace, showing the world that God loves them and sees them and longs to set them free and make them His very own. For all eternity.

I read somewhere that it’s said that Jesus’ real ministry was the person He found standing in front of Him. 

Who’s standing in front of you?

Be Jesus.



If God Had an Armoire



In nearly 55 years, I’ve come to love many things.

My husband.

My kids. Singing. Horses. Daffodils.

Forget-Me-Nots. The Forest. Hawaii. Coffee.

Course, most of those things aren’t really loves.

More like likes.

And most of them have a certain saturation point. You know, that point where you’re full and can’t really love them any more or better.

But there’s this One I’ve come to love with that has no saturation point.

There’s no getting enough of Him.

Just when you think maybe you’ve caught a good glimpse, swallowed down a big enough gulp, seen all there was to see, hear all ears could hear…

there’s just so much more.

Infinitely more.

And I’m left absolutely longing to see more. Drink more. Know more.

Zero ever saturation point.

David must have meant this when he wrote;

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants after you, O God.”

Communion with God.

Not only just pleasurable enjoyment but desperate necessity.

Like St. Augustine so passionately stated:

“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You.”

They say this quote summarized his life.

Unquenchable passion for the God he was absolutely convinced could and would – and did – bring him ultimate, sweet satisfaction.

Because he knew what deep down I know;

I am made of the stuff of heaven.

I am created in the Creator’s likeness.

I bear His image.

And so it goes really without saying…

nothing this ol’ earth could offer could ever, ever satisfy what my heart is made for:

Fellowship. Communion. Relationship.

With Almighty Jehovah God my Father.

And since I’m made like my Father to enjoy His fellowship, makes sense that nothing I could experience in this temporal world ~

good and pleasurable as it might be,

would be enough.

I’m made for more.

You are made for more!

And so I welcome this constant stirring within me to know Him better. Because as I get to know Him better, I become more and more satisfied.

It’s a strange paradigm, this always hungry for more of Him and yet so satisfied in Him.

The more I see Him, the more I want Him. The more I want Him, the more I get of Him. The more I get of Him, the more I see Him. The more I see Him…

well, the cycle spins on continuously in this beautifully sweet kaleidoscope of grace.

The mirror in my antique armoire broke when we moved recently. So I painted what was behind it with that chalk board paint that’s all the rage right now. And I wrote a line from one of my favorite worship songs.


And every morning when I get up, it’s the first thing I see. It’s a great way to set my thoughts on the right path for the day; pointing this heart towards what’s really going to bring about satisfaction and fulfillment and deep, abiding joy and peace.


Give me Jesus.

Give. Me. Jesus!

Because that’s where everything begins. And ends. And everything in between has everything to do with His love for me and my delighting in that.

Yeah. I’ve experienced a good deal in this half century of life. Lots of real hard things, to be sure. But too, some really good, really nice, really beautiful things.

I have some really amazing relationships. A Mom and Dad who loved and nurtured me and still pour themselves into my life. A husband who is one of the kindest, selfless people I’ve ever met. Five kids who I’m crazy wild about. Three Grandkids who are just about the most amazing things on planet earth.

I’ve enjoyed some really nice vacations. Lived in some happy houses. Drank some good coffee. Taken some beautiful trail rides. Listened to some inspiring music…

You get the picture.

But I can tell you, without a blink of hesitation, without one ounce of exaggeration, nothing comes close to what I get to experience as His child.

Nothing compares to knowing He loves me. Has the best plans ever for me. Is working every single thing in my life for my good and His glory. Promises to never leave or forsake me. Promises to walk with me every step of the way. Promises to take me home with Him when this life is done.

And experiencing His presence…

Boy. Talk about a high. Talk about the most amazing sensation hands down that a body could ever experience in this world. There’s just no getting enough of that.

I know what I know. I believe what I believe. And that’s enough. God is real. God is true. I completely accept His Word as infallible and unquestionably trustworthy.

And so even if I never felt Him, the amazing sense of His near, real presence –  I’d still believe.

But those times I have felt Him. His presence. His nearness. His conviction. His love…

just leaves me gasping for more.

Like David’s deer.

And too, just so amazed that He wants to be with me. And would even reveal Himself to me. And that He delights in loving me.


And even more passionately than me – yeah, like way, WAY more –  longs for me to know and love Him, too.

Longs for ME to spend time with HIM!

And writing this now, His Father’s heart is whispering graciously to mine…

this. astonishing. truth:

If God had an armoire?

He would paint it with black chalk board paint and write on the front of it in big, white, sweeping letters…

so every morning the first thing He would see…

Give me Barbie.

Give. Me. Barbie.

Because I am utterly convinced He loves me that much. He’s that much crazy about me.  His thoughts are set on me. His heart is wrapped up in me. He longs to be with me. He’s thinking about me every single second of every single day.

