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Sunday, May 29, 2005


I have wanted to write about the concept of remembering for well over a week now. Especially with Memorial Day coming. But every time I sat down to do so, I couldn't type. I knew why too.

I wasn't ready. God had more to show me. And to be honest there's a whole lot more I need to see, but one way I "see" is to write it out. So here goes...

Think with me of all the ways remembering is highlighted in our culture:

In history~ Remember the Alamo!

In the movies~ Remember the Titans.

In songs like Bob Hope's “Thanks for the memories." It’s fitting to remember his devotion to our military and his desire that they be remembered. A quote from Bob Hope’s web site says, "Stop, pause and remember those men and women in uniform who have given their lives to protect our freedoms."

I hope you will.

My grandfather died in WW II. My dad is a retired soldier who was part of Desert Storm. Growing up military I saw things many people don’t see. Things that were seared into my heart which compel me stand tall and honor the men and women who serve our country. To honor the flag and the freedom they defend.

Things worth remembering.

Touching the Berlin Wall and listening to rifles in the distance remind East Berliners that freedom wasn’t theirs.

Looking into the eyes of an elderly East Berliner and seeing no hope of ever tasting freedom.

Holding the flag that draped my grandfather's coffin.

Waiting for my dad to come home from the Middle East, wondering if he would.

I learned first hand that freedom isn’t free.

But why remember? Why is remembering so important?

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

I agree. Look at history. George Bernard Shaw once said, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.”

But we can. If we remember.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Maya Angelou

More reasons to remember are found throughout the pages of Scriptures. Over and over the children of Israel are encouraged to remember.

Remember that you were slaves.

Remember how the Lord your God led you.

Remember His commands.

God Himself through the prophet Isaiah commands us to remember.

Paul bids us in Colossians to “Remember my chains.”

We hear as we eat the bread and drink the wine (or grape juice) “Do this in remembrance of Me.”


Because when we fail to remember we fall.

When we forget we were (as in past tense) slaves, we continue to act like slaves.

When we forget the Lord’s awesome power and goodness, we complain and strive to meet our needs our own way.

When we forget His commands, we make our own rules to live by and end up worshiping ourselves and not God.

And when we forget His grace, we decide this life is too hard and we give up.

So God in His infinite wisdom sent the Holy Spirit who, “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

And on days like today, when I choose to be angry with someone who’s hurt me instead of forgive, God sends people like my best friend to be His voice. Through her, the Lord reminds me of the truth, making it up close and personal as only my best friend can.

She clearly and with great love holds up a mirror so I'll see my sin and the inevitable consequences. She also reminds me that God created me for Himself, for good. And even the rotten things of life, He promises He will bring good out of them.

She walks with the Lord and calls me out to do the same.

To remember.


In her words, “I remind you of the truth because I love you.”

Through her sometimes hard to hear words of correction, I hear my Savior’s call.

“Come to Me.” He says.


Because He knows me best and loves me most.

And that is worth remembering.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Deja Vu

Today's been a day of déjà vu. It’s been three weeks since my husband started his new job and we've spent the past three Mondays finding something to get snippy about and then the past three Thursdays finally making up. On top of that, today I've had three different conversations about the same thing...


That little word contains a huge lesson God is teaching me—over and over again.

When words are repeated in Scripture like “verily, verily I say unto you…” it means, “this is important so listen up.” Guess I’m not listening well so God is speaking in repetition.

All about fear.

Before the marriage intensive I hadn't considered myself a fearful person. But since then I've learned a great deal about my inner motivations.

I fear rejection so I try hard to be the best I can be.

I fear appearing weak so I cover hurt with anger hoping no one will see the pain.

I learned to cope with fear in ways that made me feel powerful. Working hard and getting angry aren’t often connected with fear. But I know they’re closely related. God keeps making that clear to me.

Case in point: the last three weeks. When my husband has talked about how much he loves his job, the old fear of being abandoned rises up inside. So I’ve gotten angry instead of rejoicing in the gift of a job my husband enjoys.

And just in case I missed the last three lessons, God used three little girls to drive the point home today. First off, my oldest hid a children’s sewing needle we used for a craft project today. Why? She was afraid I’d throw it away. Then my middle daughter buried her head in my side during a thunderstorm. And, not to be outdone, my youngest went ballistic at the sound of a neighborhood dog.

Each time we talked about what the Bible says regarding fear. My older two quoted Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” We talked about how that verse applies to how we live and it hit me, that feeling of déjà vu.

