Tuesday, December 27, 2011


For Christmas I gave my husband a surprise date with me to the movie, Courageous. We both thought it was outstanding.

This movie is for everyone, but especially for men. It encourages men to be men instead of making fun of their incompetencies, belittling them, or implying they should be more like women. Beyond that, Courageous shows the importance of the father's role in the family, it shows why this role is so important, and it shows examples of what being a good father actually looks like.

If you haven't seen this wonderful movie yet, go see it!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Advent: Truth in the Tinsel

This Advent season has been a wonderful time in our home as we've turned our hearts to the Christmas story through Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands.

Ezekiel looked forward to opening the Advent box each morning and finding a little gift inside.
This year, along with a small gift, he got a clue (the green piece of paper with a picture on it). 

We taped the clues to our Advent calendar, and counted the number of days until Christmas. 

The clue (for example, "Mary") was the word of the day. It was in the daily Scripture reading, and it was the basis for a homemade ornament, discussion, and fun activity.

Here are the ornaments we made.

Day 1 - Candle

Day 2 - Kingdom

Day 3 - Zechariah

Day 4 - Gabriel

Day 5 - Mary

Day 6 - Mary/Elizabeth

Day 7 - Song

Day 8 - Sun

Day 9 - Joseph

Day 10 - Dream

Day 11 - Jesus' Name

Day 12 - Census

Day 13 - Bethlehem

Day 14 - Stable

Day 15 - Manger

Day 16 - Cloths

Day 17 - Sheep

Day 18 - Angels

Day 19 - Shepherds

Day 20 - Temple

Day 21 - Star

Day 22 - Wise Men

Day 23 - Gifts

Day 24 - Cross

Children older than three, and girls, would probably appreciate art projects more than a three-year-old boy. Zeke really enjoyed the Do More Together section because they were more active activities (jumping, flashlights, acting things out, etc). But he still thought the crafts were neat and enjoyed them.

The best part is that it kept us so focused on the true meaning of Christmas this year! You can opt to do a shortened version of Truth in the Tinsel if it works better for you, but we did the whole thing and really made it the main priority of our Christmas preparation. It was a great find and I highly recommend it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Go Tell It On the Mountain

I love the part of the story where the shepherds are just minding their business, and suddenly angels are flying around telling them to go see a baby who was born to be the King of Peace for the whole world.

I love how they run to find the baby, and then go off telling everyone what they saw.

Shepherds were common and lowly, but God chose to use them as missionaries because they traveled a lot with their sheep. I can imagine them just bursting with excitement and wonder.

Peace has come to the world.

Love came down.

Royalty of Heaven became a man and slept in dirt. For us!!

Let's tell everyone how amazing this is!

Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cookies

Having a major sweet tooth, it's hard to resist baking lots of yummy Christmas cookies. But these days I really need to limit my sugar intake to prevent migraine attacks. I still ended up baking sugary sweets this year, because I really enjoy giving them away. My logic: Someone needs to be eating these, even if it's not me! My goal is to give away 95 percent of everything I made. The other five percent I will save for my boys. :)

This is the one time of year I don't feel like I'm missing out by not going outside. It's nice to be in when it's cold, listening to Christmas music and mixing up a batch of something. Then when it's all done, you get to deliver gifts you made yourself.

This year we did oatmeal cookies, Oreo balls, toffee, minty cream cheese cut-outs, peanut butter star cookies, and peppermint meringues.

Giving cookies. Doesn't really compare to God giving his Son. But we do what we can.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Shane and I have been reflecting on all the stability we have lost over the past four years. Financial stability, career stability, health stability, child care stability, family stability, relationship stability... and control in general. :) We just watch in astonishment and helplessness as each thing we have long depended on gets tossed out the window.

Hear me right: We are abundantly rich and blessed compared to the rest of the world. But the ground beneath us has been shaking, so to speak, and we have been unsure where to put our feet.

As Christians we speak of trusting "fully" in God and giving our whole hearts to him. But let's be honest. Most of us don't have to trust God alone until our worldly stabilities are taken away and we have no where else to turn. Not till our foundations shake and fall down. It usually isn't until we're faced with some practical reality of destitution, and we become completely helpless in some way, that we come running to our God for stability and security.

