Finding God's grace in normal life

Friday, January 20, 2017


During the Fall, Handsome K and I had the privilege of going away for 9 days.  Some work. Some play. All together!  The grandmas (his mom and my mom) kept the kids.  Flew in from Texas to watch over our babies (they aren’t actually babies anymore). 

We have specific rules about screen time in our home…rules that get me called endearing names like “mean mommy” and conversation starters like “you’re not fair” and “everybody else gets to.”  But I push forward.

One grandma told me that one of the nights she went to check on the kids after they had been put to bed and one was still awake explaining he liked to sit on his bed sometimes and think.  I found that interesting because he’d never voiced this before, and I thought I’d inquire about this with him in the near future...wanting to know about what he’s been laying awake at night pondering. 

Then later the first night of my homecoming, one grandma said she just looked in on him and he was still awake 1.5 hours after being put to bed.  So I went in to check on him.

He rolled over after he saw me and hid his face.  With the IPAD under his chest attempting to hid it (but not doing a very good job).  

My heart sank.  My prayer for him since birth has been the verse in 1 Kings which talked of Elijah being a man of God and the words he spoke being truth.  I’m not sure if the middle names we’ve chosen for our kids are because that’s where they will be strong or weak or both sometimes, but I pray that he will be a man of God and the words he speak be truth.  Both Truth with a capital T, like the Gospel, God’s love, Jesus’ death and resurrection and saving grace…and truth—like he will choose to not lie when tempted to do so.

Thankfully, I recently heard someone talk about asking the question, “Is there something you’d like to tell me or is there a secret that you need to say out loud?”  Promoting community and forgiveness within our family is my heart so I gently said…

“Is there something you’d like to tell me?” 


For about 1 minute.

Then a quiet slow…Yeeessss.

As he hands me the Ipad.

And he begins to cry, immediately confessing and apologizing.  He was caught in his sin.  He didn’t deny it or blame someone else.  I told him that I forgive him and we took a moment for him to ask God to forgive him.  I told him I was proud of him for confessing and reminded him what we know about confession.


You can’t have darkness in the light.  We talked about how it feels now that he’s not hiding it anymore.  He said he felt nervous.  He confessed he saw it, checked the battery life, got the was premeditated.  Then he acted on it.  I know the content won’t always be a question game about states and their capitals or games about grocery shopping (which thankfully was what he was playing, believe me I searched the ipad and icloud)…but for now my son understands the weight of guilt and secret sin on his level.  And he said it wasn’t worth it.

He told me he knew I’d know.  He almost wanted me to find out it seemed.  I told him I pray that he will always be caught or he will confess so we can work it out as a family and he doesn’t have to carry those things alone.  Bringing it into the light means no more darkness for that sin.  Things kept in secret are often those kind of things…dark, heavy, and festering.

I asked him if he remembered thinking about it throughout the day, he said yes.  We talked about how Satan wants to distract us and make us think our way is better.  I told him our screen rule is not a rule we have to deny him but to protect him because we love him.

He apologized a few times more.  I told him that wasn’t necessary that I forgive him but a little trust was broken.  I was living in a world where he was obeying so it may mean we talk about it again.  He hugged me the kind of hug where your kid kind of melts into you and feels like a limp toddler in your arms. 

A weight was lifted from his little shoulders.

He confessed some more things to me about the last few days.  It was beautiful to see his heart and hear his words.  He’s growing in the Lord. 

My child, I have great confidence that when you stumble you will get back up and take hold of the grace you do not deserve but God freely gives you.  His forgiveness. 

I beat myself up and think I deserve some wallowing and shame when I hurt someone with my words or make sharp accusations toward my family.  But the same grace and forgiveness is offered to me too.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s so easy to be forgiven, I should be punished…because that makes sense, right?

That’s one of the bazillion ways God’s love amazes me…he doesn’t want to punish us, he unconditionally loves us and chooses to forgive us.

Confession means we admit wrong, it’s humbling and feels embarrassing at times.  But confession brings freedom…I heard it in my son’s words and saw it in his countenance. 

It’s beautiful. 

It’s healing.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.   James 5:17

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Everybody Hurts

We recently had the blessing of travelling to paradise together.  When Handsome K asked me what I thought about his invitation to go to the islands, I said, “I’m going too.”  Handsome K agreed and we were on our way.  What did God want to teach me during our time away…that life, just normal life hurts.  At that specific moment mine wasn’t hurting but God continued to allow people to tell me about the devastating parts of their lives while we were away.  I always count it a privilege when people allow me into their vulnerable thoughts and life.  This was no different, it was just several strangers…from people we met on the airplane or interacted with at the churches, to our waiter at a restaurant.  There is a desire to be known and we need community.  

I saw a man at one church we were able to visit, that reminded me of my uncle.  This man had kind eyes and I just knew he loved Jesus.  He raised his hands in praise and made me prayerfully think of my uncle.  He is opposed to Jesus.  A long time ago, Handsome K taught about praying for a future vision for someone.  Praying for what you desire their character, beliefs to grow into…leading them to Jesus as they get there.  Thinking of a picture or moment that expresses God’s work in their lives…Sometimes God gives me a picture in my mind of a direction to pray…I pictured my uncle with arms raised an aging man with a hurt past…raising his arms to Jesus in adoration, song, and submission.  Tears streaming from his eyes because he is overwhelmed with the love of His Savior.  Serving in the church according to the way God made him, sincere, caring…not anxious about the unknown but living in the present.  I’m not necessarily close to my uncle.  We don’t keep up.  But I felt that I should write him.