I know.

It doesn’t make sense.

But there it is. It’s truth. He’s the Truth Maker and He’s the One who said;

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

He loves me everlastingly. And with a kindness that just does not fail.

And with a deep, relentless passion, He draws me to Him.

So my crazy love for Him…

really comes from His crazy love for me.

And THINK about this!

The bridegroom in Solomon’s Song? He represents Jesus when he said;

“You have stolen My heart…you have stolen My heart with one glance of your eyes.” Song of Solomon 4:9


Stolen His heart?

Don’t know about you but that just knocks the proverbial breath right out of my lungs!


Talk about Amazing Grace How Can This Be?

But it’s there. It’s Truth. And any of us can seriously hang our hats on it. Any of us can have our names written right there on God’s giant armoire.  Any of us can know we’re loved with that kind of reckless, scandalous love.

So yeah. Try and get enough of Him. You can’t. You just can’t. One good glimpse leads to a lifetime of fascination. One real glance leads to complete captivation.

And there is never a saturation point. Not even in eternity.

Do you see your name there on God’s armoire?

You can. You should. I pray you DO.

His love is that intimate.  Personal.  Affectionate.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:18.19











Saints and Scumbags alike

I saw pictures.


Awful pictures.

Pictures time and nothing will ever be able to erase from my quaking mind. Pictures that made me want to vomit. Loose all faith in humankind. Never step foot outside the safe confines of my door. Despise humanity. Tremble at the utter black of human’s wretched soul.

How can any one say there is goodness in the heart of man? That was the basis of the article below the spine-chilling photographs. That was what those beyond-horrid pictures meant to convey.

And convey that point, they did.

The pictures were of war atrocities, mostly. Past and painfully present. Men but women too. And, horribly, children. Evil acts willfully committed. Not just second hand fallout from fighting.

Unconscionable choices made to do unconscionable things to innocent, defenseless people.

I don’t want to remember details. I wish I hadn’t seen.

I, for one, have a very difficult time believing man is inherently good. Actually, I don’t believe that at all. And those pictures utterly confirm the point in ways there’s just no getting around.

Mankind, good?

Once, yes. A very long time ago when sin had not been invited into creation. When the choice had not yet been taken in greed to eat and know. When the lie had not yet been willfully believed.

But since, sin has most violently corrupted the good God created man to be and to know and to do. And all of our righteousness now is as filthy, rotten, stinking rags.

And those pictures I didn’t want to see captured the stinking essence of those rags in no uncertain terms. And I will never believe that mankind is inherently good. Proof is in the pudding. And this global dish of gelatinous goo is a moldering mess.

No. Man is bent on evil as sparks fly upwards.

Me included.


And oh, when I think of that infection that spreads throughout humanity stemming from the first human’s choice to reject their Creator’s good in favor of evil;

when I think of that same virus that caused those deplorable men in far off countries to commit wretched acts of  abominable evil – that same virus living in and infecting me...

I am so utterly grateful for the Blood of Jesus Christ.

Nothing else could have been the antidote.

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

Those people who committed those acts. That virus of sin that infects them?

Same virus in me.

Same virus that made me unable to come to a completely Holy God and have fellowship with Him. Same virus that brought atrocities into this world for which a Just Judge had to mitigate punishment.

Same virus that made Jesus’ fatal sentence necessary. He chose the nails and took on Himself death on a cross so that I might be cured,  healed, and set free from the curse of that infectious, 100% fatal disease.

So that anyone, regardless of anything, might be cured, healed, and set free.



I wonder what kind of God this God is, who would do this?

I wonder what kind of Creator this is who conceives and actualizes a magnificent, unblemished world, chooses not to have automatons – so provides the gift of choice -all the while sovereignly knowing they will reject Him in favor of a slippery, black lie.

I wonder what kind of Savior then offers Himself as the antidote to the deadly poison they willfully swallowed. Fully knowing blood will have to be spilled. Life will have to be forfeited and separation from a much-loved Father, however temporary, will have to be endured.

This Redeemer. This Savior. This Rescuer.

I know I don’t have that kind of  mercy and love in me.

I get white-hot angry just over the guy who cuts me off in traffic.

And I know with head-shaking certainty, I wouldn’t go be tortured and killed for humans who were capable of the kinds of acts of horrific evil in those pictures I didn’t want to see but did.

“It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man…” Romans 5:7 says.

Let alone those degenerate psychopaths.

And yet this God-Man Jesus did just that.

Died for people who bludgeon babies to death.

I know that’s shocking and horrid to think about but the truth within absolutely stuns me to the center of my soul. And knocks me back on my proverbial heels where all I can do is just sit there in stumped silence and abject awe.

What kind of love is that? 

So. Far. Beyond. Me.

And just when I want to call down the hottest fires of lowest hell on these the vilest of human beings, God so graciously directs me to a testimony of one who has been to the pit and was brought out by His merciful hand.

