Sunday, 17 November 2013

Falling In Love

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

I love books. I buy far too many and read far too few. Many lay in stacks next to my bed, full of good intention but with no free time to be opened. Others lay covered in dust having been opened and found lacking. Yet I tend to keep them. It’s a sickness.

When my daughters were young, I taught them upon entering bookstores, they were to pick up a book, crack it open, stick their noses in real close to the freshly inked page and inhale deeply. The amazing smell of paper, ink and glue would enhance their experience. To this day they still do this. No matter who is watching. I love them. My kids I mean. Oh, and the books too.

As much as I love books, my friend, Donna takes bibliophilism to a whole new level, (bibliophilism is a love of books – I didn’t find that in a book . . . I found it on Wikipedia).  She has books in every room of her house and confesses without repentance her addiction to the written word. Smart girl that she is, though, she spends more time devouring the Word than other people’s words. So that’s okay.

I heard of another woman who loved books. She would bring them home in multiples. One day she was very disappointed to realize that one of the volumes she brought home was not at all what she had hoped for. It was dry, lacked relevance and had symbolism that she could not embrace. Very poorly written and a waste of money, she thought. She put it on one of her shelves and forgot about it.

Years later on a rare night away from her stacks, she found herself at a party and engaged in a fascinating discussion with a young man. It was pretty much love at first word. They talked for hours and found they had much in common; he was a writer and she a librarian. A match for sure! It was hard for them to part ways at the end of the night and she floated home, not feeling the pavement beneath her feet.

Too excited to sleep, she decided to peruse her vast personal library to see if she could find any books written by her newfound friend. And indeed she did! It was covered in dust, abandoned. That’s right — it was the poorly written find from years before. She sat down with a cup of tea and began to read. How wrong she had been! It was the most meaningful, insightful and eloquent novel ever written . . .

What happened?  Had the book been magically transformed?  No?

She had fallen in love with the author.

Many of us have a book on our bookcase covered in dust. A love letter, written to us personally and ignorantly ignored. We don’t open it often.

Because we haven’t fallen in love with the author. And it grieves Him.

It’s a conundrum to be sure. What comes first, a love for the Word or a love for Him? I think the answer is found in 1 Peter 4:19. We need to ‘meet’ the author before we can truly embrace his writing. We need to fall in love with the One who loved us first.

Ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord of your life. Begin an amazing relationship that will last an eternity . . . live your own love story that includes an everlasting happily ever after. The Book will become completely engaging once you fall in love with the Author.

Tune in online to hear Lori discuss Falling In Love with the Author with radio host Carrie Cooper of U2HaveHope on November 23 at 4PM (CST) at KDKR (also available to listen to after the fact here). 
Receive Lori’s daily devotions coming soon on! Email Lori at to receive a special sign in code.

Photo thanks to George Hodan

Friday, 8 November 2013

Missing and Lost

Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction.  2 Tim 4:2 (NET)

There is a lady, Erica Schmidt, who has been missing from our neighborhood for over a month. Her daughter was one of my teen’s teachers in elementary school so this touches our lives and hearts as well. It’s an urgent need for this family to locate their matriarch; posters, news bulletins and social media are all engaged in the search. My heart aches and I am reminded to pray and keep my eyes alert whenever I come across the written pleas. That’s what these posters and social media posts do – they stir us up and keep us vigilant.

I thought about how when a child or loved one goes astray or is missing, we lose all awareness of what is socially ‘acceptable’ but instead, we cry out in malls or street corners, ‘Help! I’ve lost my child!’ and go on to describe them in detail. Suddenly strangers become trusted team members as we rally together and search.

But here’s the thing. As we walk through life, we come into contact with so many who are lost and don’t know it. We smile (hopefully) and order coffees, pay for groceries, or pass by some silently throughout our day. Unlike those displayed on flyers, these folks are not marked as missing yet are lost sheep poster children.

I am not suggesting that we all buy soap boxes and stand yelling for all to repent, but I am challenged today to realize what 2 Timothy is saying; to see the need as urgent and live with intention. Spread the Gospel and when necessary, use words. Love on people. I need to work this out as often I am so self-absorbed and running through my tight schedule, I get perturbed when waylaid or inconvenienced. Lord, forgive me.

Please keep an eye open for Erica Schmidt, (click here for the Find Erica Facebook page). Her family has been diligent in their quest to find her . . . we need to step up our search party efforts as well . . . and not just for Erica but for all who are lost.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Best Seller or Insomnia Cure?

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)

I love a great story. Don’t you? Personally I prefer autobiographies or biographies. Full of truth, grit and the kind of grime only found in a life well lived. This requires two things: someone who has actually lived an amazing life, and an author who can convey all the action and details without adding or taking away from the truth.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would read. Would people get past the first chapter? Or would they toss my story unfinished in a goodwill box, having found it lacking any character development or significant conflict.

It’s a tough question to ask, but a relevant one. How are our lives unfolding? Are we living brave, exciting lives or are we boring our readers to sleep? A few years ago I know that my life was quickly becoming an insomnia remedy and decided to shake up the story line. The first thing I did was sit down with the author of my faith. It made good editorial sense.

“Lord, I really don’t think we are doing a good job at captivating people by my story. I mean, it’s a well written, safe book, and I know my name is written down in the great library of heaven, but beyond that, it’s a bit of a snoozer. Definitely not shaping up to be a best seller . . .”

Now here’s the thing, my author is famous for writing the biggest, most successful book ever. Once he saw me on my knees, willing to accept any and all twists to the plot, he did not disappoint.

Who is the author of your faith? Are you allowing Him to write and take your story wherever He thinks it should go? Or are you holding tight to the synopsis you planned out for yourself twenty years ago? Tear it up. Let Him develop you into the character He wants. Live your best story.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Spooky Judgments

Living on the cold, Canadian prairie meant that my four-year-old daughter’s Halloween costume had to fit over her big, puffy snowsuit. We found an adorable clown outfit which worked well with the large rainbow afro wig that was her favorite dress up item and headed out the door.

We weren’t out for very long as she didn’t embrace the concept of knocking on strangers’ doors and taking candy – the two very things we had trained her to never do. Back in the warmth of our kitchen, we sat at the table, sorting through her goodies. She was unusually quiet.

“Mommy,” she said, finally breaking the silence, “If Jesus was born to give us Christmas, and died for Easter, what did He do to give us Halloween?”

Wow. Seriously?

“Um, no, this isn’t a Jesus holiday . . .”

Pushing the candy towards me, she got up from the table, “Yeah, I thought it was the Devil’s thing – I don’t want to do it anymore.”

And that was that.

