could be anything. might be nothing. might make you think. could make you wish I would stop.
breathe people...everything is easier when you breathe!


favor, a christmas story

I sat in bible class this Sunday. Not my first choice. Still, they pay me to be there so there I was.
(I get paid to go to church. Jealous?)
The class was for 4-6 grade. The topic, favor.

She asked them again and again about this word. Favor. Mary found favor. Favor with God.
What does that mean?
They looked at her. She asked again. They looked again.
The other teacher in the room jumped in with a story about how his children found favor with him by doing their chores.
Ah, they begin to catch on. Favor = pleasure. Do the thing and people are pleased with you.
The first teacher summed it up.
"How do you get God to find favor with you? You believe. You obey. You do service to others."
And all the children nodded.
Be right. Do good things. Then God is pleased with you. You get His favor.

I went home and cried.

You know I struggle with this freedom thing. I want it so! I want to give it to others. (sometimes)
I sat in this class and let these teachers use their freedom to teach these young hearts that God has requirements for His gifts.
I ache.
This kind of talk is the reason I do not have my children in church. I do not want them raised in this place where sweet teachers lovingly teach them the exact wrong things about God.
I wanted to raise my hand.
I wanted to ask the question,
       "is this how it worked with the prodigal son?"
I wanted to tell the children,
       "this is not true. You have found favor with God. He is pleased with you. And you don't have to do anything...not one earn it."

I didn't say anything.
There is a time and place to call the truth to light. This was not the time, nor the place.
I just watched those God fearing teachers teach what they knew.
Fear God. Earn His pleasure. Be Good. Work hard. Get rewarded.

It is hard on my heart to go to work in a place that continually sucks the light from my soul.
That is so harsh.
I want you to know that this place is filled to the brim with really sweet people. I work with the children and they are delightful. Mostly I do not face problems with my beliefs clashing with the church boundaries. When you teach babies you get to say "God Loves You" all day long and nobody complains. There are no qualifications for  this statement. It just is.
I can get behind it fully.

Sadly, babies grow up. They become big kids who need to fear for their salvation. They need to be taught how to be and do all the things. All the things.
I get it.
There is a responsibility to train them up in the way they should go.

Every time I punch in I face the moral dilemma that I am quite potentially living a lie. For money.
If I told the truth about how I feel... about my journey out of church and it's teachings...
well, I think they would very lovingly agree that I need to find work elsewhere.
They didn't ask.
They said, "do you love Jesus? are you saved?"
I said yes and they said, "you're hired".
Not very responsible of them.
Just because someone passes a background check does not mean they are qualified, or even desirable to be teaching your children.
I have been left to run un-checked through the confines of the church walls whispering freedom to every little ear that listens.

That amuses me greatly. I don't feel a giant calling in this. It is simply the place where I find peace in the midst of this weird moral storm.
I'm a freedom ninja. <snort>.

I do not believe that Mary found favor because she was so good. I think she found favor because God gave it to her.
"Here Mary, I got some favor for ya."
The angel just told her what already was.
I don't believe she "earned" it. I also don't believe God regretted the gift giving when she doubted her worth (or His sanity) a million times.
I don't even think He considered backsies when she got in her secret place and told Him it wasn't worth it.

Later on in this story is a very important detail that we must not forget.
A sky full of singing angels were commissioned to tell us something.
"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests."

God is saying,
       (in his best stage whisper with the heavenly host shouting do-wahs in the backgound)
       "pssstttt...hey, I got some favor for ya."

You have found favor with God. 
He gives it freely.
He would like for you to know it.

Merry Christmas.


believe...this is not a christmas story

I do not understand what happened to the formatting on this post. Just go with it, ok?
I was asked recently to come clean about what I believe. I think I have done that here quite a few times but I am always ok to talk some more.

If you are interested, please follow along.