Until then, we take care of ourselves.

But when there is nothing left to stand on, that's when we stand on the promise of God.

Look at any elderly person faced with having to live in a nursing home. No one goes into a nursing home happily; they wait until they have no where else to turn. No family member can or will take care of them. Or they are simply all alone.

Not until we get desperately needy do we give up our lives into someone else's care.

"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position." James 1:9

Why does James call humble circumstances – or poverty – a high position?

Poverty comes in many forms, and we will all face its reality again and again in our lives. Every loss of control, every broken relationship, every death of a parent. Every cancer cell. Every time we get fired. Every abuse. Every injustice. For some of us this will happen more times than others, and that is precisely because...

...we are blessed.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

That kingdom of heaven is becoming more valuable to me everyday. The more the rugs are pulled out from under me, the more I need God. Not want God, need him. Desperately need him to come through for me, because I don't have answers or solutions or medicines or money or help or direction. The fact of the matter is, I have never felt so helpless in all my livin' days.

But that's the glorious point!

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge."

Psalm 62:5-8

God wants to be our sole stability, and if he allows us the horrible experience of getting knocked down over and over, glory be to him. When we come to, and look up from the dirt, only he will remain. And we will look into that face of pure love and know that he alone is enough.

Joseph and Mary, they were poor, and desperate for a place to give birth. But then God provided a tiny shack that just happened to be called a stable

When you have nothing much, a stable is stable enough.

For they had the promise of God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Customer Service People

I just want to thank all the customer service people out there who:
  • Smile.
  • Look me in the eye.
  • Respond.
  • Respond kindly.
  • Ask intelligent questions.
  • Are dedicated to finding a solution.
  • Know that I (the customer) am not always right, but still treat me politely.
  • Are friendly.
  • Respond to my child when he speaks to them. 
  • Cast their cares upon the Lord instead of taking out their anger on me.
  • Actually enjoy serving.
  • Communicate in complete sentences what they are doing, instead of just mumbling "Hold on."
  • Don't walk away while I am talking to them.
  • Say "please" and "thank you."
  • Say "ma'am" and "sir."
  • Lead me to a product instead of waving their finger in a general direction and saying "somewhere around those aisles over there, I think."
  • Don't pretend to ignore me and run away when I am obviously coming to ask for help.
  • After helping me, ask "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
  • Apologize for their mistakes. Without making excuses.
  • Apologize for their company's mistakes.
  • Apologize when I have had to wait for service.
  • Apologize for not carrying the product or service I need.
  • Apologize when they are unable to help me for any reason.
Decent customer service is so rare nowadays. It's downright disgusting. I don't know if it's Big Corporate taking over the world, or technology replacing face-to-face communication, or your mama just didn't love you right. Or maybe you were just never taught.

In any case, thanks to those few servant-hearted people out there who still believe customers matter.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Being under the weather so much of the fall/winter has made for lots of cuddle time in this house. Every single bedtime and naptime, my son requests, "I need you to WAY wit me, Mommy. Just for a widdo bit."

We try to stay strong. We discipline when he gets out of bed or when he keeps yelling for us. But I confess I have lied with him until he's fallen asleep a lot lately. I go in reluctantly, but every time, I end up lying there thinking, "What in the world could be wrong about this?"

His skin is still soft like a baby and he curls into me and his eyelashes are so long and at three years old he still does that suckling sound to get himself to sleep. So content, so peaceful. And I think, There is no where else I'd rather be right now.

He won't want me to lie with him forever. These moments are fleeting. I want to soak in all the fullness of this moment while it is here.

I pray for him while we are still. For his heart to become soft to Jesus, for his heart to become strong like Jesus'. I whisper to him that God is always with him, taking care of him, even when Daddy and Mommy aren't. He says, "Mm-hmm" and keeps on suckling.

And usually he says something random, like, "Baby Jesus didn't even have a Bear and Elmo." Or, "The Snow Monster was really scary but then he wanted to be friends with Rudolph." Or, "Mommy is going to ride a horse and Zekie is going to ride a sled and Daddy is going to ride a pony."

And then I burst out laughing at these three-year-old thoughts, and then he bursts out laughing because I'm laughing, and we are definitely not sleeping.

