Thursday, December 11, 2014


We'd watched Veil of Tears,  us girls curled up on couches. Orange flames in the wood stove warmed the room and we sipped tea thanking God for our comfort and safety.

The movie was pain-filled. This documentary about India laid out the consequences of the caste system, the camera’s lens merciless in exposing the devalued, rejected citizens of a broken country. Dark eyes cast down as the shadow of shame covered their lives, condemned just because they had been born to this lot. And for the women, the sentence was a living hell.

We shed tears and I couldn’t justify eating during the movie because who can eat when you’re watching women, sisters being sold, raped and murdered just for being there, for being inconveniently alive.  We were horrified that a belief system exists to categorize humans into worthy, less worthy and completely, irrevocably undesirable. Who decided this? By what merit does a human get assigned wealth, esteem and opportunity, while down on the same street the untouchable one lies, sick on a mat with hand outstretched, hoping for just a little comfort. How does such a person hope at all? Suicide is rampant in such peoples and one does not wonder why.

It’s a system of pride and prejudice, of lofty eyes and pointing fingers, of hanging low heads and resignation.

What hit me today is that this belief system is everywhere! It’s here, and in me!

I didn’t work today, instead staying cozy at home, eating left over chicken cordon bleu and rice for breakfast with a sweet clementine to top off the feast and a glass of almond milk beside. Phillip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace had captivated me this morning. He peels back the layers of life and takes a deep look at that elusive quality that God so brashly put down in the middle of His Word.

“For by GRACE you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as a result of works so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)

I’ve been asking God lately why there’s a hitch in my prayers and a dark side lingering even when I worship Him. What’s the specter looming that keeps me back from the throne of grace? And in His kindness this morning He brought my mind back to India, to the place of prejudice and condemnation to favorites and undesirables. He showed me the hierarchy in my heart and the ungrace that keeps me from Him. He pointed out my finger outstretched and my words unleashed. I thought the Pharisee was gone but He unveiled the sinner and I’m aghast to see that I support a subtle caste system in my heart. It’s a preference given to those who look me in the eyes and speak well, and encouraging words really stoke my pride. It’s obedient children and people who like me lots, who understand and accept me completely. Those ones happily dwell in my presence. It’s when I’m offended, or disrespected or when I’m left out that I turn the tables and write CONDEMNED across a name in my book. “It’s just a little judgment Lord, just a bit of unforgiveness staining my heart.”

Now I’m the one ashamed for I confess the greatest Name in heaven and on earth and yet my heart speaks a different language still.?! Still?  After all these years and the ugly is exposed and then the reminder comes again “It is by GRACE you are saved…”.  There is nothing I can do.

He. Has. Done. Everything!   It is finished! So why do I keep living in an economy of ungrace and heart hierarchies when He has bought me at the greatest cost? “It is by GRACE…”
It is by grace that He hears me today. It is by grace that He hearkens my heart back to India. It is by grace that He reminds and corrects me. It is by grace that I repent and start anew.

I read Romans 9:13 in the Amplified Bible.“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (held in relative disregard in comparison with My feeling for Jacob).
God chose Jacob, gave him favor in his father’s eyes and in all his circumstances. He called forth a nation through this man. And Esau was left out, yet restored at a later time.

The Word “hate” according to Strong’s Concordance in the Hebrew and Greek means to despise and persecute, but can also mean to “love less”.

God alone can give preference to one over another and has told us so clearly in His word that we are not to judge (Matthew 7:1-3). For isn’t that the same as hating; loving less? Isn’t that where caste systems and hierarchies arise from. Our beliefs about ourselves and each other undergird our thoughts, attitudes and actions.
1 John 3:14-15 reads “We know that we have passed over out of death into Life by the fact that we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding within him.”

Is it possible that there’s a continuum? That one end of the continuum is mere dislike and less preference for certain people while the far end is murder and death. Yet perhaps in God’s eyes it’s all the same, because hatred of the mere dislike variety, or the murderous type is all our attempt to consign people, God’s crowning creation into a caste system. I’m deciding who gets to be included, who I like, who is valuable enough to speak life over and accept and who is worthy of death, even just heart death. Devaluing is judging, is playing God and only He is the One with the wisdom and complete knowledge to be this role.

And I wonder if this is why He commanded us not to call anyone a ‘fool’ or ‘idiot’. For whether I think this about myself or assign the label to another, I’m calling forth condemnation, speaking death and a graceless future over one of God’s creations.

