Yes, I wrote a blog about faces

Today, I saw a picture online of the back of a random little boy decorating a Christmas tree. He looked so much like my son from behind that I had to do a double take. And here is how my mind works so strangely sometimes...

As I thought about the view of my son from behind, I wondered what it would be like to never see his face again. I'm not your typical "what if-er" out of fear or anxiety toward the unknown. But sometimes I examine how I would react were I to face situations that others face on a daily basis.

I sat thinking about all the parents out there whose children have been taken from them. Kidnapping. Autism. Cancer. Death. There are so many ways to lose a child.

What if I were to lose my Aidan? Would I get an odd feeling everytime I saw another little boy that looked like him from behind? Would I begin to forget what his face looked like?

There is something very reassuring about familiar faces. My kids crack me up sometimes, when I have been in the room with them for an hour--all the while they've ignored me and as soon as I sneak away to be by myself for five minutes (I just want to go to the bathroom ALONE!)...here they come calling for Mama.

And it's never enough if I call out to them that I am there and I'm ok, I just drank a bunch of coffee...they need to see my face. Everytime, without fail, as soon as they see my face, they're good.

Have you ever been in an uncertain situation? --Your world rocked just enough to leave you feeling a little "off" for awhile afterwards. When my brother died, my initial reaction was to stay away from everyone and everything. I just wanted to "lick my wounds", so to speak.

Inevitably, people would come and pay their condolences, bring food, pray with us and also for us when we could not pray. There was something very centering about seeing certain people--key players in my past and present whose very presence alone was reassuring enough to get me through those dark days.

A familiar face can often feel like home to us. Even someone we haven't seen in a long time--once we see them, there's a moment of instant relaxation. Everything is going to be ok.

For some of us, it's a parent or grandparent. For others, a spouse or a child. Pastors, friends and neighbors are often just as much family as the ones we're born into.

But what about God?

I don't know about you, but I have never seen God's face. In Exodus 33:20, God speaks and says: "You cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live." So, probably if you told me you had seen the face of God, I would not believe you.

If we cannot see His face, then why does He instruct us to seek it?

"When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.'" -Psalm 27:8.

As fun as it sounds, I can't actually believe that God is trying to engage us in a cosmic game of "peek-a-boo" for the sake of a good laugh.

We know that if we were to see His face in our earthly condition, we would die straightaway. We also know that we are to seek after His face. Is He playing a game with us? Or does He just know us too well?

My kids could care less about me while I'm in the room with them, but as soon as I am inaccessible, they NEED to see me. I can understand that it is the same with our Father.

We are ingrained with a desire to see the face of God. I don't care how you feel about God or what you believe about God...if you had the chance to see His face, you would take it and so would I.

I believe that God has put that very desire inside of us that nothing else can quite fulfill.


I could come up with a thousand good reasons and you probably could, too. But more importantly, today at least, I'm concerned not with why I'm compelled to but with whether or not I truly seek Him.

And all because of a picture of a little boy that I have nothing to do with! ;)


Occupied...not what you think.

I want to start out by saying that I am not setting myself against anything or anyone in this email. What I am most trying to achieve is a little perspective, for myself primarily, but also for those who want it.

The word "occupy" is defined many different ways. Online, I found several definitions:
1. To engage or employ the mind, energy or attention of.
2. To take or fill up (time, space, etc).
3. To take possession or control of (a place), as by military invasion.
4. To be a resident or tenant of.
5. To take or hold possession.

There is much in the news about a movement of people who are fed up with the way things are and have chosen to do something about it. While I'm sure it is a very good subject to discuss, that is not my topic for today. You're probably a little surprised since it is such a catch phrase right now: occupy.

Actually, my line of thinking has gone somewhere else entirely.

As I sat at the Hillsong Live concert last night, I looked around and saw many believers all together in the same place. I assumed that most, if not all, of us had come because of the great influence that Hillsong has had on individual as well as corporate worship.

While we sat waiting for the music to begin, I turned my heart toward God in prayer. I put my thoughts on Him and what He has done in my life. I thanked Him for His Son and for the freedom I find because of my life in Christ. I did this quietly and privately within the space of my stadium seat.

I looked up, and I was amazed and in awe to see so many with their heads bowed as we waited for the worship time together to begin.

And then I saw the lighted screens.

