Friday, June 27, 2014


Thinking of this poem after choosing to walk into fear and out in freedom on the other side this week.  Giving thanks for moments like these as tough as they are.

The knots in my stomach—
Tighten and Constrict.
On and off.
Again and again.
All. Day.

As the thought of tonight’s event
Forms in my mind—
Drawing closer and closer,
Minute by minute.
A knot is added to a lengthening chain—
New people—new knot.
Alone to navigate a new place—another knot.
And it feels like I’d rather not go.
I’ve a swirled chain rattling my interior.
And I think I just might be sick.

So I gasp air and grab hold of Truth—
Deep breath.  Relax.  Believe.
My mind assents.

The knot remains.
So too, the Truth.
Two forces battling—
One solid rock.
Other shifting sand.

I breathe deep and go forth clinging to Truth.
I walk in the reality of the moment—
One step in front of the other—
Anxiety is quelled.

Taking one moment at a time.
Immersed in that solid Truth.
The Spirit God goes with me.
Giving courage to tackle
One obstacle at a time.
His presence near.
The knots relax—slow.
Truth has won.
Peace reigns.
And the joyous glow of His victory
Burns brightly in my heart.

Sometimes discipleship is like this--clinging tightly to Truth and trusting God one step at a time.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we cling to Truth and push through fear trusting God, one step at at time.  May we discover that He is able to walk us through more than we think we can handle.  May we find joy in the freedom that follows obedient faith.

Jessica :)

*Reposted from the archives

Friday, June 20, 2014

Drink Deep

As I think about how I am to begin practicing the goodlife I figure it might be helpful to pick a focus. 

I choose to consider taste.  In hind sight, I’m not sure why I pick taste other than perhaps it is something to do with the way my Little Love has been putting things into her mouth with such relish lately.

In the living room, she spots a piece of lint on the floor that fell from the laundry basket or was tracked in on a foot and grins big before quickly shoving it into her mouth.  She does all this lightning quick, before I have time to pluck it from her little hand.  That edge of the carpet that has been pulling away from the kitchen threshold?  Yeah…she’s swallowed that up a time or two when I was looking the other way.  I can tell by the way she coughs as I catch her looking guilty with another piece in hand.

At the table, she grabs strawberries and bites big with the pink juice dripping gloriously down her chin, accompanied with a squeeze of each berry that leaves them in mangled bits that cover her hands and booster tray.  She smears it around with an artist’s flourish and concentration that is quite endearing, if sticky.  She takes bites of mama’s food and sometimes dada’s to—the vegetables, the curry, the beans and rice.  She tries it all, and loves most of it. 

Outside, as I pull weeds she sits nearby on the sidewalk grabbing blades of grass.  Knowing that she often tries to put these in her mouth, I tell her she can pluck them, but not eat them.  She listens, but takes it as an invitation to scrape up a bit of dirt to sample instead. 

In the swimming pool, she is ready to try the leaf that is crumpled at the bottom of the shallow pool.  I distract her with something else for a few moments only to find that while I have been surveying the cloudy sky she has grabbed the hose end and placed it in her mouth instead.

In the bathtub, she nimbly folds her head forward into the water and drinks deep of the soapy water.  She must know that Natalie Babbit wrote that it was delicious. 

I can’t help but laugh.  This girl has tasted and seen the Lord is good.

In many small moments, I have for a few seconds caught a glimpse of God’s goodness, but I feel like I’m so busy managing all the messy bits that I don’t often just delight in them.  How to move beyond this? 

Jason reads one night: “You’ve had a taste of God.  Now like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:2-3

Drink of God’s kindness.  Taste it.

I think of what this picture has looked like in my own arms this last year—my baby drinking deeply.  This is the way God wants me to experience him?  He wants me to drink eagerly, letting his kindness pour in as much and more than I can take in.  Somehow this will grow me up mature and whole in Him.   

It’s a beautiful image.  Babies are made to drink deep, but they do learn in those early weeks how to do it.  So how do I learn to drink deep of God’s kindness? 

How do I move away from managing moments to delighting in them?

I think of the Revolution in World Missions book I have been reading this week.  K.P. Yohannan writes of native missionaries and their children going hungry overseas and here I am wondering how to taste the Lord’s kindness.  Something in me is unlocked in reading this. 

I think He must be teaching me how to drink.

I recognize that God has been watching me struggle.  He knows what I have not seen until now.  I have been living the good life all along without really recognizing it or giving thanks.  He opens my eyes to see all this grace right before me.  His kindness has been there all along.

Left-over lentil sloppy joes in the refrigerator.
Fresh clean water to drink straight from the tap. 
The pineapple and melon on my counter top. 
The jars of legumes, grains, and nuts hanging on my wall. 
The English muffin with egg and cheese I share with my little love at breakfast.