There are times when each of us are at the lower end of someone else's caste system too. Yet when we find ourselves in Christ He resolves both erring chambers of the heart.

The movie resolves with a glorious turn as the love of Christ touches the untouchable, brings hope to the despairing and gives vision to the hopeless.

I need forgiveness… for loving less, for judging and hating, even just a little bit. I need to understand the grace that saves me continuously. That renders me happily nothing and Him everything.

Only then is the hierarchy demolished.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Screeching Moms and Mike Too (on a more serious note)

We stood at the edge of a soccer field yesterday, cheering, crazy banshees as our children chased the ball up and down. And it was inevitable, being who we all are, that we got into a meaty conversation, us screeching Moms and one eavesdropping Dad as they played.

I got home, my head full and sifted through all the words tossed into the middle; a word ball rolled amongst us as we kicked the issues around.

We went through the whole gamut of topics related to church, community, sin, sickness, bad leaders and other ones too and mostly the books and movies that we're consuming and we threw our thoughts into the arena.

We talked about cancer versus alcoholism and how one is a sickness and one is a sin. And sometimes the line blurs because if you inherited it (either one) it can sure feel like a sickness, but if you indulge the other it becomes a sin, because God said don't do it. For our good and His glory, in His love, He told us not to sin.

We stood on the rim of homosexuality and looked in and we talked about what it means to judge another. And Jesus said we shouldn't do it because it would come right back on us but that we should lovingly correct a brother or sister who is sinning.

We talked a lot about books and the Book. We all agreed that we should sparingly read the ones and pay all our attention to the Word of God where all the Truth is tucked in for us to find.

I used to stand in judgement, a lot, my great finger pointing out from my white washed tomb. I could spout scripture and turn a sinner away from me, and probably God very effectively.

But life took some turns and I got intimate with Him who gave me breath and found an unexpected gentleness. I found the One who leads me beside still waters and makes me lie down in green pastures (Ps 23). I met the one who lead Ruth out of Moab with her mother in law and inserted her straight into the lineage of Jesus.

Ruth who came from the Moabites, descended from the spawn of Lot and his daughters (yes, I mean incest). Ruth who married the son of Naomi and Elimilech. They who in fear for their lives disobeyed God and fled to Moab. Yet, she followed her mother in law back to Israel, pledging to stay with her forever, and ran straight into the redeemer. She was married to Boaz and their child was the grandfather of King David, ancestor of Messiah.

Jesus (who showed us the Father) is our Redeemer. He paid the whole price on the cross and has given His Word, all of creation, each other, the community of believers and marriage to reveal Himself to us. Ours is to choose Him, or not.

We are so many parts in this body we are joined to. Some are meant to bring a strong word and others helpful service and yet another teaching. All parts must be connected to the Head who is Christ and every outflow of us must be in love. Sometimes love is a rebuke, but it's still done in gentleness or the Spirit who is behind it is misrepresented. 

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Eph 4:2).
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (2 Tim 4:2). 
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness" (Gal. 6:1).

The world is in a state of confusion, in every way. Upheaval wracks all segments of life. And this is manifest in the church as well. There is an enemy seeking to deceive. We must be so careful to check every wind of doctrine and line it up with the Word. If it doesn't line up, it's out, done, finished. As we all agreed, "truish" doesn't cut it. At all. Ever. 

But as we notice the lies seeping in, let us seek to stop up the holes with Truth, not attack the ones on whom they are spilling. We must speak in love then, bringing correction, being careful that pride is not going to be the foot that we fall over. 

Now this morning my quiet time with God is in 1 John 4:1-3 and Matthew 7:15-23. I could not have orchestrated this. These were just the next pages in my book. 

1 John 4:1-3 (ESV) "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already."

Matthew 7:15-23 (NIV)“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

The highlighted verses grab me and refer me back to 1 John 3:23 where it says "And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."
None of His commands have been abolished but fulfilled in Christ. When we love God we keep His commands and love each other.
God's gracious mercy is demonstrated in the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 5 when he addresses the sexually immoral one within the church. Please read it all but God's heart is revealed when it says in verse 5 "...deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
 God's will is that we be saved, but He has not compromised His Word ever and never will.
Let us hold fast to the truth, yes! And deliver it with such love that no one will be in doubt of the source.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I saw it sitting as I rested by the water. We were at the fringe of a pond, bull rushes lining, fish lipping at the surface for unsuspecting hoverers.
A slight movement caught my attention and I realized it was a butterfly. Heat poured in from the still rising sun and there the monarch rested, by the water, on a stone;  black veined, orange gossamer, speckled white on the fluttering edges.
It moved in rhythm, wings open, wings close, turn a bit on the rock, wings open, wings close, turn again, wings open, wings close. Wings open, flat open, soak up the heat, absorb the energy, turn again so that every vein, every angle, every nuance of being was filled by the sun.
Only then can flight happen. And then only in short spurts as air currents cool her wings. Then she can find a flower, a rock and rest, absorb the heat and power up again.

