weakness is a good thing [Devotional]


“You were the weakest of all nations, but the LORD chose you because he loves you and because he had made a promise to your ancestors. Then with his mighty arm, he rescued you from the king of Egypt, who had made you his slaves”

Deuteronomy 7:7-8, Contemporary English Version



We are taught the need for perfection from a very early age. You have to be the best, because the best are the ones that are chosen. Whether it’s not being the last picked for a pick-up game, or getting to date that guy (who in turn is doing two a days to get on the team), or not getting to date that guy because you have to study so you can get into that college, so you can get that job. In the secular world, the best are the ones that are picked.


But Abba makes it clear that the reason that He chooses us is not because we are the best. Yes, he wants our best, He wants our whole souled devotion to Him and our love, but not because we are the best. Not because we dress the best, give the best offerings, have more tithes to offer, are the most ‘righteous’, are top orators, help the most people or anything like that.


We are chosen because we are loved by Him. Because He made a promise that He would love us even though we are not the best, we are broken and undeserving. John tells us that “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [appeasement] for our sins” (1 John 4:10, ESV).


We are not capable of giving Him the love, devotion, worship, and commitment that He deserves. And you know what? He knows that. And He still loves us. He gave Jesus and the Cross (grace) to fill in the gap between what He deserves and what we can give. Grace is the bridge that connects our lacking, broken lives and spirit to a loving, long suffering, and just Father who wants nothing more than for us to embrace Him the way He embraces us.


This is a view that was very different than the one that I was raised with. We don’t have to stand in fear that we are not ‘righteous’, but we can have full faith that He spends every minute, every second, thinking of us and loving us, even though (and even because) we are weak.


Thanks be to God.


The Valley of Vision: a prayer for the New Year

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers that I discovered while worshiping with my friends Scott and Hannah at the Austin Stone. What blew me away was how much power and devotions as delivered in such simple language. Old English aside, this is a prayer that anyone who is truly in love with God and can feel his love for them can understand and relate to.

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me
Except the days are passed in thy presence,
In thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour
that I may not be a moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love
Advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, as my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy call,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.


Call me Patches!!

The holiday season ended properly for me at my sister-in-law’s New Year’s Eve party. It’s the one night of the year where I dedicate myself to getting drunk (which was successful) and meeting the New Year with an empty head (and stomach once I have recovered from the hangover).

 A good part of the Tribe was there as well as a few new faces. The same stories and the drama were there as well as Rock Band and Telephone Pictionary. The food was good. The laughs flowed and I slept well and made it home safe in the morning after crashing on the couch.

 But there was a sharp, vital difference this year. I looked around at all the folks several times over the night and one thought just would not leave my head.

 “You are not part of this anymore. This is no longer your Tribe” I nodded and I understood.

 And I drank to numb the matter of fact tone in my head and my absolute agreement to it. And I felt lighter as a chunk of my old worldview, my old personality, fell off my body. I tried to pick it up and slap it back on my body, tried to make it fit, but it wouldn’t stay.

I tried to be Sique (the load, rebel-rousing good time girl type intellectual type person) and it rang false. I acknowledged that and there went another chunk of the worldview. And for the most part, I was quite fine with that.

 It was the little itty-bitty part of my heart that freaked out.  That was the part that wanted to be numb. That was the part that wanted to slap the pieces of the past back on body which kinda felt like a raw meat suit like a FrankenChrishaun.

 That was the part that cried when I got home and had a weird, paranoid text exchange with my sister-in-law between trips to the bathroom.

 It was the part that was scared. It was scared because all the bitterness and anger was gone. All the drama that fed and defined me was conversation fodder and it was actually an effort to engage. Most times I was happier being silent. And still.

 And that was the scariest part of the whole thing.


I am actually accepting that my worldview changed and the things that mattered, the people that mattered, the pastimes that mattered don’t really matter as much as they once did.

 They are important. They make me happy. But they are not my happiness. They are not my everything (everything? EV-ER-RY-THANG!)They don’t define me. I can live without them if I needed to and would miss them dearly. That is crystal clear. What isn’t as clear is what replaces it. Or does it even get replaced. Will I be in another group? Does that matter? What the worst that could happen? Could I handle it?