Let's get to the basics of what I believe. Digging deep here.
I believe in pro-choice.I believe that unwanted babies are better off dead than alive. I mean...heaven. Isn't that better than a life where you were not wanted from moment one. (this is much too big of a discussion to talk right now about God's plan and adoption and not seeing the end of things and all that...its always too big. always. I am choosing one small small piece. )
I believe that killing babies is wrong but I also firmly believe that the only way to affect change is to help desperate women understand the Love of God in a way no christian voice (to my knowledge) has ever attempted. I believe that the voice of love would step forward and embrace a woman on her way to a clinic. I believe that love would hold her hand and soothe her brow and help her through in any way that ministered to her heart and mind in that horrific moment. Then i believe that love would walk through grief with her. Never condemning. Only loving. Of course this love would change her mind if it were possible...but it would accept that it was not necessarily possible to stop it. then Love would treat that soul like one would treat one's own child...with compassion and love and restoration. I am pro-choice with the understanding that love outside the bounds of "right and wrong" might just work miracles.

I believe...that the Bible THE BIBLE is a beautiful book. I believe that it is valuable for teaching and for learning. Mostly learning. I believe it is for listening and for looking. I believe it is for understanding and for revelation. Not revelation of the violent end but rather revelation of the beautiful beginning. I believe the bible was given to us so that we can know our history. Our genealogy. Our journey. I believe that it was intended for our good and for our growth.
I no longer believe that it is the "inerrant WORD of God". That, would be Jesus as far as I understand things.
I no longer believe that we are to "stand alone on the word of God". To me, those words symbolize an existence that is built upon exclusivity. I do not believe Jesus taught that. The Jesus that I know (from scripture actually) was all about welcome. He was all about taking the words and works of law and making purity accessible. The Jesus that I know spoke to people. He knew them from the inside. He listened to their weakness and He offered freedom to them. I used to believe that His responses were filled with patronizing compassion. That He listened long enough to get in his velvet rebuke. "Go and sin no more" meant "yes, you did bad. and you won't do that anymore will you? good girl. now run along properly chastened."

I hear a different voice now. the Jesus that I have come to know and love says "go and sin no more" and He holds my hand while He says it. He feels my heart. My hurt. My confusion. And He does not rebuke me. He understands. He sees my brokenness. He knows those places that even I do not understand where the decisions I make today seem thrust upon me by past choices i no longer even remember. He holds me close as He listens and as He loves. And when the righteous ones come and condemn my Jesus for His compassion He explains to them about judgement. He cautions them and He redirects their "holy concerns" as he watches me waltz away in my new found freedom.
I wish we had more records of the beauty of our Jesus. He moves me with His beauty. His words and actions cross the bounds of time. I am learning to recognize the places were I was trained to fear Him. My heart breaks regularly when I see a new place that I so misunderstood as I read the words before.
I read the other collections of scripture and I wonder at the words of the followers of God. So many emotions. Such raw heart bleeding. Anger and frustration and hope and compassion flow freely as these disciples wrote down their inspirations. I believe that the Spirit of God, dwelling in these beautiful humans, was responsible for inspiring every word of scripture. But I believe that the inspiration was breathed with the same breath that inspires a beautiful sunset. I can describe that sunset with all my best words and never impart to you the exact moment that the sun dropped behind those clouds and made my heart sing. I can only tell you that it inspired me. And you must then take that inspiration and let it effect you as it will. And for every reader there will be a different interpretation of the same inspiration. that is the way it works.
That is what I believe.
When I eat scripture I almost always find it to be something new. Something I never saw before. Something I never felt before. And it fills me. It makes me feel large and small at the same time. It is all about me and nothing about me.
It turns me to my Papa to ask why and why and why again. I no longer see the words of Paul as whip and chair but as lyric and passion meant to stir my heart for the why. I do not believe that Paul had the answers. Only questions. I do think he had guidance...but I believe it stops there.

