Monday, March 27, 2017

loss and gain

With jet-engine propulsion
You send me down the runway
Of your path for me.
With the loss of my own will
And the surrender to your plan
I can say that I now understand.

I understand the sweetness of
Surrender. The breaking of my own will
and the acceptance of your own
ushers in peace, deep peace, and your grace.
Why did I wait this long?

For too long I sought my own path.
I look back and see the carnage
Of my own will worked out:
The skeletons of broken (but forgiven)
Friendships and relationships.
The fist-shaking-three-year-old I've been the last couple of years.
The walls I've thrown up at people I didn't want to work things out with.
The fear I was unwilling to let you work through.
The ugly words, the unspoken words.
The years of wishing my life looked differently than it does.

Oh, that you would redeem the time
And I have faith you will.
You will right all wrongs in the end, even,
especially, those I've birthed.
You will give words where needed,
you will give courage for the path,
you will heal the wounds and the broken bones I have no ability to heal.
You will give continued grace to accept and submit to this strange path.
And best of all, you take this three year old into your arms,
quieting me with your love and send me forth.

You send me forth on a mission of your choosing
and I accept. I accept at the loss of my own will.
And I gain. As I look back on the miles and years
of lost dreams and hopes and demands and rights
and friends, in surrender to you, I gain.
I gain your peace, your provision and your guiding hand.

Oh Lord, from this middle seat somewhere above mid-America,
take this broken will and do with it what you will.
Make right my wrongs.
As I let go, I gain everything.
For Lord, where else would I go where I would find anything sweeter?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

the depths of our meagerness

Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.

Oswald Chambers

Friday, January 27, 2017

founded and established

"On the holy mount stands the city he founded...the Most High himself will establish her. " Psalm 87:1 and 5

Last night while traveling home I had a couple moments of feeling weak and vulnerable. At one point the plane felt like it would be rattled apart by turbulence. Another moment, a wave of tiredness came over me while I waited for the next flight from Dallas to deliver my bag.

I awoke this morning thankful for my own bed, warm sunshine in the window and homemade coffee instead of hotel coffee. In the midst of these earthly comforts, I found myself searching for something Solid and Strong. I "randomly" opened to Psalms 87 and found the words "he founded" and "himself will establish her". These words are in reference to a city that the Lord builds, but I take comfort them, because this is the character of the God I serve in this challenging season. I know he is also founding and establishing me, all the while he holds planes together and gives me grace while I await a delayed bag at the end of a long day.


Sunday, December 18, 2016


Today was a good day, and
a hard day. A mixture of the
deeply familiar, the beauty of
the mountain, and the chill
of Winter.

The afternoon was spent trekking
up to the Mountain, God's Mountain,
me with two nephews in tow, following
the rest of the McGary clan. Mat Kearney
playing, sipping fresh coffee, and heading
up to the place that has my heart.

The past few days have been hard, as
I made one last journey with Mr. Darcy's
ashes, kept safely with a dear friend these
past few weeks. I cried when she handed
them to me, and I cried again in church,
the anniversary of his diagnosis last year.

I'm thankful for the gift he was,
this beautiful mountain that will be his resting place,
and for faithful friends who have intercepted my
tears and shed their own tears with me.

Bringing him up here, to what will
be his final resting place, brought a measure
of needed closure. It will be spring before we
can bury his ashes, as the ground is already
frozen. But he is safe in the little trailer,
surrounded by the leafless aspens and the place
we call Home.

So in the chill of Winter, I left my faithful
friend up on God's Mountain, my furry friend
who will always have my heart, in the place
that has my heart. Today was a hard day, but
a good day.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Rivets of steel, pounded into 
Spanses of metal. Red hot from
Friction and ear-numbing sound. So
Our hearts too oft become. 

Persons made and broken by plans 
Secured and failed. Icy cold tendrils 
Of pity and pence find their way in 
Through cracks of blindness and resistance. 

An enterprise planned, drawn up, built where 
Man and metal combine in partnership of 
arrogance and confidence. The four meet in
The docks and commence in crashing waves. 

But the whisper of wisdom is ignored, the 
Cry of caution displaced by fools ears and 
Men's plans to sail what course he will, of his 
Own making. 

Oh for steadfast and unwavering foresight
To see the storm and reset the sails. Oh to
See the icy cold path ahead and turn for 
Warmer seas. Oh for grace to heed the cry of 
Reason when she calls through pounding wind 
And determined course. 

May our plans and purpose be not 
So steeled and fixed that we cannot turn 
The mast of our ships to fairer seas where 
Grace and wisdom dance together in 
The dawning Light. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

more than the morning mist

Oh for grace that this would be be true in my life:

Faithfulness to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of redemption that has been performed in me by the Holy Spirit— “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” And it is that love in me that effectively works through me and comes in contact with everyone I meet. I remain faithful to His name, even though the commonsense view of my life may seemingly deny that, and may appear to be declaring that He has no more power than the morning mist.

from Oswald Chambers, Oct 18 reading

Sunday, October 9, 2016

This strange earthly life

This is a strange walk, this earthly life.
One of faith and frailty, fears and
failures. You say we’re spirit,
But all we can see are hands and
Skin and bones. You call us to faith,
And hope in the Unseen.

But all we can sense is the
Seen, the heard, the tasted, and the
Touched. You give us faith, and then call
Us to trust in a future that is eternal and glorious.
But all we can feel in these earthly bodies
Are goodbyes and loss
And sacrifice and missing joy. 

