The Heaven in His Eyes.

bible memory match

bible memory match

I played Bible Memory Match-up game with my kids this morning.

I know what you’re thinking: Of course you did, you’re a pastor’s wife, but he truth is, that I don’t generally buy or immerse my kids in “christian” versions of things and here’s why:

I don’t want them to grow up thinking that everything not labelled Christian is bad, or not for them or that things labelled “christian” are necessarily true. I want them to learn how to relate to the actual world around them and not the sterilized church version they could have if I keep them in a bubble… and I want them to ask questions about the truth in things.

I mean, we’re talking about a memory game here, but on principle I don’t generally like the Christian versions of things because it feels like we, the church, are cloistering ourselves off from the “rest of them” when I am pretty sure that’s who Jesus wants us to be hanging out with.

When it came time to clean up the game I noticed the “Jairus’ Daughter” card, then an old song hit me smack upside the head, hard. So hard that I stopped what I was doing to sit down with a basket of laundry and listen to it.

Instead of watching Netflix…. I know, right?

But I didn’t fold laundry, I just listened to it with goose-bumps everywhere and an unfolded pair of pants in my hand.

Then I played it again.

The song is called “Heaven in his eyes” by Rich Mullins. and if you click the link you can listen to it on you-tube. It’s scratchy because it was recorded on a tape player in an old church nine days before the man singing died in a terrible car accident.

In keeping with the lack of Christian paraphernalia around the house, I don’t listen to a lot of Christian music. Continue reading

My One (painful) Word: Trust

Last night found our family playing together on our new Wii, the one I got Kel for Christmas that he almost returned GRE study material (which is crazy if you know Kel.)

Noelle was having a riot boxing on the beginner setting and Caedmon was delighted with the idea that we had created computerized versions of ourselves.

At some point I looked up from my book and remarked to Kel: “We’re past the worst of it I think, we’re on our way up.”

All four of us were engaged happily together in our home, which doesn’t happen often given our recent ministry slump and Caedmon’s nearly two year old fondness for epic tantrums.

But here we were, simply together and happy to boot! (and I don’t want to talk about the fast that it was video games that did it)  It was so lovely that I remarked about it and that remark was so beautiful that Kel spent the entire evening reflecting on it and after I’d drifted off to sleep he wrote me an email thanking me for my optimism.  Wow.

The thing is that lately I haven’t said many things like that, rather I’ve said many things that sound just the opposite of that.

Things like:

“God’s just going to leave us where we are because for some reason he loves to teach us lessons the hard way.”

And

“If we ever make it back to Michigan I’m going to have to get three waitressing jobs and give up writing just to survive.”

And to be honest, this is the PG-13 version of what I’ve been saying lately.  I’ve been all glass half empty, or emptier.

OneWord2013_trust Continue reading

I can’t say it better than Matthew 6 does

Yesterday I was overwhelmed by a thousand emotions, more than I could express without worrying you’d question my sanity, which I do all the time.

The only thing I knew to do was run to God’s word, which met me there, exhausted in my robe, face down on our kitchen table.

My friend (and girl-crush) Sarah Bessey modeled the practice of writing the word of God by hand.  As I took the red colored pencil to the construction paper the words sunk into my soul far deeper than they would have, had I only ran my eyes over them.

The best thing I have to say today is this, I didn’t write it, but I can’t say anything better.

 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34

(You can substitute pagans for “those who don’t know God” that’s what I do.)

So today I’m just praying this, a belief in a provision beyond myself, one that I see all around me in warm beds, a full fridge and a world full of friends, like you.

Daily Graham Crackers

The hardest part of my day is from 3:00 – 5:15 PM.  From roughly the end of nap time to the moment Kel walks in the door.

I’ve expended all my creative energy, used up all my bright ideas, I have no new snacks or tricks up my sleeve.  I look at the kids over the bar from the kitchen and we all sense it, a collective, “now what?”

We all have stretches like these, be they hours, days, weeks, times of great pressure where we eagerly await for the moment of “all done” to arrive. Continue reading

Daily Bread, Raining Manna

Give us this day our daily bread.

For a long time it was something I recited as a child because they taught me to.