I had grown up in a Christian home and would go trick-or-treating with our pastor’s daughter every year. It had never been an issue to me. But, now my own daughter – at the age of four – felt convicted and didn’t want to participate.

How could I argue? So for our family, we stopped trick-or-treating, but struggled for years on whether or not to still hand out candies. Some years we did, other years we withheld. Our church held alternatives and some times we would attend, other years we stayed home. We would ‘feel’ our way through prayer every year and act accordingly. When we do pass out goodies, we try to stick Bible verses on each candy or include a Christian tract – when else do we have our neighbours come knocking on our doors? Best to take advantage!

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”

I don’t judge friends and family who choose to participate in Halloween; everyone needs to be true to their own convictions. We have noticed however, that the last ten years or so the merchandising and commercialism of the holiday has taken off big time. Celebrating Halloween for our family is definitely a no-no. We do not hang up decorations or promote ‘spooky’ haunted houses. As Christians, we are fully aware of the spiritual realm and it is not to be taken lightly.

Just remember that non-believers are watching and being divisive or judgmental is not going to win anyone to Christ.

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:1-4 (ESV)

To trick or to treat . . . or not . . . that is not the question. The question is regardless to what we choose; will they know we are Christians by our love?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Wonderful Thing

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

Sixty-three times in the King James Version, the Lord says, ‘Fear not”.

Call me crazy, but I get the feeling that He wants us to trust him and . . . not fear. Pretty sharp, huh?

Easier read than done. When I think of fear, I am reminded of the popular Winnie the Pooh series books I would recite to my girls when they were little. I’d cringe whenever I came across Piglet. I could be such a nervous willy-nilly like him; always fussing with fear of unknowns. No, I much preferred Tigger.  He just bounced through life completely in a joyful state of oblivion.

Something that has brought me from the Piglet side to the Tigger team, is a little card stuffed in my Bible. It’s my faithfulness ledger. I say ledger because each entry is not long or poetic, but short and to the point. I write down the various times that the Lord has come through for me. The big ones and the small. Of course it doesn’t include everything – I would need a library to contain all his blessings and times of protection, (many of them unknown).

Now, when I begin to roll a fear around in my head, I stop, read a few reminders of his faithfulness and the tumble cycle of anxiety stops. I think it’s because you can’t praise and worry at the same time. You either bounce in faith or worry in doubt. Start your own faithfulness ledger today and join me on the Tigger team – because a Tigger’s a wonderful thing.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Great Exchange

“Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." 1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV)

Most women like to shop and one of our favorite things to shop for is  . . . shoes. We walk into a store, pick up a pair and slowly turn them around and around, examining and admiring them from every angle. We look at the price-tag and check out the price . . . on sale for $50. We pull off the shoes we wore into the store (in utter disgust—wondering what we were thinking when we bought them), and try on the shiny new pair.

Then, standing in front of the awkward floor height mirror, we imagine how our lives would change if we only had them. Cinderella says, ‘The right pair of shoes can change your life,’ these just may be that pair. Now we're getting committed. Leaning next to the rack, still staring with wonder at them, we begin to mentally flip through our wardrobe considering what outfits could go with the coveted heels. Nothing? No worries. All the better in fact! Now we can shop some more!  We slip them off with much care, place them gingerly in the box and walk to the till. Opening our wallet, we count out fifty dollars in bills having carefully determined the shoe’s worth and pay the cashier what we have decided is a reasonable price for the beauties. An exchange has been made—cash for the shoes; an equal and fair swap.


Now, here’s the thing. The Creator of the whole universe looked at you. He examined you and considered you—just as you are with all your sin and faults—and He said, I love her. I want to spend eternity with her. Zephaniah chapter 3 says that He delights in you and sings over you, (I’ve delighted over shoes but never sang over any)! And He took out his heavenly wallet and paid for you, not with a twenty, not with a fifty, but with the precious blood of His Son.

Girlfriend, you are priceless. No matter what anyone has said to you or about you, please recognize the great exchange that was done on your behalf and your value as a daughter of the King. How precious are we who are redeemed with such a costly currency! Now there’s something to dance about . . . I think I just may need a new pair of party shoes . . .

Photo: Vera Kratochvil

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Step Away From the Pew . . . and Put Down Your Mask

I am lonely.

That is what I am hearing, over and over again. Loners, leaders and ‘popular’ ladies all say it. Dozens of women have shared stories with me over the last few weeks; some break my heart and others inspire me. Many have said that during their loneliness, ‘God was their all in all’.  I so get that. He has filled the gap for me many times.

God said in Genesis that it was not good for man to be alone; it goes for us women too. We were designed for relationships. First of all, an intimate relationship with God, but then beyond that, to have deep meaningful friendships as well. A word search of ‘lonely’ in the King James, New King James, ESV and NIV brought up less than a half a dozen results. But before I even looked, when I was reflecting this morning I recalled the loneliest year of my life and how Psalm 102:7 resonated with me: ‘I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop”.

I remembered reading that verse and literally falling on my face before the Lord. It summed up my pain in such a vivid picture. I wrote it down in my journal and spoke it out loud to Him countless times during the year of my divorce when many of my friends deserted me. Loneliness enveloped me and, in fact, in time I learned to embrace it; so much safer to be alone than to be hurt again. Upon emerging from that painful year, I had changed the way I related to women and how close I would allow them to get. Social media became my safe place.

There is a video, The Innovation of Loneliness that really got me to thinking about how we, as women, have changed the way we interact with each other. Back when my mother was a stay at home mom, she and her whole generation would typically do their chores in the morning and then socialize in the afternoon. Tea, bridge, Bible studies . . . however it looked, they did face to face relationship building.

By the time I had my children, I too learned the trick of tidying up in the morning to be free to meet with friends in the afternoon.  After lunch I would wander the malls with my sister-in-law or have friends pop over for tea while our kids played at our feet. Whether pushing our strollers or our own opinions, we could read each other’s faces and extend a hand in comfort when tears fell. When I returned to work, we changed it up to meet in the evenings or weekends over coffee. It was honest. And raw. In real-time.


Now most of us only give (((hugs))) and :( as a way to respond to our friends’ painful moments. I am the guiltiest. As a wounded introvert, Facebook, texts and Twitter have enabled me to hide away in my own safe, private cocoon all the while convincing myself that I’m not a hermit. After all, I have over two hundred ‘friends’.  (And, yes, I know, two hundred is a small number for Facebook; I’m an elitist and don’t accept just anybody. Feel privileged.)

Last night there was a women’s fellowship time at our church. I told my husband that I didn’t want to go and fake being happy. He suggested that I instead walk in with a sign around my neck that read, ‘Disappointed and Disillusioned’— a friend had recently broken my heart and it was still in recovery. I didn’t have any desire to be around other women at all but I went . . . sans sign.