You can watch Youtube videos of these testimonies. Ex-jihadists. Now passionate, sold-out, all-in, live or die Christ followers. Forgiven. Healed. Whole.

Their stories will make you weep at the grace of God.

Their stories will put all your hate thoughts to sorry shame.

Their stories will make you stand in utter awe of this awesome God who reaches out, and passionately pursues through dreams and visions and various encounters, men like the ones who committed the heinous crimes I did not want to see but did.

Ex-jihadists weeping like babies over the love God has so undeservedly lavished on them. Ex-jihadists risking life now simply to share this Good News with as many as they possible can in what time is given them. Ex-jihadists full of compassion and mercy and kindness and…


And people doubt there’s a God.

Who else in all the wide, crazy world loves like this? Has the power to redeem like this? Changes lives like this? Offers salvation to ALL who call on His Name?

Yeah. This world is infected.

We did it to ourselves. Romans 5:12 teaches us;

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”

infectious diseases spread like raging wildfire to unhealthy people with no immunity…

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.

But Christ came from heaven to walk this earth and live a sinless, perfect life, die a horrid death on a cross and spill precious blood to redeem us from the curse of this fatal disease.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

He is the antidote for the fatal bite of sin. The vaccination against the most horrific, completely fatal disease with which every human being – ever – is infected. The Advocate who stands up in a court of law when you’re condemned to die for your crimes and offers to take your punishment so you can go free.

Scumbags and Saints alike.

His brand of mercy offers grace to anyone, anywhere, any time.

I don’t get it.

But I love it.


We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Tall Like Trees; in praise of moms of littles


They scrape the sky.

Doesn’t matter if it’s bleeding rain or blazing sun.

They reach high. And stand straight. And thrust out untiring arms as if trying to protect all the world with their quiet strength.

They are Gentle Giants of the Forest.

And their beauty sings simplicity. Breathtaking with quiet elegance. Stunning with fierce strength.

Singing strong beneath skies that are never the same.

And Time is graced simply because they exist.

I see them in grocery stores. Malls. Parks. Churches. Train stations.

I see them standing straight, strong, tall, simple.

I see them with arms spread wide in protection; with roots penterating depths of soil many will never fathom.

With beauty so vibrant the sky must bend down and stars must surely sing.

Those shoots around them; those tender saplings – oh, how they benefit.

How they grow. How they flourish, nurtured strong by these Gentle Giants God created to be their Mothers.

Do they know, those Tall Ones of the Forest, how different this planet would be without their strength; without their sheltering arms?

A thousand ways their life contributes. A thousand songs of hope flies free from branches tireless and trunks thick with patient strength.

And I ache to tell these Mothers of Planet Earth how beautiful is the mission set before them.

How needful they are.

How strong and courageous and fierce their souls must be, just taking all this on.

It is no job for the cowardly, the weak of knees, the shrinking heart.

This raising of children.

This, one of God’s best blessings to womankind.

And certainly also one of His most arduous, challenging, exacting.

Because a price is paid.

A price of years.

Of youth fading slowly. Of wrinkles and calloused hands and tired feet.

Of a cold bed at 1 am and a hot dinner almost never.

Of books left unread and tidiness left abandoned to reality.

Of quiet gone missing and crayon-colored walls splashed hopelessy decadent.

Of backs aching and paper-thin patience and hearts straining brave to find the beauty in the constant clutter and incessant demands of Life with Little Ones.

I remember.

Though years have passed for me now, since that time of beauty and strain.

A Mother never forgets. From the most mundane details to the most euphoric highs. They cling to our memories like spiders to their webs.

It’s the standing tall and going on when you want nothing more than to lie down and be still.

It’s putting your own needs at the back of the line, always at the back of the line, and pretending not to notice when nobody notices the sacrifices.

And it’s carpet worn and knees bruised from pleading with Abba to don’t,

please don’t ever

let your precious seedlings stray from the path that leads upwards to Life and Light and Son

but knowing…

in the end…

though you do everything you can,

you may have to watch in sorrow as they choose their own course.

A path that does not lead to favorable climes.

A path that may bleed the song slowly from your soul.

And yet, onwards goes the March of Moms because-

much as you’d love to believe it is another way,

you know,

all the standing tall and bending low,

and hoping strong and sheltering hard,

and all the words of wise and perpetual pleas

may not be enough when tiny feet grow big and saplings stretch high.

And that’s what makes you weep.

And that’s what makes you ache.

But that’s what makes you brave…

getting up and doing this thing every morning of every day of every month of every year until like summer ripened fruit, they fall from tree to find their own soil on which to sprout and grow and become,

God willing,

productive and sheltering and strong and brave.

Reproducing all that beauty you lovingly and desperately sowed like a woman wild into their sweet little lives.

