Mountaintops, Loaves and Fishes


I’ve heard it said that it’s the moments that define us. Like Abraham marking the spot on Mount Moriah where he was willing to sacrifice all and found favor in the sight of The Living God, we all have our moments.

I was 19 and running. I was pregnant and alone. My boyfriend had made it abundantly clear that I was on my own. He not only wanted nothing to do with the baby, but was threatening me, so I ran. I didn’t tell my family about the pregnancy. Oddly at around 6 1/2 months in, my father in Ohio heard from his neighbor (who I’d met once) that I was expecting. Dad called Mom in Florida and Mom called me in Georgia. I finally confessed then because I knew at some point, it would have to come out (in more ways than one).

Less than a year before, I was a good Christian girl planning Bible college and touting the benefits of abstinence to my friends as if I knew anything. Then I broke. A few months passed and I was there on my living room floor sinking in reality. How on earth was I going to support this baby? The job I’d secured before moving to Georgia had fallen through leaving me working at Wendy’s for $4.75 an hour. That particular day, they’d cut my hours.

That night, in my Wendy’s uniform, I finally reached the end of me. I remember the taste of the tears as I cried out to the Lord. I remember the longing of my broken heart, the desire to raise my child in the ways of the Lord, the desire to offer my child so much more than I had ever had. I remember the moment. I remember the prayer. In my heart, I see that altar, my Mount Moriah, standing as a testament in my memory of the moment I gave in. The moment I was willing to give it all to my King and the moment he freed me and began to rebuild me.

That wasn’t my only Moriah. The thing about offering ourselves as living sacrifices Romans 8 style is that living sacrifices can crawl off the altar from time to time. I know I’ve taken my life back into my hands more times than I can count. It’s then that we have to look back and remember those Moriah moments. I know my way isn’t the best choice. He always knows what he’s doing.

The truth is, that baby he blessed me with was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. She grounded me, pulled me back to the cross, realizing that I couldn’t do it alone. She propelled me to stop wasting time and start working toward an education and a future so I could make a better life for her. She was exactly what I needed. She was the greatest gift my longing heart could have ever received.

I watch her now, almost grown, and I’m so thankful for the young lady she’s become. She amazes me daily. You see, God doesn’t just give us beauty for ashes. He redeems and recreates. He produces life out of nothing. I was reading in John when Jesus fed the multitude with just a few loaves and fishes. What amazes me is not that he multiplied the small, but that he made sure nothing was lost. John 6:12 “So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  God doesn’t waste our moments, he multiplies them and gathers up the fragments. He makes sure nothing is lost. Nothing is left behind. He will take every fragment of our broken lives and redeem it into something useful and lovely. It may look like smelly fish and simple bread now, but just wait. Soon, he may use you to feed a multitude. You could become the miracle.

He took my fragments and gave me a miracle and he’s still building. I can’t wait to see what he does next. But it’s all dependent on our willingness to allow him to take our loaves and fishes. Give him your stuff, all of it, and watch him do something incredible.

Here on the Edge of Dreaming

When dreams seem to be dying before your eyes and hope is dwindling like a campfire guarded by a nodder, there is only one answer.

There comes a time when we are required to act on all of the things we believe in.

Suddenly the lofty ideals become necessities of survival.

We earnestly listen for the voice of our king to whisper a reminder that it’s all okay.

Our circumstances might be trivial in the scheme of eternity but they are our present and they feel like boulders, heavy, pressing.

My pastor has always said to see what kind of fruit something is, squeeze it and see what kind of juice comes out. (Eph. 5)

I’ve felt like a lemon this week, hoping for sweetness, love, joy, peace…instead finding sour.

The stinging remnants of old fears dropping in to say hello.

All I thought I’d sacrificed on the altar, shooting for a comeback and I stagger slightly until I remember to command my soul to listen.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God” Psalm 42:11

Here on the edge of dreaming I hold on, knowing he didn’t bring me here to watch me fall.

I trust him.



