Tag Archives: yield

Confessions From a Magnified Soul

“ Do you think you could paint a life-sized, pregnant Mary?”

Came the text from my friend who helps operate our local care pregnancy center.  Our little town hosts an “open house” Christmas event every year and the Center was offered a space on the main strip. Mary, the world’s most honored “unwed and pregnant teenaged mother” needed to be there. My friend had some funds set aside for the project and I was the “first person who came to mind.”

“Can you do this?” she asked.
Well, gee.

Confessions from a Magnified Soul

Honestly, I was “greatly troubled” trying to discern what sort of greeting— or project— this might be. I’d never attempted anything like this before; I’m not “that kind” of artist. Seriously, there are people I greatly admire who do this sort of thing with a level of realism and depth that I can only dream of. When they paint a person, it actually looks like a person. Me? I’m a folk artist. I work with the “essence” of things and basically take “sow’s ears” and turn them into a reasonable level of “silk purse”. I call it “redemptive art”— taking what others ignore or throw away and craft it into something beautiful, worthy and useful.  It’s what God did in me.

Could I do this?
I wasn’t sure.

However, I was certain of two things: this “starving” artist could certainly use the extra cash. Also, I’ve come to realize in my middle ages, that these types of opportunities and challenges have the potential to draw me into newer and deeper territories in my walk with God. I’ve learned that even, and maybe especially, in the things I do not know or understand, that to lean in past the fear and embrace the challenge before me often means the difference between growing or going stagnant in what I (think) I already know.

So, I said yes.

Plain BoardMary Beginning

Then God did two truly remarkable things. Just one short week before, He split open my heart and mind during one of our annual performance jobs with the liturgical dance company, Praise In Motion. They had reworked their Christmas offering and this year, one of the opening scenes depicted the moment of visitation through Mary’s point of view. The angel Gabriel appeared and the girl from Nazareth danced, working out her salvation with fear and trembling before God. It was a song I’d never heard before: “Be Born In Me”

The song,
the Spirit,
the sentiment…this Season.
I was overwhelmed.

Then I knew what God was showing me. I could see what He was asking me… asking you..again.    Anew.

If that wasn’t enough, God performed a virtual “miracle” at this busy time of the year; He cleared my calendar. I had two full, wide-open days to fully explore and experience this encounter with God through Mary’s eyes.

Line Drawn FaceIt was an invitation to dance with Him and my imagination through Luke chapter one. There I read and re-read every word. Mary; visited by the angel, embraced by the Spirit, overshadowed by God and enfleshed with the Child; our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Then, with the allowed perspective of a 21st century Christian, I dove deeper beneath the surface to the Spirit-filled space in between and amongst each recorded word to soak in the emotion, the danger and fear, then the promise, the recognition and finally, the resolve.

The powerful, life-giving resolve of a submitted servant entrusted to the perfect will of God:  “Behold, I am the maidservant of the Lord. May it be to me according to your Word.” (Luke 1:38a)

I believe, at that very moment in Mary’s story she, overcome by the Spirit and overshadowed by the Word of the Lord— as terrified as she could be, submitted and obeyed and thus, conceived Jesus.  It was in the very moment of submission and obedience that the promise and salvation of God was conceived.

Sit with that for a moment.

I was stunned.
Because it’s no different today.

Line drawn hand Even now, as we go about our “business and busyness”, God presents His great gift of
salvation to us. Through the Spirit, by His Word, God offers that Jesus be born in us again, now… in all these daily moments.

Today. Watching and waiting, He’s making a way for us to also say, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be to me according to your Word.


Life-long Christian or brand-new Believer.
The Seeker. The Confused. The Hopeless and the Lost.


Nearly Finished FaceIt was from this perspective and with the smallest hint of Mary-like courage that I picked up my brush and got to work. The song became my sound track, playing over and over while the Spirit of Christmas permeated and revived my soul.

I worked, inviting, at times begging. Jesus to once again this Christmas, be born in and through me . Deeply, the words recorded in Scripture mingled with the song

“I am not brave. I’ll never be.
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy.
I’m just a girl. Nothing more.
But I am willing. I am yours…… Be born in me.”

There it is:  resolve.

Finished MaryMy friend… I truly hope that in whatever circumstances may be bearing down hard on you or if maybe you feel carried along on the wave of this “modern day” celebration, barely able to keep your head above waters… somehow, you can slip away to that quiet place with Jesus this Christmas — expecting— and find that if you will simply submit,  He’ll be born.. anew.. in you too.

Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be to me according to your Word.  Amen.

Linked today at Tell His Story

giving up

It is finished.

At least for now, this part of our journey to and from the Dominican Republic has come to a close. Now begins the processes of piecing it all together— both the project and ourselves.

I’m over whelmed.

I don’t mean to sound all “hyper-holy” but honestly,  I always return feeling hushed and introspective. My heart is heavier afterward with the weight of a new knowledge and understanding for a new place and people and burdens I know only God can handle.  No matter what project is involved, every mission alters my course in ways that continue to unfold for weeks and months to come.  Each time, the landscape of my heart changes and will never be the same again.

