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The vulnerability of Thursday


He said to His disciples, “Let these words sink down into your ears for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.

Luke 9:44-45

I read these words today for the first time. 

Jesus, being vulnerable with me, asking me to listen, to truly hear. “Let these words sink down into your ears.” 

More than a cursory hearing. More than a multi-tasking auditory exercise. 



I don’t want to hear that. 

Maundy Thursday. Holy Thursday. 

The disciples were afraid to ask. They didn’t understand. Maybe they even wanted to. But fear kept the questions from coming. The rumblings of what was coming, the betrayal of their best friend and Lord, terrified them. 

Kind of like the children of Israel under Moses, in the desert. 

18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”

Exodus 20

What is He saying today? Do we seek understanding or do we put it aside, afraid of all the implications? 

I have a tendency to expect harsh things from God, lots of bad news. My perception of God and the reality of God do not line up a majority of the time. And this includes hearing the voice of God whispering in my heart. I don’t want bad news. I don’t want to die to myself. I don’t want to choose the narrow path. It hurts. I might get rejected. Betrayed. 

In the darkness of anxiety, which often feels like a betrayal, I cling to these words:

I will hear what God the LORD will speak, 
For He will speak peace
To His people and to His saints;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.

Psalm 85:8-9

I want Your words to sink down into my ears. I don’t want to miss what You’re telling me on this, darkest of days. I don’t want to let fear prevent me from being with You in Your suffering. No matter how bad it gets, I have to believe like Martha that there is a resurrection, even if I haven’t seen it yet. 

But now, speak Your words and I will ask questions. I am not afraid. 

On virgins and hobbits


March 25. The Feast of the Annunciation. 

She says yes. Salvation is planted, a seed in the belly of a teenage girl.  

That the plan of God could rest on the consent of a human–of a woman!–is so precious to me. He is not the god of force. He is the God of invitation. 

Frodo and Sam reach Mount Doom today, as well. The one Ring is destroyed in the fire of its belly. 

This is no coincidence. 

What is He inviting you into today? To slay dragons, large spiders, the fear of your own heart, the self-consciousness that keeps you from the mountains? 

 Listen! My beloved!
    Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
    Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattice.
 My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me.
 See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
 Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.
 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
    the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.
Song of Songs 2

What might Gabriel have been thinking? Click to hear

Shalom, y’all. 


Wait. Watching.

Hey, there. I’m back from a delightful trip to Dallas with my husband and we are feeling so refreshed! For all you marrieds out there–take time to get away, especially if you have kids!

And if you aren’t married, take your best friend on vacation! 

Zachary and I each wrote 10 questions on notecards to ask each other on the train. It was a really fun way to get conversation started. And the cool thing was that we didn’t repeat any questions between us but a lot of them dovetailed nicely. So fun! 

Here is the train station in Longview where we started our trek Monday morning.



When we arrived to Dallas, got ourselves checked in at the Adolphus Hotel, and started exploring the downtown area, we were cold. Dude. It’s spring break. Shouldn’t need a jacket in Texas. But we did. 

That didn’t stop us from having a great at the museums and eating a ton junk food. 

I haven’t told y’all this yet, but I started Weight Watchers in December. You might also remember that other blog I had this summer called Weightloss Motivated by Love. (I have since decided to condense all my blogging to this little old blog, so don’t worry–you haven’t missed anything yet.) 

And over the past three months, I have been successful at heading in a downward direction. Slowly but surely. As a friend told me, slow and steady wins the race! There is so much freedom in these two things: 1. I know now that I am loved by Jesus and my family and friends no matter what the scale says or what the outside looks like. And 2. Weight Watchers is so practical for me because it’s about budgeting! I can do the money budgeting pretty well, so I like being able to transfer the self-control from that into my diet. A certain amount of points a day and I get to choose what I eat. It’s great! 

Which brings me to the revelation about food that I had on our trip. 

If I say no to one kind of food, I have to say yes to a different food. 

