Heaven’s Hand

Five treasures laid in heaven
neither by my choice nor by my hand
Precious pearls in faith’s storehouse
so much more than grains of sand
Five souls soar secure, untarnished, undefiled
safe in my Savior’s land
Five hearts never know sin guilt
or pain of growing earthly old
Five pairs of feet skip and run free
on streets laid with finest gold
Five babes my arms empty ache to hold
rest safely Home in Heaven’s hand.

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Stained Glass

Stained glass people fill the pew
wondering if they are really new
Bright joyful smiles on the outside
Hearts shattered  pieces  inside
Hiding from judgmental view

Oh, if the broken but knew
all the pieces  now askew
by the Savior are priceless fired,
His  Masterpieces love-inspired
windows we see God's mercy through. 

Broken shards forged to form a view 
of mercy, grace, and the Word True
His glory, your good  His desire
Shines bright from the heavenly fire
God's love through Christ makes you new.





When Lies Attack

My words went silent after I celebrated two years of sobriety. So many things happened and I had to wonder if the God who called me His own wasn’t maybe asking more of me than I am capable of giving. I have been questioning His leading and doubting He remembers that I am a recovering heroin addict, and that my weaknesses and sins number greater than the stars in the heavens.

My mind has been battling with the lies that plague so often. That not so little lie that the sins that I have committed are greater than the grace of God reared its ugly head again. The bigger than life lie that heroin has something better to offer than the comfort, grace, and love of the Savior taunted me. Everything in me longed for the prick of the needle and the rush of poison into my veins. I have walked this path so often over the last two years that hopelessness began to settle in the depths of my soul, like maybe this is what my life will be until I am finally Home. Maybe, just maybe, I am useless to God…

As grief and doubt overwhelmed my soul, triggers lurked abundantly close, and God seemed so far away. My therapist responded to my plea for help, even though I hadn’t been to counseling in months. I sat with her and shed tears, acknowledging that the torment of the past was on replay again. She, gentle and loving, guided me to the truth as I asked, “What do I have to offer any of the young women who God has placed in my life? How can I speak life to them when I can’t find hope for myself?”

And the accusations played over in my head, “Failure. Addict. Hypocrite.”

And yet Jesus spoke gently through my therapist, pointing me back to the truth. I have nothing to offer any of the women that I love and that I call friends. I come empty handed on my own, but when I lean in to Jesus, I have a heart full of the One who has everything to offer them. His name is Jesus and He is the Hope that I have. He is the Love that matters. The Light that shines into the darkness and the Water that gives life eternal is Jesus, and I am so thankful that even on the days that I forget or that my eyes become blind, He doesn’t change. He is still with me and leading me. His grace is sufficient and His Truth pierces the darkness.

As I lean in to Him, He equips me for the ministry to which He has called me. His Word is truth and His ways are right. And I was right. I have nothing to offer, except Jesus … and in the end, HE is the only thing worth giving.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are life scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 English Standard Version

“Whoever believes in Me as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!'” (Jesus’s words as recorded in John 8:38 English Standard Version

"Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from old.   
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; 
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!"   
Psalm 25:6-7 English Standard Version 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8, NIV

What about you? Is there anything in your life or in your thoughts that has kept you from obeying God’s calling on your life? Have you been leaning in to Jesus, trusting He is enough for whatever your current struggle is? Wherever you are, can I just encourage you today to lean in to Him, to spend time in His Word, listening to His voice? Jesus is the Living Water that is always more than abundantly sufficient!

Waiting in His Word

I follow a poetry site, and I openly confess that I am not a poet. Words are hard, and have not always been my friend. For all my growing up years, words were used to demean me and harm me. But then I touched the edge of the garment of the Man who said I mattered (Matt. 8:44, 14:36), who said that He knew not just what was done to me, but what I had done. And it is this Man who spoke words of love and affirmation to me, words that acknowledged not only what I had done that was wrong (I openly call sin), but that He loved me enough to carry the judgment for that sin on His shoulders. His love engulfed me and through His stripes I am healed. (Isaiah 53:5) Forgiveness was poured out on me, is poured out on me, through Jesus Christ.

