Walls of Water

I’m pretty sure all of my blog posts start out the same way. Nothing earth shattering. I’m simply sitting with my kids doing something normal, and suddenly the thoughts in my head turn to something that longs to pour out of me onto paper. It’s a fairly bizarre feeling and one that keeps me awake if I don’t let it out. So I do. This post is no different. It began with the simple reading of a Bible story on a normal morning with my kids. They had chosen to read about Moses and the Red Sea. You know that one? Of course! Egyptians, plagues, finally the Israelites get to leave, slight problem in the form of an entire sea in their way, God parts the water and they walk through, Egyptians drown. Yay! Right? But I’m reading and looking at this childish illustration of the walls of water on either side of the Israelites and my heart was struck.

In order to get where God wants us, we often have to walk through towering walls of water.

I tried to imagine the rushing sound of that enormous body of water as it completely went against its natural course and split in two. As the people watched dry land appear where before there were only waves. I’m sure it was majestic and awesome and they were deeply grateful. But then they had to walk through it. Put one sandaled foot in front of the other and trust that the God they had just seen take down a country plague by plague was not going to let that water fall down on them. That they could trust Him after years of slavery. That the very method of their rescue wasn’t going to turn into their demise. Was He on their side? This would be an easy way to take them out. They could all get in the middle of that sea and die there. And I wonder if this wasn’t part of the reason they had just spent a large portion of time and energy on the feast of Passover. On the consecration of the firstborn to God. On physical, embedded reminders that He was their God and they were His people. So they could begin to trust the One who built a wall of water on the right and on the left and choose to put one sandaled foot in front of the other.

And then I pictured them clutching children close as they walked through. Part adrenaline rush and belief in the power of a God who could do this, part terror that perhaps He wasn’t as concerned for their children’s safety as they were. Probably many miles of muttering under their breath, “Please, God. Please. You promised us the land. You promised us freedom from Pharaoh. You promised these children that they would be your descendants and would conquer.” It would have been a long journey of resting on the promises. But again, they had just spent an entire feast being reminded of the promises of God to them and to their children.

Once on the other side, as the realization sunk in that everyone had made it through safely, I think the knees would start shaking. Then, just as they were breathing a sigh of relief and wondering if perhaps God had simply made permanent walls of water and there was nothing to be afraid of, they would have seen Pharaoh and the entire Egyptian army enter that sea, confident that if Israel had slowly made it through, so could they in their sleek chariots pulled by fine horses. And the relief would have turned to a twinge of fear because they looked so powerful, so confident charging between those walls. Pursuing Israel with all the bluster and deceptive authority the Enemy can muster in those situations. And just as quickly as they felt the fear, a mixture of gratitude and horror took over as the walls came crashing down. On the right and on the left the kind of overpowering momentum only a massive body of water can produce. Covering an entire nation’s army. One of the greatest world powers. Gone.

I’m pretty sure at that point I might have vomited. From the exhaustion, fear, hope, awe, horror, and extreme gratitude of the moment. No glamour. Dirty, tired, but full of belief.

Unbelievably glad I wasn’t on the other side. That I was on the same team as this God who commanded the sea and the waves.

I don’t know about you but I rarely receive a call to go charging down a mountain on a horse “Man from Snowy River” style in my walk with God. But, boy, have I logged some miles with walls of water on the right and on the left. No way to pretend it was me accomplishing the salvation. No way to act like I wasn’t equally excited and terrified of where this was leading. It’s hard to do a showy walk on dry ground through a Red Sea lugging all that you own. Fairly impossible to look impressive when there are walls of water on the right and on the left. No way to do anything but put one foot in front of the other and let God bring us out of our slavery.

And I think our challenge will always lie in our mental and spiritual battle. Where is our focus? Am I looking at the walls of water – overwhelming, giant, insurmountable, dangerous, unpredictable, uncontrollable? Or are my eyes on the DRY GROUND THAT JUST SHOWED UP IN A SEA? The walls are so tall, but with a slight shift in focus the true miracle is beneath my feet. Dry ground. Simple dirt. A humble path from a God who rescues and saves. Not a yellow brick road that leads to a happily ever after. Believe me, we’ll all know when the happily ever after shows up. We’ll all be on our faces before Him. But for now, that seemingly humble path of dirt with lots of miles, and a desert, and some manna, and a bunch of quail, and a thirst-quenching rock, and eventually a Promised Land where we’re a part of His plan stretches on and I don’t know what’s next. Just one foot in front of the other. Clutching those I love close and whispering the promises God made to us. “You said we were yours. You said to go here. You said you would provide.” And He has. And He does. And He will.

I believe we must make it a priority to celebrate “Passovers” and dedicate ourselves continuously so that we are grounded firmly. Eyes in front. We are so quick to look back at what is known, even if it was slavery, and to be willing to stay in it. To think we would be happier if He would only leave us alone to do our thing. The thing that previously we were begging to leave. We beg for deliverance and then He says, “Move on!” How many times do we ask Him over and over and over what we should do next when we know good and well what we are supposed to do next! Walk on the path that is before us. The one we can’t control. The one we may not have chosen. The one with the scary unknown walls of water to the right and to the left. His patience cannot be comprehended by our finite minds. Thank God He doesn’t ask us for perfect faith and flawless performance. Thank God He accepts dusty feet…right, left, right, left. The battle belongs to the Lord.

 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.

You know what I want? I want to be the Israelite standing a little ways away from the crowd. The one with my mouth shut and my heart open. The one not using all my energy to complain that God rescued me from slavery, not telling Moses what he should be doing, not telling God what He should be doing, so that my ears might be the first to hear it. First a gurgling, then a swishing, then a rushing, then a deafening roar as the sea of my imprisonment does the bidding of a great God.

Our walls of water will always be moving, changing, rushing. Mine will be different than yours. Fear of a positive pregnancy test or a negative one. Fear of a spouse coming home or not coming home. Fear of waiting another year on a call that a child can be brought home, or fear that tomorrow the call will come and we will not be ready for the drastic life change ahead. Fear that there will not be enough, fear that we will be engulfed by the too much that is drowning and choking our society. Fear that there won’t be a tomorrow, fear that there will. Fear that there will be a diagnosis, fear that there won’t. Your wall will not be my wall, but the God who will hold those walls up and keep them from engulfing us? He is the Same yesterday, today, and forever.

