Jul 272016

“Your reality is like good medicine” were the words of a song which I woke up to on repeat in my mind.  And then the song turned into a thoughts about a challenging “reality” moment I encountered with my daughter a couple Sunday’s back.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were stil ltrying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10 

I was having somewhere between a teaching and all out frustration moment as I went over the “do’s and don’ts” church etiquette with my 7 year old daughter.  Do-“stand when everyone stands during the worship songs.”  Don’t-“Drink your tea during worship time.”  Do-“Sing the words to the songs.”  Don’t-“Talk to your friend.”  Don’t-“Go to the bathroom.”  Do-“Close your eyes during the prayer.”

Check. Did my good Christian motherly duties.  At the time, basking in what felt to be some amazing “training up my daughter in God’s Ways”, I held my head a little higher than before.  Our family row was looking.  Good.  (Oh and nothing could be wrong with this, “I’m too good for my britches”, scene.)  We were doing all the right things, at the right time, in the right way.

At this point, by the grace of God I was able to step off my pedistle and look down for one moment.  And I smiled.  Differently.  Deeper.  Better.  Truer.   Than before.  Because my smile this time wasn’t based on how other’s would see us.  Or how my daughter was responding positively to forced “do’s and don’ts”.  It was based on what I witnessed as I watched my 7 year old daughter respond with spontaneous/made up motions to the worship song we were singing.

I sang “Jesus paid it all”- her arms elongated out so wide her face was stretching right along with them.  I sang, “All to Him I owe”-her hands moved crazily all around in a circular form.  I sang, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-her clinched fists on her heart and face in despair.  And finally, “He washed me white as snow”-her clenched fists opened fiercely and broke open.  Freedom.  In.  Jesus.

This was an act of authenticity and freedom in my daughter and her relationship with God.  She was doing her own thing.  She was responding to Him.  Not because of what anyone told her to do.  Not because of what would “look good” to those around.  Simply because she was being herself.  With her loving Father.  And loving every.  minute.  of.  it.

5 questions to test your authenticity in your relationship with God and others

  1.  What are my motives in making decisions?  What is your process you go through when saying “yes” to a particular commitment, activity, decision?  Does it involve weighing in how other’s will respond to you or think of you if you say “no”?  Does it involve what you will get out of it selfishly or what you might get in return if you do it?  If so, you are not being true to yourself, them, or your God.  Respond with “yes” only in obedience to your Master God, who is the only one you are serving.
  2. Do my actions match my words?  We want to not only speak truth in love to others, but show it as well.  Are you the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting friend or just a nice voice over the phone?
  3. When was the last time you “made a fool of yourself” for Jesus?  Following our God is risky and when we step out in faith/out of our comfort zone we don’t always respond in a typical, earthly standard sort of way.  If we are never “looking strange or making strange decisions” in the eyes of the world, we are probably living more by sight than by faith.
  4. What does your time with God look like?  If it is a “going through the motions” based on “checking off” the list of devotion, bible reading, prayer based on self imposed or other’s imposed rules and standards, it may be time to mix things up a little.  Maybe it’s time to be spontaneous with God and “bust out some motions to the worship songs” or go on a coffee date or walk in nature or spend time with Him doing what you love to do with a friend.  Take time this week to get out of the “box” and do something new with Jesus.
  5. What am I afraid to approach God about?  If you can answer this genuinely, then you are at a great place.  Because the cool thing is He already knows about this and wants to love you/help you through it.  He always in “gentle, gracious and humble”.

“Reality is like good medicine” my friends (in which I always seem to find out the hard way of pride coming before a fall.)  But if we allow our loving God to search and test our hearts and motives and come to a place of repentance for our yucky stuff, then we will live in that sweet spot.  We live in the reality of our song from above, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-meaning we all are sinners, but we have hope because… “He washed us white as snow” through His death on the cross.  The Holy Spirit gives us the balming medicine to “lead us into all truth” about how we can have “more of Him and less of me”.  Don’t resist this reality and good medicine He offers!  The more we lean into the reality of who we are and why we NEED Jesus, the more freedom, peace and joy we will experience.  The more abundant life and purpose filled living we will walk in.  May your day today be one in which you run to the arms of your loving.  heavenly.  Father.  And may you run with grace to Truly. be. yourself.



© 2012 Standing on Peace

Nov 082012

It was after I bought the purple skinny jeans.