All this is no where near where I was raised. I believe that God is really comfortable with that.
I believe that church is beautiful. If you can handle it.
I believe that community is valuable and such a sweet gift from Papa God to my heart.
I also believe that a room full of ignorance perpetuated by purity is a sure place to find constriction not freedom.
I believe freedom is costly and frightening. I believe that freedom flies in the face of church because it is the opposite of conformity. Community as we know it craves conformity or it becomes chaos. Church in chaos is sure suburb to the very gates of hell. Just ask any christian official.
We talk about freedom but when it comes to distributing it we get selfish. I believe this. I live this. I want all the freedom. And I want you to be quiet while I enjoy it.
I don't want you to take any of my freedom and do dumb stuff. If you do ( and I am sure you will) you will surely ruin it for all of us. I believe that christians generally operate as if freedom is something to be handled carefully as if it will break...or will break us. We act as if we can't be trusted with freedom. We want it. But we don't. Rules are much easier to understand. Even if they pinch. You can gripe really accurately about rules. How do you gripe about freedom? It's just too
So we need to have freedom defined. None of this...or that...and certainly not thaaaat....because that will lead to something really bad and then...well...see, you can't handle the freedom so just follow these instructions and we will all feel better. k?
I believe freedom is what Jesus promises. And I believe that the whole of christendom is really uncomfortable with the thought.

I believe that divorce sucks. I believe that when someone biblically famous said "God hates divorce" he was right on.
I have walked through divorce many times with family and friends and I can see that there is no good way to get through it.
And I believe it is absolutely necessary in too many situations to list here.
I believe christians have been duped into miserable married lives under the auspices of honor and covenant.
Sometimes you just need to go. And I believe God hates it. Not hates you. Hates it. And all that it does to your heart and the hearts of those that feel the pain with you. But I also believe that God hates the pain some marriages cause. I am no expert on any of this. I am just saying I believe "God hates divorce" is just as simple as the three words. God. Hates. Divorce.
And so does everyone else on the planet. Its not rocket science. And it is certainly not a place to hang our purity hat.

I believe, with all my heart, that what I know amounts to a whole lot of nothing in the grand scheme of things. I am not saying that I know nothing. I am saying that I believe that it doesn't amount to much really. There is not self depreciation at play here. Just "I don't know". Furthermore...I am finding that "I don't care". I don't have to know. I don't get to know. It doesn't matter really.
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I know if you are right or wrong? Don't I need discernment? Don't I need to judge something?

My answer...nope. Doesn't matter.
I believe that love is the answer. I believe that Love covers the I don't know. Because Love does know. And He has got it covered. Operating in love is not a new concept. Love covers a multitude of sins. These are old words and much maligned.
But they are true words. Scary words. Words that smack of freedom. Words that take judgement and discernment and give them a coloring book and ask them be quiet so the grown-ups can talk.
Love covers. And I don't have to know why. Or how. But when I do love...when I find it, live it, be makes all the other things not really matter.
Either you understand that, or you don't.
Pursue love. Be amazed at what changes.

One final thing that niggles my brain.
Hell. Do I believe in it?
Again...I don't know.
Again...I don't care.
I also don't care what it going to happen at the rapture or the second coming or eternity or judgement or any of any of that.
I know Jesus. I know He loves me. I know He guides me every day. I know He loves you and the child molester that never gets caught...the same as me. That is a LOT. I know that He has a plan for all of us. I believe Him to be inclusionary to the breaking point. To the maddeningly stupid point. People are gonna get in that I believe have no business getting in. I said it. I believe it. He knows this about me.
And He is still going to let them in. Prepare a super comfy spot for them. Love them. They are not gonna know what hit em.
And that....might well be hell for some folks.

I love you so much for reading this. I believe a lot of things that I never dared to believe in my past. I know without a doubt that some things I wrote here now will surely embarrass both me and my children sometime in the future. Forgive my stupidity and arrogance when called for.
Marvel at my wisdom. But only if you give me a parade too.
I don't know. I don't care.
If this means I am sitting on the fence then this fence keeps moving and bucking and I, well...
I'm riding bareback.



trust issues

Realizations of trust issues don't come easy.
I can say all day and night that I trust God in my inner core- but I think that must be a lie.
Trust built upon an elaborate foundation of the right thing to say.
I know how to think it...and even how to say it...but honestly- I do not know if I mean it.