Though a guarantee was never there.

And the risk was well worth it all.



There’s quiet strength in the Forest. And so much exquisite beauty the heart can ache with the weight of it all.

And it doesn’t really matter a hill of magic beans it’s bleeding rain or blazing sun.

They still reach high. And stand straight. And thrust out bark-armored arms as if trying to protect all the world with their quiet strength.

Though the way is hard.

Painful, at times.

And wide with uncertainty.

They stand strong.

And Time is graced simply because they exsist.


Rattling Heaven’s Gates; prayers of a madwoman


If you’d been there, maybe you would have heard the gates of heaven rattling.


“Pray like a madwoman,” she’d said. And I’ve never forgotten that expression, that exhortation to go wild with holy fervency.

And I have, at times, prayed as such.

When the Spirit prevails. When the gunsmoke of all out war burns hot in my nose. When the ears are fairly defeaned by the clank and clash of sword and shield. When voice must rise above booming battlecry in daring defiance and unswerving resolve.

A holy madwoman I become.

Because prayer is fiesty.

Because there are those I love that I will not surrender to the enemy without a fight – to the very last of earth’s breath, if need be.

Until every high and lofty thing that has exhalted itself in their life above the beautifully magnificent Name of the Lord comes crashing down like the white-hot avalanche of lies that it is.

Until grace prevails and mercy overflows the banks of rebellion and His love casts out all fears and faithlessness.

“Blessed be the Lord my Rock who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”

Hands. Fingers. Knees. Voice. Spirit. Mind. Heart.

There are no hallways too long. Or walls too close. Or floors too hard. Or tears too wet. Or throat too hoarse when the Spirit moves through soul and breathes fire into aching heart.

Advance, advance! And no retreat. The enemy takes no lunch breaks.

And all of eternity lies at stake.


Alone, my quiet house can echo with the cannon boom of a madwoman’s prayers. And I can sense the enemy fleeing before the sweep of my Redeemer’s Mighty Right Arm.

“Unleash Your powerful fist, O Lord, and deliver the enemy a deathblow.”

Solo prayers take wing. Glorious over His canyons of breath-taking intimacy,

sweeping low into enemy territory, scattering and disarming them with the power of a Slain Lambs’ Atonement,

and rising high before the Throne of an ever-listening, stunningly powerful God of the absolute entire Universe.


Oh, and when two or three are gathered together in His Name?

When two or three of His beloved children unite hearts and voices and cling like drowning souls to cherished promises?

And stand like fearless warriors on a battlefield whose outcome has already been decided by the One True Warrior King?

Watch mountains move.

Feel the darkness tremble.

And wave the victor’s banner high and proud because Jehovah is in the midst.

And when HE stands up – the whole earth trembles hard.



So we sit. Around this square of old wood that has never seen better days. Half drunk tea cups lying forgotten for now on tabletop. With the accumulated age of oh, around 160 years.

And with hearts and voices and tears and groanings, we storm our Father’s throne room. We rattle the gates of heaven. We plead the Blood over the battlefield.

We pray like madwomen whose lives of those we love depend on our obedience to the Call of Prayer.

Because we are.

And they do.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.


Young. Old. Man. Woman. Strong. Feeble. Happy. Sad. Discouraged. Upbeat.

The Creator of all there is, the Master Designer, the Eternal King of Kings, the Flinger of Stars and Breather of the breath of life – listens. to. us.


One precious hour of prayer. Eternity in the making. And all the powers of hell will not prevail.

Because our God is awesome.

Because He bends down to listen to the cries of madwomen making war against the dark.

Because He delights to answer.

Because none can stay the Divine Hand poised to strike a deadly blow through the Spirit-empowered prayers of a handful of women praying like crazy.


I know those tea cups rattled. I know our Father heard. I know the Spirit hovered. I know the answers were secured in timeless sovereignty.

I’d wager even angels scrambled.

Holy, holy, holy is this One who was and is and is to come and Whose will WILL be done…

on earth…

as it IS in heaven.

And, personally, I know of no better way to spend an hour.

Storming and rattling heaven’s gates as Sisters.

Royal Daughters of the Great High King.






Stand There


Stand there
Against the slash of wind
The sting of rain
And raise arms
As if to embrace
A foe who would see you dead
Howl – if you can
Though the rain fill your mouth
Like floodwaters a cave
Swallow hard
and make the drowner
Quench your thirst

Stand there
And let the lightning
Fire your bones
Draw strength
From the power of torrent
From the wildness of sky
Fists formed
As if to fight
An invisible army
Who would chase you
To your grave
If you but once wince

Stand there
Sway to the dance
Eyes closed to contemplate
Life is shadow
Lightness and dark
Calm and chaos
And storm a path
To caverns of the soul
Yet unexplored
The strengthener
Of trees
Still unbent by trial

Stand there
And feel the passion
Like growing vines
Reaching upwards
Grasping sunlight
Stretching towards unknown spaces
And never fearing
The scorch of heat
The barren waste of drought
But yearning only
For hard-earned growth
That yields new life

Stand there
And laugh at demons
Who will not have the chance
To dance upon the ruins
Of a life
Lived among the remains
Of a soul
Too scared
To face the fierceness
From a storm
Only meant to birth
In the one who would dare
To raise fists
Against a raging sky


Of Roosters and Bigomy; Cody’s tale

Remembering this, back a few years. And smiling as I do:


We call our 3 hens “The Girls.”