With every discussion today, God repeated the first lesson I learned about fear: I will live out of what I believe. So when I am afraid, it’s because I’m not trusting God. I’m not believing the truth.

See, when I am afraid I won’t get what I want, like my oldest, it’s because I’m not trusting God to provide all I need. I’m not believing Philippians 4:19.

When I’m afraid of the storms, like my middle daughter, it’s because I don’t trust God will walk me through them. I’m not believing Isaiah 43:1-2.

And when I’m afraid of things that bark or bite, both dogs and situations, I’m not trusting God’s sovereignty and goodness to allow only what is for my best and His glory. I’m not believing Romans 8:28.

Choosing to trust, to believe the truth, is simple.

Not easy.

I’m so glad we have a God who is not upset by our need for reminders. The older I get (tomorrow’s birthday hallmarks yet another reason I need His holy repetition) the more I need.

Not only reminders.

But more of God.

That’s a pretty cool place to be.

Even if it takes a whopper case of déjà vu to realize.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Stretch Marks

With Mother's Day a recent memory and bathing suit season nipping at my heels, stretch marks happen to be much on my mind. After three children I have plenteous battle scars... all the way down to my knees. :-) I kid you not. Then the varicose veins take over. I'm a lovely colored map from my belly button to my toes.

Lest you question the validity of my stretch mark claims, let me share the weight of my third baby. Eleven pounds, eight ounces.

And all the moms groan for me, right?

Needless to say I do have stretch marks. One does not birth a three month old without some wear and tear. I'd like to say I look at those marks proudly. But I don't. I try to hide them every chance I get. On the other hand, I look at my baby very proudly. She's a delight to my heart, this side of my belly.

Then I thought of other stretch marks I'd like to hide as well. Those of a more spiritual nature. You know, those times when God sends circumstances into our lives that stretch us to the breaking point and often beyond.

I'd like to say I look at these growth opportunities with joy. But I don't. At least not at the time. I'm learning to count it all joy, but that's hard. Especially when the stretching visits places where I thought I'd been broken and healed.

Like my marriage.

In many ways I believed I'd done my time, spent a decade in the school of hard knocks, and recently arrived at a new and healthy place. I was hoping to retire my work gloves and whistle my "Don't worry, be happy" song. I'd earned some R&R, right?


In the first place, I hadn't earned a thing. God, in His amazing love and grace, opened my eyes and heart to His healing work. Which is why I am in that new and healthy place.

But there’s still more work to do.

Thankfully, God knew this current stretching place would come and so He provided some neat tools specific to my need, designed to reach my heart. Just to remind me of His love.

He's such a cool Daddy.

The first is a great book called The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley It was given to us at the Marriage Intensive and, in connection with all we learned there, this book was a great refresher. God used one of the last things Gary said to tap me on the shoulder and remind me to listen closely. In chapter nine Gary said, "Even with the best of intentions, even when we know this material backward and forward, we can still slip into the old patterns and make a mess of things. But, thank God, when we realize our mistake, we have the ability to stop the madness and get back to sanity~ and back to building a healthy, safe, satisfying relationship."

Great thought to keep in mind I said. If I ever need it that is...

Today, I needed it.

I can’t believe I thought for a second I wouldn’t. I’m so glad God loves me and because He loves me He sends things to remind me I’m not as not as strong as I think.

Like Rich Mullins song “We are not as strong as we think we are.” In it Rich sings, “When you love you walk on the water
Just don’t stumble on the waves
We all want to go there somethin’ awful
But to stand there it takes some grace
Cause oh we are not as strong as we think we are.”

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who jumps out of the boat like Peter and then stumbles on those pesky waves.

Waves like adjusting to my husband going back to work after a year and a half of running his own web design company from our home. I get scared by the salty spray of change and forget to cry out, “Jesus, save me!”

So God provided another amazing book this morning. This one speaks to my heart every time I pick it up. It's called Objects of His Affection by Scotty Smith. This morning I wrote some of Scotty's words in my journal. "Foolishly we prefer fig leaves to the garments of God's grace." But, "God will not be deterred in getting our attention." He loves us too much to leave us alone.

Wow. God loves me enough not only to stretch me to the point of brokenness and beyond to healing, but He also keeps stretching me so I'll experience more and more of Him.

That's love.

A love so deep and so compelling that I can't look away. I don't want to. Even when it leaves stretch marks on my heart that rival the ones decorating my legs.

So here’s my invitation.

It’s an invitation to be stretched. To come join me in some wave walking.

