Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

"Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying
in the manger. Seeing was believing.

Luke 2:15-17a The Message

This the morning I have begged to find these last four weeks.

This is the moment when the waiting graces of Advent give birth to the Breath of Heaven.

In the darkness of this waiting world, His star shines brightly.

Trusting to believe and follow this most precious Light.

Seeing is believing.

Seeking to see Him this Christmas Day!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Wanderings

It sprouts in the most unlikely places.
It makes beautiful that which seems unlovely.
It gives life to that which seems useless.
It gives mercy to that which seems unforgiveable.
It gives always, everywhere and calls me to do the same.
His love and grace is the “it” I seek.

This weekend I am seeking to find Him in my moments and give thanks in everything. 
Walk with me friends and share where you have found His love and grace.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Unexpected

I am joining in with Five Minute Friday over at The Gypsy Mama. Where you write for 5 minutes - no more and no less and no editing. Each week is a new topic and today it was UNEXPECTED. Check out the link and see what others have written!

I have found my life to be unexpected.  Where I have thought I would be, I am not.  Arms lay bare.  Quivers are empty.  Yet, this is where I find myself trying to make sense of it – the unexpected life.  Seeking to learn to release the dreams that will never be – dreams that were mine but apparently not His. 

Unexpected, doesn't mean unwanted.  There is much in my life that is worth the wanting.  I have to learn to leave and lean.  Giving up and letting go isn't the easy way but it appears to be what He desires.

Unexpected, doesn't mean alone.  He is with me.  He is the strong and mighty tower, where I can run to for my help.  He is the heart to seek the shoulder to lean on the arms to wrap around the catcher of my tears. 

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grace Remained

I am not sure what I was looking for when I went to the conference.  Probably more than anything I was seeking some courage to venture it alone.  I don’t think I found courage.  Rather, I left it by the door of the ballroom on the first night.
A late arrival to the hotel and an even later arrival to dinner made me feel like the new kid at school walking into the cafeteria for the very first time hoping to see a friendly face and an open seat.  Gratefully, I found both.   While courage may have left me to wander alone, Grace did not. 
I found it in the conversations at the dinner table.  I savored it within the smiles and laughter.  I pondered it in the devotions and prayer room.  I gathered it in the keynotes and breakouts. 
Find your voice.  Your voice is the thing that makes you special. – Sarah Markley
Your story matters.  You are the best translation of the gospel. – Lisa Jo
What are you beholding? – Laura Booz
Within your writing keep God’s mercy in view. – Shaun Groves
God appoints those who disappoint to point to the God who DOESN’T disappoint. – Ann Voskamp
We can’t give love to others unless you know how loved you are. – Ann Voskamp
It is never about applause, it is always about the altar.  – Ann Voskamp
I left Pennsylvania not much braver than I arrived.  However, the abundance of grace and mercy found is still waiting to be fully unpacked. 
There will be much reflection in the days ahead, of that I am sure.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What is within me is so much more than what I am.
I am broken, scared, lonely, angry, hurt and frustrated.
I throw the shards of my sin and hurt those who love me.
I dream big dreams and hide behind shadows.
Yet in the smallness of my soul, He looms large.
He exists within and seeks to be poured out.
A willing vessel is what He desires.
A shattered clay pot is what I am.
Fill me.
Always and forever
Seeking to grasp and then live this Truth.
He that is within me is so much more than what I am.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Relevant Conference 2011

It is hard in these moments.

When doubt rales at me like hurricane force winds.
When I wonder what makes me think I can pen words to pages.
When I think life should be lived and dreams don't exist.

Pessimist or realist maybe...

Box dweller is probably most true.

Content in the margins
Cozy in the confines
Careful with the outside

I remember once seeing a little toy.  A plastic replica of a box that when turned on bounced around and spurted "get me out of here" from within.  That toy is me.

I am tired of keeping myself. 

I am bored with my borders.

Oh but friends, it is scary to step out into the unknown.

I have scribbled thoughts here and there.  I have mentioned to a few trusted ones that I "love" to write.  I have on occasion dreamt that I would once find myself weaving words and themes into something that others would seek to ingest.  But that is where it ends...locked up tight in "want to but afraid to". 

Have you felt this way?

At the end of this month, I have been blessed with the gift of an opportunity.  I have a "golden" ticket.  While this one won't give me a lifetime of chocolate or cute oompa-loompas as companions, it does carry with it some "awe"-ness. 

I will sit in a room

and hear her
and her
and her
and him

and so many more, who have found their voice - who have penned their words and who have lived their dreams.

