Author Archives: Aubrie

It’s Time for Porn to Die { and it’s time for you to live }

His name came up over coffee. I held my baby girl on my hip and spread strawberry jam across a piece of toast. “Can you believe it? Hugh Hefner died…”

The sound of bare feet running on wood floor accompanied my daughter’s laughter as I set out her plate of eggs and toast. She climbed up the barstool and unloaded her arm full of toys on the counter. Her favorite pet shop ponies stood arrayed in a rainbow of color as she alternated between bites of food and pretend conversations.

All happy of course. This girl has no idea about Hugh Hefner or his empire of pornography. She is innocent as all children are and ignorant of this topic as all children should be.

But some aren’t.

I went to a conference this past weekend. My tears ran with hers as she stood in front of a room full of women and shared what had been done to her as a young girl. Other women shared their testimonies as well and the stories were painful and filled with brokenness. But they were beautiful and powerful and alive with freedom. The resurrection power of Christ our Messiah is at work people. I witnessed that.

But pornography was mentioned more than once and let me tell you, my heart is beating hard about it. I’m angry. I’m angry at what it does to people. I’m angry at the pain it causes. I’m angry at what it does to children.

I’m angry and I’m sad, and I pray, LORD please send Your spirit of truth, Your light everlasting to pierce these dark places. Send Your salvation to break these chains in the name of Yeshua.

Because the secret viewing of porn? It’s bringing death like a silent poison into the veins of our men and women. It’s killing marriages and attacking children. And I can tell you with every ounce of mama bear in me: I HATE IT.

I’m going to be honest here. I don’t know how to write about this nicely. I don’t know the politically correct way to word things so that I don’t push anyone further into darkness. Please forgive me if I misspeak, because shaming or pushing further into hiding is the exact opposite of what I want to do.

I want to fight this evil. And I don’t care who you are or how many years you’ve been sucked dry by porn or what you’ve done before, I want you to stop what you’re doing and fight it with me. I want you to take your secret addiction and bring it to light. I want you to know that the resurrection power of Jesus is real and He has power over all that holds you captive.

I remember in high school, sitting in the gymnasium listening to a speaker share about her story of hope. She had been a captive too. She was involved in the making of porn for a number of years and she had tears streaming down her face and her hand in the air as she shared the devastation that she subjected herself to in order to feel loved. My eyes grew wider and my heart a little softer as I caught a glimpse from behind the scenes. She hated it. She hated herself. She used drugs to work because no woman at her core wants to be treated this way. No woman wants to be used for her body when all that is beautiful is inside of it waiting to be really known. Really wanted. Don’t be fooled by an image or the pretense in her eyes. She doesn’t care for you and she knows you don’t care for her. It is self-love pitted against self-love in a twisted form of intimacy, to the destruction of everyone involved.

This is the exact opposite of what intimacy was created for.

Porn is not gender specific, nor am I limiting this to that industry. May the truth reach every college campus, high school and middle school hall: Girls, you are so much more than your body. You were created to love and be loved in the entirety of who you are. Let me cup your face and look you in the eye until you believe me: you are loved. You are loved in the biggest way possible. At the center soul and spirit of who you are. If anyone is looking for a glimmer of hope, a light in the darkness to get out of the cycle of use and abuse to feel loved, this is it. This is someone telling you: you were created for so much more than this crusty shallow version of love. No more striving and coming up empty. There is a love that is raw and real, and cares for the heart of who you are.

Boys, men: We need you. You are our strength and our protection. You are warriors. Which is why the adversary is so hell-bent on silencing you in shame.  You don’t need to be bound anymore. You don’t need to be controlled anymore. In the power of Jesus there is freedom and life. There is forgiveness where there once was shame. Please. For the protection of our sons and daughters, I beg you. Stop this cycle. Darkness will only get progressively darker. You were created for so much more than this poisoned, empty version of love. There is a love that is raw and real, and cares for the heart of who you are. You can be free.

The reality is this: the greatest love available has come so that you can be free. Love made flesh has carried the weight of all this shame so that you can be made into a new man. A new woman.

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned with Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:17-24

sunsetandtreesHugh Hefner is dead now. I don’t know if he experienced the freedom of Christ before he died or not. But here you are, and life is here now for the taking. Nothing can keep you from it if you really want it. Freedom.

