Saturday, July 31, 2010


We all want peace.

We associate peace with calmness and tranquility.

Peace and easiness, we think, go hand in hand.

Peaceful is the man's face in the coffin.

Peaceful is a quiet meadow.

Peaceful means free of conflict, chaos, or fear.


But what if that's not right?

What if peace is much more about resolve.

About congruency. Rhythm. Assurance.


Peace does not mean stillness.

Peace means....

what does peace mean?


Because there are some who yearn for peace.

There are some who dwell in it.

And there are others who never feel it in their own hearts, but extend it to others.


Peace is not easy.

Peace does not mean you are not afraid.

Peace is that big breath you take before you barrel ahead.

Peace is standing in the middle of the storm, the war, the hurt and not losing ground.


There are a few different Greek words for "peace" in the Bible. In the New Testament, most of the time the word "eirēnē" is used (εἰρήνη).

According to Strong's concordance, this word can mean,

1) state of national tranquillity
a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war
2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
4) of the Messiah's peace
a) the way that leads to peace (salvation)
5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death

(, 31 July 2010)

I wonder if peace is not what you feel.

It is what you are.

I do not feel peaceful.

I am at peace.

Peace is not an emotion, but it is a state of life.

Because our emotions are fleeting and unstable... but if we seek it, peace is a state of being, which bears fruit.


There is a form of the word peace, which is used when Jesus calms the storm in Mark 4.

"Peace be still," He commanded the raging winds and waves.

This is the authority I want Him to have over my life.

This word... siōpaō σιωπάω.. means an involuntary quiet.

As in someone who is dumb, someone who physically cannot speak.

In the middle of the storm, Jesus stood up, and struck the storm speechless.

Hold your peace.

Be quiet.


My prayer for you is you would find peace. Not as a feeling or an emotion. But peace would become who you are. May you continue to extend it to others who do not know it. May you accept it as a gift into your own heart. May you know what it means to stand in the boat with your Savior, and let His peace carry you through.

May you let Jesus come in and calm the storms of your heart. Striking your turbulent world into peacefulness - with just one word.

Men After God's Own Heart

There was a time when I questioned whether or not there were any men of God left.

I watched as men abused, neglected, and detached. They took advantage and objectified. There was not a leader to be found - not a pure heart to be seen. I was discouraged and all but lost hope.

I am not the only one who felt this way. Everyone saw it: an epidemic of apathy and weakness had ravaged the male population, and even those who called themselves Christians rarely stepped up to the plate.

But not too long ago, it seems, this world was shaken. Hearts were awakened. Maybe... my own eyes were simply opened.

I watched as boys became men. As they began to use their strength and their power to love the world.

I watched as the men around me began to look like Jesus.

As they bent low to pick up small children. As they pursued God with fierceness and intentionality. They were broken, humbled, and put back together.

I grew up loathing the concept of a "submissive woman". I had no desire to be a doormat - to let a man lead, just because he was a man. I was not a "feminist", but I wanted to be respected, to be listened to, and to have an opinion.

These desires were based on my experience with men from the past. Men who couldn't be trusted. Men who weren't providers. Weren't leaders. Weren't seeking after the Father.

But I've been sitting back and watching lately.

As these men pull children into their arms. As they load dryers and washers into houses. Putting together basketball goals. Playing kickball and passing out ice cream sandwiches. Teaching young boys how to be good men.

"You don't hit girls," I hear them say. "If a girl hits you, show her your muscles and walk away..."


I have watched you - before my very eyes - become men after God's own heart.

I have watched you rise up as leaders, as providers, as protectors. You are strong. You are being humbled. You are stepping up.

And for the first time ... my heart is at ease, when it comes to submitting to you.

I can trust you. Because you trust the Lord.

I pray for you daily. My heart is delighted in what I see. The hope I'd lost has returned. Because of you, a whole generation will have a chance to change. Because of you and your integrity, there is a neighborhood, which will never be the same.

Because of this change in you, women have been urged to become better as well. The plague of apathy did not just effect the male population - we have suffered from it as well. But God has called to us, and we are answering. We, too, are now striving to fulfill our roles (not gender roles, but roles as women after God's own heart). To do our own work, to complete our own race, to pursue our own calling. But also to support you, work alongside you, intercede for you.

I am encouraged by you - all who, in your own way, fulfill God's calling. Thank you for stepping up. For allowing the power of the Spirit to consume you. For being strong. For being loving. For being wild.

God is working through each one of you. Leading you in a race - rewarding you for your perseverance.

Thank you for who you have become. For who you are.

Lilies and Sparrows

I am being prepared.

In the very midst of training.

What I was, was not enough.

Who I am, would not survive.

But He sees - He knows.

And His love is too great to sit above and watch.


"Come to me," He whispers.

