“Her Name Was Lolita…”

My son recently adopted a dog who had been rescued from a puppy mill. It is likely that she had been left in her cage for great lengths of time, sitting in her own excrement, filthy and used solely for the gain of another. She had been treated like an object who had now outlived her usefulness; discarded and abandoned; unwanted and unloved. We braced ourselves for severe behavioral problems and extra training. Her foster home wasn’t even sure she was fully potty trained, and said she showed signs of the food anxiety so often exhibited in animals who have been treated inhumanely and have had to fight to be fed.

Even her name seemed to be a sentence to failure. It was Lolita, which means “sexually precocious young girl.” We decided that our first act of love was to change Lolita’s name, therefore cutting off all connections with her past. Her name is now Lola, meaning, “sorrows” or Lolo, meaning “goofball.” My son and I gently trained her to recognize our voices and respond to her new name. We were thrilled when she began to run to find us when we called her.

Our little “goofball”

Within 24 hours of adoption, Lolo surprised us all. From the first full day, her desire to please her new masters drove her to be careful not leave unwanted “packages” in the home. She cuddled and snuggled into our arms whenever we were sitting, and she ran around the house like a kook when one of us came home.

The whole experience has reminded me of when Jesus said that those who have been forgiven much are more grateful than those who believe they are not in need of much forgiveness. And though Lolo’s past wasn’t her fault, she seems to understand the depths of what she has been rescued from, and in response, has become completely and deliriously devoted to her deliverers.

How many of us, upon our rescue by Jesus, had been:

  • Found captured in a cage of our own or other’s making?
  • Left to feel dirty and unlovable?
  • Called names that led us to identify with things we were never meant to believe about ourselves? 
  • Discarded after our abusers deemed us no longer a part of their plan? 

Like Lolo, our desire to live in a way pleasing to God should be rooted in response to His great love and enriched by deep gratitude for the extremes that our Master went to in order to rescue us from sin and separation from Him. When He calls, we should be leaping and jumping in excitement for the adventure that awaits us. When we rest, we should be as closely snuggled in His arms as we can get. We should believe in who He says we are, rather than the who we were when He found us.

We all have a choice. We can either allow our past to cause us to be broken and bitter, or broken and better. We can, like Lolo, choose to respond to the love of our Master and become all that He has called us to become. We can allow God to “rename” us from forgotten to begotten; precocious to precious; trashed to treasured. We can allow God to train us as we follow His lead and learn to recognize His voice. Most significantly, we can, for the love that God has shown us, leave our pasts behind and joyfully experience our adoption in Him.

1John.3. [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Put On Love: Life’s Little Black Dress

black dress


Sometimes Scripture passages can be downright daunting, but then we discover how much wisdom they hold. The text appears overwhelming when you first look at it, but then you try it on for size and discover how fitting God’s design is for your life. Colossians 3:12-17 is one of these passages:

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way” (Colossians 3:12-17 MSG).

Sometimes I grow tired of my wardrobe; other times I don’t seem to quite fit into what’s there. There is too much of me to fit into that pair of pants! My grudge holding, fault finding, and angry attitude are like muffin tops over the waistband, revealing how I’ve concentrated on filling myself with the wrong things. I feel like someone has snuck into my house overnight and replaced my spiritual clothing with that of someone much younger and thinner, someone much more holy than myself…

Friends will you join me for the rest over at Family Fire?

Playing in the rain today with

Laura Boggess

…and I chronicle His grace


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All For His Glory

This was written five years ago…I am full time now, and still loving my position at Love INC. 


My whole life I wanted to be in the full-time ministry.  I was raised in the Salvation Army as a child, so I wanted to be a Salvation Army officer and to show the poor, the afflicted and the hurting the love of Christ in a practical way, so that they might come to know Him.  In my teen years, my family and I were attending a Pentacostal church, and I dreamed of being the next Aimee Semple McPhereson, and laying my hands on the sick and seeing them recover.  As a young married woman I wondered if my ministry would be to wives and mothers.  Then I became heavily involved in small groups at church.  I led three of them and trained new workers.  Finally, I found myself serving with the children’s ministry, writing curriculum and developing young leaders.

What I failed to realize is that in each stage of life I was already in full time ministry, because my desire was to be a handmaiden of the Lord and minister to Him wherever His hand led me. I rang Christmas bells for the Salvation Army, and served the homeless dinner.  I played the piano on the worship team, and was the secretary at my church.  I sought do the will of God in my life as a wife and mother.. this was all ministry….and I was okay with that.  My lightening quick mind realized that this is what God has for every believer…to be so saturated with Him that we leak out all over.

But all of this changed a few months ago.  Remember when I wrote this post about being lost about my future?  And then this post about being on an elevator ? A few months ago I decided to apply for the Executive Director position with Love INC of Tinley Park.  Love INC is a non-profit organization that brings the local church together in order to meet the needs of a community.  I have no college or business experience, and I haven’t worked for 12 years.  I’m just a typical home school mom who finds her nest empty for the first time. I was certain that my future included leisurely walks, writing novels and sipping tea from antique tea cups.