By the time I could verbalize these questions, I had already cried a patch in my therapist’s couch. I got up off of my side, looked dead at him and asked:

 “Is Grace going to be enough if I never gain back anything to make up for what I have lost?”

 He smiled softly. We had had the talk about not giving trite answers and I could see him measuring his answer, which was the other extreme. I didn’t want to feel better; I wanted the truth.

 He leveled his gaze at me.

 “In time. It’s like when I asked if you were ok… what did you say?”

 It was my turn to smile. “I will be”

 “And you will…”

 And once I calmed down I realized that … I am ok.

 NYE was that last push out of the skin I had been in for years. I knew that I would change and I liked where my life was headed. But on many levels, I wanted my old life back, but it was always empty (the benefit of hindsight) and to keep on that path is to do the same thing I accuse other folks of doing.

Fighting to be the Queen Bee of Nothing. Fighting to lead a group that does not want growth or grace or to progress in any beneficial way. They just want things to be the same as it has always been; a world of denial. A world where there is no tactic too underhanded, no lie too boldfaced and no depth to deep to prevent the truth to reach the light of day. A world where pity and the guilt trip rule.

 I’ve done my fair share and now I’m just done.

 I don’t want pity. I want God’s grace and His love. I want my husband and children to be core of my life like they used to be.

I want this new path and all the fear and joy and labor and promise it carries.

I wanted the New Year to be fresh and filled with the people with the lifes I aspire to.

The ones who the very embodiment of kindness, faith, trust in spite of, and sometimes because of, all of their faults. Those who soldier on the path of discipleship.

Just soos you know… since I started on this article, I have gone to both Holly’s B-Day and The Regifting Party, the first parties of the New Year for me. I still felt really wobbly and unsure and kinda shy, but I didn’t have to drink to get through them, either.

happy new year…








The Perfect Pen [visual Prayer]

 the perfect pen

But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!    Jonah 2:9 ESV


I thought I was being clever. I know that living in Christ means sacrifice. The issue was that I thought I could bargain for more time with my weaknesses, more time to ‘control’ my situation, more time with my pet sins.

More time without the pain of sacrifice.

So being incurably and incredibly clever, I tried to make a deal:

“Abba (‘Father’ or ‘Daddy’), I want to surrender all to you.

I want to surrender my earthly goods and resources, my ability to get things done, my right to an explanation, my desire to be liked, adored and generally well thought of, my desire to become a best-selling author, all of those things for you.

But I want to do it right; I want to write a surrender contract out in my own hand as I reminder of the things that I give to you. And in recognition of that, I am currently on the hunt for the perfect pen.”

But Abba, omnipotent, wise, loving and patient had a trick for me.

Two loving friends returned from Europe recently and as I greeted them, they looked at each other and then at me with wide grins.

“We brought you back something!!”  The funny thing was I always thought that the perfect pen was the Mont Blanc Agatha Christy fountain pen, because nothing makes a contract water tight than a 2100 dollar pen, right?

No.  A gift; small, but lovely and well thought out, given by friends full of boundless grace and kindness. With a nib that looks like it might well by flipping you off.  That was as perfect as one could get and I knew that as soon as I saw it. Abba had said to me “oh, you need the perfect pen? It just so happens that it’s in Rome…and I know just how to get it to you.”

Our Heavenly Father is patient and kind, even with those of us who want to stay a little longer in the world. But He also at times shows slivers of the great joy that comes from serving him to encourage and embolden us.  


Abba, thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for not giving up on me, but rather showing me that you are greater that my plans, schemes and fears. Thank you for friends that totally encourage my sense of humor and for pens that their writers off, proving that all things are for your praise.



there might be something to this…

Would it change your spiritual life if you knew without a shadow of a doubt that God not only loved you and desired you, but desired to be with you and to spend time with you?

Would you believe it? Would it take you some time for you get used to the idea?

My truth is that I don’t know if I believe it yet. I want to believe that something as big and grand as the Heavenly Father knows that I even exist.  Yes, I have read Mathew 10:29-30, (where Jesus is talking about how a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without Him knowing and the hairs of our head are numbered), but there is a big difference between knowing and well, knowing…

Here, let me illustrate….

