THE ultrasound

Tomorrow’s the ultrasound. THE ultrasound. Theoretically the one where we see the baby’s kidneys and various major arteries and all fingers and toes and, if we’re lucky, maybe gender.


(My sweet friend got me these little sleepers the week I tested positive with this baby. I’ve had them hanging where I can see them from my bed ever since, as a reminder that this is real.)

Here’s what I expect based on all the other kids:

  • Our chances of finding out gender are POOR. Both girls evaded on the first try at 20 weeks. (We got second chances and figured it out eventually both times.)
  • If we do find out whether we’re having a boy or a girl, I’ll spend much of the rest of the day mourning the baby that isn’t. One of those sweet sleepers will not be worn, likely ever by any baby of mine. (Is this normal? I have no idea. But so far, it’s happened every time and I’ll be darned if it’s going to surprise me again. I’ll just plan for it… it’ll pass.)
  • I’ll go in with an uncomfortably full bladder (like they ask me to) and the tech will immediately send me to the bathroom. I have no idea why reception always wants me to have a full bladder and the tech never does (a full bladder makes sense earlier, of course), but it’s happened every time.

Here’s what I’m expecting because this is the most neurotic pregnancy ever:

  • An anterior placenta. I haven’t felt this baby hardly at all, and I’m pretty sure (and the midwives agree) that it’s due to where my placenta is. Perfect, right? When I’m convinced like 80% of the time that baby is NOT okay, that’s definitely the pregnancy where I should have the hardest time feeling the reassuring squiggles, yes? Sigh.
  • A dead, dying, or severely disabled baby. There. I said it. I have a few friends that have gotten really bad news at this ultrasound and I’m just sure I’ll join them tomorrow. I’m really good at math. I understand that statistics are on my side. But it’s hard to math away the paranoia.


I’ve been struggling a lot this week (and by “week” I mean “pregnancy”) with the verses that command people not to fear. I’ve not been terribly successful (ever) feeling differently because I think I should. I see why “FEAR NOT!” worked well when God sent an angel or preincarnate Christ to someone… They were scary, but the assurance that no harm was coming goes a long way toward assuaging fear.

That doesn’t seem to translate very well this week.

So I’m looking (after some discussion with my husband) at some of the teaching passages in the New Testament that deal with fear and anxiety.

Philippians 4:6- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Okay, so pray, ask, give thanks. Check.

Then there’s Matthew 6:27 that reminds me that worrying doesn’t gain anything.

True enough.


Now I’m working on choosing trust. While I’ve never had any luck thinking myself into a different emotion, I have at least a little success with acting my way into a different feeling.

When the worry creeps up and attacks (like my stinky baby brother would love to do), I at least have my to-do list. (I’m good at those!)

  • pray
  • ask
  • give thanks
  • remember the worry is helping nothing

We’ll see how it goes. If you have any thoughts or guesses on gender, I’d love to hear them! (In addition to changing emotions by changing actions, I can absorb the excitement of other people, so feel free to share some.) Navy stripes with monkey or lavender dots with polar bear? Or yet another stubborn modest baby?

(And here’s the post from the after the ultrasound!)


on “enough” …and other things.

I’m going to tell you a story today. Another one. Or maybe a few. I don’t tell you my stories because I think my life is earth-shattering and fascinating to you. I tell you my stories because… they’re all I have. I learn from them. And I hope they bring you hope or encouragement, too.

Andrew told me a couple weeks ago that he was “very satisfied” with me. It was kind of in a general context, not specifically related to anything I can remember. This speaks directly to the “enough” button in my heart. I struggle constantly with the fear that I am not, have never been, will never be enough. So hearing those words from his mouth was soothing to my heart.

Sort of.


Except… the last few weeks, I’ve been frickin’ on fire. ON. FIRE. All my daily, weekly, and monthly checklist items are done, as well as every single other thing I can think of to put on my to-do list. Its bizarre. I’ve run out of normal stuff to write on my list and started making crap up. I’m cleaning and decluttering spaces I haven’t touched (except to add junk to) since we moved in. I’m cleaning scuff marks off walls. Today I vacuumed the ceiling. True story.

