No place like Home

You know that scene in the Wizard of Oz when all Dorothy wanted was to be home, so she says over and over again, “there’s no place like home”, taps her ruby red slippers together and it sends her home? I’ve been hearing that in every aspect of my life.

When my husband is gone for weeks speaking at camps and I miss him. There’s no place like home.

When I start to get too critical of our house and start to Zillow new places to live :-). The Father reminds me, there’s no place like your home.

When we moved away and I missed our church so much. There’s no place like home.

When I can finally get away into the secret place with the Father. I sigh and say I missed you. There’s no place like Home.

Every Saturday my oldest son asks us all day, can we go to church? And he asks for his best friend. Can we go to church today? I’d like to think this place feels like home to him.

And so I’ve been praying. For others to feel this way. To come to know the Father and know He is home. When you trail off too far that you’d miss home. So you come running back to a house unlocked, the door wide open. The feast prepared and the table set. The Father pours wine and Pulls the seat out for you. Doesn’t ask questions about what you’ve done or where you’ve been. Just reminding you with a deep and simple look, that you’re His heir and you’re royalty and this is your home. Where you belong.

I pray for our church in these ways. That every Saturday children would ask their parents, can we go to church today? The way my son does. And maybe they haven’t been in a while. but the table is set and waiting. The feast is prepared and the Father has pulled out the chair. And they’ll know, there’s no place like home..

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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. ☀️

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 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.

Best Yes

Thinking about today’s message on Mary. Her best yes gave us Jesus. I watch my two sons sleep and I imagine the way her heart must’ve swelled for her baby boy the night he was born. And each moment after that. She probably had tired eyes in the morning after sleepless newborn nights. She probably had frustrating moments in the pits of motherhood. She probably watched Him sleep, memorizing his chubby toddler cheeks, soaking it all in. All of these moments she held in her heart must have all came crashing in when He was hung on the cross. And I’m so thankful she said yes, because when I worship Him today, hands reaching to Heaven, I think of all His goodness, His gentleness, His sweetness. I think of how He turns everything around for good, I think of these two boys, such a gift, and I cherish all of these things so deep in my heart.

ends of the earth

Sometimes we drive at night. Ever since we started dating we would go for a night drive. To anywhere. We dream together. We look at Christmas lights like my mom did with us when I was a kid. Tonight, we put the dogs in the back and strapped our babies in, and we went for a drive.

Sometimes things we live through feel all for not, but not this. I’m always searching for Him in everything. What are You saying? Where are You in this? What are You going to do next? But for almost a year He felt a little silent. Truthfully, what feels like silence can be frustrating for a while, until I started listening deeper. Realizing He’s trusting me to live this out, to seek Him harder, and to see what I will choose. We drove in the dark, and I told my husband I love Father more for this. For this season. And I feel His love for me more. I’ve realized He loves us so much, that He gives us our desires though He see’s the journey it will take us on. But because we desire it so deep, sometimes He gives it to us because He’s our Father and He can. He loves us so much. I can’t fully fathom that love. And I’ve never felt so consumed with love for Him in return. And that’s all He’s ever really wanted from us. For us to want Him back.

I remember a conference we attended in Grand Rapids where a man named Dan spoke at, it changed my life. He told a story about a time he was just driving, and He heard Father tell him to pull over and meet Him out in this field. He did, and Father told him just how much He loved him. Dan stood there in Father’s love for a while, consumed. He got back in his car eventually and drove off, and asked why He couldn’t just tell him this on the path he was driving. He told him that He wouldn’t have listened as intently if He hadn’t taken him off course.

Tonight I told my husband I know that He brought us to where we are to change my heart for Him. To be consumed by Him. To give desires just so I can realize that they are not what fulfill me. To be fulfilled by Him. I see even now what He was hoping I would. And I know through the years there will be moments that stop us in our track, where we will see even deeper still.

at the end of the day, we worship Him. We answer to Him. We trust in Him. We do our best to listen to His leading and follow. We aren’t perfect but He’s not asking us to have it all together before we can encounter Him. Just asking us to bring it all to Him and fall at His feet, stay there a little while longer, until all we see is Him. And He will go to the ends of the earth to tell us He is so in love with us, and for us to actually, really believe it.