Set Free Ministries is an amazing resource in finding freedom. You can’t do this alone.

www.setfreeministries.com #616.726.5400

Aubrie

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Hearing His voice when all seems fog.

fogIt was another pea soup kind of morning on our commute to school. White fog laid lazily overtop the countryside like a heavy comforter, and showed no signs of rising anytime soon. The cars slowed, sending red hazy light into the clouds behind them.

The headlights coming from the other direction reminded me of The Jungle Book. The car approaching became Shere Khan, his glowing yellow eyes the only thing visible.

The menacing eyes came closer and closer through the fog until soon a maroon minivan rusting at the wheel wells slowly rumbled by. I silently reminded myself that I am nearly thirty years old and my imagination should at some point slow down. #SherekhanTraumaForLife

After we dropped little man off at school, the girls and I were unloading back at the house when a loud noise filled the air. An airplane was landing at the airport nearby, its massive body not far above our home but we couldn’t see anything through the white. The sound was loud enough to silence our conversation as my one year old pointed up. The intense blast reminded me of the upcoming Feast of Trumpets.

Fast forward through the morning a couple hours and there we were at the table, scribbling blue P’s across a scrap piece of paper and reading Nehemiah.

“Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section, as well as the Tower of Ovens. And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.” Neh. 3:11-12

The names go on and on. Names like Hallohesh and Harim, Melatiah and Jadon. All of them small characters in the Bible, listed once: building a wall.

This job was anything but small. These exiles, led by Nehemiah, took a huge risk. They had incredible faith that led them out of the life they knew in Babylon, and out into hostile territory to rebuild a wall that had been long demolished. They faced opposition immediately.

“Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion… and our adversaries said, ‘They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause their work to cease.’

… So it was from that time on, that half of my servants worked on construction while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor.. those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the workers had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.” Neh. 4

These workers had an enemy that they could see watching them from afar, plotting a plan of destruction. So they took up their swords and took up their hammers, and set out a watchman and kept working. And I’m sitting here on this foggy day thinking, Wow. Is this really any different?

When the trumpet sounds this week, may it remind me to the very center of my soul: the body of Messiah has an enemy that is angry with the walls of salvation. We have an enemy that would love nothing more than to come into our midst while we do not know it and cannot see. We have an enemy that would like to kill and cause our work to cease. Like a roaring lion, he seeks whom he may devour.

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God… with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6

If we are going to be doing kingdom work, we need, we need, we need, the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God) girded onto our bodies with the belt of truth. They conspired against Nehemiah by wanting to create confusion and come into their midst without them knowing, and I can tell you the plan has not changed.

May the trumpet sound. Let the warning awaken: confusion is for destruction. Confusion is the fog that will obscure your ability to see the menacing eyes that are but a stone’s throw away.

In all honesty? I can’t see everything clearly. I can’t see the whole picture, the mysterious plans laid out, the easy ABC version of the Bible. I feel like that fog can be thick in today’s world.

But praise be to the LORD Messiah, the trumpet sounds. Through the thickest fog, the sound cannot be stopped. Praise be to our gracious Father, for the still small voice that is leading when we stop and seek.

“Shema (hear!) O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” Deut. 6:4

Be still. Seek. Listen. Obey.

Take up your armor and keep working.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us- so that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise You, God; may all the peoples praise You.” Psalm 67

Abba may Your face shine upon us, so that Your ways may be known on earth. May Your face shine upon us, so that Your salvation may be known among all nations.

Because all of this? Every glorious sunrise, and singing songbird, and every flower stretching arms wide, it is for Your glory. Every child born with eyes of wonder and little fists reaching out, it is for Your glory and praise. May Your salvation and Your ways resound among all nations.

Let’s do this Kingdom work. Like those names listed one time building a wall, this is important. You are unique and valuable. May His face shine upon you. May the armor of God cover you. May the joy of the LORD fill you.

And may all the peoples praise.

-Aubrie

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Milk & Honey

*For my baby Jane, in celebrating 7 months of life. ❤️

 

We had a bath, you and I.

And you know?

That may be the sweetest place I have ever been.

 

Your face, as pure as the droplets of water that speckle it, tilts back to gaze at me.

And I gaze at you.

 

You are the creamiest white.

Your face, and down along each roll of your arm,

across your belly and around your legs,

to the tip of your tiniest toe,

you, my dear, are the color of milk.

 

Your eyes lock with mine.

You smile with joy and kick the water.

It splashes the two of us, but neither one turns to look.

 

How can I?

