He Did It For Me

Jesus dragged that splintered cross toward Golgotha’s hill for me. Burning muscles and tearing flesh. Spirit broken.

I can’t comprehend love like that–love that loved me before I loved Him. Love that accepted me at my worst but expects me to be my best. He became my sin and was punished for it.

Jesus stretched out his arms and was pierced for me. Pain for me. Spat upon and mocked by angry men, foaming at the mouth with hatred and fear. He was thinking of me with His face to the sky; a resilience that was not of this world. He cried bloody tears for me. His soul must have quivered at the hell that was encroaching. Thunder booming, lightning electrifying the sky.

The Lamb died for me.

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But then…He came back for me…so I could know the mystery of His living presence. So I could live fully, with hope. I can’t explain it, and I don’t need to, really.

“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3:15

If He did this for me, He did this for you.

 

Marriage Muscles

I think marriage (done right) is hard. It’s difficult in the same way that maintaining physical fitness is difficult. It’s not cheating on your reps, it’s getting flat to the ground in your burpees; chin over the bar in your pull ups. You both have to keep showing up. You have to get uncomfortable sometimes and apologize when your pride is refusing. Some weeks/months/years are better than others. But when you work at it, you reap the benefits and it feels so good. Your marriage muscles are growing, making you stronger and more fit to withstand life’s next fight.

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I told a client last week that learning to love your body is like an arranged marriage. You didn’t get to choose the body you were given, but it’s your job to care for it and make it the best it can be. And after time, you may just fall in love with it.

If you and your spouse are in need of a little marriage CPR, here are 10 of Joey and I’s favorite cost-effective, unconventional ideas for date nights:

  1. We have fantastic cycling trails in Tulsa and most of the time we pull the kids in the bike trailer. But a few times, we’ve gone alone: Bike from home to downtown, grab coffee at Chimera. Order the spiced cold brew and disregard the people snickering at your padded cycling shorts.IMG_5673
  2. Go to a movie but sit in the balcony at the Warren Theater (Moore or Tulsa). You get to choose your seat online and you’ll have a waiter and heated, reclining seats. Then discuss the movie on the way home.IMG_0366
  3. Meet at a coffee shop or local lunch spot on a work day. This is one of our favorites. We have child care already provided and it breaks up our work week. We love Queenies, Foolish Things or Hodges Bend.FullSizeRender
  4. Go rock climbing then out for dinner as reward. In Durango, it was Cascade Falls or X Rock. In Waco, we’d climb at the SLC or drive down to Austin to Rimer’s Ranch. In OKC we would go to Rock Town. Here in Tulsa, we want to try outdoor climbing at Chandler Park.IMG_5257IMG_4660IMG_5296
  5. Bentonville, AR is so much fun. We love 21C hotel (blog post here), Crepes Paulette food truck, and Crystal Bridges museum and biking/nature trails. They also now have Onyx Coffee Lab, one of our all-time favorite coffee shops.IMG_6618IMG_0151
  6. Go to the Chinese Foot Massage on 71st and Sheridan. Warning: they will massage every inch of you if you’re not careful (not just your feet!), they may step on your back, they will smell like an ashtray, you’ll be in a large dark room with about a dozen other people wondering what the heck is going on, and it will be AMAZING. $30 and worth every penny.
  7. Plan an annual day off together. We do this in November every year. We send the littles off to daycare then go out for breakfast, coffee and Christmas shopping. Sometimes we even get in a nap at home before we pick up the kids. I look forward to it all year.  IMG_9683
  8. Camp in your backyard. We haven’t done this in Tulsa yet because our kids’ video monitor broke, but we did it several times in Norman. Fire, tent, stars, yes. IMG_4557
  9. Sporting events are fun. We loved going to Thunder games in OKC and we’ve had fun at Driller’s baseball games here in Tulsa. IMG_4020
  10. Race. You can train together for a full 2-6 months prior to race time, you have one goal and one finish line. You get fit together so you win together. We are excited for our next 5k: Run Bentonville in April. IMG_5770DSC_0711

Cheers to a healthy–albeit hard at times–marriage!