Who knew...that those I have lurked in the margins and ogled behind the screen will now be in front of me...moving and breathing.

Will I bumble like an idiot - could be a possibility.
Will I get lost in a room - most likely.
Will I want to run and hide - you betcha.
Will I break out in hives and tremble in fear - hope not.
Will I be encouraged, strengthened and meet new friends - let it be so!

The Relevant Conference: I'm Going!

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When you don't think you have enough...

Do you ever have those moments when a message keeps coming at you from many different places? 

This past week has been that for me.  Like a bouquet of the same flower that I am gathering one bloom at a time or maybe I should say one fish and loaf at a time.

In John 6:1-13 we have the familiar story of Jesus feeding the five thousand.  Like you, I have read this story many times.   I thought I knew it. 

That is what I get for thinking!

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?"  He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.  Philip answered him, "Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"    
John 6:5-7  NIV (emphasis mine)

Philip witnessed Jesus perform miracles prior to this question.  Yet, he didn't respond with the anticipation of what Christ would do but rather with the limitation of what Philip could not do.  He could not buy enough bread. 

Major fail, Philip.

So here it is...

I have the propensity to respond just like Philip.  I measure the task in front of me by based not on what God can do but rather what I cannot. 

In my eyes, the obstacle is daunting.  In God's eyes, it is minutia.

In a sermon this weekend, I heard "It is too easy to allow the magnitude of a task keep you from doing it."  If Philip was right, those people would still be hungry.   And yet, they ate all that they had wanted and even had leftovers!

I have thought too many times like Philip. 

I have evaluated the circumstance in light of what I have - what I can do - what my abilities are.  I have given up and given in too easily because truth be told, I will never have enough.

But God...

He knows what He is going to do.  He doesn't need us but He does want us.  He has placed us where we are at this very moment.  All we need to do is offer what we have and trust that He will transform it.

It wasn't Philip's job to feed the 5000.  It was his responsibility to offer what he had and believe Christ to transform it. 
When I don't have enough words to write...
I need to offer what I have and allow Him to transform it.
When I don't have the strength to complete the task...
I need to offer what I have and allow Him to transform it
When I don't have the courage to step out...
 I need to offer what I have and allow Him to transform it.
When I don't have the faith to believe...
 I need to offer what I have and allow Him to transform it.

I will never have enough.

He always will.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Time to be Refined

There is a time for everything.
A time to stay and a time to go
A time to be and a time to do
A time to listen and a time to speak
And a time to change
Today the gentle breeze is whispering in the coolness of autumn and with it comes the anticipation of all it brings. 

Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Football games
Sweaters and Hoodies
Colorful leaves giving way to bare branches

I am embracing this moment.   Seeking the unveiling it brings. 
As the brilliance of the summer sun gives way and the space between day and night draw ever closer, I seek to be stripped bare.  I no longer wish to hide in the lush of abundance that surrounds me.
Rather, in this moment, I seek to be altered.
A time to be refined…

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our September 11th Story

It has been 10 years and the strange thing is that I can close my eyes and it feels like not a moment has passed.  And yet, so many have.
10 years ago I was sitting on my bed reading a devotion and enjoying a beautiful September morning.  When my husband called with the news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, I turned on the TV just as the second plane was striking the second tower.   When I told him what just happened and that they were jetliners not small private planes, he immediately ended the call.

He was at the Pentagon.  I was home in Washington, DC.
My natural response would have been to find myself lost in the news reports - traipsing from Fox to CNN to MSNBC.  This morning it didn’t even cross my mind and gratefully so.   I put the TV on mute and returned to my morning prayer time. 

Not long after,  I vividly remember the windows in my home shaking.  At the time, we lived directly across from National Airport and often sonic booms would rattle our windows.  However, this time it was different and I noticed.  Minutes later, I would know why.
The next time I looked up to the television I no longer saw pictures of New York but a familiar shot of the Pentagon with dark black smoke billowing from its side.   I knew that building.  I had been in it many times.  My husband was there at that very moment and I wondered where. 

I began to frantically look for his business card and tried to desperately count off the rings and corridors to figure out where his office was and where he should have been.  Truly, I had no idea but it made me feel better trying.  The minutes ticked away silently.  The military community where we lived was locked down.   I couldn’t leave.  Phones lines were jammed.  I couldn’t call.
It was eerily and wickedly – quiet.