Honestly, I don't even really know what trust means.

I have said it is my core. My base. And I thought it was my foundation.
I trust You, God. Whatever. No worries.
I always just stopped there. Let the words be enough.
But I am finding a deeper place. It goes beyond the good words. It reaches to places where it seems that trust may not be enough.

I found out a long time ago that you can't trust humans. They have proven to be full of it.
Full of good intentions. Delusions. Lies. Either they don't want to hurt you so they keep the truth from you. Or they want to hurt you so they twist the truth like a knife. Intentional or accidental, they prove themselves untrustworthy.
There was a point where I believed that being trustworthy was THE thing that mattered.
Then I realized that God loved me.
Even tho I, myself, was massively untrustworthy.
Trust wasn't the final thing.
I felt very free knowing that I could love others without having to trust them. I could put all my trust into the Creator. He was ultimately the only one that could be trusted. He deserved it.
So began my trust in God.
Really, truly, deeply I trusted. He got me through some verrry dark days. His promises always came true.
I trust you God. I trust that things will work out for my good. I trust that you have this all under control. I was full of trust.
And I loved Him for that.
I loved God for taking care of me.
I loved Him for always having the answers and wrapping things up neatly at the end.
I trusted that He knew when I didn't. And I was ok with that.

I'm not ok with that anymore.

I am finding that there is a deeper place than trusting that it will all work out.
There is a place where I am afraid that it won't work out. At least not in a way that I understand.
It goes dark places where there are honestly moments that I wonder if He can even get to me.
Can He see me? Can He hear me? Can He love me in this dark stink?

I go down in sometimes and fear there is no end to my doubt.

I just can't seem to get to the bottom of it all.
You see, there is this part that says, "CRAP! this is crap and even tho you say you care, you leave me hanging.
Are you weak?
Is the running of the world so much more important than my current need?
Are you there?"

I yelled at Him. "This just feels terrible! Terrible to say. Worst to feel. I know you know but I hate hate hate that it's there."
And in that moment... I felt different.
A realization I guess. A kiss from Heaven. As I sat surrounded by my doubt and my self-loathing for having that doubt, I realized that while I hated that part of me,
He didn't.
I do hate the part of me that feels weak and empty and doubtful. He doesn't.

"God! I hate this insipid fear. I want it out of me. I think that even tho you love me with the deepest love I think you must despise this part."
You don't.

That thought in itself is quite amazing you know. That you know the very depths of my darkest place and you don't hate it.
Don't hate me for feeling it.
All the negative things-embraced.
How can the God- my God- embrace all the yuck that I feel? How can He...You, put His arms around my doubt and fear and mis-trust and give it a big sloppy kiss?

This is more than just cleaning up my vomit.
This Papa-Mama-climbing down into the vomit pit- the slime hole of doubt and fear and mis-trust and anger and spewage that I have slipped into-
and kissing my sewer encrusted face.
Without wiping it off first.

This is King of the Whole World stepping into my crappy hovel of fright and worry (cuz that is where I am living at this moment)
and sitting cross legged on my crusty floor eating the food, my food, that is crawling with bugs and nasties.
And asking for seconds.

This is not just "Let me clean you up baby girl. Let me rescue you and make it all better."

This is -  "Let me love you here.With what you have to offer. All of you. Every bit. Precious."

I serve Him crapcakes...and He eats them.
It's the best I've got right now. The only thing.
And believe me when I tell you, they ain't served up on a silver platter.

Crapcakes of fear-rage-anxiety-inability and unwillingness to believe thrown in His face.
Again. and again.
or served by me, crawling face down-palms up, with the hope that He sees and will be merciful.
Because even tho I know he ALWAYS IS...I sometimes still feel very small and crouching even lower seems to help me feel secure.

