where the light leaks through

We spent a week with my husband at a camp he spoke at last week. We danced and clapped during the worship songs, and my sons automatically raise their hands up in worship. It feels good to know we are raising them in a worshipping environment. My husband reads them Bible stories every night before bed, we listen to songs about the Father as we drive down the road, and we run after the Holy Spirit like a wild goose chase.

I sat with a friend while we were away, and she spoke into our life. she listened to my story. Spoke confidence into my heart. Reminded us that we are tethered together. Walking in the same direction, tethered by God. For a bit in our marriage it’s felt like we were tied together, running in opposite direction. Then my husband sent me some words tonight that confirmed how tethered we are, walking in the same direction.

I remember when we moved away, I sat in my dream but I kept hearing Him say, “the dream becomes the curse when you worship it more.” And the more I tried to control the dream, the more it unraveled. But He was so kind, so patient. To let me realize and see in our own time. To give me the dream despite the posture of my heart. So I give it up, hand it over to Him and trust Him to do whatever He wants to. And He was so kind and faithful in that. His sweetness forever changed the posture of my heart. And I’m no longer afraid to outwardly express to Him the way my insides have always felt for Him.

I know Father’s showing us deeper things. I know I’ll never be perfected, but He continues to strip back the old ways. The old things. Bringing new things to life. It’s like standing on the tip of my toes, reaching for more. More of His heart.

There’s something silently holy in this, like the unsung hero. These intricate moments of motherhood. My husband is gone another week for ministry, and our sons play at the sink together, here at home. I sit on the kitchen floor, head leaned against the wall, soaking in the ministry of being their mom. The light leaks through the window, and the Holy Spirit dances around the room as my boys laugh together.

We are patient for His direction and we are here, tethered together. And the Father keeps whispering, a new song is going to come out of me. And I’m learning where to find it. Where the light leaks through.

Photo by Amanda Allen

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down in the dirt

In 2015 I was prayed over in visions, and the Father showed me a wolf that was chasing me as I ran to a mountaintop. I was fearful until a brave welled in me at the top of the mountain as I was able to turn around, look into his yellow eyes and kick him in the face. I got that wolf tattooed on my hand with Genesis 50:20. Because the enemy is always after our story. he wants to bite our throat before we make it to the mountaintop, where we can scream it out loud. There’s some sort of healing in ourselves when we speak out our story, then that same healing flows through to others. The wolf was catching up with me again the last few years. I was believing that what I said was just pointless words and I was believing that my story didn’t matter. I was hiding behind my husband and motherhood and anxiety and the fear of (wo)man. Then yesterday, my sweet friend gave me a prophetic letter with the mention of that wolf. I immediately looked at my tattoo and remembered the first time I kicked him in the face. I remembered what he is after. And that I’d rather lay my head deep in the dirt next to Jesus than to please anyone with silent words just to make them comfortable. There’s a time to walk quietly in the deep of the woods to heal and let go and there’s a time to turn around, kick the wolf in the face and use your voice. 🌿 you intended to harm me, but God’s using it all for His good..

Holding loosely

When I had our firstborn, I held him so tight. He was a gift from the Father that I fervently prayed for for years. And when he arrived, I was afraid to let go. I was afraid that if I did, I would lose him. He was my dream and I was not willing to risk any pain of loss regarding him, I didn’t completely trust the Father with my son and I refused to loosen my grip. The feeling of control that welled within me became too much to carry. The anxiety of keeping him safe at all times caused tension throughout my life.

It wasn’t until a friend gave me a prophetic word over my life a few years ago. She wrote me a letter full of words that no one else would know besides my husband and the Father. She mentioned my burden’s and my grip on the things I wasn’t trusting the Father with. Because I wasn’t trusting Him with the things He gave me in the first place. And it was all weighing heavy on my shoulders. Jesus was asking me to hand over a box full of my things, in exchange for His hand. But I was afraid.

I think the thought of a Father having better things for me was unbelievable. It was foreign to me. The only good memories I have of holding my dad’s hand was when I was a little girl. And the memories of then seemed so distant a few years ago. Trust was broken and I hadn’t held a good father’s hand in a long time.