In the deafening silence, I felt a peace and a calmness.  Now,   I recognize it as God’s presence and provision but then, it felt odd – different.
It was a couple hours before my husband could call and tell me he was “fine” (as fine can be when evil comes knocking on your door).  It was hours – like 18 or more – before he made it home wearied, wet and smelling of a strange mixture of jet fuel and smoke. Wearing first degree burns on the outside and deeper, much deeper wounds on the inside.  I don’t remember many words.  To this day, we have trouble finding them when talking about September 11th.   In that, I doubt we are alone. 

As a first responder on that day, he didn’t evacuate but ran toward the horror.  He spent the next 3 months working in the crash site.  I can still vividly remember the smell of his clothes each day. 

Death and evil are not pleasant fragrances. 

But grace is.  It doesn’t always come in the package we expect or want but it always comes when we need it most.

On that day we lost neighbors – a husband and a new father; a young boy going on a field trip – just two of the many who left their homes that morning without an inkling of what was to come.

On that day, the cost was priceless.
We will never understand why my husband's meeting that was scheduled to occur at the exact moment and place where Flight 77 impacted the building, was cancelled at the last minute.
We will never understand why innocent people paid such a high price.
I cannot understand evil that causes such pain.  I pray that I never do. 
On that day, our lives were changed.
On that day our country changed.
Still and yet, on that day, our God - the One True God - remained the same.    That is what I seek to know and understand.  On Him I can rest my weary and heartbroken soul.  He catches every tear.  He calms every anxious thought.  He gives strength in the weakest of moments. 
He never changed and gratefully, He never will.
Where were you on September 11, 2001?

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Six years later...

In the days since I returned from this last trip to New Orleans, I have been asked more than once if the mission experience was different here in the United States versus in another country.    The obvious answer is yes.    In New Orleans, we spoke the same language.  In the Lower Ninth Ward, we could go to Walgreens every morning to pickup supplies.  Here we had an abundance of meal options.  It was easy to stay in touch with family.  In so many ways, it was different.  Yet, in many ways, it was the same.

Need and hurt do not respect boundary lines.  Frustration and desperation exist here in the “land of plenty” as it does in countries that hunger for so much.  People desire to be known and not forgotten here as much – maybe even more so – than in the third world.
In this land of abundance, we are besieged with information.    It is easy to be the first page news one moment and the forgotten story the next.  It is too simple to go about our daily lives and drive quietly into our garages while ignoring the life-stories surrounding us.  Yet, they exist.

When I was preparing for this trip I was given priceless advice.  I was told to not be afraid to “ask their Katrina story.”  So, I did and I will forever be changed. 

Each story – six years later – gave voice to the seemingly forgotten.   Faces gave way to names.   Each empty lot or broken down house became known as one whose family survived or tomb for those who didn’t.  Six years later, tragedy slowly releases its bony grip.

The heartbreak is not forgotten.  Those gone may never come back.  What once was will never be again.  

Still and yet, I hope. 
I hope that the stories will continue to be told.  I hope that people will continue to listen.  I hope that people will be moved to help rebuild hearts, lives and homes.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This is where I have been...

There will be more to come but just wanted to let you know I have been offline lately for a very good reason.  Spent the last week in Ninth Ward of New Orleans with some really awesome people.

Six years after Katrina there is so much that needs to be done.  Please take a moment right now and pray for the city and for the people who remain displaced and want to be home.  Pray for those who are there and are trying to make things right. 

  © A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

5 Minute Friday - Beauty

Breathtaking beauty has less do to with what comes in a bottle or is airbrushed on a page.  Rather it is found in the raw and untouched places. 
It is birthed in the heart and breathed into the soul.

It is a song of purpose…

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book – Psalm 139:15-16

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope – Jeremiah 31:3
It is the dance of desire…

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul – Jeremiah 32:41

For you are my treasured possession – Exodus 19:5

It is the grasp of grace…

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes – Revelation 21:3-4

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love – Romans 8:31-32
It can be found in the mirror…

For you are my offspring – Acts 17:28

For you were made in my image – Genesis 1:27

It is in the knowing who He is and who you are.  Oh my friends - do you hear it?  Do you feel it?  Open your eyes and see it! 
You are beautiful!

I am joining in with Five Minute Friday over at The Gypsy Mama. Where you write for 5 minutes - no more and no less.  Each week is a new topic and today it was Beauty.  Check out the link and see what others have written!

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesdays around the world...