But these are the moments God gives us. Don't miss these moments with your children. They seem small, but they make up the relationships that are the foundations for their life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Praising Through the Pain

A few years ago I was sitting at my desk in a mission office in Minneapolis, happily editing and designing a little book by Paul Lindell. The book was entitled, The Mystery of Pain. Pain is indeed a great mystery.

I'm convinced the purpose of pain is distraction.

Some pain drives us to our knees in prayer. Other pain – felt physical pain – can become so intense that it is impossible to pray. We are distracted to the point we can't think straight, muchless utter a prayer.

But God's Spirit is always praying through us.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." - Romans 8:26

How awesome it is to be filled with God's Spirit. I am constantly connected to him, always praying in my spirit through His Spirit. Even when pain takes over my body and mind.

However, there is power in agreeing with our minds with what the Spirit of God is doing. Agreeing in conscious prayer. Satan knows this power and it makes him tremble. It makes him tremble when we shout praises to our God, or when speak the promises of God in prayer. Prayer and praise defeat our enemy. That's why, I am convinced that his great tactic is to cripple us in pain.

I have recognized this and through recent migraine pain, I began to will my focus to God. I praise him in my pain. I say, "Thank you, Father, for allowing this pain. Because in my suffering, you make me like your Son. This is the highest purpose you could give me, and I am privileged to bear it."

This is not easy, while being tortured by pain, to praise my God who could easily take it away. But the truth is: He is gentle and kind, and if there was a better way to my healing and sanctification, my God would surely do it. His heart beats for me.

Stephen knew the love of God. People threw rocks at him until he died (ouch). But he stayed connected, and he went down in prayer.

"While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'" Acts 7:59

God did not cause my pain. But for some reason, he allows it. One day soon, he will take it away completely and forever. His Kingdom is coming; I have seen it coming.

Try this next time you're in pain. If you don't know what to say, if your husband doesn't know what to say, speak any Scripture you can think of. Or just tell him you love him and will keep praising him no matter what. If it hurts to talk, just whisper. Speak it between contractions. Speak it before you throw up.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword..." Hebrews 4:12a

Sometimes it's impossible. But when it is possible, will you join me in praising through the pain?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meat Loaf for the Boys

Squishing your hands in freezing cold raw meat is not the best thing to do when you have a migraine.

I am making meat loaf.

Come to think of it, there are not really any activities that are good to do while having a migraine. Except sleeping. And you can't do that with a little one running around. So you must do something.

I usually try to opt for the least bothersome activity at this stage in a migraine. Something that won't put my body into shock. Usually that means dim lighting and sitting still, trying to smile and respond to my child. I am definitely not able to chop onions right now. But I can look at this computer screen for short periods. There are other phases in the disease where you literally can't do anything (except breathe, and even that can become difficult). If I chopped onions right now, that would likely put me over the edge and I would not be functioning for a while. But I took a chance with the freezing cold meat. Hopefully it won't do me in.

This meat has been thawing two days already, waiting for the migraine to subside. And the boys have to eat.

I'm reminded more and more lately that I have two "boys" on my hands now. Just this morning, Shane was traipsing around the house trying to get breakfast made, get himself and Ezekiel dressed, clean up the kitchen... while I sat in a daze with my coffee trying to wake up, as usual. Zeke following close behind Daddy, trying to keep up. They come marching down the stairs, first the mammoth one, then the mini one, Zeke announcing, "Here come the boys! Here come the boys!"

He loves that he is a boy, like his daddy. Toys, games, books are all on the backburner for now. All he wants to do is wrestle. "Would you like to wrestle me now, Dad?" is the constant question. And if they're not wrestling they're playing catch, or the living room golf ball game.

So I made it through the meat loaf. God so helped me. They will be happy boys tonight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

The past few years have demanded many, many lifestyle changes for us. It's not been easy, but I consider these changes blessings ~ God really does work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

I would like to share these healthy changes here, because maybe something I have learned will help one of my friends or family on their journey to health and healing. I wish I would've known what I know now a long time ago, to prevent illness from getting to the point it did. That's not to say that everything I mention is for everyone. There are many voices speaking the way to health and wholeness, but God's voice is the only one that really matters.

