Monday, August 27, 2012

On Women and Valor

Her name was Rebecca and I have been given the honor of sharing a part of her story over here

Please join me as Rachel Held Evans hosts a week of essays honoring valor in the hearts and lives of women. 

I'm thankful to be a part of honoring the courage of amazing sisters. 

Come join us! 

Eshet chayil!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Veranda Prayers

The transience is pressing in today. We walk alongside others in this international existence knowing change is just around the next corner. But despite the coming and the going a community is formed, through shared experience and treasured moments. A community that does hold. My thoughts this morning are with friends who are hurting many miles from where I sit.  My heart turns to these and other memories as we feel and love and experience, from a distance. 

Our conversation started over lunch. Our annual ladies retreat chattering, ministering around us. There were pictures. Funny stories of the grandkids. I was hearing of their reunion, all together in Kenya. And we were celebrating the miracle of that.

Then the tears.

There had been a loss. And a barrenness. And my heart broke too.

We made our way to a veranda, and tucked ourselves away. To pray.

To battle.

I treasure this. Anointing tears.

As we sat together, we were strengthened from the past experience.

Her first born and I consecrated the lawn of this retreat center one year long past. Annointed with our tears. And our frustrations. And our fears. Two very inward souls, trusting from some of our deepest places on that day. A rarity. And a treasure.

Her second born and I shared some tears too. From laughter. Soul renewing hilarity over mountain climbs and British soldiers and exhilarating exhaustion.

We had all shared a meal, some time later, and sat together in their living room in Nairobi. Broken shards of loss all in the middle of us. Sacred space. Painful space.

We didn’t know the outcome that evening as we sat with the fractured realities. Only faith. And hope. And surrender.

It hurt.

From those memories and many others, birthed communion. And trust. The familiarity of joining our hands and hearts in prayer.

On the retreat veranda, those years later, we could see the expanse of gorgeous rain forest just in front of us. Full of life. Full of renewal. Full of funny monkeys.

We believed and prayed. We asked God for New Life. We asked for Favor and for Grace. On that veranda, through some tears.

Right on the edge of all the glorious beauty.

This morning, some years later still, I sit on a veranda again.  Reading black and white words.

‘Inoperable tumor.’ ‘Aggressive cancer.’

And I am remembering. I am communing.

Many of my memories with these friends were moments when we spoke to each other, “You are not alone.”

Today, I pray That.

This scattered community that we are.  Defying the physical separation of miles and life circumstance and oceans. Reconvening around one Throne.

To be heard.

Tears. And Hope. Feeling all on the edge of the glorious beauty ahead.


It still hurts.

Here on this veranda, I join with the community of other believers in the beseeching and yielding of prayer.

And we are not alone.

(Updates and prayer news for the Reppart Family can be found here.)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Extravagantly Affordable

There are things, important things, that money cannot buy. But most everything has a cost anyway. Time. Energy. Control. We ‘pay’ and ‘spend’ something as we choose throughout our days.

I am blessed when I deliberately considering my ‘spending habits’ and how I speak about them.

“I feel like I accomplished NOTHING today.”

“Where did the time go?”

“That (moment, conversation, trip to town) felt like such a WASTE.”

“I wish I had done (fill in the blank) INSTEAD OF (fill in the blank).”

I am defining my circumstances from the standpoint of Me. 

My choices and my strength.

And I realize, I am depleting a shallow fund.

Not only that. 

But I am paying for something already purchased. Spending from a savings that is not mine.


“…You are not your own; you were bought at a price….” 1Corinthians 6:19b-20a

I belong to Him.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

He has PLANS.

“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Psalm 33:11

Plans that are not currently, nor will they ever be, failing.

Plans that are good.

And the most amazing thing. The most astounding truth.

His benefits arrive in the PIT. In the MUCK. Where we are DISEASED.

“Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who REDEEMS your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion
who SATISFIES your desires with GOOD things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” Psalm 103: 2-5

He finds us over our heads in the ugly and ridiculous and buys us right back.


He affords. So I can too.

I can afford

Time to read aloud to my children
 Stolen kisses in the kitchen
 Lingering cuddles
 Deep, healing breaths
 Memorizing scripture
 Another cup of coffee

I cannot afford

Fret or worry

Afforded unto Me

Coffee on the veranda in the cool of the morning
 Sweaters and cooling rains
 Time with sister-friend on my porch, in my house, in my world
 Time to write
 the book of Nehemiah
 Ability to read
 Watching the Olympics
 Time to think
 Being Home
 Today’s bread
 Opportunity to ‘not know’ but obey
 Witnessing initiative when (and where) I least expect it
 Dinner time conversation
 Front row seat to God’s crafting, refining and shaping of the four Cashlings
 Every single hug

 “Praise the Lord, O my Soul, all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” Psalm 103:1