It’s an illness or something. I don’t have time or energy to devote to this nonsense.

But still, I’m doing it. And, miraculously, my mothering is still on point, if I do say so myself. My kids are doing all the things they ordinarily do, and I’m handling all the crazy and any defiance with creativity and consistency. I’m finding stuff that’s working to discipline, which isn’t a small miracle, given my kids’ genetic propensity toward obstinance.

(I swear I’m not saying this to brag. I’m coming to a point here. Promise. Also, please note, NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL FOR ME.)

So randomly, inexplicably, I’m at my absolute, very best. Record best. And I feel kind of good, since I feel like, at least for now, I have my stuff together. But it also feels manic. Some of the busyness is about distracting myself from worrying about the baby. Some of it is simply trying not to fall asleep. I’m so tired lately, I’ve basically become narcoleptic. If I stop moving, I zonk out. And if I zonk out, the kids are almost certainly going to burn the house down.

So when I hear that I’m actually, truly, finally enough, I start to panic.

See, I know this isn’t sustainable. It can’t be. My energy will only go down and entropy will rule again for a good long while. This isn’t my first rodeo—I know how messy it all gets the last few months before baby and the first few months after. Third and fourth trimesters are killer.

So if I’m only enough at my all-time peak, what than? What if I drop all of the balls? Well, then I go back to regular. Regular, ordinary, never-gonna-be-enough me.

Is there grace enough for that?

Sunday school answer says “of course!” …but deep down in my gut? I don’t know. I just don’t. I mean, I’ll keep slogging through, of course. But somehow it seems demoralizing.

Was it easier when “enough” was strictly unattainable?

And why is Andrew’s assessment of my enoughness so key, anyway? [For the record: If I were to ask him right now, he’d tell me the concept of “enough” doesn’t even register as meaningful and when he said he was “very satisfied,” it wasn’t about me killing myself over the scuff marks on the walls.] Why is he the one I have to please? I mean, there are other people whose opinion should matter more. Like, I don’t know… God. And mine should possibly count, too, at least a little. But it’s my husband’s that I strive for.

If I’m being honest, God’s almost doesn’t count. I can’t possibly meet holiness as a standard. And the acceptance granted through Christ is freely available, so it says nothing at all about me. (Please don’t tell anyone I said that.)

..and then I actually talked to Andrew about it. After like a week of stewing.

He laughed at me.

“Of course. Because anything bad I say is about you and who you are inside. And anything good I say is about you’re circumstances and what you do. ‘Oh, the house! I’m so satisfied by the house. So… satisfying. The house.'”



And then he says, “Me? I’m the other way around. ‘Oh, Andrew, you’re so helpful and good looking.’ Yep. I know. ‘Oh, Andrew! I’m so pissed at you!’ I know. Because that thing happened. Are you over it yet? Because I was over it before you finished talking.”

The man kills me.

I mean, he’s not wrong. I expect him to be right in general… on rational topics. But when he whips out a dead-on insight about my emotional life? It freaks me out a little. He’s right. I internalize the bad and externalize the good. And since he goes the other way, I need to take his compliments and criticism the way he means it.

I have no idea how I’m going to shift this, but I think knowing about it is a good step one.

Immediately following that discussion, this hit me:

I’m hopelessly in love with each of my kids. Their each abundantly more than enough, as far as I’m concerned. Because their mine and their awesome. What if one of them wrote off my adoration? “She’s my mom. She has to think I’m awesome. It doesn’t count.”

It would break my heart if they discounted my opinion of them because I’m “obligated.” If they didn’t see that because I’m the mom, I see them at their worst and am still hopelessly in love. My opinion is more reflective of reality because of my position, not fewer.

…God is the ultimate Parent. I can’t write off His acceptance because it’s freely available and not based on what I do.

It’s based on Whose I am.

