Tuesday, November 8, 2016

WHAT IF THE STATES OF AMERICA ACTUALLY UNITED?

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Today is the day.

Today I will detour from my normal, I will exercise my freedom and my rights, and I will stand and speak without saying a word.

Today I will cast my vote.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016, I will vote for the person I would like to see step into the position that only 44 other people in the history of America have held.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to be THAT person.  To be the President of the States that only Unite in the midst of tragedy, then turn on each other again.

The top candidates names and faces are on every street corner and sprinkled in yards all over the country.  We are divided into red states and blue states and the media is working hard to provide info and sound bites that help us make the decision THEY think is best.  The one thing we seem to be united on is our overall disappointment in our choices.

Living in America is an honor and privilege.
The freedom to have a voice and a vote is a gift.

But my hope and salvation is not found in an election, but they are found in the person of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross.

We are a broken humanity choosing broken people to run a broken country.

But God.
He specializes in taking broken people and making them whole.
He often uses our brokenness as a vessel for His glory to shine.

What if we allowed our brokenness and our differences to be the things that actually connect us to each other?  We can’t be diverse if we aren’t different and if we aren’t different there would be no reason to unite.  So today, my vote might not be the same as yours and my voice might not speak the same message, but I pray that these States will unite behind the person elected to be number 45.  I pray that our own brokenness opens the door for us to extend grace to each other this year and it brings healing to our hearts, our hurts, and our land.  

“Every kingdom that is divided against itself will be destroyed. And any city or family that is divided against itself will not survive.”
[Matthew 12:25]

Friday, August 19, 2016

A TEARFUL GOODBYE

We have lived in five different states and eleven different houses and saying goodbye is always hard.  But this is different.

Today, we said goodbye to 790 Clinton Circle, the place we’ve called home for the last seven years.  It is the longest we have ever lived in one house and it has been the most trying seven years of my life.


As I filled in holes, touched up paint and cleaned the house for the last time, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was wiping away and covering up all evidence of how hard life has been the last seven years.

We moved in a family of three, in the middle of the adoption process.
We moved in not knowing how that adoption would change our lives.

I moved in the me before Miles and 790 Clinton Circle would be the place God would break me of me. 

790 Clinton Circle became a place of isolation.  A prison of sorts.  Miles couldn’t handle real life and I couldn’t handle Miles.  We stayed locked away inside because keeping Miles safe was hard and important and a full-time job.  The walls concealed the cries and screams of a broken desperate mama and it often felt more like a battlefield than a home.

790 Clinton Circle became a place of refuge.  In my desperation, God showed up.  He knocked on the door, entered my mess, and leaned in.  He reached down, grabbed my hand, and slowly pulled me out of the pit I found myself in.
Grace upon grace.

790 Clinton Circle was a great place for our family to land for a season, but we knew it was time to move on.  Our neighborhood is defined as a carefully planned, multi-use community that brings out the best in humanity, and for the most part, that’s probably true.  But the downfall of living in an area where covenants keep houses and yards nice and neat is that assume the people in those homes have it all together.  No mess, no weeds, no junk.  And when their grass gets a little too high and the landscape starts to look unkempt, you can quickly find yourself more concerned about the look of their home instead of the people inside.

So when God moved us out to the lake, I fell in love.  The neighborhood is a more accurate reflection of me.  It’s a little messy, it’s not fancy, and it’s not trying to impress anyone.   The view from our house is breathtaking, but the view I fell in love with first was the perfectly imperfect neighborhood that we now call home.  Cars are on blocks in front yards, several homes have mini junk yards around back, and weeds surround vans that haven’t been moved in a long time.  Children run and play in the streets speaking languages I don’t speak and I can’t wait to learn all of their names.

790 Clinton Circle prepared us for this day, for this season, and for this neighborhood.  Our new home is our new mission field.  It is the place that we pray will have a massive impact for eternity.  I am so grateful that He trusted us with a space that, every time we come and go, we see needs.  Physical needs that we can meet that will prayerfully open doors for us to share Jesus.

Clinton Circle, you served us well.  You blessed us with sweet neighbors who became friends and memories that will last a lifetime.  And tonight, we say a tearful goodbye.

“There is a season for everything
and a time for every delight and
event or purpose under heaven-“

{Ecclesiastes 3:1}

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

UNDESERVED GIFT

I met the sweetest baby boy seventeen years ago today and I have been smitten ever since.  Alex Harmon entered my world and stole my heart.


He was so patient with this mama, who had no idea what she was doing.
He was always so quick to love and so quick to forgive.

Oh how I wish I could go back and be the mom I am today for that sweet little boy.  If anyone deserves the mom I get to be to Miles it’s him.

I cared too much what people thought of me.
It affected my rules, my words, and my actions.

Alex Harmon deserved a mom whose identity was grounded and anchored in Christ, and not in her role as a wife and mom.  He deserved a mom who knew the God of the Bible and trusted that He was indeed a good, good Father.  He deserved a mom who desired to connect to his heart before correcting his behavior.

But God.
And Grace.

