When You Find Yourself Walking a Broken Road

 

Winter 10The snow? It just kept falling all big and heavy and white. And we? We just kept laughing and dancing and shaking our heads that this beauty, this land could be ours.

Thirteen years (18 if you count the dating, doe-eyed, dreaming ones), three states, three major moves, four apartments, one rental house, two months that turned into seven years living with mom and dad, five employers, three children, and one self-started business led us to this.  

To a real life winter wonderland and a place to call our own.

Winter 4 Winter 7 Winter 8 As I held my baby close watching snowflakes melt on her cheeks. As little girls laughed and dug their hands in mounds of snowy white. As husband snapped photos of tears in my eyes and I craned my head back to catch flakes on my nose and eye lashes.

As we all stood for this slice of time and wonder, wonderstruck by the beauty of this first snow of the season, by the beginning of this season in which we leave one home and create another all I could think was: this...

He knew it would come to this. This is what He had in store, set aside, waiting, planned, created for us.

The jobs, the moves, the states, the dwellings some of them, many of them, broke our hearts. But now we see how He worked it for good.  How He made a broken road and blessed it to bless us.

Winter 9Winter 13Winter 12There’s a country song that says it: “that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”*

And He did. He has. He will continue to.

He takes the broken, the lost, the forgotten, and makes it new. Makes it good. 

New, as snow on evergreen branches.

Good, as the feeling of home.

*”Bless the Broken Road” Lyrics by Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna, Robert E. Boyd, Marcus Hummon

 

What We Have to Remember When Evil Breaks Loose

 

Nativity“Tell me, Annabelle, how is she?”

“She’s different, my lord. I’m afraid her time in Lukenwalde, and that horrid Prince Silvano, has changed her dramatically.

“I was afraid it might be so.”

“Tell me, my lord, is it time? I hate to see her languish like this. She can’t even look at her gifts. She insisted I burry them in that wooden chest of hers. Hidden in darkness, they have remained there since the day she came home.”

“It saddens me to hear it, but no, ‘tis still not time.”

“Forgive me, but I can’t see the sense in waiting much longer. I know you have your reasons, but I don’t understand.”

“Trust me. ‘Tis all I can ask. I know ‘tis hard. I know you don’t understand. But trust me, dear Annabelle. Please, just trust me.”

~*~*~*~

As I watched the headlines light up the screen last Friday night all I could think was: Again? It’s happening again?

Innocent people murdered. People doing nothing but living their lives, attacked by pure evil.

I thought of the school children killed in 2012.

The marathon bombing of 2013.

The heinous acts being carried out against men, women, and precious children throughout the Middle East.

And now Paris.

I thought of what this world has come to and the evil we’re facing and how we desperately need a rescue.

And I thought of my story, of this scene I edited just a few days ago. About the king and his beloved that fill the pages of this tale I’m writing.

In this particular scene the king’s beloved, Princess Merrily, is in trouble. She needs a hero, a rescue. Her friend and confidant, Annabelle, implores the king to come. 

But the king, he’s patient and wise. He has a plan and it’s a good one. And while Annabelle doesn’t understand, the king asks just one thing: “Trust me, dear Annabelle. Please, just trust me.” 

When evil strikes like it did last Friday I think we’re all inclined to implore our King and Savior to come. To come and rescue His beloved. To come and recue this weary world. We don’t understand the evil or why He’s waiting so long.

But our King, too, is patient and wise. He has a plan. A good, good plan. To prosper and not to harm. To give hope and a future.

And our King, too, asks us to trust. 

To trust him and Him alone.

Not our government. The headlines. The next election.

Not our trendy beliefs. Our Facebook posts. Our celebrities, our leaders, our heroes.

Not the rock of dread in our gut. The voice of fear in our ears. The image of horror before our eyes. 

Just Him.

“Trust me,” He says. “Trust my tract record. My truth. My promise.”

“Trust my unfailing love for this world, for you, for my precious beloved.”

“Please, just trust me.”

 Trust that the King is coming.

Why Now Is the Time to Dream

 

DreamThis summer my husband and I came extremely close to buying a large chunk of land less than a mile from where he grew up. We were excited; so excited to see these plans come through.

For months we talked and planned and dreamed. We walked the property and checked with the owner time and again working toward a deal.

This dream of owning land, of building a house, of having a place to call our own has been in our hearts since the day we wed almost thirteen years ago. And really it was a dream long before then.

We’ve come close to seeing this dream realized several times throughout our marriage but somehow it always falls through. 

At times this has shattered our hearts to pieces and other times it’s been okay because we knew God had better plans, but even still our hearts continue to dream and hope and long for that day, for that place all our own.

Again, this summer we thought we had it. And again this summer it didn’t work out.

Overall, we were kind of relieved when the deal didn’t go through. Too many red flags kept waving and we walked away from the land with all kinds of peace in our hearts.

I am so thankful for this but still we wonder what’s next. If not this land, this deal, then what? Will our dream ever come true? 

 It’s definitely been a time of trial and drawing close to God. Of choosing again and again to trust Him with our desire, to be open with our hearts, and believe His plans for us are good. To prosper and not to harm us.

And in this time of drawing close I keep hearing Him whisper a special message just for me:

 Now’s the time to dream. 

Having His permission to dream is both freeing and affirming. It inspires me to picture that place I long for so deeply. 

To see in my minds eye (and a Pinterest board or two…okay three) that one part cabin, one part castle, one part cottage home which is so perfectly me.

To picture my bedroom, my girl’s room, my writing nook.

