Hold Fast to Love, Laughter, Beauty: In the End, It is Your Grace & A New Podcast

In April, I took an evening walk with Sarah in Oxford and God painted the sky for us. Taking a photo of it gave a sense of worship in my heart for that moment I shared with Sarah. It was a breathless moment, a quiet one, in which we just stood together and watched the sky change from fire to pink to purple to dark.  An amazing moment, the church across the street from her home.

In April, I took an evening walk with Sarah in Oxford and God painted the sky for us. Taking a photo of it gave a sense of worship in my heart for that moment I shared with Sarah. It was a breathless moment, a quiet one, in which we just stood together and watched the sky change from fire to pink to purple to dark.  An amazing moment, the church across the street from her home.

This early morning I am listening to Ralph Von Williams on my Pandora and sometimes switching to Alexander Desplaut, two of my favorite composers of film music. I poured myself a cup of Yorkshire Gold tea and lit all the candles around me, like I do every day. Indulging myself by looking at velvety red roses that I found on sale at the grocery store is bringing me much pleasure.  After all, I am an adult and I can buy myself flowers once in a while when I think I need them! I am looking out my windows on tall, lean pines amidst the bluish-purpleish gray sky, with gleaming white snow peaking out from Pike's peak. Remember that May snow from last week? :)

I have taken literally thousands of pictures of beautiful flowers, sunrises, scenes in nature I find over the years because it is a sort of worship in the moment a recognizing His fingerprints as I go through my days.

I am taking time to love Jesus and tell Him how very happy I am that He is real and with me--that He has painted the sky and made music to stir my soul and that He is with me loving me. I am seeking to cultivate love notes to heaven as I appreciate the lover who is invisible but here in my life today. I have to take time to remember to keep our love fresh, just like I have to do with Clay. I have to work so that I don't lose my first love.

I text Joy and Sarah and tell them I am the most blessed mama in the world because they are such treasures to me. "I love you more every day." I tell them. Nathan calls me before I get a chance to call him and we chat at "besties" and I tell him that God is with him and that God and I love him. Joel comes up for a first cup of tea. "Hi, wonderful Joel. So thankful for you today." Words of love invested every day form a heart that feels full of HIs love because we have modeled Him to them in the oxygen of our moments.

Darcy Dog comes ambling in with a tennis ball in her mouth and throws it at my feet. I look at her, really notice how darling and ridiculous she is all at the same time. She makes me giggle a lot no matter what kind of day I am having. And I thank God for my silly dog and how much she makes me smile.

Recently, teaching a Bible study I have hosted for 10 years, I mingled with a variety of sweet women varied in age and in life puzzles. Later, flying one more time, I spent time with dear, inner-circle friends I have long known in California, then late at night talked on face-time to my children then ending with a cherished friend as I came home from a week of travel. All my conversations seemed to go in the same direction.

Many beautiful, precious women who have deep burdens to bear--a prodigal son or daughter; a heavy and dark marriage partner who refuses to love or give grace; many with chronic illness--cancer, pain, many living quietly with years of heart-break they bear in silence. Different, outside the box kids, illnesses of every sort. A truly lovely single mom was abandoned by her husband for a woman he met on facebook.

I could go on. I am familiar with deep sadness in my own life, some things I will never be able to share publicly because I believe in loyalty and protection of my family and friends from the public eye. It is my sacred trust to bear up through dark passages and to trust it just to Him, as He has promised to be with me.

We are subject all round us to the consequences of a fallen world--so beautifully made, so scarred and marred by the illness of our own souls, the sin that has created havoc, abounding in so many corners of life. And there it is for our children to figure out. Innocence and hope are my heart's desire--to be like a child fully delighting in life. But God has trusted me with adulthood and so I bow to His will.

Much of the sadness or at least sad circumstances will be with these precious women, who are in my heart, for many, many years--if not their whole lives.

But the circumstances of their lives do not need to define who they are or how they live.

Home is a place to light a candle in the darkness, to bring hope to sadness, to celebrate that He has overcome the world. Yet, making home the best place to be requires a grid that says, "I am the one called to bring light."

I often hum the old Steve Green song from scripture, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

I have added my own verses, "Do not be overcome by darkness, but overcome darkness with light."

"Do not be overcome by hatefulness, but overcome hatefulness with love."

"Overcome death with life."

"Overcome sadness with joy and celebration in the midst of the mundane."

The invisible, the Lover, the maker of beauty, the servant King is in our midst as a devoted Father. He is a bridegroom preparing a wedding feast. He is a wonderful counselor who has compassion on us when we feel lost. He is a shepherd who lays down His life for his sheep and leads them beside still waters.

As long as I keep my soul alive by dwelling in His presence, remembering the roles he plays in my own life, as long as I cultivate and practice a heart of love and give it and live in it, I can overcome the darkness--all darknesses of my soul here on earth.

But love and beauty and faith must be cultivated daily, in His presence, looking for His reality, so that my heart will be filled with the reality of Him and His overcoming goodness and redeeming light. I must cultivate this inner life if I am to find rest and peace in my daily life. 

The glory of a woman is her ability to stir up Life and light in this dark world.

We are born to civilize, to encourage, to inspire, to heal.

Women are most beautiful when they are engaged in creating the reality of His life and love wherever they go. But this love comes from intentional cultivation--it is the grid that we see life through--

I am created to be an overcomer, an artist who leaves beauty, a counselor who brings peace, a magician who brings hope and comfort in the very midst of despair, laughter and joy amidst the draining moments.

I am given the possibility of leaving a fragrance of words that bring hope, inspiration, affirmation to one who is starving for soul food.

And so today, I become a co-creator with Himwho is the source of all that is beautiful and good--celebrating His reality into the midst of this puzzle that is called my life.

The strength of any woman is built on a foundation of what she cherishes, practices, waters, cultivates.

Love is there, waiting to strengthen--the soul of a great woman depends on Him flowing in and through her every day.

This organic faith life is what we want to live and then teach our children to live. These heart messages are exactly what they need in order to leave home and keep their faith alive, and to have the courage to face their own temptations and darknesses. 

They may forget how to spell some words or how to conjugate a verb or a therum from math. But what they need, before they leave home, is the picture burned into their minds every day, of the reality of Christ's live in their home, their moments, their feelings as found to be true in the life of a faith-filled mama. 

This is what our summer podcast is about--figuring out what all kids need before they leave home and understanding how to pass it on. 

Please join us for the next 10 weeks. Invite your friend and then we will all gather at the end to discuss together on a live presentation, maybe at parties in your home, what we have learned, what we plan to do, how we need to encourage one another. 

We are so excited. Can't wait to share with you. 

Join us this summer for our special Podcast series this summer !

And mark your calendars for 9PM EST/ 6PM PST for a special night on facebook live with Sally, Kristen and friends broadcasting from Colorado to kick off our special summer series! We'll be taking questions LIVE and want you to join the fun!