God, in His infinite love, brought another woman to my side who confessed that she too would have liked to have hung a sign around her neck and we bonded as we shared our brokenness in face to face honesty. It was rare and sweet.

Which, in turn, brought me to write this post; to this reflection. Why are those moments so few and far between?

Even when we go to church, according to the dozens of you who said so yourselves, why do we put on masks and only reveal what we think those around us are willing to accept? Why do we crave acceptance of a false representation of ourselves more than authentic relationships? Is it because we’ve become a generation of people who place so much emphasis on numbers of friends that we have sacrificed quality for quantity—just like the Innovation of Loneliness video surmises? Or, is it because we are all so wounded we would rather hide behind false relationships than risk being hurt or rejected again?

I don’t know. But I am willing to do an experiment. I am going to (once again) only allow myself to venture into the Facebook Friend realm on Saturday mornings for the month of October to see if this disconnect will draw me more to the phone (which FYI as an introvert I typically hate) and to coffee shops for connection (caffeine and conversation . . . much better).  I would think that breaking free from the addiction of social media may have many other positive effects such as opening up more time with the Lord as well.

As a writer who is working on building a platform to promote my upcoming book, this would be deemed career suicide, but I think the Lord has his hand on things. Obedience rules. Fear of God trumps fear of editors and publishers. And I for one am finally ready to find true friends who want more than just (((hugs))), :) and ♡. I challenge you to engage yourselves more face to face this month as well. To build real time friendships . . . and then please leave a comment or email me and share what you discovered about developing authentic relationships.

I am working on a book that addresses the conflicts that sometimes occur between ‘church ladies’- and would like to hear from you via the following NEW anonymous 4 question survey (click here). You may also email her at  to say hello.

Photo Credit Vera Kratochvil

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Tilt-A-Whirl Trust

In life there are defining moments that leave everlasting imprints.

I recall one from my childhood that has both puzzled and inspired me often through the years . . .

Growing up in a small town meant nothing too exciting ever seemed to happen, but one day a carnival arrived, including amusement rides set up in the parking lot of our only shopping mall. Adding even more delight to this momentous occasion, my best friend Michelle’s dad (our pastor) volunteered to take us both to the new McDonalds on the way. He was such a cool dad, he let us tweens sit alone and eat our happy meals unattended. We felt so mature . . . we declined the free toy in order to substantiate our grown-up status.

Crossing the parking lot, we soon were caught up in the energy of the fair, enjoying a few rides before finally ending up at the strawberry ‘tilt-a-whirl’—a knockoff version of the teacups from Disneyland. We hoped to get a berry cart to ourselves but alas, they invited two random strangers to board with us.

C’est sera, sera, (whatever will be, will be).

All four of us screamed and hollered as we pulled on the circular disc that controlled the spin of the cart.

And then it happened.

The life impacting moment.

My mature happy meal was not so happy with this ride. Or perhaps it just wanted to be more intimately involved in the moment. No matter, it was coming up to take a look for itself.

Oh how I begged it not to. How I prayed the ride would stop or that I could control the urge, but who was I to argue with an angry cheeseburger?

Finally releasing the contents of my stomach to the whirling universe, I closed my eyes tight to keep myself from the visual.

Round and round we spun . . . out and around it spewed.

As I prayed and sprayed, I could hear something.

A loud joyful something.

My pastor was laughing and praising God. I kid you not.

The ride finally stopped and I opened my eyes.  Miraculously, Michelle and I were spotless. Not a drop of vomit had hit us. For a moment, I thought maybe it wasn’t as bad as I imagined.  And then I saw the poor young girl on the opposite side of the cart. She was covered. My passionate prayers had somewhat been answered, centrifugal forces had worked to our benefit . . .  but clearly to her detriment.

I jumped off the ride and limped towards the laughing man of God.

At the time, I had no idea what was so funny, and even more puzzling was why on earth he had been praising the Lord throughout the horrific ordeal.

Thirty-eight years later, I have a better understanding.

When life’s sickening moments hit, I recall that day and strive to praise God when it makes ‘no sense’ . . . in the natural sense. I’ve come to realize that is when our testimony is magnified, when we praise Him through the trials.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:4-6 (ESV)

In his commentary for this passage, David Guzik says,

Paul's joy wasn't based in a sunny optimism or positive mental attitude as much as it was the confidence that God was in control. It really was a joy in the Lord.

My pastor could not jump on the ride to save me, nor could he control the vomit flying through the air, but this one thing he could do, he could rejoice with thanksgiving to the One who was in control. To let those around him see his peace in the storm. I have no doubt he was praying earnestly for me and his daughter, but while doing so, he walked in the joy of the Lord and let his light shine.

All these years later, I have not forgotten that crazy day. The impact of my pastor’s reaction has far outlasted the embarrassment I felt as a young tween. Here was a man who knew God. Who walked with Him and trusted in his control over things uncontrollable—like the shower of a half-digested lunch. Oh to be so close to the Lord to be able to laugh at life’s foibles!

There are few people who truthfully walk this way; who absolutely—naturally—break into praise and laughter when hit with trials; Pastor Ron Dowbush and Chuck Smith are two who come to mind. I wish I could testify that I too had this natural default; I’m praying and growing . . . it’s a journey.

As I study the Word, searching for glimpses of God, I am transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Seeing His character, I am learning to let go and to trust him more. He is worthy to be praised—sometimes even with laughter—through the storms of life. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand . . . even on the Tilt-A-Whirls of life.

Lori Dixon ~ Writer/Speaker/Servant of Christ. Lori is working on a book that addresses the conflicts that sometimes occur between ‘church ladies’- she would like to hear from you via the following anonymous 5 question survey (click here). You may also email her at to say hello.

Photo: Andrew Schmidt

Monday, 9 September 2013

Announcing Semi-Finalists in Tyndale Momentum Writing Contest « RE:WRITE

So excited!  Waiting to see where the Lord takes this book . . . . it's in his hands.

Announcing Semi-Finalists in Tyndale Momentum Writing Contest « RE:WRITE

Now I just have to breathe for the next few weeks!

Eleven years ago I walked away from talks with Tyndale; God redeems.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Dear Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Woolsey . . . From One of 'Those Girls'

The last few days have been all abuzz with a post from Mrs. Hall, a concerned mother upset about what her young teen boys were viewing on social media. Her approach is zero tolerance and censorship of any half-dressed girls.

Good for you. Your house, your children, your rules.

Then another mother, Mrs. Woolsey chimes in with a rebuttal, chastising the harsh penalty and making mention of the hypocritical semi-nude pictures of the Hall boys in the same post.

