Posts tagged prayer

This morning I woke up far away from my cottage in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. Instead of the pungent smells of pine and cedar, I drink in the scent of the sea. And instead of my pot of steaming tea, I sip slowly from a foamy bowl filled with cappuccino served with a spoon. In just a few hours a group of hand-picked parents will make their way from Albania’s capital city, Tirana, to the coastal town of Durres, on the edge of the Adriatic Sea.


These are leaders— in business, in government, in NGO’s, in churches. They are followers of Jesus in a country that is nominally Muslim and predominately atheistic.

And they have kids. Children they love who are being raised in a culture that goes against everything they believe.

Sound familiar?

In just a few hours Phil and I will tell our story. How we met and married with high hopes. And how, when pregnant with our first child, we realized we had no idea how to raise children who want Jesus. And how that scared us.

And I’ll look into the eyes of the mothers and I’ll see that same fear. We’ll know each other in that long look. The camaraderie that comes from a shared passion.

Every parent there wants what we wanted: children who grow into people who are passionate, all-in, wise, fruitful, faithful followers of Jesus.

We will spend hours talking and listening and teaching and delving into the Scriptures and praying and sharing stories and laughing at the ridiculousness of our dreams for our children.

And God will be here, bending down to listen.

I will tell these parents, so like us when we were young, about how we prayed, over and over again, for wisdom. How we held hands and cried out to the Father for what He promised in James 1v5:

If any of you lacks wisdom,

 let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach,

and it will be given to him. 

And then we’ll share with them the treasures He gave with so much generosity that we’re overwhelmed and overflowing. I’ll watch in wonder as they scramble to write it down, filling the notebooks with letters I cannot read.

And I’ll tell them that He’ll do the same for them, here, on the other side of the world. With Macedonia’s snow capped mountains off in the distance and Greece right behind us, Phil and I will pour ourselves into a new generation of parents in the hope that they will pour into a new generation of Albanians who will, in turn, raise up a new generation of leaders who will bring Jesus to a country that desperately needs Him.

Will you pray for these people? These parents? This generation?

And will you pray for me? For us?

I have relished praying for those of you who dare to dream with God. Keep telling me those stories and I will keep hoping with you and praying for you.

From my heart far from home,










A wisp of cloud brushes the bluff towering imposingly above the silent valley; a filter softening rough edges, like the Spirit softening me. Barely there, gentle, a  cool mist rising. Whispers in the wind. I hear Him here, in this quiet place, His voice as gentle as that cloud. Not telling, not even really saying— just soothing, stilling.


The tightness in my chest loosens. I breathe deep the crisp fragrance of winter’s chill.

I remember.


In the stillness I hear words— His words, from His Word. He paints a picture for me to see.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms

And carries them close to his heart;

He gently leads…

Isaiah 40v10,11

And I do see! I see Him here, walking hills He Himself formed beneath cliffs carved of His own hands—

tending, gathering, carrying, leading… me.


I see myself too: that wayward, wandering, worry-filled one. The one who rolls in wrong places, wants the wrong things, the one who woke up in the early hours, fretful, fear prone, fussing.

That I am not enough, that I cannot be enough, that my not-enoughness will sink my hopes, my plans, my year ahead.

Because it’s too much and I know it. And I am too little, I know that too.  And all these things I hope to do won’t be done because I cannot and I know it and so does He.

Failure looms and I am, down deep where no one knows, afraid.

That’s when I hear the whispers; words misting, cloud like, calling…

Come, climb up here, follow Me to these heights. See what I see. There is beauty here.

But those cliffs are far away, too far. I don’t know how, don’t have time, cannot go alone.

I am not enough.

And the light dawns, my mind sees, that Spirit seeing, knowing, speaking sureness.

I cannot do, but He can. I dare not try, but He does. I am not enough, but He is.

He can accomplish what concerns me.

He does dare use me— this less-than, unable, worry-prone me— to do my “assigned task” (Mark 13v34)

He is enough, and so am I when I go to Him, listen to Him, hide in Him, abide. (John 15v5)

And now I hear. I know. I pull out that pad of lined paper- yellow because somehow it’s supposed to help me remember. New- because this is a new day, a new year, a new plan.

