08 December 2015

he brought us out

I am the Lord… I will deliver you… I will redeem you… I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land I swore to give Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord (Exodus 6:6-8).

At this point in the story, God's people were trapped in Egypt and completely miserable, crying out for help. The rescue was in motion, but hadn't happened yet; the people were still languishing under a horrific ruler. They had endured genocide and slavery. But God had heard them, had mobilized a leader, had publicly promised to bring them out and--this is the part that gets me--was already talking about the rescue in past tense.

This speech has "I am the Lord" for bookends. We have the opportunity to be confident in his promises, because of who he is. What he does will always, always be consistent with who he is.

This is the Lord. I testify to his goodness.

12 September 2015


"Is my life less valuable due to my Cerebral Palsy? You have failed, in your arrogance and greed, to see one thing: it is often from the weakest among us that we learn wisdom – something sorely lacking in our nation today. And it is both our folly and our shame that blinds us to the beauty of adversity."

Thank you, Gianna Jessen, for your wisdom; your voice is powerful and needed. Thank you, Jesus, for growing wisdom in our home.

10 June 2015

24 April 2015

one hundred years ago

Today, April 24th, marks 100 years since the beginning of the Armenian Genocide; starting in 1915, 1.5 million Armenians were systematically murdered. My grandmother was orphaned and later found by an aunt in an orphanage in France. My grandfather and his elder sister fled and entered the United States alone as children through Ellis Island in 1918. This is a day to remember the precious lives of those that were starved, raped, kidnapped, and slaughtered; to grieve the incomprehensible loss and evil; to forgive because Christ himself has forgiven by the shedding of his own blood; and now to live, because this is the inheritance of grace.

My cry to the Lord is for reconciliation, for comfort, for blessing, and for freedom for Armenians. And for reconciliation, for comfort, for blessing, and for freedom for Turks.

"Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
It is the Lord who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heaves like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness….
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
'My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God'?
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases his strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait of the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."
(From Isaiah 40.)

The symbol that has been chosen to commemorate the genocide is the forget-me-not. Ironically, we have hundreds of them growing along our front path this year.

11 April 2015

remembering Egypt and our rescue

This was originally a letter for our church newsletter.

We have some very difficult circumstances in our life. I would be desperately controlling, freaked out of my mind, and consumed with bitterness, blaming God. Yes, me. Yes, today. Those are things that I currently fight with. But in fact, as of now, I have been rescued. I have the freedom to choose to live in rest and with peace in my soul. Our home is a place of joy, refreshment, and abundant provision. God has given us new, soft hearts and daily pours out his love into us. This is absolutely proof that the Spirit of God is alive and active and producing his fruit in me, our family, and our church. Jesus “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:19). Glory be to God.

* * * * *

Let me explain why I need to say this. I am convinced that God models the perfect parent relationship (not to mention lover, friend, king, etc, etc) for us in the Bible. For the past weeks I’ve been pouring through Deuteronomy—a book expounding God’s instruction to Israel, the Father’s instruction to his children—asking these questions:
How does God lead/instruct/train Israel in his ways?
What would it look like for me to become more like the Father as I parent and lead?

Check out this constantly recurring refrain throughout Deuteronomy:

  • But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are to this day (4:20).
  • ...take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (6:12).
  • ...say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand’ (6:21).
  • ...the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (7:8).
  • Also 4:37; 7:15; 8:2-18; 9:7, 12, 26; 10:22; 11:3-7; 13:5, 10; 15:15; 16:1, 3, 6, 12; 17:16; 20:1; 21:8; 23:4, 7; 24:9, 18, 22; 26:5-11; 29:2, 7-9; 32:10-13; 34:10-12. And this list is not exhaustive!

There is a continual revealing and reminder of the roadmap, the big picture story, which they were living. Israel had been languishing, powerless and in bondage; the Lord had chosen them because he loved them and had rescued them. It’s the same plot line as the story that Paul wrote: “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:19). Their story is our story is my story.