On that note – these changes are not healing me; only God heals. But as I've researched health problems, I've found some very great tools for taking better care of my body in the long run.

If you ever come up against health problems, you will soon find out that our health care system here in America is very reactive, and not very proactive. We do a lot with drugs and surgeries to fix or manage big problems that have usually been a long time coming, due to our unhealthy living habits. Since my body hasn't responded well to drugs or surgery, I needed to find a doctor who specialized in wellness, prevention, nutrition, and hormones. This has been a gentler way to treat my body as God leads me into healing. These doctors are out there, but unfortunately your insurance company won't help you much with getting this kind of health care. However, this doctor has helped me a lot.


When you see a grizzly bear in the woods, your adrenal glands pump a hormone called cortisol. Some of us have trained our minds to think that everything is a grizzly bear. We respond to big and little things by agreeing with a spirit called Fear (not an emotion, a spirit... which can train us to accept fearful emotions/thoughts). The problem is, your body was not meant to pump cortisol all day long. When you pump all this cortisol, your body poops out and you get chronic fatigue! This is one way that fear, anxiety, and stress can cause disease.

First and foremost, learning the spiritual roots of chronic disease, casting them out, and reprogramming my mind and body have been THE most effective thing we have done for my health. The Be In Health ministry conference we attended last year was not "hokey" as I thought it might be, but rather very practical, and the valuable information we received there has come up new time and time again.

As the Bible clearly shows us, disease is a direct result of sin: general sin in our world, or sin passed down through generations, or our personal sin. Dealing with sin is the only way to get to the root of disease. God doesn't make this difficult; he wants us to have authority over sin and spiritual oppression, just like Jesus did. God wants us to be free. I can say that with confidence now. I have been freed from Fear, Accusation, and Rejection. As those spirits come back to threaten, I now have tools to recognize them and get rid of them before they take my thoughts, hormones, body chemistry, and actions.

I am not talking about some mind-over-matter psychological thing; I am talking about God's deliverance from real spiritual forces who have known my weaknesses and hung out with me for a long time. But however powerful they have been, the blood of Jesus proves more powerful! I am falling out of agreement with these spirits every day, and my body is responding. This is a process and I am still walking it out, but rejoicing in the new freedom and healing that I've received so far! God is transforming me, Shane, and our marriage because of these new truths we have learned. My friend Michelle writes more in-depth about this kind of deliverance.

Eucharisteo is the other ongoing spiritual practice that is changing my life. I learned from Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, that God just can't stop giving gifts to us. He never stops, ever. How could this be true, even when I'm stuck in pain? I tested it out, and I found that God's gifts do keep flowing in the dark, and God still loves me abundantly when I'm in pain. So I'm learning to count gifts and consciously thank God. Thankfulness precedes joy.


After lunch I rest. I don't usually need an actual nap anymore, unless I had too little sleep the night before. Good sleep at night makes a world of difference. Shane gets up in the night with the little guy, if needed. He can handle that and go to work and has no problem with it. To that I say, Praise God for putting us together! Shane is really strong, physically and mentally. He also gets up with our son in the morning and gets him ready so I can take my time. Of course, if we ever have another baby, this part of our lifestyle would change. But for now, it works well for us!

SLOW DOWN has become our mantra. When we stop rushing and slow down, we can count gifts, communicate better, enjoy each other more, recognize spiritual attack, and parent better. Losing two jobs this year has been a huge blessing!

The next few changes are not by any means treating the roots of a disease or problem. They are, by God's great mercy, making life manageable in the meantime. One day I hope to never use these methods again, but for now, they are helpful mercies from God! And good for my body and mind.


Taking bioidentical progesterone can help with PMS, sleep, anxiety, stress, and migraine – all of which are caused by excessive estrogen. I take it for migraine. How it works: The progesterone balances out the excess estrogen.

My Vitamin D3 level tested low, so my doctor prescribed therapeutic levels of Vitamin D3 until it tested normal. Now I take a good Vitamin D3 supplement everyday. Vitamin D deficiency is common to Americans, especially those of us that have cold winters, simply because our lifestyle and climate don't allow us direct sun exposure. In fact, experts are calling the D-deficiency an epidemic among Americans. Vitamin D3 fights depression and is a key supporter of the immune system. If you are thinking of starting on an anti-depressant, I highly recommend you try a high dose of Vitamin D3 for a few months and see if it helps first. I also recommend it for colds and flu, especially for kids.

I've heard Vitamin B12 called "the new coffee," and thought that was a great description. The B vitamins help stabilize moods and help the brain think clearly. But there's a delicious, berry-flavored B12 sublingual that I used during my second winter of severe illness. It melts right into the capillaries and hits the bloodstream so fast that you get energy, pleasant mood, and wakefulness right away in the morning when it's most challenging to function.

For anyone with chronic fatigue, Fish Oil helps with "brain fog."

And of course, no one gets enough nutrients no matter what kind of diet we have, so a good Multivitamin is good for everyone.

Recently I started drinking Monavie juice. It has tons of antioxidants which help prevent disease, energize, and Wellmune for immune support. Not going to say anything about this yet as it's only been three weeks since I started.


My body feels it when I eat too much white flour or sugar now. But there are tons of flour substitutes at the health food store. Stevia, agave nectar, and coconut palm sugar have become my go-to sugar substitutes. If I must eat dessert (pretty much everyday) I do it after supper, while there's lots of food in my tummy so I don't get a sugar crash. The Gracious Pantry is my favorite resource for "clean-eating" recipes – food without preservatives or artificial junk. Basically, homemade. My cooking has changed so much.

Eating some kind of protein in every meal or snack helps because protein gives sustained energy, not quick energy. Peanuts, nut butters, oils, avocados, sunflower seeds, cheese, yogurt, whole grains, etc. No more cereal in the morning. Breakfast is now eggs, oats, barley, or buckwheat pancakes! I eat dairy now, but still avoid straight cow's milk. I seem to digest almond milk and rice milk better. Soy milk is full of estrogen, so none of that.

Dehydration can cause tons of health problems, so I drink water all day. A glass of saltwater in the morning to raise blood pressure. This prevents dizziness.

Apples. With peanut butter. I don't know why, but after I eat an apple I seriously feel physically energized. I like to eat one in the afternoon when I'm running out of steam. Salads for lunch do the same thing. I'm not talking iceberg lettuce with some pre-bottled dressing. We make big salads at our house. Dark greens with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cheese, seeds, ham, and oil-vinegar!


Instead of trying to ignore something that can actually debilitate me, I'm facing the music. First of all addressing the root of my allergies (Fear). In the meantime, as I walk out of agreement with Fear in daily situations... I take showers at night to get all the allergens off, use a Neti pot to get the allergens out of the nose, run the AC, and started back on antihistamine.

The above are "remedies" for living in an imperfect world in a pre-eternal body. However, I believe that God's Kingdom is coming in this earthly body and eventually I won't need ANY of these things. For now, I thank God for ways to function and care for my family the best I can – I prayed for that!


So, I now have a "homemaking binder." I don't care if you think I'm a nerd, it's awesome. Taking good care of a household is a big job – whether you have one child or 18! Although in this career-driven world, managing a home is belittled as some "extra" thing. In my binder is: eight weeks worth of meal menus, a cleaning schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly), our budget, and all kinds of lists. It's amazing what you don't have to think about once you write it down!


When I moved to Story City, I wondered why God would take me out of a world-focused ministry in a big city back to... rural Iowa. He replied that he was going to teach me how to be a neighbor. Little did I know, the way to teach someone how to be a good neighbor is to put them in a horribly weak and vulnerable position so they are forced to depend on neighbors themselves. :) Yes, being "neighbored" is apparently the best way to learn how to "neighbor." I have been cared for so well by people around me. We have such amazing friends. Furthermore, I've learned that although my husband and child are primarily mine to care for, God also wants to care for them through a community. I love seeing my son being loved so well by so many people. I am so thankful and indebted to my "neighbors" here in town. But I'm learning to relax in letting them care, learning to be loved in a new way. I hate to admit it, but I don't know if I would've allowed myself to be loved so unconditionally without getting extremely weak. What a profound experience. After all this, I don't think I will ever be the same kind of friend, mom, or neighbor that I was before.

There you have it. Seems like a lot, and I left out all the things that we discontinued! Our God makes all things new...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Resting on One Word at a Time

The day commences with pain and fatigue, and we watch PBS, the little one and me. We read books. He runs living room circles, chanting. Naps early, then more PBS...

In between, minutes of facebook, e-mail, a foggy daze. Click, click, click. But never once to the living Bread.


I ask myself this question as he naps. On these foggy, heavy eyelid days of ache, why is it more restful for me to space out on facebook than to read God's Word... eat the Bread that heals?

Facebook distracts from the pain. God's Word, however, dives right into it. Takes me into the wound, deep, until I come out clean.

Clean, but not necessarily feeling better.

On these foggy days, after reading God's Word, I am left physically and mentally more exhausted than before I read. It is mental work. How can this work really bring my healing, my rest, when it makes me feel worse?

Mailman listens, and says this, "Rest doesn't come from reading your Bible. It comes from your relationship with God."

Rest comes from my relationship with God.

He suggests, on foggy days, I just take one verse and meditate on it. After all, one little crumb of that living Bread is all I need.

"That's why I've been writing verses on those index cards," I tell him. "I wanted to have just one verse to think about on days like today."

"So why didn't you do that today?"

"Because I haven't finished writing them out yet."

"So? Just start using the cards you have."

"But I have to finish them first. That's why I didn't go to the Word today. Because if I did, I would have to keep writing out verses and I was too exhausted."

Our eyes meet, and Christ declares it from the cross: It is finished.

The Mailman speaks truth. "Kati, just because you haven't finished writing the cards doesn't mean you can't start using them."
This never occurred to me. Yes, I suppose I could start using them...

Sneaky spirit of drivenness! That voice I was heeding, drivenness, telling me the work is not finished and so I may not rest. It is a lie.

More daylight passes and as the sun falls I rise to the bedroom and those index cards. Just one, he says. Why not start using them now? That Mailman has some revolutionary ideas...

I open the box and pick this one:

Mailman is washing dishes and I cannot get to the kitchen fast enough to show him this crumb!

He smiles and affirms it. "One word at a time!"

I eat this crumb and I'm filled, and I rest. And tomorrow the finished cards will be there waiting for me like manna, like the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

For He's Going to Your House Today

They are coming to our house to pray healing over me tonight, and all the thoughts well up:

"What if they don't pray bold enough? What if they don't know my story well enough? How much ministry training do these people have? What if it's just a big hype and a big let-down? How much or how little should I explain about Be In Health or ministering with the gifts of the Spirit? Am I being a spiritually selfish snob, thinking these things?!"


He speaks in first person. I recognize his slimy, prideful voice. It's not me; it's that old spirit of accusation again. He wants me to agree with him. Fear, pride, guilt – and ultimately that accusing spirit.

I order him to leave me, and he obeys.

Then the prayers come slipping out like water... "What should I expect tonight, Father?"

I picture all the faces of these people who have so selflessly brought me before his throne everyday, not knowing me well, but treating me as their sister in need. Jesus loves me and lives in each one of them.

Jesus is coming to our house today. His credentials are more than enough.

Wait... Jesus is coming? To our house??

I can't get this out of my head, and I'm excited. Jesus is coming to our house! Today!

The old Sunday School song starts playing in my head... "For I'm going to your house today! For I'm going to your house today!" Zacchaeus! I pull my little boy onto my lap and tell him we need to read a Bible story about a man in a tree. The book falls onto my lap, and there he is waving at me from the back cover.

I never saw him there before! But there he sits in that tree. Clueless target. And all-knowing God here, knowing my every thought.

Hello there, God. Really? Today? Our house?

I climb out of my tall, tall tree and humble, assume short stature of the small man who was so blessed to have Jesus in his house and he knew it. I know it too. Excited, God with us, we read the story.

Come, Lord Jesus! Come tonight! Today!

We finish reading and look out the window and the garbage man is taking away my trash. I smile.

Today we will clean house and we will receive Jesus into our home!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Delivered from Drivenness

An army prays for my healing every day until Easter. I hand out the prayer requests after the first weeks of battle, and one warrior steps out with a prophetic word – REST. That word comes right as discernment comes and the spirits are so clear.

All this hypo-overactive-chronic-malfunctioning is the product of 30 years of Drivenness, due to Performance due to Guilt due to Accusation, who has worked so closely with Mr. Anxiety and Ms. Feminism, who are ultimately employed by Fear. I see them. They tell me lies.

Psychiatrists would have me embrace them as "me," yet I do believe: God made me good and these are not. 

But even the medical community agrees that 80 percent of disease comes from fear, anxiety, and stress (beinhealth.com). Doctors call them emotions; the Bible calls them "spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12b). Drivenness, for example, comes close and whispers, "I should do..." – and of course he always speaks in the first person so I'll think it's my own thought. As soon as I agree with what he says, the adrenals leak cortisol, fatigue sets in, blood sugar goes low, hormones get wacky, immune system freaks out. And there I am, stuck in the bed again. You have to admit their strategy is good.

Now, eight months after Georgia, where I had learned about these forces of evil and how they cause disease, an army prays and discernment comes and my eyes are opening. I see them so specifically, so clearly now. It must be the Scripture-glasses I have been wearing regularly since they started praying.

I go through those eight Rs – the ones I learned in Georgia. Recognize, Responsibility, Repent, Remove... Rejoice. I separate my true self from those enemies of my soul.

Now what? They have been my friends for so long. Who am I if I'm not Driven? He has really taken me places. Good places! I took pride in him.

The ministry in Georgia says that people with chronic fatigue are driven and driven and driven until they accomplish all they're "supposed" to in life and then... CRASH. The fatigue sets in. I read this just last week and I felt it in my bones. I did that – did all I should, all God required (or was it all that the ministry leaders required?), then topped it off by getting a family. Then, CRASH. Because, what do you do now, after you've accomplished all that was expected?

My friend Michelle goes ahead of me in a similar battle and she says we should ask ourselves: Are we being driven? Or are we being led? Because Jesus never drives his sheep; he leads us gently. Beside still waters (Psalm 23:2). How much more restful can you get than still waters? There have been times in my life when I've purposely sat down on a dock by a lake just to feel that kind of rest.

Rest. Supposedly, it's what I'm created to offer to my family and friends (Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge). Supposedly, it's what Jesus offers (Matthew 11:28). But Rest is not listed in those "Eight Rs to Freedom." Rest is anti-formula and opposite everything I know. All I know is what I should be doing. Is this why I crashed into my thirtieth year?

Rest. It is chosen. Mary chose it, Martha didn't (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus says it's a good choice.

Rest. We have not kept a Sabbath-rest for two years. Not once.

Why am I able to do all but this? I'll try anything but rest... in my marriage, in my healing, in my Father. Is it because I'm Type A? First-born? Small-town? Bosacker? As it turns out, "just the way I am" is really just the way a spirit holds me hostage.

Drivenness is so obvious now that I can't bear his presence. I don't know what I'm going to do with out him, but I see him and I trust God and I fall out of agreement. I flat out tell him, like a break-up, "You spirit of drivenness, listen to me. You and I can no longer exist in the same space, and I'm staying here. In Jesus' name and by his authority – I command you to leave me, now."

And now, for the first time in my life, I begin recognizing this spirit around me and choosing rest instead. Sanctification is a process, but the one who calls me is faithful and HE will do it (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

His Favor, More Than Enough

"How do you enjoy God most?" she asks us, as we sit in a circle one night talking about him.

Easy. I enjoy him in his nature, his manifest beauty all around, peace swirling through the tops of trees and the sound of waves lulling my mind to rest. Faraway bird songs and warmth of sunlight. Gliding through magical crisp hollows, where if I stop, I almost expect a wild animal to speak to me in words or to meet an old woman who lives in a tree...

Alone with him, in his manifest glory, almost anything is possible. We talk. We laugh. We cry. His embrace becomes the breeze and his whisper becomes a hoof.

My heart longs for that God-favor. I have sometimes found it in the north woods.

We do not travel there, and I need new pants but I dare not travel as far as the mall. Rest is what the body needs to recover and to care for little one and so we wait, patiently, for the next remission.

It is a long wait.

Big man and little man head to church, and I rest. But restless, I pray. And it's right here in my captivity that he meets me and he brings me quietly to Joseph's.
"...his brothers... sold him... to the Ishmaelites... [then] the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard... The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes... the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph" (The Story, 24-25).
Even in slavery, a man had favor with God.
"Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden... the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did" (The Story, 25).
Even in prison, a man had favor with God. God chooses, and God favors... even in prison.

So thankful today that my life is not my own. My life has been chosen, and favored. It belongs to him who orchestrates the worlds, him who offers joy at all times, in all places. Him who made it possible by shedding his own blood so I could have this joy that transcends all understanding, this peace that guards heart and mind.

My family will be in the north woods for Easter.

But here in my captivity, I open my hands and receive my tailor-made joy, made special for this moment. God's favor here, because he chose me and I am his. I stand on this and I claim it and I bask in it and no weapon formed against me shall prosper.

All this made possible by Jesus Christ, who makes it all possible.

I sing it:
(ATTENTION: This video contains images of Jesus on the cross. You may not want to watch it with small children around.)

By the time little one is dropped into my care, I am weak, the pain is stronger, and I can't sing. The Grace-God knows and he cares and he gives us favor, and out of the quiet he miraculously puts the song into my little boy's voice and I hear it strong and loud while I try to fix his lunch:

"Pwaise a Wam! Pwaise a Wam! Pwaise a Waaaaaaaaaaam!"

Another favor. I receive with thanks. Joy prevails.
"Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Wife's Resolve

The boy grew up throwing balls and telling jokes, somebody's little brother. Always looking up to terrific parents and older siblings and church leaders. He grew into a big, strong man with a great big heart. But though he grew tall, no one seemed to notice.

With a smile he worked as unto the Lord each day, just as he had been taught, never giving a thought to what anyone might owe him. He shrugged and the smile broadened and the front door was open to all. He was friends with the outcast and the thief who stole their wedding money and the suicidal boy and the guys in jail and anyone who laughed at him, and it was no big deal. 

The man who seemed like a boy was married to a girl who seemed like a woman and when the baby was coming they decided to look for more salary. They bought new shoes and a tie and although he still made time for anyone with a need, he was often left waiting. And they all smiled together because God had a great plan for the boy.

He loved everyone, no matter what, and the devil was strong but he was always so much stronger. And no one knew. They thought he was just a boy. 

Most of the time, that's what the man thought too.

The world does not take seriously such a humble smile of grace.

Neither do I understand this forgiving kind of heart, blindly trampled and still beating with unconditional love.

But I see how they don't come to the parties he hosts each week and how he waits long hours for unreturned phone calls and how he works and smiles until he sleeps. I know how he stays around until midnight to listen and listen and listen to the bleeding teenager who just needs to talk and how a man wearing a skirt waits on the corner each morning to share life with him. Even though no one else understands how he could be content in such a menial job, I know about the instant gratification of delivering letters and magazines and packages and the thanks of the slower workers for helping them out too. 

He is underdressed and mincing words, and I see them all poking him in the ribs, patting him on the head. I see them taking for granted the muscle, the effort, the unparalleled humility and wisdom. And I want to tell them exactly how they are holding back potential and how he just might believe this too if they would take him seriously.

All we are told becomes our identity.  

My finger is pointing all around, at him, at each one who walks on his heart and doesn't know, and I look down and see it. Those other three fingers, they point right back at my own unbelieving heart.

Memories flash from just yesterday...

"What were you thinking?"

"Do you realize what you just said?"

"Pick that up."

"You can't do it that way!"

The finger falls, a decision floods my veins. 

I know the man. Maybe I even know him best. If only in this house, in this heart: He is a king. And I intend to be the first to start treating him that way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Color of Stop

Young working eyes notice Daddy and Mommy wearing the same color shirt
Test driving a minivan
A borrowed dress

All these in one day: the color red.

Red, the color of stop.

God of eternity gives these everywhere stop signs and reminds me to stop, right here in time. Slow... stop, and fully receive each moment from him.

It's happening. As I slow, time slows! When I stop, to wonder and receive in faith, I gain time. I receive all the fullness and richness of the gifts of a God who just can't stop giving.

As I stop to receive moments, the gifts pile up... grace upon grace upon grace. "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another" (John 1:16).