I ask:

Lord— Abba— Shepherd of this worried one, please—

Plan this year for me.

Write my list.

Assign my tasks.

Fill this record of my days with Your faithfulness.

Not my will— please, never that!

Just Yours.

I’m ready now— not to plan, not to project, not to pretend I can do more than I am able, but to follow.

Like His sheep: gathered close, carried, led. 



Do you feel inadequate for the task you’ve been assigned?

  • Babies that keep you up at night and tired all day?
  • A job in a place that sinks you?
  • School too hard?
  • Relationships you can’t figure out?

Have you heard His whispers? We gather hope by knowing…

(image by Bethany Small)



As I write these words I am nestled in a soul-refreshing nook carved deep in a canyon in the hills above the Pacific Ocean. There is a camp here, built in the 1960’s, restored recently, used by those who need to get away and think.

I am with a small group- less than 100 of us— talking about global church planting. Phil and I are the older, more experienced, supposedly wiser couple, though Chris and Meryl Wienend of Genesis Collective are the real brains behind all that’s going on here this week.

Last night we answered questions and I was surprised by how few wanted strategy and how many wanted to know about life and love and ministry and how to manage all the important pieces well. We feel honored and humbled by their queries, knowing full well how often we have stumbled and failed and managed nothing well.

I look into their faces and see courage.


A choice to leave the comfortable place and dare— to dream and do.

I see greatness.

And I know that these choice men and women will struggle. Planting a church is by far the most difficult, challenging, stretching, exhausting endeavor we have ever undertaken.

I wouldn’t want to do it again.


I am so glad we did.

I don’t tell them that. Instead I pray and give courage where I can.

I scurry back to my room to write their names down because, gosh, they will need me and anyone else they can gather as stand-in-the-gap prayers.

I want to hold them close and remind them that it is worth it- that He is worth it.

And I want to hand them each a great big stash of cash so they won’t have the worries inherent in any act of heroic faith. I want to take all the girls shopping because doesn’t a new outfit just make everything easier? 

Instead I know that they have chosen to do without. To leave comfort to embrace a vision. They have heard God beckoning them to come, to follow, to trust.

I am so proud of them I could burst.

And so are you.

You are listening, seeing, hearing God in the moments of your days. You look for Him. You find Him, sometimes in surprising places. And when you point Him out to others, to me, to us here on this site, we see Him too.

That’s why we are starting an Instagram called @hespeaksinthesilence. And that’s why we are inviting you to send us your own glimpses of God in the moments of your every days.

So that we can see and hear together.

In the innocence of your toddler’s joy, in the comfort of your friend’s embrace, in the beauty of something God has created and called to your attention— in any and every place you see and hear and delight in this One who we get to call our Father.

Want to know a strange thing about me? I am deaf woman who hears God better than she sees Him. So when people take pictures or create beauty of their own, I feel like a blind woman seeing for the first time…and I love that.

So, if you’re a lover of Instagram like I am, I invite you to join us. Please. Show us what you see in your own moments by tagging your pictures #hespeaksinthesilence. Tell me what you are hearing.

Then let’s see and hear together and call out our absolute delight in a God who speaks. 

From my heart,


P.S. Here’s a great spot to tell us what you’re hearing and seeing. And how you hear best. One thing I love about listening to God is the discovery that He adopts our own dialect to make sure we get what He is saying.

P.S.S. I’m keeping @dianewcomer too just for fun and dedicating @hespeaksinthesilence to listening and seeing God in the moments of every day.


What if… God were to call on women to gather together to pray for their family, their friends, the people in their lives, the people they love?

What if…

God were to call an army of women to engage in intense, purposeful prayer?

What if…

hundreds of women answered that call and came together all at once to pray in one massive all-at-the-same-time gathering?

What if…

every daughter, son, husband, friend, neighbor and work associate of every one of those hundreds of women got saturated in prayer?

What if we prayed all night?

What would happen?

Several years ago a group of ordinary women set out to find out what would happen if we had enough faith and determination to venture out of our comfortable beds and pray all night for the people in our own circles of influence.

