Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Father Wounds

I don’t know why Dad treats me this way.
Unseeing eyes watched the gripping motion of one palm against the other. I am so tired of being angry. Help me, Lord.
Shaking his head, he pressed the heel of his palms against frustrating tears.  
Okay, okay, I know I need to stop judging and just forgive him – even though he doesn’t deserve it!

Then came the whisper:
“It is by free grace that you are delivered from judgment.”
A harsh sigh escaped his throat. Dear God, you are right. I need your grace every day. Of course it’s the same for Dad.
Rubbing a hand across his forehead, Bill remembered last night’s conversation.
Lord, I don’t know why, but I keep hoping dad will stop being so critical.
His father had gotten in the usual jab about the size of his law firm. I may not be a big shot lawyer like he was, but I do alright. I wish dad could accept that I’m not interested in the big bucks of corporate law.
And I end up angry. Every. Time. Dear God, forgive me for my anger.
The next whisper pierced his heart:
“Judge Not Lest You Be Judged.”
Closing his eyes in acknowledgement, he realized what he really wanted was justice for all the times his father had hurt him.
Yesss. I have been judging him.
The truth is dad is wrong to treat me this way but Lord, you are the only one who can judge him fairly.
Thinking of the strain on their relationship over the last several years, he shook his head. How had things gotten so difficult between them?
Dear God, I know he loves me and surely he loves you. Why does he have to act this way?

“Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.”

The whisper brought comfort.

I can’t understand him, but God, I know that you know what is going on. I just need to let you handle it.
Lord, I do choose to forgive him. Help me to trust you with this relationship.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”
This whisper confirmed his every hope.

Thank you, Lord, for your miracle of grace. Thank you for the miracle of forgiveness. I can’t do this alone, so I ask you to complete this supernatural work in me. In Jesus name, I pray and praise your holy name. Amen.
His shoulders dropped as the tension drained away. A smile hovered as a knot loosened in his gut.
Then came a fresh whisper:
“There is a wound.”
My father has a wound causing him to act this way? Lord, I don’t know what that wound is, but I ask for healing of his wound. Lord, I ask that you bless him with full revelation of your love.
“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.”
Joy sang through him.
Yes Lord, I ask for that peace in my father’s mind and heart.
Bill sensed God fully lifting the burden. It was no longer his to carry. His relationship with his father was in God’s hands, perhaps for the first time. His tears were no longer of grief, but of freedom.

Have you had a difficult relationship in your life?

Tell us what helps you deal with it.

Images courtesy of Kittisak and David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Less Than Perfect


Agile fingers tore through bright red paper to reveal Crayola’s biggest Art Kit.

“Oh!” Brown eyes widened with a tentative excitement. “I forgot I wanted this!”

Lizzie caught her daughter’s furtive glance under the tree. Was she searching for the one present Santa couldn’t afford?


Slowly she put the phone down.

“The kids aren’t going to make it. David has the flu.” 

Jake studied his wife’s teary face. “Oh honey, I’m sorry. How disappointing.”


“Have you heard from any of your brothers? Are we getting together this year?”

Mouth turned downward, Keith turned to his wife.

“I don’t think so. Now that Mom’s gone, it seems no one wants to bother.”


It comes around every 365 days.
We spend weeks preparing for it.
The food. The decorations. The. Perfect. Gift.

Expectations bloom so high our voices squeak like helium.
And then it happens—the less-than-perfect.
And your smile goes flatter than Wile E. Coyote under the Steamroller.

At this point, I remind myself to be thankful for all that I have–my loved ones, the roof over my head, more food in the cupboard than some Third World grocersand still find a hole in my heart.

I look at what so many have done to contribute to my life, to my family, to my special dayand still find an emptiness.

But finally I remember the baby in the manger and all that His birth accomplished in my lifeand my smile returns.

For we know The One who never fails.
The One who never disappoints.
The One who celebrates You.

And that perfect peace reigns once more in this place.
This place in our hearts we return to time and again.
This place where we pursue Him, and find that He pursues us.

His Place. His Time. His Day.

And our less-than-perfect becomes what we wanted all along...

A celebration of The One who IS perfect.

It’s never too late to find your Merry Christmas. 

Images courtesy of Theeradech Sanin, Stuart Miles, and graur razvan ionut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

“What is he doing here!”

“Is it Jake again? What is he thinking?”

The words were a harsh whisper from across the darkened room. Surely there could be no question it was Joseph’s red convertible coming down the winding back road to the ranch.

“I think Father suspects something.” Garret said, his eyes unfocused as he stared into the night sky. “Its not the first time he has sent jerk-boy to check up on us.”