Your eyes are like puddles of ocean water,

a deep, bottomless blue,

as if you could look and look

and not see all there is to see.

 

Your pink rosy lips form a side-lying oval

as your tongue curves up to join in the excitement.

And the colors trigger my heart to send a request to my mind: Remember this.

 

My eyes take a moment to blink,

like the click of a camera.

Did I get it?

Can my mind file this for safe-keeping forever?

 

Surely you will grow.

Most likely, faster than I have,

and I was but a child only a moment ago.

 

As if sensing my hopeless desire to control time,

you splash again and water splatters.

Your honey-tipped eyelashes have caught a drop,

wet and frayed out as they are.

They look like the palm trees in Florida, excited and undeterrable.

 

You win, my love.

I know in far away tomorrows I will ache.

Perhaps on a rainy day when the small droplets of water remind me of the way they splashed your face,

or at the ocean’s edge if I stand there looking deep enough.

 

I will remember you, us,

as we are in this moment.

And I will long for it back.

The memory will come with both joy and sorrow.

 

But right now, sweet child of mine,

you have chosen well and I can’t help but follow.

 

Joy it is, as we savor the present sweetness,

these moments of milk and honey.

jane legs

 

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Whisper

Whisper.

Gracefully, the whisper dances

Swooping, swaying, bending

Like the soft breeze upon the grass.

Can you see the sound beckoning?

 

The whisper does as whispers do,

The voice is heard by the listening few

But the dance of the whisper continues.

Can you see the sound beckoning?

 

Noise.

Like the tip-tap of a pen at pause.

Bills and deals need signing

Papers, projects, floor-plan designing.

Noise upon noise: confining.

 

The chit-chat of socializing

or internet style ostracizing

The world, a wide web now polarizing.

Noise upon noise: confining.

 

Politicians pushing policies

Like puppets fulfilling prophecies

Darkness falling, can we see?

Noise upon noise: confining.

 

Confining: like deafening

Dull of hearing, life-threatening.

Distracted to the point of surrendering.

 

Whisper.

Gracefully the whisper dances

Swooping, swaying, bending

Like the soft breeze upon the grass.

Can you hear the sound beckoning?

 

Life like grass.

Green, brown. Withered, past.

The noise does not last.

All of this noise does not last.

But I can see the sound and it’s beckoning

And I can hear the sound and it’s silencing.

The noise is all but lost on me

Because the quiet whisper calls to me.

 

Stop.

Can you hear it?

Can you see it?

 

The still small voice is beckoning.

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Seeing Glory in the Grind {for the weary momma}

The sky was painted perfect last night. Long, strong strokes of orange swept thick across a soft blue. The tip of the sun lingered near the horizon, savoring the last few moments of day, and we all did the same. Necks turned, eyes wide, fingers pointed.

“Mom, do you see that? That’s amazing!”

The beauty held us there.

That’s the thing about sunsets- they are glorious every time. Typically redundancy chips away at the sacred beauty of something, and awe wanes thin, but the sky? When another pictures hangs, with colors spinning and bursting, it doesn’t matter that I’ve seen it thousands of times before, my eyes gaze wide and my heart drinks deep and I stand with my children like a child again.

I’ve been missing those sunset moments. My house is surrounded by trees, which have a beauty all their own, but they loom tall into the sky and the big picture is hard to see.

I’ve been having days like that lately. Days with trees looming tall overhead in the form of fussy crying and blow out diapers and kids getting into arguments about who got the toy first. Trying days without nights of rest, one morphing into the next without any break in between, and it left me panting. Where’s my sunset?

jane legs

So last week my wonderful mother took my older two, and I headed west with my babe. She was finally sleeping. It was quiet except for the hum of the minivan and the occasional sound of the blinker as we turned. When was the last time I heard the sound of the blinker? I unraveled in the quiet and the tears slowly came.

Because some days for us mommas? There isn’t anything left. We have children who need need need. Correction, food, comfort, cleaning, wiping, encouragement, teaching, chasing, pacing, embracing. They are little and act like complete children and babies cry like babies, and it’s all normal and has been happening since the first cry of the first baby. But I can’t help but wonder, did Eve ever have moments like this? Did she ever run for the quiet of a field, that first generation of nature singing a song of comfort to her momma weary soul?

jane arm

And after her, the second momma and third, and thousandth and millionth, and here we are the moms of this generation raising the moms of the next, and we are all the same really. Tied by a love that gives all and an overwhelming exhaustion when it feels like all has been given but the day isn’t over yet.