His opinion is more reflective of reality because of His position. Not fewer.


A’ight. So… reverse the things I internalize and externalize. Stop discounting God’s opinion of me.



Paying attention is hard sometimes. If y’all have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.





dear mama: you’re fighting the important battles

Dear mama of strong-willed littles,

This can be exhausting, right? You’re trying so hard to teach these small humans how to behave, how to be people, what is right and what is wrong, and how to choose right over wrong. And they seem determined that you’re not the boss of them. However they say it… fits, screams, sly disobedience, or (like one of mine) outright shouting “YOU DON’T HAVE AUTHORITY OVER ME!”… Well, it makes for long days and furtively consumed chocolate, no?

And sometimes the standoffs can last FOREVER. It’s stressful. It’s exhausting.

But you know what?

These are important battles you’re fighting.

These days feel like the WORST. But really? They’re also some of the best opportunities.


Any time you can handle defiance with calmness, consistency, and compassion, that’s the biggest possible win. You’re actively guiding your people towards right behavior. (And when “calmness, consistency, compassion” ends up being more than you can scrape up? It’s okay. Actually, it’s always more than I can scrape up- that’s where His grace is sufficient for me and His power is perfected in my weakness.)

Good days are nice, right? When everyone behaves reasonably well and keeps a happy heart?

But I’m convinced that the only way to get those with any regularity is by doing the hard work on the rough days.

So I just want to encourage you today. If this is what your life looks like right now, more often than you’d like… soldier on, sister. Don’t grow weary in doing good. Well, I don’t know. I’m weary of it… The rest of Galations 6:9 says, “for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give  up.” So it seems like the important thing is more about continuing, not allowing weariness to beat us. And doesn’t reaping a harvest sound great?

These hard days sometimes can make you feel like you’re doing it wrong. They may even cause people to tell you you’re doing it wrong. But actually? They may just be your golden opportunity to do it right.

There’s grace enough for this.

In case it’s not obvious, this is to me as much as to you. I don’t actually claim any authority to tell you how to do anything. But this is something I need to preach to myself an awful lot, so I thought maybe I’d share.


minigoals and unresolutions: february’s update

Look! Here’s a picture of a chameleon my husband took on the Hana Highway on Maui. It’s almost as random as this post. Also, this chameleon made halting, deliberate steps toward its goal, ever so slowly, which is kind of what I’m doing. So look! It fits!


I wrote this post last month. It was random and navel-gazing, but also left me needing to write monthly sequels, so here is this month’s.


January: Get up early.

Check. (Update: as expected, getting up early looks a lot different off vacation. So my current wake-up time is a lot closer to the girls’ than I’d like. I’m fine-tuning it for real life still.)

February: Leave food on my plate at meals.

So… that actually didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I did it whenever I thought of it. The theory was good. But the problem is mindfulness. I think about it as I sit down to most meals, but by the time I actually start eating (after getting back up for the milk I forgot or cutting up someone’s food or placating the hungry baby or whatever), so much chaos has happened that I’ve lost track. And then I eat, and then I’m finishing my meal, which is the time I’m supposed to be remembering that I’m leaving food. So… oops.

I’d still like very  much like to learn to be more mindful about eating, but this wasn’t my ticket to that. I’ll keep trying. That’s okay… that was kind of the point of the whole series of experiments.

So… March.

I’m getting back to flossing every night in the shower. (I honestly can’t believe I just wrote that sentence on the internet. New lows, my friends. I promise I will at no point start writing posts devoted to what I have for breakfast every day. That’s my line in the sand. Or blog. Whatever.) This has worked well for me in the past- I have a trigger (the shower) so I remember and it’s convenient. But at some point, I got lazy and stopped doing it as a matter of daily habit, so it’s time to fix that.

I need a win after trying and forgetting so consistently this month. Also? I have a cleaning coming up. So there’s that. (“Why yes, I DO floss daily, thankyouverymuch.”)

So how goes your 2016? Are you making progress toward the goals or attitudes you wanted?


