How He Sees You

“Everything you have experienced and felt that is beautiful, kind, true, warm, safe, real, full of laughter, full of joy, full of elation is directly from Him, made custom to your unique heart. He believes in you, He knows everything about you and nothing that can be told about you will change His love for you.

He’ll stay here with you for the whole game. He grieves with you, He never listens to untruth about you, He is your fan, He is your protector. He is always for you. He is every moment bringing circumstances together for His glory and your good. He makes no mistakes for you. He loves you more than you can fathom in your sweetest thoughts. He thinks about you every moment. He is never put off by your unbelief, your distance, your hiding. He enters into all of your pain. He never stands aloof. He is, at this moment, changing your heart to free you to hear Him and let Him in. He is not ashamed of you, embarrassed of you, He is not sick of one more failure. He never sees you as unfit, not enough or insufficient. He is cleansing you every moment. He can play with you if you want, right in the middle of your deepest, darkest hour. He will not let life or enemies, or opponents, or slander or sadness or failure or unbelief swallow you up. He knows exactly when to bring water to your desert.

He is not far off, but ready and present right now to meet you in the worship songs, and in these words. He has seen down the road called life, He has for you-good. He hears you. He understands the pains, confusion, disappointment, disillusionment, sorrow that no human can enter into. He smiles when your name is brought up. None of what you’re going through is ever punishment, or because He doesn’t love you as much as someone else. When confusing misfortune comes, He gathers His angels to watch your faith. He cheers you on. His delight and love of you is as personal and unique as you are. His power in your life is endless. His ownership of you is secure and solid. His ability to change you in His perfect timing is unerring, even in the things you wrongly blame Him for, He does not get angry or defensive. He just heaps more grace, more love, more tenderness onto you.

No prayer you cry to Him ever, ever is not fully heard, felt and answered in perfect love. No pain ever is allowed randomly, but only after the counsel of His love to draw you to Him and make you more like Jesus. You are never alone, left to go it alone, even when you try to walk away. He is holding you, carrying you through every fear, doubt, blinding pain, and devastating disappointment. He has provided a home with Him, so soon it will be any moment, in a land where there is no pain, no more hurt, no more disillusionment, no more past wounds, no more love promised and not delivered, no more failure, no more sin…” John Lynch, from Truefaced website


IMG_20150410_071742This book has been a breath of fresh air…

“Voices surround us, always telling us to move faster. It may be our boss, our pastor, our parents, our wives, our husbands, our politicians, or, sadly, even ourselves. So we comply. We increase the speed. We live life in the fast lane because we have no slow lanes anymore. Every lane is fast, and the only comfort our culture can offer is more lanes and increased speed limits. The result? Too many of us are running as fast as we can, and an alarming number of us are running much faster than we can sustain.

Speed damages our souls because living fast consumes every ounce of our energy. Speed has a deafening roar that drowns out the whispering voices of our souls and leaves Jesus as a diminishing speck in the rearview mirror. Spiritual growth is not running faster, as in more meetings, more Bible studies, and more prayer meetings. Spiritual growth happens when we slow our activity down. If we want to meet Jesus, we can’t do it on the run. If we want to stay on the road of faith, we have to hit the brakes, pull over to a rest area, and stop. Christianity is not about inviting Jesus to speed through life with us; it’s about noticing Jesus sitting at the rest stop.

While the church earnestly warns Christians to watch for the devil, the devil is sitting in the congregation encouraging everyone to keep busy doing “good things.” I just received a letter from a woman minister who was on the edge of crashing and burning. She and her family had joined a growing, active church and quickly volunteered to help. But two years later, she realized that her entire family was speeding by each other in unrestrained zeal to lead one activity or another at church every week. “Run faster!” this woman’s church bulletin screamed, but the only way she could save her soul from death was to slow down, which meant finding a new job.