We’ve all had days when spilled milk isn’t just spilled milk. It’s a night with three hours of sleep, a mountain of laundry in the corner and dirty dishes in the sink, a morning of refereeing between two little people, while a baby is crying over your shoulder, and then the milk is spilled. And was it breastmilk? Well then let the floodgates open.

It can feel so unwarranted because the daily grind is a string of smallish moments but if you are one of those moms who just had the milk spilled on top of everything else that goes on with raising children and you want to cry, I get it. I am with you.

After thirty minutes of driving, I parked outside a café and went in, no hands to hold or little feet to direct. Just my baby, still sleeping, snuggled against me in her carrier. I ordered a muffin and something cold to drink and found a table near the window. I ate in the silence of my own heart’s conversation and it felt so good to listen.

Just one table over I saw a mom. She had her children around her asking questions and needing their food cut up. They were all boys, five of them under the age of seven. She handled herself with such grace and patience, I couldn’t help but take it in and let it simmer. I know she has had other moments. Ugly, difficult, hair pulling ones. I don’t think you can make it through triplet babies without shedding a good many tears.

But this moment in the café? Her boys looked to her and she spoke with kindness and I could see they were taking in everything she said like she was the most trustworthy person on earth. It reminded me, this is a beautiful calling. Motherhood is a beautiful, life-shaping calling.

It was enough for me to see beyond my trees and know that the glory filled sunsets are happening. And they are happening for you too, weary momma. Step out from under the trees and take a treasured moment to look at it.

kids on couch

The big picture is this: we are raising the next generation. Mommas we are raising the next generation.

This is huge.

And the days in which we live? It is an all-out battle for the minds of our children.

The world will offer confusion. We must teach truth.

The world will push for selfishness. We have to teach servanthood.

The world will tell them what they must do to be loved. Our children need to know they are loved by the One who paints the sunsets.

 I am convinced that the only way to affectively teach is to focus on being taught. We must hunger for truth in order to share it; to teach servanthood we must first learn to be self-sacrificing and our children will not fully understand the depths of His love unless we ourselves abide in it.

And these things do not happen in a day but in a long string of smallish moments. The good ones and the bad ones, because having the opportunity to apologize and seek forgiveness is not only inevitable but a moment used for good.

I write with my baby girl on my lap. Her name is Jane.

Back in 1926, a momma had a baby girl. She named her Jane. Jane grew and married and had eight children. One of her daughters grew and married and raised four children. One of her sons grew and I married him and together we are raising three.

This cycle of life just keeps going, day by day by day. Jane to Jane.

Grandma Jane was buried the month before our baby girl was born, but she left me with some beautiful words:

What ever happened to white picket fences,

Rose gardens, Prince Charming, happily ever after?

Fences must be painted and repaired, gardens must be hoed and nurtured.

Prince Charming gets tired and grumpy too.

Happily ever after?

The realities of life can be harsh. This is our prayer for you:

Keeping in tune with God’s plan for your life-

Abiding in Him can get your through those harsh realities of life and beyond.

All the way to happily ever after, both in this life and the one to come!

 

Abiding in Him. That is the happily ever after.

Chin up, momma friends. From generations past to generations present, we are in this together.

Life day by day, all for His glory.

Sunrise to sunset.

Aubrie

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So Long Target { and why shutting them down is not my goal }

So Target has made the headlines.

trans bathroom

I do not have a Facebook news feed but if I did I am sure it would be full of opinions on it.

And knowing the hundreds of different views would scare me away from writing this. Because what if our opinions are different? The horrors!

Seriously, this is something I battle.

But that pyramid lesson is fresh so I will write on.

Target has made a bold statement with the bathroom situation.

They are leading the way for retailers to progress the progressive movement.

Progressive, only in the sense of constant forward movement away from what was. It is, in my opinion, currently a movement that is progressively digressive in many ways.

Today it is the bathrooms; next year it will be something different.

And we have people raising fists on both sides of the aisle, shouting to convince.

But shouting doesn’t convince. I don’t want to shout and I don’t even want to convince.

To persuade or guilt one another into a desired outcome is no victory. I respect your own ability to think and seek truth; these are simply my thoughts out loud.

“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3

Unholy. That word catches my eye. In the last days, men {people} will be unholy.

What is holy?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3

Scripture. There it is found. The instruction in righteousness, the blueprint for holy living.