We were excited, a little nervous, and filled with the hope that God would show Himself to us in tangible, powerful ways.

In ways that made sense to us, in ways  that we could understand.

And He did!

Since that first Night in Prayer, nine years ago, the number of women who come, pajama clad, with pillows and goodies and hearts full of faith, has snowballed.

Women want to come! They bring burdens too great to bear alone: people they love who need Jesus, messy relationships they cannot fix, co-workers who are cold to the Gospel, teenagers taking terrible risks.

We walk in the door, every one of us, with a great burden to see hearts rescued by the Redeemer.

We have seen those Impossible Prayers answered.  Really! We have seen our own minds and attitudes and thinking changed dramatically. We have seen healings of bodies and perhaps even more miraculous, healings of relationships.

More than anything, we have experienced Jesus in a way we never understood possible.

This year would you join us?

We are gathering at midnight on April 4th, through 6 A.M. the next morning to pray all night together… for those we love, for ourselves, for God’s kingdom to come crashing into our messiness here and now.

We’ll be gathering both on the Westside and at Bridgetown and at Sunset this year. I’ll be leading on the Westside and Tammy and her team will guide you at Bridgetown, while Carmen and her crew oversee the women at Sunset.

Will you join us?

I love the LORD because He hears and answers

My prayers.

Because He bends down and listens,

I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1,2


Filled with His hope,


Click Here to sign up.

P.S. If you’ve been to a Night in Prayer in the past, would you leave a comment here? I think your stories might just give some women the courage to come…


If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:10 KJV


If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!

Proverbs 24:10 NLT


Dear girls,

Just a couple of weeks ago when the pressures of packing and sorting and moving collided with news of my father’s failing health, I faltered… fainted… imploded in a great revealing of the smallness of my own strength.

And ever since that day I’ve been afraid of doing it again.

The chest tightens up.

Heart speeds up.

Worries well up.


And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about:  fear of fear.

Once unreasonable fear has wrapped you in its grip and pulled you under to a place of panic, you will forever fear the fear.

The fear itself becomes more frightening than whatever it was that scared you.

And it leaves you weak. Small of strength. Faltering. Fainting.

Just the woman, just the way, I do not want to be.

And so I have set out on a quest for wisdom from the Wise One who promises wisdom if we’ll only ask. (James 1:5) Every morning I’ve been up early, asking for Him to show me the way out this chest tightening anxiety that is so fearsome, so weakening, so… not what I want.

I’m filling my journal with scribbles and stories of His words to me about the how and why and when and what-to-do when I worry too much.

It’s time I pass some of those lessons on to you. Because you worry too. Too much. Too often. And you’re being weakened by the worry.

Here, my girls, is

Lesson #1 About Worry: 

Anxiety starts with that first socially permissible step called fretfulness.

Intense anxiety is not, as some would lead us to believe, purely biological in basis.[1] No one falls into a full-blown anxiety attack out of nowhere.

And anxiety is not some sort of guerilla tactic of the Evil One that hits us out of the blue. Instead, the enemy of our souls sneaks in to exploit our weaknesses, hoping to render us ineffective and weak.

Though the dark spiritual and the physical may need to be examined, that is not where anxiety starts.

Anxiety starts with fretting— those socially permissible comments we toss out in conversation.

What if…

I’m worried about…

I’m afraid that…

And instead of taking those first alerting signals to the Father we try them out on other people. What’s been silently brewing inside comes bubbling up and we hand the words to those who care about us, hoping they’ll make it go away.

They, in turn, often dismiss our worries and say something inane like, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

Which makes us go underground again. Only now that we’ve put all those jumbled thoughts into words we know what we’re worried about.

So we pray about it. After all, we’re told to pray about everything, right?

Well, sort of. But I’ve learned that there is praying… and there is praying. 

How many hours have I fussed at God in the name of prayer? Gone on long rambling prayer walks where I worried out loud at Him the whole way. Telling Him what to do, how to go about doing it, when He needs to get on it.

That, my dear girls, is not praying. It is spiritual fretfulness. Just the kind of thing that shuts out His voice and shuts in the worry.