My heart broke a little bit to see that most of those people with their heads bowed were conducting business on their phones rather than preparing for worship in prayer like I had thought they were doing.

I wondered if we were to gather as many Muslims in such a place for the purpose of worship, would we see the same behavior? What about Buddhists?

As I reflected on all of this, the lights went down and Hillsong began to sing from offstage...a beautiful a cappella version of Come Thou Fount.

And the cameras started going off.

What am I not saying? First of all, I am not condemning anyone. If you're like me at all, you play this game:
 "What if their dying grandma couldn't make it and wanted to see a picture?"
"What if they're reading scripture from their bible app in order to focus in on worship?"

I get it. You can't judge a book by its cover. But 3 out of 4 people? With sick grannies? I don't know.

I understand that it's just a band. It's not like we all gathered together to see Jesus in the flesh.

But Hillsong is (and always has been) known for leading worship. As soon as the first song, "God is Able" began to play, people sang and raised their hands to God. And I'm sure they truly worshipped.

If they were occupied in worship at that time, what were they occupied in before? How were they engaged? What did their time and energy go toward?

It makes me think of a bathroom on an airplane. The ones that turn to green when available or red when occupied. How many times does our Lord find our hearts in either position? Sometimes I think that we are so busy entertaining ourselves that we don't stop to put our thoughts on Him until it's the proper time.

The proper time?!?!

I know that I do it. I would like to think that I don't do it as much as most people, but I'm probably kidding myself. Besides, does it really even matter how much I do it compared to other people? That's a dumb game that too many of us play. Because the truth of the matter is this:

I fall short.

We fall short.

And the sad thing is...we're occupied with really GOOD things a lot of the time. "Good" things...not "bad" things.

If you live in the city, you've heard the term and seen the effects of "light pollution." The idea is that there's so much ambient lighting that the natural light of the stars and planets cannot be seen.

Is it that way with the busy-ness of our lives? Is there so much noise, entertainment...even the good stuff...that we find it increasingly difficult to be still and quiet and focus our energies and attentions on our Lord? Especially when it's not the "proper" time?

I'm kind of a mess. Without the Holy Spirit's direction I am a BIG mess. So please don't think that I am scolding or reprimanding out of my flesh. I'm only passing along the thoughts that came to me as I reflected on the things that I have seen. The truth is, I'm a little stung by these truths, as well.

How are you occupied? With a lot of good stuff? Light is a good thing, but is there too much of the artificial light distracting you from the real thing? When is the last time that you did something without the purpose (in one way or another) of finding entertainment?


"If I cannot see you, Lord; then surely, Lord, you cannot see me..."

I love these words to one of my favorite songs of all time ("Romans" by Jennifer Knapp).

So, last time I blogged was not only over a year ago, but I was also dealing with a similar circumstance. It's like there's some kind of switch that goes off and suddenly I'm hearing the same word everywhere. The word for this week?


I've heard this word over the course of a couple of weeks on TV, Radio and from the people that I happen to encounter in my everyday life.

What does it mean to be vulnerable?
Why should I be?
Who cares if I am?

Merriam-Webster defines vulnerable as 1) capable of being physically or emotionally wounded, and 2) open to attack or damage.

If that's what it means to be vulnerable, then why in the world would I choose to be?

In the game of bridge, the term vulnerable takes on a different meaning. According to Merriam-Webster, to be vulnerable in contract bridge makes you: liable to increased penalties, but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game.
I know almost nothing about bridge (that's a card game, right?), but I can certainly understand the value of a gamble that pays off. But what if it doesn't?

In Luke 18: 15-17, people were bringing even their infants to Jesus and the disciples rebuked them for it. Jesus called them back, saying: "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."
Instead of agreeing that His work was much too important, He exhorted everyone who was listening to have the approach of a child.

And who is more vulnerable in this world than a baby?
Helpless, unable to defend themselves, not much to lose...

To be vulnerable before God is truly to take off our own blinders to our condition and see ourselves for how we truly are: helpless, without a defense, nothing to lose.

And Jesus says that this is the only way to enter into the kingdom of God. That's a very good reason for such a gamble.
Except it isn't really a gamble at all. Just before the statement above, Jesus says in verse 16: "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Belongs. Already.

So, if I'm promised everything, and I have nothing to lose...I would say that the payoff far exceeds the risk, wouldn't you?