I have no idea what I’m doing

This morning is a good morning.

It’s actually the kind I imagined as a kid. (I was the type of little girl that always dreamed of being a mother and glamorized it endlessly in my mind, which is funny, because I was the oldest of five, so I actually could have fairly easily figured out that raising children looked different from my picture, had I… I don’t know… paid any attention.) 

But in any case, it’s been really nice so far. (It’s early yet.) The girls woke up at a pretty normal time (Brian’s still sleeping) and stayed relatively quiet for the earliest part of the morning. (We have rules here about morning quiet hours. Some of you would scream “abuse!” and others would be jealous, but at any rate, it rarely works so well. But I keep trying, because that’s what this highly-sensitive mama needs to be a good mama.) Then they sat and read and talked with each other about interesting bugs, birds, and animals they saw in their book.

It’s the kind of morning I try to capture, because they’re so darn sweet and these just don’t come around that often.


Take yesterday, for instance.

Yesterday was hard.

I spent hours and hours doing the difficult kind of parenting that somehow never figured into my fantasies. Neither girl gave any bothers at all what mama said, as far as I could tell. For instance, I had this conversation with one of them, easily an hour before she was supposed to be up and talking:

Girl: Mama! I found the clippers.
Me: I found them for you, and it’s not time to talk.
G: I know how to keep my nails kind of long without clipping them!
M: Great. Still not time to talk.
G: But look what I found!
M: I’d love to see it and hear all about it… when it’s talking time.Which I keep saying, but you haven’t responded. I’d like a “yes mom.”

And this was how it began. It’s a small thing, but this is basically how the day went down. I talked, they ignored. And so I consequenced. (Yes, “consequence” is a verb in our house, according to the talking small people.) I got more assertive as the day went on.

There were long standoffs. Hours. “YOU! DO NOT! HAVE AUTHORITY! OVER ME!” was frequently shouted at me by one of them.

And I did what I needed to, as best and as calmly as I know how.

But the necessity of it made me doubt myself. Hours of preschooler standoffs scream to me, “YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY BE DOING THIS RIGHT!”

Last night was my Process Night. Andrew and I swap nights every week. One night a week I take care of dinner and bedtime while he goes off and reads or wanders or does whatever he wants, really, and another night it’s my turn. Last night it was my turn. And thank goodness, because I was DONE. My hope had been to write some before going to a friend’s house, but writing didn’t happen, because spending all day parenting in the most active and unpleasant ways sucks all the coherent thoughts right out of my head. So I read some young adult fiction while I ate dinner, then went to hang out with a friend I’d not gotten much time with the last couple of months.

This friend is dear to me, but also very, very different. She’s very rational and organized and consistent with her kids. When I have issues with my kids, I actually frequently think, “You know, if I parented like she does, I bet I wouldn’t have these issues. She doesn’t seem to.” So, given my day, I was a little apprehensive about telling her the truth about my day, because, though she’s too kind to say so, I was just sure she would’ve done better with my scenarios today than I did. She doesn’t have days like this.

But, as it turned out, she does. And it was an incredible gift to me to hear this mom had basically the same day I did. She is so dear to me, but also does it so much like I wish I could, and she has the same problems with her kid of a similar age.

A revelation.

Suddenly, maybe, just maybe, I’m not doing it all wrong.

So… What if I’m that mom for one of you?

Honestly, I try really hard to have my stuff together in general, at least in public, not because I want to look good to you all so much as because I hate feeling flustered and my kids getting out of hand when I’m out and about flusters me. But also, I feel like it’s total chaos so much of the time (and I see all my lows) and I have a hard time imagining someone thinks I have it all together. But I’m betting my friend feels the same way sometimes. So, just in case, what if I am that mom?

Let me give you one of the many gifts she gave me last night. I’m just going to be honest.

I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.

Like, ever.

I’m making this up as I go, probably the same as you.

I love my kids, same as you.