Praying that I will always see the miracle in dry, dusty ground in front of me. Praying that my feet will always keep moving one in front of the other. Praying that I tune my ears to hear the first ripples of His plans. Because that dry, dusty path through the walls of water is going to lead to the Promised Land of hope and purpose as children of the King, and I don’t want to be waiting in my supposed safety on the other side.

Building My Towers

Tonight as I was lying next to my six year old daughter, she began the  usual easy questions my children choose at night, perfect for  when my brain is at its 30%, exhausted capacity. Questions like:

“How is it possible that God can have always been and not have a mommy or daddy?”

“What does it feel like when you go from here to Heaven and who takes you?”

“Why is God a boy?”

These are the moments when I’m incredibly grateful for all that memorized Scripture and Bible reading that we did all through my school years. It doesn’t always require brain capacity to answer what is embedded in your Spirit, thanks to the precious Holy Spirit Who is God’s special gift to parents answering tough questions. After those simple ones were out of the way, Kailey moved on to, “Why did the people think they could build a tower to Heaven? Why did they want to?” I replied that maybe they were looking for God, thinking they could be with Him or like Him that way. Then she asked, “Why didn’t He let them?” I closed my eyes and said, “I think He wanted them and us to understand that we can’t find Him that way, by working hard and doing big things.”

Before she rolled over to close her eyes she gave one more, “Yeah. They were busy building towers when He was right there with them the whole time.”

Suddenly my mind was quite awake and whirling as it does when God grabs my attention. Things I’ve been pondering lately came into crystal clear focus. Struggles I’ve had, insecurities, questions about what I am doing. Am I struggling with a desire to build towers to Heaven when God is right here all the time? In Genesis it says that they fired up their bricks and built their tower toward heaven, but God garbled their language, confusing them and sending them separate directions because there was nothing they couldn’t do if they kept going together. I don’t pretend to understand that scenario. But I can understand one way it applies to me. How often do I work so hard, striving and straining towards a task to “get somewhere,” and feeling desperately discouraged when my way seems halted at every point, my communication garbled, my goals not realized – just to realize I am already right where I’m supposed to be? Why do I look around at where God is working and get ready for a giant construction project when the only thing He wants fixed is my heart?

I’m going to admit it to you, I want to be Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp, Gladys Aylward, Amy Carmichael, and Sally Clarkson. I want to do the big things. But let’s be ridiculously honest here, I can’t keep my bed made and blog for my 20 readers regularly. Why do I always want to jump to the big stuff when I’m already drowning in the small? Why is it so easy to see God in every detail of the ministry and life to which He has called you…until you look at someone else’s? “But God, she’s my age and she WRITES BIBLE STUDIES. There’s no way what I’m doing is as important as writing a Bible study. That’s like having the queen or the trump card. WIN!” And God just patiently watches me start up my wearying, heat-stroke inducing fire and waits. And if I frantically scratch and claw my way very far, I find suddenly my communication gets garbled and I’m back again wondering what I can do. And He says in the words of my six year old, “Yeah. You were busy building towers when I was right there with you the whole time.” I’m not saying He doesn’t give us the call to do something massive and out of our comfort zone, but I think He often sends that calling one small step with Him on the ground at the time. We’re a little more selfless here and a little less attached there. Here a comfort zone zapped, there a boxed way of thinking brought to light, everywhere a constant change as He works. And I think we get a little caught up in where He will use us while He quietly simply says, “Here.” He is unlimited by my situation. By my surroundings. By the other players in my scenario. He is unlimited by my weaknesses, glaring flaws, and imperfections. Those are cracks simply waiting to shine forth His glory. What is limiting His work is my wearying trip to that fire to make more bricks for my tower that will reach toward Heaven when my work is right here in my present situation on the ground.

In the last year the Lord has given me a ministry beyond my wildest expectations. One that combines many of the things dearest to me. God’s whole and healing solutions for our lives, physical, mental, and emotional freedom for women and their families, relationships based on something meaningful, teaching, and all of this while serving my family at home and bringing in some income while my husband pursues his calling to serve the Lord in his area of business. You type it all out and think, “Wow! So awesome!” But you know what? In the very midst of seeing God’s work and preparation and seeing His hand moving, I second guess and look up towards the sky to see if someone else’s tower seems a wee bit closer to heaven. Truly troubled that I have fallen short when He had something else more “heavenly.” Weighed down as I start carting bricks yet again. Should I pick up the pen? Teach something at church? Adopt a child? Move to the inner city? Lord, what builds my tower toward Your plans? And His gentle reminder comes that as long as I build my tower, it is not truly Him I am seeking for He has been right here on the ground all along. That I can rejoice and delight in the things, big or small, that He is doing inside of others, even when they are the very things I would be striving to do. For that is their present with Him while at the same time it could become my self-constructed tower. He doesn’t require an audience or an official ministry title, He only wants me to stop striving and grow. To put down quiet, sometimes invisible roots, deeper and deeper towards life-giving water. To grow and unfurl toward the sun of His leading, and to bear fruit. Who wouldn’t choose “bear fruit” over “fire up bricks and build a tower?” You know why I think we do it? Because we’re afraid. It’s easier to build a tower to get somewhere big “someday” and use up all of our Tasmanian devil energy than it is to stop and face a God who’s ready for us to begin NOW. Because maybe our brick carrying is a distraction from the quiet kind of cross bearing to which we’re often called. Because it can sometimes be simpler to offer Him our whole lives than to surrender to Him our day and our attitude. To quietly and unrecognized push roots down through rocky, hard soil instead of building up through the clear, blue, visible sky. To unfurl our leaves showing our vulnerability and the gaps in our branches instead of making bricks that are hard and keep us fortified and “safe.” To bear fruit and watch it be used by others for nourishment instead of finishing our tower and using it to hoard our hard-earned spoils.

So tonight I throw water on my brick-making fire while I feel God throw water on my thirsty soul.

I choose the vulnerable and the open. I choose the messy and the rocky. I choose the sometimes invisible and misunderstood. I choose the freedom of laying down the show of a lifetime of brick work and instead choose to pick up my daily cross.

Today I will obey here. And tomorrow? Who knows! Maybe tomorrow my obedience will look completely different. Maybe it will even look like some of those things I thought about building my tower to find. Today I would rather be present in my “here,” than spend years building a tower toward the One I find has been ready to begin our work together all along.

