Friday, July 25, 2014

when the finish is bittersweet... #fmfparty #speakout2014

It's a quiet Friday morning...the camp weeks are over. And I'm greedy again for more than 5 minutes to hug tight and close and bow low in worship to the God who makes all things beautiful. And, for me, there is no place on earth quite as beautiful as Keszthely, Hungary.

Go ::

I went to bed early
and got up late.
I am not alone on this 
quiet Friday morning.

(and there is no husband quite as wonderful as mine:)

this morning is bittersweet.
the running has been good
and sure and the walls

there are no words and yet
I grasp. I smell the sweetness
and long to paint a word-glimpse.

the finish is the most bittersweet of moments.
the place of a chapter closing and 
the knowledge that this community
that comes together each summer
won't look the same. ever.

it's the reality that for us and hundreds
of campers we find the way to 
keep going, keep growing,
keep knowing, even as it will
seem lonely. the late night talks
on dorm halls won't be there. at 
least not like this.

many will stand alone in new places and 
look one friend at a time for a way
home. it's the moment of seeming 
despair when you are gazing at a 
beauty that is just so full it hurts. 
and you know.

you know it isn't meant to last.
you remember that yes, our days
are still defined by this veil of tears
and we are all in the in-between.
the places of dreams and sacrifice and 
pain and surrender as we take 
each step forward.

we are in the place where we know
that even the most beautiful is 

the hugs of these days are the ones
that may not be experienced again 

The finish now is only full in its
'now but not yet'. It's only in pushing 
beyond the glory of the summer 
and changed lives, to the glory of 
Of fledging faith that rises up in 
stuttering song but refuses to 
stop singing. The ones who return 
to homes with broken places and 
learn to believe that it is all 
meant to be true here, too.

it will be so. The never ever ever
giving up as we all learn to cheer
on the others from the distance
of current places to the longing 
of all time...the Feast without end 
and the Prize given to the bittersweet 


Friday, July 18, 2014

Blooming in the Son #fmfparty #speakout2014

For the second week, I am breaking the rules...10 precious minutes to reflect upon the life & ministry we are so amazingly blessed to live... (if you are one of our partners, or even if you are not;) PLEASE pray about joining us in ministry here in Hungary )

Go ::

It’s a quiet Friday morning. They stay quiet around the camp weeks. The brave and exhausted rest in ways that have been impossible. But, oh for the ways that rest has been found in the faces of one another and the eyes of the seeking and the arms of the Savior who longs to be found.

It surprises every time. But, how can this be? The flowers they stretch out in first petals and rise to meet the Son. They come and in three or four days go from places of confidence and views of life that leave no room for a dying God and Grace for their need too and they start to crumble in all of the right ways. Their thoughts of how it all is supposed to be, or that we can create our own meaning in our own small lives that have no connection to the Greater.

We walk in hallowed space on soccer fields and pavement trails and sandy beaches and mushy lakes that are murky yet home. We look into eyes and slap down cards and learn new things and somehow? It always circles back around to this truth that shapes all of our days and forevermore.

We lift up brothers and sisters of another culture who are our family and we plead for the chains to be broken, the oppressed to be set free and for newness of life to bloom in the wastelands of the thief. 

We see the journey from darkness to light and in it all we look more and more to Heaven. We are humbled and amazed and there is Glory. We cry it from the depths and our souls have started to not be able to bloom under any other sun than this. It isn’t enough…our own glory-grasping…it mars the fields of wheat and the white of a harvest that is unto the Lamb, perfect, forever, slain for all time.
We are changed and dead things are pruned and new places of hope and joy and Gospel they spring up as we share life and the truth thatmakes all of the difference. It’s tears of joy and pain and the depth of souls that lie before as precious as the newborn babe.


Friday, July 11, 2014

A place to Belong #speakout2014 #fmfparty


This week I am breaking the rules.

I’m giving myself 10 whole minutes on a free day at camp to write my heart out about what it means to …
It’s just too rich and I have been missing writing too much in these packed, yet beautiful, days, so on this one in seven day of literal rest, I’m doubling this kind of breathing…

Go ::

We sit in a crowded room
And bounce the stories
Of our days…
All shapes and sizes and
Journeys to Keszthely,
The hearts of young people
Laid open to prayer and redemption
And our own belonging to a God
Who opens wide and receives
For all time all who call
On Jesus.

It’s the lancing some days
The heart that was angry and
Hard last summer returning
To a community that is the only
Voice of love and sacrifice.
The hard walls have turned to tears
And I praise a good God for this
Girl and that one on either side
Who remembers her tears.

The journey to belong…

It’s written in the ragged edges
And even as we the Redeemed
Know that we belong forever
Our threads remain fragmented
And in our brokenness we
Extend the weary arms and the
Tear-laden hearts and wrap
Wide around and somehow,
Here, we too are found.

We start to live with solid by
Solid color, shape, scope and breath
That we really do belong.
(because we do)

We don’t belong to country or even
Family in deepest places anymore,
But we belong to Him.

You in your little place and I in
Mine and the sacred touch it
Spans our hearts as we believe it
Is real and live it out loud.

The belonging hunger that I see in
A hundred and more shades each summer
with their varied hues
Of depth of pain and simple trust in
What can be made happy again,
It mirrors the contours I daily find woven in
My own yet-to-be-traversed dark corners
Of heart and holding on.