I want desperately for them to grow up into kind, functional human beings. I want them to fall in love with Jesus and follow him with their whole hearts. I want them to know how to respond to authority. I want them to know how to interact with peers. I want them to know how to treat those smaller or weaker than they are. I want them to be respectful and to clean up after themselves and to care for the people around them.

And I don’t know how.

I have read dozens of parenting books. I have decent instincts and a great and deeply internalized model for motherhood. (Thanks, Mom!) I know what the Bible has to say. I have the Holy Spirit guiding me. But I still struggle to apply it all and come up with the right thing to do at the exact moment that one of the kids does something crazy. (Which is basically every minute of every day.)

It’s not an easy gig, this mothering thing. I get it. I’m with you. We’re all doing what we can with what we’ve got. And that’s okay.

You aren’t doing it all wrong. You’re just not.

In case you thought, based on the beginning of the post, that my day or life is perfect, it’s spiraled completely out of control. While writing this, one of my kids, within my sight, took 15 seconds of inattention to stand on the table and spin the light fixture and the thing fell half out of the ceiling.

Sorry, Andrew.

So I may not be doing it all wrong, but I’m clearly not doing all of it right, either.




enough for even today

So today was rough.

I yelled too much. I zoned out too much. I disciplined too little, too late, to inconsistently.

I whined about my kids on facebook. (To my facebook friends, which is to say… all of you, I’m sorry about that.) That’s kind of graceless, whining about a privilege that some women would give appendages to have.

I can hear a lot of you, my gracious, kind friends… We’ve all been there. It’s just a rough day. It’ll get better. Tomorrow’s a new day. I can hear you because I am you. I’ve said those things. Not to myself, typically, of course. But to my friends. You know. People I like. I say those things.

I texted a friend, my person, knowing she would ask me what I could do to mitigate the disaster. So I preempted her and, as I was texting her, came up with a recovery plan. I’d do something sort of fun but energy burning while Brian was down to get the girls’ wiggles out and get myself a little exercise at the same time. I mean, the problems were obvious. Most notably, I had to make it two hours until naptime and a LOT can happen in two hours that could derail the plan. But still.

Maybe it would work.

It did.

Sort of. Brian went down. I got a few things that would entertain and (more importantly) wear the girls out. I got some exercise, which made me feel better, anyway. But they were still crazy and required more supervision than I had capacity to give. And now I needed a shower.


(In the interest of finishing part of a story, which is a luxury I rarely get, I should tell you how the shower thing went down. I put Katherine, the one more prone to destruction at this point, in time-out next to the shower where I could see her, and left Jenna to do dishes, which she loves. And by “do the dishes,” I definitely mean “play with water, eat brown sugar and raw oatmeal and wash zero dishes,” but whatever. By this point in the day, it mattered very little.)

So… Now that I’m past it, and, by happy accident (or, realistically, God’s grace) out of the house, away from the chaos, what do I do about it?

I mean, obviously I see the pattern… the chaos overwhelms my senses, so I tune out. Just for a second. Just to focus on something besides the crazy for a tiny bit. But a tiny bit turns into a couple minutes. The kids get frustrated that I’m not paying attention to them or their requests (demands) and they get louder. And they realize that my inattention is really an opportunity. Preschoolers with opportunities are dangerous. And the chaos increases. I snap back to real life long enough to be like what the heck is wrong with these tiny humans?!? and react to whatever ridiculous thing just happened. Spoiled milk is cleaned from the carpet. Clean (but dog hairy) laundry is shaken off or tossed back in, based on general fuzziness. Bites are tended, water mopped up. Various consequences are administered with as much reasonableness as I can muster. But the damage is done and my senses are further overwhelmed, so I could use a bit more of a break. So I tune out for another minute. Facebook is good for that. As is texting. Or really whatever makes me feel like I’m interacting with normal adult people rather than the crazy ones who temporarily replaced my darling babies.

And on it goes.

So this is clearly at least mostly my fault. I mean, they’re preschoolers. What else am I supposed to expect?