He is very big.
Sometimes more than I think I can take.
And yet...

It settles me and makes me giggle to see the picture of myself.

HURLING my crapcakes at Him
OFFERING on my best broken china or my empty opened hand
HOARDING either fearful or defiant, "you can't have thissss"

And in every picture I see Him.
I see His face with soft inviting eyes look at me.
I hear His voice gentle as He whispers-
            "whatcha got? May I share?"

I wonder at a God that is so secure in His abundance that my lack doesn't scare Him.

I wonder at a God so in control that He finds no need to hurry.
He loves me first in these places of dark that continue to surprise me.
I didn't know that they were there.
But He did. And they don't scare Him.
I believe that He loves them. Because they are mine. And sometimes they are all I have to offer.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying that He wants me to stay in those dark places. But He loves me there. Treasures me there.
And in His time, when the dark is gone and the wounds are healed He will kiss those scars and we will weep with gladness, together. Because we shared that battle.
He knows.

So what am I learning about trust?
Today I think that I am learning that it really doesn't matter. Not to Him.
If I need it, He will honor it.
If it is broken, He will rebuild matter how long it takes.
And on the days where I have none and I spew vile things that He does not deserve, He will stay.
He will wait.
He will love.


JOY- this is what it means

I don't know if yesterdays post made any sense. I find that I think in circles and yesterday I just kind of leaked my brain out onto the keyboard and well, you see what happened.
Think of it as a journal entry. You picked up my journal and opened up to a random page to find me in the midst of a conversation...with myself.

I think it is important to note that I am first and foremost talking to myself. I do not have an agenda to change your behavior.
You take are of you. K?
But I am in a full on exercise to be me...unedited. I am curious about what I think, what I am about, who I am.
This is hard because I am a first rate mimic. I am also a lifelong subscriber to the JOY bus song.
Did you ever hear that one?
J. O. Y.
J. O. Y.
this is what it means
Jesus first
Yourself last
and others in between.

For the record, I do not necessarily find anything wrong with that sentiment.
My trouble started when I began to leave the Y off entirely.

I am beginning a journey to find the Y.
I think that there are many travelers on this road.

I believe in my heart of hearts that when I really understand how much Jesus loves ME, I will be way better at loving you.

This isn't just a selfish journey to find myself.
Notice the word "just".
It's not just that. But it is that.
Jesus already found me. He is my biggest cheering section. He has poured upon me a love an acceptance that I cannot fully accept...yet. I am shocked at how many times each day I am confronted with His gentle reminders of who I am.

When I see me, how He sees me, my heart swells so deeply and profoundly that I almost cannot breathe.

I have been created to be like Jesus. There is no changing that.
There are a million and one ways to see the evidence of that fact.
I am learning to recognize the signs.
I am finding that when I recognize them in myself...I am better able to see them in others.

Maybe I do kind of object to the JOY sentiment.
I do not think it is a linear equation as in 1,2,3.
More of a JOY soup. All poured in together.

Just thinking about that today.



The trouble is, I have to change how my heart thinks.
If my foundation is fear- then that is all I see.
But what am I to do if all I have ever known is fear. there is no amount of words that are going to magically change that.
I don't know if it is possible to put love on top and expect it to stick.
Like oil and water- they don't mix.

so love has to go deeper. Deeper than the fear.
Love- most assuredly in action first- going in to destroy the very foundation that you have built your life upon.

It changes everything you know.
Throws it all out the window. You thought you knew how to interact with people. You thought you understood what God, loving you, meant.
You didn't.
I don't. Let's bring this home....

I have only ever known one Jesus- one God- one Lord.
Taught from the beginning that He loves me no matter what.
That should be enough right?!

Sure, He loves me.
But I am pretty good. I don't really do bad things. Except, I do.
Because thinking the above thought was bad, as in arrogant.
Sin is sin right?