But thankfully, I handed the Father that box. And I took His hand. And I still do it daily. Before we moved from home, I sat with my husband and our pastor in tears as I knew leaving meant handing over my box again. I had a vision of what I wanted our life to look like, here at home. At our church. And in our ministry. But He was inviting us away for a while. So I took His hand. Then He gave us our second son. The exchange was so worth it.

I stood in church today, it was the first Sunday in our new building. For a moment, the old vision snuck up. What I already gave to the Father a few years ago. I closed my eyes and damned the lie that anything could be better than where we are at now. I told Him the story in my heart this morning and He whispered words over me that allowed my soul to unravel. Then our pastor told us to hold the hands of the people next to us, but I was alone in my row. So I close my eyes and start to pray alone. A pastor in our church quietly said my name and reached for my hand, and I grabbed it. It felt like a father’s hand in that moment and I was overwhelmed.

I know within me I’m always searching for a father’s hand. And I know He is always reaching for mine, like this pastor did this morning, reminding me to hold on loosely to the box, and grip tightly and full of trust to His hand.

Oh Abba, I’m continually letting it all go. The dreams. What I thought I knew. My pride. Sometimes it aches to let go but I know you have the best in store for our family. And anything I’ve ever put in Your hands You restore more than I ever could have imagined. So I’m doing that again, right now. Holding loosely. And reaching for You.

the art of unlearning

You know that fight or flight feeling that overcomes you when the path splits & an unknown thing shows it’s scary face? Me, everytime, would search for the nearest open window. When the plan turned to the right or to the left off course, I would question every little word the Father whispered in secret. “But you said..! ..and I thought…! this way is better…easier.. faster…!!” And it happened again, a few months ago. Immediately I made my own plans to find that window. And I could have. The Father might have maybe even opened it for us to escape. But quickly, thankfully, my stomach turned and I remembered a word He spoke in secret. A new way. Not the old ways. A new thing. Watering the garden slowly… and surely, the flowers spring up. And all the while, there was nothing to escape from. Just the enemy showing who he really is again, a liar in the disguise of fear. Someone true told my husband years ago, don’t give up a million dollar future for a dime right now. And I’ve held onto that. I’m not questioning the things and the places and the people the Lord has tethered to my heart anymore. Well, I do for a second sometimes. But then I remember. The zig zag plan is good. And for our good. The people He gives us to do life with are good. He’s good. And always for our good. It’s all His great adventure. Wooing us in, never in a hurry for the next thing. I’m just quietly sitting back, trying to drink it in & unlearn it all. ☀️

the belonging

I see the open field and a long wooden table and He is standing there, waiting for me. I walk down the dirt path and there are wild flowers singing at my feet. He invites me to a seat that feels like it’s just for me. I sit down and He pushes in my chair and sits down next to me. Pours me a sweet drink that is new to me, but I’ve tasted it before all the same. Asks me how my day was though He already knows. I’m vague at first but He knows. He goes where the wind goes, and He’s there. Asks me where my heart is and He listens intently. Never once interrupts. Shows up in the middle of the forgotten places of me, that no one else knows. Oh how He knows. And my soul overflows to the song He begins to sing. Something longing in me, I close my eyes and I see knees bent and hands raised to Heaven sent. I hear a new song come out of me and it’s longing. For belonging. My eyes open and He is walking off while others show up. They take a seat and the meal begins. We talk and we laugh and it’s the simple gospel. My children are there dancing in the field with their friends. And I notice Him flowing in the breeze. Reminds me of my longing, reminds me that this is The Belonging. it’s in Him and those seated at the table. What we’ve been searching for was never far away. And I know, my longing is in the belonging.

Walk before run

My son had his one year appointment today. I can’t believe he is one. Everyday he wakes and he is doing something new. He’s been walking for the last month and a half, and with each day he grows more balance, he walks a little faster, he needs my hand a little less. Today at his appointment, his doctor smiled as he showed off his walking skills, and said “He is getting the walk down, soon he will be running!”

And my mama heart is in no rush for that. I’m in no rush for him to need me less. To let go of my hand. Though I’m so proud of every accomplishment he makes, I love him being my baby. I love watching him slowly plant his feet firm on the ground, gain his balance and walk. And I know, soon he will run. Soon he will chase his brother off without needing his mama’s hand. It made me think of where we are at in life. I was getting so frustrated with our walking season. I was ready to run. But today the Father reminded me, walk before run. He is in no hurry in teaching us to run. He loves holding our hand in the walking season. Full of compassion as He watches us fall, and loves watching our determination as we get up, gain our balance and walk off again.