Do not fret. It leads only to evil doing.

Psalm 37:8 NASB

Fretting, we are warned, leads not to solutions, but to doings. Evil doings. Bad stuff.

The frightening, weakening, embarrassing episode of intense fear I experienced a couple of weeks ago did not start with whatever it was that tipped me over the edge.

I began that walk to the edge of the cliff with a slow meander onto the pleasant path of acceptable fretting.

And that is right where I must stop the worry if I’m going to be free of it. Fretting cannot be tolerated. Like an alcoholic who dare not take a sip, I’ve been warned now about where worry leads.

It is time for me to take that slightest tightening of my chest and turn it into a question for my Father.

“Why am I worried Abba?”

To talk to Him. To listen. To confess that… I am afraid and short on trust and taking on too much and wishing I hadn’t and what’s wrong with me?

And then to let Him do His redeeming thing on me, in me, through me, to me.

It’s just a small lesson, I know. But it’s a start. A realization that I am weak. That worry has weakened me. That it starts with fretting. That apart from Him I’m a mess.

That He loves this mess that is me enough to get to root of it so He can get rid of what weakens me.

Isn’t that just amazing grace?

From my heart,



[1] That said, a check up is wise when experiencing the physical symptoms of anxiety. All it takes is a few out of order hormones or a broken down thyroid to slip some people over the edge from ordinary worry to panic attacks.


"Call to Me

and I will answer you…”

Jeremiah 33v3

I absolutely do believe that God answers prayer.

No doubt whatsoever in my mind. It’s all over Scripture, from the very beginning to the very last verse. Every story, every promise, every prophesy, and every teaching enforces the incredible, glorious truth that God answers prayer.

Problem is, He doesn’t always say Yes.

Just like when my grandson asks me for a handful of M&M’s. Sometimes I say, yes. In fact, I usually say yes (don’t tell his mom).

But sometimes I say, not now, later, after you eat your dinner.

And sometimes I say noNo you can’t have M&M’s because they’ll make you hyper and crazy and grouchy and you’ll hit your brother and then where will we be?

And then there are those other times when I say no, because I have something much better in mindLet’s hop in the car and go to Cold Stone and get us a big bowl of ice cream all smothered in M&M’s. Which of those do you suppose Jude prefers?

And that’s the way it is with God too.

Sometimes He says yes,

Sometimes later,

Sometimes NO, and

Sometimes He’s got something better in mind.

But always, always, always, He answers prayer.

From my heart,


Has that ever happened to you? Has God not given you something you were absolutely certain you needed right now… only to find out that He had something far better on the horizon? Do old boyfriends come to mind? Or that house you bid on and lost but then you “happened” to find something beyond what you’d hoped?

Will you tell us about it? We need your stories to strengthen our faith!

Also, don't forget about the Women's Night in Prayer tomorrow night!

 All 3 locations start at 11:59 on the dot. Come closer to 11 to find your group and start getting comfortable.

A Letter to My Girls

Dear girls, As the Night in Prayer approaches every year I start to get a little uneasy.

Not scared exactly, just that brush of remembering how hard it is to stay up all night.

How every year I think I can’t do it…

and I’m not so sure I really want to...

and do I have to?


And every year Jesus meets me in that place of anxious unrest. It is hard. He knows about that. As pressed and pressured as He was, He pulled away from all the needs that hounded Him and went away to pray— all night long.

And I think He did it, not because He had to, but because He needed to.

Maybe He was praying for us, for me, for all these people He loves who still don’t love Him back.

And so every year I do it again. And every year He fills me with the strength to make it all the way through the night. To keep talking, to shake myself awake, to lead our hundreds of hungry women who come because they need to come and pray all night.

Will you join me this year? 

Will you come and pray for all those people you know who He loves but who still don't love Him back?

Will you come and pray for yourself? For your brokenness? Your disfunction and dissatisfaction? For His grace to make you more than you are so He can use you more than you can believe?

Every year women tell me their reasons for not coming. I used to push back, to try to convince women they can do this-- after all, if I can, you can too. Me, the woman who starts checking the clock as soon as it gets dark and falls into bed with relief as near to 9 pm as possible most nights.