I started noticing purple everywhere. It wasn’t just Maisy’s favorite color anymore; purple had taken on a life of its own.

There was Maisy in her purple outfits, entreating me to join her in her delight with being a girl. But there was more—for Maisy, all of life involves this kind of delight. Her only priority is play. She is fully present to each new moment, utterly free and spontaneous, immersed in simple joy.

Perhaps there is no gift more precious than the gift of spontaneity, the ability of certain [people] and animals to act straight and fresh and self-forgettingly out of the living center of who they are.” (Frederick Buechner)

For Maisy, purple was on the inside too…and she was drawing it out of me…out from under the grown up layers of preoccupation, plans, and perfectionism.

And then there was my therapist in his sometimes purple sweater, listening me along the precipice of my own depths. We peered over the edge, and there was purple…shimmering under layers of anxiety and worn out coping mechanisms.

Purple became a poignant symbol for me of the place inside where blue and red come together, where a well of deep feeling and deep power sloshes and gurgles. The reservoir of our truest energy.

I began to wonder, what would it look like to live all of life from these rich depths, with passion splashing?

It scared me some, because it’s wild and unpredictable down there. And somehow along the way I’ve gotten the message that it can’t be trusted.

The refining of what’s inside us is a necessary part of maturing into

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adulthood and growing in our spiritual journey. Unfortunately, this process can leave many of us pretty disconnected from our purple.

It’s easy to live from a more surface place where responsibility, expectations, and tired striving prevail. Sometimes we’re more comfortable there anyway because our deep feelings can be too tender and our own power scares us.

As mothers overwhelmed with duties and the needs of others, how can we afford to make room for what’s deep inside us?

Yet how can we afford not to? To live otherwise is like trying to drive with the engine turned off.

All the heart, strength, and instincts we really need for life and mothering are in the purple well. So is the lovely energy of our own inner three year old—the straight and fresh vulnerability and trust, the self-forgetting confidence and joy. How desperately we need that!

“You must become like little children…” (Matthew 18:3)

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and living from this place inside will be messy and painful at times. But all the best of who we are is in there. And I believe this is the very place in us where the love and strength of God reside as well.

What is in your purple well? What feelings and longings? What impulses and gifts?



© 2012 Standing on Peace



Oct 042012

I’m not really a kid person. But I have 3. Sometimes I wonder why!

This year that wondering, humbling, stumbling feeling has centered on my oldest son.

He is ten and a half and has been a steady challenge from day one. It took 2 weeks of multiple people, all kinds of contraptions and around the clock intensity before we could nurse like a

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“normal” mom and baby. In fact, “around the clock intensity” is a pretty apt descriptor for my relationship with Michael in general!

We have had some of our worst moments together this last year, Michael and I. Funny, I remember 4th and 5th grade as a time of being perpetually frustrated with my own mother. Now I’m that mother. Many yelling, utterly exasperating, and bewildering moments we have had.

Michael is hot headed.

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The using.

He has explosive emotions. He is strong and unrelenting and sometimes takes up all the space in the room if not contained.

He is also very bright. He consumes all the information and experience he can access. His energy is the kind that can be incredibly helpful. His spirit is the kind that could fuel great leadership and vision. His heart is the kind that could warm and comfort people.

One day I stopped at the top of the stairs and looked at him and said, “Michael, you have fire. And so do I. Don’t be discouraged when it comes out in unrefined ways. It is a great source of life and power, a gift.”

Keep your head up; Try and listen to your heart
We all grow up , and someday we’ll say goodbye
So shine your light while you got one

“Make the most of what you’ve got
Don’t waste time trying to be something you’re not
Fill up your head, fill up you heart and take your shot
Don’t waste time trying to be someone you’re not.”

~Dave Matthews

What a revelation this image of fire was to me, to us! On the one hand, it validates my fears: fire burns. It has great capacity to destroy. It’s dangerous when not contained. It is wild and primal. No wonder I have a strong reaction when I see fire in my kid, and in myself.

At the same time, fire is a force of life, of survival. It is a strong igniting energy that fuels. It brings heat and light, warming us and helping us to see and be seen. And its dynamic power is of immense practical help! The definition of primal is essential or fundamental. Fire is a deep, rich source of good—something we can’t live without.

What do you see in your kids that challenges you?



© 2012 Standing on Peace