"Our family will base our success on one thing...our impact for the Kingdom of Christ." -Rick Burgess

Monday, January 14, 2013

When Friendship Loves Your Guts

What IS friendship exactly?

I say, friendship is what you make of it.

For someone friendship comes in flesh and blood form. For others it’s across miles and oceans and the vastness of cyberspace.

I’ve been blessed beyond measure by friendships and here’s a little about what friendship has been for me….

Friendship is coming alongside someone.

Propping them up when they can’t do it for themselves.

It’s sitting silently while they grieve, holding their hand and just letting them cry.

It’s crying along with them.

Friendship loves you for who you are. Warts and all.

It’s listening. It’s sharing. It’s doing life together.

A friend shows up to your house, comes right on in and knows to step over the pile of shoes at the door.

She pushes aside the pile of unfolded laundry on the couch, sits down and starts helping you fold. (Underwear and all)

She fixes her own glass of tea, and when she can’t find a clean glass she grabs one out of the sink and washes one. Then she washes the rest of them.

This friend can give your kids the stink eye just like she’s their second mama.

She is someone you can call or text at one in the morning.

When you tell her you need prayer she stops right then and prays over you.

She rejoices when you rejoice.

She helps lighten the load that you carry. She helps you bare your burden.

She sends that card just when you needed it most.

She’s your Jonathan.

She’s your Barnabus.

These are the kinds of friends that love your guts!

My inRL friends are priceless, and I thank God for them.

Loving your guts,


Have you found great community online? Are you searching for one?

Maybe you’re searching for community that you can meet up with in real life.

I’ve got the perfect place. Online and inRL.

Come join us for the 2nd Annual inRL Conference at (in)courage!

Registration opens Monday January 14th at www.inrl.us
  • It’s FREE! 
  • Everyone who registers on the day registration opens (Monday Jan 14) gets a copy of our(in)courage 365 Daybrightener while supplies last (US residents only).
  • Everyone gets a copy of our first eBook: “Best of the Beach House 2012.”
  • About: (in)RL was born out of two years spent listening to women in the comments at(in)courage craving local, real life community. Derived from the social media acronym “IRL” or “in real life,” (in)RL is an invitation to share what we’ve learned about community and encourage women with stories and suggestions for connecting deeper in real life.
  • Think of it as a FREE girl’s weekend away that doesn’t require packing or plane tickets, where women can kick off any expectation of perfect, set aside their fears, their shyness, their worry that they’re not good enough, and find some of Jesus’ words of rest woven into every video shared here.
  • When: The (in)RL webcast kicks off on Friday, April 26 and (in)RL meetups follow on Saturday, April 27.
  • What: Last year we explored the nitty gritty of community.This year we're taking a closer look at what it takes to stay rooted in community when sometimes just walking away would be so much easier and tons more convenient. Women share stories of how they've chosen to stay through hard marriages, challenging parenting, worthwhile friendships. How choosing to stay has freed them more fully and unexpectedly than if they'd cut and run.
    Grab a seat and some tissues and let these inCourage writers tell you more about (in)RL....

    Friday, January 11, 2013



    It's Friday, and that means I get to visit with a great group over at Lisa-Jo Baker's place. A place where the words flow like fresh water for my soul and encouragement abounds. I look forward to meeting here each week to read the God-given words of the women He's using to change the world.
    Wont' you join us?

    It's been a while since I've joined in on a FMF. I have to confess...I normally just watch the clock for my five minutes, so I usually fudge just a little. Today I set the timer. Man that five minutes went by fast!

    Here you go. My five minutes on.....


    The tree is down.

    The calender is marking the last day of December.

    I’m standing on the edge of 2012 feeling a bit like Peter standing at the edge of the boat.

    I feel Jesus calling me into 2013. Asking me to step out.

    Step out boldly. Leap. Dive.

    But like Peter, I see the water. The deep, dark, place of uncertainty.

    I see Jesus. I know full well He is there waiting to catch me. He is there, arms outstretched, ready to lead me.

    He’s calling me. Ready for me to lay hold of all that He has waiting for me in this new year.

    A new year, a new day.

    Everyday is a clean slate on which I can choose to write “Yes, Jesus, Yes!”


    Times Up!


    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    The Year I Ratted Out Santa

    The words spilled out before I knew what was happening.