Sin does not always drive us to drink; more often it drives us to exhaustion. Tiredness is equally as debilitating as drunkenness. Burnout is slang for an inner tiredness, a fatigue of our souls. Jesus came to forgive us all of our sins, including the sin of busyness. The problem with growth in the modern church is not the slowness of growth but the rushing of growth.

Jesus came to give us rest.

We know we are ready for God to work in our lives when we’re tired. When our lives begin to weigh us down, God is present in the heaviness. It turns out that it’s weariness that’s next to godliness, because when our souls are tired, we are able to hear his voice, and according to Matthew 11:28, what he’s saying is, “Come. Rest.”

The ugly truth, however, is that many of us do not know how to rest! Actually, we do know how to rest; we simply refuse to rest. Rest is a decision we make. Rest is choosing to do nothing when we have too much to do, slowing down when we feel pressure to go faster, stopping instead of starting. Rest is listening to our weariness and responding to our tiredness, not to what is making us tired. Rest is what happens when we say one simple word: “No!” Rest is the ultimate humiliation because in order to rest, we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God’s work does not depend on us. Once we understand how unnecessary we are, only then might we find the right reasons to say yes. Only then might we find the right reasons to decide to be with Jesus instead of working for him. Only then might we have the courage to take a nap with Jesus.”

-Mike Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

Gracious Interventions

Papa Don’t Preach

Don’t laugh, but one of my favorite Madonna songs is Papa Don’t Preach (my absolute favorite is Borderline). I was driving to work this morning and Papa Don’t Preach comes on the radio (yes, I still listen to radio). All of a sudden, my mind goes back to the summer before my freshman year in high school, when I first heard the song and saw the video – you know, the one where Madonna has a pixie cut, her boyfriend is an adorably cute mechanic, and her dad is played by Danny Aiello. I remember watching the video and thinking that I would never have to face the predicament of telling my dad that I was pregnant. First of all, I was pretty much convinced I would never have a boyfriend, and at the time I would try to do everything in my power to please my parents and live up to the standards of being a “good” Catholic girl.

The Call

Fast forward about 11 years to August of 1997, and this terrified Catholic girl was sitting in a friend’s bedroom making a call to Planned Parenthood. I made the appointment. It seemed way too easy. The operator on the other end of the line seemed rather nonchalant about the whole thing. I won’t tell you about the conversations that occurred before this phone call took place, but my mind was convinced I couldn’t keep this baby. My heart, though, told a different story.

The Test

My friend bought me the pregnancy test a few days before the call. She was there with me when I found out the news. She consoled me as I sobbed uncontrollably on my bed in the fetal position. “Why?” (well, I knew why), and “what am I going to do?” questions chaotically wove through my mind for days. Another thought that I wouldn’t admit to the few friends I shared the news with also entered my heart and mind – what if this is God’s divine intervention? This thought seemed to be wrapped in a blanket of peace.

I had been living a self-destructive existence for years and this relationship (3 month fling) I had gotten myself into was just another link in the chain. I had been running away from God for a long time. My life was all about partying and living it up.

The Devastating News

My dad had been having health problems for awhile before I got the news of my pregnancy. Dad had been walking on crutches because he was having severe back and hip pain. He was misdiagnosed for months and then four days after my positive pregnancy test, mom called with the news that dad had cancer. To say I was devastated is an understatement. Surely this was a nightmare.

The Trip


Dad and I had taken a trip to Michigan a month before the nightmare. I worked as an American Airlines reservation agent, and was able to get us cheap tickets to go see family and friends up there (mom and Dad met in Michigan). Even though Dad had mobility problems due to his crutches, it was a wonderful vacation. We had some great conversations and the few days we spent on the 100 year old farm, where dad worked as a migrant worker as a kid, were rest for my weary soul (despite my fear of ghosts..I’m still convinced they roamed the halls of that house).

I was already suspecting that there was a chance I was pregnant (um, that of course didn’t come up in our conversations), but decided I was going to enjoy this time with dad. I threw up on the flight back from Dallas to San Antonio (dad was on a different flight back to McAllen), and in that moment I knew I was pregnant.

