Posts in My Heart

 As I've watched the school buses go by this week, I've been thinking about all those mamas who are feeling the loss as their little ones don backpack and lunch sack to step into a whole new world.  I'm sure you've shed some tears, as did I, mixed with the thrill of knowing your child will soon be experiencing the great, life-long joy of learning.  I loved those years of being mom to two little boys and two little girls. Loved the fresh school books and cute haircuts, the untucked shirts and lopsided ponytails. I miss so much about those years. My children are all grown now, with children of their own. And too soon yours will be too.  

These are the words that spilled out of my heart nearly 20 years ago when my son, Matthew started school. May you share the same immense joy that I have in watching your sons and daughters grow into men and women whose hearts beat for God. 


Today my little boy went off to school.

He was afraid.  I was afraid.

He was excited. So was I.

He was brave.  I cried.

We chattered cheerfully in the van on the way to school.  He looked so fresh and grownup in his new haircut, plaid shirt tucked neatly in, appropriately cool baggy pants and black suede tennis shoes.  I took pictures in front of the flagpole.

He smiled.

Walking into the classroom, he gripped my hand in sweaty palm and sat oh-so-quietly at his pint-sized desk.

“Don’t leave yet Mom.  Wait ‘til all the other parents go…”

I rubbed his back and labeled his supplies.  Crayons, scissors, lots of glue, a binder covered in G. I. Joe stickers.  I took a picture of my little boy at his desk.

No smile.

Time for Mom to leave.  One last squeeze of his shoulder.  One last kiss on his cheek, and out the door.

That’s when the tears betrayed me.  Unbidden, they pushed against my eyes, threatening to embarrass me completely.  Gulping them back, I waved with false cheer at a neighbor and drove in my empty van to my empty house.

So quiet.

No chaos, no arguments, no laughter, no messes.

I have looked forward to this day.  I have plans.  For years I have said, “When my children all go to school…”

Yet today I can do nothing. I grieve an end of an era.  An era I have loved, filled with memories I cherish.

I did my share of complaining to be sure.  “Can’t I even go to the bathroom alone?!”  But I loved the unrushed mornings cuddling with blankie and bear and my squirmy little boy.

I loved the Lego creations and the storybooks and Wee Sing tapes.  I loved sidewalk chalk and popsicles dribbling down dimpled chins.  Rainy days spent building forts in the family room with blankets anchored with encyclopedias.

Most of all, I have loved the absolute trust in his eyes.  He knows I am here for him to protect him, to be proud, to understand.

For I am Mom.  Matthew’s mom.  The Best-Mom-in-the-Whole-World.

That is who I was yesterday when I held him as a babe in my arms.  It is who I am today as I leave him at his desk at school.  And tomorrow, when he is a man, I will still be…


From my heart,


P.S. Who feels the same? That bittersweet, confusing mix of relief and sadness? I'd love to pray for you this week. And if any of you have children you're especially worried about, let me know and I'll pray as I did for my own.

THOUGHTS ON... faith and fear and hiding hogs

(image by Bethany Small)

…and all the people in that region begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone…

Luke 8:37

…the crowds received Jesus with open arms because they had been waiting for Him.

Luke 8:40

I sat before the fire this morning with a cup of steaming tea in one hand and my Bible in my lap. Groggy from sleeping too late, restless and needing real rest, I felt all unsettled inside.

The words caught me.

The story of a whole town pressuring Jesus to leave after He’d done good— rid a crazy man of his demons.

Why weren’t they okay with that?

And then right up against that question, rose the story of a whole town pressing in around Jesus for help and healing.

How did they know?

On one side of the lake an immense crowd gathered to beg Jesus to go away. To leave them alone.

On the other side of that same lake, equally insistent crowds waited with open arms to invite Him right into the midst of their stories.


Why would one person push Him away and another pull Him close?

And aren’t I just a little spiritually bi-polar too?

On some things down right rigid in my strict adherence to His Word…

and on others clearly disobedient and mostly unapologetic.

Why do I ramp up the intensity of my words in order to get my own way… when I well know that what God relishes in a woman is a gentle and quiet spirit?

Why do I lay awake at night worrying about my kids… when He has so clearly stated that He loves them with a greater love than I could ever grasp?

And why can’t I help myself?

Why don’t I stop?

Fully awake now, I scoot forward, lay aside my tea and sniff around these stories. What I find gives me much more than a caffeine jolt.

The ones who wanted Him away were afraid. Not of the stark naked, demon filled, manic man who broke through chains and dominated the countryside. They were used to him. Had it under control.

What scared them witless was Jesus’ undeniable power to bankrupt their undercover pig operation. Here was a kosher Jewish town making a killing on hogs.

They had a secret that Jesus knew about and they thought by pushing Him out of the picture they could keep stockpiling all that lovely stash without the whole world knowing.

And maybe I have secrets too. Secret pride. Secret fears. Secret things that feel safe to me. And I don’t want Jesus to have anything to do with my hog business.


Then there’s the other guys. They welcomed Jesus. Held open their arms and fairly wrestled Him into their lives.

A leader fell flat on his face before Jesus, blithefully ignorant of what everyone else might think. His daughter was dying and by golly this guy was going to do everything in his power to get the help he needed to save her.

He was desperate.

A woman grabbed onto the tassle at the bottom of His robe and held on for dear life, stopping Jesus’ journey through the crowds. Nothing and nobody was going to stop her from getting from Him what she wanted more than life itself. Weak and weary and tired of the isolation of illness, this woman would go down in history for her insistence that Jesus help her.

She was sick of being sick. 

I think there’s a treasure to be unburied in these side-by-side stories.

Something about fear and faith. And how you can’t have both. One cancels out the other.

Faith overrides fear and fear deletes faith.

I chew on this all day. Keep coming back to the stories. What am I missing?

I don’t want to be a bi-polar believer.

Moving from crisis to crisis, one season all good and peace-filled and other’s centered…

Too soon swinging to anxious, overwrought, ready to burst into tears because life is hard and how come that happened and why me?


And while I am praying and seeking and wondering, words jump out at me:





I know those words. And I know something else—

that the life I long for cannot be had as long as I insist on holding God to my way


the life I long for is mine for the taking if I’ll only refuse the fear by fully entrusting every single teeny tiny facet of my life to Him.

Everything.  Everyone.  Fully.

And so I get up to face my day with three treasures tucked into my heart, stored in my mind, settled into my soul…

1.  It’s usually when I’m up against death and desperation- really scary stuff— that I come begging for Him.

2.  Not until I get sick and tired of being sick and tired will I live the life I long for.

3.  Fear is what gets in the way of what I really want.

These are three things I cannot afford to keep forgetting, and neither can you. But I’ll need the help of other women who want what I want.

Women who’ve declared themselves all His.

Women who are daring to trust Him even when they’re really not crazy about all that desperation and dying talk.

Women who are willing to call me out when I start hiding hogs again.

Women like you…

From my heart,


PS:  Can you write us some stories of times you fell on your face in full on faith that only He could fix those broken places?  We need to hear your songs of deliverance to help build up our own wobbly faith.

repost: 4.2012

For the next few weeks we are shutting down He Speaks In The Silence in order to do some much needed rearranging and redecorating. While a team of talented artists color and create a fresh new design, I will be doing my own version of this update— with words.

Join us in October for our relaunch. On our first day back I’ll be explaining what’s ahead and how you can step a little closer into our community of listeners.

From my heart,


P.S. Why don’t you click on the subscribe button on the right of the page so that will be delivered to your inbox the moment we restart and every time we post? 

GENERATIONS... what every woman ought to know

More than three decades ago a family of six moved into a home around the corner from our tiny house on Trevor Drive in San Jose.  They were just back from the mission field with four teenagers, each of whom quickly rose to leadership in our church’s youth group simply because they were so compelling and cheerful and genuinely godly.

I was pregnant with our first son, reading books and studying methods and just generally terrified that neither of us had any idea how to do this whole parenting/raising children/ life of faith task. This family waltzed into our lives at just the right time to give me courage and hope that maybe we could someday have what they had so beautifully built in their family— an honest-to-goodness Jesus centered home filled with passionate-about-Jesus people.

Bill and Laurie Keyes showed us the way ahead. They inspired us and taught us and encouraged and trained us. They met with us and answered questions, allowed us to poke into their lives, opened up their hearts to us to show us that they were real.

And they poured wisdom into us.

Our four kids grew up on “the Keyes say…” Their words became cornerstones for the way we arranged our lives. Validation for why we did what we did and why we didn’t do things a different way.

Their wisdom made sense to us.

So you can imagine my deep-down delight when they agreed to come and share some of that wisdom with you!

On Saturday morning, September 29th, Bill and Laurie Keyes will speak at Generations… what every woman ought to know.