    They spilled out like a jar of marbles scattering everywhere.

    Spilled from my jar. The one I keep inside for just such words.

    Christmas started out much like it always does for my brood. The day AFTER Thanksgiving starts our Christmas season. We collect our 15 year old tree from the box in the barn. We pull out all the ornaments and reminisce over each and every one. We bake cookies. We listen to Christmas carols for 31 days straight, and we celebrate the birth of our King.

    Every year I watch my girls revel in all things Christmas, and every year I share in their joy. But for me, it always tastes bittersweet. You see since her first Christmas, I’ve felt like a big fat liar. I’ve done a great job at stuffing it. Stuffing the big secret into my jar and feeding into the fantasy. Why not? I lived it. It was fun. It was magical. It was what dreams were made of and I wanted her to experience the joy of Christmas.

    At least that's what I was telling myself. That was what was on the surface. But hidden behind that jar was the truth. I’ve kept that jar sealed tight for 13 years now. But this Christmas everything changed.

    I guess you could say that the Holy Spirit has been chipping away at my jar for these 13 years. With each year that passed, the whole idea lost it’s luster. I was growing weary of the whole thing. I would literally become nauseous when Christmas Eve night rolled around. But still I kept feeding the tradition.

    That was until this year.

    It started with a book.

    My four year old is finally to the age where she is really grasping what’s going on around her. Nothing gets past this kid. So I try a little experiment. I read her the story of St. Nicholas. A great story that tells all about this man who loved Jesus and wanted to share His love with others by secretly giving them gifts.

    She listened to every word. Soaked it up. But then we turn on cartoons and they tell her the complete opposite and I cringe. My mind reels and I stuff it. I fight a battle between my mind and the Holy Spirit’s nudging. I’m taken back to the day that I figured it all out, the day I lost a little trust in my mom. Dear Lord, I never want my girls to lose trust in me. His answer is swift and pierces my spirit…How can you expect them to be honest with you if you aren’t honest with them?

    Then comes the text.

    Totally random.

    Friend: Santa is really real. You should research it.

    In my mind: WHAT?!?!? Are you serious!

    Me: Yes, I know all about St. Nicholas. I’ve read the story to my girls. We try to keep the focus on Jesus at Christmas.

    Friend: Well, it’s good to have dreams. Christmas is about Jesus, but it’s also about giving and that’s what Santa does.

    Me: We focus on Jesus and giving to others. It’s all about Jesus.

    Friend: OK

    Me: I think about it like this. What about the kid whose parents can’t afford presents from “Santa”. Then this kid has to go to school and hear another kid talk about how “Santa” brought him an iPad. How do you think that other kid feels. Doesn’t Santa love him?

    No reply.

    Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2012.

    We’ve visited family, gotten our bellies full, and have come back home to settle in for a “long winter’s nap”. As we settle in, I hear her (the one who has this whole myth figured out but is still clinging to the dream) say to her little sister…”You gonna leave some milk and cookies for Santa?” and with that…the jar explodes.

    With all three girls and my husband gathered round I release this burden that has hampered every Christmas for the last 13 years. I tell them the story of Jesus. I tell them the story of St. Nicholas. I shout I’M THE ONE LEAVING THE GIFTS! I’M SANTA! And just that quick….in the words of my sweet husband….I was set free.

    After hearing me spill it, little girl quickly chimes in and says…”So Santa’s dead!” We all laughed till our faces and sides hurt. The rush of freedom that washed over me is almost indescribable. It was all I could do to keep from crying tears of true joy. The Holy Spirit had helped me redeem Christmas for my family.

    I do believe that this was the best Christmas that I have ever had.

    The year I ratted out Santa!


    Walking a little lighter,



    Side note:

    I don’t in any way want anyone to think that I’m casting judgment or looking down on those that still celebrate Christmas with Santa. That’s fine…everyone has their own way. This was just something that the Holy Spirit convicted me of. This was part of the journey that God has me on. It was a time of growth for me. Every family has their own path and plan. This was ours. Thanks for understanding. FYI, my girls have been instructed not to go around spilling the beans to any other kids. I told them that this was something that was between kids and parents. Oh, and adults if you ask my four year old what Santa brought her for Christmas, she’s gonna say…”Mama is Santa….Santa is dead.” Just ask the clerk at the post office. ;)