Good for you. You’re standing up for the young girls and encouraging second chances and grace.

I have a slightly different issue, but first let me say this; Mrs. Hall should be applauded for instilling communication and interaction between herself and her kids. Fostering an atmosphere of openness is key in addressing issues and she is clearly determined to do her job as a parent and protect her kids.

As for Mrs. Woolsey, she too loves her children but believes we need to pour grace on the young girls and is ready to offer forgiveness. She doesn’t say whether or not she would encourage or demand her young boys to ‘unfriend’ a young girl who continually posts inappropriate photos, but I do get the impression that common sense would come into play and that she would protect her sons as well.

But, as I read both of these opinions, I started to cry.

Yes, cry.

What about the hearts of these girls? The ones who pose and post sexually provocative photos on social media . . . who will address the big elephant in the room?

The why.

Ten years ago we blamed Britney Spears for leading our young girls down the sleazy fashion path, encouraging tweens to dress way beyond their years. Then it was toddler beauty pageants and Honey Boo-boo who was targeted for encouraging the sexualizing of children. Just last week, Miley Cyrus’s behavior had parents jumping up to cover the eyes of both their sons and their daughters. Yes, Hollywood does impact and influence our kids, but I don’t believe we can just blame T.V. and shut it off. (Although we did years ago and I highly recommend it).

So, what was it then that had me in tears this morning? I cried for the girls who Mrs. Hall accused of lacking modesty. Yes, to be sure, some girls are absolutely modeling pop culture examples, but a lot of these young girls are just acting out what they’ve lived.

Their selfies that are meant to capture attention and get ‘likes’ usually have their eyes looking right into the camera. Their eyes haunt me. I see myself as a teen:

Notice me, like me, use me . . . but ultimately rescue me. I will let you do whatever you want and give you whatever you demand as long as it will result in you ‘loving’ me for even just one more day. I know that you will probably leave—they all do, but for now, come see me. Something inside of me grows with each hungry look. Every rude, vulgar comment that I pretend to be disgusted with actually just validates and feeds the beast within. The lie that was planted in my heart so many years ago . . . the first time he touched me . . .

That I am worthless.


A throw away.

I want to be different, to stop feeling this way, but I am addicted and harassed to no end by these crazy, inexplicable desires. I crave this attention. I need to somehow heal the hurt that happened to me as a child. But this drug of touch that I hope will result in finding someone to protect me for life, only perpetuates my brokenness. On one hand my sexuality empowers me but at the same time I am a slave to it. It was awakened far too early and I don’t know how to put it to rest.
Birthed with the loss of my innocence, this cycle of dysfunction is spiraling out of control. Now by my own ‘choice’. But did I ever really have a choice?

Don’t judge me because I am a ‘floozy’ or a ‘hooch’ . . .  or the other hurtful names you call me. I don’t show any discretion or dignity because I was robbed of it before I could understand it was mine to defend and to cherish.

Find me. Love me. Help me. Kill this beast within.

Until I find true healing, I will continue on this self-depreciating and destructive path  . . . .

Studies show that somewhere between twenty-five to fifty percent of women have been sexually abused in their childhood. And those numbers reflect only those who report it. Many don’t.[i] My abuse started at such a young age, my first childhood recollection was one of shame. It continued for over a decade. Once the darkness was brought into the light, the abuse stopped but the damage and resulting behaviors and beliefs continued. Such was life in the seventies. Shhhhh. Don’t tell. Move on.

It wasn’t until adulthood that I finally got the proper counseling I needed and the beast of abuse was slayed.

So you see mothers, do stay involved in your children’s lives and shield them while you can, but please, please don’t put up walls of protection so high that you can’t see the hurting young children on the other side. Look beyond the skimpy outfits and behaviors of some of these half-dressed girls and instead of shunning them, love them. Accept them. Pray for them. Give them a chance to know a warm, loving healthy woman who can model the virtues they so lack.

And for those of you who like me were hurt and the beast still lurks within, I encourage you to check out Healing Hearts, an amazing online or small group study that will help you to find truth and healing. For teen girls there is a brand new study as well, First Love.

Check it out and reach out. It’s all well and good to protect our own children, but we can’t forget about the others out there who need us too.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Church Lady Connections . . . or Not

There is something going on.

And it’s not good.

In the past two weeks, I have had countless women bring up the topic of rejection from ‘church ladies’ until I seriously can no longer ignore it. Women from work, cashiers at stores, and—one crazy deal—a woman who remembered me from a retreat we both attended over ten years ago. She walked up in a crowded room and told me she hadn’t been back to a women’s retreat since. Why not? Because she finds being around Christian women taxing. (Um, no, don’t go there girlfriend, it wasn’t me that put her over the edge… at least I hope it wasn’t!)

And, there is no one denomination to blame; this is across the board.

In these encounters, I’ve met some amazing women and had some meaningful dialogues but to be quite honest, I’ve been left dumbfounded more than I have really been able to help.  The first few conversations were easy and I gave an example that I will share in a bit, but the last two in twenty-four hours completely tossed my brains out the window. Not that their stories were any more or less disturbing, but because my head was spinning with, ‘What? Another one?’

Anne Graham Lotz has a brand new book out and when I opened my email this week, I almost couldn’t believe it; ‘Wounded By God’s People’ is the title.  Need I say more?

God doesn’t do happenstance. He sets us up. And, I believe, He calls us to action.

First of all, in case you don’t read any further, please, please hear me. To all of you who have ever been hurt by one of God’s flawed women, I am truly sorry. I am sure there have been many times that I was busy ‘serving the Lord’ in the foyer and passed you by.  I am convinced that there have been times when in my introverted tired existence I have ignored you, or appeared to look right through you.

God forgive me, and I pray you will as well.

In the meantime, let me tell you a story.

My sister-in-law, Roxana, and her children were recently in a serious car accident. The financial and physical ramifications have affected her family greatly.  Doctors, medications and constant pain have filled her days and months since.

But here’s the thing.

Not once since the accident has Roxana blamed Toyota. Why shouldn’t she? It was a Toyota Corolla that hit her.

But, that would be silly, wouldn’t it? Because Toyota was only the creator of the vehicle; it was human error that caused the harm.

So before you toss out your relationship with God due to some insensitive women in His church, take a moment and realize that He is not to blame for any hurts inflicted on you by us. Don’t be angry at the Creator for what his creation does. It’s slightly crazy that He chooses to be represented by sinful humans, but that’s the deal. So we mess up. A lot.

God loves you—fiercely—and it pains me to hear from so many of you who have turned away from Him or refuse to open yourself up to any Christian fellowship due to old wounds and horrendous encounters. I’m not trying to play down anything that’s happened to you. Many of you have suffered straight out abuse at the hands of ‘God’s people’, but there are some amazing women out there who do love the Lord and want to get to know and love you too.