The process was long and arduous.  I had two interviews, which was nerve wrecking in itself because I’ve never had an interview before in my life.  I was always hired on the spot, so to say.  It humbles me to announce that I have been honored with the position of  the Executive Director of Love INC of Tinley Park, Illinois.  I am ensured that the position is part-time at the moment, but I am still unsure where that leaves me for writing and for blogging.  I definitely won’t be around as often to read and comment.  Will you pray for me as I take on this new endeavor?  It is evident to me that the hand of God has been on my life to prepare me for this position. I know that He is faithful, and that He doesn’t give us a task without equipping us to do it.  But would you pray that I will put the writing part of my life willingly on the altar and be blessed with whatever I am left with?

I will remain  confident in this, I will see the goodness of the Lord!  All for His glory.

Beholding Glory

On In Around button

…sharing a playdate with Laura:


Jesus Loves the Person You Can’t Stand

I am attending the Bella Conference, Fresh Colors this weekend…so you’ll have to read this oldy but goody! This is one of my all-time favorites…

Photo courtesy of Alex Proimos

Maybe the person is at work, or at school. Maybe you dislike an entire portion of society, ie. the smelly guy on the bus. Or maybe, and this is the worst of them all, you live with someone you don’t like! Whatever the case, it’s startling how often I hear “Christians” say they hate someone, or dislike a family member. Even more often that this, I see Christians ignore entire portions of their own world. They conveniently ignore the bum on the corner of State and Lake Streets. They sit as far away as possible from the smelly man on the bus. They look upon the scantily dressed young woman, whom they suspect to be a harlot, with disgust. They try with all their might to get out of serving in the nursery when their turn comes up, because they, “just don’t do diapers.” I know, I am ashamed to say, I’ve done all of the above.

Have you ever stopped to ask the bum his story? Whether it’s a true story or not, it’s sure to be interesting and will show a window into his soul. Have you ever thought that maybe the smelly guy is homeless and hasn’t had a shower because he has no bathroom except McDonald’s? Did you ever consider that perhaps the young woman you are so quick to judge may have run away from a sexually abusive father and had no where to turn?

My writing mentor, Madeleine L’Engle said this:

“If Jesus came today, would we be any braver, any more open, any more willing to give ourselves to his love, than were those who cried out, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’? Would we be any more willing today to allow him to love all kinds of people, even those we don’t much care about?
That, of course, was part of the problem–Jesus’ friends. They were not the right people. He went to the wrong dinner parties (his first miracle took place at a big party). He loved children, and let them climb all over him with their sticky little hands and dirty little feet.”

If Jesus reached out to these “untouchables” in our society who are we to ignore them? Who are we to define them as untouchable?

Every once in a while, my Salvation Army roots leak out. General William Booth said,

“Look for yourselves. The surging sea of life crowded with perishing souls rolls up to the very spot on which you stand. Leaving the vision, I now come to speak of the fact – fact that is real as the Bible; as real as the Christ who hung upon the cross! as real as the Judgment Day will be, and as real as the Heaven and Hell that will follow it.

Look! Don’t be deluded by appearances -men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea. Look at them from the standpoint of the Great White Throne, and what a sight you have! Jesus Christ, the Son of God; is in the midst of this dying multitude, struggling to save them. And He is calling on YOU to jump into the sea – to go right away to His side, and help Him in the holy strife.

Will you jump? That is, will you go to His feet, and place yourself absolutely at His disposal? My comrades, you are rescued from the waters; you are on the rock. He is in the dark sea, calling on you to come to Him and help Him. Will you go?”

Here is my favorite Keith Green song ever. Please listen. Someone’s life depends on it.

(En) Couraged By Love

Love isn’t a feeling.

If it was it could never endure.

Because what feeling lasts forever?

But love can last forever.

Love isn’t word-deep.

It requires more than words.

It requires action.

Yet love isn’t actions alone.

“If  I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [c] in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me),
I. gain. nothing.”

Love isn’t a touch.

Or else every sexual encounter would be love.

So. what. is. love?

Love is a discipline.

and to become disciplined, we must train,

and follow our Trainer.

Become a Follower of Love.

Who is leading in our follow-the-leader game of love?

God is love.

and Perfect love casts out all fear.

His love is perfect,

When I choose to be discipled by it I am (en)couraged.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God.

Even. me.

Counting his manifestations of love to me with my dear Ann: Counting the provisions of the Lord with Ann:

148. Spring springing.

149. A robin sighting.

150. Good finds in a library.

151. Real Mexican dining just a walk away.

152. A beautiful new company car for my husband!!!!

153. New mercies.

154. New opportunities.

155. Mama’s arms around my neck.

156. Relief after a 5 hour bus ride…

157. An understanding husband.

158. A son whose idea of an ideal Friday night is to watch Judah Smith preach at Church On The Move.

159. Everyday treasures discovered by little hands.

160. Little girl “mustaches”.

161. A much anticipated walk to the park.

162. An aunt not seen for 10 years.

163. A son who calls to make a lunch appointment.

164. Bagel chips.

165. Italian ice.

166. Revelations from “The Voice”…God is not waiting for me to impress Him before He commits to helping me succeed!

167. A plaque honoring godly pioneers.

168. A widow’s mite idea for a family wedding shower.

169. Exciting possibilities.

170. a hope and a future.