“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 22:5

And here we have a great divide. Who believes in this God? Who believes in His Son? Who believes that the Father and the Son are one? This is the Father. This is the Father that the Son is one with. Holiness is important to Him. Holiness is important to His Son as well.

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:13-16

What is our response to this? For many it is offensive, this talk of lusts and ignorance, obedience and holiness. They war, we’ve all warred against this. Why do I have to change? How dare you call me sinful?

It all hinges on truth. His Word is either incredibly true or it’s not. If it is incredibly true, then we have a drastically different life ahead of us. Our thoughts, actions, decisions, everything hinges on His truth. There is no dictation of sin in others; there is persistent pointing to the One who holds the authority of what is sin. There is persistent pointing to the One who paid for that sin. There is persistent pointing to repentance and reconciliation, because He’s real and true and how can we bury that?

But He offends a lot of people. His way of holiness that wars against our flesh is offensive to those who do not love Him.

“… You will be hated by all for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” –Jesus, Matthew 24:9-12

Lawlessness. That word catches my eye. There will be offended people, deception, and lawlessness. The law of God will be trampled underfoot because it offends. Turn on the news and you can see this in action.

The deception is deep people. His name has been slandered, false prophets promoting this idea of grace-filled lawlessness. They dictate their god, divorcing him from righteousness. They carry their god wherever they please and many follow because they use His name. And these deceived people could someday find themselves surprised.

“Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven… I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” –Jesus, Matthew 7: 21 & 23

I never knew you. And you never knew Me. Workers of lawlessness. Deception and lawlessness go hand in hand.

If you talk about embracing and promoting biblical lawlessness to a group of young people today, no doubt you would hear applause and cheers.

But if you talk about embracing and promoting biblical lawlessness before the throne of the Most High God…. Can you imagine it?

We must know the real Him.

“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14

Those who fear Him will be shown His covenant. Like the covenant of holiness between a husband and wife.

And we must know our real enemy.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

I am not against a person. I am not against a group of people who want to use the wrong bathroom. I am against the principalities that I cannot see. I am against the rulers of darkness who want to spread more darkness and confusion. I am against spiritual hosts of wickedness who want my mind and the minds of my children to love lawlessness and hate righteousness.

I would love for every single person who feels trapped in the wrong body to search for pain that is trapped in the heart. What have you been through? There is a God who makes forgiveness and freedom possible. There is a God who holds broken hearts in blood stained hands and heals and cleanses.

But you see? Those spiritual hosts of wickedness hate that. And they work against light to bring confusion and darkness. To trap those who already feel trapped.

I want no part of it.

There is not a shirt that is cute enough or a convenience factor that is worth it enough for me to give legs to anything that attacks truth.

I am not trying to shut Target down. Most likely, they will plow ahead with momentum and continue to support the message with force. It is not my goal to defeat and subdue these opposing forces. My goal is to be more fully surrendered to One who has already overcome.

The change I’m making? It’s in me. It’s in training my eyes for war, to see beyond the temporary trends. It’s in learning to forgo something that I want because in the end how will my actions, in any way shape or form, assist a message that attacks the truth of my King and encourages others to hate His Word? Yes, they’ve announced the bathroom deal. What about the things that haven’t been announced? What sort of money do they give to different organizations that tirelessly and passionately promote lawlessness? The spiritual battle is real on both sides of the fence, at work even in those who don’t believe in it.

We have to have spiritual eyes open wide.

Recently, I came across these words written by Kara Tippets in her final book, And It Was Beautiful. She went to be with the Lord last March.

“Last week, when I heard I may have another long road to travel this journey, I turned to Jason and cried. I told him how day after day this place is losing its grip on me. Driving down the street, this place sometimes feels so vulgar, so wanting my money without care for my heart. Billboards blare at me what to buy, what to think, how to vote. But the tie that binds me here is relationships. Sickness makes those bonds more real, more important. It’s people who grip my heart.”

I needed to hear that. She lived with the eternal as forefront thought. Because her temporary stay here? It was fleeting, going, and she knew it. The things that we obsess over were like moth and rust and she saw it. Our temporary stay here is fleeting as well. The rhythmic pulse of our hearts will one day stop and life will no longer course through our bodies. This cessation of life has to affect the way we live it.

“No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4

We have been enlisted to fight.

May we spur one another on, encourage, and challenge each other to fight and fight well.

Aubrie

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Building Pyramids {and needing approval}

The blog was supposed to expire today.