For so long, I have tried to diet by just denying myself the ‘bad’ stuff. I haven’t been great historically in just limiting in to small portions…because I let myself get so ‘starved’ for those higher-calorie things and then I just binge and the cycle of self-hatred and self-destruction continues. 

It was linked in my mind by a commercial…thanks, Yoplait. A Swappertunity. I have to put life-giving food in my body, not just keep junk food out or strictly limited. 

Y’all probably already knew this, but it was a really powerful revelation to me! It reminds me of when Jesus teaches about cleaning house spiritually in Matthew 12: 

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” (NKJV)

If I merely deny myself the food I like to eat, I am banishing the junk-foods demon. He goes for a little while, but if I don’t fill my empty house with something else, he will just try to come back and probably be successful…and “the last state of that girl is worse than the first…” Because then I condemn myself for giving in. And then I eat more to feel better. And then I am upset and self-condemning when the scale reports the consequences of my self-loathing binge-eating.

have to replace the junk food with the life-giving food. Like a banana. Or an apple. Or a glass of water. So then, when I am drawn to junk food, I can eat just a little (which is good! No hating on the junk food here…just in a budgeted moderation!). I can do this because my house, my body, is full of life-giving nutrients! 

I am also trying to invite the Holy Spirit in to the journey as well, asking Him to fill my heart when I am searching for comfort in food. (I’m the only one who does that, right?) I am asking Him to be His Comforter Self and give me Life. 

And it is a slow-but-worth-it-so-far and a life-giving journey. 

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!
Praise Him, ye creatures here below!
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!




Meditations on water

It has been a hard couple of days. Anxiety has surrounded me and at times I’ve felt like I’m drowning. Now, if you’re worried, know that I am prone toward the dramatic. That doesn’t lessen how I am feeling–a panic attack is a panic attack–but don’t overworry, okay? Just pray for me.

Back to water.

This morning it was hard to get out of bed. My lovely husband sacrificed his sleep to give our daughter her morning bottle at 4:55, and then we both slept until 7:30…a luxury for parents. We’ve now made it through breakfast and goodbye-ing with Daddy, and I am listening to my little one cry from her crib, protesting the rest that she desperately needs. Ah–she is quiet. I hope that means she’s sleeping.

Before sitting down to spend time with Jesus, I washed the bottles from yesterday because I lacked motivation to do it last night. Now, I try to conserve water while I do this, turning the water off while I scrub the formula residue from the crevices of The FirstYears BreastFlow nipples (tmi?), but today I found the sound of the running water amazingly comforting. I turned it off in an effort to conserve, but then the audial emptiness I experienced sent me to the edge of the temptation to despair. (Dramatic much? But it’s reality.)

I quickly turned the faucet back on, knowing that God loves me even in my self-perceived wasting of a natural resource and not caring about the we-love-nature-more-than-humans people that might condemn me (not mere nature-lovers, mind you–I am a nature-lover…). I thought about being outside, near a stream of flowing water, listening to it, maybe playing in it. And Luke Wood’s lyrics about wings and many waters and the voice of the Almighty frolicked through my head.

And I realized why we love to leave the faucet running while we brush our teeth.

It reminds us, somewhere deep inside, of the sound of God’s voice. 

“And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. (!)”
Ezekiel 43:2

And I got to thinking, there must be a reason that the psalmist talks about deep calling unto deep at the noise of His waterfalls (Psalm 42:7). This is so deep, in so many ways. The deep longing in my heart, the deposit of the Holy Spirit, loves to hear His voice echoed, even (especially?) in nature! And since we’ve largely removed ourselves from naturally flowing water, we have come to marvel at the artificial flow we pipe into our bathrooms. (Maybe this is why the bathroom is one of my favorite places in my house?)

Multnomah Falls by Jennifer Martinez Darling

Guess who’s going to find a natural water source to listen to soon? I’d invite you to join me, but I think I want to be alone.