I sacrifice and so do you as we risk
The truth, the story in its unfulfilled
Longing and share with tears the
Reality of the hurt. Yet, through
And through somehow we 

Come to belong more…to be that
Much closer to a Home without End

(8.5 minutes…I found a good ‘stop’ early;)

today the Five Minute Friday sharing is happening at Crystal Stine's place :)


Thursday, July 3, 2014

learning to breathe...exhale #fmfparty


It's exhale morning

our 'free' day at English Camp

the kids are shouting and yelling 
in the next room with the most
amazing hubby in the world;)

Life is good and yet not

There's relief in Dad coming 
home, but yet changes that
mark the fleeting nature of life.

there's the excitement of 
the new things coming, we're
sending out to all the world 
from this little town in Western 

and yet, it's the lostness and the glory
that compels

the breathing is calling me to the 
larger expanse. to the kind 
of in that takes in the weight 
of souls that roam having no 
knowledge of love & heaven 
and what has changed everything.

there's that deep desire to live 
these breaths like they really are 
moment to moment taking me 
closer to Home and their sum 
total is GLORY.

GLORY seen in the face of the
dying One, who suffered, yes, 
suffered, and then he died.

He gave it all and held nothing 
back, and this is the road to 
GLORY...all the GLORY that 
ever matters and the One 
who is my heart's desire.

Right here in this morning of freedom
I look forward to a day of exhaling 
with kids and being family even as 
the inhale dives deeper for the 
journey ahead, for the ones who 
are in agony and need hope.

for the heart of the beating Christ
to be the anthem, the prayer, 
the breath, the sigh of what
remains and the embrace of 
knowing Him in the journey.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Escape to Experience

Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!

I am praying it is real. 

It's not about the quick fix or the how-to's. 

I've been writing in the midst of international travel and too many nights in different places to count. I'm writing now in the midst of more nomadic times and the beginning of our ministry's summer-long English camp.

I'm also writing with a broken heart. Soon after I said goodbye to my Dad he became very sick and now lays in a hospital bed an ocean away with kidney failure. (Update :: He is improving, though weak and needing to adjust to a life with dialysis. He was able to come home from the hospital yesterday in time to celebrate his 74th birthday. God is good!)

And really, truly, I don't want to write about Pure Passion. 

I want to curl up on the couch and watch feel-good movies or lose myself in a happily-ever-after book. I want to escape from the reality of life.

There are times when Grace is close and we are bruised reeds, brokenhearted, exhausted, discouraged, and afraid and the Lord is so close to us even when we are ‘escaping’ mentally through movies or books or social media feeds. This has been true for me many times in life, especially after my mom's death and as I moved overseas.

So, for me, it would be a whole other kind of heartbreaking if this series started to preach performance or the rigid try-hard of life. “No, please, no!” is a kind of ‘groaning prayer’ as I write.


We’re talking about paradigm shifts in thinking. And moving from Escape to Experience is essential to living a life of Pure Passion.

Jesus makes incredible promises that speak to us through the pages of God’s Only Word. He tells us to take on his yoke, but it is easy and light and brings rest for our weary. This? The yoke of the God-man who emptied himself, became nothing and died on a cross? And here is the Only Way?

How can this be?

Because the eternal destiny of our souls, those who have trusted in Christ’s righteousness for our own, is unity with God. Wholeness. Forever. Love, Joy, Peace and all of the fruition of our heart’s desires are bound up in this. Essentially, God IS our rest.

It’s the Pascal quote (in my last post) and this one I love and use and re-use from St.Augustine. I’m sure C.S. Lewis says it some other way and probably Tim Keller too. All of my favorites, but they all come from the Master. In every way He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to be united with the Father, our eternal rest, our Intimate Embrace of Love, but through Him.

I walk this journey with a bit of trepidation as I write about Pure Passion in my relationship with God and intimately linked to it, a life-giving sexual relationship with my husband. Because I know myself, my best do-good-in-my-own-strength efforts are often fleeting. Life is just too hard and I am too much dust and clay to become some up-in-front-of-the-world Pure Passion Woman. (whoever that woman is would be something to behold, don't you think?)

But, even with all of that, I have to keep writing and walking and stumbling and being vulnerable enough to live it out in the open. Anything else, for me, just seems like the coward’s way.

So, the truth? 

I am a professional Escape Artist. 

As far back as I can remember, I do the best to perform and at times, with a high level of capacity, and then I escape into my own ways of finding rest, me-time, etc. when I have no more strength. Growing up it was after chores on the farm and then after homework and studying for straight A grades. But, my whole life, it’s always been the same.

When I have no more strength, I tend to escape instead of learning to experience the strength of God in the midst of my weakness.

And, as I am finding with all of the dark, unrefined places of my heart, my desire to escape is in soul-tearing conflict with God’s when I look at it in the light of sexual intimacy in marriage.

As I think of my personal journey in marriage with sex, I have ridden the waves of passion as a newlywed. Then life outside of marriage got harder and I went into my default patterns. I found my pseudo-rest in escape. Whether TV or books or movies or _______.

But this is not the way. No. Jesus calls me to come to Him in my weariness. This answer, I could have given you like the good Christian girl I am;) years and years ago.

Yet, to experience His life and rest, intimately, with my hubby, through our sexual relationship? To say no to that escape artist and choose to experience our intimate life when the kids are asleep and yet my to-do list remains long? Or when I am so tired I don’t want to have to think about anything? When I want to fall asleep, or not, but definitely have no more demands, especially sex, then too?

Crazily, amazingly, whole-heartedly, I know the answer is YES! 

However, to choose the better way I must cut through all of the layers of my flesh-filled life. All of the patterns of hiding, shame, holding back, fear, loneliness…

And yet Jesus comes to me as Bridegroom to Bride and wants to lead me to the bedroom and my beloved and asks me to trust Him.

For all time it’s the only way to be changed, to experience and live present and full and yes, with Pure Passion.

Read the entire Pure Passion Series here!

Sharing with Kelli @ Unforced Rhythms, Jen @ SoliDeoGloriaSisterhood , Laura , #TellHisStory & Amy and #RiskRejection

Join me next time for Pure Passion :: From Folly to Fun


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