Now I know its the women who are desperate for God who will show up this Friday night. Women who must see God at work in their lives, women who thirst for God, who will go to great lengths to hear Him and touch Him and ask Him for help.

If you're one of those, I invite you to join us. Be tired with us. Laugh and giggle and get a little crazy with us. Dare to ask for big things. Pray Impossible Prayers. Meet God in a way you never have before.

Because He shows up for our Night in Prayer. His presence is palatable.

I'll be there... worried a little... sleepy before it even starts... but listening for His voice and craving your company as we seek Him together.

From my heart,


Click here to sign up!


“Call to Me

and I will answer you…”

Jeremiah 33v3

What if God were to call on women to gather together to pray for their family, their friends, the people in their lives and community?

What if God were to call an army of women to engage in intense, purposeful prayer?

What if hundreds of women answered that call and came together all at once to pray in one massive all-at-the-same-time gathering?

What if every daughter, son, husband, friend, neighbor and work associate of every one of those hundreds of women got saturated in prayer?

What if we prayed all night?

What would happen?

Several years ago a group of ordinary women set out to find out what would happen if we had enough faith and determination to venture out of our comfortable beds and pray all night for the people in our own circles of influence.

We were excited, a little nervous, and filled with the hope that God would show Himself to us in tangible, powerful ways that we could understand.

And He did!

Since that first Night in Prayer, seven years ago, the number of women who come, pajama clad with pillows and goodies and hearts full of faith, has snowballed.

Women want to come! They bring burdens too great to bear alone: people they love who need Jesus, messy relationships they cannot fix, co-workers who are cold to the Gospel, teenagers taking terrible risks, and a great burden to see hearts rescued by the Redeemer.

We have seen those impossible prayers answered. Really! We have seen our own minds and attitudes and thinking changed dramatically. We have seen healing of bodies and perhaps even more miraculous, healing of relationships.

More than anything, we have experienced Jesus in a way we never understood possible.

This year would you join us?

We are inviting women to spend this Friday night, March 1 (come early 11:45 pm)  til Saturday morning 6 a.m. in prayer.

We’ll be gathering on the Westside and Downtown and at Sunset this year. I’ll be leading on the Westside, Tammy and Bethany and her team will guide you Downtown, while Carmen and Elizabeth will lead Sunset.

Together we will sing:

I love the LORD because He hears and answers My prayers.

Because He bends down and listens,

I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116v1-2 (NLT)

Will you join us?

Filled with His hope,


To sign up, go to


Sometimes the best way to spend an afternoon is to take that noisy To-Do list with all its insistent demands and tuck it into the desk drawer. To back away from what needs to be done right now because one hundred weeks of right now’s add up to a life we really don’t want. Know what I mean?

And that’s just what I did the other day. An hour before the closing bell I strolled into the elementary school where Jude goes to school and whisked him away from all the pressures and stresses of his world. Away from the not very nice boy who always cuts in line. Away from math quizzes and spelling lists and laboriously boring penmanship practice. Away from the very real and very pressing responsibilities of a 7 year old man-in-the-making. First priority was a Very Berry milkshake from Burgerville— extra whipped cream please! He sipped and pulled and slurped his way to wholeness with all theatrics of a boy born with more charisma than a Hollywood actor.

(Jude and Sunday)

And then we just talked.

About his three best friends and his love of LEGOS and his brother and sister and “why don’t I try out some new game apps on my iPhone, which he’d be glad to set up for me. I kept asking questions to prompt more. To watch his eyes sparkle and then squint and to catch a glimpse of the passionate man he will one day be. Someday he’ll sit across from me in a suit and tie, a briefcase by his side, his cell phone ringing with the urgency of right now. But not today. Today he’s all mine to know, to soak in, to study and relish and inhale. 

And even as he’s chattering away and asking me to “please come in and stay”, I keep wondering if this isn’t just what the Father wants more of from me. Just to listen to me talk about my world. Just to enjoy me for being me. To relish both the good and the not-so-good without the pressing urgency to fix it all right now.

