Monday, December 07, 2015

When Love Comes Close


"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel around himself" (John 13:3-5).
It seems so crazy to hold this passage close to my heart right now.  We are in the middle of the Advent season, when we look with anticipation to the arrival of Baby Jesus, born in a manger, and here I am, my heart full of a story of Jesus washing His disciples' feet.  But the wonder of it all is that Jesus has stepped into life with us.  He steps into our joy and celebration.  He also steps unflinchingly into our deepest anguish.  And He washes our lives with His mercy.
I hold this passage close because joy and anguish are both at home in my heart.  I continue to think about the family across town hurting beyond words.  And then I look into the faces of my boys, rambunctious as they are, and see within them Light that makes me smile.  Jesus is in all of it. 
When He removed His robe that night, taking dirty, calloused feet in hand, He was telling us His story.  Not so much in words, but through the humble act of cleansing away the grime and the grit ordinary living, all those things we can't help stepping in because we are human.  During Advent and Christmas, we relish the beginnings of this Holy story. 
We love the wonder of the Nativity.  We sing glorious songs about it.  We easily invite strangers into it's joy.  Yet it is in this celebrated birth that Jesus has left so much of His Glory behind, coming to us in vulnerable flesh, a human form that will be vulnerable for every bit of His earthly existence.  And He does not get to slip back into His unsearchable majesty until He goes back home to His Father in Heaven.  We hardly ever grasp what He left behind to come and be with us.  But He willingly, joyfully, emptied Himself of everything which could not fit into human flesh, simply so that He could be with us and do for us what only God as man can do.  He humbled Himself to dwell with us.  He is with us in it all.  
"Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness" (Philippians 2:5-7).
I want to say I am so in love with Him.  What I most need to say is that He is so in love with us.  He is crazy in love with us, not withholding anything of Himself, joining us in this life with all of its twists and turns, hopes and heartaches.  He comes near to us, nearer than our next breath.  He holds us close to His own heart.  He breathes His Life into us.  And through His death He opens up the way for us to draw close to the Father.  He gives us the gift of Himself, laying down His glory to join us in our home.  And then He gives us the gift of Eternity, laying down his life on the cross, opening up the way for us to join Him in His home.
"And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8).
I love the incarnation, this flesh-dwelling miracle of Love.  Jesus coming to us in all of our good, bad, and ugly.  What is so amazing is that even though He is glorious beyond what we can comprehend or imagine, He makes Himself completely accessible to us.  Because He chooses the most humble surroundings as the signature of His authenticity, I know I can invite Him into my humiliation and failures.  Because He chooses to make misfits His most cherished companions and disciples, I know He desires my company too.  The way He chooses to be present with us, no matter who we are or what we have done, fills me up; His choosing to come close fills my aching heart with hope.   He joins us where we are, filling our humble lives with Himself.  And by laying down His life on our behalf He raises us up to where He is.  This is why God honors Him. 
"Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
I am walking through this Advent season a little bit amazed.  The hard things come.  I feel the burden of difficulty in my heart as I pray for others.  Yet I am finding that the difficulty of life makes the audacity of His choice to be with us that much more astonishing.  The difficulty cannot dismiss Him; the difficulty draws Him. 

Would you care to walk about amazed some too?  Can you stand to think of Jesus walking through your ordinary day, especially drawing close in the hard moments?  Holding you up in uncertainty?  Smiling with you in your joy?  Guiding you with unseen Hands, but with a very engaged Heart?  He is here.  He is with us.  And He promises we will never walk through anything alone.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Prayers from a Broken Heart

I have a silver filigreed heart locket that I like to wear when I work in the Toddler room at preschool.  Inside is a picture of my oldest son when he was a baby.  I have found it is good distraction for little ones who miss their mommies, when conflict is imminent over a favorite toy, or when the day is moving too slow for toddlers who are ready and anxious for the next activity.  We talk to the baby in my silver heart, kiss him, tell him "night, night."  It is amazing to me how much peace this baby in the silver heart can bring. 

