Today Was A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a figure skater…

I know I’m not alone in saying that Ladies Figure Skating is above and beyond my most favorite Olympic event. It’s the one part of the Olympics I never miss. It has held me spellbound since I was a girl.

Last night I watched as the Ladies Freestyle Program unfolded before my eyes. Every performance was magnificent, but there was one in particular that stirred my heart.

Mao Asada of Japan skated first in the television line up. After a terrible performance in the short program, Asada was in sixteenth place. A silver medalist in the 2010 Olympic games, Asada’s hopes of winning a medal in Sochi were all but lost.

Four minutes on ice stood between Asada and her final chance for Olympic glory.

After making several major mistakes in her short program I watched as Asada fought back tears of defeat while listening to the judges’ scores. Tonight I watched her fight for the performance of a lifetime and when she cried joyful, proud, victorious tears at the end of her program I cried too.

I knew I had just witnessed something amazing, something magical. A glimpse of God and His work in me, His work in all of us.

I am hardly an expert on figure skating, but it seems to me that Asada had a choice to make as she stood in place, poised and ready to skate. She could offer the judges, the audience, the world her skill, her beauty, her passion, or she could crumple beneath the weight of fear, failure, and the pressure cooked voice of her critics.

As the world watched her skate it was clear that despite her fear and failures of the past, despite what the critics might do or say this girl was rising to the occasion, offering her heart and everything within her.

In the end, despite her flawless performance, Asada’s scores were not enough for her to win a medal but I’d like to believe the personal victory she gained from her skate was worth more than gold.

I may not know the glory of a perfectly landed triple axel or a performance that becomes legend but I do know I am faced with a similar choice each and every day.

I can choose to live from the heart, offer my skill, my beauty, my passion or I can choose to run, hide, build walls, shut down, hold tight to fear and failure, fall prey to the critic inside my head.

It’s only when I choose to offer my heart that my own brand of magic is made. It’s when I pick up my pen, cradle my babes, call a friend, or kiss my beloved that my world becomes my rink and glory abounds.

When I choose to offer, He takes my offering and spins His glory every time.

I may not win gold.

I still fall, and trip, and fail.

The critic continues to scoff.

But the real victory is never in the final outcome. The real victory is in all the little coming-outs where I choose to offer my heart and everything within me. Where I choose to rise. Where I choose to turn my back on the fear, the failure, and the critic.

Brave prince, lovely princess, may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in a figure skater and the performance of a lifetime. May you take this day, this life and offer the world your own skill, and beauty, and passion. May you watch as He takes your offering and makes it shine.

As He makes the heart of you shine like silver ice and golden glory.


NoteWe all have our quirks.

I can’t go to sleep with the closet door open.

I can’t function without my morning shower.

I can’t eat bread after it’s been in the fridge.

A few weeks ago my husband, Chris, decided it was time to get a new chair for his office. Thinking this was a good opportunity for some family fun we loaded up our girls and headed to Staples where we played a game of Goldilocks by testing every chair.

“This one is too hard.”

“This one is too soft.”

“This one is just right.”

At last Chris found his perfect chair and proudly brought it home. Together, he and our daughter, Aletheia, assembled the chair and put it in place.

A few days later, after working on our desktop computer, I was surprised when Chris called me down to his office. I could tell he wasn’t happy.

“Did you leave my chair this way?” He asked.

“Um, what way?” I said.

“With the arm of the chair stuck under the desk. You need to be careful not to leave it this way when you get up. I’m afraid it’s going to leave a crease.”

“Okaaay,” I said, trying not to laugh. In my mind I was convinced he was crazy, but I knew better than to say so.

A few days passed.

“JENNIFER…,” his voice bellowed from the depths of his office. “Can you come here please?”

He stood beside his chair. “What’s up?” I asked.

“You did it again,” he said.

“I did what again?”

(Blank stare from Chris.)

“Oh, you mean the chair?” I said.

“Yes I mean the chair. You didn’t listen to a thing I said, did you? You better take this seriously. If you don’t stop I’m not going to let you sit here anymore.”

“Okay, okay,” I said. “I didn’t mean to. I wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry. I’ll try to remember next time.”

Chris and I have been married eleven years. I thought by now I had discovered all his quirks and that he had discovered mine. As it turns out we both have a lot of learning to do. And this hoopla over the chair is no exception.

By the third time I used the new chair Chris’s message had gotten through loud and clear. When I was done with my work at the computer I pushed the chair away from the desk and stuck the following note to the armrest:

I love our life! I love your quirks. I love you!!! (And if respecting your chair is one way to show you, then as you have spoken so shall it be!)

In the end Chris’s quirkiness over his prized office chair taught me a valuable lesson. Loving my husband means loving his quirks; it means making something that is important to him important to me too.

It is a reflection of the way God loves us, wholly and completely. (God, who, created each and every one of us. God, who, knows all our quirks.)

When someone you love drives you crazy, when their quirks make you want to strangle them with something other than a bear hug try looking at them through the eyes of love.

Through eyes that love the whole of the person… office chairs and quirks included.