Levi’s First Day of Kindergarten

I have been praying about Levi starting kindergarten for a while. For many reasons, it feels as momentous as my oldest beginning his education adventures, even though Levi is my third.

Starting school with John V was full of realities. Many things would not be easy or would provide unexpected challenges. But he has a strong desire to please and achieve. Kailey is so much like me. I understand how she operates and what drives her. That simplifies teaching her dramatically.

Now comes Levi. He definitely has his own style of everything. Why chew food when you can just swallow it? Why stay on the ground when you can climb? Why merely talk when you can sing everything like you’re the star of a musical? Why do something at all until you’re sure there isn’t a better (read crazier) way to do it?

So my prayer has been that I could give him a vision, show him that learning is not about fighting his personality. It’s not about him figuring out how to conform to a lover of desk time and textbooks. While that might be simpler for me, it could have potentially devastating results for my boy, created by God for something unique. But just when I might become overwhelmed with the thought of how I will teach him in that way when our personalities are so different, I realize that the same God who created Levi created me, and made me his mommy, equipping me to nurture and teach him as he grew.

We’ve been planning something special for a while now. Actually this concept is a few years in the making for us and through both some fun and some disappointing circumstances, we have been brought to this place. Then I felt God saying to me, “See. Even through years of situations, I can prepare you a way. Just look where you will be when Levi starts Kindergarten.” And I had to laugh. Why I ever wonder about anything is beyond me. When we depart from our plans and embark on God’s adventures, the results are magnificent. Challenging, sometimes taking every ounce of anything we have, but beyond all we could dream up.

So I give you our Back to School 2013 pictures. You can follow our adventures as we learn about volcanoes, mountains, rainforests, whales, glaciers, Lewis & Clark, the Oregon Trail, and how to have incredible interpersonal relationships in a few square feet with seven people for hours and hours as we travel the Pacific Northwest for almost a month.

You can follow our adventures at http://www.critzfam.com.

On average, the odds of this family doing anything in a normal fashion are very, very low. Why should back to school be any different? Bring on the learning!





33…A Letter to my Former Self

I turned 33 today.

A part of me is in disbelief that I am that old. A part of me is in disbelief that I have stuffed so much life into 33 short years. Thank you, God, for every blessing. I kept thinking of what I would say to myself a decade ago and two decades ago. Maybe I will be able to share this with my daughter when she turns 13.

Dear 13 Year Old Self,
  1. The crooked teeth, glasses, chicken legs, and acne will not last forever. You will survive. People will forget. Hang in there. Braces are still coming. Sorry. Your dad is right about how beautiful you are. You are wrong.
  2. That commitment you made last year to read your Bible every day? Don’t give up. Even when life gets full and busy. In a couple of years, Becky Greenlaw will tell you to write in your Bible and date it as you read. You will be so glad you did. Thanks, Becky.
  3. I know it often feels like you care more about people than they care about you. Hang in there and don’t give up. That’s not a weakness or a flaw. Don’t get tired; don’t get hard. Love with your whole heart, let it hurt, and the Giver and Source of all love will make sure you stay full.
  4. Keep your heart open to your parents all through your teen years. They do understand and they will help you stay the course. You will thank God for every way you listened, learned, and honored them. You will regret any instance of disrespecting them, even in attitude or tone. They have given so much for you.
  5. You will spend the next years serving with a ministry that will cause some to thrive and some to choke on legalism. Take the good, leave the bad, God is going to do great things in your life through what you learn, the experience you gain, and through the people you meet. There is a ton of truth at the heart of what you’re learning.
  6. I know you’re a nerd, but keep holing up in your room with those books. They will shape many of your ideals and values. But learn how to play volleyball. Pro tip: It works best if you open your eyes when the ball comes toward you.
  7. Keep up all the writing you do – the letters, journals, stories, and keep at the hardcore English work. It will serve you well. You will never lose your love for that outlet.
  8. You know those best friends you have? Jennifer, Rebekah, Casey, and very soon many more like Camile? Love them hard. They will stay important to you forever. And you will come to realize that it is not common to have girls like that in your life from the beginning. They will set the bar high for your friendships and keep you steady through the next years.
  9. You’re going to get another sister! And those two girls are going to always be a massive piece of your heart. Spend lots of time with them. Your years together at home are short. But there are many more years of sweet relationship afterwards. Listen to those precious brothers. They know you better than you know yourself.
  10. Everyone thinks you’re crazy because you say you want lots of kids. Ignore them. I’m not sure we ever experience the best things without some crazy thrown in. Don’t settle for a guy who doesn’t have your heart for a family.
  11. You’re not going to believe this one. Cutest guy you know…not only is he going to pay attention to you eventually, he’s going to love you. I just blew your mind. Keep focusing on Jesus and just save all that lovin’ for later. You will have a first love with the man of your dreams and you will spend every day thanking God that you married him. It will get better every year with everything that you share.
  12. You have a lot of ministry to pack into your teen years because you will marry early and grow up with your husband as a team. Pack it all in. The traveling, teaching, learning, etc. These are great years. And they shape a lot of the ministry you will have for the rest of your life. Don’t stress over doing it perfect. Don’t try to make everyone happy. Enjoy it. I know you feel lonely at church, but listen to your parents and invest there as well. Out of that will grow the most tremendous relationships with godly women and incredible families, and the job you will love with all of your heart. Jenni New is going to play a huge part in this. God will use her to shape you and prepare you. Jill Coan is going to ask you to teach homeschooling families who will mean the world to you. Watch those moms closely. They will teach you a lot.
  13. Another crazy thought. That room that you read, cry, pray, think, and yes, still play in – your beautiful daughter lives there now. But she sleeps in the other room with her brothers a lot. Like you did when the mouse was in the house. That happens again too. But you handle it better this time.

13 year old self, you are so loved. You are so blessed. You toddle with God now, but more is coming.