To picture a spacious yard for my girls to play and an apple orchard just for me.

My list of dreams goes on and on filling my heart with light and hope. 

 And it’s not about not being happy where I am now. Indeed it’s being more than okay with waiting to see these dreams come true, but as I wait it’s also okay to imagine, to wonder, to trust. To dream big dreams that spin me around and point me to Him.

As I dream about my someday home I’m reminded that His permission to dream also holds true in other areas of my life where I find myself waiting. 

There’s the dream of another baby… perhaps a little boy.

The dream of spoiling our family and friends with trips, and blessings, and gifts galore.

And the dream of publishing my book.

So I let my mind run wild in the quiet and waiting places. In moments with Him and those Pinterest boards.

And I picture a little boy in cowboy boots who smiles just like his daddy.

I picture my parents on a cruise ship, my family in Germany, my best writing buddy and me in a tricked out glamper doing book signings from coast to coast.

I picture my book, printed on leafy pages, looking right at home on a Barnes and Noble shelf.

Will these dreams ever come true? Lord only knows…

But this I know for sure…

His heart for me is good.

His promises are true.

And now’s the time to dream. 

Today Was A Fairy Tale

IMG_0226This week my family and I are licking up the last sweet drops of summer like a quickly melting cone. We’re swimming, grilling, and garage sailing to our hearts content. I”ll be back next week with a fresh post and an exciting GIVEAWAY you won’t want to miss. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy this post from my archives…

Once upon a time there was a caterpillar…

Towards the end of summer my daughter and I found a caterpillar crawling on a long stem of Queen-Ann’s-Lace.

Fascinated, we took him inside, found an empty glass jar, filled it with leaves, and made a new home for our friend.

My daughter has been a long time fan of the Eric Carle classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I was hopeful that she would be able to watch the process of the worm to butterfly transformation unfold before her eyes.

Within a few days we were excited to watch our caterpillar friend weave himself into a delicate cocoon. We placed him in the windowsill by our kitchen sink and waited to see what would happen next.

As we watched and waited I was struck by the ways this caterpillar symbolized the truth of God. While snuggled away in his cocoon, this caterpillar looked absolutely dead. I mean it, no signs of life anywhere. Yet on the inside a miracle was happening; our caterpillar was being transformed into something alive and beautiful.

Who but God can do this? Who but God can take something dead and transform it into life and beauty?

In Isaiah 61, God tells us that His mission is to make captives free. To make beauty from ashes. To turn mourning into joyous blessing, and despair into festive praise.

No matter whom you are or what you’re facing this day, no matter what seems dead, destroyed, or hopeless in your life, take heart! God is at work in your life and in you, because our God is a God who transforms, our God is a God of miracles, our God is a God of beauty and life. The fullest life. For you.

In the end, I’m sad to say our caterpillar never hatched, but even still, I do not doubt God’s miracles. Butterfly or not, this caterpillar and his cocoon brought beauty and life to my heart by reminding me of God and His truth.

In his book, Walking With God, John Eldredge writes:

“Now, if Christ takes it upon himself to lead, then our part is to follow. And you’ll find that it helps a great deal in your following if you know what God is up to. True, we may not know exactly what God is up to in this or that event in our lives. “Why didn’t I get the job?” “How come she won’t return my calls?” “Why haven’t my prayers healed this cancer?” I don’t know. Sometimes we can get clarity, and sometimes we can’t.

But whatever else is going on, we can know this: God is always up to our transformation.

God has something in mind. He is deeply and personally committed to restoring humanity. Restoring you.” (Walking With God, pg. 19)

Sweet friends, may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in the ways He transforms, in the ways He works miracles, in the ways He makes butterflies from caterpillars and beauty from ashes.

~ From the Archives 

What I Can’t Help but Say this 4th of July

IMG_4076Today my girls and I talked about the Fourth of July. As they colored pictures of the American flag I played a music video about the flag and its colors. 

As we watched the video I saw pictures of soldiers and footage of men coming home from war. I saw endless rows of Arlington gravestones. I saw veterans saluting the flag with unbridled respect and pride.

And all I wanted to do was cry. Chill bumps rose on my arms and inside my chest my heart just swelled.

I always get this way around the fourth. When I listen to the patriotic songs. When I watch the Patriot or read a WWII novel. I get this way when I see veterans honored and the flag waving so beautiful in a patch of golden light.

Part of me feels silly but shouldn’t it be this way? Inside every American chest shouldn’t a tender heart beat proud and strong for the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Because here’s the thing: If we aren’t moved with love and pride for our country we won’t be moved to protect and defend her. 

There is a lot happening in our nation today that saddens me and breaks my heart but there is also so much for which I am grateful, for which I am proud. And I’ll be damned if I’m not willingly to protect what makes our nation great, what makes me love this land.

This Fourth of July, it’s easy to be discouraged, it’s tempting to lose hope. And while I don’t have the answers about our country and her future, I do know the first step in fighting for, protecting, and preserving the country we love is falling in love with our country all over again. 

Get personal.

Get emotional.

Be moved.

Then make a move for the country you love.

Watch a movie.

Listen to a song.

Read a book about our history.

Talk to a veteran.

Visit a war memorial cemetery.

Hit your knees and pray.

And take that pride that burns in your belly and do something. Stand up for what you believe in. Be the difference. Make the change.

The Fourth of July comes once a year but the American spirit, in its essence, cannot expire. 

Be moved. Then move. 

Because that flag… 

 Oh, that flag.