I’ve been getting letters and emails for months warning me of the upcoming death sentence.

Honestly? That was just fine with me. I let the statements gather dust, one on top of the other, thinking maybe it will all just slip my mind and one day I will find myself unfortunately too late to renew.

But it didn’t slip my mind. In fact it took up so much space I was forced into prayer. A whisper barely audible from a distant heart.

“Lord, You don’t really need me to do this right now, do You? I don’t have anything to give.”

Which was true. Is true. How can I share when I am too busy to receive?

I find myself in this struggle especially when I am pregnant. My blood runs to the center of my womb and my thoughts dance in circles about all things baby, and everything else loses my interest. My energy drops, my pillow beckons… the Bible sits. Again, and again, and again.

It doesn’t take long ya know. I’m thankful that it works that way. It doesn’t take long until joy slips away, discontentment creeps in, and somehow my first response is to love myself full again.

And the Bible sits while I converse with the lies.

“You need to be this.”

“You need to accomplish that.”

“This is the problem.”

I bend my back.

In a land filled with glamorous pyramids, a deceived heart bent on feeling full will need one of these. A beautiful, tall, pyramid that others will admire and approve of. Something that will make a splash on social media because how full-filling will that second be?

I bend my back. That’s kind of laughable. What sort of bricks do I even have to work with? None really, but when it’s a battle of the mind, the spirit, it doesn’t matter whether you have the bricks piled high or not. They both need to be higher. Better. You need to be more than what you are. You must gain approval. Love of self cracks a hard whip. Another statement comes in the mail. I bury the red deadline out of sight.

Later at Bible study we piece apart the parable of the talents. It’s the one about the three servants, each given different sums of their master’s money, and all of them held responsible for what they did with it. I’ve always felt bad for the last guy, the safe one. That would have been how I would handle someone else’s money. Burying it means there is no risk of losing it. Shouldn’t he be rewarded for handing it all back in the exact condition it was given him?

A few years back I realized that I was reading this parable all wrong. What was given to those servants wasn’t something perishable or losable. It was truth.

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you haven’t sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’” Matthew 25:24-25

And my heart pricked at the table because I still could relate to that servant.

“You are requiring too much of me. My culture, my generation does not want to hear the Word anymore. I am afraid, and quite honestly I want their approval, so let me just put this in the ground for a season. Look, here is Your truth, buried right over there. Have what is Yours.”

Sometimes it takes voicing my thoughts for me to realize the gravity of the situation. Is this really why I want to let this blog go? Have I no fear of the Master I serve?

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed…’”

Yes, this is going to make you uncomfortable. Yes, I know how the fields look, but I reap even in the most unexpected places.

All this heart stuff is going on at the perfect time. It’s Passover this evening. There is no sweeter feast to me than that of Yeshua’s salvation.

We will drink the juice and eat the bread and enter into the covenant of our Savior.

We will search our homes and hearts for leaven, and remove it. Whether that be sin, or an area of deception, pride, or selfishness, all these things have to go.

We will eat bitter herbs and remember, this Egypt is not our land. We have been redeemed and led out! We don’t have to be a slave of comparison. We don’t have to gain approval. I can let these paper pyramids go and worship, really worship the God who has given me life, the God who has given us life.

This blog isn’t expiring, although my heart’s an honest work in progress.

I am not saying that I will write often, because you mamas in the house know why.

Yesterday I had to answer more questions than mentally possible: (I am not making any of these up)

“How deep was that puddle we just drove through?” – Um… 2 inches? I don’t know.

“How many miles per hour did my hand wheesh through the air?” – Wheesh?

“What is air?” – Can’t we handle this question in eighth grade?

“How hard were your spankings when you were a kid?” – Very hard, son.

“No, like a number how hard?” – 8. Definitely an 8.

“What is taller- a humpback whale or a building?” – Well, the whale is taller than some buildings but not taller than a skyscraper.

“What is a skyscraper?” – Why did I say skyscraper?

“How many miles per hour is that squirrel running?” – Who knows these things? Let’s say 3 miles per hour.

 

My son has these big blue eyes full of curiosity and his questions are a constant string of conversation. Sometimes I imagine myself putting an end to all of them, with hands outstretched and face taut. “NO MORE STINKING QUESTIONS!” but then I remember that one day in elementary school. My teacher had his teeth clenched underneath a plastered smile. “Well, Aubrie, you certainly like to ask questions don’t you?”

I did. I do.