He didn’t get what I think he deserved,
but instead he got messy imperfect me.


He got to witness what it looks like to be broken.
He got to watch what it looks like to walk the path of healing.
He got to see God put the pieces of my shattered heart back together.

No, Alex Harmon didn’t get what he deserved, but God kept His word and worked all things together for good.

Alex Harmon doesn’t need broken, messy me.
Alex Harmon doesn’t need put together me.
Alex Harmon needs me to willing to empty myself of me so that Jesus can shine.  That’s how I can love him and forgive him and serve him without abandon and without regret.  That’s how I can live love.  That’s all he needs.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
{Romans 6:23}

Thank you, Jesus, for taking our place on the cross so that none of us have to get what we deserve.  Thank you for modeling what it looks like for a human to be fully connected to God.  I pray what was said of you in Luke 2 will be true of Alex Harmon, that he “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.”

Henry Varley said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him."  Alex Harmon, I challenge you to be that man.  I have told you since you were little that God was going to use you to change your world and I believe that with all of my heart.  Jesus says over and over in scripture that He came to do the will of His Father.  Make that your mission.  In John 13, an all-powerful Jesus demonstrated His power by taking off his robe, tying a towel around his waist, and serving.  He served those He loved and those who did not deserve His love.  He took their filthy, dirty feet and washed them clean.  Clothe yourself in humility.  If anyone deserved to be praised and honored, it’s Jesus.  And yet, He humbled himself, gave up all rights and all power, and became human.  And obeyed.  And served.  I pray that it bothers you, that it messes with your head, that it stirs your soul, that Jesus was more humble than you and than me.  May it never be!

Alex Harmon,  you are a joy and gift I don't deserve.  You are sweet, kind and you make life fun.  I simply adore you and am absolutely crazy about you!  You are so very loved and I hope that you have the best day ever!  Happy 17th Birthday, sweet boy! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

20 YEARS AND COUNTING...

There are over 1,025,109 words in the English language.
Over one million words and yet I am struggling to find the perfect ones.

What words do I string together to accurately describe the last 20 years?
What words do I use to express how absolutely crazy I am about my man?

I became Mrs. Keith Harmon 7,305 days ago and yet it seems like yesterday.


We stood side by side at the altar and listened as our Pastor spoke these words…

“Keith, never sacrifice your marriage on the altar of ministry.  Although ministry is important, it’s not more important than your marriage.  Jackie, in ministry, your husband is going to face adversity.  Your tendency is going to be to defend him.  Don’t.  Your job is not to defend him but to pray for him.”

We took those words to heart, passed them along to our friends in ministry, and 20 years later, those words are just as important today as they were then.

Marriage.
It’s amazing.
It’s hard.

We have lived a lot of life in the last 20 years.
We have experienced great joys and great sorrows.
We have walked through the happiest of days and the darkest of days.

Marriage.
It’s important.
It’s worth it.

I have spent this week asking myself two questions…
(1)  Is my marriage a marriage worth duplicating?
(2)  Does my marriage accurately display the love of Jesus Christ to the world?

If not, what do I need to change and work on?
How does my answer to those questions reflect my walk with the Lord?

Marriage can be tough, but it was all God's idea and He had a specific purpose and plan when He designed it.

My marriage to Keith is suppose to make me look more like Jesus.
My marriage to Keith is meant to display love, forgiveness, grace and mercy.
My marriage to Keith is designed to point people to Jesus and bring glory to God.

Marriage.
It's a serious commitment.
It's suppose to be forever.

Keith,
Today and everyday, I choose you.
Happy 20th Anniversary!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

BLACK LIVES MATTER


I have two sons.
One white.
One black.

I am a white mom with a black son and days like today, with news of black men being shot for being 'just black in the wrong place', I forget that I’m white.  I feel things that I never felt as a mom of a white son.

I feel rage.
I feel scared.
I feel sad.

I feel the need to take a stand, to protect my son, to fight back.
And then I remember, I’m not black.

I don't have your personal experience, but I desire to understand.
I don't pretend to know how you feel, but I join you in taking a stand.

I am a white mom with a black son who has Autism, and that combination worries me.  If he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, he’s in real danger because he looks completely normal, but doesn’t respond to basic commands.

He won’t listen.
He won’t obey.
He won’t comply.

He won’t know he’s in danger and will even run and turn his back.
He won’t know to be afraid because he doesn’t know he’s black.

I am a white mom with a black son and my heart grieves.  I am mommy to a little black boy who will grow up to be a young black man and unless something in our system changes, that thought frightens me.

So today, I stand.

I stand for unity.
I stand for love.
I stand for you.
I stand for us.

"Since the gospel of grace removes the wall between all ethnicities and races, His death on the cross has made us one in Jesus Christ.  It is time for the walls of racism and injustice to come down!... When grace is experienced personally and collectively, love will be demonstrated loudly and consistently."  {Ronnie W. Floyd}


Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed.
Carry [endure, bear, share] their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that
[to important to condescend to shoulder another's load],
you are badly deceived.
{Galatians 6:2-3}