You came and conquered. And then left,
Telling us you would one day return. It’s
Been a long time and too many of those
We love have left and gone to you, without a
Word, never to be seen, this side of
Our own death. Yet, you say to have hope.

Hope in the unseen. Dear Lord, we
Are earthly creatures, our physical senses
Far out-pacing the spiritual. You call
Us into the spiritual realm, in surrender,
In faith, and trust and hope. And yet we cannot
See past these hands and skin and bones.

So Lord, have mercy on our skin-bound
Souls, and our weak minds who try to
See the unseen, but are left with a
Sense that all is not as it should
Be or how it will be. Forgive us our
Frailties and our fears. Give us the 
Courage to walk like Joshua, in
Hope that what is beyond our sight is true and
More real than all we can see.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

5 o’clock

You had my heart the moment I saw your furry little body curled up in Dad’s arms, asleep on the couch. Then when you got so sick and I’d hold you when I came home from work, it sealed the deal. I was your person.

Then you followed your nose one morning and were lost to us for five agonizing days. We finally found you through our lost posters and someone else’s found posters and through our tears of joy we hugged you as you “told” us all about your adventures and your relief at seeing us again.

You’ve been my constant companion through starting a new life in Austin and moving eleven times.  Every major transition I’ve made in the last thirteen years, you’ve been the steady friend staying close, keeping watch. You have sat next to me and leaned in when I cried over breakups, failures, and losses.

You ALWAYS wanted to go with me whenever I left the house, and somehow you knew I was getting ready to go, even before I started getting ready.  You would stare at me with those piercing brown eyes asking the question every time. If I answered “are you ready?” you joyfully grabbed your leash and pranced out to the truck. If the answer was “you need to stay here”, your head would drop in utter dejection, testing my resolve not to take you. On trips where you couldn’t come, you greeted my returns with the same joy if I’d been gone for ten minutes or a long work trip.

My days with you were predictable: every day at 5 o’clock you would start staring at me, letting me know it was dinner time. Ten pm rolled around and you were staring at me again, asking for your good-night bone (you couldn’t go to sleep without it).

The last eight months with you have been hard, as I’ve watched the curse and death and pain take over your furry body. These days have been a gift, too. I’ve been able to love you and care for you, and take comfort that I’ve loved you the best I possibly could.

You’ve been a gift to me from the Father above. In a few days and with many tears, I’ll hand you back to Him, forever thankful I got to be your mom.  I will hand you back, standing in the Promise that someday, somehow He will make all things new and there won’t be any more goodbyes or tears or pain or death. You will always be the Doodlebug, the Mr. Darcy, in my heart and that place will forever be yours, even as our days together come to the end.

Monday, August 1, 2016


I read this blog through the course of the author's fight with cancer; I came away challenged, humbled, and encouraged.

The biggest take away was a phrase she used: "it takes a hard fight to keep a soft heart." I read that last summer, during a time that was particularly challenging for me, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. I was having my own struggle with keeping a soft heart and her words were challenging and encouraging.

It takes hard work to keep my heart soft.

It's a battle. A daily battle.

And what's a soft heart? One that hopes and trusts and looks forward, even when it seems there is no runway or reason to.

Life can be really hard and we have a choice in how we respond to it: we can shake our fist and let cynicism and self pity move in; or we can fight the hard fight and choose to accept and grow from the pain and let it mature us, resulting in a soft heart. The destinations of these two choices are drastically different.

That summer I started looking for ways to remind me to fight this fight. It included making lists of things I'm grateful for; and being on the lookout for the beautiful in the simple and everyday things, like heart designs in lattes and raindrops on leaves.

Then I decided to get techie and create the hashtag "#hardfightsoftheart". More recently, I started an Instagram account called hard fight | soft heart. Here I am using some of my older photos and combining them with verses, quotes, and promises that remind me the keep up the hard fight for a soft heart.

What are the things you're battling against, things that are hard, things that call you toward cynicism and self pity?  What reminds you to keep up the hard fight for a soft heart? I beckon you into this battle and welcome you to share about your own fight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Sitting on a bus back home
I watch the scenery pass. A field
Of round bales, a manufacturing
Plant, the Colorado River, and a
Few cows. They go by quickly, as
The scene changes from big Texas
City to Lone Star countryside.

This morning was busy, between
Customer meetings and calls to the
Vet. The seconds and minutes added
Up, but not as quickly as the items on my
To do list and the thoughts in my head.

This week has been a weird one.
My heart heavy for family, heavy
For friends, and heavy for furry friends.
It seems that worry could easily
Set in and take over any space saved
For prayer and surrender.

Rummaging through old photos last
Night in my hotel room, I came across
One of Jess lifting up a dandelion with
The threads floating off into the bright
background. It struck me that this is how
I want worry to look in my life:
Offering it up to God, watching it flit away
Into the Son’s bright grace.

It’s the offering-up part that is hard.  It
Requires that I pick the worry up, lift
It up, and let go of it. This doesn’t just
Happen, but requires exerted effort and
And willingness to do so. 

I pray that just as on that bright summer
Day on the mountain, Jess lifted up the
Dandelion to the sky and watched it melt
Away, I would offer up this worry
And watch it melt away with each mile
Adding up on this bus ride home.