If you are like I was all those years ago, a woman seeking wisdom, hope, encouragement, courage. If you long to build a house on the Rock and need the keys to know howyou will not want to miss this!

The Details

When? September 29th

What time? 9-11 am

Who? Women of any and every age

Childcare? No

What? A lovely light bit of food and drink

Where? Solid Rock Westside

Why? Because there is just so much we women need to know… and Bill and Laurie Keyes have so much wisdom to bring into our questions.

Come! Bring your mom, your sister, your best friend. Bring any woman you know who needs real life wisdom. Because that is exactly what Bill and Laurie do best. They show how to do life wisely.

Really, girls, this is one you absolutely do not want to miss!

From my heart,





My goals is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love.  
Colossians 2:2
Twenty-one months ago a group of women from Solid Rock set out together for Haiti.
While there we did life together in the grimmest of circumstances. And we found both friendship and joy in the midst of all that devastation.
Our hearts were knit together in ways I'd never experienced before with women-- ever. And those ties remain all these months later. In fact, we've been calling each other "The Sista's" ever since, our need for this kind of sisterhood connection transcending ages, stages of life, interests, anxieties.
This week a few of us met for a picnic. I thought I'd stay and hour and get back to work. I stayed 2 1/2 hours, cramming in last minute talk right up to the parking lot and last round of hugs. Once again I found courage with these women. They believe in me, want the best in and for me. We champion each other's dreams and as you'll read in this story, even clean each other's bathrooms…
From my heart,

Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels,

but also vessels of wood and of earthenware,

and some to honor and some to dishonor. 

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things,

he will be a vessel for honor,


useful to the Master,

prepared for every good work.

2 Timothy 20,21


Many years ago my grandmother cleaned out her dining room hutch and passed a box full of silver on to me. My mother didn’t want it for the same reason Great (her nickname once the great grandkids were born) was giving it away: too much trouble.

I’ve always loved anything shiny and glittery and in any way nostalgic, so I took that box into my hands with glee. Shined up and beautiful, I put each item on a shelf and pulled them out to use over and over again.

That was 20 years ago at least. I’ve gotten tired of all that shining, let the pretty things tarnish and turn dull. Gotten used to less beauty, comfortable with the grey.

And then this morning it bothered me. I have no idea why, but that teapot just seemed pathetic sitting there. It looked old, but not in a good way. Just old.

And so I ambitiously got out the polish, dirtied my hands, and gently wiped the grim away. It took all of about 10 minutes to get it clean, even after I threw in every silver thing I could find sitting out.

Ten minutes.

And while I was smearing the pink polish and rinsing all that ugliness away I wondered just a little about me.

My soul. That part of me that gets grimy and dull. Put on a shelf and ignored because its just not pretty.

Who wants to have a tea party with an ugly teapot?

And it takes so little time to shine my soul up. Really. Just a little pink polish: a mixture of confession and repentance and humbling myself enough to submit to the gentle cleansing of my Master.

I put myself in front of Him and say, I want to be clean again. I want to be pretty. Shiny, lovely. Do what You must. Please.

And then I just sit at His feet and listen as He tells me what to let go of. Things like perfectionism, self-pity, worry, resentment… and He washes those dulling things all away. So softly. So kind.

And I like how I feel when He’s done. Not scrubbed and rubbed wrong, but loved and embraced and relieved of the scum so I can be me.

The real me. The me He made me to be in the first place. That me.

I feel useful once again; bright and shiny and waiting to be filled and to pour and to delight.

In ten minutes.


From my heart,






A couple of days ago I took four of my grandkids to the park. It was Jude’s idea initially, that one so full of ideas and possibilities and joy in relationship.

Why don’t we go to a new park together every week?

And then my little idea-man thought about it with twinkling eyes and added,

And we should go for ice cream too! A different place every week.

And so this last Monday I found myself with passel of kids at Ibach Park in Tualatin.

Three three-year-olds and one six year-going-on-thirty. And me.

And do you want to know what? It was the funnest day I’ve had in a long, long time.

I laughed so hard at their show-off antics, marveled at the pure joy of Duke’s running free and fast, stripping off his shirt when it got wet and in the way.

I giggled with Sunday as that girliest of girls played in the mud with her pink painted fingernails.

Watched Mo’s always-thinking face figure out how to get the trickle of water going in the direction he wanted it to flow.

And let Jude lead his troupes into another adventure.

And when I saw all those muddy hands— white and cream and olive and darkest brown— I could hardly catch my breath. These are mine!

My legacy.

My family.

Our day at the park may not be high impact in the scheme of things. I’ll never win a golden award for all the sand I washed down the bathroom sink. The likelihood of their even remembering the day is slim…

But it was my day to love and be loved. To revel in the Father who made us all- and likes the way He made us.

And you know, I just can’t think of a better way to spend my day.

From my heart,


And let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us:

and give permanence to the work of our hands;

yes, give permanence to the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:17


Dr. Di’s Prescription For Tension Heart Head Aches

Lead me in the right path, O LORD,

Or my enemies will conquer me.

Tell me clearly what to do,

And show me which way to turn.

Psalm 5:8

I got there again this week:

… stressed out of my mind,

… anxious,

… uptight,

… overreacting,

… teary,

… needing to tackle piles looming like Mt. Everest,

… wanting to curl up and hide.

What is my problem? Why can’t I get this right? Will I ever learn?

Coming off the high of a staff retreat with Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs, I crashed just as soon as I walked in the door and stared at the pile on my desk. Just where I left it.

All week my soul responded to Sarah’s words… rest, soul-space, pace yourself.

And all week I wondered how.

Am I really too busy? Or am I simply thinking wrongly about how God views me and how I should see myself?

Should I work harder, stay up later, stuff the angst deeper, blame somebody?

Of course not. But that’s exactly the way I’ve been doing.

And so today I just asked God for wisdom. Again.

And He gave it. Again.

Here’s what I heard, dear friends of mine. And I have a suspicion that this is not just for me, so I swept the piles aside and wrote it down just in case you need it too.

1.    Do beauty

A woman’s soul craves beauty. And my soul was shriveling up, feeling dry and… ugly. So I went out and cut some flowers. Peonies, roses, Jacob’s Ladder, trailing ivy, a sprig of boxwood. Beauty. For me.

2.    Stop being so mean to yourself

I am my own worst enemy. I critique and criticize and berate myself endlessly. No wonder I fall apart if anyone so much as suggests I didn’t get it right! I know this… now I must discipline my thoughts and stop scolding myself. Geez.

3.    Have fun

Here’s my version of fun- curl up with a steaming pot of Marco Polo tea. Tuck a furry blanket around myself. Read something delicious… poetry, or Ann Voskamp or Wangerin or something that just makes me delight in God. Or a story.

If that sounds boring to you, do what you love. Shop, play, dip your toes in water, go to an art museum.

4.    Delve deep

Shake out that other side of my brain that loves to learn and dig just for the fun of it. Get lost in something interesting.

5.    Be quiet

Stop talking- to your girlfriend, to your mom, even to yourself. Shh!! Just listen. When I’m stressed I can’t hear His voice because I’m fussing so loud.

6.    Get real

Stop pretending that you’re fine. Be honest. Be transparent. Allow someone into your secret unhappiness. She’s probably been there before and might just whisk you off to an afternoon of rest that you’d never do alone.

7.    Go running

I am just amazed at how energizing to my brain a good short run is. And when I say run, I really mean jog. Get out in the fresh air and feel the stress slide off your shoulders. Everything just seems to fall into place- keep running until it does.

8.    En-courage

Give someone else a taste of hope. A word or a hug or an “I believe in you, you’re terrific” sort of email. Really, this one is like medicine to my soul. Maybe because its not all about me?!

9.    Make friends with a lefty

Today I am having coffee with one of the most organized, efficient, left brained women I know. She posted on her blog not long ago about her system of keeping all the balls rolling. I couldn’t understand a word she said but I caught a glimpse of something that sounded hopeful. If she can lasso all my right-brained messy creative thoughts into a coherent can-do accomplishment- well, here’s to hope.

10.    Get up early

Think these tasks through while I’m fresh and no one is calling or texting or Face booking or emailing or commenting or saying, “Hey mom, would you…”

11.     Smile

A grin on my face means I’m giving thanks. So simple. So right and godly and good. MUCH better than all these crazy ways we self-medicate!

12.    Touch

Hug, caress, hold, embrace, cuddle, rock. Be a woman with all the passion and affection that brings us alive. If I’m stiff and cold it’s because I’ve died. And I don’t want to be dead.


I look back at my words and am a little embarrassed. Shouldn’t I throw something incredibly profound in here? I mean really— smile? Pick peonies?

And what about my piles?

You know, they just don’t look so awfully high now. In fact after my tea and a few pages of a good book I think I might just go for it.

From my much more rested heart,


So my friends- how about you?

How are you managing all the things you’re supposed to be doing right now?