Could it be that He just wants to soak me in and have me all to Himself sometimes? And could He be inviting you to spend the night in a grand non-sleeping slumber party with a bunch of other friends who want to talk to Him too? 

Friday night, March 1,  hundreds of women will gather in the Garage on the Westside and over at Sunset and Downtown to spend the Night in Prayer. The whole night.

Why don’t you consider and ask and listen to the Father and see if He wants you there? Because maybe it’s time to tuck that To-Do list in the drawer and just go and be with God.

If you’re a part of Solid Rock, we’ll be gathering March 1 at 11:59 pm until March 2 on the Westside and Downtown and at Sunset for our annual Women’s Night in Prayer.

Together we will sing: I love the LORD because He hears and answers My prayers. Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!  Psalm 116:1,2

Will you join us?

Click here to sign up any of the locations:

From my heart,






The alarm wakes me early, a flashing light rather than the raucous beep rousing Phil. Morning hours in my Northwest home are dark, frigid, chilling me as I push back the comforter. No time for tea to chase away the sleepiness while I rush to get ready.

Excitement fully caffeinates me. We are going to Haiti!

Passport- check

Camera- check

Flip-flops, cotton skirts , bug spray, a couple of good books to read along the way.

Did I forget anything?

By the time we arrive on the other side of the country excitement is waning, worn thin by weariness. Disloyal thoughts push persistently in.

What are you thinking? Haiti? Land of sweltering humidity, rodent-sized bugs, mud-flecked waifs with pleading eyes.

Pushing through the dread, I edit and add and delete and rearrange my notes.

Still too many words.

How do I tell my story short when it must be told in two languages? How do I talk about pain to a people who hurt every day? How dare I?

I sleep uneasy in a worn airport hotel, unacknowledged fears causing crazy dreams.


3 a.m. Bleary eyed, I follow Phil mutely to the shuttle. A Haitian driver blesses us for traveling to his land. Five duffel bags of gifts for the women I will be teaching cause a ruckus at the check-in counter— the official bumps us to first class when he learns what we are carrying to the land of his birth. Two brothers in line talk to Phil. One, an American citizen now, is escorting his brother to the airport as he heads back to Haiti. Both are pastors and they embrace Phil when they learn the reason for the hold up.

My fears subside as I realize I am being escorted by Believers sent to guide and guard us on our way.

7:30 a.m. Just a few steps into the Haitian airport and we are met by a man wearing a crisp white uniform, hand extended, welcoming us. Madame Juene wheedles her way past security to embrace me, face damp with that delicious moisture the women wear like make-up on their smoky skin. Sisters, bound by the same Father, on similar paths in different lands. Mike joins us, Zebby too! A van full of welcome weaves through chaos I barely see as we talk and question and chatter and digest a year’s worth of living. Doris stares silently at the pictures of my granddaughters. The blackness of Sunday’s skin glues us together and she laughingly agrees she has my nose. We arrange marriages to keep us all in the same family.

After a tour of Grace Village, presentation of a plaque still sticky with varnish, speeches made by Bishop Juene, Pastor Mike, Pastor Phil, Sister Phil (!), and the school principle, I am drenched in not-so-delicious moisture.

The hotel that night feels decadent.


6:30 a.m. I’ve slept in!

More work on my notes, strong coffee, we get on our knees by the bed and remind God what He clearly knows— we don’t know how to do this.

A half a dozen times people have asked me if I am excited to go to Haiti. They want me to say yes, I want to say yes. But the real truth is no.

The real truth is that I am here because my Father told me to come. Yes, we were invited, but how easily we could have said No, not this year. We’re too busy, too much work at home, too many people will be inconvenienced, we will be inconvenienced.

But both of us felt that persistent push. As if God wasn’t impressed with out busy-ness. As if He was waiting to hear a different answer. A yes.

I remind myself on our way to the venue. Over and over as my insides clench and that voice on my shoulder reminds me again and again that I am not adequate. Over and over my spirit fights back. My adequacy is in Christ. I am here for Him.

And then I see these Haitian women. Dressed in their best, timid, as afraid of me as I am of them. We worship and sway and sweat and sing and all fear flees. Of course I am excited to be here! Yes, yes, yes!

