FullSizeRender

We woke up to gray drizzle.

That gloomy damp that seeps right into your soul.

I’m not in the mood for it today.

So first thing I go down to the holiday room.  The one where we keep all of the decorations boxed up tight.  I pull out the one that says Easter and I open the lid and Spring falls right out onto the kitchen counter in soft pastels and polka dots and my heart smiles.

IMG_4343

I decided in January that this year Easter was going to be different.

This year I want to prepare my heart long before the weekend of Easter, weeks in advance, the same way I prepare my heart for Christmas.

This year I want to fill my heart with the stories of the people closest to the Savior.  The people who had personal experiences with Him in the last weeks of His life on Earth.  I want to learn what they have to teach me, and through their stories I hope to create personal experiences of my own.

This year I want to fill my home with decorations that testify of Jesus.  I long for decorations that bring hope, not frivolity.  I want to replace the prominence of the rabbit with the promise of the Resurrection. I want to remember the true meaning of Easter.

IMG_4344

IMG_4349

This year I want to grow in testimony, be filled with hope, rejoice in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you would like to join me?

We will be celebrating each of the people and their stories each week here on the blog.

But for a more detailed description of each person and their story and tradition you might want to pick up a copy of this book.  You can find it here.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 8.29.56 AM

Today Grace and I will hang this banner as a reminder of each of the people we want to learn from.  If you would like one you can find the banner here.

IMG_4332

Already I feel my heart preparing.  I feel hope in the midst of this dreary gloom.

Easter is approaching bringing with it hope and promise in all its glory.

Yes, I can already feel it ––things are going to be different.

Easter is going to be different.

This year.

L  F : 
 M

Every once in a while God reminds us of how He is in the details.

In tiny ways.

Which makes me realize that if He knows about the tiny details, then He is certainly aware of the big details.

And when the tiny answers come, they give me faith to wait on the Lord for the big ones.

Last week I am standing at the mirror in the dressing room of a huge event that I am about to be speaking at.

For the hundredth time I retie the black satin bow around my waist. It won’t stay tied right, no matter how many times I pull the one bunny ear through the other, and measure both sides, and check the length in the mirror.  For just one second it does, but as soon as I move it is all wrong again.

I’ve been in front of that mirror for way longer than I like to stand in front of mirrors.

And now, I am getting frustrated.

Just then, a dear friend walks in.  Gives a word of encouragement as she passes by.  Enters the second bathroom stall on the left, and shuts the door.

I untie the bow and start with the bunny ears again.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a safety pin?”  I question my friend behind the closed door of the second stall on the left.

“Are you kidding?”  She says with a chuckle.  “Seriously?  Did you just ask me for a safety pin?”

She continues to laugh.  I am feeling awkward, because I wonder why she thinks it is so funny I asked her for a safety pin.

Then she says, “You aren’t going to believe this, but there is a safety pin hanging on the handle of this door.”

Seriously?

For just a second I have to wonder who hooked a safety pin on the inside handle of the door on the second stall.

And then I have to wonder why, at just that moment, my dear friend walked into a dressing room with 8 empty stalls and chose the second stall on the left.

Just then.

Just when I needed a safety pin.

For a silly black satin bow.

I’d been praying all day that I would be able to give the message those women had come to hear.

It was a big prayer.

One that I hoped the Lord was listening to.  I felt the burden of that responsibility.  I couldn’t do what needed to be done without an increase of His Spirit.

And so, when He answered my petition for a safety pin immediately, I knew that when I stood on the stage some four hours later I would have His help.

Because He was aware of the tiny details.

So He wouldn’t let the big details go unanswered.

FullSizeRender copy 2

L  F : 
 M

It was at the very end of the news articleI read this morning just after I had finished my egg, bacon, and green smoothie.  Two words that took hostage my mind.

Faith crisis.

I immediately thought to myself, I don’t want to experience one of those.

The article wasn’t talking about those moments you might think it was…receiving a diagnosis of cancer, losing a loved one unexpectedly, finding out information that turns your world upside down immediately.

It wasn’t talking about a crisis that turns your heart to God.  To Heaven.  To faith.

No, this faith crisis was talking about that moment when you turn your back on faith.  On what you believe.  On God.

I don’t want to experience one of those.

I hear stories like that ––stories of a crisis of faith, of a turning away, and my heart breaks.

How could you walk away from God?

Just the thought of it fills my heart with longing, with loneliness, with a lingering hint of despair

and then I am reminded of a moment I experienced this weekend that I won’t soon forget.

