Tag Archives: mentoring

demanding a sacrifice


Last week, I read not once but twice in the book of Matthew (vs. 9:13 and 12:7)  where Jesus says,

I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

For some reason, this statement has hung about the fringes of my conscience ever since.

What does THAT mean?!?
It’s LENT for Pete’s sake.
Sacrifice is the “reason for the season”, right?

So… I’ve pondered greatly. I’ve tossed and turned mightily and while I’m no closer to crystal, some things have become more clear– especially in considering of the nature of sacrifice– and the merciful smashing of my personal idols

In both cases, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees…the “religious-minded” of every age, who like to split spiritual hairs and set others up for failure, especially if at the same time, they can seem more exalted, wise and obedient.

Comparison. Each time, it’s a comparison-based moment of UGLY,  holier than thou, “nanny, nanny boo boo-istic” theology.

It’s ME-ology masking itself as theology and weighing down the “other” with too much to prove and  burdens too great to bear. Trust me, it’s easier to do than we might think.


I don’t think Jesus is pooh-poohing sacrifice. Not at all. There are plenty of moments throughout the Gospels where Jesus points to the need for DEEP sacrifice in the life of anyone claiming to belong to Him:

Let the dead bury the dead, don’t look back; follow me.
You lack one thing: sell everything, give it to the poor and follow me.
Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me.

So in wrestling with these thoughts, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus is teaching about where true sacrifice is born: from mercy and compassion–not without sacrifice,

but always BEFORE sacrifice.

It’s sacrifice that

  • considerately cares about and  “does unto others” first.
  • doesn’t draw attention to itself but lays down it’s “whatever” in favor of the other.
  • is so heart-bound and Rock-anchored that it can rejoice in the triumphs of others able to overcome  obstacles  once blocking the way to knowing  the Father.

I’m looking hard at this issue because I haven’t been so good at this in the past.
Because ummmmm,  I’m not so good at this yet.
Because, although I hope I’m getting better, I don’t ever want to be that ugly again.

Because even if I have only been “in my heart bad” that’s what Jesus sees: my unmerciful heart….not my “sacrificial” outward behavior.


Putting others in their place

This next weekend I have the privilege of serving alongside some truly amazing women in our community from many different churches and denominations. For this whole weekend, we are setting aside our differences and our over-lapping “ologies”, coming together to serve about 50 girls from all walks of life and to show them what it looks like to be

REAL women who love Jesus for realz.

It’s the third year we get to host this community event and for at least two reasons,  I’m more excited this year than ever before.

First, things are getting changed up a bit so that in addition to our local community “mission” projects, we are introducing an opportunity to learn about Sole Hope and inviting them to a big-fat shoe cutting party! It really excites me to be a part of broadening  their understanding of what it means to serve people they will never see, in the name of Jesus….for them to begin to see how compassion and sacrifice go hand in hand and it can begin with them too.

And… the worship.

I’m so looking forward to the worship this year. I need it. I’m craving it. God has been chipping away at my veneer since this time last year and I am feeling so deeply, His heart for the world…for His daughters. I have to confess that maybe in years past it’s been 2-parts worship and one-part performance. I just don’t feel that way anymore.

Y’all …
I have to get to Jesus….
I want to see His face and..for these girls to see it too.


One of the songs we are singing is Matt Redman’s “Heart of Worship” and if you don’t know the story behind the song, you can read about it here. Oh my heart.

I’ve been paying close attention to the words of these songs we bring to worship and  they’re wrecking me word by word and note by note.

How could I dare sing them if I don’t mean it?

But this one line in the song that gets me every time:

“I’ll bring you more than a song…I’ll bring you more than a song.”
What more can I bring? Worship that’s based in

More….of Him and less of me as often as possible.

 Compassion is..


That’s what it means to come back to the heart of worship… opening and releasing myself to His care and allowing  more of His mercy to enter into the heart of every moment of sacrifice because it’s really all about Him: Jesus.

Please pray for this event…these girls… that they may come to know Him just a little bit better through experiencing their churches, their mothers, their neighbors, teachers and friends…lay it down before Him in a weekend of total surrender and worship.


My heart will sing
No other name;
esus, Jesus.

with compassion,Lorretta signature






you can’t get there from here


Not long ago, I  shared how social media has saved my marriage and restored my soul. Then, as now, I’ve trusted that each one God sends to read, would graciously understand and “get” what I was attempting to say- and especially what I was not.

Obviously, there is no way to make such a claim about something as broad and impersonal as the almighty “Interwebs” and the impulses driving us to tweet, share, poke and follow–without inviting some skepticism, or at least some curiosity. And I was right.

Everyone seemed to instinctively understand that there’s more to this story; and there is. There’s something WAY bigger and something much smaller as well.