For almost an hour I talk. Madame Juene translates, two sisters wrapped in different shades of skin, side-by-side, given courage to give courage to courageous women.

I tell my story of failure in suffering.

A white woman born to privilege hurts too?

They cry and we laugh and they embrace me as one of their own. And suddenly it dawns on me that the only reason I have anything at all to say to these Haitian pastor’s wives is because I suffer.

Deafness is my platform. Failure is the door to intimacy.

Next comes the teaching.

Now they sit forward, they take notes, the literate flip through their Bibles, grey heads nod and catch my eye and say something I understand without words, young women listen.

For another hour we talk. They’re my girls now, my daughters and sisters.

The heat feels fine, I love this land!

For lunch the men join us. When I see Phil he is as white as a ghost. I push water and worry until I realize that his paleness may have more to do with my looking into beautiful brown faces all morning than illness. He’s fine— full of laughter and all that charisma and the camaraderie that comes with men in ministry. A man’s man, he is welcomed into a world not all that unlike his own.

In the sweltering afternoon we teach together for the first time. Mics fail, the fan doesn’t work, there’s not room on the pulpit for both our notes… and we love it!

I listen amazed at his uncanny ability to admonish and encourage all at the same time. The men laugh, they take notes, these men who have learned a different way of fathering.

Phil waves his big black Bible and I tell stories. The men clap for me— and I think they’re really clapping for Phil as I tell them how he enamored our children with the Scriptures.

We have no idea until later that we’ve inadvertently taught a way so long hidden that these men are shocked by the truth that no one teaches here.

To teach and love and encourage your children? To eschew anger as a method of discipline? To listen to your wife as she hears their hearts? Really?

Phil’s long lists of specific Scriptures for each point nail it.

Back in our air-conditioned hotel we both fall in bed exhausted, exhilarated, wondering how in the world we’ll do it again tomorrow.


5 a.m. More editing. Slash, cut, we’ve got to make this shorter.

I am hit by a dark wave of insecurity. I want Phil to tell me that I’m a great teacher, riveting, hilarious. Man-like he’s all about the task. Faintly I hear the echo of my own notes but manage to ignore wisdom and get myself to the edge of panic.

What am I doing here?

I fake my way right up until I get up to teach, but that dark voice won’t leave me alone. I think it’s me talking sense to myself. My sista, Zebby,watches from the front row and spots it. She prays. All of a sudden everything changes. My tangled tongue straightens, the women laugh and I don’t know why, we’re clicking again and I know it, feel it, love it.

Afterwards we know a demon is defeated by Zebby’s praying. I wonder what would have happen if she hadn’t.


I sit on a plane humbled. Again.

How is it that God keeps insisting on using this weak woman? Why would He? I fail again and again and He just sends someone along to help and sends strength to do what I cannot and takes the words that stumble awkwardly out of my mouth and turns them into something good.

And I haven’t told you half the stories of all the nice things He did along the way. Bumped to first class, switched to the exit row, a chance to pray, eyes wide open, with a new Believer who needed courage on the other side of the ticket counter in Florida. New friends, reunions, time to hear stories and marvel and laugh and tease and hold hands and be together.

So good.

Tonight Matt will take us home. He’ll fill us in on Monday’s Jesus Pizza at Grant High School, on theology classes at Multnomah, on friends and people and jokes and fun. I’ll soak polluted pores in a hot, scented bath and sleep under mounds of fluff.

I’ll be home. And happy.

From my heart,




Haiti Here We Come


In just five days Phil and I will board a plane for Haiti.

We're going together for the first time, an adventure for just the two of us. Once there we'll have the joy of dedicating a building at Grace Village which Solid Rock paid for, then we'll head back across town for the real reason we're there.

One thousand Haitian pastors and leaders and their wives will gather to be encouraged and taught-- and we get to do the teaching! I am more than a little humbled-- why us? Why me?

Aren't I still just the shy fear-prone one? The one who stumbles over words and gets so scared she can't choke it out?

Or maybe that the me I used to be and now I'm the woman who loves women and loves the Redeemer and is different than I'd ever thought I'd be. Maybe He's changed me and I've hardly noticed those changes.