Imagine that you are hanging out and an absolutely devastatingly gorgeous, powerful, and rich person comes up to you and tells you that they want to be with you, spend time with you, and that they love you, always have and always will. You know your background, you know that you are broke, that you don’t have anything to offer that s/he can’t get somewhere else (with better quality than you can even imagine) and you tell them so. But they don’t care- they want you and they want you to want them too.

“Well, I would drop everything and go!” I hear many of you saying.

“If some hot, rich person came up to me, I would be gone in a minute” And I would agree and even then there would be difficulties; you would have to adjust to his lifestyle (I’m gonna use the male pronoun because I’m straight), you have to deal with folks who are upset because you are around (How dare she come here…) and ridiculed by others for thinking that you have what it takes to be with him…and keep him.

I get that…

Now… what if you have never seen this person in life?  You have heard of him, his power and what he feels for you, but never actually saw him? And the only communication you ever get from him is through emails and other people telling you? Not even the Charlie’s Angels voice box- you can’t hear a voice- just written communication and hearsay?

Would you be so willing to drop everything then? Would you be able to believe whole heartedly? Would you be able to trust?

I wasn’t able at first… because at first the thought of God wanting anything to do with me seemed foolish and stupid… and all I had to go on what was written in the Bible. What I didn’t know was adamant He was about being close to his followers in the Scriptures, especially those who have less to give than others (Deut. 7:7-8).

And the more I studied and prayed, the less it started to feel foolish and it started to sound less stupid. But then I had to deal with the outside ridicule. And what I realized was that for every ridiculer, there were many, many more that came to my aid and encouraged me along this path. People who are loving and patient like He is and can attest to how loving, kind and patient He has been to them. 

And now I am starting to hear the love of His voice in the chorus of his true witnesses, those who truly follow and tell all of His loving kindness, long suffering, and tender mercies and show them through the lives that they lead, even though they are as broken as I am.

I said all of that to say this….

That I don’t fully believe or trust that God loves me or wants anything to do with me, but this last year has proved that opening my mind to even the concept that that could be possible has changed my physical and spiritual life more (for the better) than I could ever imagine.

This is the Way… and I am walking in it. Not kicking and screaming anymore, just going slowly.






in the beginning and at the end [Devotional]

“Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good; his love is eternal…Give thanks to the God of heaven; his love is eternal.”


Psalms 136:1, 26, English Good News Translation



These verses open and close Psalm 136. What comes in the middle is not covered here, because that is not the point of this piece. The point is that in the beginning and at the end, no matter how difficult, awkward, painful, or depressing the things are in the middle- all things being said- God is good and His love is eternal.

This is a thought that I easy to dismiss based simply how many times we have heard that.

“ow, god is good, chil’…”

God is good. But it is easy to forget that simply based on the things that he has allowed to happen.

“but why did this had to happen to me?”

But it does not dismiss that fact that God is good. His goodness is present in everything in nature. It is present in the beauty of the ocean, the awesome spectacle of a night sky full of stars, the horrific destructive power of the hurricane, and the ability of the human mind to create everything from chocolate the space shuttle.

It is present in the ability of kindness to sooth the pains that we come across, no matter if we are the giver or the receiver. It is present in the power of God that excels all thought that keeps us when all human understanding has failed us.

I want to trust what I can see. I say that I don’t trust good because I don’t trust Him. I blame God for the things that I have had to go through. But it is during those times that I forget about all the tiny, random, little things that bring me joy and peace. When I go through hell, I forget about all the people and things that God provides that truly comfort and instead rely on food, cigarettes, and shallow companions to ease the pain.

It is times like this when I have to remember that I see the past that was shaped by a friend that taught me about the real world and gave me the strength and the knowledge to live that world, one that was foreign after years in the [cult]Church. I see the girls who again and again gave me something to live for. I see all the wonders of the world in a search for myself. I see the Great Lesson that brought me down enough to be able to hear the Call and follow the Path, even as messed up as I am. I see the mentors and guides that have patiently helped me process my past.

I have gone through so much hell in this life that the one on the next life seems almost like a release. But I have also seen that God is good.

I don’t always believe it. And it sometimes takes me time to remember it, but that knowledge makes enough of a difference to keep me going.

Because God is good.

Thanks be the God.