You don’t give your heart in pieces, you don’t hide yourself to tease us 

Wild Fire

We woke up early this morning, I prayed over our family aloud before your daddy left for the church. Your brother napped for two hours and you and I did the dishes together. We cleaned your room together. I put things away and you played make-believe. It all felt so much like home to me. Something about your small hands and your little voice that calls me mommy, it takes me back to our old yellow house on Willow Street. It takes me back to curling up on my mama’s lap as she drinks her coffee.

And I was thankful to Father for this little gift, getting things done. My hair a mess and I look in the mirror and don’t feel so beautiful. But I have joy because I’m seeing this all as His gift.

And yesterday you tired me with that fit you threw over sharing toys. I worried what people would think. That maybe I’m not doing the best job at teaching you these things. But you nestle into my neck and you twirl my hair as your eyes fall to sleep. You let me know in this moment this is enough, this is all you need.

So I rock your brother to sleep for another nap and I watch you in the midday sun. I see sleep come over you after a morning of dinosaurs and singing songs and chasing your new kitten around the whole entire house. I close my eyes and I declare His goodness. His goodness in my tiredness. His goodness in the change. His goodness over you and your brother. In the fits and the tears and the happy and the fun. He is good in it all. And I ask Him for patience as your mama. He reminds me that you are exactly who He created you to be, wild, fierce, adventurer, a fire. So I pray for patience. I pray for a kind voice and arms that are always yours to fall in to.

And I see a glimpse of the future you. Unstoppable. I see the wild in you now is going to set the world on fire when you’re big and strong. I see the way you pretend you are your daddy when you have a microphone. I see you sing your little heart out and yell JESUS! So I won’t tame it. I pray for patience, and I’ll encourage you to be exactly who you are created to be. Wild fire.

whatever you’ve been praying for

I haven’t been to this space in over a year. The last time I was here we were living at my moms and we were pressing into our next step. Trusting God for us has always been a free fall. I’m usually the one to question that first step, but my husband takes the leap with no fear. So much has changed in a year.

It’s been one year since we moved from home. Where I’ve lived my whole life. Where I know everything. It’s still home to me, and I never thought we’d leave. But we trust Him more. We believe Him more. And we are enjoying where we are at. And honestly, we have been so spoiled in this season. I watch my husband and I could never say enough good things about him. The way he is a husband, the way he fathers, the way he handles it all. The way I would like to crawl back into myself at times, and the way he calls me out and speaks life back into me. He is so good. He is learning. I am learning. We are growing.

I sat with a friend last night and she told me about how God provided for their family in a huge way. God told her what their next step would be, and she trusted the impossible. And she saw it come to life. She trusted that He would show up, and He did, the way He always does when we have that kind of faith.

I stood in church this morning. We dropped our oldest off in the 2 year room and I held our baby during worship. My heart pressed in, heavy with all of these promises it seemed like He may have forgotten. And I know they aren’t forgotten. I know there is growth in the days that are leading up to the promise. These days are the promise. And I hold our baby, he falls asleep as the songs are sung. And she sings these words,

The Cross has the final word

She repeats it and it’s like an anthem in me. I remember years ago when I truly believed I would never be a mom. I can remember declaring that over myself in my hopelessness. Because I believed the enemy and what he had spoken over me. What he’s never let me forget. I remember sitting with our pastor in tears over the lie, that I wanted to be a mom but I would never be one. And I would think back to my first baby, and the enemy would remind me that I threw my chance away. But he is a liar, and he sees our purpose, so he tries to distort what’s true.

And she sings these words on a Sunday in September and I look at one of those promises in my arms. He’s fighting sleep as I rock him back and forth, as that anthem stirs inside of me and reminds me that it’s finished. That the enemy is finished. That we are healed and we are covered in His mercy, bathed in His grace. That someone can make the ultimate regret, and then gift His daughter with 2 babies, entrust her with 2 sweet boys, because of the cross. Because of His great love. I’ll never understand it, but I love being completely overwhelmed with Father’s love.

Whatever promise you’re holding onto, whatever you’re waiting on, I promise He hasn’t forgotten. And when the enemy tells you that He’s failed you just remember what’s true–

The cross has the final word