Dear 23  Year Old Self,
  1. You’re still figuring out this marriage thing, but you love it. You have no idea how much better it will get. You will never regret for a millisecond that you married him. And wait until it turns out he’s a genius! Just like you always knew he was.
  2. You feel distanced from your friends because you’re in different places, but you’ve made new married friends at church. You have no idea what just happened. Shelly, Chesley, and many more girls to come will be a huge part of your motherhood. God will intertwine your hearts and carry you through so much together. Celebrate this new beginning because it’s a big one.
  3. No birth control, two years, and still praying for a child. Your first pregnancy ended in miscarriage earlier this year and your heart broke. You don’t want to know this, but it will happen four more times. And every time God will gently carry you to a new place of sympathy for others, of gratitude for the miracle of life, of delight in the simplest moments of motherhood. Embrace the work in your heart of waiting. I know you’re scared that the thing you want most in the world will not happen for you. Hold on. Hold on.
  4. But now the good news. Next month you will find out you’re expecting. You will fight through the fears that you will lose this baby too, but you won’t. He will be your gift from God, your beloved firstborn. Your heart will never be the same. And motherhood will be more than you ever dreamed. You will literally love it all. And over the next decade your home will be filled with FIVE babies. Can you even take it? Sleep and eat hot food now.
  5. Continue to invest in your family. While it’s not on your radar, the next decade includes a move away. You will miss them. But God will teach you a lot and you’ll be back.
  6. On that note, enjoy your first house. You get to move three times in the next decade. It’s fun but exhausting. Your tiny first home will always be special.
  7. The next six months will be your last months to work outside of the home. Enjoy your relationships, the ministry, and all that you learn. You’ll quit before the baby comes because you’ve thrown up in every bathroom at the church where you work. So you just stay home to finish out the pregnancy.
  8. You have no concept how many baby showers you will throw and/or attend in the next few years. It’s mind boggling. Get good at it. Hospitality will become a huge part of your family for a season. Let go of perfection and enjoy it. When you get that snickerdoodle recipe, write it down. You’re going to need it a few times.
  9. Hold true to who you are, not to something you try to be. There is no pressure. God’s calling is not ever limited by you, only by your willingness or unwillingness to obey. He has big things. Don’t hold Him back because you don’t believe what HE says about you. You can do whatever He asks of you.
  10. The next decade will be a whirlwind. Try to stay present at all times. Don’t miss anything because you were there but absent.
  11. Clear your throat. God is going to give you a voice that will surprise you in ways you can’t even understand yet. Be an advocate for moms. Fight for their families’ health – spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Fight for their children. Fight against what is normal and accepted if that’s what it takes. Speak up, never stay quiet out of fear. If God gives you a story, tell it. If he gives you a life experience, share it. If He gives you hope and answers, love other women enough to pass it on.
  12. Stay strong and battle through as God takes you through a health, eating, learning revolution through your own health struggles. You have no idea the doors that is going to open. He is giving you a gift of knowledge by showing you early that changes need to be made!
  13. Continue to love people. If they completely and totally disagree with you in every way, love them. Everyone needs love. They need your love! Give it away freely.

23 year old self, you are so loved. You are so blessed. You walk with God now, but more is coming.

Dear 33 year old self, shall we throw off all restraints and just run with God through this next decade? I believe we will give it a try.

Finding God in the Mommy Mess

Tonight I stood in the kitchen in the house where I grew up and made salmon patties and thought about my mom. After I called my mom to ask her about her salmon patties. ‘Cause 32 year old mothers of five definitely still do that. Motherhood has been on my heart, not really because of the upcoming holiday, but because of where my heart has been. You know how babies go through growth spurts where they eat and eat and sleep and sleep as they take on inches or pounds in a short period of time? I feel I am there as a mother right now. I am craving more growth, more gentleness, more consistency, more follow-through, and, oh Father, more grace. I am running from formulas and seeking out Spirit-led mentoring, I am sensing that my years are flying and that, like those short nights of sleep, I will not feel they have been long enough. I am desperately looking for more ways to simply mirror Christ to my children because while I might question their diet, habits, learning, involvement, or any other number of pieces in their little puzzles, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that what they need is more Christ.

As I was reading and praying this morning something really struck my spirit and I began to think. Since the beginning of time, the enemy has been deceiving mankind with the same, old lie. I can’t believe we haven’t wised up and made him get a new one, but we haven’t. And he does it to mothers too. And even in our heart’s cry to be better mothers, we buy into tiny bits and pieces of his story. We begin listening to those whispers that if we will just pant after that forbidden fruit, which is anything except constantly walking with God, where He has placed us, then we will be wiser, better, more like God. He turns and twists the very desire God placed into our heart into something that distracts us from the Creator of that desire! We believe that if we can just “get it right,” or “have it together,” or be happy, fun, beautiful, rested, decorated, gourmet, etc. then we will be the mothers God wants us to be. We will be more like Him. So as I sat there, right before my one year old started screaming and then I fed my kids too late after everyone was already ravenously hungry, I thought to myself that I wanted to whisper a few things to you this week. This is probably being said in many places since I haven’t read a blog in a while, but God laid it on my heart to say it again to you here.

Don’t believe it. You will not be more like God when you finally reach that fruit of perfection that you can’t seem to grasp. When you finally arrive at that goal that you can’t seem to achieve. You, sweet mother, are like God when you do these things:

You’ve just lowered your weary self into bed and prepared to snatch some sleep while your mind keeps racing to all the things you didn’t get done today. Right as your head hits the pillow, you hear the cries of your baby. You think, “You are kidding me!” and then you get up, walk to that bed, pick up that sweet one and show her that mommy is right there. It is not because you have all the answers to sleep training and rest for your family that you are showing God to your babies, it is simply because you are there, training those hearts that God is available when they cry out, even in the night. –Psalm 121

You know that a kitchen full of dirty dishes is waiting for you once everyone is in bed. Not time to yourself but a to-do list the size of the Empire State Building. Your eyes are blurry, but that’s okay because you have this mentally stimulating book completely memorized…but you still read Green Eggs and Ham one. more. time. Because he loves it and you love him. You are not showing God to your babies because the book chosen will develop an Einstein brain, a Spurgeon zeal, and an Aylward heart. No, you are showing God because that small one isn’t really hearing, “I am Sam. Sam I am.” over and over. He is hearing, “I am loved. Loved I am.” – Psalm 16