Today Was a Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a warm set of sheets fresh from the dryer…

A few days ago I opened my dryer and pulled out a wad of clean, dry sheets. Still hot from the dryer’s warmth the sheets felt amazing all crumpled in my arms.

“Come here, Aletheia,” I said to my daughter who was standing close by. For a moment we paused. There in the hallway we huddled together over warm sheets. We nestled our faces, breathed in deep, and smiled as we released a satisfied, “Ahhhh!” from the depths of our souls.

As we soaked in the heat of those sheets I couldn’t help but think this must be what it feels like to snuggle up to Jesus. The warmth. The comfort. The invitation to stop and linger. The deep satisfaction of being with Him.

Pause for a moment and imagine it. The way it must feel to sit with Jesus. To crawl into His lap, to be held in His arms.

Maybe the cold Michigan winter has left me desperate for anything warm. Maybe sheets from the dryer aren’t anything special. Maybe I’m just being fanciful.

Moments like this are small, mundane, and ordinary. But why take them for granted? Why not be like the children who longed to come to Him?

“But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Matthew 19:14 (NLT)

God loves to reveal Himself to us in all things, and whether it’s through the warmth of sheets from the dryer or anything that transports us into the presence of Christ, God loves for us to come to him with the posture of a child.

Fellow Princes and Princesses, may you wake up this day the fairy tale found in straight from the dryer warmth. May you find the love, the presence, the touch of Christ in all things fresh and comforting.


As I sat with my Bible open and read the words of Moses, I knew this passage was meant for me and this particular sliver of time.

“But Moses protested to God, Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11 (NLT)

“But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, “The Lord never appeared to you?” Exodus 4:1 (NLT)

“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words, I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Exodus 4:10 (NLT)

“But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Exodus 4:13 (NLT)

On the heels of sacred ground, on the heels of a burning-bush calling, Moses finds himself paralyzed with fear, doubt, and worry.

God has chosen him, asked him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and all Moses can say is, “Who am I?” “What if?” and “How?”

I read these words as the house sits silent, as sun breaks through clouds and children sleep. In a few hours breakfast will be eaten, my girls will be dressed, and we’ll gather around an old wooden desk in our family room.

And I’m scared to death.

This isn’t just any morning. This morning has its own sacred ground call, its own burning-bush glory. This morning is the first day of thousands in which I will attempt to home school my daughter.

For five years I have looked forward to and dreaded this day. I don’t know if I can do this, and just like Moses all I can do is stare at the task before me and feel small and terribly unqualified.

“Who am I to think I can handle something this vital, this important?”

“What if I fail?”

“I’m terrible at math, I have no training, I’ve never done anything like this before. How will I ever succeed?”

“God, are you sure this is a good idea? Perhaps someone else? Anyone else?”

But there isn’t anyone else. There’s just me and God and this knowing in my soul that for me and my family this is right.

When Moses grappled with God over his calling to lead the children of Israel God responded with an ever-patient, ever-confident answer.

“God answered, I will be with you.” Exodus 3:12 (NLT)

“God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: “I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14 (NLT)

“Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decided whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12 (NLT)

As I read these words my fear, my doubt, and my worry begin to slip away like the nighttime sky, and I know it sure: I am equipped for this task because I am equipped with God.

The same God who was with Moses in Egypt is with me on a Monday morning when fear is cold and paralyzing.  

He’s with me on all the mornings my homespun school bell rings.

He’s with me in the flashcards, the science experiments, and the handwriting charts. (And the MATH! He’s with me in that too!)

He’s with me in the moments when concepts click and light fills my daughter’s eyes.

He’s with me in the moments when children cry in frustration, and the floor hasn’t been vacuumed in weeks, and the hamper is overflowing, and I want to cry too.

And He’s with me when I remove my shoes because this is my daughter, this is my family, this is my sacred ground, and like a burning bush my choice is clear: succumb to fear of what I can’t do in my own power, in my own strength, or rely on the truth of what I can do when God is with me.

In his book The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson writes,

Have you ever felt like your dream was too big for you? Moses felt that way more than once. When God called him to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, Moses felt like it was too big. He felt like he wasn’t qualified, so he asked God to send someone else to do it. In my experience, you’ll never feel qualified. But God doesn’t call the qualified; God qualifies the called.”

How about you? What’s your sacred ground? What’s your burning-bush call? What makes you ask the question, “Who am I?” “What if?” or “How?”

Whatever it is remember Moses. Remember whose you are.

And listen deep for the voice that whispers the only thing you need to know: “I will be with you.”

The voice that sees, and knows, and calls you by name. The voice that names you, “Qualified.”

Language of Love (Blog Pile Link)

(I tried posting this last week but unfortunately the link didn’t work. Trying one more time…a few thoughts for your Valentine’s.)

For the past four years my husband and I have lived under one roof with my mom and dad.

Many people look at our situation and wonder how we make it work. For the most part our unique family life runs smoothly, but there are times when stress burdens, pressure piles high, and life spins wild. It is in these times, that my mom and I have a tendency to clash… (I’m posting today at to read more follow this link.)