It was a gift from my mother during my son's early days.  It is also a reminder of the heartache we experienced not long after he was born.  He spent a week at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for completely preventable reasons.  I had never known pain like that before he was born.  And my heart has never been the same since.  Prayer for me during that time was a wordless scream.  And my prayers for others now who are hurting has been transformed in ways that are hard to describe.  I hold them, I hold their pain, in my perforated heart.  And in my prayers, I find my heart pierced again by aches which have no words, only silent cries of anguish.

This past week I have worn my silver heart a lot, even on days without toddlers.  It is a comfort to me as I pray for those whose lives have been touched by unspeakable tragedy. Like so many in our community, our world changed Saturday night.  One moment we were enjoying a quiet evening at home, having just returned from celebrating the birthdays of our middle son and my husband's sweet mother.  The next moment my husband was rushing out the door, with "I love you" on his lips and pain in his eyes.  When he returned in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I learned what a whole community was trying to comprehend:  a seven year old girl from the school where he is principal had been taken while her family was attending a little league football game.  Her body was found a short time later abandoned in a creek behind the high school where the games were taking place. 

As our country joins in support of Paris, mourning the more than 100 innocent lives who were murdered by terrorists last Friday night, I join my heart with those in our community mourning little Gabbi Doolin.  I pray in hope that Love can go where I cannot, where words cannot, where only the most raw and tender heartbreak lives.  I pray for the Healing Balm that, instead of trying to fix what is irreparably broken, joins itself to the hurt and despair.  Only the Tender Mercy of a Broken Savior can travel to that place.  Jesus became flesh to dwell with us even in our most horrific pain.  And so I ask Him to.

I also seek to guard my heart.  I do not want to allow the foreign terrorists and this one very close perpetrator of terror to have the final say in my willingness to be a vessel of Love poured out.  I can see how quickly the fear and anger I feel toward this unspeakable crime can calcify my heart into an unbeating, unyielding fortress of distrust and suspicion.  I want to be careful to let God hold the springs of my heart so that His Healing Love can flow.  I certainly want to be wise as a serpent--I absolutely want to be wise to the evil intentions of those who seek only to steal, kill, and destroy.  But oh, oh I want to be innocent as a dove.  I want to focus my energy on being gentle and kind to those who need to see His Light and Life within me.  So that they can know He can heal their hurts too.  I don't want to waste the energy I have on hate.  Life is too short; life is too precious.

I have a friend who says that silver represents redemption.  I am so grateful that the memory of my darkest hour is wrapped in the silver heart I wear about my neck.  I am grateful it is also wrapped in the Redemption of a God who holds us all in His Heart.  And this is the God I pray to on behalf of the Doolin family and the Allen County Primary Center family.  This is the same God who loved us enough to send us His Little Boy, who suffered a violent and heartless death at the hands of the cruelest evil.  And this is the same God Who wrapped His dead Boy's body in the Redemption of Resurrection to give us Peace in troubled times and the promise of unspeakable Joy in Eternal Life.

It is almost time for Advent, that time of year when we prepare our hearts for Christmas, for the time when we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus.  It is hard to imagine how anyone could want to harm a life so pure and innocent, so filled with Light.  But evil was present then.  Unfortunately it is also present now:  the Herod's are still about.  But we know that the Baby in the manger carried with Him a Light that cannot be diminished by any darkness.  His Light and Love shine through even the darkest hour.  The love and support expressed by so many in our community, so many who do not even know the Doolins but who choose to share their heartache, are proof of that.  So let us
talk to the Baby born from God's Heart.  Let us embrace Him, let our tears fall and kiss His tender face, let us ask Him to hold us in this dark, long night.  It is amazing how much Peace this Boy from God's Heart can bring.

Friday, October 23, 2015


I love this scripture in the Bible--

". . . . for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29).

I like to let it wash all over me, to flow through my insides and wash clean the places of doubt.  I hear the immense Mercy in those words.  And Mercy is a word I have sat with a bit this week.  It is where I want to live, and it is what I want to extend because God has drenched my life in it.