They’re a sweet bunch; not too hard to catch, soft to pet, pretty to look at.

For the longest time we couldn’t contain them, such was the disparaging disaster that was our chicken coop. But when, shall we say, unsolicited derriere droppings began showing up on our porch (hey, I may be country but I do draw the line at hillbilly), and I overheard our neighbor screaming at them to get the heck out of his truck, I knew it was time to get serious about more inescapable living quarters.

A couple jimmy-rigging hours later, my daughter, Cassidy and I had fashioned a respectable, hopefully escape-proof new home for the The Girls.

Some days later, my Mom asked if we wanted one of her extra Roosters. Ever eager to add to our menagerie, Cassidy was quick to jump all over that. I thought, why not? I was sure The Girls would love a husband and now the digs were suitably fortified. Right?

After much chasing and great squawks of protest, my brave daughter managed to catch the would-be, feathered fiance. We brought him home carefully, in a tightly closed box. Shot-gun wedding awaiting him.

“Him” became Cody: Cody, after that man on the reality TV show “Sister Wives,” the one I don’t watch because we don’t have TV, but know about and thought, how appropriate. Multiple wives and all.

Only this Cody wasn’t into bigamy. He wanted his freedom. Bachelorhood. The Wild Beyond.

So, in spite of the great pains we’d gone through trepidatiously clipping his wings (I’d only ever watched my Mom do this as a kid), he promptly found a way out of the coop and into the vast field beyond.

So much for an inescapable chicken coop. So much for marital fidelity and bliss.

I felt, oddly, disappointed. I rather liked the thought of having a Rooster strutting about the place. Loved the thought of him crowing his greeting to every morning sky (my husband, not so much), and dreamed of how cute and fun it would be to hatch our own darling chick-lings someday…

But the hope for these trivial pleasantries faded with each day Cody went missing.

From time to time we’d hear him crowing off somewhere in the vague distance.

Then horns, one day, from the road out front, honking loudly. Cody trying to find out why he wanted to cross? We prayed he wouldn’t end up road kill and feared for several days we would find his poor, mashed body alongside the shoulder, upon his little face a look of abject disappointment at having never found the answer sought by so many nameless chickens.

But fate had a better ending for him yet.

One day, Cassidy caught site of him in that field in which he had so eagerly embraced his freedom.

Armed with a blanket-of-protection and fierce determination, she set out to catch him. But the Runaway Rooster would have none of it. This guy proved a master at hiding and evasive maneuvers. A stealth combatant among the Tall Grasses and Summer Daisies.

Two weeks, maybe three, went by and though we would occasionally hear faint crowings tantalizing us on the breeze, I all but gave up hope of ever getting him back. Figured, in time, he would make a much needed meal for the local coyote crowd.

Circle of Life and all that.

I was wrong.

My daughter is one determined woman.

She wanted that boy home and she never gave up hope – or try.

When she spotted him one day, strutting near the coop – maybe thinking those Girls were better looking than they had first appeared; or maybe teasing them with his machismo – she swiftly went into action.

Barefoot and fearless of beak or claw, she crossed the fence and timed everything so that Cody, in a squawking fury to get away from her, flew over the wire and into the very coop he sought to eternally evade!

Before he had the chance to think upon the pro’s and con’s of matrimonial bliss vs the delights of bachelorhood-ism, we’d grabbed the scissors, blanket, and our resolve and clipped a whole lot closer to the shafts of those freedom-loving feathers than we had before.

The Girls played a little hard to get his first few flightless days home.

I think they were a bit put out over Cody’s initial opinion of them and married life. Can’t say as though I blame them.

But eventually, as women will, they came around, welcoming his strong, protective presence, his cock-sure, strutting handsomeness.

Didn’t take long, though, for those feathers to grow.

Just enough for him to be able to clear the height of the coop – again.

Only now, midst the dreamy days of honeymoon season, he’s no longer interested in the wild world of bachelorhood outside the confines of family life.

No. Cody just roosts on the top boards of the coop and chooses not to step a clawnail beyond.

I believe he’s fallen in love.

And, like any good man knows, why go looking for milk beyond when you can get cream at home?

Good choice, Cody. Love ya.




When Love Runs Up


She chased him up the coal shoot.

