My life has been a journey full of twists & turns, highs & lows. Honestly, I'm not sure I could really define where I'm headed. But one thing I'm learning, the journey isn't all about the final destination but more about how we travel. And fulfillment is found in all that we learn & experience as we journey, not just getting to the end of it. I can't even imagine making mine without Christ before me, behind me, and beside me...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Come, let us worship and bow down. 
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,”  -  Psalm 95:6
     Around the room, each one of these women of hope, was on her knees in prayer. I had asked each one to picture herself literally kneeling at the feet of the King who had given her life...who had crowned her with grace. And I knew without a doubt that Your presence was so very real and so very "big" in that moment as each one brought her needs, her gratitude, and her worship to You in their quietness. Through the words of the song playing in the background, Your voice beckoned each heart, "Beloved. . . Love of My life, look in My eyes. There you will find what you need. . ." 
     I couldn't help but remember all those stories of those strong, courageous, broken women who fell on their knees before You when You walked among us. I remember the bleeding woman who fell on her knees, content just to touch the hem of Your garment. You restored not only her health but also her soul and her place in society. The "sinful woman" fell at your feet as she poured perfume over your feet and dried them with her grateful tears. You saw her contrite heart and gave her forgiveness. The persistent faith-strong Gentile woman humbly fell at Your feet begging for mercy so that You would heal her tormented daughter. "Even the dogs are allowed to eat the scraps. . ." You healed her daughter simply because her faith was so great. I thought of Mary of Bethany as she sat at your feet hanging on Your every word and as she fell down before You in grief and desperation because You weren't there when her brother died. Little did she know Your glory would soon be revealed when you called Lazarus forth from the grave. With tears, I remember Your mother Mary as she knelt beside the manger where You lay so sweetly and then again as she knelt before You at the foot of the cross where you died--purely in love and surrender of her precious Son. 
    I looked again at these women around me kneeling in prayer, some with tears staining their cheeks and some with palms turned upward toward heaven, receiving Your priceless grace. "All of us living all for You," and on our knees, we honor You with open hands and exposed hearts.  We imagined You, the King, as You stepped down from Your throne, knelt down beside us, wrapping Your loving arms around us. You came down to meet us right at our very need. . . Oh, the power and sweetness of Your presence.  
     I know their stories and I've seen how they've grown. My breath catches in my chest in awe of how You work in the lives of those who surrender their lives so completely to You. Breathless, I remember how You have worked in mine, leading me down every byway and restless trail to where I am in this moment. I am utterly and gratefully amazed. In the every day as we come to You in hurried prayer, we forget. But in the beauty of this moment, we realize there's something special about coming to You on our knees. As we kneel down in worship of who You are, You gently lift us up to walk in the purpose You have given. And we are so abundantly blessed and awed by Your beautiful grace. 

"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. . ."  - Ephesians 3:14-17 

Annie Downs, I can't even begin to thank you for sharing your heart through "Perfectly Unique: Praising God from Head to Foot." Though you targeted the hearts of young "girls of grace," you have pierced the hearts of these women of HOPE as we have learned how to glorify God with our bodies from head to toe. The truths you've shared resonate with women of all ages. I'm not sure exactly how God led me to find your book at Dayspring and to randomly order it. Or for me to stop and read this book among the many among my "to read" stacks. And who would have believed God would choose your book to guide me as I taught these women to purposefully devote each and every part of their bodies to God's glory, except for God's perfectly designed plan. He was leading me to what these women (ages 20's - 70's) needed most. I've never had a series of lesson so tremendously impact these women of HOPE, and we aren't even finished with it yet! Never underestimate the message God has given you. He is using you to reach ALL generations, for we truly are ALL God's Girls of Grace.

Song quoted is "Beloved" by Tenth Avenue North.

Friday, June 21, 2013


     We laughed as we reminisced about hula hoops--these Women of Worth from 23-70 years old. Some of us could back "in the day" and some of us couldn't--EVER! Some of us still can!
    And we shared about all the hula hoops we try to keep in the air every day--day after day. We laughed thinking how, in a sense, we swing our hips and gyrate trying to keep all of our invisible hoops spinning and airborne. Not just the physical tasks we have from day to day (like kids, endless errands, family, work, housekeeping, cooking, ministry, bills, etc.) but also those circumstances that encircle our hearts--relationships, stresses, passions, causes, and wounds. The lists could go on and on. It's all so overwhelming and how often it seems they, one by one, warble and wobble and clatter to the ground. And we wonder why we can't be masters of all these "hula hoops" and keep them all spinning. 
    And then Joanna Weaver's words caught our attention, "She found a rhythm. . .She established her center, then let everything move around that." 
    So we had to ask ourselves, "What or WHO is our center?" Before we start all those hoops spinning from day to day or when they clatter to the ground, do we find our CENTER? It really isn't all about our acrobatics and crazy desperate antics. It's about our center. The One that drives our days... 
     Christ alone wants to be our Center. HE sets the pace. HE is the force...the rhythm that enables and empowers us to do all that He asks of us each day...and nothing more.


