My Awefull Life » A Pilgrimage of Wonder

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Photo Oct 19, 2 42 50 PM

Parenting has given me a deep appreciation of several things–locks on bathroom doors, chocolate covered almonds in bulk from Costco, children’s church volunteers, and the way Jesus often communicated via parables. To name just a few.

Parenthood itself is really one giant parable–an ongoing picture of how God loves his children. And my life as a parent seems to be full of personalized parables too. I am not sure a day goes by when God doesn’t offer an exhortation, kind conviction, or even just a laugh to my soul through something one of my kids has done or said.

During a recent trip through our favorite craft supply store, sandwiched between the obnoxiously early Christmas decor and the modeling clay aisles, Jesus showed up to walk and teach his latest parable among us.

It started simply enough with my 10 year old daughter still riding the buzz of a new school year.  Her creative soul inundated with all the brightly packaged, glittering art supplies, she approached me with a small decorative box in hand. I was only half-listening as she laid out her five point proposal as to why this was the perfect box for her pencils and supplies.

When she had finished I took the item in my hands.

“It is very cute, luv. Don’t you already have several pencil cases though?”


“Ahh, I see…The thing is babe, this box isn’t even long enough to hold a pencil, see?”

As we held up the short narrow container, we both clearly saw it was not made with the intention of housing writing utensils.

Slightly deflated, but far from defeat, my daughter went to return the treasure one aisle over. And then she was back, this time with an even prettier, more elaborate trinket, still attempting to sell the pencil case bit.

I listened, pushing shopping cart forward with one hand while plucking my 4-year-old from a shelf she was attempting to scale, with the other. By the middle of our third go around, I began to understand why she wanted a new pencil box. I knew Jesus was near, using the bargaining of a child to illustrate and highlight an area of my life aching for growth and sanctification. Parable on aisle 12.

Continue reading over at Sparkhouse Family

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Already tardy in starting our homeschool day, hurried hands fumbled to open the first textbook. Poised and anxious to dive in to “catching up,” I caught out of the corner of my eye our family devotional book set on the table. A short internal back-and-forth played out in mind as fingers flipped geography pages. “We’re getting a late start as it is…The kids never seem to pay attention to the devotional anyway…” All my typical excuses to keep plowing through, to keep the train on time…on time, maybe…but where were we headed? The destination hoped and prayed for, or barreling down a seemingly smoother, albeit apathetic road?


Closing the book in my hands, I picked up the devotional- deciding the retreat of a few small wayward steps now was better than risking a long day spent journeying together with these small souls without proper food or water. I can be a slow learner – so many times choosing to charge ahead regardless of direction, tunnel-visioned as warning signs of bumps in the road or steep inclines approaching go whizzing by. So quick I am to lament in discouragement when the wheels fly off, never stopping to acknowledge I am the one behind the wheel. Playing victim to parenthood and all its messy, without owning the fact, I am driving and my young passengers are for better or worse, strapped in for the ride….

Continue reading at Sparkhouse Family

I was reminded this morning how miracles don’t always arrive as instantaneous lightning bolts and flash floods of relief. The small, fleeting whispers of the miraculous echo of thunder in the distance, rain on the distant horizon. Still, I must keep watch, keep Hope.

Years into our own personal version of Plan B, it is easy for me to forget the details of what’s missing- for her, for me, for our family- and in weariness just beg God to make it all right. “And on the double, Lord- please and thank you…”

Four familiar words, offered effortlessly and in abundance by her siblings, yet largely absent from her vocabulary. But on a Saturday morning in August, as I sit on our deck admiring the reflection of trees against my black coffee, little feet dance by, headed back inside to sneak more grapes from the kitchen counter.

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Is that thunder I hear beyond the hill?

And there as the door closes, the weather shifts for just a second. Pushing past heart’s survival armor, out of her mouth trickle four little rain drops,

“I love you, mom,”

and she’s gone. No lightning, no downpour, just an echo and a promise of rain- our Miracle in the making.

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This garden tomato isn’t the prettiest- she has flaws, rough spots along the skin and is just kind of dirty- worn from the elements of her growth. Slicing through toughened skin, nostalgia in scents of fresh and earth and home pour out. There laid open, the depth of hue and meat underneath skin tells of her intense flavor and beauty- better than anything store bought all shiny and blemish-free. And there He speaks, Isn’t it the same with your life? The imperfect life always tastes sweeter in the end.

My blemishes and wounds, the exposure to storms- they mottle and scar altering the landscape of me. Some of the flaws may cause others to pass me over for a prettier, less damaged option. And I strive hard and long to hide my imperfections- deflect the rough patches with humor, cover over the wounds with works to make you love me in spite of…me.


I haven’t been writing much for several months. OR more truthfully, I haven’t been writing with ease – the words coming in chokes, forced out at times in near defiance and spilled as tears to paper in others. Though I may celebrate and champion you on to embrace the mess of your own life, the fact of the matter is I prefer to keep my world neat. All grace and go get ’ems for others, doubt and condemnation when taking in my own race. Friends, my life has gotten really, really messy. And in the weeds, my words turn on me and run. I log onto “life” and am hit with the fact there is always someone better for the task in front of me. I scroll past super moms, uber homeschoolers, Proverbs 31 women by the dozen- rocking their marriages, their homes and dropping ten pounds to boot. There will always be smarter theologians, more poignant writers, photographers who make my work feel like prints sitting under the counter at WalMart no one cared enough to pick back up. Comparison…the thief of joy, the mirror of unworthy discontent. And there I hang clinging to the vine(1), tattered in wind, poked at by the birds of the air. It is I, not all the beautiful Internet people, who holds the keys to the undoing. Because I don’t know how to do this messy, without being ALL the mess. I can’t share my life and have it wrapped up tidy in 800 words or less for public consumption. Actually, I do know how, but not with an honest authenticity to where I care to still know my name by the time I press “publish.” Living and writing inside ALL the mess scares us, we just push our shopping carts right on past the bruised fruit because it is ugly and broken and sometimes just plain ol’ stinks. So the words halt, edit themselves void before ever exiting my soul. And friends, there is no resolution today, probably not tomorrow either. In the most transparent, humble way I know- by way of this barrier of screens and keyboards- I will tell you I am wrestling. I am questioning. I am reasoning(2)  this mess out, and it’s ugly. I have the scars to prove. But the silence is strangling me, so in trepidation and a mustard seed of faith, here I am. 


Standing there at the kitchen counter, summer burgers on the grill, kids heard playing in other parts of the house, scents of rain from an earlier thunderstorm still in the air, I slice an imperfect tomato, and lay bare my imperfect life to the One who sees and already knows, but never for a moment stopped loving.
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*(1): I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:5 ESV

(2): Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. – Isaiah 1:18 ESV