Thursday, November 21, 2013


Luka at 2 1/2 loves his trains.  He is also just begining to talk and put his beautiful thoughts into words. This is probably my very favorite stage of childhood.  A few mornings ago he was very busy setting up his tracks, lining up his Thomas and cars.  Everything was all set up as he played, just talking away to no one but himself.

And this is what I heard him say,"Ready?  Not Yet.  Few Minutes."  Then he just waited on his knees beside his train.  Pretty soon, "Ready?  Not Yet.  Few Minutes."  Some more waiting happened.  He didn't look around.  He didn't add anything.  He just waited and then repeated the same phrases, again.

It fascinated me.  What was he thinking?  What was he waiting for?  I thought about how often we use those phrases with children.  "Not yet, we have to wait a few minutes."  "Just a minute."

It also drew my thoughts to our Father, which art in heaven.  I thought about hearing God prompting and calling me.  Sending that still small voice that asks me to love...  I imagined Him waiting, saying, "Ready?"  And all too often my response is, "Not yet.  I'm not prepared, I'm not sure if I'm hearing you right. I need more Bible study...more training...more faith....others could do it so much better...I don't feel comfortable...I'm not ready."

I shared this story with a friend today and immediately she connected it with her prodigal son.  She talked of her struggle to really trust God to love this son of hers, to let go and submit to whatever God needs to do to bring him home to the Father.

We talked about that sense that we are never enough...that our faith is never great enough, that we know we can't conjure up what we think is needed in those kinds of situations.  But we are also incredibly thankful that God's love is so great, God's power is unlimited, God's ways are beyond our understanding, and we can know that God is enough.

Ready?  Okay, Lord.  I believe, help me in my unbelief.  Make me ready.

Dancing in the Opera House

Monday evening Lilah, our 6 year old grand-daughter had her first performance at the Sydney Opera House.  She was one of two kindergarteners, or kindies as they are called here, at a musical extravaganza involving 24 area schools.  Obviously she was the best!  (At least according to this grandma.)

It was a wonderful night of music from a conbined choir of 600 students, several dance teams, a few instrumental groups and a few solos.  There was one little Japanese violon player that you would absolutely not have believed!  It was a great night for all.

I loved Lilah's comment after the concert when she said, "When we finished the last dance I couldn't take the smile off my face."

Pure joy in doing something she loves.  At 2 years old we could tell her body was made to dance.  If she hadn't danced during a day she would be upset at bedtime saying, "I didn't dance today!"

So I am wondering...what is it that gives you so much joy you can't take the smile off your face? What was it when you were a child?  Is there anything you need to reclaim  from your childhood that you have shelved because you didn't think you were good enough?  Or did you let something go that there just wasn't time for, and now you want to re-explore it?

Unless you become like a little child you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.  Matt 18:3

I hope today, or tomorrow, or soon you do something that gives you so much joy you can't take the smile off your face.  To LIFE!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Totally Aussie

I am spending the month of November in Australia with son Cory and his wife Elisa and their two little ones, Lilah 6 and Luka 2.  I love looking for thoses totally aussie moments and yesterday was one of them...

Cory's church belongs to a greater ministry called Wesly Mission in the heart of Sydney.  Yesterday was the 100th annual Wesley Fair; basically a craft, baked goods, rummage sale combination.  I was waiting for the elevator on the floor with the offices when I ran into three other folks heading down.

One of them asked, "Have you been down  to the fair?

Response:  No I'm going down now for a "sticky bake."  (At least that is what I heard.)

I responded:  "Ooo, that sounds yummy.  Is that a sweet roll?"


Response:  No, I mean I'm going for a "look see."

Aah, of course..."sticky bake...look see."

So later that evening I asked Cory why in the world they say, "Sticky bake" when talking about taking a look around?


He responded:  It's "sticky beak", not "sticky bake."  (Well that cleared up everything...not.)
"Sticky beak means to stick your beak into something and see what you find...check it out," he said.

It's amazing how hard it can be to understand someone who is speaking the same language.  It makes me realize that so much of our "Christianeze" language is totally foreign to those who grow up outside of our churched communities.  What we assume is powerful language might make no sense to someone first encountering the Good News.  We don't intend to shut them out, but if we are not careful it happens so easily.

Of course there is also the danger that we never get into any situations where everyone doesn't already know all the "Christianeze," because that can seem a lot more comfortable.  So I invite you to have a "look see"  go out for a "sticky beak" and see what God is up to in places you may not have frequented lately...or ever.  Stretch your vocabulary!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

I think I've figured out why it has taken me so long to blog again. What is on my heart is not a feel good story; it is a heart-wrenching reality that needs a response. Some of you know that this past year I have gotten involved at the Center for Women in Transition. The name speaks to the HOPE they offer, rather than focusing on the evil they address. (Sexual assault and domestic violence)

This blog is about:
  1. A little 9 year old who comes to the center for counseling to help him deal with the domestic violence and abuse in his home. He is a wonderful, outgoing, resilient child making a lot of progress. Within 10 minutes I wanted to adopt him. The rescue impulse had kicked in...full strength. So much more needs to happen for him to live in a safe and loving home, but progress is being made.
  2. It is also about the voices of women calling in on the crisis line...fearful voices, tired voices, desperate voices, sad voices, voices trying to be brave enough to leave their situation, voices desperate to find shelter for the night, voices with little ones crying in the background, voices of pregnant women. And these voices belong to women of all ages, races, financial situations, educational backgrounds. 
  3. It's about the fact that at a Midlife Momentum small group setting in this past year there were 6 participants, 4 of whom had experienced abuse in their family of origin or in a marriage. This blew my mind, and it continues to break my heart, as I realize how many children are living in fear of those who should keep them safe and loved.
  4. It's about the fact that there are 3 times as many shelters for animals as there are for women and children. There is something very wrong with this picture. It breaks my heart every time I need to tell someone that our shelters are full to capacity when they have finally gotten the courage to leave their situation. We try to find other options, but it isn't always possible. Because of the limited space we can only offer immediate shelter if the situation is lethal.
  5. I could go on and get into the area of human trafficking...but I better save that for another time.

Isaiah 1:16-17 Wash yourselves, make yourself clean;put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; SEEK JUSTICE, REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR, DEFEND THE FATHERLESS, PLEAD FOR THE WIDOW.

I think the Father's heart puts the abused and assaulted in the same category. How can we be partners who help break the cycle? How do we create places of safety and welcome?  When the situation looks so dark how are we able to bring light?  How can we be lovers in the name of Jesus in this broken world?  It starts in our homes.

Lord, Please help us, that we might help others!!

I'm in Australia for the month of November, so I'm sure there will be some grandma stories coming...apologies in advance, but you know when you have such beautiful reminders of God's goodness around you have to pay attention.