In order to dig further into stories and statistics, I would so appreciate if you could take a minute of your time and fill out an online ANONYMOUS five question survey, (4 are multiple choice – see how nice Christian women can be?)

As for this problem in our churches, the answer starts with the church lady in the mirror. Each of us need to address our own wounds, find healing, and then be brave enough to put ourselves out there. Once we get our own hearts fixed up, we can then effectively and sincerely reach out to others. Stay tuned, I think I will have a few more stories and tips to share on this timely topic.

Photo credit: Vojko Kalan

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Exhausted Grace

It was one of those days where you wake up being more tired than when you went to bed. I will never understand what goes on in the night that makes me feel so exhausted the next day. If there was a party going on, I sure wish I could remember it.

I stumbled through my morning just dying to drop into bed; and it was only 10AM. Functioning in a fog, I dropped my brand new Samsung Note 2 instead, shattering the screen.

But, the day was not over yet. There was more to be done. Problem was, I was done. Kaput, wasted . . . way past my best before date.

By 5PM the couch had swallowed my face as I passed out before dinner. Woken up by the sweet smell of barbequed chicken and fresh corn on the cob, I begrudgingly agreed to keep my appointment to do some filming of my feet for a new promo video on the topic, ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’.

I figured I could fake happy feet and my daughter and cinematographer promised to keep the camera low and not capture my grumpy scowl.

Three hours later I stood in the grocery store trying to read the scrawled list; my daughter had informed me just before bed that the milk had expired. A few aisles over an obviously tired toddler was whining and crying. The noise irritated my already shot nerves. Just as the nasty thoughts began to rise in my head--the critical tisk tisk voice of, ‘Why do people drag their tired children out’--I suddenly remembered the script for my video talk. About how we don’t know the journey others are on and to give Grace.

I threw a handful of ‘emotional eating’ colourful, sweet candy onto the top of the overflowing cart. Saying a quick prayer for the exasperated mother who was now dragging her child out of the store, I made a mental note to do an edit for the video and add a scene with a woman pushing a baby buggy. I had missed that whole season of life in our film.

We do take a lot of steps in our journey with the Lord and it can get just plain exhausting, but our friends, coworkers and other late night random shoppers are tired too. We need to plug into His Grace daily in order to pour out on others.

Thankfully His Grace doesn’t have an expiry date!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Pressing Into Jesus

I fondly remember how during my stay-at-home years, the girls would pull out their own mini-ironing boards and ‘iron’ with me. Beside stacks of warm, neatly folded t-shirts and their dad’s freshly pressed work uniforms they would arrange their own piles of miniature doll clothes. Kiddie cartoons would be playing in the background as we all worked diligently. It was my wonderful, albeit temporary era as a domestic diva. (Now that I work in an office full-time, my iron has not seen the light of day in over a decade; I figure the huge wrinkles in my clothes help to make the ones on my face appear smaller.)

But, back during our little house on the prairie days, impressionable eyes would study my every move . . . as I shook out a dress shirt; they would fastidiously dig in their water baby’s wardrobe and do the same. It was all serious business; it was Monday morning and this was what we did.

During their formative years we really did have a lot of structure to our days. In order to keep my sanity, I would rise before everyone and sit in the semi-dark living room with my Bible. If the girls snuck out of bed before I came to get them, they would peer around the corner, somehow thinking I could not see them. Depending on where my study was taking me, I sometimes ignored their presence but if I was being moved and wanted privacy, I would whisper, ‘I serve a jealous God,’ and they would take off down the hall back to their room.

One of our other precious rituals was our ‘Girls’ God time’. The three of us would read from a popular bible study and share. I looked so forward to hearing their take on the different topics. By the time they approached their tween years, we had worked our way through quite a few different books. One day, however, I caught them giving each other that sister look—you know, the one that silently says, ‘Are you going to tell her or am I?’

“Mom, can we both have our own devotions and journals to do our God time alone . . . like you do? It’s kind of personal.”

My heart broke—and grew—at their declaration of independence.

To have your children push away and establish their own walk of faith is wonderful—when they choose wisely—the hard part was respecting their wishes. Some would say I was wrong, that I should have forced family devotions, but I disagree. Our daily walk with the Lord should be personal, and intimate . . . if they desired time alone with Him, who was I to hoard in? After all, they chose to serve a jealous God!

As parents, along the way we have to let out the leash; letting our children make decisions according to their maturity. When they were preschoolers, I used to allow them do their own hair most days, and choose their outfits. More often than not they would combine prints with plaids, clash colours and break every fashion rule. They felt very grown up taking on this responsibility and I let them run with it . . . proud that at least their mismatched clothes were properly pressed.

Having made good choices—not counting the fashion ones—my now sixteen and twenty-year-old ironing princesses have earned fairly long ‘trust leashes’.

We are never done teaching however and God continues to give us fabulous opportunities to drill home the odd life lesson now and then. Like the other day, when I was heading out the door and they were both looking at old photos. Groaning, they asked what I was thinking, letting them dress themselves the way they did.

Pulling down on the wrinkles in my skirt, I absentminded replied as I rushed off to work, “I pray those pictures are a reminder to you both that the decisions you make will follow you. Ten years ago you chose cow print leggings with 100 Dalmatian tops; be sure that the choices you make today won’t make you cringe when you’re in your thirties.”

I guess it’s safe to say that if they choose to continue to follow my example, when they hit their forties, they will love the Lord, cherish their private time with Him . . . and be running out the door for work in matched but wrinkled outfits.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Why is He Doing This to Me Now?

Sitting on the bench in front of the nurses’ station, I was sandwiched between my twelve-year-old daughter, Mia and my seventy-four-year-old mother, Joy. Words did not come, but we sat, three generations silently holding hands. I glanced down, surprised at how closely my fingers resembled my mother’s; Mia’s were still those of a child, round and unmarred, lacking the imperfections that come from years of hard work. I held on just a little tighter to both of them . . . a love chain of over a hundred years of service to God.

Geriatrics shuffled by, lifeless eyes staring straight ahead; where they were going, I did not know. Moments later the same menagerie appeared again, completing I surmised, an endless circle around the ward.

Feeling Mia fidget, I knew it was time to bring our visit to an end. I glanced over to the woman who looked like my mom, but whose eyes were distant, no longer reflecting the life and vitality that once brought meaning to her name.

“Well, it’s time for us to get home.”

Her fingers twisted harder around mine, as her other hand clutched my arm. Meeting my gaze, with steely vision she looked deep into my eyes and--but for a moment--my mother reappeared.