At some point I realized that it was about asking God for food, something I wasn’t lacking in my blessed, middle class, American life.

As I grew in faith and maturity I became aware that even though I never lacked food, that my world was full of people who were starving to death.  When my friends flew and returned from Africa and Honduras with stories of streets full of hungry children it became more real, this prayer for bread.

Sometimes I wander into my stocked pantry with exotic jars of dates and 4 different kinds of rice and wonder “where do I get off, God?  Why me?”  I have daily bread to spare and it leaves me in a mixed place of thankfulness and fat guilt.

The Hebrew teachers describe scripture as a book full of jewels with many facets.  Each passage and verse filled with layers of meaning, taking us ever deeper.

Lately, Jesus’ prayer for Daily bread has gone beyond food for the stomach and has spoken to the food needed to sustain my hungry soul.

Summer life can be dry for me, leaving me hungry for quiet moments and routine, desperate for sustained rhythm.  Caedmon is going through his “no” phase and Noelle is so resistant against potty training it’s ridiculous.  There are moments I want to cry, or scream, mostly both.  Sometimes this supposedly blissful mom life makes me want to run out the front door like my hair’s on fire.

Lately, when the ends of my hair start to spark and threaten to burn, God’s been showing me my daily bread.  I stand in the kitchen, face down on the cold countertop when suddenly Caedmon peeks around the corner and yells “a-peek-boo!”

That moment is a bit of my daily bread.

Noelle is beautiful and creative and bless her heart she doesn’t stop talking from sun up to sun down.  There are moments that I long for quiet as she peppers me with questions about what skunks like to eat.  Then she starts playing baby bird with me and asks if we can go to her nest (our bed) and read books together.

Suddenly her tweets as she circles pillows are daily bread.

For too long I thought manna was something that only fell in the desert ages ago, then I realize that it’s raining manna in my home.

Even though life is somewhat hot and dry, I am sustained by a portion beyond measure.

Around the world there are millions with hungry stomachs and billions with hungry, lonely souls.  My heart is burdened with the hungry all wondering if they will be seen, loved, fed.

Can I lift up an entire world that you’re already holding in your hands?  May heavy manna find its way to their tongues, their heart feeling full of your sweet sustenance and love.

As for me God, I dare not ask for more.

How about you?  What manna has hit your tongue this week?

Can you see daily bread, even in your dry spell?

Beautiful Scars – Princess Abi’s Faith

Today’s Guest Post came in this week from Laurie Wilks and I knew I had to bump my Friday posting plans to share it with you.  

Laurie is a new friend, mother, teacher and fellow Asbury-ite.  I promise you’ll walk away in love with her beautiful and brave daughter Abi, as I did.  Abi’s perspective on God, Faith and Scars is something that we could all take notes on.  ~ Leanne

A big chunk of our family time happens on-the-go, running errands in our sage green mini-van.

It was the week before Thanksgiving and we had several destinations to check off that afternoon.

We had reached the point in the day when sweet treats beckon, but dinner seems far off. The bickering from the older kids in the back seat was noticeably absent. On a whim, we pulled into the drive-thru and ordered two kid sized hot chocolates and a juice box.  Cheers and laughter erupted from the back seat.  Sweets! With Whipped Cream! Happy day!  John and Laurie Wilks: Parents of the Year!

We waited, as patiently as possible.  Soon enough, an awkward teenager handed us our steamy liquid goodness.  We thanked her and I passed them back to the worlds happiest 8 and 4 year-old kids.  They were so grateful, it melted my heart.  I hollered a warning that their drinks were hot; and glance back at their smiling faces as John pulled back on to the highway.

I wish I could have frozen this moment and savored it.