The Decision

I didn’t keep the appointment. As soon as I hung up the phone that day on my friend’s bed, I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t follow through with it. I would like to say it was for godly reasons, that I had accepted that it was God’s divine intervention. Although I think that was part of it, I think it was mostly fear – fear of what my life would become if I ended my baby’s life and resumed life on the rocky path.

Mama I’m Coming Home

My life in San Antonio was pretty much falling apart in every possible way. So, a few weeks into my pregnancy I moved back home. At this point my pregnant state was still unbeknownst to my parents, and I didn’t plan to let them know for awhile. In a lot of ways I was still in denial, and I feared telling my parents the news because they were dealing with so much already – dad had a hip replacement, had completed radiation treatments, and was now starting chemotherapy. How could I hurt them like this?

Dad got me a job at the administration office at the school district as a clerk for the language arts department. I knew my first day that in a few weeks my new coworkers would be finding out the truth about me. I wondered what kind of treatment I would receive. Dad was still trying to work part-time. He was a Phys Ed teacher and track/cross country coach, but it was hard. As you can imagine, chemotherapy was brutal. Mom was a wonderful caregiver to my dad, but I knew it was taking a toll on her. She had taken a leave of absence from her job at the middle school and was caring for him full-time.

Papa Didn’t Preach

I was pretty sick those first few months of the pregnancy. I don’t know how I managed to keep it from my parents…I was living in the same house with them. I was sick every day. I also wasn’t seeing a doctor or getting pre-natal care. Foolish, I know. The denial was thick. I was going home for lunch nearly every day to eat with them. My heart yearned to tell them the truth. How could I hide this for so long? But how could I not hide it with everything they were already having to battle?

One day though, after eating lunch, I got so sick and ended up throwing up in the kitchen sink. Somehow they missed my little excursion to the sink and I managed to clean up the mess rather quickly, but I knew it was confession time. I walked into the living room, where dad was already sitting in the rocking chair about to watch one of his shows. Mom went to go do something in her bedroom. My mind was screaming “Don’t tell!” but my heart was crying out “Don’t hide anymore!” So, I mumbled, “Mom, Dad I have to tell you something.” Somehow my mom managed to hear me from her room and walked back into the living room. She sat down and I cried out, with crocodile tears streaming down my face, “I’m pregnant!” They stared at me for a moment, then Dad immediately got up from his chair, walked over to me and sobbing, held me for the longest time. Mom joined him. They told me they loved me, that would be there for me, and that this baby would be a blessing. Of course there were some hard discussions after my confession, but they loved me through them. They didn’t disown me. How could I have possibly thought they’d disown me? Read some of my other posts, and you’ll see why…I had caused them such heartache, so much pain.



Briana and Papa

Briana Nicole was born April 6, 1998. She is the youngest of four grandchildren. In just a few short weeks, she will be starting her senior year in high school. She has been the most tremendous gift God could ever have given me in addition to Jesus and my family. I’m convinced that she has taught me more than I could ever have taught her.



Dad was endearingly called “Papa” by the grandkids. Dad died June 7, 1999, just a few months after Briana’s first birthday. I’m grateful dad was able to see and spend a little time with my only child while he was still on this earth. Dad was loved by so many and impacted many lives.

Gracious Intervention

I won’t know until Heaven what in the world God was doing. I don’t think I’ll care by then – I hope I’ll be running to Jesus, embracing my loved ones, and dancing. All I know is that God captured me with his abundant mercy and grace, and turned my trial into a gracious intervention.

Our trials are God’s platform to capture us with his grace…trials come as gracious interventions.