I watch her pick up a smooth gray stone, this woman whose gray hair curls soft.  Hands that have known the service of God, have performed it, cradle the rock…and she ponders.  I watch her as she ponders.  And then she picks up the black marker and begins to write one word.

With all my heart I wonder what word she has chosen.

This woman, whose life has been directed by God.

What will her step of faith be as she continues forward from this day, this moment?

I am intrigued by it.

But I am too far away to read the letters imprinted there.

And then I watch her stand and make her way to the front of the room.  To the line of women who have also left their mark on smooth gray stone.  Women waiting to drop their stone into the pile that is becoming a monument of faith.

Just before she leaves her stone there in the box I watch her approach the microphone.

“Perhaps I am one of the oldest here,” she suggests.

I glance around at a room filled with women who recognize the sage who has begun to speak.  There is a hush.  A waiting…

And then this woman, whose gray hair curls soft, whose hands cradle the smooth gray stone, explains that her life has been a devotion to God, and that every step from this moment will be an echo of the steps that have gone before.

That she will remain faithful.

And then she holds up the gray rock with her one word carefully penned in thick black ink.

Still.

And I know I have just encountered a woman of devotion.  A woman whose every step will lead her closer to God.  A woman who has never experienced a faith crisis.  Who, in that moment, has committed that she never will.

And I vow, in that moment, to be like her.

That every step from this moment will be an echo of the steps that have gone before.

That I will remain faithful.

Still.

FullSizeRender copy

 

L  F : 
 M

Yesterday I tried reading the scriptures on mute.

In my imagination I stood far away and watched the scene play out.  I didn’t listen to the words, I tried to ignore them there…instead, I focused on the actions.

I had a profound learning experience.

It is a story you probably know well, the woman caught in adultery in John 8.

You are familiar with the conversation that took place…perhaps you even have it memorized…let he who is without sin cast the first stone

But have you ever focused on the Savior’s actions in this account?

In verse 1…he sat down, and taught them.
In verse 3…and when they had set her in the midst.
In verse 6…Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground
In verse 7…he lifted up himself, and said unto them,
In verse 8…and again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground
In verse 9…and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
In verse 10…when Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman standing…

All of this up and down…lifted up, stooping down…and her set in the midst.

With mute turned on, there within the watching, an important lesson is learned.

Jesus stooped to her level.  Down.  Her, set in the midst.  Humbled.  It was there that He spoke to her, stooping down to reach her.  It was there that He taught her.

And, through His words and through His teaching He lifted her up.

He met her on her level until she could stand on her own again.

You know, I believe He does the same for us.

He meets us on our level…

Brokenhearted, discouraged, doubting…He meets us there.

In that place.

He offers healing, direction, comfort, answers…

And through the process He lifts us up so we can stand on our own again.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.38.46 AM

L  F : 
 M

Today I finally finished the laundry, dusted around the fireplace, went through the stack of papers that have been piling up for months and I thought to myself, why is it that I am still trying to recover from the holidays?  

There was so much good wrapped up in those endless days of celebration…but there was also so much of the unexpected.

It left me a little off balance.

And that imbalance has haunted me this past few weeks, following me around, dragging at my enthusiasm for greeting each day.

I will be honest, it worried me a little until I remembered a favorite quote, from a favorite author, of a favorite book.  A brilliant woman whose influence molded my life as a young mother, her whispers still carry me through…

She said, “I have this theory that everybody is born with a whole set of ‘blocks’ in their personalities ––all different colors and shapes––but they each have their own individual set, and it’s theirs for a lifetime.  Then, as we live, we shape those blocks into a certain pattern, and for a time that pattern is fairly stable.  Then something comes along, like adolescence, or graduation, or a mission ––some big change–– and it’s as if all of our blocks get knocked down, and we have to build up our ‘personhood’ again.  In a sense, I guess we change, because we usually build a new pattern ––and maybe a new block comes out on top.  But we are still building with the same basic blocks.  So, in answer to you question, I don’t think you’ve basically changed.  I just think someone has knocked down your blocks.”  (Jaroldeen Edwards)

That is exactly what happened to me this month.

somebody knocked down my blocks

You know, somehow just knowing that made me feel better.
Because I don’t mind building.  I love to create.  To see something begin to take shape.

But this time I am going to do things a little differently.

I am going to turn the process over to the Lord.  
I’m going to let Him architect the design.

I’m going to begin each day with the whisper of a prayer, “Work in me according to thy will.”
“Perform your good work in me…”
I am going to trust Him to design a new pattern.

I am going to trust Him.

I woke up today to the sun and I knew right away…
it was going to be a good day for building.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender copy

 

 

 

 

L  F : 
 M
B e c o m e   a n   E m a i l   F r i e n d