Have you figured out ways to simplify your life? Will you share those ideas with us?

I could use some really clear left-brained-organized ideas… as well as some reminders of what’s important and what just isn’t.


 Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself,

and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

We sat circled around the table in the waning light. Seven of us leaning forward, listening as women do—nodding, questioning, wanting more.

We needed Sarah’s wisdom, relished her insights. Each of us craving answers to the questions that haunt us.

A moment caught up in intense honesty.

Many years ago, Sarah and her husband, Emmerson, rediscovered a truth long buried in the pages of Scripture. A truth too long ignored by teachers and discounted by readers of God’s Word. A truth they have dedicated their lives to helping the rest of us embrace for ourselves.

That truth is this:

God wired men to need respect like the air they breathe. And He made women to crave love with that same intensity.

And we knew that, all of us in this circle of sisters. Read the books, heard the wisdom, tried to remember how to say the words right.

All of us failing, confessing the flaws, looking sideways to see if anyone knew the depth of our own shame. Of the words we wish we could delete from our histories.

And then Sarah said the words: Why don’t we see this as sin?


Not weakness? Not issues? Couldn’t we say simply that we all struggle with this?


When I snap at my husband for not getting it right— that’s sin.

When I growl at him because he did it again— that’s sin.

Correct him about inconsequentials in front of wide-eyed little ones— it’s sin.

Deny him the passion his body craves— sin.


We don’t like it, any of us.

We’re good girls. Committed wives. Partners with our husbands in ministry and life.

We don’t sin on purpose. We don’t want to. Try hard not to.

But we know she’s right. This is sin, this way we don’t give our husbands the respect they need.

The way we make it their fault. The way we must be right; in control. The way we insist they be what we want because that’s what we’ve heard they should be.

The way we make them less than men.

And I think its time we started talking about this, my dear girls. This need men have for respect and our way too frequent failure to give them the honor God commanded us to hold out to His warriors.

Will you join me in this conversation? Give us your wisdom? Be honest about the discoveries you’ve made the hard way?

I’ll be gathering up your comments and posting a list soon of ways we can show respect the men in our lives.

And another list of ways we communicate dishonor to the men in our lives.

If you haven’t read the book that Emmerson and Sarah wrote about their discovery, order it now. It’s called Love & Respect, The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs.

Honestly, this is the one book I think we cannot afford to do without.

From my heart,


P.S. If you’re single and you want to know how this looks before you get married, Sarah’s daughter, Joy Eggerichs writes a fabulous blog called: love and respect now.









repost from 2.18.11

“…Love never fails…”

I Corinthians 13:8

Something horrible happened to me the other day, and it was my fault.

Like I do with lots of people every Sunday, I introduced myself to a woman who stood waiting near the front. Nothing remarkable about her. Brownish hair, smallish frame, an ordinary woman on an ordinary day in the midst of ordinariness.

She looked at me a little odd.

I chattered on about the weather, the cold, how long had she been going to Solid Rock? Ordinary stuff.

Her lip started to quiver just a tad- no drama, just a barely perceptible hint of hurt. Her eyes filled.

Worried, but still basically clueless, I asked for her name and told her mine, holding out my hand, being all nice… and normal.

That’s when she finally fell apart.

And that’s when I finally saw her.

Just two weeks before, this ordinary woman had taken extraordinary risk and opened her hidden hurts to me. Real hurts about bad things. Pain unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Raw suffering.

I’d taken her into my arms and prayed for her… walked away with the promise to pray some more. Then trotted off into my ordinary world with ordinary pressures and promptly forgot.

How could I do that? What does that say about me? Don’t I care?

Over and over I’ve berated myself for that day. Hoping to hear the Father excuse me. Wanting Him to cover my callousness with nice words like, “How can you expect to remember everyone you meet? With all these people crowding this place, no one can be friends with every one. At least you try.”

But all I hear is the echo of her loneliness.

The truth is I don’t really love her. Not enough.

If it had been my sister pouring her story into my lap, I’d have hung on every word…prayed every day… searched for words from the Word to bring her hope and courage and truth.

Instead I forgot. I moved on. Another troubled soul in a world of wounded women. Ordinary.

The truth is my love is really thin. Meager. Miserly. Sometimes it doesn’t last longer than an after-church conversation and a quick prayer.

I say I love. I want to love. I even feel love.

But…love doesn’t forget the sorrows of a woman weeping in my arms.

Love doesn’t just step over someone’s wreckage and move seamlessly into ordinary. Not real love. Not Jesus love. Not the kind of love that hung on a Cross and bled for that woman.

And so today, instead of berating, I confess it. Out loud. With all of you listening in, I admit that I am a failed lover. My heart is still, after all these years of listening, not even close to being like His.

And there’s not a thing I can do about it. I know full well that I can’t make it a goal or cross it off a list or drum it up or name it and claim it and call it my own.

But He can. And now that I know what He knows, I can let Him. Because He has this crazy way of making me like Himself just when I get a glimpse of who I really am.

Its called love… wild, beautiful, stick-to-it, passionate love that changes me into someone who actually, really, honestly loves back. And who never forgets again.

From my heart,


Is He teaching you something similar?

REDEEMING WHAT IS BROKEN... between you and your mom
(my daughters Elizabeth and Rebekah and I)
I am a mom. And I am a daughter.

When I was watching my body swell with the miracle of my firstborn three decades or so ago, I knew I wanted to do some things differently with my children than my own mother had.

Something inside of me needed to prove to all the watching world that I was not my mom. That I was me. And that in being me I could be a better mother than mine had been.

(my granddaughter Scarlet and I)

I was wrong.

Because, you see, in rejecting so much of my mom I  gave my children just me. And I wasn’t enough for them. I didn’t have all that they needed. And I made so many mistakes in the process of trying to prove something that wasn’t right.

And to be honest with you, I hurt my mom by failing to value who she was.

The truth I see now is that my mom is an amazing woman. Her own mother was nice and sweet and gentle and not very involved in her life. They didn’t talk about important things, she never said no or be careful or maybe you shouldn’t go there or do that. And that messed my mom up a bit.

(my mom and Scarlet)

And so my mom determined to raise us differently. She talked to me. Told me things I didn’t want to hear, warning her head-in-the-clouds daughter that life is not a fairy tale and I’d better watch out.

And she did stuff with us. She was the den mother and the chaperone and the driver of the car on trips to the beach. Everybody hung out at our house because she always had homemade cookies and enough food to feed the crowd. And she was fun.

And now you’re wondering what in the world I would reject about that?

I know.

I would saved all of us a whole lot of trouble if I’d simply made a few adjustments to allow myself to be me while still listening to mom.

My mother and I are friends now. Two women on polar opposite ends of the personality spectrum, we work hard to get along, to value each other, to give each other space to be who we are. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always work as well as we’d like, but we’re trying.

I’ve put together a list of things I have discovered in this process of becoming friends with my mother that I hope will help you with yours.

(my granddaughter Sunday and daughter-in-law Tammy)

I realize that there are some really mean and hurtful mothers out there who have caused immense pain. And I know that some of you will never be able to actually call your mom your friend.

But we can all try, can’t we?

And we can all take responsibility for our own responses.

You can be gracious and lovely and strong and nice back. No one can take that away from you.

And so with Mother’s Day just behind us and my mom visiting this week, here are…


1.    Accept her

This is what I failed to do for a long time. Instead of loving who she was, I poked and critiqued and compared.

What arrogance!

And what a waste.

When I finally began to let her be who she is, I began to see how great she really is and has been all along. She is incredibly organized and disciplined and smart and giving and open and fun. I really like her- imagine that!

2.    Forgive her

Holding a grudge against your mother is pointless and harmful and unwise and unproductive. You saw her at her worst. And your kids will see enough of you in their lifetimes to figure out everything wrong with you too. Set yourself free from all that pain she caused you before you end up dumping it all over your own children.

3.    Learn from her mistakes

Be honest with yourself about what she did wrong. Then choose differently. You don’t have to make a show about it like I did all those years ago. In fact, I’m inviting my daughters a little further into my story to allow them to build on my mistakes. There are things I’d do differently if I had a chance and I’m talking about some of those things with my girls.

A little humbling? Yeah, but amazingly liberating at the same time.

4.    Be grateful

It’s so easy to criticize your mom. To take potshots at her way of doing everything from laundry to love. What if instead we decided to start listing every memory we have that we’re grateful for? What if we stopped comparing her to The Perfect Mom and chose to value her instead?

5.    Show it

Every mother lives with a certain amount of shame. We remember every time we yelled, or were cross, or didn’t do enough. Some mothers harden up to put that pain into an untouchable vault, denying any wrongdoing ever. Others get all needy, sucking their children of every last vestige of affirmation available.