-Tullian Tchividjian

The Deep Thinker & Free Spirit

As I was driving through the Texas hill country yesterday in an attempt clear some chaos from my mind, a memory surfaced. I think I was either in high school or college. My dad shared some things about his baby brother, who died of a heroin overdose at 25, when I was just a toddler. Dad told me that Uncle Robert had participated in the Woodstock Music Festival. I immediately assumed he was a hippie and this intrigued me. Dad also told me that his little brother was always a deep thinker and free spirit. Then, to my surprise, he said that I reminded him of Robert. I remember being unsure how I felt about being reminded of someone who died of a drug overdose, but then I looked straight into my dad’s eyes and he was beaming. I could see the love in his eyes for the baby brother he probably missed beyond belief but had never spoken of much at all…at least not to me.

My Grandma Lola had a few portraits of Uncle Robert hanging in her living room. I remember staring at them, thinking he looked so angelic. I remember looking deep into his eyes, wondering what pain had caused him to follow that path.  I know there were family issues that I can’t elaborate on here. Then I thought about Grandma Lola and how hard it must have been for her to lose a son at such a young age. But I never really thought of how it affected my dad. I guess I just assumed he moved on.

It wasn’t until yesterday when I was hiking that I started thinking about my dad and his relationship with Uncle Robert. I wondered if they were close. I wondered if my dad, being the responsible one, was hard on him. Then, out of nowhere, these deep cries came rushing out of my body as I was walking the trail. I mean I was in complete ugly cry mode. I only ran into a dad with his two kids and a dog, so it wasn’t too embarrassing. I don’t know what hit me. Then, another memory…

One night, when my dad was in the final stages of cancer, I walked into my old bedroom where his hospice bed was set up. He was sitting in the rocking chair in the corner as my mom was preparing his dinner or something. His mind was pretty much gone, he was hallucinating, and we couldn’t communicate with him much anymore. He was still talking though…and he was talking to Uncle Robert. He said his name a few times, and I knew. I don’t remember the conversation, but I remember daddy having a look of complete love and joy on his face…he was beaming, just like he was that day he was telling me about his free spirit brother.

I’ve been struggling lately. Something about these memories and tears has been consoling. My mind has gone in so many different directions though, and I don’t really know where they are taking me…where the Lord is taking me with this information, but there have been lots of tears and I’m going to listen to the tears.

Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next. -Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

Friday Night Quote


St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, Omega Center, Boerne, Texas

“There are peculiar circumstances in the believer’s experience when Christ becomes especially precious to the soul. For example: in the deeper ploughings of the heart’s hidden sinfulness – when the Holy Spirit reveals more of the innate corruption of our nature, and gives a more spiritual perception of sin’s exceeding sinfulness, oh, how precious does the finished work of Christ then become! How precious the blood that cleanses from all sin! If God is leading you through this stage of Christian experience, beloved, be not alarmed; it is but to build up His dear Son upon the wreck and ruin of your own merit, strength, and sufficiency. He will have us love His Son with a love like His own – a love of divine, supreme, ineffable affection – and this can only be felt in the region of our own nothingness!” Octavius Winslow, The Precious Things of God

Know That You Are Welcome (Nouwen)

Excerpt from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book, The Inner Voice of Love

Not being welcome is your greatest fear. It connects with your birth fear, your fear of not being welcome in this life, and your death fear, your fear of not being welcome in the life after this. It is the deep-seated fear that it would have been better if you had not lived.

Here you are facing the core of the spiritual battle. Are you going to give in to the forces of darkness that say you are not welcome in this life, or can you trust the voice of the One who came not to condemn you but to set you free from fear? You have to choose for life. At every moment you have to decide to trust the voice that says, “I love you. I knit you together in your mother’s womb”(Psalm 139: 13).

Everything Jesus is saying to you can be summarized in the words “Know that you are welcome.” Jesus offers you his own most intimate life with the Father. He wants you to know all he knows and to do all he does. He wants his home to be yours. Yes, he wants to prepare a place for you in his Father’s house.

Keep reminding yourself that your feelings of being unwelcome do not come from God and do not tell the truth. The Prince of Darkness wants you to believe that your life is a mistake and that there is no home for you. But every time you allow these thoughts to affect you, you set out on the road to self-destruction. So you have to keep unmasking the lie and think, speak, and act according to the truth that you are very, very welcome.

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