But only with our hands in the Master’s hand.

Life is full of frightening waves and stretching circumstances. And stumbles and stretch marks are a part of the process. Today I realized they’re a part I’ll just have to accept. They don’t mean I didn’t get what I learned before. They just mean there’s more.

More times I get to reach out my hand and find Jesus there. Always there.

You know something else? As I write this, I'm slowly getting that stretch marks are something to be proud of and even something for which to be thankful.

Because the ones on my thighs mean I carried a precious bundle that was worth every single line.

And the stretch marks on my heart? They show that God is faithful to complete the work He's begun ~ one stretching place at a time.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Mother's Day gift to yourself

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms!!! You are such a precious gift to your family. Enjoy this day set aside to celebrate you!

My little ones are spending Saturday morning with their daddy creating beautiful cards and conspiring over plans for tomorrow’s breakfast in bed. I'm praying it will have lots of chocolate that for once doesn't stay with me long after the great taste has passed. ;-)

What I look forward to most of all though are the sweet kisses and hugs they will wrap up in words and present to me in the morning. This day is an extra special one in my home. My girls’ celebration of me is a reminder that God is faithful to take all the bad stuff of my past and my actions each day and bring good from them.

But I'll only experience the fullness of that through a word we so seldom apply to ourselves as moms.


We know we are forgiven by God. I hear every day that I am forgiven by my precious princesses. Maybe you don't require daily forgiveness from your children, but I have learned that I do and my heart is so touched by their quick and loving forgiveness. It's humbling to hear how I've hurt them with harsh words or discipline that didn't meet the need, but it's also a precious reminder of why Jesus tells us to come like children. My girls are so honest to tell me how they feel and so honest to tell me how totally they forgive me. And they are also so quick to tell me how completely they love me.

Through them I experience a taste of the Father's forgiveness.

And it's even better than chocolate. :-)

But I wonder how many of us extend that type of forgiveness to ourselves? Have you ever yelled or failed to do all you thought you had to get done and decided rather than "let yourself off the hook" you would "try harder" and "do better" next time? You'd pray more, read more, memorize more verses to counter whatever area you most struggle in, and hope that will help. But your heart still feels like you’re wearing a dress three sizes to small. And you’re still struggling and exhausted.

Am I alone in that?

If not, join me in learning to extend the precious gift of forgiveness to your mommy heart and enjoy the breath of freedom the gift of forgiveness gives.

In my post called Borrowed Hope I shared some specific dance steps that can draw you into an incredible rhythm of grace with your heavenly Daddy. Please take a moment to read those steps for the first time or refresh your memory. It will be moments well spent.

The last of those steps was forgiveness~ the dance’s grand finale. A beautiful step that flows from a heart that is honest with the Lord and is learning to let Him heal, restore, and renew.

As I’ve joined this amazing dance, I’ve found forgiving others frees me. My hands had grown tired of the strangle hold I’d kept on so many people. (Matthew 18:28) When I let go of my expectations that these people could some how make up for the pain I felt, my hands began to relax.

But I still kept a firm hold on my own neck. While I could let these other people go to God’s care and healing, I just couldn’t make myself believe I deserved the same treatment.

You see, I’d seen the tears in my children’s eyes from my raised voice and harsh words. I’d felt the hardness of my own heart because I’d tried to change so many times, but failed. For a time I wasn’t willing to risk forgiving myself because I feared facing the fact that I could never make up for my actions to anyone.

But God in His mercy and grace brought me face to face with my failure and showed me the cross. He spoke in His loving way that He’d already paid for all my harsh words, angry discipline, and all the other ways I didn’t measure up.

And so I let go. I let the tears come. Tears for all the tears my daughter’s cried, tears of regret, and tears of pure sorrow.

Then I let God be God and stopped trying to be my own judge and jury. I chose to believe His cross truly did pay the price for me.

I forgive my girls quickly because I trust their hearts. I’m learning to do this with my husband as well. And myself too. I’m learning to trust my heart because the Lord says He’s cleansed me and has given me a new heart. His.

And through forgiving myself I’m learning to see me the way the Lord sees me.


A treasure.

His beloved child with whom He is well pleased.

Please give yourself the same gift. Hang out with the Lord and let Him show you His amazing love for you, Mom.

And while my girls celebrate me tomorrow, I’ll be celebrating you. Praying that you will give yourself the gift of forgiveness and see yourself as the amazing gift you are.

Happy Mother’s Day!
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