I had been chatting with some of the ladies I work with, a couple of whom have children at the very beginnings of their college journeys.  One was explaining how excited her daughter was to discover a college with a major in the field she is interested in.  It is a bit of a rare find, and it is great that the school is close by.  As we talked I couldn't help pondering my own educational and vocational journey. 

The past year I have made peace with the place I am.  It is not where I thought I would land twenty some odd years ago.  But it is a good place, filled with much joy and deep meaning.  Everyday I come away with a sense that I am living my life purpose, just in a completely different form than I anticipated.

When I was still in college I began to sense God calling me into ministry.  So I finished up my undergraduate degree and packed myself off to seminary.  Tim and I married; I accepted my first ministry position as an associate pastor in a large church in Florida.  It was a bit like Abraham going off to a far and distant country not knowing his destination.  I had no idea how this ministry direction could change so quickly. 

What I thought would be a carefully designed path became a rollercoaster ride.  I began to discover that even though I certainly have the gifts and graces for ministry, I don't have the temperament that easily orders the life of a congregation.  So when I should have received my ordination as an Elder, and perhaps an appointment to my own church, I was instead working through a deferral process trying to figure out what shape ministry was supposed to take in my life.  I found relief and release as a Deacon, someone called to specialized ministry within the church who specifically connects the world to the church and the church to the world. 

And from Florida Tim and I packed up and followed God to a new destination--home to Kentucky and campus ministry. 

Campus ministry was great and awesome for nine years.  Everyday I would wake up loving my work.  During this time Tim and I added three more Wilson men to our family.  I soon discovered raising three boys is a full-time job on its own, and God once again uprooted me to a place where I could give my whole heart to being the wife and mother my family needed me to be and God was calling me to be. 

So He plopped me down in the middle of pre-school ministry.

The humor of it all is that my parents secretly thought I didn't like kids because it took Tim and I so long to have them.  I didn't spend hardly any time around small children growing up.  Honestly the best preparation for being a preschool teacher was the nine years I spent on campus. 

I am in my fifth year of serving Jesus by serving the smallest of the small.  It is a joy-filled place full of adventure.  I can never predict what my day will be like each morning:  I am never bored, and I'm often surprised by joy and the kind of  laughter that makes my face hurt. 

The shape of this ministry is so different than what I anticipated ministry would look like as a twenty year old.  However those same gifts and graces that were growing in me as a young associate pastor are alive and strong now.  Tim and I were having an honest heart to heart a couple of weeks ago.  He told me that I keep introducing myself as a preschool teacher, and I'm not.  I'm still very much the woman God has called into ministry and has intentionally placed in a preschool to serve as His minister.  I am still a pastor at heart.  It's just that my congregants are about three feet shorter than the ones I used to serve.  I am still preaching, I am still leading worship, I am still teaching the timeless truths of God's Word.  And I am still a shepherd to the most vulnerable in God's flock. 

Who knows how long this part of the journey will last.  God is always upending things and moving us to new places and spaces, teaching us new ways of living in to the call on our lives.  But no matter where I go, I take the song God sings over me and through me with me.  It is the same kind of song I have been singing from the beginning, only now I have guitar that He is teaching me to play so I can give it music too. 

Lately I have been wanting a guitar strap.  Mostly because I'm getting better at playing, and I really want to play for the kids when I do chapel at the preschool.  Since I'm a crafty girl, I kind of set my heart on making my own.  As I lay awake one night thinking of how I could make that happen, God reminded me of the Elder's stole that had been a gift when I served my first church.  It is a tapestry filled with the faces of children from all over the world, "red and yellow black and white," each one precious in His sight.  Just like an old stole can become a new guitar strap, the heart of this ministry remains the same, even when its shape changes.  And one more thing.  God also showed me that the shape of ministry now was always a part of His original design.  I didn't miss it or mess it up.  It was always in His heart for me.

So this is Mercy--that God would never forget or repent of the call He places on our lives.  He never turns His back on us or His hopes for us.  We may get side-tracked or side-lined, but God never changes His mind about us.  And no matter at what point we remember who He called us to be, it's never too late to accept His invitation to live the life we were created for.  It is never too late to say yes to God's call; just like it's never too late to start learning how to use those gifts He has entrusted us with.  For all those who have given up and given in (for all kinds of reasons, some of which may not have been our own), it's time to get back what we let go of.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Divine Serenade

Music is my true language.  Not that I'm great at it.  But it moves me.  When nothing in my life makes sense, the right song can make sense out of me. 