And I ask, Lord don’t give us the things we aren’t ready for. We don’t want a single thing prematurely. We want to hold Your hand in the growing season, we want to learn from You and walk slowly with you, though there are moments when I try to run ahead. Your hand picks me up, and we start again. Thank you Father, for those you’ve surrounded us with that walk with us, believing in us, and calling out the best in us. This season is a treasure as we walk before run.

Photo by the lovely Anna Moos

I’ll never recover

when you know you’re loved you walk differently. You look at the world differently. When you believe you are loved kind words flow easily. Confidence comes naturally. Hope feels accessible.

As we got ready for church this morning I heard my husband singing a song as if he were trying to convince himself of its truth:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

This last week I could feel that on edge feeling creep in. I could feel frustration leave my husband’s lips from a heavy week and I could feel my patience run dry. When you’re in the midst of a pressing place, I’m learning how important it is to hold onto the identity of His love. So when I could feel the tension in the midst of my little family on our way to church this morning, I grabbed my husband’s hand and prayed to the Father. Asking Him to remind us of who we are. Of whose we are.

When we bought our home last fall we overlooked the tree in our backyard. But as it started to come back to life this spring, I thought I was going to puke from what I saw. A magnolia tree. We prayed for years over the home we would one day buy, and I would always mention how I’d love a magnolia tree. So when I saw that The Father remembered, it felt like just an above and beyond moment. I remember telling the Lord, “you already did all of this, you didn’t have to…” but He wants to. And I’ll never recover from the goodness of God.

When a season calls for stretching in all areas of your being, of your families being, the enemy doesn’t want you to pass the test. He wants to cloud your vision. Destroy your identity. He wants you to forget the promise the Father has given you. He wants you to feel abandoned and alone.

So I prayed in our car on a warm Sunday morning. The sun woke our bones and I asked the Father to let His creation be our reminder. Of how loved we are. We weren’t walking as people who are Fathered by God, but like we were abandoned. And I remembered our sweet magnolia tree blooming in our backyard. What a gift, a promise. That He remembers every detail in the deep gardens of our hearts. And He remembers us all the more.

And I asked the Father to let us remember, every time we sit under the shade of that tree, every time we look out of our window into the blooming flowers, may that be our promise. We can walk in the identity of a remembered child because we are Fathered by the God who remembers it all. Even when it’s been so long that we have started to forget. And every promise He has ever made will come to pass.

Before we got out of our car I tell the Father, we don’t need any special words, but Lord today let it be special. Let us be reminded.

So I lean into my husband during worship and my sweet friend starts to sing,

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

I look to my sweet husband with tear welled eyes, as if to tell him, He remembers. Oh how loved you are, my love. And The Father remembers you. And I’ll never recover from the goodness of God.

Just Faith

This time 5 years ago I was meeting a pastors wife who knew little about me, once a week, for 5 months. She wasn’t sure why, she just knew I was hurting deeply. Her husband did our pre-marriage counseling the year prior, so maybe she felt obligation. But I’m so thankful for her faith and persistence. She was so gentle but she championed for my breakthrough. I knew the enemy was terrified of my meeting with her. I knew he was afraid of her. I’m so thankful for the way she sat with me in silence. It felt like even in those moments, she had enough faith for the both of us to fight the spiritual battle happening within me. She gave me a verse (2Tim1:12) and told me to write a letter to the Lord and to seal it. She promised that He would do what I asked, because she heard my small broken voice but she recognized the warrior heart in me banging on the Father’s door, and she knew He was in the midst of my rescue. And He did it. I never thought I’d say it, but I treasure that year. It was the year I really saw Him for who He was. It was the year that could have made or broke my faith, and why I stand confident on His rock today. I wholeheartedly know and believe the enemy is terrified of a woman who know’s her place in the Kingdom. Of women who know who her Father is. The enemy is already under our feet. He just likes to fog things up and stir up a storm when we finally realize it.

I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.

2 Timothy 1:12

I notice you

It’s Sunday and I volunteer in the nursery, so we got our kids up and fed, dressed and out the door. I thankfully noticed the dirty diaper attached to my jacket before I closed the door behind me. I felt anxious from the rush and the time so I ask my husband to turn it from the Moana soundtrack to worship music.