She chased him up the coal shoot because love does that.

Up the coal shoot she ran brave. Out from the cold, desperate safety of the cellar. Out onto the quaking night street roaring with a thousand sounds of violent war. White-hot light waves shocking back the dark night in intermittent jolts of boom.

She chased him up the coal shoot because he was small and scared and panicked.

He was her little brother, all stained with ravages of hiding silent below streets that once knew skipping children and laughing teens and shopping adults.

People living. People living normal, every day human lives.

People living lives without having to live in fear of bombs.

She chased him up the coal shoot, though they’d been told to stay, stay like cement, in that dark, cloistering cellar.

But love does that.

Yeah, love does the crazy, scandalous thing.


He was running.

He was running though in his culture grown, respected men did not run.

I mean, they just did not run.

You’d loose respect in the eyes of those who saw you. You’d loose dignity. You’d loose your standing in society. You’d loose everything you worked so hard and took so many years to gain.

Because running was taboo.

And no one and nothing could ever be so important that you had to run, if you were a man to be admired and respected and talked about in hushed and awed tones.

But he was running.

Because there are things more important than lowered voices speaking with awe things of you. Because there are things more important than reputation and respect and social standing.

And so he went running joyfully pell mell towards that very thing now.

Because he’d waited a thousand tears and prayers and dreams beside this road his feet were flying all scandalously down.

Because love runs.

Yeah, love does that crazy, scandalous thing.


Seventy-something years later, she tells us about those bombs and that night:

She tells us those bombs reigned down from dark skies, shattering that still evening with the screaming whistle of a raging monster.

And she says when they hit, they hit hard.

They sucked the air clean right out of your lungs. Like you could not breath. And your chest felt heavy and vacant and the feeling was terrorizing and lasted much too long.

And that night, that night when love ran up that coal shoot, they’d come too sudden, those bombs falling from lightless skies. And her family had been robbed of the time it takes to make it to the safety of the local air raid shelter.

So they holed up in the dank cellar of the home that they loved while the monsters howled and exploded down all over their German streets.

And their world shook like a caught rabbit in the flinging jaws of a lion.

And this night they thought the world would end.

And this night – their world nearly did.

Beneath the living floors of their home, and later, out up on the rubble of sreet, eternity stared them down hard.

Eternity nearly swallowed them whole.

Because one of those monsters hit all too close. And her trembling little brother, caught in the savage clutch of all-out panic and propelled by abject fear, ran straight up the coal shoot, straight up out of that cellar, and out wild onto the blazing, convulsing street.

They’d  all been trained to stay put. They’d all been drilled to lay low. Stay small. Stay silent. Stay together. Wait it out right where you were if you hadn’t been able to make it to the shelter.

But panic has it’s own merciless agenda in the middle of the rage.

And little children can become like wounded, feral cats, senseless and clawing, crazen to get out of a confined, chaotic corner.

And though the shaking and screaming and flashes of frenzied light worked their terror on the older sister, who was nothing but a young child herself (and who is now our dear, family friend and tells these stories to us from time to time), she instantly followed her precious brother up and out.

Out of the quaking cellar.

Out onto those streets of death and chaos and palpable fear.

Because love is blind.

Blind to all of this. Blind, even, to the reality of loosing life or limb, safety or sanity.

Yeah, because love can be crazy, scandalously blind.



“Crucify Him!” They screamed like craven monsters. “Crucify Him!”

Their hatered shattered the still air, splitting silence in two like a pounding spike through frail pottery.

And though their spit coated His body, their mockery dripped like venom, and the wounds they’d mercilessly inflicted ravaged His flesh, the Man’s thoughts remained tender. Compassionate. Sorrowful for these His frenzied, bloodthirsty tormentors.

And later, on that hill.

On that cross that stretched His arms out wide and pierced more than just hands and feet.

In His love induced blindness, He was heard begging His Father.

Not for vengence.

Not for escape.

Not for a thousand million angels to reign down holy terror all over these ones who’d unjustly accused and beat and hung Him out to die, naked, and hated, and scorned.


None of those things.

Not a single understandable one of those things.

But this.

This He sang from breaking heart:


Forgive. Because they don’t even know what they’re doing.

That was His song.

Because love sings some pretty amazingly, scandalous songs.



As soon as she was able to grab that little brothers’ hand, all she could think of was to get him to that bunker at the top of the hill. The one made for such nights as these. The one that had been built to keep her people safe. Safe!

And so together they ran. Ran into the dark. Ran like the devil was at their heels.

Ran with one thing and one thing only in mind.


And with bombs whistling  death tunes, and the whole world shaking violent mad, and black terror pressing down hard – they fled towards that believed haven of hope.

They fled until something told them to stop.


Not something: SomeOne.


He’d left home. He’d demanded his inheritance early from a Father who loved him crazy. He’d taken it, didn’t look back, and squandered it.