A lady told me her husband’s business trips started getting longer and longer and eventually he left her and her two sons for another life with another woman.  She went on to tell me how God continues to provide for them even in the hurt.

Our waiter one evening was heavily burdened for a friend who was like family. He’d been trying to reach him and he’s been reading the news and watching his friend going down some dark roads…he wanted us to pray for him and couldn’t stop telling us he was sorry for sharing and he didn’t know why he did.

A man told us his wife left him for another life, part of the kids with him, part of them grown, part with her.

A friend experienced a tragic accident that lead to loss of life .

Another friend got earth-shattering news of her husband’s cancer.

A man got tears in his eyes when I was asking his daughter about their recent move to the island.  She was explaining to me how it was hard.  Her dad knew God wanted them to move, but it was painful to see it being hard for his child.

Another man on the airplane beside me was telling me he used to be an alcoholic and he’s been sober 26 years, he said he realized that bills have to be paid, people hurt you, and kids are annoying sometimes and that’s just life…not to be coated in alcohol but to be seen as part of life.  His perspective changed.

How is my perspective different because I know God.  How is my perspective changed because I believe in His forgiveness?

I’m reminded of the verse, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Phillipians 2:14) I tell my kids this verse a lot.  I’m reminded of the verse that says, “Do not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

I’m not so good about not complaining.  But what do I really have to complain about?  I’m learning that perspective changes my thinking.  It’s ok to me sad, mad, and glad but there is no room for complaining.  God sees what is best for us and tells us not to complain.  What does that change? 

NOTHING…except the attitudes of those around me. 

God, help me to see the world through your eyes, the hurt and pain, and yet bring those things to you and not complain about the little stuff.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

year 15 and year 16...keep getting better!

I've chosen to chronicle each year of life in my anniversary note to my Handsome K, included in each a song for our love and life that year...this is a continuation of previous anniversary posts...I'm the greatest fan of his life!  


Year 16

It seems true that time continues to pass quicker as we age.  Seems like this year went by so fast.  This year has had many refreshing moments.  After a tough year the Lord has been faithful to answer my prayers for you to let go of some heavy bricks…and be refreshed!  The Lord has renewed and called us to a larger vision than we previously had.  God breathed life into us and continues to ask us to be obedient and I believe that is because you are willing to risk and ready to do whatever God asks.  I believe our kids will always understand what it means to give up ourselves for the sake of God’s glory…it is a much better life.  Counter-cultural, don’t care.  American dream, don’t care.  God’s plan is bigger.   You are brave and confident of that and I’ll follow you because I trust you’re following God. 
This year’s song is not new but to me has always been so good.  I’ve always thought of you and how over time I just love you more…you can still make me stop and stare.  I’m captivated. 
We are each other’s crying shoulder and I’m the greatest fan of your life.

I’ll Be-Edwin McCain
The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath
Emeralds from mountains and thrust towards the sky
Never revealing their depth
Tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love
I'll be captivated, I'll hang from your lips
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above

I'll be your cryin' shoulder
I'll be love suicide
I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life

And rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed
You're my survival, you're my living proof

My love is alive and not dead

Year 15
This has been a rough, long year…thankfully not in marriage but in other ways.  We stayed on each other’s team.  We learned more about what God talks about when He says wives and husbands are helpmates.  When I am weak you are strong and I hope to be the same for you with Jesus’ strength.  You have walked through some difficult decisions this year that I am so proud of you for your perseverance…asking God for clarity and for conviction of sins.  I’ve seen you vulnerable in ways I haven’t yet seen.  And I thought I’d seen all of you.  Your character is unshakeable, your persistence to pursue the prize heavenward in Christ Jesus is something I pray protection over and get to see firsthand.  I continue to be amazed by who you are and pushed to be a better me because of you.  15 years…wow!  We have so much to be thankful for in the past 15 years, God has the story moving forward…parenting struggles, relational decisions, ministry leaps, new church plants, the privilege of spending our lives on something greater…oh, I pray this never changes, the reliance upon God for strength, wisdom and breath.  You are a man of integrity, I saw that back in 1995 and that is only reinforced by your life through the years.  Thank you for having the determination to persevere and lead our family on the great adventure! 
I am nuts about you…still.  And I cannot imagine life without you.  Nobody makes me laugh like you.  Nobody makes me think like you.  Nobody helps me believe in me like you do.  AND Nobody could possibly believe in you as much as I do.  Nobody has access to my heart like you do.  You are worthy of my respect and you get it over and over…I will spend my life giving you my respect for who you are and who you have become even during this past season.  I am yours…forever and always!  I could not ask for more.   And we will be TOGETHER facing life’s ups and downs as long as the Lord allows.

TOGETHER-Stephen Curtis Chapman
Here we stand, here we are
With all our wounds and battle scars
From all the storms and all the wars we’ve weathered together
We had no way of knowing when
We started way back there and then
How the road would twist and turn and bend
We just knew we belonged together

And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace
There’s no way we would be standing in this place
But because He has been faithful
Every step along the way
Here we are together
We’ve climbed up mountains higher than
Were ever in our hopes and plans
We’ve held onto each other’s hands
Watched miracles unfold together
And we’ve crawled on our hands and knees
Through valleys cold and dark and deep
Sometimes not even sure if we could make it out alive together