My heart wants it all to be equal.
larceny/ judgement
all equal. all bad.
The message is..don't go through life thinking you are better than someone else.
The reality is that you are all in need of a Savior.

Of course you get a scripture...
John 3:16
For God so loved the world. be translated...scum-sucking sinners.

Either you accept that you were once one of them and now you are a new creation...
or you are still one of them-perpetually- in need of the only worthy one to save you from your current, constant,
pit of life.

I do not see love- or freedom- in those statements.

what if...(two words that have the power to start revolution)
what if our perspective changes- just a bit-
one tiny shift to begin with...

Lets change our perspective on "world".
put down any thoughts of  "worldly or of the world."
disengage the mind set that all references to world ultimately mean references to sin and sinner.

close your eyes and breathe for a moment in the emptiness created by removing sin-
from world.

I am not suggesting that you are now the Savior.

I am asking you to consider "world" as...
earth- creation- people

Created by God and He saw that it was good.
God loved it. God SO loved it.

now open your eyes.
Do you see this world?
God loves it.
He loves it so much that he sent His Son.

I have always held the impression that we- the world- dwelt in the molten sludge-pits of muck and degradation and God in His Mercy sent His Son with a Heavenly fire hose to power wash us so we could be clean and worthy.
CALL ON JESUS! then get ready to get blasted. I mean do deserve it. And in love He is gonna blast you clean.

this line of thinking made me fearful.
and it also made me hateful.
and judgmental.

cuz I already did it. got hosed. whew. I'm good.
but you.
you could really use some hosing.

He will you know. Make you all clean and bran' spankin' sparkly new. CALL ON JESUS!

Does this make me more loving than Jesus?
Because my heart tells me that going around calling (or considering) people as losers...heathens...unwashed...wordly...
is not very loving.

Did Jesus do that?
Do His followers do that?

I know that you would never approach a person in pain and say "you are really in bad shape. You have screwed up your life because you are so ignorant. Let me tell you how to make your suckiness go away."

I know you wouldn't do that.

Would you ever say (in your heart or to your friends or to your bible study group)
I have this co-worker that is just so lost. Really worldly. Messed up bad. They really need Jesus.

What did you mean when you said worldly?
Do you see a scenario in which you pray and Jesus comes in and makes your co-worker clean and nice and ok to be around?
maybe you can honestly say that you love that person in your office with a pure love that sees their worth and wants them to be whole.
brownie points to you.

do you view the the slutty girl that is targeting your teenage boy with the same generosity?
how much love did you feel for the possibly high certainly stinky man that cussed out the clerk in convenience store while you were waiting in a hurry to pay for your power bar?

just think about it.

God so loved the world.


I gotta be me

I tried to be all riled up today but I just couldn't. Usually I write whilst all riled up. It is my muse.
Today I am going to write from a neutral or maybe even philanthropic standpoint.
Hang on tight.

A teacher friend of mine said something that I have heard so many times in the christian circles of my life. The statement was presented without malice. Actually, it was a call to the deep inner places of the heart. He called for goodness. He called for selflessness. He called out for us to honor our Maker.
And all his words hurt my soul.
The statement-(in thought and meaning, not directly quoted)

"I hope that in hearing this you hear my goal. That I would go through my days in such a way that you would see and hear my Father and not me."

I wondered at this thought. And for a moment, at all the thoughts I had encountered and embraced along these lines.
More of you and less of me.

How many times do we say it? How many times do we wish it with all of our good christian hearts?
Sincerely we plead, "Let them see only You, Lord. Remove me from this. Let only Your words be heard. Show me how to move and speak in such a way that the world does not see me, but only You."

We have been taught quite scripturally (John 3:30) that we are to be less to His more.
That the world should be seeing Jesus. Only Jesus.

And I am here to say...I disagree.

