Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Dynamic Exchange of Letting Go & Holding On

I love to water ski; I’m extremely determined and always get up the first time out for the summer. The driver and the boat work together. I just hold on to the rope, strive for balance, and stand up at just the right time. It seems simple enough, but I’ve been skiing since I was a little girl with pretty white and pink skis with a rope that tied the two skis together so I would learn how exactly to hold my skis in the water. Aligned to perfection, the rope with the perfect amount of space between the two skis training me how it feels to stand on water. And now in my thirties, no rope needed just the invisible one in my mind.

As I glide across the water, I stay behind the wake. I like it there because it feels safe on rougher water. I hold on until I can’t anymore and then I let go. I throw my hands in the air and I sink gradually into the water with confident ease because I know exactly how to let go and when to let go. No bad fall or choking from lake water up my nose; over the years you learn how to give it your best go, hang on for the ride, and then let go.

I think about skis etched in my mind simple and lovely, I think about the rope, the wind in my wet hair and the feeling of being fearless. I couldn’t walk on water, but my tiny frame could hold its own gliding across it as I would give my signals “Slow down daddy. Go faster daddy,” or simply give a quick, goofy wave with a smile as if to say, “Hi daddy, I’m having fun.”

“Wise women know what to hold fast to and what to release, while foolish women hold on fast to what would kill them and release what would bring them life.

Knowing when to let go…and when to hold on. Wisdom is always found in this dynamic exchange.” (Lisa Bevere- Fight Like a Girl)

I feel so fortunate to have wise women of all ages around me; I learn from them and glean from their wisdom. I’ve seen the struggles a mother faces learning to let go of her only son who is know old enough to tread his own path. I see her cringe as she counts the cost for him shedding tears in the altars asking God for help to let go, and as she releases her grip she begs God to hold on to her precious love. If I let go God, will you please hold on? Often enough, this process becomes repetitious as she labors for surrender, praying without ceasing until her prayers are answered.

I’ve watched the barren women wrestling in the altars weeping while a mother nurses her little one in the nursery. I’ve watched the barren woman become a joyful mother of children trying to juggle her new life.

I’ve watched the strong woman who never thought she would be divorced cry with her daughter in the altar who just can’t understand why her Dad left. She holds herself together for her teenagers, but at night she cries herself to sleep.

I’ve watched the couple married for over fifty years that have been together for so long that they resemble one another. They fit with one another in such a way that when the other fades and makes his eternal home without her…she is left wondering what life is supposed to look like without him. I kiss her cheek and think, I miss him too and wonder how you let go of the only love you’ve ever known?

There is not an easy answer to letting go, no simple equation or formula, but I know that it begins and ends with placing our trust in a God who knows best and yet is so hard to fathom sometimes. If only it could be as simple as letting go of a rope and sinking into warm waters with flickers of sunlight illuminating the water with the smell of summertime and laughter in the air.

Even still He whispers hope in the ears of those who weep promising that He will never leave us or forsake us even when earthly fathers and mothers walk out on their children leaving question marks that last a lifetime, even when cancer strikes a child who is only eight draining his body from life and his childhood, even when your only son becomes a prodigal. A mother’s prayers still go up touching the heart of God and a widow’s tears are never unnoticed when heaven comes early for the love of their life.

This dynamic exchange of knowing when to let go and when to hold on is difficult, I can’t tell you what exactly that you need to let go of in your life, but I will tell you what you can hold onto.

You can hold on to God.

You can trust in God.

(If you would please take the time to pray for the Teis Family, Johnny is eight and was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last May. The doctor’s have given him six months to live and our hearts are broken for this family, yet inspired by their amazing faith in God.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Show Me Where It Hurts

The other night I had a dream. I can’t remember where we were, but it was my dreamer-friend, Keri and I. She was looking at me and I was showing her my scars. Battle wounds that I would have covered up years ago, one on my arm, the one below my jaw line that I call my manmade dimple. Some scars she could see as I traced the place where the wound used to be. Some blended in so well as time had changed them, making them smaller and almost invisible. But, I still knew where they were, the roadmap of my life, my hills and valleys.

I woke up and went on with my day, but from time to time I would think about those “scars” and how we tend to hide our hurts from those around us. We don’t want to display them, we would much rather conceal them for fear that our fractures and flaws will be all that people notice.

You see; I used to be a broken girl from a broken home trying to figure out why on earth God was calling me, of all people, to work for Him. God has taken my life, my tears, and given me a voice. With trembling hands and bruised knees, I ran to Jesus time after time and this is what He says:

“Show me where it hurts.”

With a gentle kiss and heavenly Band-Aids.

With a skillful surgeons hand, wheeling me into recovery.

With a loving rebuke and needed time-out when my wounds were self-inflicted, He has been my Invisible Abba.

