25 December 2010

Merry Christmas


Thank You so much for letting the world wait for You--letting us long for Emmanuel God with us. Thanks for choosing Mary who said yes even when the fear of the world pressed in on her. Thanks for coming in the dark of night, that we may know that there is no darkness You wont enter or muck too far beneath You--there are no lengths or bounds that will keep You from us in Your relentless pursuit of our hearts and souls. Thanks God that You sent word ahead to the shepherds and wise men; thanks that they were there watching and waiting and were ready to receive Your word when it was time. May we always be listening, waiting, and watching for You O God. And thanks for Jesus--the Word become flesh, the Prince of Peace, the Christ and Messiah--our Savior and Lord. It is overwhelming, the depths of Your love that You would humble Yourself on our behalf. But You did. And when God set His feet on this earth it.changed.everything. and nothing has ever been the same.

I pray that you reveal Youself that we might magnify who You are. God, birth something new in me, in our marriage, in Grant. Do a new thing in this city, this state, this region, this nation. We are waiting on You, looking to You. You are God and there is no other. Teach us the true meaning of Christmas--the birth of Christ--and in the words of Marty Barrett, "Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit and give birth to Christ everywhere we go." Amen!

21 December 2010


Have you ever thought of the mystery of marriage? Exchanging vows before God and those witnesses is like buying a house without ever setting foot inside. You know what other people have said about the house (marriage). You know what God has said about the house (marriage). If you’re smart enough, you’ve read about it and most importantly listened and prayed—a lot! But you’re standing there at the altar, based on however much time together and some emotions that you feel (or once felt or hope to feel) and you make your stamp on forever, buying the house for eternity. For those of us who are married, we now know what an act of faith it was to say ‘I do,’ and yet it can’t be done any other way—no previews, no open-house, and certainly no brochure. We had no idea what we were getting into—which is not to minimize our beloved spouse, but meant to maximize our amorous God.

We have no idea what’s behind those walls, what dirt we drag in when we move in all our crap, what flaws will make the house (marriage) more charming, unique, and endearing… and which will be a painful reminder. We don’t know how many bedrooms (children) it has. We don’t know if it’s a fixer-upper to be coaxed into true beauty through much dent of elbow grease—the hard work that births character and confidence and hope—or if it’s move-in ready. If termites (lies) will threaten to slowly crumble the flooring out from under us. We don’t know if there will ever be any leaks in the plumbing (lines of communication) that will cause sudden bursts when things turn icy. We don’t know if the furnace (passion) will burn for years, or soon die out. We have no idea if the electricity—the Word of God that is a lamp unto our feet—will be turned off or neglected. Or if the gas—the spark that ignites creativity and inspiration—is low. Who knows what will be maintained and what will not be. Which ones we update on the surface, repainting every few years as our moods change. Which areas of the house (marriage) we need to take down to the studs... and which are better left standing. Which are crucial and which are place-holders; which are load-bearing or superficial.

And think of the foundation. What if we come to a place in our house (marriage), where we just need to dig deeper, and so we jack-hammer through layer after layer of hard stuff to get back down to the nourishing raw earth? Will we embrace the work as a time of learning together? Or will we resent it, never to return to the half-finished basement? Will we expect a maid to clean things up for us? What will we expect?

There are whole levels and wings to the house (marriage) that only time will uncover. There are entire seasons of life who’s doors can only be opened by walking through another; there are designs and textures and subtleties that point to the Architect that will miss our attention, while other details not meant to be dwelt upon seem to consume our efforts.

We will paint and change and live in and enjoy and clean up and clear out and start over and repurpose. We may take the whole dang thing to the ground level several times, reinventing ourselves and the house (marriage) in the process. We will mess up, but God will complete the good work He began and He will most definitely be glorified.

We buy the house and say yes to forever—not because of a feeling or a plan or an expectation or a ring or even a guy—but because there is One who’s seen all the things we can’t see, every design every intent every space—and He is trustworthy. Not to say that the feelings or plans or expectation or ring or boy is not important. Each of those is important. It’s just that we can't possibly rely on our own less-than-8%-utilized brain and fickle and fleeting emotion to even guess at what that house (marriage) has for us. We must trust some One who knew it before the dawn of time and that One is Jesus—not our brain, or our heart, or our betrothed, but our Beloved.

Simply put: when our eyes are on Jesus, marriage seems easier; when our eyes are on anything else, marriage seems more difficult. Christ is trustworthy even when we are not.

Looking back, God’s hand in every single detail of our lives and marriage thus far has been undeniably evident. I’m glad that Grant found me and we found each other. I’m glad that he chose me and on bended-knee offered me a ring and the promise of forever as the sun set behind the purple mountains at dusk on December 27, 2007. I’m glad that we stood on the altar before God and made a solemn vow to Him and to each other. But most importantly, perhaps, I am thankful beyond words that (whether we knew it or not) we were trusting (and continue to trust) in the One who knew all about what we knew nothing about. And focusing on Him makes the "house" seem brighter and our marriage more joyful. I have never been happier or more full of faith in things unseen.

20 December 2010

Utterly Thankful

I’m so utterly thankful that I’m married to Grant. I used to think that I chose wisely—I’d finally found ‘the one’ of my own accord and thank goodness he was cute and funny and brilliant and loved Jesus. I also thought that “I had arrived;” now that I was in love and married, two-thirds of the broken-hearted country songs no longer applied to me and that chapter defined by dating and not knowing and wondering and searching and praying was over! Whew! I’d found him and he’d found me. End of story. Cue the music.

What I did not realize, though I think we said it more than once the week of our wedding, was that God had really and truly brought the two of us together for a purpose, for His glory, and that—in His gracious goodness—He’d orchestrated the whole thing and played a much bigger role in ‘our’ story than we’d ever given thought or credit.

I believe it. It’s true: God brought us together. This is the three-strand cord that is not easily broken. This is the intimacy that knows not shame or self-awareness. This is the preview of things to come and this little slice of heaven is eternal.

My soul worships God more fully through our marriage.

Let me say that again. My soul worships God more fully through our marriage. God has ministered to my heart, taught me infinitely more, and revealed Himself to me in uncountable ways—all of which only possible through this: my specific and perfect two-becoming-one union with Grant. I love to see God work in and through our marriage. It delights me how much He has invested in us. What a faithful God we serve.

07 December 2010


"Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: 'Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.' God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life."--James 1:19-21 (msg)

what a beautiful and unforgettable picture of our life: a salvation-garden cultivated by The Gardener with Love, Living Water, and tender mercies that are new with each morning. Amen.