First of all, think about it for a minute...
what parent pats their child on the head and sends them off for their day and thinks..."wow. great kid. I hope nobody looks at her today. Or if they do, I hope that all they see is me."

what parent reads their child's beautiful dissertation and expects to be footnoted..."all thoughts and references mentioned in the above text are to be exclusively attributed to my Father."

what parent says to their child, "only use my words today honey. all your words are meaningless."

and what parent expects their child to love while saying (or feeling) , "you know, this is my Father loving you. Without Him I would not be able to pull it off."

[I have no neutral position on that last statement so I won't dwell on it.]

I do not believe that our Father expects us to disappear within His glory. I believe that He created us unique and worthy to be and do all of life as ourselves.
And I think that is part of His Glory.

I understand the sentiment. God of the Universe. He has good things to say! His actions are pretty spectacular and He never makes mistakes. More of Him. Really worthy goal.
I am not necessarily advocating a life of "look at me!" That's baby talk really. Immaturity.
We have been trained to see it as arrogance. A need for attention. Not very christian.
At the very least, not very grown up.
And that has become our worshipped goal. To grow up. Be mature. Lose the need to be seen.

So I just want to put this to you...
What did Jesus mean when He said...and I quote...
Matthew 18: 2-3
            He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
And he said: “Truly              I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

No, really.

Maybe He likes our immature, humiliating, look-at-me, selves.

What if our the very core...are "can you see me?"

We are told from day one in our christian walk to put ourselves aside. we are told that we are unworthy and screwed up and mess makers. we are told that taking on Jesus is the way to be worthy because only He is worthy.
That is the nugget of truth within the lie...He is the worthy one if we are comparing.
But that is not the topic or issue here.

All He did, He did to reveal our worth. Worth.

He sees you. He sees me. He wants me to see I see myself.

Created. Unique. With a voice and actions that are my own. I am not Jesus. I am not God.
Why would I expect to be seen as such?

If He took the time to make me as I am (yes, yes and that is ever changing and growing more like Him because He is cool)
if He took the time to make, maybe my Father expects me to act like me. Not 'just' Jesus.

This joke has impacted me since childhood.
There is this preacher who gives an impassioned sermon one Sunday. He felt very inspired and sure that He had delivered the very words of God.
After the service he stands at the back and shakes hands with the congregation. 

One little lady says "Brother, those were good words your preached today."
The preacher points to heaven and lowers his eyes and says, "The words of God, Sister, the words of God."
And she pats him on the hand and says, "well, they weren't THAT good."

It is ok to be who we were created to be. We will most assuredly mess up sometimes. He gets that.
And I don't think it scares Him.

I have a need to be seen. To be known. To be understood. After all that is said and done I have a need to be loved because I am me.

I still want to be like Jesus. It is a worth-while goal.
But if I put my entire existence into losing myself to gain His glory then maybe I shortchange Him.

Just something I want you to think about. I'm thinking about it.



Went to an "exchange" prayer session yesterday. What?!
Yes. Prayer. Specifically looking for Jesus in those times in my life when I felt very very alone. view for His. It was good.
I got some revelation into my why's and wherefore's. He is good like that.
I want to just download a little bit of what I have been heart wrestling today as a result of that.

We saw the Lord uncover some vows that I had taken at a very young age. Not uncovered for Him. But for me. I had no clue. Except I did have some clue because now I see how these personal truths have scoped so much of my life. Truths that were not truths.
 I hate those kind.
My vows were based on never disappointing...anyone. Specifically my parents. But everyone in my world got the benefit of my promise.
I promised myself to be what you need. To make it ok. To never make you cry.
Perfect- basically.

A very heavy burden for a tiny girl to carry.
To be all.
I remembered my mom saying "you don't do hard things." She wasn't being ugly.
It was a thing I did. Set myself up for success. I was really good at evaluating a situation and not doing something that would lead to failure.
Vow to never disappoint, never do hard things ...

Seems like a natural progression.

Then comes the guilt.
Flooding in with the sworn profession of goodness and revealed when you see in your heart that good is not good enough really.
Then sealed when religion tells you again and again how un-good  you are. How much you have failed. How every sin is equal in the eyes of God and all of them pound another crack on the nail in His hand.
(for some reason, in my minds eye I always pound the left hand.)
Again- and again-
I have heard it all my life.
and I never made the connection....