I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me”

The worship calmed my heart. And I look to my oldest son who is pointing out the window to everything under the sun. My baby reaches for his brothers hand and they laugh at each other. I realize we are raising great men who will love deeply and do greater things than we will ever do. Our greatest ministry will always be in our home, raising our boys together.

and I’m thankful to be their mama.

It’s been an on-the-go week (and weeks) and chores at home often pile up. It’s a season of motherhood that often feels unseen. And I’ve often felt unseen.

But this morning our pastor was praying at the end of worship and my mind started drifting when I heard the Lord say to me clear as day,

“I notice you.”

He notices every kiss we give on our babies boo-boo’s. He notices every prayer we say with them before they close their eyes at night. He notices the laundry we try to keep up on. The diapers we change. He notices our worry when our children come down sick and the temperatures we take when a fever runs high. He notices our tired eyes on an early Sunday morning but we go to church despite it all, because we want to know Him even more. He notices when we look in the mirror and find those grey hairs. Feeling older than the day before. He notices the sacrifice a woman makes when she because a mama. And He notices the way she doesn’t count any of it at all a loss.

And when you feel unseen. When you feel anxiousness in the depths of motherhood, He’s in awe of you. Your tender heart as you mother your babies. He notices every moment. Every kiss you give. Every prayer you speak. And He’s reminding you this is your greatest ministry yet.

Guest Post: Lori’s Story, 1977

I met Lori when my family and I lived downriver. She shared her story with me and I am so thankful she said yes when I asked if I could share it here. Thank you Lori, for being brave in sharing your story.

Steve and I met each other in our Junior year of high school. I had just moved to Taylor. My mom had filed for bankruptcy and she and I moved in with my grandmother. I had lived in Ferndale all of my life and all of the sudden I wasn’t going to graduate with all of my childhood friends. I was moving to a city where I knew no one. I can’t find words to explain how hard all of the change was for me. I felt so alone and depressed. As time went on, I felt like I couldn’t pull myself out of this hole I was in. Eventually, my mom agreed to let me move back home and live with my friend.

That is when it happened. I met my knight in shining armor. Steve and I starting dating February 12, 1977. He seemed to be the answer to all of my problems. All of the sudden I was hanging around with him and all of his friends. He said he loved me and I loved him. We spent every spare moment together. We talked about getting married when we graduated.

In the fall of our senior year I was pregnant. It was not intentional because of course, it would never happen to me. I’ll never forget when we went to the “free health clinic” to get a pregnancy test. Steve took me and held my hand every step of the way. When the doctor came in and told us I was pregnant, we were excited! Never did we consider not having the baby. All of that changed when we told our parents. Their influence was very heavy not to have the baby. They mentioned how I wouldn’t be able to graduate. How could we pay for a baby? Steve would have to drop out of school and get a job. Well they succeeded in changing our minds about having the baby. But they could never change my heart! I always wanted that baby. I was young and impressionable. I had respect for our parents and felt they knew best. Steve’s parents paid for the abortion and my mom and Steve took me to get it.

That will always be the worst day of my life. I will never forget it although there are some details I am blessed not to remember. Like the date I had the abortion. Thank you Lord for not letting me remember that date because that would be an anniversary every year that would break my heart all over again.

Roe V. Wade was passed January 22,1973. This was only 4 and a half years later. It is astounding to think of how the abortion process even then was already an institutionalized production. I remember being in a group of 10 girls who would go from step to step and room to room so similar to a production line. Then getting to the end of the line and hearing the vacuums and those ahead of me crying out. That is what stays with me all of these years later.

I can not count how many times I was haunted by that day until Jesus healed me later in my life. It has been a process that took another 25 years for me to get past the shame to be able to share my story in hopes that someone who may be considering an abortion will read this and maybe consider another option. When you go to get an abortion, they don’t tell you how it will affect the rest of your life. As if there aren’t lasting emotional consequences. How every year you think of how old your baby would have been. I could go on and on about the numerous questions that fill your mind. It is only by the grace of God that I can live with that decision and not in regret every single day.

Fast forward 42 years, Steve and I will be celebrating 40 years of marriage. Our assurance is that we will one day be reunited with our baby in the Kingdom of God.