My daughter loves to talk, especially when her brother is a talking. They have this “Let’s see who can talk the loudest” competition multiple times a day.

My belly is large. And active. All. Night. Long.

I love being a mom. This phase is demanding but passing so quickly.

So I am not going to be a consistent blogger, but if the Lord lays something on my heart, I don’t want to bury it or sugarcoat it.

And I don’t want to be too busy to receive it. I’ve learned this lesson time and time again, everything my heart longs for is only found in Him.

With love,

Aubrie

“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and the son of man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth… I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared- the Lord of Hosts is His name. And I have put my words in your mouth..” Isaiah 51

dandelion

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Words

Like splashes of water

they shower, nourish, encourage.

Life grows. The Holy Spirit rains.

 

Like stagnant puddles

they sit, muddy, become bitter.

Death grows. The Holy Spirit rains.

 

It rains, it rains.

The broken ground drinks.

The hardened ground does not.

The plants grow.

The puddles form.

 

The water is loved and hated,

accepted or rejected.

It rains. It rains.

words life (2)

 

 

 

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what to do when the water is over your head: three simple words.

We went swimming this past Tuesday.

The place was magical. We stuffed our winter coats into a locker, grabbed our towels and opened the door to a large balmy room that smelled of chlorine. Without looking behind, we stepped into the new world. A world of summer and splashing and slides that landed in a kiddy-pool.

It was a playdate that every February needs.

But my white winter body donning a suit to frolic in knee deep water? No thank you. I kept my clothes on and did a big thumbs up every twenty-eight seconds, complete with the “that-is-awesome!” smile. I chatted with my friend on the edge of the pool, both of us multi-tasking our attention between adult conversation and kid-patrol.

My son started to make his way out of the kiddy-pool and into the adjoining big-kids pool. Step by step he was slowly going deeper until the water was up to his belly-button. I called his name and he looked at me briefly.

“No, honey, that’s too deep for you. You have to stay over this way.” Could he hear me above the noise of the other children? I stood by the edge.

He turned around. His eyes were fixed on a yellow waterslide that seemed to cascade down from the heavens. It was the biggest slide he had ever seen. He began moving forward with weightless steps, bouncing himself into deeper water. I called his name again. And again. This time I was certain he couldn’t hear me. Everyone else could, but his mind was concentrated on that slide, and my shouts landed on deaf ears. Within a few short seconds he was past his chin and kicking frantically against the water, and just as quickly I was in too. I lifted him into my arms and walked us to the edge of the pool.

Needless to say, we had ourselves a talk about water and danger and swimming lessons starting as soon as possible. And next time I enter that magical pool land? I might wear my swimsuit, bring a whistle, and take my phone out of my pocket. Perhaps I will also bring along a makeshift rope so that there can be a boundary line between the pools. Children need to see the boundary.

Don’t we all? There is nothing as deceptive as that slow decent into deep water. Eyes, that lamp of the body, become clouded, fixated on something else. Our ears turn deaf to the warning. What we desire is what we walk towards. It’s what we see and hear and it all feels fine until the moment our foundation feels out of reach. Fear sends you flailing and doubt chokes the hope. That foundation may be only four inches from your kicking feet but you can’t feel it so your body never stops fighting the water.

waves“… and beginning to sink he cried out, saying ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him…” Matthew 14:30-31

Lord, save me.

Weary one, that’s all you need. Three simple, heartfelt words. Lord, save me.

I am a mother, made of flesh and bone and selfish tendencies. But my child in the deep end? I would have jumped in to help him no matter what the circumstances. It’s this parent-child love that goes beyond the natural. I’m so thankful for it. It gives me faith in His love.

And it does take faith to cry out. It takes faith to believe in His salvation, the solid rock that our thrashing feet long to stand on. It takes faith to accept that a straying sheep would have a loving Shepherd, and it takes faith to fix our eyes, the raw desire of our hearts, on Him and His ways.

The yellow slides will always be there to beckon you out into the deep. They are not worth it. You see the slide, but can you see the struggle?

Keep your feet on solid ground.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.. My shield and the horn of my salvation.. He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.. the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation..” Isaiah 28

A sure foundation. That’s what my boy needed. He needed something to stand on, or the water was going to take him down. What do you have to stand on? Who are you or what have you done that you can straighten your legs and stand firm in righteousness against a world that thrashes ugly? Who are you that you can stand when your own flesh spews sin?

