Training Grace


I stepped in a muddy puddle today. It looked like ice but it wasn’t. Loosing your footing happens mostly on ground that looks solid. There isn’t anywhere to truly trust your steps except the rock. Everything else is quick sand, speeding treadmills.

So here we are, half past January and I’ve starting watching Sherlock like I am one of his fiends. These cold days, it can’t be helped. I hope for so much more, but here it is. I squeeze all I can from the days, nestle quiet in the clear black nights.

I’m torn up by the state of the world. Desperate to find my place to stand. Solid footing. You know that space? The pressure point that keeps the tear from reaching deeper, the world from ripping in half. This seems to be my permanent state, right here, the simultaneous devastated heart-break, and an overwhelming sense of hope, and profound peace. If that is not proof of God then I don’t know what.

Grace, crumbs, spinning planets, dirty dishes and the setting sun…we begin again. People doing the best they can though it seldom looks like that. That is the nature of the kingdom coming, the way it begins in our broken hearts. The way we never split in two.

Today I read about the training grace. And I thought yes. That is it. Training. The point is in the walking, the ever more deliberate gait, the learning to recognize and trust the worthy footholds. Learning to walk with him even if the belt seems to be spinning beneath our feet and the progress is slow. This is the training grace.

Jump In…The Water is Fine

We will not go where we can't see our

Dear E,

Ever since your first birthday, I have had to hold you back from the water. You would run towards it and leap in to any lake or river, giving no notice to the fact that you could not swim.


Much of the time, at snow-fed creeks in early June and waterfalls and oceans in October we would have to actually HOLD YOU BACK so keen you were to jump in.

DSC_0365Even with our deliberate and hands on parenting, even with our hand on your collar, even still you would often find a way to get your feet wet.

DSC_0117 So then, you can imagine my surprise when you would not get into the surf pool with your daddy. I had stayed in the hot tub and you returned to me five minutes later, tears streaming down your face,

“Mom, I am the only girl in there. I don’t belong”

I guess. Logic would tell you, if you don’t see yourself then, of course, you do not belong. But you and me? We are not only people of logic, we are also a people of hope. Some days, it is all we have. And so.

We walked hand in hand and you rode that wave with your face glowing. You watched those teenage boys, doing tricks, you asked how they did it. Oh girl you dove in. It was beautiful. There will be times my darling, to live life in the fullness you are called to, you will be the only one in the water. Do not be afraid.

So many would not have had the courage to tell me why they left the pool. I hear things all the time like “I just don’t feel like it”, “I am bad at math”, “I can’t do it”. But yes you can. Being afraid and being incapable are two very different things.

My girl there will be places that people have not been yet. Places that someone has once upon a time said you were not made for. But let us go there together. This week, I’ve thought of how you are watching me. I found the camera you used this summer. Of the 800 photos on it, 300 were of me. Me…jumping into lakes…freckles blazing, mascara washed off. Me…after a 18 km run…panting and flush. Me…camping without a shower, without any make up. ME. That is what scares me sometimes darlin’. The way you watch me, the way there is no mask with you.

wpid-wp-1421127837542.jpegBecause…I need to tell you. Some of this stuff scares me too. These are the days of Boko Haram turning little girls into bombs and unprecedented domestic murders in our own nation. These are the days of women of THIS LAND disappearing and dying and none of it is ok. These are days of terror. But do you know what? These are also the days of Malala and the days of MY Emily. These are still days of HOPE and do you know that you and I? Well…we were called and born for SUCH A TIME AS THIS. There are places that I have not been, that I am not sure I am meant to go, but watching you is teaching me that sometimes I am just afraid to go to places that I have not seen myself.

wpid-2014-12-22-10.14.19-1.jpg.jpegSo my sweet. Jump in. The water is fine.

With all my love and all the courage I can muster,


The Beast of Marriage


I am reading my blog from the beginning tonight. I love this one. Hope it blesses you!

Originally posted on one thing blog:

July 3, 1999

I don’t know much about this beast of marriage. How it writhes and moans under the thumb of submission. How man is to give life as Christ loved the church, the bride, sacrificial and generous, a bowed reed. How woman is to submit to this gentleness, this other focussed love. How she is to sacrifice and pin that beast down.

It’s a constant struggle. Just when I think I’ve got it immobilized and bound, she raises her ugly head. She is strong this marriage beast and she will eat you alive if you leave her unattended.

In this last decade we have learned what stirs her up, what makes the hair on her back bristle, what environments and situations make her foam at the mouth. We learn, but we are forgetful and sometimes she bites us just to remind us that she needs to be tended to…

View original 123 more words

Ask Me


wpid-abm_1419804708.jpgAsk me again, whether what I have done is my life.   Ask me if the getting up and going to sleep and the moments in between is all there is. Ask me if I lived the heights and depths of my life and all the ordinary moments in between. Ask me if I smelled the frost on my daughter’s hair, smelled the earth on my son. Ask me if I chased my dreams, if I gazed at Christ, if I did everything that was put before me. Ask me I took my place at tables set for me.

Go ahead. Ask me.

Ask me about the words I didn’t write and the walks I didn’t take. Ask me about the people on the margins I left there alone. Ask me about the gifts I hoarded or the risks I didn’t take.

Go ah…wait. Maybe don’t.