All of it.

Wasted it on the very things his Father had told him would suck the life clean right out of his soul.

Spent it on everything his Father stood against.

Not because his Father was a killjoy, but because the man had his son’s best interest at heart.

And knew a thing or two about living.

And knew a thing or two about what makes a life a life of peace and purpose and worth.

And wanted, of course wanted, what was best for his boy.

Like wanted to keep his boy away from the chaos and violence of a life gone bad.

Of a mind gone dead.

Of a soul shriveled black.

But the son, he’d turned a deaf ear. Refused to listen. Kept right on walking. Right on down that road away. At as fast a pace as he could muster, carrying the weight of his needs.

And even though his old man’s voice had sung out like an unwanted grace behind him, he’d tuned it out.


Because he believed what lay at the end of that road ahead had to be better than anything that old guy and his old values had to offer behind.


And that Voice she heard, clear in her soul as clear as any clear song, stopped her.

Right there in the middle of their headlong dash towards deliverance and what they believed would be safey.

Just stopped her dead.

Just like that.

And told her, silent, not another step.

Not one more step.

Then turn. Turn and go another way. And quick.

And without really even considering otherwise, she listened.

The big sister listened though reason told her that shelter lay somewhere just ahead. And not far. Not far yet at all.

But that Voice down deep, that feeling was stronger than her terror.

Stronger than the panic.

Sronger, even, than the bombs bursting wide open all around them.

And listen she did. And turn she did.

And running back another way, they made it to a marble lined hallway of a local library. And crying and still afraid, they rode out that storm together.

And they made it through that night of hell.

And love lived to see the light of another day.

And with the clear light of that day, she realized, had she taken even one. more. step. beyond when that Voice had bid her stop, both she and her little brother would have fallen to their deaths, right into a swallowing crater made by a bomb.


The end had come long.

The end had come hard.

And he found himself deserted. And desolate. Inheritance gone. Forsaken and depressed.

And pride kept him in a pig pen.

Fear kept him there too.

Because that voice had spoken words richer than any inheritance could have ever lined his pockets. But ears had not listened. And his stubborn, young heart had not heard.

And those following steps had landed him here.

With the ravages of a dark life lived splattered all over him.

And the life sucked clean right out of his soul.

And he was not sure there could ever be hope beyond.


She smiles now, skin so beautifully lined with the grace of many years given.

And her eyes melt a little misty. All soft and shining:

“I didn’t even know Him then.” She whispers in her thick German accent though she’s been in the States near 60 years now.

“I didn’t know Him at all. But He knew me. And He knew I’d belong to Him one day and He was protecting me from death until I could come to know Him.”

Protecting her right there in the middle of that German city.

Right there in the middle of screaming bombs that suck air from desperate lungs of inncoent people who never wanted a dictator to rule the world and mass murder millions of innocents.

Protecting right there in the middle of chaos and panic and white-hot terror.

And speaking.

And that listening ear was saved to live another day. Was saved to later come to know that Voice intimately. Was saved to tell this story to us, all woven beautifully together with the mystery and wonder of His amazing love and His astonising grace and His protecting hand of hope.


And so yeah, he was running.

And he didn’t care who saw. Because he’d caught a glimpse of that son of his, the one he loved so much it made his heart hurt, a way off down the other end of this sweet, old road.

And that boy was headed home.

And this Father’s eyes were blind to the stares.

Deaf to the whispers.

Fearlessly running all crazy wild towards the one who’d be forgiven, yes, of course – forgiven! and loved and lavished with affection and delighted in and celebrated over with joy unspeakable.

Because, regardless.

Because, in spite of.

Just because, love.

Because love is scandalously crazy like that. 



“We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:                      

 While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“This is real love–not that we loved God, but that He loved us      

and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10

Of Beggars and Kings



It is bitter cold when I see him.

The man with pale and haunted blue eyes.
There is a wind that bites hard, if you aren’t dressed right.

He stands at the edge of a Wal-Mart parking lot. The sun above him casts harsh yellow down hard. He holds a sign. Like a shield against a world that has beaten him to dust.

I’m driving too fast to read those words scrawling hopeless across tattered cardboard. But I know anyways what is written there. And the heart lurches sorrowful.

Inside, I go about my shopping but the lines of his expressionless face stay with me cold. There had been no smile. No frown. No anything that could give away the fact that his body must hold a beating heart. Or that, surely, somewhere within, trembled a soul.

And yet, even in those few seconds it had taken to turn the corner past him, I had somehow distinctly felt the desperation. The hopelessness. The utter lostness.

And compassion wrestles helplessness within.


Where does this man sleep at night when stars spangle silver in frozen skies? How can he not possibly be chilled to bone, out there, standing silently surrendered to all that is wretched in this life?

