Sunday, October 28, 2012


Beauty.  Is there another word in the English language that is more difficult to define?  I think not.  Some say beauty is about symmetry. You know, "an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; such that it reflects beauty or perfection."  Sigh.  If I go by that definition, then I am not a beauty.  Perfection? Uh, no.  I have this scar above my eye from when I fell and hit my head when I was three.  I needed stitches and cried like I was dying. Beauty?  When I smile, one eye squints more than the other.  Beauty?  And when I am in shock, one side of my forehead goes way higher than the other. Symmetry? I think not.

I have a friend who is stunning.  She's the kind of friend who is noticed by a crowd whenever we go out. Seriously.  She's BEAUTIFUL.  So beautiful that if you are in an insecure place, you could tend to feel invisible.  Do any of you have a friend like that?  Do any of you walk insecurely?  Maybe your short and want to be tall.  Perhaps if you just lost that ten pounds you would feel really great about yourself.  What about if you just had some money to dress the way you really wanted to dress (darn you, Anthropologie)?
It is so exhausting to keep up with what my idea of beauty has been. EXHAUSTING.  The emotional struggle and the amount of time it takes up in my heart and head is RIDICULOUS.  I told a friend not long ago that I wouldn't know what to do if I wasn't thinking about finances or things associated with what I think comes with beauty.  What takes up the most space in your head and heart?  Perhaps it is an idol? Perhaps in God's kindness he is inviting me and you to something more?

For awhile now I have been praying for God to give me a new name.  What I mean by that is that there have been wounds that I have lived out of and names I have called myself that my Father would never call me.   Numerous times throughout scripture (specifically Proverbs 3, 6, 7) there is a challenge to bind God's words to us around our neck and write them on our heart.  Today I was given three words to write on a piece of fabric and they are now bound around my right wrist until.... Beauty.  Joy.  Covenant.  Much better than Unchosen.  Sorrow.  Broken promises.

Slowly God has begun to uproot my ideas of what beauty is and transform it to really begin to have his eyes to see..........

Beauty is an early fall morning at Cades Cove where the silence and beauty is deeply restorative.

Beauty is loving the helpless, dying, broken at all costs.

Beauty is seen in my mother's hands who worked three jobs while trying to provide for me and my sisters during a divorce in which no one will ever know the horrors she and my sisters had to endure.

Beauty is seen in my pastors heart as he weeps before his congregation while pouring out his weaknesses and all the while giving praise to God for his journey.

Beauty is seen in that beautiful elderly woman as she lifts her hands in praise even though society doesn't value the "greatest generation."

Beauty is seen in a group of friends sitting in a circle attentive to one who is in a dark season.

Beauty is feeling rejected, yet remaining open to others and to God even in the midst of questions.

Beauty is honest relating.

Beauty is that moment on Christmas Eve as you sing Joy to the World and really mean it.

Beauty is the first step of a toddler and the sheer joy on the parent's face.

Beauty is transition.

Beauty is being present to hear.....

Beauty is FALL!

My friend Beth told me an interesting fact last week.  She said, "Beth, did you know that the color of the tree in fall is the tree's true color? The intensity of the sun and the chlorophyll in the leaves is what makes them green."  I love that!  Beauty is being our true self - it is being who God says we are and living out what he promises.  So today, here's a toast to letting you be your true self and color and beauty. It is fall after all.   

Monday, October 8, 2012

Angry White Woman

An update on 10/10/12
I just read this on Ann Voskamp's blog
"Cynicism isn’t strength and ranting doesn’t rejuvenate andfrustration can never accomplish what Faith can. 

Does my life testify to my belief in the power of complaint — or the power of Christ?

The Joy of the Lord is our strength — and anger leaves everyone weak."

Anger and passion are different.  Passion leads you to a place of trust and looking at Christ.  Anger leaves you, well, angry if you do not look to Christ.

Posted on 10/8/12
My friend Buddy challenged me to write something that I would never post and I said, “Okay!” and then he followed it with saying, “And then I want you to post it.”  My response to Buddy and his wife Kathie cannot be put into print.

I am angry.  It’s the kind of angry that is not easily shaken.  The kind that has been brewing and simmering down to the very marrow of my being for a few years, but has escalated over the past year.
     Last year i saw clients 20 hours a week and they were the lost that i needed to         get face to face with in order for me to know Jesus in a deeper way.  How had I gotten so disconnected from the world?  You add my dear clients with a class called social and cultural led by an amazing African American man to a class of all white Anglo protestants and i am rattled. Did you know that white people are ethnic too?  American history became hard to stomach at times when looking at what this country did to the Native Americans.  Then you realize many of the Puritan’s that my culture elevates, also had a hand in some nasty history (I admit that I love the Puritan writings and have some of their books).  Warning – this video will be highly offensive to my white brothers and sisters, but to my black brothers and sisters, I think you will stand and cheer. It’s amazing what acknowledgement can do.
o          i am angry.

o          i'm angry at the arrogance of reformed theology and how anyone who might have an emotion  or speak in tongue’s is seen as one who doesn’t have as strong of a theology. 

o          i am angry at the actions of  brothers that will get up and leave a session if a woman is speaking and then use SCRIPTURE as an excuse to “act a donkey” and not a brother to their dear sister.

o           i'm angry that my African American clients have a much bigger hole to try and climb out of then anyone I've ever met in order to JUST GET NOTICED by people who might be able to help.  oh my word. it's like this silent scream that doesn't end.
o           I’m so sad that many friends feel they can’t take their gay friends to some churches because they are still using the phrase from the pulpit that, “God didn't make Adam and Steve, he made Adam and Eve” as if that statement will really draw seeking friends to Christ.  What on earth?  Thankfully the church I attend now is one who loves people where they are and believes in process, but they don’t water down the Gospel. Gospel – Good News.  Thank you, Jesus.
o          In the Casting Crown’s version of Jesus, Friend of Sinners there’s a line that says, “nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded.  What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and love like You did?”  Can you imagine what this election would look like?  Can you imagine the conversations that would happen?  Do you see Him there?  He’s the one writing in the sand while others begin to put down their stones and walk away from the one they are judging.  Jesus so graciously, yet truthfully interacts with this woman. Oh my word, I need to put down my signs, even if they have been internal.
o    i'    I'm scared to be offensive. the angry white woman. yet, some things are worth         being                    being angry about.
o            How do i have vision for actions or lack of actions that make me angry? To love   well and yet be honest about things that I have remained silent about? I don’t know, but I want to go there with the Father, just like I hope if I or my actions make you angry then you will go there too on my behalf - that we would have God-given vision for one another and what Christ being formed in our lives could look like.

Will you take a minute to listen to the link below?  I’d love to hear where you are in the process of laying down your signs.