I could brainstorm more productive fixes for the overwhelm, clearly.

I could go through the mental recording of the day looking for things I need to make right with the kids. (Sorry is a big thing around here.)

I could just sit in the frustration of having gotten sucked into zoning out and letting the day spiral out of control… again.

And a few of those things (at least the first two) really ought to be done.

But, for now, for just a minute, I’m going to pretend for that it was someone else’s day. What if this was Alycia? Audrey? Staci? Any of you?

Here’s what I’d message you. (And I guarantee it’d be a written message- the chances of spitting this all out in a voice conversation are nil.)

Oh, I’m SO SORRY you had that day. I have that day all the time, too. It’s ok. Really. the kids will be ok. They won’t hate you forever, and they probably won’t end up delinquents. Not based on today, anyway. And this isn’t your every day. It happens now and then, but it’s still the exception, not the rule. It sucks. But it’s gonna be ok. God loves your kids. You love your kids. One bad day doesn’t change that at all. And they know that. There’s enough grace for you. Even today. Instead of zoning out, would it work to actually put yourself in time-out? Or, you know, take a conveniently-timed bathroom break? Then they’d know you weren’t available? Or if they were being naughty anytime you left the room, is there a way to occupy them so you could step away? Something? I don’t know. Just some thoughts. Get some rest. Give yourself a break. God’s got this.

Ha. There it is. Rest and a break and there’s plenty of grace to go around. And actually step away, rather than looking like I’m present without actually being available. (Did I tell myself that, before I went and pretended it was your day? No. This shouldn’t be such revolutionary advice, as it’s pretty standard from me, but it hits me as a shock, just the same.)

This whole exercise is cracking me up. At this moment, I’m not sure I’ll publish it. (I don’t even have a picture!) But if I do, would you consider trying it? Next time you catch yourself in self-judgment, maybe pretend that it’s me in your shoes, and I’m just venting to you about it? What would you say to me or to another friend? What would you say if you didn’t automatically spew all the angry, blaming things people tend to say to themselves? Just a thought. Give yourself a little bit of the grace you’d give to a friend.


missing the mark

The moon was low over the ocean and nearly full, shining like a spotlight on the water.

No, really. Like a literal spotlight on the water, with a huge bright patch out toward the horizon. I’d never seen anything like it before, to be honest. Possibly because I live in the state with the most coastline (by far) but smack in the middle, so I’m 6 hours from any ocean. I’ve since noticed the sun does a similar thing toward sunset (and probably just past sunrise, if I were East-facing) but it seems cooler when everything else is dark.

Two mornings ago, I was driving to coffee around 6 and couldn’t miss this sight down the hill. It made me want to cry, honestly. And I’m not typically much of a crier. (Please don’t try to verify that with my husband- his definition of “crier” isn’t especially generous.) I’m not sure if I was feeling a little weepy from the beauty or from the panic that comes with the inability to keep it… I had no camera besides my phone with me, and I knew I’d never do it justice, even with the best gear.

But, again, wonder. Curiosity and awe. The awe was there, but I was curious what I’d catch if I gave it a go. So yesterday, I went down with my camera around 6. The moon was a little higher and smaller, so the effect was less dramatic, but it was actually full and still beautiful.


Looking at it now, it’s not a terrible shot, I suppose. Not especially stunning, but certainly could be worse.

But if you’d seen it, you’d know how completely disappointing this is. The scene was glorious. This is… ok.

I went to coffee pretty irritated with myself, actually. I wish I’d brought a tripod. (I used the corner post of a gate to steady the camera for the long exposure.) I wish I had a remote shutter release so I didn’t bump the camera when I pushed the button. (A friend asked last night why I didn’t just use the timer. …Because I didn’t think of it, that’s why.) My training and experience is limited. I could probably have done slightly better with a full-sized sensor and a lens that costs more than my first car, too. But even if we solved all those problems, there’s really no way I could’ve done justice to the glory God was painting for just anyone who was up early and near the ocean to see.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23. That’s what came to mind. (I realize this sounds pretentiously pious. I’m sorry.) 