Father Time boasts precision but I’m beginning to wonder. This morning he seems to be all thumbs. It cannot possibly be time to wake up and start another day. It cannot be that my stepson graduates from college tomorrow. It can’t be right that baby man will be turning one and I need to plan a family gathering and smash cake. It cannot be only one year left until my precious daughter finishes high school and chooses a college.
Perhaps his fingers swell at night when we aren’t looking and push the minute hand up, faster than we anticipate. Maybe he’s playing tricks on us to see if we are paying attention. He’s watching to see if we will look up and live or fumble, head down, persistent into out to do lists and/or smart phones. I don’t know.
This morning I’m watching. I’m aware that it’s a flash and a blur this life. And we hang on and try to enjoy the ride, often forgetting to pause and laugh or smile. Often forgetting WHY we do day to day.
Sometimes we miss our moments because we are too tired, too busy, too distracted. We abandon life for tv screens and media. In all our doing we forget to live.
Time isn’t waiting for us. It’s moving, changing, ticking on. Steady or fumbled and jumbled, I don’t know. Though we can’t control the clock, we can redeem the day.



I moved from Southern Ohio to Florida in 1988. I was in the fourth grade. It seemed so glamorous and magical at the time. We had a banana tree beside our little trailer and I thought it looked so tropical and lush. It was just a baby but we were so proud of it. I knew one day I’d be eating fruit we’d grown right there in our trailer park yard. Somehow, since then, I’ve lost some of the wonder.

When my husband and I moved into our current home, the yard was a little barren so we hired a landscaper to put in some plants that we weren’t likely to kill easily. We are not the most inspired gardeners. He put in several banana trees. I found myself complaining about them. I should focus on the green portions of the tree or the cute little bunches of bananas that grow from time to time, but instead, all I see are the brown droopy leaves bending low at the bottom of the plants. They are kind of ugly.


The noble trees are working hard to reach upward; growing fast toward the sun. They are even making precious fruit for me to enjoy and I sit and criticize and scorn them thinking my yard looks more like a mess than a tropical paradise. I could go tend them and clean up the area a little, but that demands more effort than I care to proffer so I choose the path of least resistance, annoyance.

Francis Frangipane mentioned this critical tendency recently when he said, “True, when I first see the need, typically, my flesh reacts with criticism. But if I repent of just finding fault – if I pray and submit myself to Christ’s heart – I soon discover there are many ways for me to participate in redeeming this situation, all of which fuel my spiritual growth. Indeed, by approaching the area of need with Christ’s redemptive heart, the “flawed reality” I initially criticized ultimately became the land of my anointing.”

I’ve known those who say they will never go to church because the church is full of hypocrites. And maybe they are right. Maybe we are all goofy looking banana trees reaching for the sun as the old sinful nature dies off and dangles, brown and ugly. Thankfully, God looks down from above and sees life and delights in all of us fruity folks. Still I can’t help but wonder what the body of Christ could do if we would take that child like perspective that sees the tree as magical, lush, tropical and full of wonder. What if we stopped criticizing one another and started participating in redeeming the situation? What if we pushed aside the urge to criticize and began reacting to annoyance first with prayer? What would we look like if we chose love? I, for one, am planning to find out.


To Be Like Naaman

jordan river

If I were a man of valor, I could do all the right things while defeating many enemies. I could swarm in at the first sign of impending attack and quell the conflict with a glance of my fiery eyes. I could gain favor from the king, acclaim from my fellows, pride from the weight of the sword swinging mightily in my hand. Naaman was a man of valor. (2 Kings 5) Naaman was a leper.
The thing about our own might is that it can only reach so far. There will always be that thing out of our control that we cannot conquer with our own strength. There are things that coat the skin and degrade our might before our eyes. At the end of the day, we cannot make ourselves pure. We are helpless in the face of our own sins, unable to heal the innermost scars that taunt and threaten our undoing. Our own efforts look silly when the mirror reflects back to us the image of who we’ve become after the world has battered us to sickness.
Then we bring our riches to the place where God’s presence dwells, hoping he will be gracious enough to make us clean. He asks us for the simple thing. Go to the river and wash and be clean. Yet we are prone to turn away angry expecting to be asked to give greatness in exchange for greatness. Even then, we are reminded that the way to freedom is simple. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Mt. 11:28.
We dive deep, seven times in the water of life and we are clean. “So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” 2Kings 5:14
The thing about Naaman is that his valor couldn’t save him. His riches couldn’t save him. (The man of God wouldn’t accept anything.) A simple act of obedience washed away his flesh until he was pure with faith like a child. It was there, in that childlike faith, that he knew God was real.
If I were a man of valor, I would be humble. I would deny logic for a chance to obey the voice of my maker. If I were a man of valor, I would become a child and follow.