The bigger, of course, is God. (but you already knew I was going to say that didn’t you?). The smaller is something  I’ve learned is important in so many, many ways and yet so often neglected and overlooked. It’s so vital– the heart and soul, life and death type of  vital– and yet

it’s something we often  sadly and pridefully choose to live without.


Truthfully, the companionship of the communities I’ve discovered out here have done wonders to help restore my sense of worth, place and purpose. Blog communities such as this one have served to share tremendous wisdom and witness in the midst of great heartache. I think you’ll agree– it’s wonderfully healing to know you’re not alone in the middle of your crazy! Amen?!

I’ve been able to share sorrows and  joys. I’ve been released to my true identity and passions. I’ve gained a better understanding of how to make this journey called “Life” as I’ve listened and have been able to speak into the journeys of those around me. I’ve developed a deep awareness and self-respect coupled with a respect for others.

It’s a beautiful thing. A costly and precious thing purchased for me by Christ. Then, folks like you have added grace upon grace by allowing me this privilege to visit and share with you out here.

However, I want you to know all these things were born from a different place even while they’re often lived out and express themselves here.


I’m probably one of the last people on the planet who

A)   just got a “smart phone” and
B)   still doesn’t own a GPS

A while back, I had to borrow one for a trip and had plugged in the address for a restaurant in an unfamiliar town. I drove in and out of this tiny, cramped neighborhood along some narrow and winding roads only to come to a complete dead end– at a guard rail facing a major interstate. On the other side, I could see several strip mall-type areas where I was sure this place was located.  I could see it clearly in the distance but you know what?

I couldn’t get “there” from “here”

Nope. I had to turn around and go back the way I came– much wiser this time–  and then take a different path to get to my destination. This is roughly the scenario I was awakened to not long ago in my life and relationships in general, specifically in my marriage. It was, umm.. complicated.

This different path has included some familiarities and samenesses even as many things have been redefined. There hasn’t been a total upheaval or overhaul but there’s been some tremendous redirection and reclamation.   Overall, I had to be willing to recognize a few things and then take some risks.


First, I had to recognize my weaknesses. I had to recognize my need. I had to recognize that I really couldn’t do it alone– at least not well or for long without messing things up.

Then–I had to risk vulnerability and nakedness of heart, mind and soul. I had to risk being gut-honest about my fears and failures and reveal the Me I’ve been hiding or running from all these years.

I had to be wholly truthful and truthfully holy and risk accountability. Face to face accountability.

That “small” and yet oh-so vital thing missing?


I’m fond of saying  I’m “too dangerous to be left unattended.” It’s my way of remembering I need to have someone in my life who “gets me” in the ways I need most. I believe this is true of everyone no matter how old or young we are.

  • It’s at least one person who will carry us to Jesus even when we’re not looking and yet refuses to play God in our lives. They’re not in charge of “fixing” us or our situation.
  • This is someone who’s brave enough to ask how we’re doing and then press in harder to the “next” question…the one who won’t take “fine” for an answer when it’s obviously a lie.
  • One who, without judgement and in total love,  sees that nervous twitch or fluttering eye for the fraction of a second it takes to call our bluff –even when we think we’re fooling everyone and then courageously tells us what we need to hear whether we want to hear it or not.

Yeah, THAT person; accountability. I need that.


I’ve also learned– the hard way– that it’s just not wise to mix up the sexes in these things. Yeah, I know it works for so-n-so and maybe you can document a variety of situations to dispute this. But it’s not wise. It’s real easy for things to get “muddy” if not downright dirty and complicated. Jus’ sayin’.

Some folks will claim it’s necessary to have someone “older and wiser” in this position.  I say–ask and pray and then trust whom God provides. When I prayed for someone, God sent me a sweet Saint, 25 years older than me, who’d traveled many of the same paths. We’re both affirmed and amazed at what God has provided for us and truly love one another like mother and daughter.

Since then, I’ve discovered several like-minded Sisters to “bare and share” with…each at a different place, age and stage in their journey and yet I find so much joy in the mutual encouragement  we can share.  Truthfully, I’m a changed woman and I owe it all to God’s gracious gift of accountability in my life.

So maybe you’re like me–you know where you need to go and God’s been revealing some new directions in your life–but you know you just can’t “get there from here”. Not alone.


*  Pray about that person God would send you to “do REAL life” with.
*  Pray about being that person in the life of another.
It’s definitely worth the risk—and then maybe, like me, you can discover how to live free– like you have nothing left to lose and now everything is gain.


bringing sexy back

This has been simmering on the surface of my heart and nibbling at the edges of my mind for quite some time. I’ve tried to squish it back down, press it out of the way but it just won’t.  get.  gone.         So fine.   Let’s go.   It’s official:

  I’m bringing sexy back.

bringing sexy back

  That’s right, you heard me— I am bringing it all backI’m boldly pushing the outer edge of middle age and I believe it’s time to say it loud and proud– I’m bringing sexy back… back to wherever it came from.