When my children point out something they value about me I hold those words close inside and relish every syllable. Its not thanks we need so much as recognition of who we are as women. And it’s my own children who have uncovered this need. They are generous with their words to me. And it’s making me see that I’ve been stingy with my mom.

6.    Know when to speak up

Sometimes a mother has hurt her children so deeply that it becomes impossible to overlook those flaws.  And sometimes a mother continues to hurt her adult children with her unedited words or unaccounted for actions. That’s when we’ve got to gather every last vestige of courage, risk the relationship, and obey the Scriptural injunction in Ephesians 4:25 to “Speak the truth in love”. The actual Greek wording is something like “Speak! Speak! that truth in a loving way.”

My advice to any daughter considering such a step would be to seek out godly counsel before going there. We’re such emotionally intense creatures- especially when it comes to relationships, that we would be wise to allow someone else to weigh in on our plan. After all, mothers get their hearts hurt too and most of the bad stuff can really be overlooked.

May this One who craves connection with us clear the way for you to have close and loving connection with your own mothers and daughters and sons in the year to come.

And may He give you the courage to do the hard work of learning how.

From my heart,


P.S. Thanks, Mom, for allowing me to be who I am. Love, Di


REDEEMING WHAT'S BROKEN... between you and your son

 It’s just past Mother’s Day. 

You’ve smiled and said your thanks and all is well.

But somewhere lurking just beneath the surface of your smile is that nagging wondering if all is really as well as you want it to be. And maybe it is— maybe everything is good between you and your kids or you and your mom.

But for a lot of moms it’s not.

Words were said. Awful words.

Or maybe worse— no words, just the sullen silence of rejection.

For the past few days we’ve been talking about fixing those broken places between us. Or at least trying to.

Trying God’s way, with the wisdom promised in His Word. Searching for how, begging for the strength to do it well, for the grace to push past all the pain and all the excuses and just do the right thing.

Today I just want to add a few words about fixing things with your grown sons.

Men are such a different breed. They look and smell and talk and think like aliens from Mars or Venus or wherever they’re supposed to have originated.

I know, I have two of them!

John Mark is my firstborn. I heaped all my perfectionist angst all over that poor guy from the moment he was born. Every ounce of my idealistic nature got aimed at John Mark. Before he was born I had it down— knew exactly what to do and how to do it. I would raise the perfect man.

Only I didn’t factor in all my own faults and flaws. And all the stuff I didn’t know. Or my blind spots or prejudices of just plain wrongness about things I was so sure I was right about.

I am so sorry John Mark. And so amazed that you love me still!

Matthew is my baby. Born with two sisters and nearly 12 years between them, my boys grew up with two different versions of me. The way-too-uptight version and the way-too-loosey-goosey version.

Except for a few years of horrific temper tantrums when he was really young, Matt has been just so easy to spoil.

He asks nice. With a smile and a hug and I-love-you-Mom, you’re-the-best.

How in the world do I say “no” to that?

Sometimes I have expected less than I should have and then doubted him and nagged and suggested and basically pestered my will on him. Enough to drive a guy crazy.

I am so sorry Matthew. And so amazed that you love me still!

But I’ve learned some things with all these mistakes I’ve made and all this grace my men have given back to me. And so I offer you…


between you and your son

1.  Respect him (Proverbs 21:9, Ephesians 5:33 for wives, but so wise for moms)

Men crave respect. They need it, thirst for it, feel broken without it. Your boy who grew into a man needs your respect. As his mother you hold incredible power over his vision of his value. If you respect him— you who know his history and his flaws and weaknesses, then he must be a man. Right?

Mothers have an opportunity to be the first to view their sons through the lenses of honor. But if you keep doubting him, keep nagging and poking and laughing at his less-than-perfect attempts at manhood, then you’ll hurt him deeply, Mom. Be very, very careful.

2.  Admire him (Proverbs 23:24,25)

Respect and admiration are not the same thing. Respect has to do with how you talk to him… how you treat him, how you respond. Admiration has to do with what you say. To admire someone is to notice him. To take a good long look at who he has become and then to pick out all the good parts and trumpet your discoveries loud and wide.

Admiration means doing your homework. Because somewhere between boyhood and manhood he took on some qualities and gifts and abilities that you might not know about.

What is he good at? What do other people think about him? Why do his friends like him? How about his kids?

Have you told him what you see? A lot?

3.  Ask his advice (Proverbs 26:12)

Your son knows some stuff that will and could and should help you live your life better. The ultimate show of respect and admiration from a mom is to ask for his advice. When you do that you are recognizing that he is a man now. A man worth listening to.

You don’t have to know it all anymore, moms. (And I’m preaching to me here…)

4.  Don’t need him (Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 25:6,7)

There is this weird tendency with us moms to think that after all we did for our children, they owe us.


And especially wrong for our sons. We raised our boys to be warriors and now they’re off fighting the battles in front of them. Earning a living, caring for a family, paying off debts, wrangling with customers and critics and who-knows-what-else-because-they’re-probably-not-going-to-tell-you!

Let’s challenge each other to be the one person in their circle of relationships that doesn’t need anything from them. Not a birthday card, not a phone call, not time or attention. If you get those things, great! But set your sons free to fight their battles like men, unencumbered by a needy mother.

5.  Don’t ever come between him and his wife (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 4:29-32)



Do not infer, do not hint, do not smirk, do not sympathize. She is perfect and you love her. No matter what.

Now that’s easy for me to say. I happen to have the only honestly perfect daughter-in-law around. I loved her from the moment she poked her head out of the tent at my fortieth birthday party-camping trip.

And she loves me. I hear it and feel it and know it.

I wish everyone had a daughter-in-law like Tammy. And even as I write, I’m praying for whoever happens to be Matthew’s wife someday… please, please, please like me!


It might be a good idea for you to go over last weeks post with your son in mind.

Do you need to apologize? Most relationships need some clearing of the air to set things right again.

Relationships with our sons are not nearly so complicated as with our daughters. But they still take work. And a determination to do things well and wisely.

May you listen to what the Father is telling you and chose the way of redemption,

From my heart,


If you’ve got a story of God bringing your son back… or a story of a son who has graced you as mine have me, please tell us. These are the kinds of stories that give us hope.

Next Thursday… Redeeming What is Broken Between You And Your Mom



REDEEMING WHAT'S BROKEN... between you and your daughter

 The clock is ticking towards the Day of the Mother.

It’s supposed to be good. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a feel-good day to celebrate and be celebrated. All about flowers and Hallmark commercials and breakfast in bed and love, love, love.

But for many among us it’s a day of dread. Of obligation and angst and walking on eggshells. A day to protect yourself in a stiff layer of don’t-go-there carefulness lest someone says the wrong thing and all hell breaks loose.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Remember what I wrote yesterday? One of God’s names is Ga’al, Redeemer. He is the One who wins people back to Himself by pursuing and loving and paying the price to bring them close to His heart again.

And He uses people— broken, messed up, redeemed people to His job.

It’s crazy, I know, but that’s the way He decided to do redemption. Instead of writing His love in the sky, He chose to write it in words… and then He gave those words to us… and now He wants to use us to do those words for people.

For our daughters, for our sons, for our own mothers.

Are you willing? All excuses cast aside? Ready to be used by the Redeemer to win back something that belongs to you? To do what it takes to restore a relationship broken by sin and failure and regret and just plain yuckiness?


between you and your daughter 

1.  Listen to her (James 1:19)

I mean really listen. Listen to hear her heart, to understand what she’s saying— and what she’s not. Do not listen with the intent to defend yourself or attack her!

2.  Apologize to her (I Peter 5:6,7; Ephesians 4:30-32)

I know, I know, there are a million reasons you did what you did or said what you said. None-the-less, you hurt her. She needs to hear you say it, to know that you’re honestly sorry, that if you had it to do over again you’d do it differently.

And she won’t trust you until she hears it said— and said well. A full on apology involves these words, “I am sorry for______________, I know I hurt you. I was wrong. Please forgive me. I love you.”

Leave out the excuses, the explanations, the history, the “but you…” and just take humble responsibility for the wrong done.

3.  Accept her (Romans 12:3-16)

Every woman I know longs to feel accepted by her mother. And most of us don’t. All those years of training and correcting and disciplining your daughter have an end point. By the time she’s moving on and married and all grown up a great big switch needs to be pulled. And past that point mothers should not, ought never, must not critic or compare or hint at the slightest bit of disappointment with who her daughter is… or how she does life differently than you do.

4.  Approve of her (Ephesians 5:29)

This is different than acceptance. This is about finding the beauty in your daughter and holding it up for all the world to see. A mother who notices and relishes her daughter’s beauty is… beautiful! And rare.

This kind of approval is proactive. It is obvious and honest. It involves a mother who purposely sets aside her own hopes for her daughter and allows herself to relish who she really is. Out loud. A lot.

