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The kingdom they didn't understand

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The disciples had no idea what was going to happen.  Throughout the gospels, over and over again, Jesus had told them, and then reminded them of what was going to happen. They had no understanding, and really no grid to understand this. Jesus had come and called them out of a life they knew and into a life that was completely different. They had left it all to follow him. For 3 years. Close companionship, experiences that were crazy. Lepers healed, blind men could see, two groups of 5000 and 7000 men (not including the women and children) were fed out of a few fish and a few loaves of bread. It was like something they had never seen before. They were told He was the Messiah. That He was bringing the kingdom of heaven. Over and over through the gospels is the use of the phrase the kingdom of heaven. In the kingdom you leave your 99 sheep and find the one that is lost. In the kingdom you sweep the whole house to find the coin you've lost. In the kingdom you care about the younger s…

When the darkness feels too much

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It all happened so suddenly. One day we were talking about her. Two days later she was gone.

I was just with her Friday afternoon! My son lamented. How can she be gone? The emotions of this past week have been more down then up, and my son says, "I'm not sad at the right times." As if we can control this complex emotion we call sadness.

We have sat in the pain though. We have pressed in and we're better for it. Life for now cannot be as usual. A friend is gone. Too soon according to us. We didn't have enough time to learn about this young 13 year old with a vivacious personality so colorful that sometimes people didn't know what to do with such vulnerability and such freedom. In many ways she was older than her years, in other ways she was just a girl wondering if people could accept her just the way she was.

We all just want to know if someone will take us as we are. Growing up is so hard to do.

How do we live in the tension of grief and a life that remains t…

An unexpected gift

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Rain falls on my soul today. 
I wake this morning to an email from my youngest's math teacher. E is a conscientious student whose efforts to please often go unnoticed. He has given up his seat more than a few times this past year for other students and opted to sit in a much less comfortable place in the classroom. His teacher bought him a desk to give him a permanent place, but he gave that desk up, too for a corner at the edge of another crowded table. His teacher wants to give Elijah the desk and asks if we will accept it as a gift for a student who actually loves learning math. (who knew this was possible?) Tears rolling down I cannot believe that a teacher would notice my boy who is always willing to share his seat. We tell my son this morning. We also include that while we are so blessed by his generous heart we also want him to know that we love him just because.
We all figure out ways to give and get love and I must tell my son before this becomes his only mode for life. I…

On Paying Attention

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If God is Love....

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Eyes of God look upon me. 

I am weak, often faith-less, floundering to believe in your goodness, wanting to trust; actually I'm just a child. 

Eyes of God, do you see? 

We sit this morning around the table, regrouping after a busy season of ministry. Gathering around the breakfast table over buckwheat pancakes and whatever else I can collect from our nearly empty fridge (which is a sure sign of busyness), we sigh and enjoy being together again. 

We have a friend's son for the week and we are so happy to have four kids around the table again. Missing our college boy today. Face Time makes the heart full, and as I wonder about his new hairstyle I can't help but feel that ache in my heart for his presence in our home. 

What's God been showing you these days?We ask the kids. Three teens and a tween, and we expect that God is showing up in their lives. 

God sees me,my thoughtful sixteen year old almost immediately responds. He whispered that to me this week when you were away, Mo…

steady in the struggles .....

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My son is having a hard day and I want to be there with him but I can't because we are separated by a large body of water called the Pacific Ocean and we remain connected only over FaceTime. I hang up my phone and feel the weight.

Another son struggles over the homework load of high school and his first year in "outside school". The struggle to belong and be known is exhausting.
My daughter tears up as she works through life questions, also asking tough questions on identity, and why life sometimes doesn't work out the way we would like. 
My youngest curls up on the couch and it takes great patience to wait for him to tell us what he is thinking. He is burdened by all the hard things that are happening, friends who are hurting, the Syrian refugee crisis, and refugees in our city. How a youngest child learns to carry such heavy burdens continues to surprise me. 
All this happens within a week and by Friday, my heart is tired. Oh, so tired. 
I can't rescue my kids …

On Letting Go... it's a lot harder than it looks!

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I knew this day was coming for a long time now. Since the moment I laid eyes on him, this boy captured my heart and I knew it would be hard to see him grow up. There were so many moments in childhood that I would remind myself that these times would not last forever. Noise. There is no way to enjoy all those noise-moments, but they are amazing to watch. The forts made of sheets hung around the room, light saber battles, and nerf gun wars in our tiny Chinese apartment. Friends who were further along than us in the parenting journey would remind us often to try an enjoy the craziness for it would not always be so.

And so it has changed. We set our table for five, occasionally we forget and grab six settings, and sigh when we realize that he's across the ocean. No, he won't be joining us for dinner.

I've talked about parents who struggle with letting go. My husband and I have thought about what kind of parents we hoped we would be when this day would come. My husband seems to…