 Because people; it  just doesn’t fit.  It never has, it never will.

 At least…not how it’s defined, yelling and screaming at me from every gaping media orifice out there.  

I know you know what I mean. There’s almost no place a person can go in our country without some sort of advertisement seeding our minds with it’s volatile cocktail of image-driven sexually-charged materialism. It’s everywhere.

Chances are unless you live in a hole, you’re going to get a taste of it before the day is over. Sadly, it’s becoming such the norm that we have at least two generations in our midst who’ve never known anything else and they’re almost numb to it.

They have no idea what’s being sold to them
or stolen from them.


  friend had this awful moment in the mall with her young son and it spoke volumes to my own mother heart not, as she said,  because we are prudes, but because I know…we all know, even at the age of four, the battle has just begun for his eyes, his heart…his body.

It’s fierce and relentless. 

 It’s no less relentless for little girls who are not any more immune to the bait-and-switch lies and temptations of the enemy but then also struggle with life-long self-image issues trying to measure up to something being projected at them which, oftentimes,  isn’t even real.  

I’m not simply referring to those checkout stand mags with their slick, glossy promises of showing you how to  “XYZ” PDQ while their covers show off a bunch of air brushed and carefully rearranged TMI.  

For instance, I took this photo of a cover not too long ago:



As if that is THE ultimate goal: get “high school skinny”. Oh wait, so you mean I have to stay anxious, starve myself,  binge a bit, feel guilty, throw up and start all over again? No thank you.              Not going *there* again. Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!

There’s this dangerous idea being sold from every venue that, no matter our age, right now as we are, we are “less than” and what we see out there is the almighty “greater than”, so we must strive to get as close to the “equal to” as possible.  Then, with all our might….however old we get… stay there.

Then what?
Go into hiding?
Die and have one great final viewing?

While we’re on the subject, can I just say that attempting to live this version of sexy is  a ridiculous amount of work and expense. Smoke and mirrors, nip and tuck, creams , injections, constant upkeep and a whole bunch of empty promises.


OK truth: this is not a new issue for me.  I’ve struggled with image issues all my life. I could dig deep and unearth the bones of the problem but that might only offer an explanation, not an excuse.         

I choose to be a valiant warrior today.  For you. For me. For our daughters, grand daughters, sisters and friends.

Truth: as anyone can attest, it’s quite something to look in the mirror at someone who looks twice as old as you feel.  

It didn’t help that not long ago a sweet hearted, fresh faced young woman wrote about how “avatars” (computer pictures) hide wrinkles and how those she met at our recent conference looked so much older in real life. She wasn’t being mean. Not at all. But ouch anyway.  

Ouch and oh well because this is just the way it rolls and that can not be my life’s main motivating factor. They say getting old isn’t for wimps and I’m no wimp. But honestly?

I’m just hurting for what I see going on around me.

For instance, I mentor a young teen and for all practical purposes, she’s not going to win any of the worlds beauty contests. I think she’s beautiful, but her character is still developing and her outward appearance is growing and changing as she does. But she’s as caught up as ever in how to look a certain way to get and keep a “guy friend” so that it’s gradually become all she can think or talk about. It’s changing the way she sees herself and it hurts to watch.  

Then there’s this someone I used to know from my former life. We weren’t intimately close but up until I moved on we’d see each other a couple of times a week and had worked together on a few projects. Sweet and funny, she had this natural air of beauty and while we are all growing older, I’d have said she was aging pretty well.

We bumped into one another at a meeting a while back and I almost had no idea who she was. I didn’t want to believe it was actually her. She’d had some “work done” since the last time I saw her and well, she didn’t look anything like herself.  I came across some pictures we’d had taken together once upon a time and all I keep thinking is

“What happened? Why?!

I don’t want to get hyper-holy but I see myself reflected in the extremes of these two positions — I was the one and I could be the other if I’m not careful. It’s about perspective. The question is: Who and what do I want my life … my image to reflect? I hope it’s this:


“Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into his image
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord,
who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3: 17-18


Sure, I’ll keep going to the gym and attempt to steward my body well and I might continue to color the grays for a while longer but I want to remember now more than ever before how important it is to cling to something way more solid than myself  in order to encourage others to do the same. 


So…yeah. I’m taking sexy back.

Taking it back and trading it in for some more durable goods: the mind of Christ, unfading beauty,  true freedom and the peace that comes from knowing I’m His. 

In Christ Alone, I STAND,Lorretta signature