171. Young men who dream dreams.

172. Toddlers to give presents to.

173. My husband’s snoring.

174. Almost summer-like days.

175. Human frailties that insist upon grace.

176. Sabbath rest in the midst of chaos.

177. A gift of The Hunger Games

178. Direction for lent (finally!)

179. Learning about preparation in all things.

180. Aha! moments at church.

181. Answered prayer and more answered prayer.

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

…hanging out with L.L.: On In Around button

…sharing with Shandra:


The Practice of Love

practice makes perfect

or so I’ve heard it said.

and so it is true when

playing the piano

or baseball,

making pie crusts

or pottery,

and if at first you don’t succeed,

try, try again.

No one expects you to get it right the first time.

there is respect in the pursuit.

it requires discipline and commitment,

and can not trust in talent alone,

the quest to perfection.

why is it then, that we expect to get love right

the first time?

love requires practice too.

piano practice has scales

baseball, drills

pie crusts, repetition

pottery, patience.

Love practices in action.

it won’t be suppressed.

Love defies inaction.

for that is what makes it passionate.

Compulsion to act.

to speak.

to do something of value.

How does love act?

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It is not jealous or envious.

It is not full of pride, or rudeness.

Love does not insist on having its own way.

Love isn’t easily provoked to anger.

It doesn’t hold grudges.

Love endures.

It lasts.

It won’t give up.

No greater love has any man than to lay down his life for his friends.

how can you die for someone,

if you are unwilling to live for them?

how can you live for them,

if you are unwilling to practice?

Busy About My Father’s Business??

I’ve been thinking about this idea a lot lately.  It all started with my blogging BFF Adela from Once A Little Girl.  She wrote a post about her family being lost in the big city while she as a four year old went on exploring by herself.  The post is called, appropriately enough, Lost and Found.  She uses her wonderful writing style and excellent sense of humor to liken herself to our Lord when His family went searching for Him.

Then I had an interesting teaching moment with my daughter, who is seventeen and super committed at church.  She leads worship for some of the services and sings backup for several others.  Well, my recently widowed mother came in for Easter due to the kindness of her wonderful neighbors.  They were going to be visiting family near our home, and offered to drive her the almost three hours so that she could visit us for the holiday.

My daughter had already sang Friday, led worship on Saturday and was part of a special number on Easter Sunday morning.  During our Easter brunch, which was kind of disasterous by the way, Mom got a call from her ride that they would be leaving a little later than they thought.  This meant we had two choices:  1) Drop my mother off at a fast food restaurant to wait an hour and a half so that my daughter could sing again Sunday night (she was only backup this particular service)  OR 2) Make sure that Mom/Grandma was delivered a few minutes before her neighbors could pick her up so that we could enjoy each other’s company a little longer.

Now, many of us who have mega responsibilities at church have experienced choices similar to this.  Needless to say, I needed to coach my daughter through this lesson on priorities.  In the end, she was able to get a ride to church, and the rest of the family dropped Mom off at the necessary time.  However, the whole experience got me thinking about something I’ve been meditating on for some time.  Sometimes we are faced with choices about how to serve God.  To someone young, either in years or in the faith, it might seem like serving in church is the ultimate highest…but that is so untrue!

Sometimes, our family has been so “busy” about our Father’s business at church, that we don’t have time to cry with a neighbor, or to honor our parents, or to pick up a visitor (which is supposed to be the whole point for crying out loud!)

Jesus was always willing to be interrupted, and He never seemed pressured by time or to be in a hurry.

This morning a friend posted a status on Facebook regarding Satan making us busy at times, and my Pastor consistently says that Satan schedules distractions for us.  I think that sometimes these “distractions” can be good things, like singing at church…

I remember one time last year when my daughter and I were on our way to a Ladies Conference at church.  One of us was supposed to be there early, but I don’t remember who or why.  It was raining cats and dogs, and just before we pulled up to the building I saw a young lady pushing a stroller in the pouring rain.  I remember saying something to my daughter like, “I wish we had time to help them.”…and then I realized how ridiculous that statement was.    So, I turned the car around and drove the lady and her sopping wet stroller and baby to their home.

Problems come to people at inconvenient times.  The answer to those problems (and many times we are that answer) will come wrapped in inconvenience too.  Maybe we should look at our busyness as the inconvenience, not the scheduled “serving”.  In cases like these, what is my Father’s business?  What does the audience of Heaven applaud?  Leaving Grandma at Mickey D’s to wait for an hour and a half because we have to go to our eighth practice in a week?  Driving by a soaking mother and baby because I don’t want to be tardy for PRAYER?  Aren’t we funny?

Linking with lovely Jen at