“The Lord’s been good to me my whole life . . . why is He doing this to me now?” No sooner had she finished her heartbreaking question and she was gone again. Vague eyes looked past me, studying the empty hallway, but her hands still hung on.

I turned to my daughter, mortified that she heard this deep, painful cry. Squeezing her little hand to give some assurance, I let go of tiny fingers to turn and focus on my mother.

“I don’t know, Mom. I just don’t know,” Gently, I removed her hand from my arm and gave her an awkward, one-sided hug. My words were more for me than for her as she had retreated back into her own mysterious Alzheimer world; but the question still hung in the air . . .

Walking out of the lodge that day, I was not the same person. A shift had occurred between the
Lord and I. Anger began to grow, its roots burying deeper and deeper into my soul. Strangling tendrils tightened around my heart, choking my faith.

She had been so faithful to Him.

Why did He do this to her?

What kind of God did I serve?

As the months went by, I wrestled with what would be the last coherent, articulated sentence I would ever hear my mother say. A woman of strong faith her whole life, a godly example of trusting the Lord . . . and then she drops this bomb. Shrapnel ripped into my heart, internal bleeding seeping into every crevice of my being as I attempted to continue to stumble through life . . . a silent walking wounded.

Why God? Why?

The visits to the lodge got harder and harder for me as each time I saw her, the question echoed back in my mind again and again. I would stay up late at night, sending out random emails to any man of faith I could find online; Priests, Protestant pastors, Rabbis. I just kept searching for the answer to my Mother’s question. It was a crazy quest to fill the void before she passed away. My faith was waning as I ran farther and farther from God with each email response. No man of God could give an answer. No book on any shelf could either. I would spend hours in countless devotions and in the Word, but it was all white noise as nothing could be heard over the drum of the unanswered question.

Life was becoming empty and meaningless.

With each passing season, the root of anger burrowed down.

My mother’s last days were peaceful and she passed after her seventy-fifth birthday and just before my forty-fourth. Since I was the only girl, and a writer, my brothers asked me to give the eulogy. It would appear I had even fooled them; they had no idea the pain and resentment planted in my heart.

The night before the funeral, I sat in the dark with my laptop; a word count of zero.

What could I say? All I could think of--all I had thought of--was the monstrous unanswered question.
A dark shadow appeared at the top of the basement stairs; it was my brother who was staying with me from out of town.

“How’s it going?”

That was all he had to say. A flood gate opened as I confessed my anger and shared our mother’s last statement.

“Oh, wow,” he said without pause, filling his glass of water, “that’s easy.”

That’s easy?

“What do you mean, ‘That’s easy?’ It’s so not easy. I’ve asked everyone and so far not one answer.” He plopped down onto the couch next to me, rubbing his eyes.

“You never asked me.” With a crooked, pained grin he continued, “You know, it’s kind of like when parents drop off their kids for Sunday School; some of them can just pass their children over the gate, give them a kiss and then leave. But others have to come inside, sit next to their little ones and play until they are distracted; then they scoot out unnoticed. Well, God knew how much we needed Mom. How much we ran to her for advice and how she was so much a part of our walk of faith. If He had taken her in her sleep, or with a heart attack, we couldn't have handled the shock. We needed her so much.

Instead, out of grace, He allowed her to sit with us, and colour for a bit. He let her sneak out of our lives slowly so we could adjust and learn to walk with Him on our own. He loved Mom and all of us that much.” Patting my knee, he took his water and headed for the stairs. “I’m so sorry you’ve struggled with that. I’ve known it all along; it’s how I’ve had peace. I wish you would have asked me sooner.”

Watching his back disappear down the stairs, the bright light from the blank, stark Word document was burning my eyes. Or perhaps it was the tears.

Finally. I could write my goodbye; or rather my ‘see ya later, Mom’. I had found the answer we were looking for; the question that had made me doubt my own faith.

The Lord had been good to my mother her whole life . . . and with amazing love and grace continued to be good until the very end.  So faithful, He gave the answer to our burning question just in time for me to share it with passion and new-found faith to all those who came to celebrate my mother’s life—with JOY!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

He is Near to the Broken Hearted

For those of you (all of us) who have ever sinned (all of us) and daily live with the pain of decisions and choices (all of us) . . . there is hope.

First of all, you are not alone, (see above).

Secondly, you are or can be forgiven.

I came across an amazing link that I will for sure save to read when I am feeling a bit beaten down. It gives different translations for Psalms 51:17 but even more than that, it also gives cross references and commentaries; many of which I needed to read, re-read and then read out loud today.  Here is a segment of one of my favorites by Matthew Henry:

"The good work wrought in every true penitent, is a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, and sorrow for sin. It is a heart that is tender, and pliable to God's word. Oh that there were such a heart in every one of us! God is graciously pleased to accept this; it is instead of all burnt-offering and sacrifice. The broken heart is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ; there is no true repentance without faith in him. Men despise that which is broken, but God will not. He will not overlook it, he will not refuse or reject it; though it makes God no satisfaction for the wrong done to him by sin. Those who have been in spiritual troubles, know how to pity and pray for others afflicted in like manner."

While God is not pleased that we have sinned against Him, He does not reject us. He, as a loving parent, can and will redeem His children's mistakes. BUT, we have to stop flogging ourselves, pick ourselves up and despite our pain go out and minister to others . . . even if it may be uncomfortable at times. Yes, some days it is easier than others.

I wish that the forgiveness of sins meant no more pain, but as Ernest Hengstenberg noted, "The joy on account of forgiveness and restoration to favour does not exclude continued pain on account of past sin." The consequences of our sin will follow us; it's up to us however to choose.  Will we walk around in despair and defeat, buried beneath the guilt? Or acknowledge our desperate need for a Saviour and dance in joyful victory with the applied truth from Luke 7:47-48:

"Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

That verse explains why I love my Lord . . . A LOT!

But, what about those of us who are convinced that we are just too marred or stained to be of any use to the Kingdom?

I just want to love on you and let you know that we are usable . . . maybe even more so! First however, we need to come to Him with a true repentant heart (one that hurts beyond what you think you can bare) . . . there and only there are forgiveness and peace found.

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17 ESV

Lord, thank you for not despising my broken heart. Please bind it up, forgive me and let me see myself through your eyes of grace . . . and then by your power and love that so blows away all of my understanding, help me to dust myself off and reach out to others.

Because you are a God of Wonders . . . and you are not done with any of us yet!


Friday, 12 July 2013

Recipe for Happiness

Wow. All these years lookin'. Little did I know that I would one day be able to buy happiness. A whole litre worth for a bargain basement price of just $2. Or a toonie as we Canadians say.