5.  Enjoy her (do we really need a Scripture verse for this one?!)

You’ve worked so hard. All those late nights worrying. All those trips to the mall and the doctor and the school. The gymnastics and the horseback riding lessons and the awkward learning to be a woman stuff— now she’s grown and you get to just enjoy her! She’s not your responsibility to tuck in and fix and polish up anymore. Throw a party! Have fun!

6.  Give to her (Luke 6:38)

Most mothers I know never stop giving to their children, even when they’re all old and wrinkled and creaky. But rarely does a mother ask her daughter how best to help her. Instead, we assume we know our role and sometimes we’re wrong. In fact, we’re usually wrong. The simple solution is to ask. Straight up: “How can I best be of help to you at this stage of your life?”

Then do what she says. And do it well. And keep asking. And don’t stop asking and helping her until you’re just so old and wrinkled and creaky that you honestly can’t anymore.

Just six simple possibilities.

Six wholly Scriptural ways of restoring relationships.

Six fully female approaches into the heart of your daughter.

Will you count the cost, take up your cross, and follow the way of Jesus? The way of redemption? Will you be like Him with your daughter?

Remember what I wrote at the beginning of this post?

“He is the One who wins people back to Himself by pursuing and loving and paying the price to bring them close to His heart again.”

May He work wonders as you follow in His ways,

From my heart,


Today… look up those verses, girls! They’re rich with wisdom we need.

Coming next week… Redeeming What is Broken Between You and Your Son and Redeeming What is Broken Between You and Your Mom



between you and your daughter… and between you and your son … and between you and your mom

Mother’s Day is just hours away… a day to celebrate your mother, a time to honor her.

And a day to be honored by your daughters and your sons.  A day to celebrate who you are and what you’ve done and what you’re doing still.

Or not.

Because for so many of you, Mother’s Day is a day to grieve what you didn’t have and wish you did and still want…

With your own mother.

With your daughter.

With your son.

And I’ve sat with you and I’ve heard your stories and I’ve shared mine.  We’ve cried some real tears together over all that wishing and wanting and deep down longing and the hurt that goes with it. The pain that won’t go away with an aspirin or two or a formula or book.

And it’s always there.

Those who have been hurt by a mother or disappointed by a daughter or rejected by a son… they live with chronic pain.

Aching, throbbing, why-won’t-this-go-away questions that may never be answered in a way that makes sense of the wrongness of it all.

But my dear women, there is wisdom for this in the Scriptures. God knows all about broken relationships And He is the master restorer.. in fact He calls Himself the Redeemer!

Do you know what that means?

“Redemption involves winning back, buying back, or repurchasing something that belongs to you…”[1]

Jesus is our Redeemer, He brought you back when you’d drifted far from Him, and He can bring back that one you love and have lost and want to love again.

He is all about connection. He made us for that very purpose- that we would be so closely connected to Him that we would walk in step with His heart.

And He knows what it’s like to lose that connection. To have it broken by sin and willfulness and neglect and not caring.

He knows it hurts.

Gosh He knows…

Because He’s felt it with you.  That hurt, the tears, the distance.

The only difference is that it’s never His fault… though He sure does take an awful lot of blame.

And truth be told, it’s usually at least somewhat our fault when things go wrong with our children— when they grow up and reject who we are.

And there’s usually at least a little bit wrong on our part when we can’t get along with our mothers.

Maybe not all our fault, maybe not as much as we get thrown our way, but no doubt about it, we’ve done our share to wreck the relationship.

I know that’s hard to swallow. As a mom, you’ve poured yourself into your kids. Your body swelled and stretched and bore the pain. You gave more than you knew you had. You loved that baby girl. You agonized over your son.

And now they tell you that you did it all wrong?

How dare they?


Or not…

And didn’t you deserve a mom who would be there for you? Wasn’t she supposed to protect you and make life wonderful— all warm cookies and fuzzy memories? Shouldn’t she love you and accept you and be proud of who you’ve become?

Yes! Of course yes.

And you have every right to be mad. You would have done it differently. You would have known better. And so should she...

Or not…

I don’t know your dilemma. I don’t live with your pain. But I do know about mine.

And I’ve found answers… or at least hope for answers… in the Words of God. And so can you.

The Scriptures are full of fractured relationships, stories of lives torn apart by regrets. Pictures of people who did what they shouldn’t have done. Raw, real stuff with the ways of God woven into the stories to bring some semblance of redemption, of buying back what should have been theirs in the first place.

There’s good stuff there, girls. Wisdom for how to fix the brokenness.

But here’s the reality: you have to do it His way.

Will you decide right now that it’s worth it? Will you chose to do what He says, whatever He says, to restore that fissure between—

you and your mom…


you and your daughter…


you and your boy?

Will you get your heart ready for Mother’s Day?

From my heart,


Coming Saturday… Redeeming What is Broken Between You and Your Daughter

And next week… Redeeming What is Broken Between You and Your Son and

Redeeming What is Broken Between You and Your Mom 







[1] Ann Spangler, Praying the Names of Jesus, pg. 340

MOMMY TO DO LIST: by michele fordice

Not long ago, my friend Michele Fordice left a comment after a blog post about prayer.

Michele is right in the thick of raising and teaching and training two young leaders while she consistently pours herself into supporting and encouraging and helping with her husband’s ministry and vision.

And all the other stuff that happens in real life.

So when Michele makes her list it’s a long one. Full days, never enough done, and without the immediate satisfaction of lots of crossed off tasks.

You know about that?

And Michele has figured something out along the way— something we all need to stop and ponder. I’ve asked her to tell her story so we can grasp this truth along with her.

And maybe, for once, we won’t have to get learn the hard way…

From my heart,


MOMMY TO DO LIST: by michele fordice

This year I am attempting to read the Bible through chronologically.  Having had to take LONG detour through Job, I am still on Gen. 15.  Technically, I am still in week 1 of the year.  Ha!  So…I will finish just maybe in about three years!

Genesis 12 v 1-2 starts out with Abraham’s glorious calling and a promise from God.  I can’t help but romanticize it a bit.

God clearly spoke to Abraham.  Haven’t you at times just longed for an encounter with the living God to speak so clear and boldly?

God said, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”

In response, “I (the Lord) will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

God’s call on Abraham’s life was clear and so was God’s blessing.

Are you waiting to hear your “calling”?  Doesn’t this picture seem a bit romantic to you?

So easy?

So clear?

I remember back in the day… I know, I sound a bit old.  Jay and I were dating long distance; I was finishing school in southern California but when he’d visit we’d frequent Disneyland.  My favorite part was visiting Tarzan’s tree house.  Hand in hand, we’d stroll through Tarzan’s tree house.  I’d dream about our life on the mission field together, sharing the Good News of Jesus, having babies and living a long happy life in the Amazon Jungle.

I know, dreamy.  Right?  Maybe it was my innocent youth coming out, or the dreaminess of Disneyland and the princess stories of love and living happily ever after.

Or maybe he designed me with an innate purpose and calling.

I can tell you that I did marry my love.  We do have two adorable boys. And we are on mission.

Our surroundings aren’t so junglesk though. When I look around, I am thankful for two healthy births, a home that is filled with laughter and electricity, and a life that is filled with adventure.

The adventure begins every morning.  Every morning that I decided to die to self or live for my self.

I can tell you that I have chosen both.

I have chosen the way of Jesus.

AND, I have chosen my own way.

When I am irritated by the fact that I can’t eat a simple meal without getting up four times to refill water, get someone a napkin, a fork, a second helping….

When I am frustrated in the morning because I can’t take 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to be in the Word…

When I want to fly off the handle because my eldest son won’t stop asking me the same question over…and over… oh, and one more time because he didn’t like my original answer…

When I leave an event expecting to be filled, blessed instead of BEING a blessing for others…

When I can’t seem to muster up the ability to find it in my heart to forgive a family member that has wronged me… (for the ONE time I am actually not guilty)

When I am so frustrated at the Lord for yet another rainy day…

When I can’t seem to give up on a shattered dream…expecting that I was somehow owed something more from my childhood…

These are the times when I can look back and say, “Yep. Clearly I haven’t chosen to die to myself today.”

Abraham, a man of faith.  A man who clearly heard from the Lord.  Had a calling, a purpose and a blessing.  He too, got distracted.  He took his family to Egypt because of famine in the land…the Land of Promise.  Walked away from God’s plan.  Lied to Pharaoh about his who his gorgeous bride was….

And he too, the Lord showed mercy too.

Later in Genesis 15, God said to Abraham, “Don’t be afraid.  I am your shield, your very great reward.”

God would use Abraham’s family as a light and a witness of God’s ways for generations and generations…leading to the birth of Jesus.

In my own little way, I pray that I can be a light and a witness of God’s ways to my husband, my children, my friends and family.

The other day my husband happened to come across my to-do list while I was away at coffee with a friend.  He text me a message with a picture of my to do list.  He lovingly mocked me and said, “hey, you forgot one thing!”