By the way, my WoW class is studying from Joanna Weaver's "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World." Our hula hoop discussion was prompted by Chapter 7. For more than 10 years, this book has been on my top 10 list of books that can make a difference if you let it. It's enlightening and empowering for everyone, especially women. A MUST read. And men, I can promise you won't go away empty-handed either.) 

I'm linking up with Lisa Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday. Won't you join us? Just take five minutes and simply write about her word prompt for today--no editing. Today our word is "RHYTHM."
Five Minute Friday

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Linking up with Lisa Jo today for Five Minute Friday...The prompt is "VIEW."

     I got new glasses this past week. And as much as I NEED my synthetic eyes, the whole process gets me in a nervous tizzy. I hate it. I'm absolutely by no definition a "fashionista." I don't know what looks good. I look at the the mirror and no matter what frames I pick, my view is hindered by the face behind the frames--all my flaws. I get lost in all the choices--everything looks stupid. I need another point of view. The optical tech helps me choose frames that fit my face and lenses that benefit me the most. I just have to trust she knows what she's doing.
     Finally, my new glasses are ready to be picked up. I don't sport new looks with anticipation but rather in dread of the comments and repeated question, "Did you get new glasses?" And wondering what they think. Do the glasses look okay or do they look stupid? No, I'm not normally so vain and I really don't know what it is about my glasses that gets me so uptight. I certainly don't wear them for fashion's sake--I wear them for sight. I can't see without them.
     The gentleman smiles and hands my new glasses to me. As I put them on, he tilts his head, takes them off, adjusts them and puts them back on my face. "There! What do you think?" 
     And this time I look beyond the mirror, out the window to the trees outside and the signs across the street. And I can see them. . . clearly! I can see the definition of the leaves on the trees and every word on the signs. My long-time furrowed brow begins to relax. I didn't even realize how hard I've been straining to see! In a moment, with my new lenses, my view has changed. What a difference new lenses can make! Why did I wait so long?
    I can't help but think what a difference Jesus makes when my view gets blurry and distorted in my circumstance...when my heart and head aches because I'm straining so hard to see life clearly. Why do I wait so long before I let Him put on my new lenses to give me new sight? In a moment, life comes into focus, senses sharpen, stress and worry fades. Life is defined and beautiful again.  

Five Minute Friday

Saturday, May 4, 2013


     I sat at the dinner table with 5 other women I had never met before. We exchanged names, where we were from, and a few facts about ourselves. Then one of the ladies asked, "Who did you come with?" 
     "No one. I came by myself."
     "Wow. you're brave! You flew all by yourself from Texas?! You didn't know anybody? I could never...." (We were in Nebraska.)   
    I wasn't quite sure how to answer that. Of all that I considered brave that weekend, this wasn't it. It's easy for me to do things on my own. I am a chronic "do-it-myselfer." If I'm doing it alone, I don't have to worry so much about looking the fool if I trip over my own feet or get lost or... Well, you get the idea. I'm much more comfortable doing most things on my own than with others.
     What WAS brave (for me) was being in a place with one hundred other women and NOT being in a leadership role taking care of everyone else. To risk sharing part of my story with women I don't know and allow them to encourage me, to actually join in conversations and participate in activities without finding something to keep my hands busy or someone to take care of is brave. Taking care of my "hard stuff" alone is wayyyy easier, even as I lead ministry. In many ways that's not so brave either because I'm in control (most of the time.) I'm not vulnerable then--I'm the strong one taking care of everyone else. But just being in community and being vulnerable is brave. 
     Today, I witnessed brave in every sense. I received a phone call, "Sheri, I need to be honest..." Someone who had pulled away from community realized she needed help. For several weeks, I knew she was pulling away but I couldn't draw her back in. It's so much easier to hide away as our own stinkin' thinkin' tells us that we aren't good enough or worth enough to be in community. Then we fall. My heart broke for this one with tears streaming, drowning in shame. But I remember the day I finally said, ""I need help." It was the hardest thing I've ever done--fighting the battle against my own thoughts and self-worth. Today, my dear friend has no reason to be ashamed. Today, she decided to be part of a "triple-braided cord," as she lets others stand back to back fighting together with her. Today, she is the bravest woman I know.

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back  and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."  -  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

(I'm linking up with Lisa Jo's Five-Minute Friday, a few minutes late... Taking her topic and just writing for 5 minutes without edits or overthinking. That's pretty brave for me too!!!)

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, May 2, 2013



We walked through the door into the quiet room, noticing that the rollaway had been put away. Oh, heart dropped. Then I glance toward his hospital bed. She lay with him in the bed, face to face, her fingers sweetly intertwined with his--both of them peacefully asleep. His Beloved so thin and weary in the waiting, and him just a shell of the man I once knew. My heart broke and words wouldn't even come in a whisper for the knot in my throat. We wished we could just silently back out of the room and leave them in the tenderness of their gentle rest. It was such a rare and unforgettable portrait of how precious even a few still moments of togetherness can be. Few of us will know such a tender sweet love as they have...still. This is how it's supposed to be--maybe not perfect but so real-life TRUE. 
     My heart catches every time I walk through that hospice room door, praying that he has entered into his joyful forever home and, at the same time, dreading that his journey has ended and his bed may finally be empty. Today we stepped into the intimacy of this poignant cameo, and both of us wished we hadn't disturbed it. But her eyes fluttered open and she began to rise, still clinging tightly to his hand. 
     "No, don't get up. Go ahead and sleep. We will come back." But she says, "No, I WANT to visit." My heart wrenched for her. I know all too well about these endless, waiting days in a hospice room. She NEEDS community as she hovers between losing him and living life alone. Maybe in this very moment, God made us to be a lifeline for his Beloved whose mountains are crumbling, so we stay...