Or maybe that is how I really am and He takes over in magnificent ways when I tell Him I can't and I believe He can.

Either way, I'm going. Fear prone but not fear defeated. All my weakness and all His strength.

Will you pray for me? For us?

On Wednesday, January 23 and Thursday, January 24, we are each teaching a total of 6 times. Phil will speak to the men twice and I'll get to share with the women both times too. Then we'll do a session together about Ten Things To Teach Your Children.We're going as a part of the Luis Palau Team. Andrew Palau is bringing a Festival to Haiti in March and this is their way of gathering the pastors in order to enrich the Church.

My interpreter is a trusted friend, Madame Doris Juene. She's one of those rare "kindred spirits" and I fully trust her to make up for any cultural mistakes I might make! Sister Doris and I share the same heart for the women and her grand humor and godliness always strengthens me as only one of God's chosen servant's can. I pray that I can give back to her in per portion as she gives to me.

I love knowing that you will pray! I love knowing that God delights in answering your prayers!

And I'll try to post from Haiti too. And Instagram and tweet and Facebook and all that. But power and internet are spotty there so if I'm silent, just pray. Please.

Serving Him in His strength and with your prayers,





Tonight I will tell my story at a church in Eugene called Ekklesia. 

I'll be nervous of course, trying frantically to memorize what I wrote but will not say...

But I'm excited too. This is a church full of young people with great hearts to listen and learn and do. They're coming to hear how the Father worked in my life and it is my prayer and hope that they leave filled with wonder at His goodness.

So will you pray? Please?

Last night I heard Pastor Mutatu, from Zimbabwe say,

 No prayer, no power.

Little prayer, little power.

More prayer, more power.

Much prayer, much power!

And so I cry out for much prayer.

God's power to grip our hearts and heal deep wounds and teach and encourage-- especially that! 

From my heart,


P.S. I'll be sure to send lots of pics via Instagram...

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.

PRAYER: when God says yes

“And Peter got out of the boat,

and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

But seeing the wind, he became afraid,

and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying,

Lord, save me!”

Matthew 14:29,30

Peter was this really gutsy guy. Brave, bold, the first one to try anything. And those very qualities he was so proud of sometimes got him into trouble.

There was one time when he was really scared. Of course, he wouldn’t have admitted it for the world. A ferocious storm had come up and the boat he was in was “tormented by the waves, for the wind was contrary.” Can’t you see those twelve macho fishermen huddled in the bottom of the boat?  Looking up, they spotted what they were sure was a ghost coming to get them. Everyone, including Peter, started crying.

Contrary winds will do that to you.

As soon as He saw what was going on, Jesus, who was walking along on those crazy waves, spoke to them, saying,

Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.

Then Peter did the strangest thing.  He challenged Jesus to order him to walk on water.“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

And He did. With just a simple word, Come.

So Peter clambered out of that boat right into those contrary wind driven waves.

So bold. So brave. So stupid.

He’d gotten himself into a real predicament now and he knew it.  Here he was, in the middle a massive storm, battered by the wind, and the boat with the rest of his compadres drifting way behind him.

“He became afraid.”

Stark raving terror.

Have you been there? On those waves, surrounded by out-of-control panic, sinking fast?

I’ll bet you did exactly what Peter did. I’ll bet you prayed.

“Lord, save me!”

Big, invincible, self-sufficient, got-it-all-together, me.  Short and sweet.


And He did. Jesus just stretched out His big beautiful hand and took hold of poor Peter before he had so much as a chance to get water up his nostrils. He gave the guy a good talking to right there out on the water. “Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?” Then He lifted a now considerably humbled fisherman into the boat and the wind stopped.


Wow. That’s a story.

Do you have a story like that of your own? Has Jesus ever reached out His big, beautiful, powerful hand to you and rescued you right then and there from something really bad? Like sinking deep into something contrary and terrifying that was all your own fault?

Will you write it down?  Send it in? Let us all know how really great God is?

‘Cuz sometimes we just need to remember how big He is when those winds take us for a ride.

From my heart,