Jesus Christ came for the sick, He is not a crutch for the weak, He is the ultimate hospital. You don’t have to clean up to come to Jesus or hide your hurts. Like a loving father, Jesus is waiting for you, ready to replace the brokenness with beauty saying, “Show me where it hurts.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The View from Where I Sit: Salt and the Light

I’m sitting in Starbucks sifting through old notebooks hoping to find something to “mine” out of the explosion of words. Around me are business people with laptops and paper figures speaking of percentages and payoffs.

Directly in front of me is a young couple trying to sell a woman on their “business.” As the young man pitches his amazing plan backing up his statements with websites and information directly at his fingertips on his Mac Book. I notice his partner is trying to seem interested and engaged and I wonder if she is trying to sell something that she doesn’t believe in.

She has completely checked out.

I get it.

Her eyes are glazed over, the double shot of espresso hasn’t kicked in yet, and instead of making a contribution she fades off in sheer boredom. She blends in, but she doesn’t stand out.

How many times have we felt the same exact way?

I know what it feels like to have eyes that have lost their sparkle. I know what it feels like to feel bland lacking a flavorful life.

I try not to stare at them as they sit completely oblivious and unaware that they are my subjects.

Whatever they are selling…I am not interested.

You lost me at the blank stares and far off look in your eyes telling me that you would rather be anywhere but here. It’s not your dream, your passion, and I’m wondering if you even remember what your real passion is.

When people look at my life; do they want what I have to offer?

Do I make them lean in closer, as they are about to hear about the ultimate payoff of eternal proportions?

If I am to be the salt of the earth, do I make them thirsty?

I am to be a light, just how much of Jesus shines through me?

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:13-16 NIV)

The Message says it like this, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (Vs. 13)

The view from where I sit leaves me with this:

Are we the salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors or are we one, fifty pound bag away from ending up on the cold ice as a deicing solution?

Oh, Lord, remind us why we are really here!


(Picture: Salt Crystal Chandeliers. I love the symbolism of the salt and light combined!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Our worth is not based on our merit, our appeal, or significance. Although I can assure you that our actions reflect a much different picture. You cannot put a price tag on it; you cannot coat it with another layer of makeup and enhance it. It cannot be found in another person’s eyes or in the way that you are treated.

Our worth and value is wrapped up in so many things, at times we long to find it in others and our loved ones. Craving words of affirmation and a tender touch, we ask for it without words. And sometimes in our weakness we ask in the form of emotional barfing and experience the sting of reality.

Our neediness is revealed, our hearts are tender, and we sit in the waters waiting for someone to throw us the lifeline of worth. Our neediness causes the rope of worth to be much too short. We are left with words that bruise.

Clearly the words hurled in our direction were not what we wanted to hear; in fact it was the exact opposite. We are faced with the harsh reality that the ones we are craving approval from do not speak our language.

Only God can speak the language that heals the hurts.

I’m reminded of a story about a little girl and her father on a date. Before he takes his first bite he begins to praise his daughter telling her how wonderful she is and just as he is about to choke down his first bite she stops the fork from entering his mouth and says, “More Daddy.” This happened repeatedly, “More Daddy.” Even though the father didn’t get to finish his meal, his daughter’s heart was full.

Who are you looking to asking for “more”?

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has a great reward. “ (Heb 10:35)

Your worth:

A mirror cannot show you it.

A man cannot assure you of it.

A magazine cannot strip you of it.

Your past cannot deny you of it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

He Makes All Things New...Happy New Year!

I haven’t actually made my “New Years” list. Perhaps it would be somewhat lengthy with things on it like “exercise more and lay off the Twinkies” further down on the list. But, if I’m honest I will admit to my love affair with refined sugar and leave that off of my invisible list. So, if I were to make a list the first thing I would put is this: dig deeper in the word and surround yourself with greatness.

Yesterday I did just that, I spent a few hours today dreaming dreams and praying with a dear friend of mine. We talked about being the salt and light of the world and living in a way that makes people thirsty.

Reflecting back on last year I know God as my healer and a God that is true to His word. The chapter in the Bible that I read frequently this past year was Isaiah 43, it was a lifeline for me when I felt like I was sinking and the waters were about to pull me under. But, now I don’t feel like I’m sinking. I feel like He is making all things new.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is 43:19 NIV)

“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” –The Message

Bursting means overflowing, absolutely full, and satisfied! And there we see our Lifeline pointing the way out of our badlands and offering us the satisfaction that only comes from following Him.

Whatever last year looked like for you, whether it was good or bad, God wants to do a new thing in you and in me. He wants to provide for His children and give you streams of living water in your wasteland.

Verse 18 in the Message says it this way, “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.”

Don’t keep a death grip on last year’s heartaches. Let them go and look to God with anticipation, take Him at his word.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6 NIV)

Happy New Year!!