“Thanks, Babe!  I haven’t quit conquered this one today!”

The truth: it will probably never get crossed off.

And that is the woman I hope to continue to be. Always focused, purposeful with my day.  Yet at any moment, dying to my self…my agenda…my to do list.

Love, Michele

PS.  If you want a good read and a truly beautiful example of a Godly woman choosing Jesus first read, Gladys Aylward with Christine Hunter, The Little Woman.  I can hardly put it down right now…and when I do, it’s to pause because I am in awe of her deep faith in who God is and her bold desire to make HIS name known throughout the villages of war torn China.

When have you had to make a choice to die to your own dreams, desires or plans to say “YES!” to Jesus?  Your story just might give someone else the courage to say yes to Jesus too!

What scripture has the Lord given you to encourage you to die to your self?  What would you share with your sister who wants in on this journey?


These have been powerful pieces of scripture that I have meditated on.  Asking the Lord to help me really understand what it means to die and for him to live in me!  

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Phil 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Phil 3:10  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead.


I was 14 the first time I stepped through the doors of a real church. Oh I’d tramped through countless cathedrals in my early years growing up in Europe. Taken tours, listened to lectures about commissioned artistry, admired stained glass windows and plunked my pennies in the locked offering box. And I’d occasionally sat through traditional services under a scratchy straw Easter hat swinging my soon to be hopelessly scuffed white patent leather Mary Jane’s.

But those churches seemed set in a different dimension entirely than the church that drew me in, caught my heart, and, if I may be so bold— saved my life.

Los Gatos Christian Church met in a refurbished warehouse nestled in the hills near my home. With its redwood walls, load bearing beams, and exposed aggregate floors, it looked like no other church I’d ever seen.

And it was packed; wall-to-wall people. And decidedly unchurch-like-loud with the voices of genuinely happy people all shoving past each other to lay claim to a cold metal chair to call their own.

From the moment I walked in those doors I knew I wanted whatever these people had. I wanted in. I wanted to be a part of this, to lay claim to my own seat right in the front row.

And this church, according to the new generation of experts in the know— did it all wrong.

It was, in the derogatory terms that make me cringe, a Big Box church. An attractional model.

And that, in case you didn’t know, is bad— very bad.

Not a small group program in sight.

But for me, what happened every week in that big box felt very much like a massive family reunion. With aunts and uncles and second-cousins-once-removed, and a whole cadre of white haired grandparents who thought I was “so cute, and way too thin, and wouldn’t I love to come for dessert?”

Gosh they loved me well.

I vividly remember one of my first weeks there when a bunch of kids way too cool for this still dorky-recent-expatriate, invited me to tumble into their fleet of teenage cast-off cars and meet at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Believe me, no one in my rich suburban high school had ever invited me anywhere in the months since I’d arrived back on American soil. In my brand new J.C. Penny Catalogue clothes (the height of fashion in 1970’s expatriate Europe) I stuck out like a sore thumb— or a geek— or maybe it was a dork back in those days.

But these kids didn’t care. They just swooped me into their happy world and fed me ice cream.

When the pastor of that church strode over to our waitress abusing table and, at the behest of the kids, performed his comedic face shaking, spittle loosening imitation of who-knows-what, I was stunned.

And oh-my-gosh, he wore a suit! No black robe, no choking clerical collar, just the kind of clothes everyone’s dad wore to work every day back then.

And they called him Marvin. Not reverend, not His Holiness, not even Mister.

Nowadays the guy would be lashed in blogs and denigrated in seminars bemoaning his CEO status. This was top down leadership at its peak. But all those leadership faux pas didn’t seem to stop God from using him to change the lives of hundreds— maybe thousands of people.

And me.

Over time I began to learn that the thing that drew these people together and welled up in singing and clapping and laughing and note-taking camaraderie wasn’t a thing at all— but a person.

They told me about Jesus, certain I would want to know. Not in the least bit subtle or seeker friendly.

And I did want to know. And I did want Him. Because if He could create their brand of actual life-giving happiness in me— well, who wouldn’t do anything to have that?

So I signed on, joined up, and started taking notes with everyone else.

Was I genuine? Sincere? Probably not.

Mostly I just wanted to fit in with a fantastic group of new friends. I copied them in every way I could. From the way I held my Bible— a cool new paperback version called The Way— to the sweater I now wore over my skin baring halter-top.

But before long, my craving for these church people’s approval gave way to a craving for more of this Jesus they so obviously loved. And with their help I learned and grew to understand things I’d never known before. I began to change, not just on the outside, but somewhere down deep.

I fell in love with Jesus.

I remember sitting at the end of a dock at a camp called Hume Lake. I’d been roused from my bunk by the sound of each of my friends slipping out into the early morning.  I knew where they were going and felt that subtle pressure to go there to.

It was my first attempt to try this thing they all did called, “a quiet time”.

The words of Matthew drew me in as I underlined, I think, most of the book. I skipped breakfast that day (well, the place was infamous for the glue like oatmeal they served) to power through those words that seemed to come to life.

No wonder most my friends got up at ungodly hours every morning to do “devotions”. I felt my soul fill up as I feasted on the words.

The day I was baptized wearing a funky white robe while every one of my friends and new family swayed to the Old Rugged Cross, was the highlight of my life. I filled that baptistery with salted tears of the purest joy I had ever known.

Just remembering the pastor who taught me… the kids who included me… and all the people who loved me… brings back that rush of well being that comes only rarely in real life.

Why do I love the Church? With all our flaws and failures and inadequacies and ridiculous fads?

Because when I needed what they had—

They gave me Jesus.

From my heart,


P.S. Now to be perfectly honest, that church no longer exists. The building is there, occupied by a different church under new leadership. Los Gatos Christian Church slowly died and was buried. May she rest in peace.

But maybe churches are not meant to live forever. Maybe some die and new life emerges from the fertile soil of a once great church. And maybe this church my husband started with my son— the one my son now leads— maybe we’re one of those emerging churches, different, but so much the same as that place that brought me home.


This morning I got up in the wintered dark to meet with the Father. Rain pelted the windows while I sat wrapped in my mom’s quilt on my couch.

His words wrapped me warm in that way He does when He has something

I need to hear.

Something important, something wise.

Most mornings I read from Edges of His Ways, a devotional written long ago by a woman whose words never fail to resonate with my soul.

This morning was no exception,

and I couldn’t help but think of all of you… women who long to listen just as I do… women who are learning what that looks like,

what He sounds like,

what it is He has to say.

And so I share these words with you.

May He speak to you through Amy Carmichael’s heart as He did to me…

The only thing that matters is to please Me.

Have you noticed that if you go to sleep with the thought of Him Who your soul loveth, you waken— at least often it is so— with some little word from Him, a verse from His Book, or a hymn, or just a simple word that tells you nothing new, but somehow helps.

“The only thing that matters is to please Me,” that was the word that woke me a few days ago, and it has not gone away. When the thought of the things that I cannot do comes and tries to trouble me, this little simple word comes at once. The other things seem to matter. I often think they do matter. But they are as though they did not matter in comparison with pleasing our Lord Jesus.

Are any of you tried about anything? I think if you listen you will hear Him say, “The only thing that matters is to please Me.”


From my heart,



Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

Luke 9:48


Sometimes you just know you are in the presence of greatness.

When Bishop Juene and my dear sister, Doris walked into my home on Sunday night, I felt it.

Something more foreign than their Haitian heritage, lovelier than the Creole lilt to their flawless English.

A sort of strength. A beauty. A humble dignity that could be felt.

When they sank weary from a long day of ministry into their places at our table, instead of sighing, they delighted in the spread.

My friend Jodi had delivered the perfect feast on a cold and rainy Northwest night: thick soup, hearty breads, creamy cheeses… and raspberries! Where do raspberries grow in the middle of winter?

Dinner among friends.

Laughter echoed loud. Madame Doris chuckles with her whole body, weaving in a sort of dance of delight. The dignified Bishop shakes his suit-clad shoulders, his face filled with the joy.

When finally the talk grew quiet, my always-alert husband asked, “Now… how are you? Are your needs being met? How can we help?"

And that’s when I learned that these magnificent servants of the Most High God, these two people,

…who are revered in all of Haiti,

…whose work impacts thousands,

…who have saved who-knows-how-many from death and despair,

…who welcomed 20,000 helpless Haitians onto their property immediately after the earthquake, setting up water and food distribution and shelter,

…have never owned a home of their own.

They live with their 30 or so adopted girls, claiming one small room for themselves.

Everything they do, everything they have, every moment of their lives, is devoted to serving God by saving His children.

And I sat at that table, my shoulder rubbing against her greatness, and saw all that I have.

A beautiful home.

A place to welcome friends.

A place to hide from all the world and rest a while.