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble,
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..."  -  Psalm 46:1-2

     I wish we could take away her hurting but, even so, I know that it's just part of knowing a love like this. The kind of love Jesus had for His bride, the church. "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church..." But, knowing our humanness, maybe Paul wasn't talking about loving perfectly as human eyes see. Maybe he was talking about loving wholeheartedly, completely, and even eternally, with everything we are. And Frank has. Jesus knows. And his Beloved knows... It's the kind of love that transcends finite thinking and, like the opal, gleams warmer and brighter in its flaws because of grace. Knowing Frank, I'm sure he would echo to her that famous Jack Nicholson line, "You make me wanna be a better man," and he would mean it.
     As we prayed over him before leaving, I couldn't help but flip through memories of my talks with Frank, especially our random divine appointments at Harbor Freight, about town, or in his hospital room. How often he told me that he wished God would let him go because he was useless and a burden. I remember how often I would remind him of God's promise:

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." - Jeremiah 29:11 The Message

     "You're still here so God still has a purpose for you. He ain't done yet!" And we would laugh. Then he would tell me stories of his swap meets and young people he met. Everyone loves his stories--I understood how a young car/bike junkie would love hanging out with Frank! He would tell them what a rabblerouser he was and how God gave him grace. I remember so well how he told me there in Harbor Freight about the young man who asked him to tell him more about Jesus. He didn't know if he did it right, but Frank led him to the Lord. "See, Frank. Where would that young man be without you? God DOES have a purpose for you."
     And even today when we saw them so lovingly together, both of us who entered that room were touched by the love they have. I don't think either of us will forget it. And the Beloved--well, she cherishes every second she can hold his hand. All I could say out loud was "Bye Frank," but I whispered without words, "See Frank. God STILL has a purpose..." Still, God has not abandoned. Still, God has plans to give you the future you hope for..." I think he heard me. If he could, he would nod his head with that little grin he has, knowing it's still true for him and for his Beloved.

Friday, April 19, 2013



    "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered. "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her." 
- Luke 10:41-42 -

    Silence...Why do I run from it? It's hard, you know, to remember when you made noise your friend...When you began to make sure your physical life or mind is always so busy, you can't think. I mean REALLY think about the things that matter down deep--the things that remind you you're not as independent as you think you are.
     For a while now, I've known that I've made my "world" such that I don't have room to think--to breathe--knowing that I'm hiding in the self-constructed/organized or at least "allowed" chaos. In ministry, there's always someone else who needs to be loved. In family, there's always someone who needs mom--or G-Mom. In work, there's always one more thing that needs to be done--even if it's not so important to anyone but me. (Not that any of that is a bad thing. I cherish my kids and--oh!--my precious little Alice! I am so blessed in the way that God allows me to see Him work in the lives of others and to be part of it through ministry. And I LOVE my work--so much so that it feels strange just to call it a job. But it's easy to let the "good" become a crutch, even when He keeps reminding me as He did Martha, "Only one thing is needed..." 
     When He whispers my name, He wants me--ALL of me--to sit at His feet and be still. But to be still is to be vulnerable, I think. So even when there's not a pressing need, I find myself filling the silence with noise--any noise or activity that keeps me from looking too deep within. It's so much easier to make sure there's no room left in the brain to think isn't it? To turn on the chatter and noise instead of resting in the uncomfortable silence? It's so much easier to become so completely and intentionally absorbed in mindless sit-coms or dramas, the tragedy of current events, social chatter, or our endless to-do lists and worries lest we become undone in the silence that would remain in its absence of noise. So I'm here in this place (in Nebraska, of all places!) trying to be brave. Purposefully trying to shut out the noise and give myself space to think. Even so, it's still so hard. So hard to turn off the noise--the phone, the TV and social media, and all the worries of world and home just to be still and quiet. To breathe. Why is it so hard to let HIM be my center for a while so that I can inhale His presence and let Him work IN me, not just through me. 
     Why is that so frightening, I wonder? I wonder if Martha was afraid too when Jesus reminded her so patiently... I want to be obedient. I want to give Him that "one thing." Jesus, Lover of my soul--in the dark and in the light--help me be okay with sitting for awhile. Help me to be quiet and to listen... To be with You and let the stillness invade my senses so there's room to think, to breathe, and even to write again. Lord, it's been awhile... 

God is our refuge and strength... Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging...
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day...
The Lord almight is with us... He says "BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I WILL BE EXALTED..."  -  Psalm 46