(Sunrise on the Chesapeake Bay - August 2011)

A heart that is free is the close companion of a peaceful soul.
- Francis de Sales

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beyond the Glass

Sometimes I feel like I am on the inside looking out.
Life swirls around.
I gaze – I gawk – I dream but there is something that keeps me from riding the whirlpool.
I don’t like feeling like an outsider.  It is uncomfortable and lonely.
Too much time wasted – staring out through the curtains.  Watching and wishing.  
Just a few weeks ago, I celebrated another birthday.  The cake is getting pretty small in comparison to the bonfire lit on top.  It is crazy at times to think of the years that have gone by without much thought. 
It is crazy and at the same time, sad. 
Barbara Johnson once said, “We spend our lives dreaming of the future, not realizing that a little of it slips away every day.” 
I am beginning to understand the truth in this statement.

Like grains of sand that fall through my fingers, days pass quickly into months and then years. 
I am but a mist. 
Waste no more.  Wish no more.
Seeking to live today.

Today I continue to gather the graces with gratitude:

- a warm cup of coffee and a pastel painted sunrise
- the laughter of friends
- the smell of his hair
- a friend who doesn't give up
- truth spoken with love
- warm sand between the toes

Also joining in today with Laura and Playdates with God:

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Whole

I know what I have been and most of that isn’t worth repeating.  Cracked and broken is the sum total of my yesterdays. 
Damaged and flawed is what is easy to be.  It requires little effort.  It demands no faith.   
What I have been is not who I am.  Though broken and cracked - in Christ - I am whole and complete.   The former things have passed away and the new has come.
Wholeness in Christ requires effort.  Not effort to achieve but rather to believe. 

I know what I have been and now I seek to trust what I am.


I am joining in with Five Minute Friday over at The Gypsy Mama. Where you write for 5 minutes - no more and no less.  Each week is a new topic and today it was WHOLE.  Check out the link and see what others have written!

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Gathered Graces

Monday morning - is it the beginning of a work week or the ending of a weekend?  In reality I guess,  it is a little of both and that is okay.

This past weekend I had the grace of nothing.  Pure unadulterated nothingness was savored.  Each empty moment was gathered into a bouquet of grace - a fragrant and beautiful reminder that even in the nothing His presence abounds. 

I need these bare moments. 
It is more than a need.  It is a craving – a desperate ache to be empty and wanting. 
In a world that wants to be inundated with things to have and with things to do, I want less.  I hunger for nothing.

I am learning that until I am naked and wanting.  I will not see.  I cannot hear.  I forget to touch.  I barely live.  I am too easily distracted by thoughts and things and people. 

This weekend was abundantly nothing.  That was good, so very good.
Still savoring the simple and stark. 

Today I join in with a thankful heart and gather the gratitude ...

- a long weekend away to empty
- a husband who loves to laugh
- dogs who are happy to see me come and sad to see me go
- garden fresh tomatoes still warm from the sun
- sweet corn on the grill
- thunder and rain on a hot summer evening
- a camera that can capture what I never really saw
- a heavy sigh and a warm embrace

Also joining in today with Laura and Playdates with God:

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011


What gift are you giving that he did not first give?  What truth are you teaching that he didn't first teach?  You love.  But who loved you first?  You serve.  But who served the most?  What are you doing for God that he could not do alone?

How kind of him to use us.  How wise of us to remember.
- Outlive Your Life...Max Lucado

It is easy to get lost in the doing, when what you are doing is good.  It is a lesson that I am learning as I seek to serve others in the name of Christ. 

Each mission trip taxes the heart, the mind, the body and the soul.  It is a process of pouring out of all that was poured in.  God does not fill us to become bloated and stagnate.  Rather, fresh water - living water - is a continual cleansing flow. 

So, it is imperative that I learn to not to impede the flow by stacking tasks and goals like a dam.  Planning is good but seeking His timing is better.  Setting an objective is important but allowing His intention to change the goal is crucial.  When I get lost in the doing and begin to build the dam, I need time to deconstruct.  To remove the impediments and revive my heart, my mind, my body and my soul.  To restore the flow.

Seeking to "remember" it is Him.  It always was.  It will always be.

© A Sacred Longing 2009-2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Learning to gaze in the right direction...

No more shuffling along.

No more eyes to the ground only focused on what is immediately before me.

No more

Because there is so much more

To see

To touch

To taste

To love

To know

And to be thankful for.

Big picture living is what I want.

God eyes - Christ perspective - Spirit whisper.

I've missed too much.

Of life

Of hope

Of forgiveness

Of beauty

In the missing, I have sidestepped life. I have avoided love. I have blundered forgiveness. I have overlooked grace. I have fallen short of thanksgiving.

I have ached for more but failed to look up.

My heart is yearning to see from His perspective.

It is a sacred longing.

  © A Sacred Longing 2009-2011