Madame Doris dreams of a home of her own where she can welcome her own two boys and their wives and a growing passel of grandchildren. The family she dreamed of when growing up in an orphanage without parents of her own.

A place to be Mom and Dad… and grandma and pops…for just a little while.

And I wish I could give it to her. And maybe I can… but I don’t know how… but He does.

And so when we huddled close to pray, I asked.

For them. For her.

Someday, Father… please?

From my heart,


PRAYER: when God says no

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,

for power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore I am well content with

weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties,

for Christ’s sake;

for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

Paul had a problem.

Some sort of sickness had settled into his eyes that caused people to be repulsed by him. And this for a man who spent every moment of every day dealing with people—before Facebook and email and twitter and blogs made talking face-to-face obsolete.

“A messanger from Satan”, he called it, “a thorn in the flesh”.

It nagged him constantly, interrupted his whole life.

He wanted it away.

I can just imagine how people tried not to stare. You know that thing people do when they don’t want to look at you but they can’t help it? It happens to me every summer when the weather gets hot and I sweep my hair off my neck into a ponytail.  There, for the whole world to see, is this big ugly computer thingy stuck to my head with a magnet.

Not exactly a fashion statement.

And people wonder what is that thing? And they try to look at me without looking at it. I hate that.

Paul knew exactly what to do with his problem. He decided to pray it away.

The first time Paul prayed must have been really dramatic. I mean this was Paul! The preacher who’d raised a teenager from the dead when the poor guy fell asleep during the sermon and fell out the window. He fell smack on his head and he died right then and there. Which, of course, didn’t deter preacher Paul at all. He just went outside, put his praying hands on the guy and healed him. Told him to get back upstairs and listen to the rest of his message. Which he did.[1]

So can you just imagine how confident Paul must have felt when he first prayed for healing?

But nothing happened. Nothing.

His eyes still seeped ugliness and people still stared.

He tried again, a little quieter this time. Please? Nothing.

By this time Paul was desperate… and perplexed. Wasn’t God listening? Didn’t He care? Couldn’t He see how this disease was affecting Paul’s life and ministry? He reminded God how much glory He’d get by healing up this mess which couldn’t possibly be God’s wonderful plan for his best life.[2]

By now Paul was not simply asking God to heal him, he’d upped the intensity to entreating.

I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

That’s when Paul got his answer: NO.

No, I’m not going to heal you. No, I’m not going to make this messy thing go away. Not even if you are serving Me and sacrificing for Me. My answer is still NO. And furthermore, My grace is sufficient for you Paul. Even with seeping eyes and staring friends. You are weak. But I am strong and that’s the point. I’m strong and I’m enough.

So I’m going to leave you with this disgusting eye thing and you’re going to get stronger and mightier because of it.

Because of Me.

And you know what is amazing to me about this story? Paul simply said, Okay. He didn’t whine, or pout, or even share how he felt about the No.


Sometimes God says No.

We don’t have to understand it or agree with it or like it. But if we’re going to have half a chance at happiness in the midst of it, we are going to have to do what Paul did and say okay.

That is the only possible way we’re going to be, deep down in our souls, content with all the weaknesses, distresses, and difficulties that go along with the thing you wish you didn’t have. And when some misguided soul pats your hand and says, well, I’m sure its for the best dearie, you’re going to have to restrain yourself from biting her dear sweet head off.

Sometimes that okay is the toughest thing you’ll ever say.

Okay to that thing you really think you ought to have but He says no to. Okay without the reason and wherefores and whys. Just okay.

But when you say it…if you’ll say it… something magical and mystical begins to happen.

He makes it okay.

I know because...

When I finally stopped all my frantic ranting and raving and demanding that God give me back my hearing…

When I quieted enough to realize the audacity of my anger at God for not giving me what I wanted…

When, in a heap of feminine drama, I surrendered my dread of deafness and just said…

okay God, Your will, not mine

That’s when He stepped in and gathered me close and whispered sweet wisdom into my brokenness.

That thing I didn’t want.  That thing I feared. That word I could hardly utter…

became okay.

And here’s a bit of wisdom I’d never known ‘til now—

Before you know it, contentment creeps in. Then after a while you wonder what all that fuss was about anyway.

Because it really is okay.

From my heart,


Have you found a treasure in the darkness? A beautiful relief when you’ve finally said okay? Will you share your story with us? It just might give some of us the courage surrender.


[1] Acts 20

[2] I’m ad libbing here.


A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the delight I have had of sharing my husband’s mission and calling for the past 33 years. I urged young women to consider carefully a man’s vision before they consent to join their life in marriage. And I encouraged wives to fully embrace their husband’s vision and put everything they are into helping him fulfill his God given calling. And in so doing, it would seem, I opened up a discussion on the role of women in marriage. A good discussion, full of honest seeking and intelligent searching into the Word of God for answers.

Today I have asked my friend, Vicki Marshman to share with us. She is one of the smartest and kindest women I know. A woman I am honored to call my friend.

Vicki, one of the first female graduates of the Air Force Academy, combines all that academic discipline with a lifetime of loving on her husband, Steve, and her two daughters.

Settle in and learn from her Biblical research and loving wisdom— these are things we need to know.

From my heart,


*4 REASONS FOR MARRIAGE: part 4 will be back next week.

WOMEN + MARRIAGE: by vicki marshman

Recently Diane posted a fascinating discussion on marriage and mission.  I thought she did a wonderful job of laying out the concept of having a mission in your marriage.  As wives we are called to be under the headship of our husbands (I am going to spend quite a bit of time on that topicJ).  But I wanted to weigh in on the idea of wives supporting the ‘mission’ of our husbands.  When Steve and I were dating- in the dim past when bell bottoms and ‘big hair’ were the height of fashion- one of the things that drew me to him was his plans for the future.  He was a man with a vision.  He wasn’t floating through life waiting for something to drop into his lap.  He knew what he wanted and he had a plan for getting there.  He was a new Christian, but he already was seeking God’s plan for his life.  In other words, he had a mission.  Over the course of our dating I found that his vision for the future was compelling and one that I wanted to devote my life to also.  I saw that my dreams and desires closely matched with his.  THIS SHOULD BE A BIG CLUE TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE DATING!!! If what excites your man leaves you cold- you are dating the wrong man!

As we have been married, we have worked together to further define and refine Steve’s vision.  We each brought different strengths and gifts to our marriage. We have helped each other to recognize our own unique gifts- or lack thereof- we have both finally accepted that neither of us can sing, Steve has a true gift for teaching and I am the only one in our family who can remember where the car keys are.  But one thing has remained, Steve has desired to follow God and serve him with all of his heart.  He has been the leader in our family and has worked hard to guide and care for his family.  I have been able to fully use my gifts to join with and support him in that role/mission.  It has sometimes been a wild ride, but who wants to stay in the slow lane the whole time?  Do I feel like I have ignored my own dreams and goals to follow after Steve’s?  Absolutely not!  I believe that I have been able to fully explore my talents and gifts as we have worked together.  Steve has always encouraged and supported me in using my gifts and abilities.  Twenty-eight years later I believe that I am doing exactly what God has called me to do- helping my husband accomplish the mission God gave him and, in effect, me.





The Role of Women in Marriage:


I have been married to my husband for 28 years.  Steve and I were 22 and 23 when we married, (yes, I married a ‘younger man’) and to be honest I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing when I first said “I do”.  I had only been a believer for a few months and Steve was a new believer too.  So neither of us really knew what the Bible had to say about marriage.  My parents were not Christians and they did not have a good marriage. Their chosen method of conflict resolution was yelling followed by door slamming and then a nice long pout (both of them were very good at this).  Needless to say this was not a good plan for a successful marriage.

The first 5 years of our marriage definitely had problems.  I had no idea how to adjust my personal experience of marriage (which can be loosely translated as ‘What not to do!’) to what the Bible had to say about it.  I struggled with what my role in the marriage was supposed to be and I often wondered how two people who seemed so very different and self-centered were ever going to have a godly marriage.

At about the 5 year point in our marriage, Steve and I were living in Germany.  Steve was flying for the Air Force and we were living in an apartment in a small German town.  The exciting thing about this was that we were also a part of a Bible study for young married couples.  All of us had been married for less than 10 years; and most of us had very young children.  It was the best thing that ever happened to our marriage.  We met as a group every week and studied the Bible together and we bore each other’s burdens.

That time was foundational to my understanding of what the Bible has to say about marriage. Steve and I still have our ups and downs but I now know what God wants for us and for our marriage.  It is sometimes hard to accept but always true that God does know best- not my mother, not my friends and definitely not the culture we live in. So the following is what I have learned over the years about Biblical marriage and the role of women in such a marriage.

Let’s start with a good Biblically based definition of what a marriage is:

Marriage is the publicly pledged, permanent, exclusive, covenantal union of one man and one woman.


