For when the words write themselves. On me.

NE Cross“I go to prepare a place,” He said.

Sometimes that place is within driving distance.

A quiet retreat center near Omaha, in this case. The drive a three-day journey.

Each mile a wearing down of the callouses that had grown around me. Each passing exit an invitation to lay down another layer. The ones that had been added to my spirit so slowly and subtlety, I had no sense of how many it would take before the numbness wore off. Nor how exposed the long-neglected feels would become.

“Come away with me,” He whispered, “and let me show you the story of your life.”

The words wrapping around me in hugs. In song. In conversation. In scripture. In nature. In laughter. In tears. In silence.

Abundance. Peace. Blessing. Faithfulness. Grace.

A feast of words I was unaware of my hunger for.

Until I came open. Exposed. Turned inside out.

I went to a writer’s conference and didn’t write a thing.

For I was the canvas, not the pen.

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Linking this reflection of Small Wonder with my friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Chripczuk, who hosts a Community of blogging Beauty Hunters at her site. Because our Big God shows himself in the most amazing small ways.#smallwonder

forty-one candles (#smallwonder)

2015-03-28 17.59.18I thought by now… is a dangerous game to play
Especially on a birthday morn

It beckons
I do not bite
For all the well wishes and awaiting adventures
I do not have time for such silliness

Instead I watch the bay
Its ripples ever towards me
Wave on wave of more and new and washing and renewal and memories
Promises kept
More to come

The tide –both creeping in and waning out– pushes waves of favor my way

So I find I cannot think of things not yet done
As I sit with the hallelujah of what’s been done in me

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Linking this reflection of Small Wonder with my friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Chripczuk, who hosts a Community of blogging Beauty Hunters at her site. Because our Big God shows himself in the most amazing small ways.#smallwonder

Under the Tutelage of The King

psalm 25-4Before I could walk, my heart had already been imprinted with the words, “Jesus loves me.” Faithful nursery workers rocked and sang on Sundays the truths I heard at home all week.

I have always known I am a daughter of The King.

And like any princess of position, I enjoyed mostly comfortable days unfettered by the worries of the kingdom — and largely ignorant of the happenings outside its safety.

I flitted about carefree in the courtyard without fear of intruders. Or snakes. Or storms. I was blissfully confident in my Daddy’s ability to keep all things well.

And while this may be the proper place for a child, an heir must eventually invest herself in kingdom itself.

To step in the footsteps of His forgiveness in order to learn His gait.

To listen carefully to His words in order to speak in His dialect.

To receive His grace abundantly in order to cast its residue on others like He does.

It’s time to learn the family business.

Lord, tell me your ways.
    Show me how to live.
Guide me in your truth,
    and teach me, my God, my Savior. (Psalm 25:4-5)

I come close and study His moves. His words. His patterns. His rhythms.

I apprentice under the tutelage of The King. I Dwell.

Linking up with Kelli and the other lovelies at Unforced Rhythms.

Love Comes Near (Unforced Rhythms Link-up)

Love word with Christmas decorations

I simply cannot get over the beautiful truth that God chooses to be WITH me. The lengths to which He went — to which He continues to go — to position us forever next to each other. It is the message that has been moving in me most strongly this Advent season.

That the promised One is coming. Indeed, that He HAS come. That Hope and Peace and Joy are fully satisfied in He who is Love. I know of no better version of love than this. God is WITH us.

She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ (Matt 1:23)

WITH is such a powerful, beautiful word.

Not God over us. Not God under us. Not God ahead. Nor behind. Not sleeping. Not tiring. WITH.

With means beside. In communion. Doing life together.

God could have come to Earth in any number of ways. Demanding His rightful place. Making sure He could not be ignored.

But he chose a baby named WITH. 

Because in spite of us being a rag-tag group of messy misfits, He just simply could not imagine NOT being with us. Not 2000 years ago. Not today.

So whether or not you are with the ones you love this Christmas. Whether or not the gifts fit or the tree gets lit. Even if the Bumpus’s dogs eat your turkey.

My fervent wish — my prayer — for you all this Christmas is that the WITH-NESS of God will overwhelm you. And His WITH-NESS will stay with you all through the year.

(Reposted and updated from December 25, 2013)

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The wonderful Kelli Woodford (Chronicles of Grace) is taking a well-deserved blogging break in December, but she has graciously let me borrow the Unforced Rhythm link-up community for the next few weeks. Your words are welcome here. So very welcome.

If you stopped by here for the link-up, would you consider to connecting with me as well. On the right of this page you’ll find lots of ways to keep in touch. Just pick your favorite method of communication, and I’ll see you again soon!


Youer Than You

youer than youGrowing up is hard.

Even when you’re almost 41.

Even when it’s not the first time you’ve had your feelings hurt or your pride bruised or your confidence shaken.

Even when every rational bone in your body knows the stinky breath of the enemy is the one whispering about your lack of worthiness. Even when you know he’s a lying snake.

Even when you know Jesus and talk to Him often and have seen Him faithful over and over and over again. Even when you know His love is wide and deep and high and long.

Even then there are moments of shock of how much this life can be unsettling. Like the first moment as a child you realize not everyone will like you. Because, up to that point, you never considered that not everyone spoke nicely and could be your friend.

And you start to think it has something to do with you and hardly anything to do with the fact that people who walk around broken can’t help but cut each other with their rough edges.

Maybe all there is to do in that moment is stop. And listen to some wisdom from the great Dr. Seuss.

Today you are you; that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.

I’ll Just Be Beth. You Just Be You, friend.

Because no matter what else happens today, you are still the best and youest you that I know.

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TWWbutton200x200_zps62610d74Linking with Kristin Hill Taylor and #threewordwednesday (Click the logo to the left for insights from more wonderful writers and friends.)

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