faith that works

Last night, a beautifully seasoned mother shared with a roomful of eager listeners — young moms who are seeking to know how, or just simply see with our own eyes that it is possible. I’m only 31, and already, I am ready to give a standing ovation to anyone who is simply running with endurance. Before this woman opened her mouth to speak, I was already struck by how many days she has woken up and chosen Jesus — and I know, because life is life, that a good share of those mornings weren’t sunshine and rainbows. Isn’t it amazing? Don’t you marvel? Don’t you realize, more and more, that just standing is a marvelous testimony of grace? And deserving of the highest medals and honors? Because it’s work. It’s putting hands to plows, applying hearts to promises not seen, feeble knees refusing to bend, deciding to praise when the whole world seems to be caving in. It is the substance and evidence — the visible, tangible, undeniable proof — of things unseen. It is beautiful.

And so I ponder. Today I think about the wonderful work I am called to: the work of worshiping, of believing, of thanking, of confessing, of meditating, of trusting and obeying. And in turn, the work He does in a heart that is purposing to be His: the work of refining, of transforming, of sanctifying, and setting free.

I want to give myself to that work with fresh passion. I want to give my life to Jesus.

a tuesday afternoon: just thoughts

This winter has been the prettiest winter ever. I think. There’s fresh snow almost every day — or, rather every other day. In between, the sun comes out and makes yesterday’s fresh snow sparkle. There’s so little yucky sand/slush/slop. It’s all just white, clean snow.

It sparkles like diamonds. Of course, that can prove disappointing if you’re 4. Jameson and I were out on a particularly sparkly day, and he, in a dejected voice, announced that “it looks like diamonds but if you get close, you can’t find them anywhere!”

Of course, this house makes winter (and spring and summer and fall) just more enjoyable. I feel like I’m living in the most magical snow globe ever. Snow dancing and whirling, snow on pine tree’s branches, snow on split rail fences, snow in drifts like dunes… Snow in all the most beautiful ways.


It almost makes up for the fact that this has also been the dirtiest winter. Sheetrock dust EVERYWHERE. Always. No matter what. In my teeth, in my rug, in my bed, on my just-washed dishes. Spring cleaning never sounded so good. I’m trying to just patiently wait for the day they say, “Okay! You can now clean and be done!” Because I’ve lost all my oomph for cleaning in the midst of more dust settling. My mantel is as snowy white as the great outdoors, I know, but I just can’t care right now. I’ll quietly and happily wash my kitchen table and counters, vacuum a million times, and block out the rest. Oh, look, isn’t it pretty outside? Yes, let’s just look at the snow, shall we?


But there is a test swatch of color on the walls, and that must mean something, right? (A pale, pale, pale warm peachy-pink. I think it’s going to be just right: clean but warm and most of all, pretty. I just want light, elegant, pretty.) And Monday (!!!), our talented friend comes to lay floors. He and Ryan will hem and haw over which board is the prettiest, which grain to highlight, how to scatter the varying widths — and then, ta-da, we’ll have a floor! Maybe it will make us giddy and itchy with excitement, and we’ll turn around and just start tearing the up the kitchen carpet—

Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll just stand and sigh and love it and take a break.

And go to California.


For a week. Just Ryan and me. To what was home sweet home just one year ago (almost a year to the day, actually, I’ll be back where I started.) How strange and fun that will be! Strange to walk by “our” house and think that it’s not ours. Strange to meet my neighbor and realize she’s been strolling those streets for a whole year without me. To see friends from church and their kids-who-aren’t-babies-anymore and try to fill in a whole year. To walk out the door in ballet flats and a cardigan and laughingly remember that I willingly and joyfully left those winters for these.


Speaking of clothes, I’ve hit that awkward stage. The old pants still work, sort of, if I don’t eat too much, but I had to buy a few extra-long t’s to cover my already-generous belly. 13 weeks? Really? That’s what people say when they see this generous belly, but that’s nothing new. I seem to always get off to a rip-roaring start when it comes to baby bellies. And I tend to finish a bit on the generous side, too, I guess. Blame it on genetics, right, Mom?


Mostly, this is a winter to go deeper. For my roots to wriggle through another layer of rock and dry soil to find the water that’s always flowing, always life-giving, always sustaining. It’s a little happier, perhaps, when life isn’t serving up rocks and sand, but this is when it counts. So I wriggle away, reaching for the water I know is there, knowing that someday these root-strengthening days are going to prove to be oh-so-important. Never mind the extras: today I just set my feet a bit more firmly on these things:

Who does God say He is?
What has God promised to do?
How much does God love me?

Does anything else matter? Really?

No, not much.

A house won’t quickly be blown over when it’s built on the true answers to those questions.

Build my foundation, Lord. Make my house strong. I want to be standing at the end.

bits and pieces

Two days ago, we collected our spades and rakes, hoes and edger, gloves and wheelbarrow, fertilizer and baseball bats, and we headed to the small corner chosen to be the vegetable patch. It’s a beginner’s sized patch — maybe 4×6? — and I’ll confess to a niggling fear that clever deer will outwit me and eat everything I manage to grow, but perhaps there will be a bit of success. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I sat right in the dirt, exhausted after an hour and half, and dug up sod, beat the dirt free of entangling roots, hurled the clump at the wheelbarrow, and dug up more sod. I thought of a dozen summers spent in just such a fashion, only I was but a girl then, in my mother’s garden. And now, now there were two boys playing beside me, and they are my boys. And this is my yard.

I looked up to see expanse of sky, meadows stretching into woods. I heard only wind and the song of birds. All over again, I was blessed. Do you know how many times I timidly hoped for a bit of space where I could grow things and watch my kids climb trees, pack paperbag lunches and send sons out to explore? No, you probably don’t know, but God knew.


Tonight, carmelized onion quiche. Don’t ask me why, but it popped into my head last week, and I haven’t been able to shake it. I haven’t even ever had it, but I want it. So I pull out 3 speckled brown eggs from the fridge, all different sizes, and I crack them into a bowl. Deeply golden. I know they’re just eggs, but it makes me happy.

Today we visited the chickens that lay those eggs, and also the lovely family who owns those chickens. Jameson ran happily out into the field, right into the midst of a herd of goats, never once slowing down or fearing. He climbed happily into the chicken coop, and then pushed his way through a barn of energetic kids — goat kids, that is. Tractors, horses, a pregnant kitty, a dog — he couldn’t get enough. We even spotted him sneaking into the bull’s pen. In a few years, I tell her, I’ll send him down to help out. Perhaps we can get some of that delicious raw goat milk in return?

He declared it to be “an awesome, awesome play time, Mama!”


I’m finding that all quiet moments lead to thoughts of Linda. Linda, the dear woman who lays 10 miles away in a hospital room. A hospital room where she’s dying of starvation and dehydration. I think of Psalm 18 — of a God of power and love who is stirred to action, who comes with clouds of darkness and thunder and who smites His enemies. A God who delivers, because He delights in us. And I ask. I ask Him to come and speak life.

One little word.

That’s all we need.

That’s all she needs.

wait, with strength and courage

For those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.


We’re waiting. Not quietly, not silently. We’re persistent. We’re standing at His throne, eyes fixed on Him, saying, “Now, Lord? Now? Now, Lord? We need You, Lord. Lord? We need You.”

He doesn’t get annoyed by that. Rather, that’s the sort of waiting that He’s looking for, that He responds to.

And so:

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.


Pray for Linda.