Wow!  What a mouthful!  Let’s take that definition apart and see what it actually means. 

Publicly pledged: We make our marriage vows to each other in front of witnesses.  These witnesses are there to hear our vows to each other and to encourage and support us as we fulfill those vows. We are NOT saying Yes, to the dress! We are saying yes to a lifelong commitment to a man we love and respect and are willing to be united with for life.

Permanent: Marriage is forever- ‘until death do you part’. This is probably one of the least accepted concepts in our culture today.  Nothing seems permanent in our society.  Everything is disposable, recyclable or replaceable.  Our culture tells us that if our marriage isn’t satisfying or enjoyable or fulfilling or frankly just too much work- we should just reboot our lives and start over.  But the Bible couldn’t disagree more with this view.  Look at the following verses:

Matt 5:32 31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matt 19:3-9 (this passage is very similar to Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18)

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”   4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”  8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So what do we take away from these passages?  We are in it for the long haul ladies!  Marriage does not have a 30 day return policy.  If more people accepted that fact going into it, I believe that there would be a lot fewer divorces.

Exclusive: total, complete monogamous faithfulness to your partner.  This should be one of those “Well, DUH!” moments; but again our culture works against us.  Let’s cut right to the chase and see what Paul has to say about this.

1 Corinthians 6:15-17:  15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Sex is more than just a physical activity.  It unites us with our partner at a deep level.  Notice Paul’s use of the Genesis 2 language- sex within the bounds of marriage is one of God’s gifts to us and should not be taken lightly.  Look at 1 Corinthians 7:2-5.

2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Both husbands and wives are obligated to see to their partner’s needs.  Now I have to be honest here and say that I haven’t heard of too many husbands with a problem in this area.  In fact, men have a physical need for sexual release.  Studies have been done showing most men need this release approximately every 3 days.  As wives we need to aware of and responsive to this need in our men.

Covenantal: We make promises- serious promises, like a binding legal contract before God and before witnesses. We all know what a contract is.  We all know there are often real and serious consequences to breaking a contract- can anyone say “cell phone contract prepayment penalty’?  Why would we think that the consequences of breaking a contract made before God wouldn’t have damaging repercussions?

Union: an intense, intimate, joining of one man and one woman.  The Bible describes it as ‘becoming one flesh’ in Gen 2.  There is a soul-tie between a husband and wife.  This tie is life-long and unbreakable.  We may be able to rip it apart but there is truly great pain in doing so.

Well that was fun!  Here we are in this lifelong committed relationship and some of us don’t even know what the ground rules are.  Fortunately God doesn’t leave us hanging.  A couple of passages discuss the role of wives in a godly marriage.  Most notably Ephesians 5:22-25 and the passage we will be focusing on -1 Peter 3:1-6.

1Pe 3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,

1Pe 3:2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

1Pe 3:3 Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear--

1Pe 3:4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

1Pe 3:5 for this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,

1Pe 3:6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

These six verses cover a lot, but I want to concentrate on 3 key principles that every wife should follow:

The first principle is submission.


Yes, we are going to talk about the ‘elephant in the living room’.

Verse one says ‘be subject to your own husbands’;  Submission- this is a controversial topic in our society so let’s take a closer look at what is meant by submission.

Before we begin, let’s establish some ground rules-

  1. This issue is specifically intended to address the relationship between a Christian man and woman.  There can be real problems if you try to apply these guidelines outside of Christian marriage.  If you are dealing with a marriage between two non-believers or between a believer and a non-believer some of these principles may simply not apply.
  2. These guidelines are only intended to govern the marital relationship.  Women are not submissive to any man, even in the context of the church.  Now in all honesty, we are to be in submission to our elders and pastors, but so are all the men!  Hebrews 13:17 states that

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.


3.  Women are not required to do anything immoral or that violates any other part of God’s Word.  (Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men”).  Again remember the Bible is approaching this issue from the viewpoint of two believers.

So, what does submission mean?

The best example – as it always is- is Jesus.  Let’s look at Mark 14:32-36.  In these verses we find Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.  He will soon be arrested, tried and hung on the Cross.  His hour is at hand and He is very naturally feeling great anxiety and fear over the ordeal ahead of Him.

Mar 14:32 and they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray."

Mar 14:33 and he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.

Mar 14:34 and he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch."

Mar 14:35  And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.

Mar 14:36 and he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

What is happening in these verses?  Jesus is showing us what submission looks like as He submits to the Father.

Jesus gives His emotions- “My soul is very sorrowful”

Jesus gives His desires- “Remove this cup from me”

Jesus gives His trust- “Yet not what I will, but what you will”

In return the Father hears and cares, He understands and He is faithful and protective.

This is the model for submission that we should see in our marriages.  We share our thoughts/emotions/opinions with our husbands.  Our husbands, the godly men who love us sacrificially listen to us and care for us and are faithful and protective of us.  In this model we have the security and freedom to participate in all decisions and to trust our husbands to do what is best for us in those times when we don’t agree.

Does this always happen?  Well, I don’t know about your halo, but mine has quite a few dings in it where it has slipped off of my head.  I don’t always ‘submit’.  I get scared and lose faith or sometimes I just get selfish and manipulative. Steve has a few flaws tooJ.

Our husbands don’t want a partner who expects them to make all the decisions in a relationship.  They want an equal, active partner who helps them discuss the issues they are facing as a couple/family and come to a decision that both agree on.  However, when a decision needs to be made and there is no agreement it is the husband’s role to make the decision and the wife’s role to support that decision. Give this to your husband- be the contributing partner in the marriage, not the “I knew this wasn’t going to work out” after the fact partner.

Most husbands need and value their wives’ input and instincts- my ‘woman’s intuition’ as Steve calls it.  Over the years of our marriage I can think of only a couple of times when Steve and I could not come to an agreement on an issue.  We have worked as a team.  Steve actively seeks my opinion and input.  I believe that I play a valued and integral role in all of our decisions.  I have to give great credit to my husband here.  He is an excellent example of a godly husband who truly loves me sacrificially and wants to be the leader God has called him to be. This was a difficult thing for me to learn.  I definitely never saw it modeled in my parent’s marriage.  I had to learn to trust and sometimes I just had to be obedient to the Word of God.  But the rewards have been amazing.  I have a husband who loves me and who I trust implicitly.


The second principle deals with our behavior as wives.


Wives are to have ‘respectful and pure conduct (from vs 2).

The dictionary definition of respect: 1) to take notice of; to regard with special attention; to regard as worthy of special consideration; hence to care for; to heed. 2) To consider worthy of esteem; to regard with honor

Respect- ladies our husbands have a huge need to feel competent.  They particularly need to be told they are respected by the significant women in their lives.  And wives are one of the most significant women in any man’s life.  They need to hear us say “Well done”, “Great job”.

We have the ability to discourage our husbands with disrespect or to encourage and honor them with our respect.  Which does the Bible command of us?

In addition we are to act in a pure manner, another word for pure is chaste.  This does not mean that we are repressed or frigid. We are to be passionate, but only for God and our husbands.

The final principle deals with our outward appearance and our inward attitude.

Verse 3 says that we are not to have external adornment.  A better translation would be not MERELY external adornment.  There is nothing wrong with dressing well and grooming our hair so that we look our best.    Most husbands enjoy having their wives look attractive.  But our best should always be decent and modest.

Our adornment should also be more than ‘skin-deep’.  It should focus on the hidden person of the heart; that gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.

This gentle and quiet spirit needs further definition.  We are not to be doormats.  How can we be a suitable helper for our husbands if we never offer them the benefit of our experience and intuition?  Our husbands need our input and our support.  But sometimes ladies our gentle and quiet spirit needs to do a little more listening and a little less talking.  Admittedly a hard thing for most of us!

Keep in mind that sharing our opinion should not become nagging.  Nagging is a sign of distrust.  When we nag we are telling our husbands- I do not trust you to do this right, or I do not trust you to do it at all.  We need to have faith in our husbands that they will do what is in the best interest of our families.  We need to help them step into the headship role God has called them to.

Be Submissive

Be respectful and chaste

Be decent and modest; with a gentle and quiet spirit.

God gave us these principles because He wants us to experience all of the joy that a good marriage can bring to us.  Marriage is not always easy.  In fact, at times it is very hard.  Two people who often come from very different backgrounds and who have very different needs often have to work very hard to be a ‘giving partner’ to their spouse, a partner who puts the best interest of their spouse ahead of their own needs.

But this is what God calls us to do.  As wives we are called to submit to our husbands.  We are called to be respectful and pure in conduct and we are called to have that quiet and gentle spirit that is precious to God.

Can we do this?  Yes, with the help of the Holy Spirit we can be the kind of wife described in Proverbs 31.

Pro 31:10 an excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

Pro 31:11 the heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

Pro 31:12 she does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.