Stories of salvation and personal rescue necessarily entail stupid, tear-inducing, threatening, God-awful elements. These things are rarely highlighted in our scrapbooks, Christmas letters, or profile pictures. We avoid these things in casual conversation, maybe even in personal reflection. They are too difficult. Honestly, when was the last time you asked, “How are you?” and the response came, “I was under the control of Satan—I was
consumed with worry
or fear
or unable to forgive
or crazy angry
or seeping lust
or bitter to the core
or passive aggressive
or disbelieving God’s goodness toward me. And God has redeemed me by the blood of his Son and given me life. His Spirit is sustaining and empowering me to walk in life!” Or, should I ask, when was the last time that you spoke that way? Honestly.

Wildly, this is how God was teaching the parents how to parent. I sense that this is a vulnerability, humility, and awareness that is rare among parents. God wanted his people to constantly remember and speak of their salvation to their children! Constantly and at every turn. I challenge you to locate yourself in the redemption story today and start telling it over and over and over. Learn to tell the long version, but also learn to sprinkle it constantly in conversation. Have it on your heart, teach this diligently to your children, talk about it all the time.

I say these things because I believe this is the best we can do for our children. And because I am one who lives a rescued life.

08 April 2015

02 April 2015

11 March 2015

two songs

I'm posting this here specifically so that I can easily find it for Sophia to listen to. She had the sweetest look on her face and total concentration as we listened this morning.

But this is the one that really gets me. 

26 February 2015

thank you

Dear Dad and Mom,

Thank you for inviting us to spend Christmas with you. We loved being there! It was so good to hear your noises, eat with you, slow down and getting some good rest, enjoy good gifts and blessing. We love you.

David, Anna and Sophia

25 February 2015

thank you

Dear John Paul, Sarah, Nina, Jack, Luke and Noel,

We love being with you in your new home, meeting your church, playing music, snuggling, eating yummy meals, watching performances, digging holes, talking and praying and crying and laughing and thinking with you. We love being your family. Thank you for carefully planning, welcoming, opening yourselves and your home to us. We love you so, so much.

David, Anna and Sophia

20 February 2015

don't read ;)

Tim Mackie said this in a sermon recently, "If you are comfortable with your view of God and theology, just don't read the Bible, ok?"

06 February 2015

a half year later

Well, I wrote this six months ago and I’ve failed. My bold statements ring in the back of my mind when I spend too long on facebook; when I walk away from a significant and uncomfortable conversation; when I actually prefer to wear the same four, neutral colored shirts every day; when I am groggy and irritated because I stayed up too late; when I realize how distant I am from ‘gospel fluency;’ when I am controlling because I am needy, but don’t want to admit it; when Sophia is crying, but I just don’t want to play with her yet so I let her cry too long; when I wear worry or fear for the future; when I give a distracted or awkward hug or dart down the aisle so I don’t have to make eye contact or talk right now; when I put off writing thank you notes; when I procrastinate on my to-do list and making those phone calls again; when we eat Papa Murphy’s again; when I intend to meet with my friend but put it off again; when I realize that I haven’t prayed again; when criticism reigns in my spirit or gloom and laziness are the rule.

So, I guess I want to say this, I am 35 ½ today and I am not awesome.

But I unfold to realize that that’s the point—or a least part of the point. I am not awesome;

God is awesome.

If I was awesome, it wouldn’t matter how awesome God was. But as is the case, I am lame, fickle, self-consumed, fearful, spiteful, half-hearted and in desperate need of Him. Again. I need him in the early morning, to show me his word and re-form my mind, lead my heart. I need his patience and joy while I care for my girl. I need the freedom and courage he brings in order to work heartily. I need his direction for the future—for money, for friendships, for ...everything. I need his passion as I step out my door. And as I come back in the door. I need him to teach me how to pray. Again. I need to remember how he has been present as I live in the sorrow. I need to remember the wonders he has done. Shoot, I can’t laugh at the days to come unless he sparks that in me. I need his sight if I am to hope or love or believe. I need to remember that there was one sacrifice for sins and that sacrifice has been paid. Once. Not again, but just once. And it’s finished. I need to remember grace and forgiveness. And that these are true things. Independent of me.

I am lame. But he says to my soul, “Walk. Get up and walk, girl!” He says, “In repentance and rest shall be your salvation; in quietness and trust shall be your strength.” And he says, “My grace is sufficient for you; my power is made perfect in weakness.” So, today I lean back. I smile slow and say, “Okay!” And I’m off to shower and sing. And stumble and live. Again.

Because He is awesome.