“He’s going to get us killed, if he keeps this up.” Ricardo’s eyes glinted in the moonlight coming through the loft windows. “Get down there and try to wave him in. If we’re lucky, maybe Jose has yet to arrive.”

When Garrett didn’t move, Ricardo whipped around to glare at him. Slapping the stock of his rifle against his palm, he ordered, “Move! I’ve got you covered.”

“Alright, alright. I was just thinking we could let Jose take care of him.”

Dark eyes narrowed as Ricardo considered the notion. Wicked as it was, it would serve their purposes this night. Jose’s demands were a problem with no good solution and jerk-boy—well, there was no good solution for him either.


This is the opening of the novel I am working on during NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve never heard of it, yes, the goal really is to write a novel within one month’s time—or at least 50,000 words toward that goal.

I pounded out 5,154 words this weekend and have achieved 10% of my goal, so I am pretty excited to hit my first target.

I have had this story kicking around in my head for close to a year. It has taken this writing challenge for me to commit the words to paper. With NaNo, I have a daily goal of 1,666 words. A bite sized chunk. Writing a book sounds like crazy volumes of work, but 1,666 words—I can get my arms (or in this case, fingers) around that.

You can follow my progress, along with my writing buddies, in the blue box labeled 2014 NaNoWriMo at the top right of this screen.

The seven of us are praying that all of our 350,000-plus words will be For His Glory— All prayers welcomed!

Have you ever struggled to reach a goal? What tools have you used to accomplish your goals?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Walking Wounded

“I’m not able to go,” Jeanie said. “My husband doesn’t want me to drive that far.”

Karen could not believe her ears. Is she really using that excuse?
“Not your usual part of town, eh?” Karen snapped.
“I guess I don’t venture very far from home, especially after dark,” Jeanie’s words came slowly as she considered Karen’s raised eyebrow.
“Well, if that’s the best you can come up with, I won’t try to talk you into it.” Karen stomped away.
Jeanie stared after her friend. What did I say?
In a recent blog post, Jeanie Jacobson wrote about the happy resolution to her “strappy sandaled foot- in-mouth experience.”

Her story got me thinking about when the opposite happens and what’s intended as friendly conversation ends with someone offended.

Could my fictionalized version of Karen be sensitive about where she lives? Maybe she was teased for growing up in a poor neighborhood, or maybe she imagines Jeanie’s fancy neighborhood makes her look inferior.
Life is a bumpy ride and we tend to pick up bruises along the way. If we haven’t asked God to heal them, we may be among the “walking wounded.” 

Like furniture that jumps into the path of a recently stubbed toe, the Walking Wounded can be hurt in unexpected ways.
When you get a reaction that seems out of place, you have likely bumped into a spiritually sore toe. 

How can we help our wounded friends?
  1. Pray. Ask God for insight. He knows what the issue is.
  2. Give grace for the unknown issue that God is working out in their life.
  3. Forgive them. If you were offended by their response, the ball is now in your “forgiveness court.”
  4. Say you’re sorry—even though you don’t understand why they are upset. Don't raise the issue of their inappropriate response. Just tell them, “I’m sorry what I said (did) upset you. I never want to hurt you. Please forgive me.”
  5. Thank God for uncovering the hidden wound and starting them on the road to healing. 
Your response of grace may well be the seed that brings God’s healing to their wounded heart.

What do you do when you recognize yourself as one of the Walking Wounded? 
Generously apply steps 1-5 to Yourself: 
Give Grace
Say you are sorry
Praise God

(Rinse and Repeat as necessary.)

God has a plan for your life and His plan is for a full, abundant life! (John 10:10)


(Check it out: Our forgiving friend, Karen Cameron has a recent post on this site, entitled “Let it go”).

Have you had a Walking Wounded moment yourself? Have you ever been surprised by a friend's response?

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of num_skyman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Forgiving Myself?

Regret: A feeling of remorse for a fault or wrongdoing.
Remorse: Deep and painful regret for wrongdoing.

For years, I felt guilt over my son’s handicap. Brad was born in a small town hospital and after hours of pushing, he came out black and blue—like a cone-headed prize fighter. He had been through a battle and I later decided it was this battle that caused his brain damage.

Our understanding of his condition came in dribs and drabs. When he was a year old, a visiting relative told us something was wrong and we needed to take Brad to a specialist. That doctor said, yes, he has developmental delays but he will catch up. It took years before we understood Brad would not be “catching up.”

Periodically I would question every decision related to my pregnancy. Why hadn’t I stopped pushing when my labor didn’t progress?” Twenty miles away, the city hospital had all the fancy monitoring equipment lacking in our small town hospital. Why hadn’t I gone to the doctor who delivered babies in the city?” I was sure things would have been different if only I had made better decisions.