The Guilt.
to know when you stuck your tongue out at your sister.
you hammered that nail.

Ate that cookie when mommy said no.

Wished plagues on your daddy for waking you up at 6 am. On a Saturday.
Bang. Bang. Bang.

I am really bad. Your child heart feels the weight.
I am really bad and the reason...Jesus...died.

I caused His pain. Hammered it in with my every failure- every disappointment.
How could one not feel guilty?!!
swamped and overcome. I am so so so so so so so sorry.

And yet...
I began to see Jesus there.
In that picture that religion paints so "heartwrenchingly beautiful".
Jesus on the cross- worshipped there...
Not as Lord of the Universe but as the place to put our badness.

We look up from amongst our guilt and grovel and see our sin nailed there...and we worship that.
See! See how bad I was.  How bad I am.
so many sins nailed to a cross like garage sale signs,
or missing puppy notices,
Wanted Posters.

Until the man Jesus is covered and obscured and the sin-failure-disappointment is flagged high for all to see.
lest we be proud.
but proud we are
twisted in our shame and guilt.
I did that.
Do you see.
I did it.

It gets very very heavy.

And somewhere in there the vows come round again.
I will not be responsible for this pain.
will not cause it again.
must not.
I will be smarter-stronger-sweeter...
the list goes on.
the vows go on.
To a burden. To Him.

And the impossibility of this situation in full of smackdown with the reality that you will fail.
You will.
Disappointment is inevitable.
Grown ups know this.
Children who make vows do not.
They only feel the pain of hammering Jesus again and again because they ate that cookie.

I know what I did. My heart remembers all the times where my mind forgets.
So I ask Him.
His opinion.
His opinion being...REALITY.
He says...
"Honey, you have nothing to apologize for."
Then He takes the hammer from my hand.

It was His choice you know. His joy.
I didn't nail Him there. He chose it.
For the reasons of the mystical universe and setting things right and all the theoretical mumbo jumbo that is religion and that I cannot understand.

and I don't have to get it at all. Sometimes "just because" is the correct answer to a child.
He chose it. It was His pleasure. His Joy.
For the joy set before Him.
I am His joy.

I am His joy.

I think about that. If there hadn't been physical persons following orders, He would have crawled up there on His own.
Those nails didn't hold Him there.
My sin doesn't continually hold Him there. Burdened, and blackened, and my lack.
I don't constantly cover Him with my badness.
He does not endure hell at my hand.
His choice.
And do you know what else.
He does not endure all hell breaking loose so that I can finally be all clean and good like I tried to be but failed at miserably.

But He does clean me up.

My sister (Mary) got some revelation during my exchange session. She said  it is like when my babies are sick and it is my pleasure to clean them up and soothe them and comfort them.
My pleasure.
His pleasure.
To clean me up.

Like I do when my babies vomit. I don't clean them so they can be good. I clean them because they are precious to me. Precious and good. I love them. And I know that vomit is wretched and I do not want them to live in that.

And they do not EVER have to apologize or feel guilty for being sick.
It is my pleasure to clean them.
It is not a burden I can't handle.
Think about that for a few minutes. I'll bet it will shake you up.

Another picture was given to me. A sweet memory. 
My Daughter, 10 months old, waddling out from the bedroom with a giant city phonebook in her hands. She is holding the book up under her chin and it drug the ground as she shuffled along. She was quite determined to carry it but it was just too much. she stumbled and grunted as she tried to remain standing.
My heart- my love- my precious baby
- burdened-
- so unnecessary-
It was my pleasure to move to her side and lift that book.
For her- and insurmountable burden-
for me-
no burden at all.
With complete ease, and all the love in my heart, I picked up that book- that burden-
and her
I gathered her in my arms and loved her there.

The weight did not overcome me.

And the weight does not overcome Him.