No don’t because then I will have to tell you that I get lazy and distracted and caught up in the ordinary. I will tell you I wasted too many evenings this year on facebook and days on netflix. I will tell you that I get nervous sometimes that as I enter the decade of, what statisticians calculate as the most productive of my life, that I am getting it wrong. I will tell you that my heart is madly restless these days, that I am desperate for what the next thing is. I will tell you that this year…I want focus.

I will tell you that every year at this time I say the same thing a different way, that I want to be HERE and in the NOW but also…but also. But also I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to be everywhere, all at once. I want to climb mountain tops and swim with dolphins. I want whatever is meant for me and I don’t want to miss a second of this life or waste it on  regret. This  year, 2015, I want to live with intention and focus and I don’t want life to happen TO me. I want to step into my gifting and I want to do the next million tiny things. I want to stack one tiny thing on top of the next and I want my heart to break and beat for the things of God.

And this isn’t about trying harder or doing more. This is about peeling back scaled eyelids and watching with glittering eyes. This is about not letting my life happen to me, not picking up the phone without thinking. Not skipping between various screens.This is about watching for the opportunities I’m given. This is about paying attention to surprising things that make my heart beat…like writing and preaching and crashing waves and poetry. This is about making space for the things I care about doing. This is about filling myself before I leave the house. About waking just a little early moving and thinking and intentionally planning my days. We are the curators of our lives, the only ones who decide what it is filled with.

My little girl woke me in the night. I held her little hand as I walked her to our bed, I kissed her satin soft skin. Then I spent a long time looking out the window. The sky was bruised deep purple and navy blue. The stars were blazing hot. The trees were so loaded with snow that I thought they might break.

Ask me if I noticed.

On purposeFierceAsk me2015

Days Like This

If you love poetry get this beautiful piece by Laisha Rosnau!

If you love poetry get this beautiful piece by Laisha Rosnau!

This morning I felt the way a coffee cup fits perfect in two relaxed hands.

I listened to the children have a conversation about what colour is more beautiful in the sky, how the snow was uninterrupted, how they could hardly wait to traipse across it, leave a mark.

I sat with poetry open, the perfect black pen, a journal itching to be filled up.


The blue sky peeled open, the sun rose all pink and fired up to blaze.
Me too.

DSC_0286We rambled into the woods, let’s be the first explorers shall we? Notice the way the crystals blow from the tree, hear the squeals from the sled behind us, feel the wind in our hair. Notice the way that sun broke the trees wide open, as if it was a gift just for us.


I should be scrubbing the floors, folding the laundry, washing the windows. I could be out visiting, returning important emails, writing a grant application. I could…but. I am glued to this seat by the weight of what feels like quadruple the gravity of a regular day on earth. The man asleep on the couch, the dogs napping at my feet, the children building snowmen outside. I am stuck by the beauty of this sun on my back, the words on the page. There are days we produce and days that produce in us. We must be wise enough to know which one we need and how to notice the chance for either one.

Of Blue Skies and Moss

You sense the smell of your newborn child as absolute proof of God, and six months later the sleep deprivation is irrefutable evidence of the curse. Life is always and ever both.

This summer I sat on the banks of Shuswap lake. If I could’ve flown like the crow just over that mountain, I would be at the place where I lost my second baby. Just there in that bay. By now her body  has turned into moss, a tree? I was certain that was the end, no babies for me. And then… There I was, watching my children play in the waves…on the moss. It is too much. I cried and I smiled. There is no gratitude like this without a loss like that.

I was sitting in the corner of the dining room on Tuesday, my back against the wall. I am watching my little girl open an art studio. She is painting and selling it. Then suddenly she is gone and is back with a handful of dolls whom she seats, she is trying to teach them the Highland Fling. Meanwhile I am pressed up against the wall, dog in my lap, there are sometimes decisions to make and you know in advance that none of the outcomes are good. But still, you look up as the marvel and heartaches mingle. You look up.



I was driving this morning, thinking about friends who are sick. I was praying for restoration and healing. My eyes started welling as they do, and then the sun started rising into the crystalline blue, the grass along the roadside bending with the weight of frost diamonds, the children started to sing. Life is always the balance of our open eyes, our clenched and clinging fists.

This afternoon I will walk in the woods, under the blue sky, over the moss. That is the miracle of it. How in our aloneness, we are not. How life, it just goes on.

If the church is a body…


Here we are…Compensating for each other. Pulling to the right or the left when there is a strain, when someone isn’t pulling their weight. The hand must patch up the knee that is bleeding from the stumble over sin. The back that is sagging from the the age, from the burden bearing; the core muscles have to toughen up to bear the sway from being too great. That hand that stopped typing, let those with the the golden tongue encourage. The vocal cords, let them sing, let them praise.

I wish I was a part of the spine. Strong. Holding things together.

Or perhaps an important part of the brain. The medulla. The frontal lobe. Practical. Wise.

I would not mind being a muscle. Those with the strong arms who do the heavy lifting. Those that serve without any fan fair.

Or even the heel. Calloused enough to walk the hard road. Though, lets be honest, perhaps the church has more than it’s fair share of heels. Mostly we need to be softer.

But no. My only hope now, that I am just a tiny bit of the heart. A single cell perhaps? A piece of the valve that blows open when the spirit shocks. The one who hears the sudden whoosh and makes it poetry and art. The one who whispers quiet in the night when things seem dark and all hope it lost. Keeps the rhythm of the maker. I want to be the one stilll finding all the beauty there in the dark. Find me in the blood and the gore, the mire and the muck. Find me in my own brokenness still naming you saint.