Grace kept finding me this year, over and over again.
1. God moved my kids out of our apartment and gave them a just-right space with plenty of room to play. Grace for the days.

2. He walked real close as I murmured to him the secret places of my soul while attempting to make sense of the tension there. Grace for the nights.

3. He guided me to the most wonderful friendships, where he shone a light on that soul-tension. (And when light hits those deeply buried places, freedom inevitably follows.) Grace for the past.

4. He let some relational stuff be hard. Because I needed to decide for myself if people were worth the work, and I needed to see my own junk and lay it down. (People are worth it. Jesus covers my mess). Grace for the walk.

5. He saw us through to the end of a long, hard season of graduate school. Grace for the future.

6. Jesus made a way into the hard joy of parenting away from that easy, angry, impatient place where I constantly was before. Grace in answered prayers.

7. He challenged my insecurities but didn’t push me out on a ledge. He whispers truth in the middle of all the self-doubt and I think maybe he’s in the process of deflating the lies I’ve held on to. Grace for the future.

Dear Self,
God was so faithful in 2016. Bind that around your neck. Write that on the tablet of your heart. Remember.


Love really won ages ago when God himself became human to die in my stead, his innocence to replace my guilt, willingly giving his life for mine. Love won when death was beaten, once for all, when the God-Made-Man purposefully let his life-blood drain as a pardon for the inconceivable...me.

Because this is real love: that one lay down his life for his friends. Love always involves laying down.
But the whole world, this whole family, my whole heart screams at the injustice of love. It’s just not fair. Our home resounds with “i hate you”s when we don’t get our way, my heart boils with “I told you so”s and unfounded demands for my people to pay attention to what I need.

And love’s greater injustice is broader than any scope of any love I can manufacture, that Jesus died for me not while I was his friend but while I was his enemy, and the injustice is on my behalf. Because LOVE gave himself to me when friendship was but a hope and love pursued me when my back was turned.

Love. Makes a friend out of an enemy by giving everything.

Love won when death died and life walked out of the grave. Love won then, centuries ago, and love keeps winning because love is alive. Though taunted by death love remains untainted and keeps on spilling over and over and over because love could not be bound by the rules of death and love can not be bound by the hardness of my heart or the depravity of my life. Love keeps winning because it is that living water that seeps through the cracks and wears down my rocky-hard heavy heart and leaves light and life in its place.

These are true: God Is Love. Love Already Won.


When some things are almost unspeakable...

...the grace of a certain season teems full of wonder and worship and there are no words at all. Because the winter began with grace and ended with grace and was so full of mysterious grace it seemed almost unreal, almost unnatural. There's no sense to be made of provision. There's no rationalizing the meeting of financial needs or spiritual needs or personal needs either. And so you moved through the season unsure of how to receive all the untamed provision and you just sit on it and consider it all grace.

But when in the middle of all the grace, there is also all this winter- all kinds of dying and being brought down to the roots and the ache of the cold strips down all the outside comforts and leaves you feeling like you are doing something wrong. And in the stillness of this season you feel like you should be able to hear God's voice more loudly. You long to be hidden in the cleft of a rock and spy the glory of heaven pass by because there is so much pain in waiting for winter to have its way.

When grace and brokenness go hand in hand through the whole winter and when spring dawns you see how this season has all been part of making you whole and now you can sit here and remember the gifts full of grace and mercy, given in December through human hands by Jesus - the outstretched hand of Heaven's Glory passing by, writing the truth of death and life, winter and spring, into the concrete of your soul; the hand print of the Almighty, carved in your space and time. 

Because there is Love and there is Faithfulness.

And it wasn't just the undeserved grace of lavish gifts and gift cards, it was God's whisper of love and provision in your heart that left you speechless for so long. It wasn't just the chill of winter that left you peacefully broken, it was the faithfulness of death producing new life; that mysterious thing which calls the seeds to sprout, grow and produce fruit.


Because there really is no better time or place to get a flat tire than in your garage while you are sleeping, but still, the surprise of finding it flat and then finding out that it's irreparable and, in fact, all four tires need to be replaced, feels a little bit like a sucker punch and you find yourself praying and fighting for faith.

And there are seasons of life when you must fight for faith because all of these small things, usually money things, vie for faithlessness; push you and prod you toward faithlessness; become a reason to back down from what you know, and this season seems to be that for you now. BUT (and there is always a but) take heart, oh my soul, because the lord has been (so) good to you and you can fight this battle of faith and come out a victor; these hard places will be your cement, the sand that turns into rock; the testing of your faith makes perseverance and that's what you want to be at the end of your life...a persevere-er.

When the good news in all this new-tires-depleting-tiny-savings-just-in-time-for-Christmas gig is that in everyday, in every season, God is the faithful one and he has made this promise to you about his faithfulness not being dependent on your faithfulness. And you decided (while riding on brand new tires!) to trust God to provide in this month in ways that are new and creative and may not be full of what you're used to, but may be even better.

Because this is the advent, the wait...there is HOPE and it is COMING and you just have to have eyes to see it and a heart to say yes to it all.

Hold on, self. Your rescue is near! 


When this kid plays flag football on that mostly losing team and is the receiver of a hand-off near the middle of the field and you watch as he makes a b-line for the sideline right where his team is sitting on the bench and as he cuts up-field at the line, you hear a teammate shout above the rest of the cheers of encouragement, "I BELIEVE IN YOU" and you crack up with giddy agreement. Yes! Me too! I believe in you too! However far this play may take you, I believe in you!

let love and faithfulness never leave you. bind them around your neck write them on the tablet of your heart