Now, before you go emailing me telling what a sucker I am to have purchased this, I must inform you that I sacrificed my hard-earned cash to see if it would work for you.

I twisted open the lid, put on a nostalgic Keith Green playlist and sat on my deck with my Bible and Crazy Love book.

Chapter 6 of the book is looking into love. Okay, the whole book is about love, but we're focusing on really crying out for God. Begging Him for his touch and to confess when we are dry and cracked . . . and during the times when we don't really 'feel' like loving Him.

The more I read, worshiped with Keith, and sipped on my water, the more broken I was. It was like a looking glass was placed before me; one that reflected what was in my heart.

I so want to want more of Him!

Tears flowed faster than the litres of Happy Water into my cup. Soon my cup was running over.

He is so good. He always does meet us, and fill us.

Curiously, I do feel happier. Somehow I don't think it has anything to do with the water.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

If the Shoe Fits

Sometimes the Lord tickles me.  He just does.

A few days ago I was asked to come up with a talk to help unify women and draw the younger generation. I read the email, mentioned it briefly in my prayers and then rolled over.

Fifteen minutes later I was lying in bed, typing out the ideas on my Samsung Note 2; (a cool tool BTW).

Just a few hours before the talk request came, I had ordered 100 little shoe beads. I had an idea to make up my own bracelets to raise funds for Engedi Refuge Ministries; the shoes were the only beads that I found on Ebay that ‘worked’. Little did I know what He had in mind; oh the giggles as I lay in bed writing up the proposal.

The chat is coming together rather nicely and I am shamefully self-promoting this to any church that is looking for a one hour talk for their women ministries. 100% of the speaking fees will go to Engedi Refuge and I am so excited to share!

If the message fits . . . book it!  :)

Walking a Mile in Her Shoes . . . Cinderella, the Old Woman & Dorothy!

A fun, interactive and prop-filled look at how childhood characters helped to shape our lives . . . and perhaps a few bunions!

Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Lori Dixon is an award winning humorist with over 200 articles in print. 100% of her speaking fees for 2013 go to support the local ministry of Engedi Refuge.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Yeah, Yeah . . . In a Second

Nothing drives a parent more crazy than when they ask their child to do something and they respond with a slightly bored and definitely irritated response of, ‘Yeah, yeah, in a second.’

Often I will go check to see what they are doing that is so ground-breakingly important that it makes my task delay-worthy.

Nine times out of ten, they are doing nothing. Nada. Zip. Just sitting watching the dust layer on the side table in our living room. (That being said, our house was chosen by the local university archaeology department for a student excavation program. Years of soil accumulation allowed them to experience the Law of Superposition in the safety and warmth of my home. Unfortunately, the program was abandoned after the first project was started. It appeared that the dust was the only thing holding my archaic furniture together. Sorry about your hutch, Grandma!).

I am mulling this as recently I started to redo the book, ‘Crazy Love’ by Francis Chan. I say ‘redo’ and not ‘read’ as it’s to be experienced and applied, not just skimmed through. (Hmmmm, kind of reminds me of another book). Chapter 1 is about prayer. Well, it’s really about God. If you ‘do’ this chapter correctly, prepare to have your mind stretched and convictions magnified.

As I reflected on the accounts of John and Isaiah being brought before the throne of God, I closed my eyes and imagined being grabbed by the scruff of my neck and dropped at the foot of His throne. Whoa. God help me. There is no ‘down’ that would be deep enough for me to bow in humble adoration. Compared to His greatness and holiness, the awareness of my own sinful nature and unworthiness makes hot coals to the lips seem not nearly extreme enough.

Yet, Hebrews 4:16 tells us that in Christ we can boldly approach the throne of God. This is the verse I guess I’ve focused on throughout my whole life of prayer. I clearly have no problem doing that. He is my friend and He walks with me and He talks with me. I love and chatter at Him often throughout the day. But . . . do I fully grasp to whom I am speaking?

You see, often . . . and I mean OFTEN, the Lord has nudged me to do something. Not always in subtle ways either. And here’s the thing, sometimes it’s easy for me to be obedient and jump to the task. Kind of like when I ask one of my teenage daughters to go fetch some chocolate out off the fridge. On it!

Other times I respond with, ‘Yeah, yeah, in a second’. You know, like when you ask your child to go clean their room or pick up the poop in the backyard. Some jobs do not promise us any immediate earthly rewards.

And so we brush Him off with a ‘Later, Dad’. Ouch.

Having reapplied the study of the throne of God, His vastness and His Holiness, I am regrettably aware of my brashness as His child. Of my lack of respect for Him.

The Lord has called me to do something and I know the only way I am going to follow through is to spend time boldly approaching the throne of God but now with full awareness of Who exactly is seated on that throne. To bow down in worship is so much more than posture or emotion; it involves mind, body and spirit.

Father, forgive us for being such lazy, disrespectful kids. Help us all to see You as you really are. . . and out of loving fear answer without delay when you call . . .

‘Here I am, Lord . . . send me!’ 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Beaching It

Wow, just realized it's been a month since I have blogged. Where does the time go?

In the last few weeks I have had my feet on three different glorious beaches. So you can excuse my absence . . . can't you?  :)

Mother's Day weekend I was blessed to be with a bunch of crazy-for-Jesus women at Cannon Beach Conference Center, Oregon.
Breathtaking beauty, (the Godly women I spent time with) . . . and the beach wasn't bad either. Hope to be back there soon as the women's conference coordinator took my business card . . . (Insert prayer here as I've forgotten her name).

A few weeks later I was in Rosarito, Mexico getting acquainted with some amazing workers at four different orphanages and loving on some pretty precious little tots. God puts things in perspective real quick.  The children were so affectionate and well behaved; I found myself praying silently over each one as I walked or rocked them. Sweet, sweet times.  Met and got to know and love a family of four who left the comforts of Canada to do this good work. My daughter, Mia had been nagging me since last summer to go down and experience what she fell in love with. Indebted to her tenacious nattering. So grateful.

We left there to go to Murrietta, CA and see my daughter, Tia graduate from Calvary Chapel Bible School. I was one proud mama. Got home and decided I wasn't too old and with some prodding and encouragement of my new Rosarito friend, Cindy Lee, I'm currently in the process of signing up for some online Bible School Courses.  God works in strange and wondrous ways.

Friday we had one last 'hurrah' on the south coast and Tia took us all to Oceanside, CA.  You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.  I've been to California dozens of times and never saw that beach or town. So picture perfect . . . we will be back!

So yes, my toes have been digging into warm sands (albeit briefly) over the last few weeks. God is good and He gives us the desires of our hearts.  I love the water . . . lakes or oceans and He knows it!

