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Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Dear Judas,

Every year on Good Friday, I remember your story. It hits a place in my heart I’m not fond of. Maybe because I can imagine the darkness and the shame and the selfishness that led you to do such unthinkable things.

Judas, your story is so sad and full of dark and impenetrable shame. I imagine you got used to it, though, living in the darkness, not letting your soul see the Light.

I read your story and I wonder, Judas, how did it feel to have God Himself wash your dirty, stinky feet all covered in dust and sweat and grime? Did you realize the irony as you walked those very feet straight to the enemy to turn Him over?

By Joshb (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Joshb (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Did you recognize the irony of the grime in your heart that only Jesus knew about?

When Jesus bent over to wash your feet and wipe them clean, did you feel any sense of remorse? Or did it just make you more angry, more bitter, more jealous? Did Jesus’ unendingly pure love strengthen your resolve and stoke the fire of hate inside your belly?

When Jesus handed you that piece of bread and said

What you are about to do, do quickly

did your face go flush with the wash of terror-filled adrenaline that floods your veins when you’re found out? Did you wonder how He knew? Did it even cross your mind that maybe He knew because He actually was Who He said He was?

Did you run out because you made yourself sick? Or were you so focused on the money that you couldn’t wait to get it? Did you have a plan for all that cash? I wonder what you were going to do with it. Buy a new home for your family?

Or some new shoes?

As much as I don’t want to acknowledge it, I actually know where you were coming from, Judas.

All those times I’ve been so focused on what I want that I’m willing to do almost anything to get it. I know how it feels to not want to hear what Jesus has to say, not want to know how much He loves me, not let His love penetrate anything but the tough skin on my feet.

I wonder if you realize now that you actually helped God’s perfect plan along. The very thing you did to thwart it actually led to the working of it. Those people you turned Him over to? They killed Him.

Then He killed death itself.

And, now, I can live forever.

So, thanks.

Today, I read the story of how Jesus washed your feet. And something struck me like never before.

Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (Jn 13:1)

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God . . .

When Jesus bent over and washed your feet that night, He did it from the knowledge that He had all power. All strength to love even those who would betray Him and murder Him and nail Him to that cross.

I read this and realized I need my feet washed too.

They have walked dirty paths of selfishness and shame. Just even these last few days.

Searching for someone to blame for my own discontent and letting it fall on anyone but myself. Feeding a demanding and critical spirit where gratitude belongs. Then striking out with hateful words to those I hold most dear.

Letting myself get lost in my own selfish disappointment and losing to the rage that should have died when I let Jesus wash my soul with His blood those years ago.

Oh, Judas, my feet have seen some dirt these last few days.

Still, He called you His own. And, amazingly, He calls me that, too.

Loving you, Judas, loving me, and washing our feet — I believe it took every ounce of every bit of love Jesus had to give.

He knew we’d go dirty up those clean feet again, but He cleaned them anyway.

And I am humbled in my deepest of deeps. Because that’s how He rolls. That’s how He loves.

Even you, Judas.

Even me.

Five Minutes on Paint

I always wanted to be a painter. So today when I saw Lisa-Jo’s writing prompt for 5-minute-Friday as I sat in the art room at my kids’ school, I was excited and inspired and a little nostalgic for the day when I believed I could actually use paint to make beautiful art.

The word is paint.

GO

They come individually throughout the morning. five and six-year-old kindergarten wannabe’s. Some of them don’t really wanna’ be, though.

I sit at a table awaiting their arrivals. One by one, they show up in the art room for the vision screening I will help with today. I think it’s because I’m a parent of a sixth-grader, but I’m not really sure.

It’s the art room that plays my office this morning. The art room at the bottom of the stairs in that little school I call the private school I don’t have to pay tuition for. Just one class per grade, all the teachers carefully chosen for my children, I feel. So thankful am I for this sacred place they call theirs.

And the art hangs on walls all around me. It colors the bulletin boards and inspires my children.

Think Art

The teacher who calls this place her room is coming and going today. So I can share her space as I help introduce these tiny people to the world that will be theirs in a few short months.

I have lots of down time in between customers, so I pick up my phone and click a few pics.

And paint and colors surround me and I love the inspired and the fresh that I feel when I walk through these halls where my children learn to live and make art with their living and their friendships and their conversations and their heartbreaks.

The smell of poster paint and construction paper and glue takes me back to a time when I believed I could do anything. Before Mr. Bukoszky chided my work in high school and led the rest of my painting class in a laugh-fest over the colors I had chosen.