I don’t know about you, but everyday presents a new challenge and a new opportunity to trust the One who offered the edge of His garment or to try to do the healing and laboring on my own. Today I leaned in close and heard my Savior Jesus whisper, “Rest. Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations.” (Psalm 46:10) Oh, what a message for my battle weary heart. Quit. Just surrender to the King of Kings and acknowledge that He is sovereign over all the things that are bothering my troubled heart. Lay down my weapons and my self-reliance. Lay down the desire to be someone that matters. Surrender the need to be right and to carry others. Lay down the responsibility for everyone else’s salvation. Give Him the financial mess that our family is in and let Him work it out. Wait for His provision. I am incapable of fixing any of those things on my own. The Lord is God. He will be exalted among the nations – He will, not me. He will be the One to receive the glory and the honor and the praise. He will rule over every heart, even those that don’t acknowledge Him today.

Today, my battle weary soul is choosing to rest in the truth of His Word, to believe, even though I can not see. I am blind and deaf, but I am choosing to believe He will give me eyes to see and ears to hear, that His love is enough. Today, I am choosing to believe that He will part the sea of financial devastation we are walking through and will bring us out on dry land.

What about you? Are there areas of your life that feel out of control, that you are trying to make work out a certain way? Are you ready to lay them down in sweet surrender to the One who holds you in His hands? His love for you is sure and His presence is promised.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” Psalm 130:5 (New King James)

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on hte Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (New King James)

How Will You Respond?

IMG_20190102_102321-e1546442880137.jpgSome time ago, an invitation to a wedding, beautifully embellished, arrived in the mail. Running my fingers over the shiny raised print with tears leaking, I whispered, “Where has the time gone?” Within the envelope was a smaller stamped envelope with a card that politely stated, “The bride and groom request the honor of your response.”  

This invitation brought the reminder of an invitation written long ago, not on aged parchment with elegant ink, not to be a guest at someone else’s wedding. This invitation came through the womb of a virgin girl named Mary. He was born a babe and laid in a manger. He grew in wisdom and in stature (Luke 2:52), lived the perfect life for the world. His invitation to us is not merely asking us to be guests at His wedding, but to be His bride. He grew to carry our failures and griefs to the cross, willingly holding out His hands and feet to receive the imprint of love.

Nail scars and the spilling of blood for you and for me is how God wrote the invitation to be his Son’s bride so many centuries ago. His love is one that overcomes our failures and shortcomings, our sins. Jesus’s death was not the final word. Three days after He was laid in the tomb, Jesus rose again – He defeated death and sin for the world. And yet, He carries those scars as a reminder and promise to love us in our every failure and every success, through every heartache and every joy.  

Just as I filled out the elegant response card to the wedding and slipped it in an envelope to confirm my attendance, Jesus is asking you to respond to His invitation. He is inviting you to not only attend His wedding, but to be His bride. When you accept Jesus’s invitation, He washes you and makes you clean of all your failures, sins, and stumblings.  He carries the weight of your guilt and shame to the cross and sets you free. He makes you white as snow and promises to never leave you. The debt you owe for your sins has been fully paid by the Groom who longs for you to be His bride. (For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23) 

Jesus is waiting for you at the alter, to take you in His arms and call you His beloved, to carry you through every heartache and to be with you through every joy. Once you call His name, no matter what the future has, joys or sorrows, victories or defeats, He promises to always be with you. How will you respond? 

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’; and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved; for in the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” Romans 10:9-11

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7

The Anguish of Addiction

“Therefore, I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 7:11 NAS Bible)

Two days from a new year and it seems the same old me just won’t die. I thought by now God would have won all the battles, settled all the pain, and enabled me to forget the past. He hasn’t, but I still know that He is good. He loves me and He has been gracious! He has healed so much of my past and put to death so many of the ghosts that once haunted me. Most days I don’t crave poison.

Even so, I still get stuck sometimes … I have been sober 663 days and my body still craves the biggest mistake that I have ever made. And some days, days like today, are SO hard that the tears of hopelessness burn my eyes. Permitting them to fall causes just as much shame as the craving. They would require an explanation to the family and a confession of how awful the battle is in this moment. Thankfully, the battle is dead in me most days – just days like today, I struggle to think straight.

Some days, the body remembers what it was like to shoot poison and it wants it. I usually know what triggers it, but not this time. This time it came like an unexpected punch in the gut and jolted me from sleep. I woke in the darkest hours of the night, my body begging the poison that promises forgetfulness, promises peace and life, but delivers darkness and death. I cried out to this God who loves me to help me. I cried out to those who have braved this storm with me, but in shame, withdrew my plea. In the end, I woke the man who walks this broken road with me. He held me while my body rebelled against sobriety. I laid there after he fell back to sleep, filled with self-hatred, regretting having fallen into this addiction.