The word “sin” has archery origins… it’s missing the mark. Not a perfect bull’s eye. To be clear, to take this verse and apply it directly to photography is a terrible mishandling of Scripture. But I was so acutely aware of my complete inability to capture the glory I saw, and it was a vivid picture to me of just how much I cannot, under any circumstances, in any way, ever be good enough to “deserve” anything good from God.

It isn’t about the good outweighing the bad.

I just can’t get there from here.

But I can’t, in good conscience, quote Romans 3:23 that way. That isn’t what the verse says. Punctuation matters.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

That’s what the verse says. The first letter isn’t the beginning, and there is no period at the end. Romans 3:23 is a fragment in the middle of one of Paul’s characteristically long sentences. Let’s look at the whole paragraph. (Better yet, the whole chapter or book, but for the sake of space, we’ll “think paragraphs” as the book I just read suggests.)

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 

(Romans 3:21-26, NIV. Emphasis mine.)

We’re all the same. We have all sinned. we do all fall short of God’s glory… And. 

“And” is kind of a big deal here. (And by “kind of a big deal,” I definitely mean “ACTUALLY the biggest deal there is, as far as humankind is concerned.” ) 

We can’t get there from here. But God sent a rescuer to make it possible. We’re “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

I’m still disappointed in the pictures I took yesterday. But I wonder if the inability of mere mortals to fully capture or reproduce God’s handiwork isn’t, at least in part, to point us to our need for grace. God makes sunrises, sunsets, gorgeous moons on oceans, little flowers that nobody ever sees… every day. And I can’t perfectly capture any of it. And, as good as some photographers and artists are, they can’t either. The very best efforts from the most talented people can’t quite match the kind of artistry God produces every day, all over the world. He’s totally other.

But also, He makes a way for us to be with Him.

It’s grace. (And somehow, even “grace” feels like too small a word. How can this be the same word that we use for saying “Thank you, Jesus, for this food, Amen.” before a meal?)


Is this new to you? Do you not know what I’m talking about?

This is a big freaking deal. I don’t know how else to say it. I know if “sin” and “redemption” and “Jesus” (in the proper sense, talking about a person) are not part of your regular vocabulary, a lot of this sounds like religious nuttery. But if I have your attention for just another second, I have to tell you about it. Not because I’m right and you’re wrong, but because eternity is a long time and I’d like to hang with you in Heaven for it. (Also, Heaven isn’t boring like the pictures of angels and harps.)

So… in a nutshell…

God is real.

So are sin and hell.

Being “good enough” isn’t a thing. We seriously can’t get there from here.

But God loves you. And He wants YOU. (I know. That sounds ludicrous. But it’s true.) So He made a way for you to be with Him.

(It gets crazier.)

God is good. Perfect, in fact. And He has to punish sin, and that punishment is death. In a spiritual, forever, super sad and scary sense.

But Jesus (who is-and, again, I realize this makes not a lot of sense- God’s Son, and fully God) came to Earth, was punished for our wrongs, our inability to be perfect, and rose again, proving he wins over sin and death.

You don’t have to pay for all the things you’ve ever done wrong! Yay!

So… Here’s all there is to it: talk to God. Tell him you know you’ve missed the mark and can’t be good enough. Ask him to take away your sins and save you. He gives you the Holy Spirit. (Some more crazy: also God. The third person of the Trinity. One God, three distinct persons. No, I don’t really get it, either.) The Holy Spirit makes it possible for you to follow Jesus and do what he says (though still imperfectly, for now.) Since God created us, living the way he recommends is actually the recipe for the fullest, most abundant life, so, while this might look like a loss, it isn’t.

More questions? I don’t blame you. I don’t explain it especially well. (More evidence of my ineptitude at capturing.) Talk to a friend who loves Jesus and believes the Bible is true. Or talk to me. I’d love to discuss it more with you, if this is something you’re interested in learning more about.