Years later, I expressed those same regrets during a prayer meeting. My prayer partners immediately called this out as “false guilt.” “If hours of pushing really did cause brain damage, the doctor was responsible, not you.” They advised me to renounce satan’s lie. Amazingly, years of guilt and shame fell away. I had only done what Mother Nature told me to do. I was not responsible for my son’s handicap.

I had never said those words to another human being—not even to my husband. But once spoken, the truth could be revealed. Like nighttime monsters hiding under the bed, the lie was enormous in the dark. But under the light of truth, it shriveled up and disappeared.

Satan loves to twist God’s truth into an ugly knot of torment. All it took was a hint of guilt on my part for satan to back up the “guilt truck” and dump a full load on me. This is why it’s so important to speak our thoughts out loud to someone else.

Our words, even the words we think, have power. I spoke words renouncing the lie and from that moment on, it has had no power in my life. The reality of my son’s disability has not changed. But while I still have moments of grief, I no longer feel guilt or shame. I am free to celebrate all that God has done in and through the miracle of our son’s life.

And while I count myself blessed to be amongst the forgiven, the guilt that was never mine to carry, has been crossed off the list.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your revelation of truth in our lives and ask that you help us recognize every lie so we can all walk in freedom.

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t forgive yourself? Have you ever suffered under “false guilt?”

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Inocence of (My) Man

Brad can't tell me whether you are a boy or a girl, but put a young woman with blonde hair in the room and you will find him close at hand. Verbalized or not, he seems to have this one figured out.
Brad doesn’t know if you are young or old, gray-haired or not. He does know when you are someone who likes him.

I try not to describe people as fat or thin, but when I ask if they are short like his mom, he can usually report back on that one.

When we went to the Jamie Grace concert, he described her as “the black girl with the yellow dress,” so apparently he does notice skin color.

He doesn’t know it might offend you for him to identify that. He just knows he likes to “jam out” and Jamie gives a great concert.

There is an innocence in not knowing or noticing these things.

Brad notices the person. The soul. The eyes that know him, that recognize him, and are kind to him. 

He sees to the heart  and will steal yours, if you let him.

My Innocent Man

Monday, October 6, 2014

Six Ways to (NOT) Help a Friend

When your friend is dealing with a difficult situation, do you call them? I find myself thinking, “What if they’re tired of talking about it or embarrassed by the attention?” I wonder if delivering a meal is going overboard or if I should just have pizza delivered and stay out of their hair.

While some are more socially skilled than the rest of us, here are a few things I know NOT to do:
  1. Give them advice. The mental roar of annoyance (Who asked you anyway?!) will drown out every word so you never have to worry about whether the advice you give is any good.
  2. Be their conscience. If you think they aren’t listening to God’s voice, step right in and tell them what you think God wants them to know. This is your opportunity to stunt their spiritual growth since they likely no longer want to hear from God.
  3. Tell them about your similar (or different!) problem. This demonstrates your ability to focus on yourself and ignore their pain. Watch for the eye roll here. You will know you’ve been consistent in your approach if you get the official eye roll.
  4. If their problem is you, tell them you are sorry and be sure to explain what they did to cause your behavior. This demonstrates your skill in avoiding responsibility and is a surefire way to end most relationships —which means you will never have to apologize again!
  5. Discuss their problem with someone else. This almost always gets back to them and people love to be famous. I promise you will never be burdened with their secrets again!
  6. Do nothing. This builds confidence in your commitment to them. You will never have to worry about missing their phone call again.

Every situation is unique, but here are a few suggestions you will find more friend-worthy:
  1. Listen. The best gift is someone you can safely vent with. Someone who will listen without judging. I want a friend who will eventually call me up to God’s perspective, but first I may need a willing ear.
  2. If I am upset with you, I just need to hear, “I’m sorry.” Anything else subtracts from the power of those words.
  3. Do Something. Call me. Invite me to lunch. Bring me a Latte. When you give the gift of time, it means everything.
  4. Say Something. Anything. Even if it is lame, it is better than pretending nothing is wrong.
  5. Encourage me. Give me ideas. Offer to brainstorm with me. Remind me, this too shall pass.
  6. Pray for me. I find nothing compares to the comfort of being prayed for. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16 MSG) No pressure here – remember Jesus is the only perfect one.

Difficult days come to each of us. One of the ways He delivers help is through our friends and loved ones.

We can be tempted to grow weary and withdraw rather than pursue the one who is struggling. We can ask God to help us be willing to offer the sacrifice of time and energy when we have a friend in need.

God doesn’t promise an easy life. He does promise to be with us every step of the way (Deut 31:8).


What have you found to be the most helpful? What have your friends done that helped you through a tough time? How have you been able to encourage others?

Image courtesy of tiverylucky & bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net