You bathe the vomiting little one, take all the appropriate precautions to protect other children, prepare yourself for a tough night, place the big bowl by the bed covered in a towel, rub the sweet face, do your best to soothe the upset tummy, start the laundry, lay there until the tiny, suffering one is resting, stumble your weary, smelly self down the hall…and then go outside to clean puke out of the car seat. Because you are not showing God to your babies because your diet is so perfect and your health precautions so strategic that no illness ever dares to show its face in your home. No, you are showing God because is He not the beautiful Redeemer of messes, the Cleaner of our vomit, the Healer of our mistakes? Precious, Loving One. – Psalm 103

You put another load of laundry in the washer, in the dryer, you bless the person who invited the washing machine and curse Adam and Eve for shutting down nakedness as an option. You fold, and fold, and fold, and imagine that someday we will throw clothes in a hamper and they will somehow get clean and back in their drawers. You pretend that the pile of ironing is not taller than your toddler and wonder if body odor on clothing is really quite as bad as we act like it is. You wish that there was one job in all of mothering that stayed done for, I don’t know, fifteen minutes. You are not showing God to your family because it is all done and perfect. Because they never have to hunt for clean underwear or wonder if they still own that button-down that is probably outgrown at the bottom of Mount Wrinkled. You are showing God to them because they see you in the process of serving. Because sometimes we wash the feet and sometimes we launder the socks that go on the feet 9,878 times. – John 13:12-17

You wash another dish, kiss another face, bandage another knee, dry another tear, answer another question, walk another mile, and wonder why you can’t “succeed” when the success is happening right inside your heart and right inside of theirs. You know how I stood in the kitchen and made salmon patties while I thought about my mom? I can’t remember what she said to me on those particular days. What happened specifically. I know she was there. I know she cooked food for me. I know she was my mother. Success. Win. Enough. Why do we let the tempting hiss of the serpent become louder than the comforting lullaby of the Savior who has declared our efforts ENOUGH through His grace and mercy! And because we are all sitting here doing what mothers do and finding a new reason to beat ourselves up because we’ve been beating ourselves up, hold this verse close to your heart today:

I am the Lord, your Holy One,
Israel’s Creator and King.
16 I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
making a dry path through the sea.
17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt
with all its chariots and horses.
I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,
their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.

18 “But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me,
the jackals and owls, too,
for giving them water in the desert.
Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
so my chosen people can be refreshed.
21 I have made Israel for myself,
and they will someday honor me before the whole world.

Isaiah 43:18-21

Over and over He told Israel all that He would do for them if they would do one, simple thing.

Put Him first.

And we stretch for that dangling fruit of perfection when all the while He waits for us in the vomiting, wrinkled, dirty, unshowered, difficult, endless mess that is life. Beautiful life. I am ready to refuse the stress that will alienate my children from the grace of God and instead accept the grace He offers that will draw their hearts like moths to a lantern. I will always be trying to do better. To schedule, to be healthy, to be more efficient and productive. Always. Because He’s given me a job to do and I will die trying to do it well. But in that trying I will also be resting in the fact that the God they see is not in what I do but in the One I reflect to them.

Happy Mother’s Day, beloved ones. Whether today is Pinterest Mommy or Comic Strip Mommy, just revel in the fact that today is one more opportunity for His strength to be made perfect in our weakness. Let’s watch Him make rivers in the wasteland so that the whole world will honor Him.

Do You See What I See?

I’m sure many of you have seen this extremely touching video making the internet rounds. It shows women describing themselves to an artist who cannot see them and then being described by someone else. The differences are striking, and the perception of the other person is much more accurate than the perception of the person actually being described.

I think sometimes we get caught up in assuming others are critiquing us when they’re really not. We’re doing that to ourselves beautifully without any assistance. Most of the world has so much going on that there isn’t much time or energy for lying around minutely focusing on my flaws. But Satan would really like for me to believe otherwise. I believe it’s one of his favorite deceptions. So how can it be fought? I think this video actually points it out in a striking way. What if we shared with others our positive descriptions of them? What if we were more open in our praise and in our affirmation? I’m not talking about empty flattery; we can see right through that. I’m talking about taking those things our heart feels and blurting them out. Without concern for the conventions of society. Without the constant check on our tongue of how we will be perceived if we are honest in our praise. Sometimes I think we are far quicker to share the negative than the positive, as if that makes us smarter or more sophisticated. What are we so afraid of?

A few years ago I was convicted to do more saying out loud of what I felt toward others. I realized that many would never know the things I loved or admired in them unless I spoke the words. And I wasn’t going to wait for their funerals and make touching statements once they weren’t there. So I became the rather sappy person that I am. I make people uncomfortable sometimes. I’m aware of this. I tell people I love them often. I tell my friends they are beautiful, that they are wonderful moms, and I write syrupy things about my husband on Facebook where everyone can see them. And I genuinely mean every word. Because in the grand scheme of things I really don’t care whom that bothers. What if a sentence or two could reset a little part of someone’s perception of herself? What if a blip of encouragement could realign someone’s courage with his difficult calling. What if we used these sometimes questionable avenues of constant contact with one another for something truly beneficial? Yes, we can try to stand on the bigger issues, and somewhere some of that may make a difference. But what is that worth if I miss the boat in my own house, in my own family, in my own circle of friends, in my own church, in my own community, in the realm where God has placed me? What if I’m spending so much time and energy on the “greater good” of mankind that I am ignoring the “Greater Good” at work in me doing what I am here to do! I want to do my work. It’s what I was created for. If that’s standing in front of thousands, I’ll do it (with trembling knees). But I know this, what I say to one person tomorrow has just as much power as a speech to the masses.

I don’t want to be someone who draws attention to myself. I want to be someone who is a reflection. A mirror.

Years ago I felt the Lord call me to a life purpose. My name means “from the King’s court.” I wanted my purpose to be that wherever I was and whatever I was doing, others would feel they had drawn closer to the Presence of Jesus. So what happens to me if I can in any way become that reflection? What if when I am with others, they see themselves more truly, more beautifully, and what if they see their Lord more clearly? What if their attention can be drawn away from me and onto what will bless, heal, or nurture them? Then I am free. Free from fear of others’ opinions. Free from turmoil over others’ acceptance. Free from anguish over others’ rejection. Free, free, free. Less of me, more of Him. There is so much win in that, it’s indescribable. And I am a long, long way from it. But I see it there in front of me, and I take each little step I can toward that goal. And I hope that tomorrow and in the days after that I can reach the people around me with a more accurate sketch of who they are in the eyes of God and who they are in the eyes of at least one person who loves them. The tragedies of the last few days in Boston and here in Texas are sobering reminders that we don’t have all the time in the world. Now is the most sure opportunity. Maybe as the Church we could be known, not as those who draw sketches with pointed fingers where imperfections and flaws are magnified and focused upon in great detail, but we could be the Artist’s mirror reflecting back to them the stunning portrait of who they are in the eyes of Jesus.