Four Fingers

Four years of Finn. Four of the sweetest and hardest of my life.

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You are my heart on my sleeve. My superhero on wheels. My unexpected miracle.

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I am honored to be your mom, cheering and jumping up and down on the front row of your little life.

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God has big, important things for you to do, and we’re all watching.

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Happiest Birthday, Mighty Finn!

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

(We’ve prayed this over you since you were in my belly, and we’re not stopping now.)

The Drum

If God were an instrument, I think He’d be a drum. His deep, syncopated rhythm commanded the room and my heart’s full attention. I heard Him in the pounding.

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His  B  O  O  M  echoed through me and I shuttered; awake to His impressive presence. He is holy and I am most definitely not.

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I’ve heard Him in the hymn before; the piano’s lilting tune. The skillful strum of Joey’s guitar. I hear Him in the clear, confident voice of a gifted vocalist. He is all around, before, behind and within. This weekend, though, I heard Him in the drum.

 

Duct Tape

Joey and I are sitting in a time-share condo in Branson, MO. Onyx coffee brewing. Pistachio shells in styrofoam cups.

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A kind couple from church offered this place to us as a retreat. Our Little Crazies are spending a fun weekend with my parents while we sleep in past 7:00am, read for pleasure, and rest our weary parenting muscles.

We ate at Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls restaurant this morning, and a Roy Rogers doppelganger serenaded us with his cowboy tunes while we indulged in sticky toffee cinnamon rolls–our first breakfast post-Daniel fast. A true “break-fast.” Grandpa Milt would have loved every minute of it.

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My grandparents come from the era of “fixing it.” If something breaks or wears down, you don’t drive to Target for a new one. You fix it. Patch the jeans. Duct tape the broom. Get under the car yourself.

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Gram and Gramps playing Play Doh with Finn at Big Cedar over Christmas.

They are resourceful and enterprising; making whatever they have last. Their era was one of scarcity. WWII raged while they were just kids on the farm, the Great Depression had rattled the American Dream, and the men worked hard to put food on the table for their housewives and children. I respect and admire their industrious, conserving qualities. “Waste not, want not.”

I cannot, however, apply these principles to my spiritual life. The Kingdom of God is not one of scarcity; it boasts abundance. When I uncover ugly parts of me–embarrassing weaknesses, habitual sin–my tendency is to patch them up. Slap some duct tape on them and hope they don’t burst open.

Pastor Craig said something recently that stuck with me like super glue on my grandparents’ broken vase:

“Jesus did not come to make us better. He came to make us new.”

Whoa. There’s no patch large enough to cover my insecurity and sin. When it comes to our lives, betterment without the grace of Jesus is silly; futile.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)

We get to trade in our old, scuffed-up self for a new self. A fresh start. Stop patching yourself up. Let Jesus make you new.

The Purple Girls

Wednesday, January  13th. Jenks West Elementary transitional pre-K program. Leaving the parking lot.

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“Hey Finn, how was school this morning?”

“Good.”

“What did you learn about?”

“Ms. Sarah put a feather on me and it was soft. Bricks are TOO hard. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. There were three pigs. They had a house made of BRICK (yelling) and STRAW and WOOD! And he puffed and huffed and blowed the house down!”

“Who were your friends?”

“Jackson and Tinsley and Sam and Ali and Claire…”

“What about Tripp?”

“No, not Tripp. He wasn’t there today. And the Purple Girls.”

“Who are the Purple Girls?”

“I forgot their names.”

“Was Mrs. Fox there today?”

“No, she went to the restaurant.”

“Restaurant?”

“Yeah, restroom.”

“Awesome, dude.”:)

 

Rooted

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7

Sometimes I’m more like a dandelion than a tree. Shallow and fragile, coming apart at the slightest puff of wind.

I want to be an oak. Roots planted deep; grounded into Jesus. I know I have yet to reach His mysterious depths. Firm identity and foundation. Unshaken by my circumstances. Immune to the approval or disapproval of others. Adapting with life’s changing seasons. And the result, according to Col. 2:7, is an abundance of gratitude. I’m in.

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Rooted. My word for 2016.

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