That’s when I found a different way to paint my world. I found words and photos and learned to mold those things I felt confident with into things I knew nothing about.

STOP

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker today for Five-Minute-Fridays, where a whole bunch of brave writers throw caution to the wind and write unedited for five minutes straight before sharing it with the world.

Five Minute Friday

How Motherhood Surprised Me {and a Book You Must Read}

**This post contains affiliate links.

Surprised by Motherhood

We hung out a lot before kids. Back when our husbands and our houses and our careers and schooling were the whole of our lives.

We led college students together. Taught a class at church and hung out a lot. Mostly on Friday nights with pizza and The Matrix and whatever else presented itself to our group.

Then she and her husband finished their graduate work and moved to Ukraine for more study and life while my man and I stuck around and started a family.

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Just before we moved to Paris for a four-month stint, Lisa-Jo came for a visit. We sat on the floor of the play-room surrounded by my two kids and too many toys as she told me the stuff that might help me transition to life overseas.

She also told me she was going to be a mom. The surprise of which was not lost on me. Since I’d known her, she’d sworn she would never be one of those.

But now, eight years later, my friend Lisa-Jo Baker has birthed three children and a book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom.
Each of which will no doubt change the world in their own ways. Because God is alive in that woman, and He uses her words to speak life and courage into moms all over the world.

Even me.

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See, I’m not an insecure person. I mean, I used to be. Then God convinced me His was the only approval I needed. So I plugged my nose and dove off that cliff of real faith that trusted what He said about me and lived accordingly.

Full-on real life, no looking back or wondering if I was good enough or had what I needed to do whatever He’d show me to do from day to day.

Then I had a baby.

And somehow that baby introduced me to an entirely new level of insecurity.

What if I really don’t know what I’m doing? They said I would just instinctively know my own baby’s cry, but what if I don’t? Or, even worse, what if I do and it doesn’t make my heart jump to attention like I know it should because I love her so much? What if I don’t love her enough? What if loving her isn’t enough?

She wouldn’t eat those first few days, so I wondered what I was doing wrong. What if she never eats? What if my body wasn’t made for this nursing thing and I don’t know when to just give-in and feed her a bottle? What if I feed her a bottle and I screw up her life forever because I haven’t nursed her for that first year like all those books say I should do, and what if she gets sick every week for the rest of her life because I deprived her of my breast milk and the immunities it gives?

By the time that baby was three, she was convinced she knew more than me. And she was starting to convince me. She could question my motives with one three-letter word and have me spiraling to the depths of motherhood hell in three seconds flat. All because I couldn’t tell her why she needed to wear the blue shirt instead of the green one.

At five, that baby had me yelling at the top of my lungs one day in order to prove that I had not been yelling at her. “Stop yelling at me” she had said. And that spun me into a red-faced, blood-curdling yell that the neighbors probably heard even with the windows closed and the acre in between us. “I am NOT yelling!” I screamed. “THIS is YELLING!”

Not my shining moment.

When her sister came along, my insecurity grew. Because I didn’t know how to do siblings and rivalry and can’t we all just get along? And why do I still not know what I’m doing?!?

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I’ve had a few moments of motherhood greatness to be sure, but somehow in my brain they’ve been overshadowed by those insecure shaky times that live right there at the tip of the file marked “The Kind Of Mom I Actually Am”.

I’ve read books by James Dobson and Kendra Smiley and Lisa Welchel that have helped me find principles and ideas for dealing with my children.

But until my friend Lisa-Jo wrote Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom, I have not really learned how to deal with me and my mommy insecurity.

When I read Lisa-Jo’s words, I feel the camaraderie, and I know I’m not the only one. And the surprises of my own insecurity and every other surprise that motherhood has presented feel somehow okay.

Her words spark hope that God is using to actually convince me that maybe I do have what it takes to grow these little people and show them how to really live.

Maybe you can relate?

If you’re a mom, I would be willing to bet you can. I’m guessing you know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have what it takes to be a mom.

Or maybe you’re a dad who’s trying to figure out why your wife struggles so much with this motherhood thing.

Or maybe you have a mom with whom you’ve always struggled.

May I suggest you take Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom and let God use Lisa-Jo’s words to encourage you where you are in this journey. Wherever that might be.

You can click this link: Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom and order it right on Amazon. Or at Christian Books with this link: Surprised by Motherhood

Or, if you prefer the audio version, click this one: Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom