Monthly Archives: August 2015

Roller-skates: An excerpt from one of motherhood’s longsuffering moments.

It was ninety degrees that day. Ninety. Take a moment to imagine what ninety degrees feels like. It really sets the tone for the story.

Our overhead fan was giving it all she’s got but her blades were turning slower by the hour, trying to spin the humid air around like it was made of whip cream.

I was sweating, he was sweating, she was sweating. The fridge was sweating and my cup of water was sweating. We were all one hot mess.

And just when we thought the day couldn’t get any hotter, Little Miss suggested we haul out the roller-skates. Because of course nothing says perfect roller-skating weather better than hot and humid nineties.

Whatever. I went with it.

I adjusted the size, crammed the feet, looped the Velcro, buckled the sides. We’re talking old school skates; I’m sure we all wore them. Blue, yellow, plastic, Fisher-Price. Or was it Little Tykes? I don’t know. But we finally got them on. Perspiration now running full stream on Mom, big smile on child. {#worthit #pleaserollerskateforhours}

“Uh-oh. Shorts!” She points. There they are on the floor. When did those come off? The dress is modest enough, but she’s bound to catch some wind on these skates.

“Alright girlie, come here.” I wasn’t about to take the skates off; the spandex Barbie shorts would need to make it on overtop.

She clunked her way through the carpet and stood right in front of me. I bent down so that she could use my arms as stabilizers while she lifted one roller-skate, and the yellow plastic was only about three inches from my hot face and it suddenly seemed so obtuse and the leg hole so small. Do we try this? But taking skates off and on isn’t going to be any quicker. One of the many small moments where motherhood puts you in between a rock and a hard place.

I pulled, adjusted, pulled some more. She fidgeted, started to fuss. We both jumped around a little bit. The room temp went up one degree and I could feel my legs salty crying, begging me to stop the attempt of the undergarments over roller-skates in the nineties.

My loose hair hanging down by my face, still bent over benout. And there she was, picture of Barbie princess looking up at me, mocking me with her fake plastic smile. I’m sure she had quite the view with my double chin framing my frown, sweaty face all contorted and upside down concentrated.

“Well let’s see you Barbie… Barbara. Let’s see you in hot and humid dealing with roller-skates.” I didn’t say that but I wanted to.

And then I started to blame the roller-skate designer. Who puts five wheels on a roller-skate? Five! I mean come on, these things are like pizza pans on wheels. Can’t we skate with one wheel? Anyone who needs five wheels should really not be on the rink.

My thoughts kept going. With each passing second, we both felt more of an angst. We pulled harder and faster. Surely she’s going to be late now. She’s going to be late for the kitchen roller-skating party.

Ridiculous thought process, I know. The kitchen roller-skating party would start whenever she made it out on the linoleum. She’s the party. But I had such a hurry! about me. Benout moments put me into hurry mode. Impatient, all kinds of frustrated.

But we finally made it. We did. She clunked her way out onto the floor and froze against the cupboard for about two and a half minutes before clunking her way back to the carpet. Turns out roller-skating isn’t her thing.

And I wanted to hit my sweating head against the wall. AaaaaahhhhhH!

I know every mother has this kind of stuff, the opportunity to be frustrated. Motherhood is full of these moments. I failed that one. I let it spin me up and spit me out frustrated.

And I could blame the roller-skate designer for the obnoxious number of wheels.

I could blame the children’s undergarment designer for not leaving enough leg space for roller-skates. (This has got to be a recurring problem for people; someone should let them know.)

I could blame the weather and our air-condition-less house.

But none of these are valid. Absolutely no one or no thing controls me. No situation forces frustration from me. Everything that goes on inside of me is my choice and under my control. I need to own it.

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…” Ephesians 4:1-2

This verse. I need to write it down and stick it on my fridge. If there is anything motherhood needs, or any other walk of life for that matter, it is the ability to walk with gentleness and longsuffering through all of the daily moments. The work of the Spirit is in the ordinary, in our homes. Our children count as “one another” who need to be held in love. Love, of course, includes the tough kind. Bear, persevere, through the long training years with love.



I am convinced (this is Hine-sight of course, always 20/20 after the frustrated exhale has long left my lips) that the daily opportunity (practice) of lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering and love with our families behind closed doors is a powerful blessing. The opportunity to be frustrated is another opportunity to slay my flesh.

So Today: what do you hold? Limitless opportunity I’m sure, for all of us.

Lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.

Lord be my limitless supply today.





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Living from Victory. Learning Love.

“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you…. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” Deuteronomy 20


It can be hard to not consider the line-up, can’t it?

The force of the enemy can be pretty discouraging. The eyes take it all in, the brain processes, the verdict emerges on the inside long before we even hit the field: defeat. We are going down here. Be very afraid.

Fear is a big green monster who loves to take charge and run the show and he will do it every time he is allowed but he must first get permission from his mother. And his mother, sneaky, slimy monster that she is will quickly give the “go-ahead” nod as soon as she feels like her victim is secure. And she tightens her grasp, Monster Love of Self, as self tries to run for his life.

Fear is directly dependent on love and trust of self. If you have one, you have the other as well. Love of self quickly gives birth to a myriad of chains. It’s the Octomom of sin that entangles.

I write as one needing to be taught, learning as He’s teaching. Writing in the midst of learning about love, fear, and the line-up. But I don’t want to wait until I live perfectly; that day will never come so I share truth even as I beg for the Spirit to help me stand on it. Let’s do this together?

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19

Perfection in love is the antidote for fear. When love is askew, and the thoughts of our hearts and the actions resulting are about ourselves (for our protection, prosperity, success, reputation, esteem, justice, pain, etc.), fear must come alongside because in all reality, everything is on the line. The thing we hold most dear is wildly out of our control. But control is exactly what we reach for. How handy that fear comes with his own set of tools! They’re all lined up nice, Fisher-Price style, and we reach for it with relief. “Yea…” Bang-bang goes the fake hammer on the fake nail, “… This oughta do it.”

It’s sad, really. The lengths we go and the compromises we make, the energy we put into loving ourselves and protecting ourselves from pain and God’s “lack of goodness.” The energy we put into making sure everyone else loves us or at least esteems us. Success, achievement, fans, followers, friends: what must I say that you will agree with me? What must I do that you will admire me? Fear drives it in deep. Because what if they don’t? Who is going to love you? You won’t be worthy even of your own love!

“We love Him because He first loved us.” Oh that we would have faith to believe this!

Do you see who will love you? Who already does love you? “He first loved you.” Now what is your response? Do you love Him?

Look at thoughts, actions, words, time, energy. Do you love Him?

Look at thoughts, actions, words, time, energy. Do you love yourself?

*Note that I am talking about the “unhealthy” love of self, above God.

I don’t believe there is anyone with a perfect score in these areas, but Yeshua, perfect our love. May our love, the desires of our hearts and the pulse of our lives, be completely on You.

You were esteemed not. Neither do we need the esteem of men.

You surrendered to the will of the Father, even until death. May we die today, right now. May our reputations and desire for praise melt away in the reality of Your love. Teach us what it looks like to really love You.

“Whoever believes that Yeshua is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world- our faith.” 1 John 5:1-4

Faith. Faith is the victory that has overcome the world. Whoever is dead to self and born of God overcomes the world through this faith. Without faith, if you don’t really believe the Word, the world is not overcome-able. In fact you will most likely be overcome by it. There is no rest for a heart that cannot trust His promises. Expect to be overcome with fear, overcome with the pursuit of all things needing, overcome with lack of love. For all its banners saying otherwise, this world is in fact not a loving place. You cannot reject the source of love and yet claim love.

But the faith, the victory…

“I lay down and slept. I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of tens of thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around… Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people… Know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly. You have put gladness in my heart, I will both lie down in peace and sleep. For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” taken from Psalms 3 & 4

Sounds similar to Deuteronomy doesn’t it? Tens of thousands of people lined-up against you. Horses, chariots, power, position, tanks, the strong arm of (in)justice. The points and stares, whisper to whisper, “Yea, that’s the one. Can you believe she thinks that?” The rejection. Is that one of the greatest fears? I’ll do anything, just don’t reject me.

But why? And as He leads me gently to love, knowing love, living love, that mother monster begins to slip. What is my life here on earth that it has me panting to uphold it?

I am loved in the largest way possible. As are you. What is the rejection of people to me? What is the sparkling esteem of man to me, all rusting on the inside? 

“The earth will grow old like a garment, and those who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever. Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults… Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die?” Isaiah 51

Who are you? Big question to answer, especially when it is the King asking you. Who are you, sons and daughters of the living God, that you should fear a man? One day all of the whispering mouths will lie silent, the fingers will be motionless, the esteem of others that we so valued will be buried six feet under.

But the victory is this, the peace is here: You have been bought at a price. You belong to the Kingdom of Righteousness which has already been victorious. This world can take nothing from you nor give you anything you need. You have been called out to live from this victory. You have been called to love from this victory. Love Him! See the thousands lined up and fear not, salvation belongs to the Lord and every enemy is defeated in this. Even unto death, “Oh death where is your sting?” Truly, where is the sting of death from the body? We have already died and been born again. Everything we hold dear is eternally safe in the palm of His hands. Our children, spouses, parents, siblings, friends- everyone we hold dear is held dear by Him. All of our days are numbered by a good God. What has fear to do with us? This is radical isn’t it? Radical perfect love.

Perfect love. Love- not on self, but love as it should be, on Him, for Him, consumed with Him- has nothing to fear. It is obedience, humility, worship, and gratitude, followed by every precious gift the Spirit brings to fill us overflowing.

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17

In His love,


Willow & Fig is on Facebook.

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My fails and the rain of grace.

rain girl

The rain came down hard that morning. Like if I could just see high enough, I’d see the bucket tipped onto its side right above our home. The water poured down, and our thirsty little plot of earth drank it in.

I prayed for that the night before, clinging desperately to the promises.

“Let us know, let us strive to know Adonai. That He will come is as certain as morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3 CJB

As I read those words, my mouth felt dry. I’m so thirsty. Please send the rain. Let me feel You close.

It felt like a cry in the dark. My eyes were on my dark.

I am as human as they come. Sometimes I feel like my Holy Spirit meter could trace the same up and down pattern of a heart monitor. Each up because I felt His heart beat and it gave me joy and peace, and then down. My flesh doubts, fear chokes, and I fail. I fail.

So quickly my feet slip and so easily my mind forgets and fear sends my flailing, falling, reaching. Let me hear You! I know I’ve begged this plea one thousand times before. Cover me with grace and set me up-right again. Lead me to water that I may drink. Rain on me.

“But you keeping falling short.”

“But He already led you to water and put it to your lips. And now look at you, thirsty again?”

“But you are such a high-maintenance girl. Needing, needing. Always needing.”

And I shake my head yes. I know. I am. I am all of those things. So much that my feet cannot hold me and down I go. Face first, my hair falling at His feet, His feet that bear the marks and it brings me to tears. It’s the only thing I can cling to. It’s my only shield against the accusations. Did that woman feel this same way? The one that cried upon His feet and washed them with her hair, did she fail and fall? Is that what brought her to the very threshold of grace and gratefulness and true worship?

It is often my failure that brings me there and for that I am thankful. Though I hate my sin as black as it is, I am thankful for the enveloping of grace, a grace I would not feel in a world of perfection.

It’s all about the grand love story, isn’t it? How beautiful it is.

May His Word stand forever that I may always know how imperfect I am and the severity of my sin. May His Word stand forever that I may always feel the grandest love that could ever exist.

Sometimes the clouds loom dark overhead, and they twist thoughts and muddy the heart, and that grand love seems terribly out of reach. I had that. I had a running list, one cloud piled on top of another.

- I fail with my lack of worship and busyness of heart.

- I fail at taking each day as it comes.

- I fail to live boldly.

-I fail by turning knowing into an idol.

- I fail to live with humility.

- I fail to love with the selfless-ness He has asked me to.

- I fail to serve with joy.

I fail so many things at so many different times that if each moment were captured and recorded the playback would take a very long time. And it would be painful to watch.

The dark sky threatens lightening. And here is the deciding moment: realization of sin can either bring you crashing to your knees or send you running. Like a frightened body, zig-zagging across an open field through a storm trying to dodge the lightening, you run because you fear judgment and rejection.

That seems only natural. It’s actually quite logical. Sin should equal eternal judgment and rejection. Run for your life! And for your whole life-long. Sweat, hide, be angry with yourself and with God for your sin and that He will judge them.

Or. Or…

“I have blotted out, like a cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22

The clouds, there they are. These? You could blot out these clouds? I hold my failing list and yet He asks me to return, and it hurts my pride and I am thankful. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. I have to believe that. I have to trust that enough until it brings my focus off of me and onto Him and that promise.

After the kids were tucked away in naps, and the ground lay soaked through and drinking down the morning rain, I tucked my legs under my body and let His rain wash over me and it heaved my shoulders and broke my heart. And it was so healing. His grace is the usher of gratitude and worship and joy and all I can do is reach my hands to His sky raining down on me and let my own tears rain down on me and praise.

He poured forth rain of grace. The dark clouds of sin hovered over my head and then came the rain. And then the clouds were no more.

This grace is holy. If one would attempt to strip her of holiness and reverence and rape her with lawlessness and self-indulgence, he would be met with God-sized resistance.

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Humility is all it takes. If you are running, stop. This place of sin and grace and the throne of God is so holy, humbling, filling. Filling, until all those fails are flooded with living water and He washes them away, washes more of the flesh away, so that more of Him may pour out.

In His grace,


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