I draw close.

Reach high - take hold.

In the crook of His arm, He cradles me.

His face pressed close to mine, He whispers things to me about who I am.

"Hear me," He urges. "My voice, my words, my will... hear."

As I begin to understand, I begin to hear words in a new way.

A familiar Voice, speaking familiar instructions, with much more power.

Much more weight.

"Do not be anxious..."

"Do not worry about tomorrow..."

"The plans I have for you are meant for prosperity and hope..."

"Seek first My kingdom..."

With open ears, open eyes, I hear and see afresh.

Fear rises in my chest.

What this means is a new life.

A life I am not strong enough to live on my own.

He wraps His arms tighter around me.

"Not by your strength. Not by your might..."

"It is through Me, you can do all things."

The path stretches far ahead. Up mountains, through valleys, deep into ravines. But, clearly, I can only make out the next step. One step.

His tight hold on me begins to loosen and I feel Him lowering me to the ground.

I'm not ready to let go.

"I'm not letting go," He reassures me. "But it's time to go."

His large, callused hand engulfs mine. Together, we take one step forward. Side by side.

"Now, you must do. Do what I have asked. Do what I have called you to do - live out what I have taught you."


I am being prepared. Even now.

What I was, who I am, is not enough.

But I am not alone.

I, who am so much more loved than sparrows and lilies, will press ahead.

With expectancy.

Armed with a promise.

Of His perfect will, of His great provision.

Monday, July 12, 2010

When Dreams Come True

Seven years ago someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Seven years ago I had a vision.

I wanted to open up a youth center. A safe place where children could come. Where food was served and music was played and they were taught about Jesus. I wanted to meet needs - physical and spiritual. Redemption Block.

A few years ago, this vision arose in my heart again when I met five little black boys who were running up and down Maxwell Street at midnight. Some of them lived on the east end. Some of them were refugees from Africa. All of them were bored and up to no good.

Tell me something. When was the last time one of your dreams came true? The last time you asked for something and it was given to you? The desires of your heart were granted? Stop for a minute. Take a look at your life. My guess is you have what you've asked for.

My guess is we have what we've asked for. And we just fail to see it.

On Friday night I carried ten pizzas into a little, while building. Within a matter of minutes, the building and the parking lot were full of children. They had come to eat. To play games. To be loved on. In us, they'd found safety. Positive attention and affection. We laughed with them and mourned the pain of new braces. We played checkers and musical chairs and taught them how to follow rules. Our evening was blessed by a rainbow, which arched from one end of the neighborhood to the other.

I called it a promise.

Tonight, I walked into the same little, white building with more food. We held children tight in our arms and taught women about Jesus. We knew each other's names and brought what we could to the table. But what they taught me was far more valuable. For they taught me...

about how God keeps His promises.

Tonight, I gathered up my books and empty dishes and walked out of the building with my mother. The very first person I'd ever shared my dream with seven years ago. As I shut the door to my car and turned the key in the ignition, I realized my dream had come true.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine..."

He answers our prayers. He grants us the desires of our hearts. Giving us bread, not rocks. Fish, not snakes. Knocking, He answers.

It just may not look like we think it will.

It may just catch us by surprise.

"As you wish," I heard Him whisper tonight as child after child talked to me with cookie stuffed in their mouth.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I basically flew across town last night. I had to get to those I loved. I prayed as I drove up Second Street... please let them still be here. Please let them still be outside.

As I drove up the small hill just before their house, I saw them. Dark shadows racing up and down the sidewalk. I could hear their voices shrieking and yelling.

I was home.

I parked and brought my phone and keys with me for the first time. Having just come from a meeting, I wasn't dressed properly. And as kids began to pull on my skirt and try to climb in my lap, I wished I had a pair of shorts and tennis shoes.

I watched as he played baseball with an old wooden bat and a beaten up Solo cup. As she sat on the front porch at 9:30 at night and ate her dinner, spaghetti o's smeared all over face.

One of my children came racing down the sidewalk after me. He sprung forward and threw himself in my arms. But I was still holding my phone and keys and couldn't get a good hold around his little body and had to set him down.

Finally, at one point, I had to find a place to set everything down. A safe place where I could leave it until it was time to come back. And with empty hands I reached out.

It wasn't long until my arms were filled again. With crying little boys and laughing little boys and little girls with candy necklaces.

Today... God drew me a parallel, as He often does.

"Let go," He whispered.

"I have something for you and you've got all this stuff in your hands. What's that about? Put it down. Somewhere safe. You're going to need it again. But just put it down. I want your hands free and ready... your arms open for what I want to give you right now. I will fill them. Go ahead. Put it down."

He whispers this to me... and I know it's Truth.

It is, in fact, the very definition of surrender.

Fill my arms then, Lord. They're empty now.