I didn’t sleep until after 7 this morning, and then only for an hour. The tired from lack of sleep adds to the hopelessness of the craving. I have tried to take every thought captive, to speak truth to my heart, no matter what my body has been telling me.

God is good. He has carried me this far. He is not suddenly going to fail me or abandon me.

For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5, NAS Bible)

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17, NAS Bible)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”” (Joshua 1:9, NAS Bible)

“It is for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NAS Bible)

And the good news for today, if you are struggling like I am, is that He is still good! He is not going to turn His back on you or deny you. He loves you so much and is willing to go into the miry pit of whatever struggle you are facing to walk with you. You can not escape Him! How do I know? Because He tells us that repeatedly in His Word. Try reading Psalm 139 (especially verses 7-12) and notice how far His presence extends. There is absolutely nowhere you can go to run away or hide from Him! Nowhere!

Oh, Lord God, thank you that Your lovingkindness is everlasting. Thank You, that in the midst of our battles, we can know that you are faithful! Heavenly Father, when our bodies, minds or emotions are crying out for lies, sins, or poison that lead to death, I am asking, according to the words of Your Son, Jesus, to sanctify us in truth. Please, Father, wash our aching hearts in the truth of your word. Strengthen us through the promise of your presence and grant us the courage and strength that come from knowing you are with us…you will never leave nor forsake us. Thank You that in a world that is constantly changing, You are sure and Your ways are right! Help us each to walk in Your truth. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

To Whom Shall I Go?

Spinning the little Jesus ring around my right ring finger, my thoughts were of denial. Opening the window, I removed the ring from my finger and told Jesus that maybe, just maybe, I had been through enough. Maybe I needed to just walk away. As I prepared to send the ring sailing out the car window as a symbol of stepping away form my faith, my heart asked one last question – made one last statement: “Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:69 ESV) And I knew that apart from the Lord, I had no hope. That without Jesus, I had no life or joy. HE is my everything, not children. 

And slowly, purposefully, I slipped the ring back on my finger, tears streaming and hope filling my heart. My resolve to follow Jesus and surrender the desire for children to him again steadied my aching heart.  As my husband drove the car, he took my hand and whispered, “I love you.” 

The weekend had been hard. We were at a marriage retreat when a close friend whispered her secret, “I’m pregnant again. And you know, I don’t even want it. What in the world do we need another one for? I am already so overwhelmed.” I know she didn’t mean any harm. She was just expressing her fears and concerns. She had no idea how heartbreaking it would be for a woman who desperately wanted children and couldn’t have them to hear. 

And then, the other woman announced she was expecting during a small group meeting. “I’m pregnant again. It’s what my husband wanted. I see no purpose in more.” Oh, another heartache. I, who had been denied the ability to have children, wanted so badly to be able to announce that God was doing something exciting.  Instead, two women who didn’t want children were blessed. 

My heart ached and my first response was to fall at the feet of Jesus. My husband and I  skipped the next session of the marriage retreat to sit together in our room, hearts aching and tears streaming. We prayed and spent time with Jesus together, but the pain still sliced our hearts. 

It was in that pain and grief that I spun the ring around my finger and wondered if walking with Jesus was worth it. That pain led me to an open car window and the desire to throw my Jesus ring out, along with my faith. But it was also in those moments of grief and sorrow that I discovered that the real blessing isn’t a child to be held in my arms, but that I have a Father who holds me in His. I have a Heavenly Father who is life and joy and whose love is sufficient, even in the hard things. He is a Comforter to sorrows and He is my stability during difficult times. 

You may wonder what happened to that Jesus ring. It was lost several years later, when a chubby fisted toddler that God had allowed me to birth (what an incredible gift!!) threw it out the car window while we were driving, but the Savior it represented holds true today. He has built my faith through the hard things and He has held me through the things that meant to destroy me.  

I am so thankful for that day when the words of Scripture coursed through my heart at my weakest moment. I am so grateful that He called me back to the truth when I forgot – there is no one else to turn to in the difficult, heart breaking days. Just only, always Jesus.

As you walk through the trials and difficulties of life, may you find that Jesus is enough, that God is present in your pain and that in Him is life. May He give you the faith to say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:69, ESV)

John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” (NASB)