But you see? That’s why salvation is so precious. That’s why it has nothing to do with our righteous worth or we’d all be sinking together. But that Rock; that precious, life-saving Rock- salvation, Yeshua. We can stand. You can stand.

And the boundaries that warn of the deep end? It’s His word.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart… Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way… Let your mercies come also to me, O LORD- Your salvation according to Your word… Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word… Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments… Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides… I am Yours, save me…” Psalm 119

May this be the prayer and desire of our hearts.

With all the love!

Aubrie

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Vengeance is Mine {the nursery brawl}

teaI am not typically in the nursery. I am on a rotation with a couple others for teaching the first and second graders at church, so my experience with the group of newborn- three-year-olds has been limited. But I was there that day.

Whoever claimed that all people are inherently good and pure has probably never volunteered for nursery. Or had kids. The things, the atrocities that are taking place before your very eyes just doesn’t support the idea. Pushing, grabbing, screaming, glaring, hitting, whining- this is nursery. This is what pours forth from the cutest little people before they learn to behave otherwise.

My daughter was in the room, off to the side with a light pink plastic teapot. She had her little teacup in the other hand and the tea was a constant flow. Every three seconds a refill.

One of the younger lads noticed how much fun that looked. And can we blame him? I mean, imaginary tea coming out of a teapot, the opportunity to fine-tune motor skills and show the nursery that you too can pour air without spilling it. It’s all just too tempting.

He struggled to his feet and made his way over. It’s amazing the confidence that toddlers have. Really it is. How often do we as adults stay seated and watch from a distance? But nope. Not this guy. Not today. He strode across the room, back straight, comb-over on par, diaper swishing behind him.

He couldn’t voice the words, but we all knew what he was thinking. “Excuse me ma’am, but I believe you’ve enjoyed this teapot long enough. It’s probably my turn now.” He grabbed hold of the spout and gave it a good tug.

And that’s when I saw my daughter smile sweetly and explain that she would be sure to give him a turn.

Her face snarled. She had a good grip on the handle and she pulled it right back. And then? She took that dainty pink teapot and she slammed it down on his head. Bam! And again. Bam! Bam! It was an equal mix of anger and fear keeping that hand steady, like a practiced builder on a stubborn nail. Bam! Bam!

The poor boy’s face, so confident of his plans only moments before, was filled with confusion and dismay, as the teapot that he was supposed to be playing with was now clunking atop his head.

Finally I reached them and immediately whisked my toddler away for discipline. She explained, in between loud salty cries, that he grabbed. He grabbed! The injustice done to her was all she could see. The slamming of the teapot upon his head? That was perfectly excusable. That was her right.

But it wasn’t. A wrong is a wrong no matter what wrongs have been done to her. Being wronged doesn’t ever making doing wrong “a right.” That’s a truth for all of us.

As her mother, my eyes are on her. I am concerned with her character, her actions, and her discipline when she needs it, more so than other kids who have their own mothers doing the same for them.

This little teapot story came up at Bible study last night, and it had me thinking this morning, my Father is like that. He cares for me. His eyes are on me. He is concerned with refining my character and actions, and He disciplines when He needs to because He loves. The same is true for you.

He sees all the wrongs done; He won’t let them slide.

 “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

 “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

He’s so capable. We reach for our plastic teapots, but they clunk shallowly. And all the while, fear and anger take over our own hearts and we hurt ourselves. He can do this all so much better than we can.

I bent down to look in her eyes and wipe her cheeks. “That was wrong for him to grab honey. But you know what you should do next time? Say ‘Mommy, can you help us please?’ And then I will come and help you guys take turns. I will help you handle it. If you choose to hit, then you will need to be disciplined because that’s wrong too.”

God says the same thing. Rather than reach for your weapon of choice, whether that be words or the cold shoulder or thoughts of bitterness towards the person who wronged you, cry out for help to a Father who cares. Trust Him to handle your wrong-doer. Surrender, release.

Hurt people hurt people. Adjective, noun, verb, noun. Hurt people who refuse God’s healing, will in turn hurt other people. And then, like my two-year-old, you quickly go from victim to perpetrator. It’s the cycle of the sin nature.

But oh the hope, we are not chained to this. We can choose life. We can choose forgiveness and release of vengeance. And in so doing, we can spare ourselves from acting out a whole list of wrongs. A wrong is a wrong always. Set the teapot down.

Let it go.

And today? Choose grace. Receive joy.

Aubrie

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