He can not be getting enough to eat, in this backwater town without even a local shelter to offer assistance.

Does anybody – anywhere love this man? Care about his stiff, cold fingers or weather blistered face?

Like a dam slowly breaking, the more I think about him, the more my heart is flooded wide and deep. And yet I know there is only so much I can do. I don’t live here. This is not my hometown. Just a nice place to vacation and get away from the crush. Quick, pleading prayers are about all I have to offer. And I do, but with frustration.

Fallen sparrows are seen by the Father. Surely so this red, wind-whipped face of a soul gone dead.

Driving out, I dread passing by him. I hate to confess this, but it’s true.

I wish there is another exit so I won’t have to feel that crushing weight of helpless pain. Or look again into eyes devoid of all things joyful and yet still frantically desperate beyond those shielding callouses he wears like armor.

Out of the little that I have on hand, I roll down my window and thrust my meager offering his way. Swallowing grief and frustration, I mumble a tearful, “God loves you” even as I wonder how a man like this would even know that; all stiff with cold and dejected and alone.

And for one hair’s breath of a second, I glimpse myself in his eyes.

He thanks me. He pushes the money into his pocket. Like a candle long gone cold, expression never once flickers. He clutches his raggedy sign again. He stares back off into a past that has somehow forever gotten away from him.

Five dollars.

Five lousy dollars. What help can this paltry sum possibly be to the man with dull eyes that pierce through to soul? Buy a couple nutritionless burgers at the local fast food joint? A cup of coffee and a donut? A pair of gloves? Pathetic, my inability to help him in any meaningful, lasting way.

And yet, this God-thing called compassion was not going to let me pass without offering something. No matter how feeble. No matter how fleeting.



It’s later, in front of a fire that sings warmth and dances joy, that it comes to me:

We are all raggedy beggars standing with our beat-up souls curbside, holding tattered cardboard signs with desperately scribbled pleas for help.

We are, every Jack one of us, born beggars.

When we’re young – we hold up our cardboard needs to our parents. Feed me. Shelter me. Notice me. Spend time with me. Nurture me. I’m helpless. I need.

And when we’re teens – include me. Admire me. Love me. Be jealous of me. Give in to me. Approve of me. I’m insecure. Make me secure.

And as adults – respect me. Give way to me. Give me what I want. Imitate me. Bow down to me. Fear me. Satisfy me. I’m empty. Fill me.

We take our signs into car dealerships and buy things we can’t afford. To shopping malls in hopes that image will answer our empty pleas for approval. To colleges and jobs looking for careers that will fill the empty spaces full enough so we can’t hear the dull wind howling down cavernous corridors of bleakness. To realtors hoping a home will bring the satisfaction we’re craving. To hobbies and sports and entertainment and relationships we frantically wave our telling signs and scream silent through ever-increasing parched lips: Fill me! Feed me! Satisfy me! Give me a solid reason for being here on this transient-as-vapor planet earth!

And the places we go do hand us things. Yes. Like the meager five dollars I handed my soul-eyed gentleman beggar. And in that moment, there is help. There is a filling. A satisfying. A satiating of the monster within that desperately claws and gnaws for satisfaction and meaning and power.

But like a puff of smoke in a stiff Winter wind, it’s no sooner come than gone. And we’re left on that curb. With that sign. And those cold as arctic eyes staring into the empty wastelands of nothingness.

Because what the world offers, with all its’ fleeting glory and hollow goodies, will only – can only –




But some of us.  

Whom the Father draws.

Whose ears prick up to that still, small voice and stumble like sleep walking toddlers near to the Arms of Abba…

Some of us raggedy beggars

become sons and daughters of the Most High King.

We hold up are well-worn signs, all dirty and wretched with the stains of a world that has left us more impoverished with every dream gone dead and we cast our hollowed out eyes up to Him and our parched lips whisper hopefully:

Are You the One?

God, can You spare a dime?

And underneath His great Majestic Robes with a train of glory that completely fills the Universe He created, His Father-Heart breaks wide open for these kids of His whom Satan delights in holding captive.

 And all His out-flowing compassion for us bleeds crimson through the Wounds of the Son He sent to save us.

And like kids on Christmas morning, we find ourselves heaped up with the never-ending bounty of Christ Jesus Himself and our souls so filled to overflowing that the only fear now is busting clean open from it all.

Beggars turned into the royal children of the King of Ages.

And all His warmth. And all His love. And all His peace. And all His hope and grace and mercy

                   – all His everything –

is all ours.

For always and ever. Filled to overflowing with no need to ever go begging again.

Though sometimes we still do.

But even then – those times we forget Whose we are and where true satisfaction is really found?

Even then,

our Abba pulls up alongside us, rolls down His window, holds out His Hand and offers us everything we could ever possibly need for all eternity:

Abba gives us Himself.


“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.” Ephesians 1:17,16