You are beautiful. You are loved. The way He has made you puts me in awe of His master skills.

May I mirror to you the way He loves you.

Being Desperate Together Breeds Hope

Sorry I didn’t get this posted last night. I put everyone’s names in a website “randomizer” and it gave me a winner for a copy of Desperate. But you’ll have to wait until the end of this. 😉 I would really encourage the rest of you to order your copies soon and maybe order a second one to give to a mommy friend. There is no way that too much hope can be spread in our mothering journey. Never let Satan convince you that you are alone. Your Heavenly Father is there to walk every step with you, there are other mommies who may be doing things differently but can still have great heart and understanding for where your journey has taken you, AND I am finding more and more that there are always other mommies, closer than you might think, who will have situations extremely similar to your own. As Sally says in this book, in almost every situation where she found community, and hope, and togetherness, it was because she started something. She reached out. She drew others to herself. But, in order to do that, there has to be something inside of us worth giving. And never equate ease of situation, ducks in a row, or having it together with something worth giving. Those who give the most often give it out of their deepest heartaches or their greatest need. It is a crazy thing, the way life works. When we feel the most need, if we will reach down to our core, cry out to God, and focus on giving rather than getting, the most amazing things begin to happen.

John V and I were reading about David Livingstone in school this week as we studied the continent of Africa and different cultures and missionary efforts that have gone into reaching God’s beloved people there. One story was about Livingstone surviving a lion attack that came very close to killing him and greatly damaging his ministry effort, yet it led to him meeting the wife who shared his difficult calling. The story talked about thankfulness even when situations are difficult. I told John V that God is always at work. Always doing miracles. Always working for us. The question is never if He is at work, but are we truly looking with eyes that are open. He is not working for our comfort and our ease. Not for our glory or success. For so much more. For the part of us that will still be there when all this is gone. The part of us that, completely unbelievably, comes out of Him. The part of us that is His breath of life breathed into us creating us to bring Him glory. That can be done anywhere. Everywhere. In any situation. That Romans 8 verse we quote so often comes in the middle of a passage about suffering, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” An amazing promise. Unfortunately we use it in a way sometimes that makes it seem as if He’s promising to work for our good, in the way we want. A few verses before, though, is this one that gives me chills all over, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.”

Take a moment to let that sink in. Think about the greatest suffering you have ever experienced. The way it shakes us to our core. Threatens to crack our foundations. Drives us to shaking fists, or bent knees, or both.

But those sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

The overwhelming magnitude of those sufferings, the way they alter our lives forever, they don’t even belong in a sentence with the glory He will reveal…in me? The most difficult things we ever do reap the greatest rewards. Are you desperate today? Fall on your knees and worship the One who turns Desperation into Glory. Not through a Pinterest-worthy house, or a beautiful, nutritious meal, or a Bible study led to perfection…just through His beautiful, ravishing grace. Mamas, He IS enough for you. Today, tomorrow, next week, next year. And even more importantly to us, He IS enough for them. For those little hearts who have no idea how much their mamas want to do it right. Who don’t know how many nights we cry over the quickly said harsh words, or wasted moments, or over how we just can’t be the mom they need. But we can. And we will. The precious blood of Jesus was not shed so we could give up and coast through in survival mode. Stay with your Romans 8, friends, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I don’t know about you, but I need some kind of shield, sword, and a flag to wave right now. Let me at it.

There are different kinds of death that we face. One kind is physical death that comes all at once and this life is over. And we act like that is for martyrs in other countries and, “Praise God, that’s not us.” But I would contend that the question is not if we are called to death. I believe He calls us all to death. A death to ourselves. I’m pretty sure what was good enough for my Jesus is good enough for me, and if that’s where He wants me to follow Him, this girl’s going. And that may look like a missionary in a leper colony, or David Livingstone pushing through uncharted Africa, or it may look like me scrubbing my toilets and choosing not to yell at my kids this morning. It may look like me swallowing my needs and meeting the needs of my husband. It may look like not pushing through school work but listening to every, little idea and bunny trail that comes out of my son’s mouth so that he gets really heard while he’s learning and processing and we catch up on something insignificant in the grand scheme of things tomorrow. It may look like nothing about me seeming very impressive on the outside, but nothing’s gonna separate me from that love. And I’m going to give that love to these babies if I give everything I have in the process, and if no one else in the world understands it.

You are not alone, Mama. You. Are. Not. Alone. Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for your family.

Chills and more chills.

We are not called to “make it,” we are called to be more than conquerors. The last thing in the world that the enemy wants is for mamas to wake up. If He can keep us discouraged, focused elsewhere, distracted, deflated, then he’s in good shape. Otherwise, I promise you there is some serious sweating happening down there. Why do you think being a mom is so, stinkin’ hard? Why do think it drains life force and makes our knees bloody? Because it is a battlefield. And I don’t want to be caught sleeping on my watch. Let’s fight for these babies. And for our hope. And we can do it together. Grab your Bible, grab that book, grab a friend, do the reaching out and watch God surround you with the hope that comes from doing this together.

Oh, and Kristen D., watch for your package. 😉


People who know me very well know that I have a few things that it doesn’t take much to get me excited about. Well…maybe it’s more than a few things, but that’s okay, right? In no particular order some would be: Jesus, John, babies, children, teaching, family, friendships, natural health-related topics like essential oils, good fats, and fermented foods, reading, Jane Austen, chocolate, homeschooling, the Muppets, Dean Jones era Disney movies, Beth Moore Bible studies, goats screaming, hiking with my family, beaches, mountains, cooking, baking, travel, writing, history, the Marx brothers, houses with cool slides in them, tiny ballerina girls, baby animals…I at no point promised this list would make any sense, did I?

I generally don’t make ridiculous promises like that.