And this is just the start of what is sure to be a long list.

I repent as I consider these brothers and sisters.  I wonder how do they drink deep of the Lord’s kindness? 

How myopic I have been. 

If I am honest, I often too easily tire of my own good food.  I like the luxury of eating out.  I ponder whether I make a bad choice when I buy conventional foods.  I think of that potato I threw out earlier this week, somewhere around the world someone would have salvaged it to make dinner.

In so many ways, I have failed to interpret all this abundance in terms of God’s goodness.

It is dangerous to forget the abundance of God.
Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God, the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery;
the God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness, those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions; the God who gave you water gushing from hard rock; the God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.

If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.

If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I’m on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You’ll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn’t obey the Voice of God, your God.  Deuteronomy 8:11-20
With eyes opened I can see how good God is.  I can see that I have a lot to learn about being disciplined and allowing the Holy Spirit to bear the fruit of self-control.  I know my heart will be better for being open to it. 

As I have been thinking about those native missionaries, it comes to me.  They go hungry holding out food that is greater than the stores of my pantry and the contents of my refrigerator—the Bread of Life that transforms a life.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,“Take and eat; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”   Matthew 26:26-29

They know what it is to really drink of the pure kindness of God.

Through them, I am learning too.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we drink deep of God’s pure kindness. May we be overwhelmed by the changes it works in us.  May we find Him gently drawing us into disciplines in our lives in order to allow us to bless our brothers and sisters around the world out of His more than sufficient abundance.

Jessica :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Good Life

It has been quiet around this space the last few weeks. 

In my home the days have been full of celebrations, decisions, viruses, prayer, people and life as usual.  The thoughts have been many.  Even so, the words have not come clearly or easily.  I’ve left this space to live life.  I return as the thoughts settle and the work of putting them into practice begins.

In the midst of a lot of reading I have been seriously thinking about the way we are to live out our relationship with God and what that means in the context of family.  

“This is the commandment, the rules and regulations, that God, your God, commanded me to teach you to live out in the land you’re about to cross into to possess. This is so that you’ll live in deep reverence before God lifelong, observing all his rules and regulations that I’m commanding you, you and your children and your grandchildren, living good long lives.

Listen obediently, Israel. Do what you’re told so that you’ll have a good life, a life of abundance and bounty, just as God promised, in a land abounding in milk and honey.

Attention, Israel!

God, our God! God the one and only!

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”  Deuteronomy 6:1-9 MSG

A few things stand out to me.  This is about the good life God wants us to live with Him.  It begins with me loving God first.  It is about my husband loving God first.  Out of that love we lead our child to love God.  This makes sense.  I cannot pass on what I do not have.  All of this is an all day every day, in every way you can, every chance you get way of life.

Along with this, I have been struck by the sensory nature of the symbolic elements and celebrations in Scripture.  We are made with bodies—able to see, smell, touch, taste, and hear—for a reason.  

With all of this in mind, I have been considering what it looks like to live mindful of these things.  I have to say I have a long way to go!

In the midst of all this, I am very aware that kingdom life is not about right actions, but allowing God to cultivate in me a right heart that leads to them.  This good life is what I want to be cultivated in me and around me (my family, my neighbors, my friends). 

I hope to be sharing more soon.  


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek to live the good life God has for us when we trust him.  May we discover that as we get his love and his commands inside our hearts it leads to transformed lives. 

Jessica :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

He Gently Leads

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,  In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;  He will gently lead the nursing ewes.”   -Isaiah 40:11

He will gently lead me
Through this time of sleepless nights,
With little lamb drawn close.

The Shepherd

He will gently lead me
I will not flounder, flail, flop
Or fail.

For He tends the flock.

He makes me lie in green pastures.
He leads me to still waters.
He restores my soul.

He does it gently.

So I blink and find I am on the other side
Joyfully in the flock
Surrounded by Love, lamb close and secure.

The verse from Isaiah was so encouraging to me as I was tired after a week or two of waking for teething pain back in March.  Reflecting birthed this poem.  I just happen to be in this place once again.  I spotted the tooth beginning to cut the gum just the other day.  Something about knowing the cause of the waking and the fussing makes it all SO much more bearable and me much more compassionate toward the cries of my Little Love. 

As Mother’s Day draws near I think of this poem and smile.  Jesus, the Good Shepherd has led me gently through this first year of mothering.  I am so thankful for this.  


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we allow ourselves to be gently led by The Good Shepherd.  May we delight in Him—rejoicing that he knows what we need; he knows what our little ones need—and trust that He will give us the strength to love them (and others too!) as follow Him in loving obedience.