I think it’s the way it’s supposed to be.

giving up

So, I have a confession: Once upon a time… I was THAT short-term missionary.

Earnestly, I went believing I had what the world needs most and my job was to go and bring some Jesus to those poor, lost people who had none. I won’t belabor this point, but I recall some pretty awkward moments culminating in one huge rude awakening.

Truthfully? I’ve never brought Jesus anywhere; He’s always met me wherever I was sent. My role then there and here now is simply to do my best to be Christlike.

Which is never as easy as it seems.

Honestly, these trips have done more to open my eyes and change me with the Gospel I profess, than I first imagined. Maybe because I have to cling so much harder to what I know   that I know    that I know— far more difficult to do outside your own rhythm, routine and comfort zone.    #Truestory

Using these off-kilter places, God impresses new marks on my heart. The fresh and beauty-full moments add color and texture and the more difficult ones apply setting heat to harden them and deepen my character and personality…for His glory— I pray. He uses it all: the people, places, faces, laughter and tears, where shared meals and difficulties become the holiest of communions along the way.


Scripture leaves record of some of these types of moments— just enough to glimpse the Body of Christ living then from day to day. Life surely wasn’t all fishes and loaves and walking on water. There were bone-wearying storms, uncertainties, frustrations and taxes to pay. There were arguments over who would sit where and who would be serving whom.

Sometimes, I like to think that Jesus’ parables sprung out of these moments. Perhaps, in those quieter times while seated around a table or fireside,  Jesus might’ve thought, “Now is a good time to talk about…” He’d seize that teachable moment, guiding those disciples then— and us now— through the maze and mess we can make of our lives and relationships.

Because they were just human beings—a bunch of guys on the adventure of their lifetime traveling around with— and for, Jesus. I bet they bickered. Felt selfish and self-centered. They surely got ornery and tired and occasionally made each other miserable. Maybe they asked one time too many, “Are we there yet?”    Maybe.

They asked stupid questions, gave stupid answers all while simply doing their best to follow, serve and walk with the Jesus they had right there in their midst.   Glory.  He should’ve fired them!  Instead, He loved them all the more. Forgave them.   Told them some parable stories and sent them to bed.

He knew them. He knows us. Jesus knows how joy may come in the morning but Lawd, help us make it through the night!  He knows how sometimes,   the Mean  just gets “all up over you.”    Even….and especially when you are trying your hardest to keep it together.

Flawless Christ

Like that time … I was writing a Bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit. In the middle of it all, hubby got sick and went down taking my day’s plans with him.  I found myself manning the carpool that night while my “puking-unto-death” spouse took himself to the doctor. I was agitated, highly distracted and the traffic was unusually nerve-wracking.

Headed home,  (full of “fruit” mind you) I’m behind a vehicle sitting through, not one… two, but FIVE green lights. Seriously!?? So I did what any spirit-filled, FruitFULL Christian would do: I laid on that horn like a lunatic. Did I get out of the car to assist? Um….no. (In fairness— it was night-time… but still.)  Then, out steps the frailest, shakiest, most confused and panicky older gentleman…. He’s near tears.  And now, so am I.  He stutters some apology, his son is on the way and me, I’m just wanting to  Die. Of. Shame.

Jesus had to love me harder then.

Then, oh a few months back, after a particularly stressful “wedding thing” I did… a gas station clerk was flat out rude and I found myself  “thanking-her-so-very-much“ saying “God bless you!” in a tone we both knew really meant “Go to heck in a hand basket!”.
Yah. Cuz …I’m beautiful like that.

Sweet Jesus…have mercy on me, a sinner.
Thankfully, He does.

All to say— what I’ve learned to be the single-most important thing I need as I go… or stay.. anywhere really, is GRACE. Pack extra— I’m gonna need it. Sometimes I’ll be doling out heaping helpings to another but most likely, I’ll be slathering it on thickly myself.

Vividly, I remember my very first International mission trip. Remember how,standing at the edge of a cornfield before the gathered congregation, I sang with all my heart, “I Surrender All”.   I meant it.

Now I know that the “All” I surrendered then was simply the “All” I understood at that point. Since then, God has given me more “All” to surrender and I highly suspect there will always be more to come.

Recently, I was asked: “Did you give up anything for Lent?”
Yeah.. I suppose I did.
I just… gave up.

Surrendering this new understanding of All… once again.

It’s where I suppose I’ll continue to end and where hopefully, Jesus through me… beside and before me — can always begin in me .. anew.

Lorretta signature

linking what I’ve learned with Emily.

resolved: a {yielded} perspective

Every new January, I find myself mentally and emotionally traveling back to the top of that heap of months where the view is fresh and the air is clear and the days seem to endlessly trip over one another with their blank calendar whitenesses just waiting to be filled with the hopes and dreams for a coming year.  There’s something so refreshing and hopeful found in taking down that raggety-edged, worn out old calendar and putting up another one, still shiny and slippery-slick with newness between my fingers.

I think the equation goes something like this:

new year + new resolve (x) new beginnings = new me. 


If only it was that easy. Yet, somehow, that’s the way we’ve been conditioned by the world to behave and believe. Let me tell you more…