Anyway, right in that list for the last few years has been my passion for all things Sally Clarkson. I started going to her conference two years ago and it completely blessed the socks off of my year. In a 24 hour period I became a better woman, a better mother, a better daughter of the King. She has a heart full of love and grace for mothers. She shares from her experience. She avoids formulas and embraces the Spirit’s leading. She shuns criticism and “better-than-thou” mentalities and welcomes all broken, weary, hurting moms to the foot of the cross. I love her. She’s been around since my mom was having my siblings, and has blessed thousands of women with her message of the heart of motherhood. Please read her blog. Please go to her conference next year. Please buy all her books and share them with your friends. I do not recommend things lightly. I am sure she will bless you because she does not call you to follow her perfect picture of motherhood, but instead calls your attention to the gentle ways of Jesus. You leave time spent with her more in love with your Lord, your role as a woman, and your family. One of her most urgent messages is that women must not fall into the trap of aloneness. We are created for community, for encouragement, for older, younger, and same-stage women to walk this journey beside us. It is a true dilemma in this age of more far-away friends than ever before and less heart-to-heart friends than a pioneer woman in the middle of a deserted prairie (yes, you can read that in your Dolly Parton voice – I did).

Sally’s latest book was co-written with a young mom and is perfect for the stage many of my friends and I are in today. When you read the title, you will understand. And if you have a child who wrote in permanent marker on your wall, stashed apple cores in his closet, didn’t sleep through the night last week, decided to cry every time he had to write sentences, randomly concluded that biting everyone in his acquaintance was acceptable behavior, melted into a sobbing puddle because her brother touched her, forgot to brush his teeth for a week, fill in the blank with other unimaginable options, etc., etc., etc. (this requires your Yul Brynner voice from “The King and I”), THEN you will also want to read this book.

P.S. Please do not assume any of those things have ever happened to me.

P.P.S. But they have.

Enter the book, DESPERATE. Told you that you would immediately want to read it.


You want to read this (I am resisting another voice instruction). Get a group of your friends together to discuss the questions at the end of each chapter and watch the video of Sally and Sarah Mae you can access from the web. Read their blogs and be encouraged. If you’ve never read any of Sally’s books before, comment on this post and tell me why you want to read this book. What needs do you have as a mom, and how could you be blessed by knowing you’re not alone in your desperate state. In one week, I will do a random drawing from the people who post and send you a free copy of the book! So share this with your friends and maybe it will be you! If it’s not you, maybe one of your friends will be met exactly where she is by Sally’s caring spirit and Sarah Mae’s genuine transparency. Either way, it’s a win! And if you’re the only one who comments…well, then you have a 100% chance of getting the book! 😉 I want more and more women to begin hearing this kind of mothering message, and if I can do some tiny spreading of the word then I want to do my little part. We are not enough. God most definitely is. And He will meet you right where you are.

Beautiful Mess

I’m not sure I even know how to respond to the outpouring I have received since my last post. I was just a tired mommy sitting in front of a computer screen at 1:00am, pouring out my heart the way I felt God was calling me to do, and since then over 3,500 people have read those words. While those may be common numbers for many bloggers, they are not for this mommy writer for sure. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my heart. Thank you to the hundreds of people who have passed it on to others. I pray with every “share” that my letter gets closer and closer to the woman or women for whom God had me write that note that night. I am grateful that I can do my small part and then trust Him to use you to do all the complicated parts of reaching others.

Thank you to each and every person who has reached out to me with encouragement in my writing. Your stories of your own miscarriages, those you’ve known who have struggled through abortions, or your excitement that someone put your feelings into written words have blessed me more than I can say. It’s hard to explain the nervousness I felt the other night posting. It was very personal. It was my story and also my heart and passion for a group of women who are hurting. A part of me wanted to hold it inside and not lay it out there for everyone to see and read, and possibly critique, or instead of being blessed, become offended by my words. It’s a highly volatile topic, and I would often rather stay in safer zones. But I knew that in order to do that I would have to choose to ignore His voice at work in my heart. And, I have to tell you, of all the things in the world I do not want to do, ignoring Him is at the extreme top of the list.

As I sat there this morning and prayed over what happened the last few days and reviewed in my head the words shared with me, it suddenly hit me. The constant recurring word used over and over in the responses I received was the word, “beautiful.” Beauty? But at the core of my post was a lot of pain. The pain of loss. The pain of mistakes. The pain of sin. The pain of regret. The pain of emptiness and void. My friends, that is our beautiful Jesus at work, redeeming and resurrecting. I wonder just how much beauty there would be in our lives and in the world if we truly let Him do His perfect work in the ugliest, most tragic, most gut-wrenching parts of our story.

The first time I went through a miscarriage, I had no idea that I would be sitting here writing to you today. I was just in pain. Gut-wrenching pain. I had no idea that I would have five beautiful children. I had none. I didn’t know if a child was a blessing I would ever experience. I couldn’t look ahead and see where I would be today. But I couldn’t wait until I could see to make my decision. The choice was my void and my questions or His Name and His beauty. And, honestly, it was a choice I had made years before or it would have been very difficult to make in that moment. It is hardest to choose beauty in the dark moment unless you have already chosen it when the light was on. It’s like looking around your home at night, locking the doors, seeing that everything is in place, and then turning out the lights. You know what is there, who is there, and there is a sense of peace. Can you still have moments of question over what you can’t see? If you hear something different or sense something out of place? Of course. But deep down, you know what is there. But if you were to be sitting there with your doors and windows open, nothing certain about what could come in or go out or who was in charge, and then suddenly lose all the light, there is much more fear involved there. Did something come in that door? Where is that open window and what do I hear? Are things in place and is it safe to trust? We must choose His Name in every crevice and cranny so that when we are under attack there is no weak link in our armor, no open windows for doubt. No place of darkness where we refuse to see that He could do something in a far different way than we would choose. Would I have chosen to lose five babies? Not in a million years. Would I be who I am today without that being a part of my heart and my story? No, I would not. All I know is this, there is nothing life or another person can throw at me that is out of the scope of His resurrection. And if at any point I refuse to let His Name fill that place with His light, I am refusing the gift He died to give me. We are missing out if we only believe He came to give us beauty and resurrection after this life is over. If I knew there was no life after this one, I would still choose Him. I would choose Him for what He is to me today. What He was yesterday. What He will be tomorrow. I would choose Him because He fills up all the voids and brings beauty to the darkest of stories.