She's really just a bug, but arrayed in her glorious garment she's a spectacle of glory, a breath of inspiration, a gentle whisper of hope on the breeze. She's a pretty worm to start with, all stripey yellow, black and white. Some, thoughtless, would still step on it and crunch the potential underfoot. Even in its metamorphosed state there are those so callous who would wound and dispatch the lovely away.

No one knows the artistry tucked away inside a worm, the potential in the unlovely. Yet for those who pause, and gaze, who wait willing for the unfolding there emerges exquisiteness unimagined. But the debasing journey of isolation in the chrysalis and liquification must occur before the imaginal discs can form the pupae into it's glorious new state. 

I look up the word "Chrysalis" and find it comes from the Greek meaning 'gold'.

Gold is the place of transformation and the outcome of the transformation. Comprehension! I think of the man who said "When He has tried me I shall come forth as pure gold." (Job 23:10-11). He went from glory, preferred status, to worm. And because of the dying, the golding process, the second glory was greater than before. But the undoing, the agony of loss and suffering was immeasurable, except in the hands of the One who measures no more and no less than what He knows will bring the pure gold.

The process of unbecoming brings forth pure gold, pure beauty. But the process is one of dying, an internal undoing of all we are, until all that's left are the elemental building blocks. Only then can the reconstruction begin, the recreating of the intended and the emerging of the true design of love. 

And the sheer, astonishing truth in it all is that unless the lovely, unfurled splendor finds its life in the sun, it will die. For without that radiant source of heat, those thinnest of wings cannot flutter, they cannot take the newly formed one to find food or shelter or new sources of heat when the cold sets in.

The sun is life to the butterfly.

"But they that wait upon the Lord (YHWH) shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

"Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life."
 1 John 5:12

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

You are the bread broken for me.

The matzah bread broken, hidden and found again.

You are the Lamb of  God, slain for the sins of the world.

You were wounded for my transgression,

And bruised for my iniquities.

Your bore my sorrows on the cross.

The chastisement for my peace was upon You.

By Your wounds I am healed.


That You wept in the garden.

Receiving the cup, though it meant

The Father would have to turn His Face


Holiness could not gaze upon the sin

You became.

You became sin for me.?!

All my iniquity, passed down through generations.

On your back.

My transgressions. My sorrow. My sickness.

Darkening the Holiness of You.

Until You were no longer visible.

You became sin.

But the grave. The black, prideful hole of defiance

Was swallowed up in


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Unbridled happiness
As I wiggle fingers down
Under your mantle and feel
Stiff shoots
Pull back and SEE
Still buried,
Safe under last year's dying.
Anticipating the unfurling
Of your glamourous garments.

Blood red cresting the soil
Poison with bitter stalk
Only gentled by a bowl of sweetness
When we cut you and still cringe at
you so tart, in the summer

I rest the soil and leaves
Back down
Press you covered
In case winter
Unleashes another fury.

So still you lie
Quiet waiting.
Life abounds
Despite the uncertainty
of Spring.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mourning Love

Mourning doves softly crooning love

Cooing, fluffing

Feathered affection

Arching necks

Fluttering, mounting passion...

Consummate this dawning

Then subsiding

Perch beside each other

Up on the rails

This lovely, lusty morning.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Cold and deep, I shovel hard
And breathe.
Snowflakes, ice chips
Vapor in my mouth.

The chill is off and I'm
A billion starflakes falling
On my tongue.

The boy chuckles deep
And dumps a shovel load
down my neck.
And glee! We chase and race around the car
And throw then dodge and
I'm outside!

Winter not wifi!
Snow not snoring!
And I'd rather pitch a tent in this white.

Inside is OUT!
The outside is alive and I feel free.
I'll stay - awhile and breathe contentment
Outside in.