Speaking With My Father

They speak to me about cookies and caring, about flowers and family, about Legos and love in action.
My Girls
They speak almost continually, telling stories and asking questions, needing to know and wanting me to know.
Their speaking to me is simplicity itself.  They feel curious and they ask, they become excited and they tell, they are frightened and they listen.  They speak what is in their hearts and minds, and they listen to my answers and my reassurances.
 You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
I do not speak to my Father with such simplicity.
I worry that I do not ask for the right things, I fear that my attitude is faulty, I think I know that I am not silent enough.
Should I pray “I thank You that You hear me” or “let Thy will be done”?  I do not know which is right.
Shall I pray in gratitude for beauty given to me while others are mired in ugliness all around?
If I ask for hard things to be removed am I being ungrateful for the maturity that hard things bring?
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
They do not worry if the way in which they speak with me is good.  They do not stumble over words, attempting to choose just the right ones.
When they ask for wrong things, when they speak ugly thoughts, when they refuse to listen, I love them.
I help them know which way to ask, how best to speak, and I love them.
Talking Outside
When they are frightened or upset, when they do not know the words they need, I search their hearts and interpret, and I love them.
For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
I am grateful for their simplicity.
Discussing Their Path
I know them.  I know their hearts, and want them to know me.  No anger or disappointment comes when error is made.  I love for them to speak easily, not fearful over content or word choice, but simply speaking and listening, learning to know and to be known.
You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”…And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
May I, like them, speak simply, without worry or fear, learning to know, and resting in the peace of being known and being loved.
Helping Our Kids
*Scriptures are taken from Romans 8.14-30*

The Gift of Loudness

I could see the fear in the ever-widening eyes of my youngest as the train barreled past us, just across the street, its whistle screaming in an attempt to warn foolish drivers out of its way. I picked her up and she immediately wrapped her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist in a vise-like grip that I have never felt before.

My eldest used to also be terrified of loud noises. She went through a long period of time when she was afraid of fire engines to the point of hysteria…even if they were parked and turned off.
As a musician, sound fascinates me. The science of how wavelengths work to create sound and music is a beautiful gift from God.

What about loud, clamorous noise, though? Is that a gift as well?

We all jump high when a car horn sounds behind us. Our hearts skip a beat when a clap of thunder crashes right above our heads.

As I held my littlest one, rocking her and shushing her, assuring her that the big, bad train would never leave its tracks to come and whistle in her ear, I though about how much I loved the feel of her chubby little arms and legs clinging to me.

As often happens when thinking about my own children, that made me think about how God loves for us to run into His arms and cling to Him.

Could it be that when we are distracted, when we are looking to other things for our rescue or our comfort, He uses a loud noise in our lives to help us remember to cling to Him and let Him take care of us?

He knows that we need a soft voice. When Elijah was in deep despair and asking to die, God came to him.

God wasn’t in the wind that tore apart mountains and shattered stones. God wasn’t in the earthquake that felled trees and tossed around boulders. God wasn’t in the fire that raged and roared and burned.

God wasn’t in the loud.

No, God was in the gentle whisper. The whisper that reassured Elijah that he was not alone.

Will you be still? Will you allow that loud noise to propel you into His arms, to send you to wrap your whole being around God?

Simply listen and let Him whisper His love and presence to your heart.

art credit: Elijah in the Wilderness by Washington Allston

How Can We Find Truth?

Why do we have so much trouble with Truth?

One would think that Christ-followers would have a good grasp on what Truth is, yet we seem instead to settle into two separate and distinct camps: either we think that interpretation of Scripture is personal and whatever it means to you is what it means, or we think that there is only one possible interpretation and we know what that is.

Part of the trouble is, I believe, simply the worldview that our own time and place of living thrusts on us. 

We Americans take great pride in being individualistic, of having individual rights and freedoms. These are good things and have allowed us to worship with great freedom, yet they also teach us that religion is a private matter, that it is up to the individual to choose what they will believe. 

Which leads all too quickly to the idea that there is no one truth.

As I sat in Panera one afternoon, reading and writing, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between three people who were discussing the start-up of a New Age magazine. As they were talking about how to bring in money, advertisers, one of the women said, “Well, I can always find something in my Christian-ness to attract New Agers. I can find something in the Bible that will relate to them where they are.”

As distressing as this sort of worldview is, many Christ-followers have reacted too violently against this way of thinking about Scripture, which sends them spinning into that second camp. I have met so many who think that there is only one interpretation of Scripture and who are quite certain that they know which one is correct.

So much of Scripture contains layer upon layer of meaning. The deeper you delve, the more you uncover. Why do we give in to our pride and think that we know all there is to know about God’s Word? Why do we shore up our defenses against those who believe differently than we do? Have other Christ-followers become our enemy or is our enemy much more insidious than that?

So how do we solve this? How can we keep from falling too far towards either extreme? How can we who claim to follow Jesus know what Truth really is?

What if we simply listen? Listen to the words of Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

In the gospel of John, Jesus gives one of His most famous statements: 

The truth will set you free.

That is a beautiful (and oft-quoted!) statement, but how do we know what the truth is?

Ah. Just listen. Jesus gives us that answer too.

The whole sentence is this: 

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Then. A very key word! What comes before? One very important if.

IF you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

There it is. If we hold to Jesus’ teaching, if we read it, meditate on it, live it, then we are His disciples.

Jesus’ disciples know the truth (even, perhaps, the truth about Truth?). 

God’s Spirit Himself teaches us.


And then the Truth will set us free.

art credit: flag photo by Robert Linder; Christ in the House of Mary and Martha by Johannes Vermeer

Be Still and Wait

Be still




Do you hear it?

It is a whisper in the darkness.

He is coming!

Can you feel it?

It is a gentle touch on your heart.

Love is coming!


In the stillness, we feel it — His movements. In the stillness, our hearts leap — His coming! In the stillness, we know it– what falls down upon us — breath of heaven. ~ Ann Voskamp

Will you be still? 

Will you give God this one gift, the gift of you, of your full presence?

In the excitement and the sparkle. 

In the loneliness and the hurt.


For just a few moments, hush and listen. Listen for that small whisper in your soul. Pause to feel God’s Spirit love your heart.




He comes!

We wait…and find that He has been Emmanuel, God with us, all along.

art credit: The Nativity by Antonio da Correggio; Advent Wreath carved by 15-year-old Caleb Voskamp (click on the link to order your own…he gives all proceeds to Compassion)

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What You Should Do Next

What should we do now?

How should we respond?

When life seems to be running rapidly into a dead end

When we feel carved out and emptied by the rivers of this world’s realities

When the weight of our pain threatens to crush

When our hearts are pitted and scarred by pain, anguish, shame

What should we do?

Yes, we continue to obey, to follow the signs.

To what purpose? To what end?

The men who walked in the fire told a king that even if God refused to rescue, they would continue to obey.

The man who lost all but his life declared that even if God took the last thing remaining to him, he would continue to trust.

Why do we obey, why do we trust even when we cannot seem to find the light?


Listen to the Word speak.

Listen to what the Word says as He is drawing very near to His own darkness.

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

The Glory of God our Father.

Out of the rocks, His glory bursts forth.

Out of the dead and the dying, His beauty shines out.

All praise to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Father, glorify Your name!

(If you are viewing this via email/in a reader, may I suggest that you click here to view this video?)