Over the last six months music has taken on a new dimension in my life.  I've picked up a guitar I laid down years ago. Now words and chords have woven themselves around the vibrations of my heart, leaving songs scratched on paper that speak order into the lovely mess I live in.  I love the feel of the guitar resting against my chest cavity, filling me with sound as I work the strings.  When I am numb to everything, the music reaches into my deepest heart and brings forth the springs of life.

I hear the echoes of God's love in the music. 

Over the last few weeks I have pondered this.  The image I keep coming back to is the one Zephaniah lifts up:  "The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you in his love; He will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival" (Zephaniah 3:17-18). 

We have got to get over ourselves thinking we have God all figured out.  The day I first really had a heart experience with this verse I was in campus ministry, having a really difficult day.  I think I read that scripture with a "yeah, right" sarcasm smeared across my heart and mind.  I was discouraged and weighed down with burdens I could not shake, yet I had to put all of that aside because our evening worship service was coming fast.  I couldn't show up defeated.  When I walked into our small sanctuary that evening, one of our young men announced that before we started there was something he wanted to do first.  He sat me down and proceeded to do a rap he had written in my honor, a humorous tribute he wrote to show his appreciation for me.  When I couldn't feel the presence of God, God literally sang His song over me in a way I could never have predicted.

Feelings never tell us the whole story.

These last few weeks God has been showing me that His songs for His people never sing themselves out; they are continuous streams of music that emanate from His heart for His Beloved Bride.  He always has a song for us.  I believe that true transformation happens when we begin to listen for those melodies, and allow our hearts to reverberate with the music of Heaven.  I believe that when the Holy One invites us to sing a new song, He is asking us to stop trying to force our song into His ears and instead sing the song He is already singing over us.  When the discord is gone, our lives come into a resonance and power that is hard to describe but a force to be reckoned with. 

I want that.  I want my life to be a song that makes others want to sing and dance and shout and rejoice.  I want my life to amplify the songs of Salvation, resonating with power and new life and love.  I want the healing Love of our Savior to ripple out in waves of restoration, and this clay vessel I am to simply be a speaker of His Grace and Redemption.  I want His Resurrection Story to be resplendent within me, so that those who hear will become His Resurrection Story resplendent too.  I want to join with all creation in the unending hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord.  God of power and might.  Heaven and Earth are full of Your Glory.  Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

God Is In The Fire

Last week I was in the middle of Chapel telling the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when God spoke to my heart.  It kind of took my breath away.  I was standing before our smallest children at the pre-school where I work, and I was choked up in the worst kind of way.  I had gotten to the part where King Nebuchadnezzar had thrown the Hebrew children into the furnace because they refuse to bow down and worship his golden statue.  And he looked and, lo, there were not three people in the furnace.  There were four.

And the words get stuck in my throat--GOD IS IN THE FIRE.  The tears gathered, leaking out.  My words catch as I speak them.  But I am certain God wants me to know this, as much as He wants these little ones to know the story of His faithfulness.  He wants me to know the story of His faithfulness in my life.


I have been in the fire the last few weeks.  It has been hard.  I have felt every insecurity, every doubt from the very beginnings of my life, each one creeping up with the taunting audacity to suggest that doubt and insecurity can never really go away.  The lies have felt so true, the ones that suggest my life doesn't matter, my brokenness cannot be mended, my truest self will only scare the people I love away. 

One of my favorite songs from the 80's is Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."  It's true, the fire is the tool of the enemy sent to destroy--to steal, kill, and destroy.  It was true when the enemy prompted Nebuchadnezzar to heat up the furnace and it is true now every time the enemy causes or piggybacks on misfortune, whispering lies to the vulnerable heart, keeping his prey defeated, discouraged, and despairing.

God doesn't cause the fire.  But God is faithful to meet us there.

I'm thinking of people I know who are surviving difficulties that are hard to imagine and explain.  Grief that rends hearts with the velocity of hurricane force winds.  Tenuous circumstances that isolate.  Unwieldy messes that seem impossible.  I peek into difficulties other than my own.  I tremble to speak the truth even there, but I know it is still true.  God is faithful to meet us in the fire.  If we are courageous enough to seek Him, to not allow the lie of the enemy to deter us, we will find Him.  He will walk with us through the fire.  He often does not keep us from the flames, but He finds a way to keep us within them.  And He is faithful in finding a way to lead us out of them too.

He has been keeping me. 

A dear friend of mine likes to remind me that the only things  burned in the fiery furnace were the ropes that bound the Hebrew children.  I also know that the Hebrew children were willing to face the fire regardless of whether God saved them or not.  It was worth it to them to worship God only.  Either way, they found freedom in the fire. 

Through the years I have found it too.  God has used the fires in my life to set me free, to show me that He alone is worthy of my heart's trust.  Anything else will destroy me.  But resting in Him, even when I feel everything consumed around me and within me, I come out on the other side sturdier, purified of things I couldn't get out of my system any other way. 

I don't mean to glorify the fires in our lives.  And don't go looking for them!  Just like I said to the smallest of the smalls in my care that day in chapel, fire burns; it is dangerous!  Do not touch it!  But any encounter I have had with God in the fire has changed me.  Not necessarily the fire itself, but the encounter with God.  It's like I don't have the energy left to protect myself from God anymore.  I'm more willing to be clay in His hands.  I'm desperate even for the help only He can give.  And that help changes everything.  His help changes me.  I would never choose to walk through fire.  But I treasure every gift of God's touch that the fire afforded.

So I guess this is my way of saying we don't have to face the hard things alone.  God is with us.  Especially where no one else can be.  And God's power in a surrendered life can do amazing and remarkable things.  Let us encourage one another with this truth.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Oh To See Beyond Packaging . . . .

One of my new favorite scriptures comes from Isaiah 11:1-4.  It says, "A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth."  This is one of the passages from Isaiah that describes what the longed-for Messiah for will be like.  I hear these words and Jesus with His perfect understanding becomes clearer to me.  He comes to us seeing the real stuff of who we are, looking beyond the outward trappings to see what is most substantial about us.  Because the basis of His judgments are not limited to what He sees and hears, He is able to make righteous, RIGHT judgments.  People are just not capable of that.  We humans do not have the capacity to see all of everything.  We can only go by what our eyes and ears tell us.  And our judgments are based upon  surfacy things. 

God pointed this out to the prophet Samuel when he took up the horn filled with oil in order to anoint the new king of Israel.  Samuel looks on the oldest of Jesse's sons and says, "Surely the LORD's anointed is now before the LORD" (1Samuel 16:6).  God's response cuts to the heart of every judgment human beings will ever make:  "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).  God had chosen David to be king.  But everyone around David had already written David off because of outward appearances.

My problem is that I internalize the judgments of others, and those judgments live on long after the person has been removed from my life.  They don't even have to verbalize the judgment; I can fill in the details faster than the info forms parents have to complete on the first day of school.  So real or imagined it becomes a part of the story I tell myself about who I am. 

The thing is, as I grow in my faith I know these judgments to be lies.  I can even come to the place of rejecting them as the truth.  But when the enemy attacks, he insidiously whispers those lies into my awareness again, manipulating emotion so that the lie seems more real than God's Truth.

God makes judgments too.  God sees things as they are.  And while the world judges and condemns or congratulates based on appearances, God is interested in our hearts.  God sees clearly and truly the way sin has shaped us and marked us, whether the sins have been our own or those that have come against us.  God sees, and God desires to make it right.  Jesus is the One He sends to do just that.

The thing is, God never judges the outside of things that we complain about or want to fix.  You know, the things that make us one of a kind.  Those traits and tendencies, the shapes and particularities of who we are.  These are the things God celebrates in us because He put them there on purpose.  We are His wonderful creativity manifest in flesh, and everything we would disparage as not good enough (because the world didn't like it) are the very things He rejoices in.