Suddenly, I heard an ear piercing, terrified scream from my 4 yr old daughter.  She just kept screaming, and crying.  Traffic prevented us from turning around or pulling over. Continue reading

Reflections of a Seminary Wife- Article for Asbury Alumni

In my former, pre-mom life I was an assistant to the Alumni office at Asbury Seminary while Kel was attending classes on campus in Wilmore, KY.  They’ve graciously asked me to write about what life is like for a seminary spouse and here is what I came up with:

The past life, Seminary “us” (note the office depot uniform on Kel)

I still remember with crisp clarity the day we pulled into Wilmore with our Uhaul in tow.  It was late July and exactly one week before our first anniversary.  We were babies on the marriage journey and in retrospect had only a vague idea what we were getting ourselves into.  We had no jobs, no income and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t burst into tears the first time I saw our beyond tiny, cinder block apartment.  My husband was beyond excited to be starting classes and I was struggling to figure out how I fit into this seminary journey.  I tried taking a few counseling classes and working toward my master’s degree but somehow I knew that our budget and schedule couldn’t accommodate both of us in Seminary at the same time.  So I put my career plans on hold for a while and was eventually blessed with an amazing job on staff at Asbury which provided me with a place and a purpose.

To read the rest of the article, go the Alumni Link  to finish it up.  

My Meltdown

This afternoon I had a meltdown, I couldn’t even tell you why really.  I just remember losing all perspective and weeping my way home from preschool pickup.  So dramatic, so embarrassing.

For some reason I just couldn’t see the hope or the good, most of all in myself.

I was determined to figure out what caused my meltdown so I did what any normal person would do and had a good ol’ fashioned spider web brainstorming session on my chalkboard.

I’ve seen my children have meltdowns and I’ve had them myself.  The meltdown has a common thread, it’s a combination of a lack of perspective and a lack of understanding and above all a perceived hurt.

When I tell my kids that they can’t have another scone from the top of the fridge or yet another new bouncy ball at WalMart they get angry and lash out at me.  They don’t understand why I’m saying no.  I know that they’ll get sick from too much sugar and that we already have upwards of 10 balls at home, but they see me as a fun stealing tyrant.   These sort of meltdowns look ridiculous to me because I’m more mature than they are, I know what’s best, but their little world is legitimately melting and it hurts.

If a more mature person were to bear witness to my meltdown this afternoon, so riddled with self doubt and empty of faith, they would see it as I see my children’s fits, silly and needless.  But in my little world, I was hurting.

God is so faithfully growing and tending to my heart, how often I feel that strength and stability!  But, once in a while, on days like today, I plant my feet in toddler-like resistance and have an epic meltdown.

And after the kicking and the tears subside God is still standing there, shaking his head and reminding me of the truth.  Whispering who I am in him and untangling all the lies I’ve tied myself up in.

It’s so easy to let the meltdowns define us as crazy or incapable, but we have to remember that the bad days will come, they just will.  I will never cease being human and asking for another portion of grace from God and my family.

I’ve cried a thousand times today, my heart so tender.  My daughter ran up to me with concern, plying me with questions in her pure childlike desire to take away my pain.

She threw a tantrum over a scone and I threw one because I don’t believe I can live the life I’m called to.

I had grace for her tantrum and she had compassion for mine.  I’m the 30 year old parent and she’s the almost three year old little girl.  We both struggle and cry, we both stand in deep need of grace, and we both love each other within a relationship that cannot be severed.

And in that moment I wonder how I missed it, how I lost sight of it, and I pray with all that I am that God strengthens my soul so that I keep his truth and beauty forever in my minds eye.

My grace instructor who looks way too cute in a hat.

My Fleece Fetish

Putting out my new school fleece.

When I was 16 I went backpacking with Young Life just outside of Jackson Hole Wyoming.  It was on that trip that I became obsessed with all things fleece.  I even proclaimed to my friends that I was determined to secure myself a head to toe fleece outfit, right down to the bra and underwear, which I’m pretty sure they don’t even make.  In hindsight, a day in fleece underwear would be terribly awful for reasons I don’t need to point out.   In my twenties the fleece obsession continued and I went with the north face wearing, carabiner key-clipping, volkswagen driving backpacker chic look.

I’m still a bit of a fleece snob and when you approach me on the chillier winter months, I’m prone to evaluate your fleece choice.  North face, Patagonia or an Old Navy knockoff?  I have to know.  I’ll love you either way, but I’m a fleece judger.   And don’t even get me started on babies who wear North Face, that’s an $80 jacket that they’ll wear for about 8 days, that’s $10 a wear, enjoy it while it lasts.

Continue reading