On that note, off to Pine Lake, Alberta this weekend where once again, The Lord has situated some training on the water's edge. I don't know if there will be sand, and I imagine it won't be as hot, but I'll take it. Before I head north to the BGEA training, I will be watching another beautiful daughter, Suzanne, walk across a stage in Calgary, Alberta to receiver her CGA designation as well . . . life is sweet!

Did I tell you lately how much He loves us?  Thanks for indulging me on this unusual personal plugging blog. Sometimes a mother just has to brag.

Monday, 29 April 2013

This is About That

Once, not too long ago, during a wonderful intimate time of fellowship, a lovely sharing circle suddenly turned into a brutal combat zone.

A beautiful, godly woman without warning and seemingly without cause, turned and let out a deadly barrage of ‘friendly’ fire, riveting a poor, unsuspecting ally.

The silence that followed the unprovoked attack was incredibly unnerving. A few dared to look up and survey the carnage while most of us kept our heads low and pretended to be completely engaged in our rings and fingernails.

My mind began to process the situation, trying to figure out what triggered the attack . . .

This is not about this . . . This was about THAT!

But of course!

So often people snap and spew hurtful words at bizarre times. We who witness or worse yet, receive the blows wonder what on earth just happened. The savage verbal hit is typically undeserved leaving us scratching our heads and wanting to duck for cover.

The thing is, this is rarely about this but rather about that. When seemingly sane people suddenly lash out irrationally it’s usually due to a trigger. Something said or done reminds them of a hurt from their past and click the bomb goes off. That is what they are angry at, not you and not whatever just transpired. In fact, it may be an old hurt from decades before.

It’s kind of like my dog.

She was a pound rescue and besides her oversized ears, she appeared to be a very loving, secure and ‘normal’ dog. After a few weeks with us, however, while horsing around in the kitchen one day, I whipped a towel playfully at the kids. As soon as she heard the snapping sound, she snapped! It was completely unexpected and over the top. Not in her true character at all. Clearly this little pup had a bad experience with some abuse or something that brought out the fight or flight in her. 

Ten years later, a bit more sure of herself, she can now handle a few snapping sounds before she goes off but the programming is still there. 

I believe we all have old thats.

While we may not be able to rewire our brains overnight to disconnect the this’s to the thats, as we mature and friends come alongside us in love to help us recognize patterns, slowly we can surrender our old hurts to the Lord and receive healing; fully and completely .

In the meantime, we need to show grace to our wounded friends, even when they turn and penetrate our souls with ‘friendly fire’. We need to recognize that it’s not us they are angry at (even if they don’t see it for themselves yet); they are reacting to old snapping towels from their past. 

Each situation will bring unique circumstances that need to be handled differently. No matter what, in moments like these, we need to go to them in love. Hurts typically only get that deep when inflicted by those who should have loved and protected them. So, as sisters, it’s up to us to give them an extra measure of grace in order to help them build trust. It’s not easy. Not to those reaching out nor to the deeply wounded soldier trying to rebuild their life.

Thankfully, the Lord will take our thats and transform us until we are controlled by His Spirit, not the this's. 

Until then, just keep remembering that This is about That and don’t take it personally. And, never go out—even to a Bible Study—before you put on your whole armor of God. It's a spiritual battlefield out there!

(Then there's the Theses and the Those's . . . don't even get me started on Them!)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hey Lady, Your Dress is on Fire!

On a holiday, not too long ago, as I sat poolside watching the sunset, a beautiful young woman walked by. Her long dress swooshed as she sauntered through the resort like a pink peony swaying in the wind. Suddenly the corner of her scalloped hem came a bit too close to a tea-light candle. Glowing embers flickered from the melting poly-blend . . . soon a little flame, not much bigger than a birthday candle could be seen.

I watched as she continued her walk along the deck. A gorgeous girl, all eyes were glued to her hot pink dress. It was hot alright! Waiting anxiously for someone near to pat out the fire or at least say something, I sat incredulously watching as the flame slowly crept up her skirt. Finally, a kind elderly lady leaning heavily on her cane shuffled over and managed to intercept her.

Cupping her hand as if to whisper, her hard of hearing voice declared loud enough for all to hear, “Darlin’ your dress is on fire!”

Glancing in disdain over her shoulder at the sweet senior, the clueless young girl shook her head in denial, dismissing the advice of the wise woman’s warning.

Continuing on her journey, the flame was now rising up past the back of her knee. Surely she could feel the heat now?

“Maam!” a pool attendant, busily folding towels yelled out from the cabana, “Your dress is on fire!” He waved a towel over his head, animating all the more his warning. Others, now empowered by his brashness, chimed in and all sounded the alarm.

This time, still moving, she took a moment to look behind her to see why everyone was raising such a raucous. For a moment she almost saw the flame, but then, shrugging her shoulders, she continued on her catwalk.

By now she was no more than three feet between me and the pool. With a yell like a linebacker, I rushed her and with one quick shove, pushed her in.


Rising out of the water, the look of shock on her face was priceless; mascara trailed down her cheeks, her carefully sculpted hair now hung in a matted mess. 

Leaning over, I came as close to her wet dripping face as I could and whispered, “Sweet thing, your dress was on fire.”

Glaring, she swore and stomping up the pool stairs, (with what was left of her dress barely covering her rear-end) threatened me with all kinds of legal action as she disappeared into the sunset.

Crazy story, huh? Which is why of course, it never actually happened. But I have seen similar scenarios acted out again and again.

Why? Because smart girls have been known to do very stupid things. 

Some of us women like to ‘play with fire’ and while a few ‘friends’ choose to turn a blind eye to our foolish choices, the others who do give warnings all too often are ignored or even chastised for getting involved. Arrogance seems to rule the day as we reject the advice of those who have gone before us. They are old. Or narrow minded. Or just don’t get it. 

Then, there are those of us who see the flames in other people’s lives but are so paranoid of ‘offending’ we allow them to burn rather than call their attention to the obvious! Besides, it’s so much easier to watch them ignite and then talk behind their scarred backs.

How do I know this to be true? Because I have a whole wardrobe full of singed garments! I can be as stubborn as the girl in my story. And, sad to say, there have been times when I have seen my friends catch fire and instead of yelling, tip-toed around them in some kind of un-Godly political correctness.

No more. 

We need to stop playing around with fire. So often we think that what we are dabbling in is harmless. But, like the girl in the story, something that starts out tiny can slowly engulf us.

In the meantime, if I see you’re in danger of burning up in flames, I’m going to go to you quietly . . . then I’ll yell . . . and if push comes to shove, I'll throw you in the pool. 

I pray to God you’ll do the same for me. (Note to self, buy waterproof mascara . . . in bulk!)

Picture by Alejandro