On the bad days, when I am under attack, I struggle to love all those things that are clearly the mark of God's handiwork.  When I hurt because I'm so afraid to feel the sting of rejection, I argue with God about the stuff of who I am.  But then on the good days, I see that it is those things I am most embarrassed by, those things most uniquely me, that God uses the most.  For those who need to know they are not alone in arguing with God over the shape of who they are, I share this is for you:

This is the packaging
He chooses.
I will never comprehend
what makes my
dustiness wonderful,
and fearful even.
My dusty self
is animated
with something
far beyond me. 
I cannot argue
with My God
and His Sovereignty.

But I do anyway.

"Why this package,
 Lord? Why me?
With all this
I don't see
the beauty
in what feels
an awkward mess.
I only feel the burden
of my thoroughly
human love.
But His WORD
my argument,
like bread broken.

This perfect LOVE,
so wounded
by my own
unwitting hand,
is reaching through
my questioning doubts
claiming me again.
"As much as it takes,"
His wondrous
His reach
retracing steps
I took away
from the pain
of being
loved and left.

And when at last
He finds
my shrinking,
hiding self,
He holds me close
to His
easing His
pain as well.

So I will let
You find me
in the hurting
that I feel,
trusting that Your
is enough to make
me heal.
I will yield
my aching self
into Your waiting
and I will trust
Your precious Love
that always

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Shape of Grace

I'm a week out from leading our church's Women's Retreat.  It was an amazing weekend.  And it was certainly good to serve the Body of Christ in just that way.  But it has taken me all week to process what the weekend meant for me.

In the very heart of serving I became acutely, poignantly aware of the way brokenness has shaped my own story.  What I realize is that the doubt and fear I struggle with is the fallout from the way darkness and loss have written on me.  I am grateful for reminders of how far God's love has brought me.  But the remembering can be so real that I forget I'm not that same girl anymore.  That I don't live in that same place anymore.

This week I have been incredibly thankful for my loves who ground me.  The man who holds me--when he doesn't quite understand what I'm feeling his arms around me make the feelings less potent.  The boys who hang on me--their humor and energy and blatant need of me have the power to pull me out of the past, bringing me back to the present.  And my littlest one, who so much desires for me to be a part of his world, who longs to be a part of mine--when the enemy feeds me lies, he reminds me of my worth as a human being.

It's hard to write these things.  People often believe and expect the ministers God has placed in their midst to be somewhat inhuman, immune to the heartaches and trials that everyone has to endure.  Truth is, every person regardless of status or position is still a member of the human family.  We all have our faults and imperfections.  We are all dusty from the ground we were made from.  I'm not going to pretend it isn't so.  When Spirit fills me to speak words of Grace to an aching soul, my soul is aching too, yearning for a word spoken to me. 

This week I've come away from serving the Body to simply being part of the Body.  I have been listening so intently for that Word coming to my own unfinished self.  Yesterday my littlest boy asked me to play with him.  I suggested coloring.  We pulled out markers and colored pencils and got to work.  With color fluid beneath my fingers, taking shape upon paper, God began speaking to my heart.

The darkness of our lives doesn't have to break us. 

What I see is that it is the very darkness I thought would destroy me is the darkness that gave shape to God's Grace in my life.  His Story unfolding within me.  I want it to be pretty.  So often it's not.  But it is hauntingly beautiful.  For every dark moment, every memory that penetrates my present, there has always been, and always will be, Grace that fills in the gaps of my need.  I'm afraid of my insufficiency.  But every time, EVERY time, God's Goodness has met me in the middle of my need, drawing me to safety, showing me Salvation.  Every time.

I want to say I'm no longer tender.  But I am.  I feel the ache.  I want to say I'm feeling someone else's pain.  But I'm not.  The ache is my own.  God doesn't ever have a problem with that no matter how much I do have a problem with it.  I am choosing to walk through this day holding His Hand, trusting that His Hand is at work making this story, my story, His Story within me, beautiful. 

And someday I will see the full picture of Grace in my life.

And I will rejoice in what I see.