Jessica :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Eager as the Little Ones

It would seem…

The new act of parenting is as fall.

Life as it were
dropping in dazzling color,
to a pleasing,
crunchy brown.

Moving fast into winter—
Barren and cold and strikingly beautiful.
(Those tired smiles are genuine and true.)

the life rings grow,
the roots deepen,

The days stretch out—
Long and gray.

We long.

We hope.

We wonder.

Will spring come? 

And then…

One day it does!  Buds popping, trees leafing, sun shining, winds blowing.


Eager as the little ones who lead the way to exploring LIFE!
New and fresh and gloriously abundant again.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we embrace the seasons of life in all their beauty.  As we do may we trust that God uses each with skillful purpose growing us more into the image of Christ as we allow Him to work in and through us.

Jessica :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Freedom Calls

I wrote a poem in response to reading Isaiah 25 a few months back.  The joy and freedom seem especially appropriate to me for this Easter season.  

“The unassailable fortifications of your walls He will bring down, lay low and cast to the ground, even to the dust”  Isaiah 25:12  

I peek out from behind the citadel
In hopeful wonder, I hear His words:

“Let’s break down the walls!
Come to the feast!
(A place where the fear, the schedules, the life, the friendships
                are handed over to One who knows the way to thrive.)
Come eat! 
Come drink!
Come LIVE! 
Come enjoy! 
Come trust me with all things—the cares, the woes, the joys and sorrows, the dreams!”

Could there really be a place for me
At such a table, so full and inviting?
I hear Him now,
Freedom calls.

He says,
“Come out!”  

I pause and call,
“What if I can’t—
The locks, rusty and old. 
Will you…
Can you break me out like a maid trapped in a fairy tale?”

“Oh yes!”
He responds.
“The stones will roll at my command.”

“Then break away!
I want to sit with you at your table today!”
I say with longing delight.

A voice rumbles like thunder
The walls!
They fall down!

He is running toward me.
I am running toward Him.
We meet in His wide open arms.

He holds me close and whispers
Of the journey ahead
The way out through the rubble all around.

“Stay close!  Walk near! 
There will be nothing to fear
Though the way may be treacherous all ‘round.

In freedom, now walk!
Follow me, Dear.
You’ll know the way by My path of Light.
Ever closer you’ll shine because you are Mine.
A beacon to draw others near.

We’ll be a winsome, formidable pair
Speak to them of freedom and peace. 
Invite them to the feast.

It will be a lavish banquet—
A wedding celebration.
The guests once Lost in darkness, now Found in Light.
Those once Least, greeted joyously in places of Honor.”

“It sounds so marvelous.”
I muse.

We’ll tell the story of Love.

Then we’ll dance,
Him and me.
Evermore and evermore.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we allow Christ to cause the walls of pain and hurt and sin to fall down.  May we find Him holding us steady and with Him freedom that is full of love.  May we walk with Him sharing the story of Love He has written on our hearts.

Jessica :)

P.S.  The really fun photo is courtesy of my husband and his trip to Krakow, Poland.  It is a photo from his tour of Wawel Castle.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Most days, I spend time praying for my little “life of grace” using the Inspired to Action Prayer Calendar.  Today the attribute was faithfulness.  Faithful, God.  He is faithful.    It reminded me of this poem I crafted a few years ago while spending time reading Psalm 103:1-5 at a Last Wednesday service. 

God you are good.
So good.
Nothing escapes your notice.
Observing all
You  take care to provide for everything I need—
Right now and all eternity.

Faithful, God.
You are faithful.
I treasure you for you have done great things—
For me.
Around me.
In me.

How beautiful the works of your hands.
I marvel.
I worship you.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we know God’s goodness, witness God’s faithfulness.  May we respond in worship through all we do.

Jessica :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wear Love

We sit side by side.  My pen is in hand to capture the thoughts we will share when we gather round loved ones to bless as two plan to become one. 

It has been eight years (this week!) since I said yes and we looked with great anticipation toward the late summer day when we would say “I do” as they do now. 

I ask what words we will speak. 

I don’t know.  He doesn’t know. 

What is it we have learned in eight years worth passing along? 

Wanting to be prepared and growing agitated I suggest we stop and pray.  He grumbles.

“Well if you don’t want to talk to God I will,” I say in a sing-song voice. 

“Nice.  You stole that line right out of my playbook,” he retorts with a smile.

“Yeah.  Well…”  I reply with a grin.

We slow and pause.  We try to get our hearts right before God.  We bring our friends before Him.

Lord, what is it that two hearts preparing to be knit together as one need to know? What have you taught us?