I am praying for each of you as well as myself. May we give it all to Him and watch Him create perfect, indescribable beauty out of every mess we give Him.

Dear Mama with the Unspeakable Void

I have carried ten babies inside my womb. Five of those babies have grown big and strong. They have grown hair and eyelashes, big cheeks and dimples. They have cooed and giggled. I have experienced that incredible moment when they were handed to me, healthy and breathing and crying, and the months of vomiting multiple times a day, and the nights of not sleeping because my belly was bigger than the rest of me, and the aches of bending over yet again when I just couldn’t, and the hours of intense labor and pain have wafted away as nothing. Because my eyes and my mind and my heart were full to the brim with my child.

But five times I have experienced the moment of sudden void when I knew that my baby was no longer tucked safely inside of me but neither was it safely meeting the world. “Too soon!” my heart has cried. To anyone who has not experienced it, it defies description when you realize that as much as you wanted your body to protect that life, there is nothing you can do. Nothing you could have done. There was life within you and now it is gone. And whatever scientific facts you’ve read about how many weeks along such-and-such happens or when it’s technically life suddenly aren’t very comforting in the dark when you are weeping over a void you can’t explain to another soul. Something was there. Someone was there. And now he’s not. She’s not. Who were you, sweet one? How I long to know! And you start to pick up the shattered pieces of your heart and hope that it will heal again. And by the grace of God, and only through His power, it does heal, and when it is restored you notice there is one more piece than there was before. And it belongs to that baby you just held in the palm of your hand. And the crazy thing is that all of your other babies, and your husband, and your Lord, and your family – they still have their pieces just the same, but there’s somehow room for this new piece as well. This is the miracle of God’s heart within your own. It is possibly the most beautiful miracle of all how His heart expands for each of us and then how He recreates that expansion in us, His creation.

There is so much discussion and argument on whether we are pro-baby or pro-woman. Let me tell you this with no room for doubt. There is no separating those two. Two heartbeats. We can’t choose one to protect and the other to toss aside. Wanted or unwanted, prayed for or dreaded, once there is life inside a woman they are connected at the core of their beings. Our heart beats out of our chest at that child’s slightest sadness, fear, triumph, or joy. And I can tell you, that begins early. There is no “abortion recovery” like there is recovery after your appendix has been removed. There is healing, thanks be to Jesus, just like the healing of any other loss. There was life within you and now it is gone. And whatever scientific facts you’ve read about how many weeks along such-and-such happens or when it’s technically life suddenly aren’t very comforting in the dark when you are weeping over a void you can’t explain to another soul. Something was there. Someone was there. And now he’s not. She’s not. Who were you, sweet one? How I long to know!

One Sunday because of a beautiful ministry at our church in Austin, I came face to face with the unspeakable void of a woman who had experienced that empty womb by choice. And the Lord grabbed my attention and reminded me that unfathomably worse than the loss I have experienced is the loss of a child by choice. She had spent a lifetime with everything she did, everyone she loved carrying her back to this choice made as a young woman. She had walked away from life that day and that choice became reflected in every other thing she touched, poisoning every relationship as she realized that she had embarked on a deadly journey, not choosing a better, freer life for herself, but a strangled, hidden one. It took her a lifetime to understand where to go and what to do. And do you want to know one of the saddest things about this “pro-woman choice?” Do you have any idea how many women are forced or driven into abortions by boyfriends, husbands, fathers, mothers, counselors, friends? But who lives with that void the most? Not them…she does. How many women realize one moment too late that they were told lies about what was inside of them? How many women find out too late that they had beautiful, redemptive options? This woman we are so determined to “free” from the new life within her will now spend the rest of her days with “what ifs” as her constant companion. Is any of this sounding pro-woman to you? When will we realize that, whatever you can concoct as your scientific backing for the viability of life, THESE WOMEN ARE DYING FROM THE INSIDE OUT?! Some recognize it. Others may not. Those aborted babies are experiencing perfection with their Lord while their mamas are living in a hell of grief. Pro-woman, this is not. There is no time for unending politics. There is only time for lifesaving search and rescue.

It overwhelmed me today that I needed to speak this letter on my heart to a mama. Not a Roe vs. Wade statistic. A mama. You became a mama the day you conceived that life. But you know that more than anyone else does. If you are reading this somehow, because somebody somewhere passed it on and it ended up on your screen, and you have walked this torturous road, then YOU are why God put me on this computer tonight. I don’t know who you are or why He wanted me to do this tonight, but this is for YOU.

Dear Mama with the Unspeakable Void,

I love you. Very much. I ache with you and for you. Our Jesus (He is every bit as much yours as mine) is so, completely big enough for what you have done! So, completely beautiful enough to engulf all the ugly, dark, evil, horror of your void into the great, shining, white, gloriousness of His righteousness. I want you to hear the same thing He has spoken to me those five times of loss. He has your baby. Let there be no doubt. We may have the option to make a choice for them here on earth…oh, but He makes sure that is not the last word! Each of those millions and millions of babies…safe. Safe. SAFE. And dear, broken mama, may we do a better job of tending to your open wound, your gaping void, before your very life pours out of it. May we point you to the Healer and Forgiver so that you in turn can reach women I never could with the truth. The truth of this “choice” and all that it means for them. Do not be afraid to open your unspeakable void to the light of His love. The enemy would like for you to think that it will hurt too badly, that you won’t survive, that you won’t ever be loved again. This is his lie to keep you in this pit of ignorance and pain. His light will bring healing at last to your emptiness. You know that miracle I mentioned earlier about the heart’s expansion to allow more room for more love? It doesn’t stop there. His expansion of love fills all void where He is invited. Even the unspeakable ones. Oh loved one, even the baby-shaped, self-inflicted ones. It is the simplest thing in the world to call His Name. See, voids cannot last in the Presence of the Name. It fills every crack and cranny. Try it. See if I am not telling you the truth. What do you have to lose and what infinite possibilites might you have to gain? And while many who have claimed to bear His Name have done a poor job of representing Him, there are many, many, many who would love you and hold you and help you on a path toward life again. He will show you where to go. He will send others to help you. Just like He sent this note to you.

May we find them all. May we find them before the void is created. May we offer choices, support, hope, truth. God, show us.

Luke 12:2-7