I share how I’m thinking of Colossians and Genesis and what it means to live in unity as one flesh before God.  He tells me he likes the sound of that.

I wonder what thoughts he has and I have no idea why he says I am better at this than he is.  He lives love so much better than I do.  He is patient with me when I exasperate…sometimes intentionally.  He steps in and does what I fail to do—from making dinner, to humility, forgiveness, and love.  He doesn’t complain. 

I have so much to learn from him.  I tell him so. 

He quips back about how he has just the verse.

“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”  Proverbs 21:9

I scowl. 

He tells me he would be sitting on the addition roof with his porter if he really felt that way about me.  We laugh.

With a poke, I ask him what he would say, seriously, to our friends.

He tells me his words to them would be:  Marriage takes work.  Don’t do it alone.  Live in community that will support you in loving one another.  Marriage will be the hardest thing you ever decide to do.  It will also be the best. So work at loving each other well.

I smile at his words.  They are true to the way he lives.  I also think about how they complement and fill in what it looks like, practically, when unity is lived out.  We bring out the best in one another.

“We are a good team,” I tell him.

I think about how this is as it is meant to be. 

Two people come together in love and are united as one flesh before God. 

This oneness is a mystery that He works in us as we lay down our lives (our time, our pride, our way) for one another.  It is a mystery that runs deeper than the joining of two bodies.  It is oneness of heart and purpose and vision for life together.  It comes as we seek Christ; both of us yielded and open and focused on Him, we write our story together.  And it is beautiful.

This is what we have learned to practice in eight years.

Wear love.

“So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”  Colossians 3:12-14 (NASB)
It comes down to this, dear ones.  Put on love.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we live united in Christ by wearing love.  May we find great joy in oneness as we go where the Holy Spirit leads us.

Jessica :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

It Stands Forever

She had Alzheimer’s disease, my grandmother—Hazel.

In the time before she passed away my mom read Romans to her.

Romans, that book which tells it like it is. 
There is none righteous, not even one.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  

Romans, that book which tells of grace through faith in Christ. 
All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. 

Romans, that book which tells of hope. 
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  […]  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans, that book which reminds us to live love.
I still remember my mom describing the peace that it brought to her mother.

I marveled, thinking of this as I stood in front of the kitchen sink reading the verse from John: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

For Grandma, it was God’s word that remained a source of strength when the familiarity of life gave way to darkness.  This was something my mother seemed to know intuitively.

It’s funny that I should remember all this before sitting down to read this in Isaiah:
“All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it.  Surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”  Isaiah 40:6-8
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 

Yes.  Life sweeps through our bodies—growing, learning, blossoming, living—full and abundant.

My grandmother was a lover of algebra, a crafter, a baker.  She was well past doing these things during my lifetime; but I think we would have enjoyed one another, because these are all things I have enjoyed too.  From stories my mom has shared my grandma had a servant’s heart; and reading between the lines I think she must have been rather feisty.  I think of my mother and my sister—these women are like her also.

When I was very little my grandmother lived at home with us.  I have a few memories of that time—the one I remember most clearly, Grandma got sick when we were out on an errand.  I have many more memories after Grandma was moved to a nearby nursing home where we visited on the weekends.  On Saturday, my mother would wet and wind up Grandma’s hair in thin loops, before putting it in bobby-pins to curl overnight.  It was a time of cartoons, hide-and-seek, visiting and exploration of the nursing home.  On Sunday, we would return to brush out Grandma’s curls, feed her lunch, and watch American Gladiators.  A lot of time has passed since then. 

The grass withers, the flower fades—and so do we, some quickly and others over a long period of time.  Alzheimer’s disease being a neurodegenerative disorder took its toll over years on Grandma.  

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

But this!  As her body was failing, as her mind stopped functioning in the here and now, it was God’s word that brought my Grandma peace and hope. 

The word of the Lord stands forever. 

Forever, breaking through to Grandma’s heart, holding firm when memories faded and life was confusing and lonely and not the way she remembered it.  When people cared for her and did all the things she once did for herself and was humbled to let them do for her.

Forever.  In Christ, The Word, who lives—a sure hope that one day all things will be made new, including her mind and body.    

Forever.  In the word lived out in the lives of His people, led by the Holy Spirit—serving her out of love.

The word of the Lord stands forever.

I take courage from this.  I delight in this.  I give thanks for this bedrock truth that a life can stand upon when life itself is so very different from all one has ever known. 

The word of the Lord stands forever…bringing peace and life and hope even at the end.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we trust that the word of the Lord stands forever.  May we steep in it and find that we are like the tree planted by streams of water yielding fruit.  May we find that whatever rains and floods come we are firmly set on a foundation that will last.

Jessica :)