Do You Like an Audience? – Day 20 of Handmade


Do you like having an audience?

Maybe it depends on your personality type.


As an introvert, I do not like being the center of attention. I’d rather be in the crowd than on the stage. I’m more quiet than loud.

I don’t want all eyes on me when I’m opening a birthday gift or everyone listening when I’m telling a story.

But I’m glad we don’t have to get loud or have all eyes on us for God to be listening.

He hears. He sees. He loves.

Just the way we need it.

Just the way he made us.

Three Questions

Here are our three questions of the day:

(1) Would you rather be on the stage performing or in the audience listening?

(2) When have you been the center of attention?

(3) When God gives you a message to send out, how are you most comfortable delivering it to the world?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) In the audience

(2) Probably on my birthday

(3) I much prefer to share a message through written words. It gives me time to think about it first. And nobody is staring at me if they’re reading.

More here

  • You Have a Word…And an Audience
    I check the pockets before I put my shorts in the washer. I find words. Everybody has a word. Speak one. Hear one. Be a witness.
  • Don’t Compare; Just Create
    I went to a unique competition last night to watch Barry. But was it about comparing or creating?
  • It’s Not About Looking Good
    I’m trying not to be all wedding, all the time. But because it’s near, it’s consuming a lot of my head space. And sparking anxious thoughts.

Get the whole Handmade series here


When Did You Convert – Day 19 of Handmade


Turn around. Head a different direction.

That’s what convert really means.

etymology of convert

We often use conversion in our religious vocabulary. It’s the point of turning from one way of life, or one set of beliefs, to a new way of life and a new set of beliefs.

For some of us it’s hard to pinpoint a particular moment that conversion occurred.

Convert-turn around

I grew up hearing about Jesus my whole life. I believed from the beginning.

In my heritage, water baptism was the defining moment. The summer between 5th grade and 6th grade was when I went under the water. I did feel fresh and washed clean.

Keep Converting

But God continues to bring me times of conversion. Periods when faith shifts, even if slightly. Or seasons where change occurs rapidly.

These conversions are no less real than my initial conversion experience.

Any time we wake up and head a different direction, we’re experiencing conversion.

God can and will use almost anything to get our attention. To change us. To refine us. To love us.

And I’m glad.

Three Questions

The questions of the day are:

(1) Do you order quickly or agonize over the menu at a restaurant you frequent?

(2) Was water baptism part of your conversion experience?

(3) Who has God used in your past or now to shape your spirituality?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) Quickly. I tend to order my one favorite thing again and again.

(2) Yes.

(3) Fran from Manna House has rocked my spiritual world the past 6 years. She demonstrates what it means to love the unlovely.

More here

  • Changing, Yet Changed
    I sang the words on Sunday. But which ones do I really believe? Can we be changed and changing at the same time?
  • Reframing the Soul
    Just like a frame around a picture, our words frame our lives. Can we change the frame by changing our words?
  • When Change Is Slow, Baby Step It
    Whenever the gap between worry and acceptance shrinks, it’s a win. And even if baby steps are all I take, I’ll praise God for them.

Get the whole Handmade series here

Handmade - Finding God in Your Story

Call Off the Search – Day 18 of Handmade


I’m looking for something. Extra time.

Is it any wonder I keep losing my watch?

When you find it stop looking

I like to keep a cheap sports watch. (Yes, kids, some people still wear watches, a clock on their arm, instead of using only their phones as clocks.)

I had a favorite black watch. I lost it. Two months later, on the day I gave up finding it, on my way out the door to buy a new one, I found it.

Then lost it again a few weeks later.

So I bought a new gray watch. And two months later, I left the gray watch in a golf cart at PAR’s charity golf tournament. Gone.

Then last week? Jeff found my old black one in his truck.

Need More?

I always think I need more time, more time. There are so many things I want to do. And not enough time to do them in.

But do we need more time?

We’re often addicted to wanting more. Of everything.

  • More time
  • More information
  • More stuff

And more Jesus?

We think we haven’t figured out enough about religion. We haven’t put all the pieces together about how God works. We’re unsure if our feelings are intense enough to qualify as “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

So we keep looking for more.

Call Off the Search

Jesus spoke to this very issue.

The apostle John recorded Jesus saying this to people of his time (John 5:39-40, The Message):

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me!

And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”

Do we do this, too?

Do we have an addiction to searching? (Don’t ask how many times a day I google.)

What if today, just for today, we went directly to Jesus first instead of searching for him first in sermons and devotionals and church services?

Granted, he can be found in those places, too. Let’s notice his presence everywhere.

But if he is already with us, maybe we should call off the dogs. Stop the frantic search. Welcome his company instead.

Jesus is here.

This Is Enough

I can call off the search for extra time, too. I have enough time to do the things God wants me to do. I don’t have to sacrifice peace for projects.

I know where my watch is now. I’m putting it nightly in a jewelry box on my bedroom dresser. And I’ll try to leave it on when I’m out, not take it off and set it down.

No more searching.

This is enough.

Three Questions

Here are our three questions of the day:

(1) What’s your go-to for researching info? Google? Siri? A real person?

(2) What have you lost that really bothered you?

(3) What do you wish God would give you more of?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) I google (they handle over 3 billion searches a day!).

(2) I lost our marriage certificate somewhere along the way.

(3) Is it hypocritical to still say I want more time? I’m a work-in-progress with it.

More here

Get the whole Handmade series here


Worship in the Pause – Day 17 of Handmade


I want to move. To change seats.

My intentions were good. But this is too much.

It’s the smell.

Worship in the Pause

It’s the first Saturday of the month, Outdoor Church day. But today it’s inside because of the rain.

I look for the dirty when I choose my seat.

If I sit by the cleaned-up Christians like me, what’s the point of showing up at Outdoor Church? I can get that on any given Sunday at my regular church home.

So I sit by an older gentleman that is obviously different from me.

But two breaths in, I want to sit elsewhere. The stench is too strong. A mix of cheap cigarettes and no baths makes for a distinguishable smell.

Outside, it’s not so noticeable.

But inside, it stinks.

Just Stay Still

If I get up now, would I seem rude?

I pause.

Oddly enough, in the pause is where genuine worship can be birthed.

It’s the moment we’re deciding what to do next, what our truest priority is, who we will put first.

I glance at the old man’s clothes out of the corner of my eye. Ragged blue jeans. Worn-down tennis shoes. Dirty cap sitting on his dirty knee.

I preach to myself,

Stay put.

Don’t walk out.

Don’t squirm or turn your head or take fewer breaths.

Just sit still in the pause.

It’s the most radical worship I can offer in this moment.

An Inside Job

I’m keenly aware of my shallowness in contrast to God’s holiness. How can I walk away from my repulsiveness when it’s an inside job?

Outside, it’s not so noticeable.

But inside, it stinks.

I stink.

I sense my own need for grace. For a fresh blowing of the Spirit.

The preacher quotes John 3:16, and my homeless friend mumbles it along with me. The teen praise band sings on with Oh, how he loves us.

Pastor Mike reminds us the clear message today is God loves each of us, just as we are.

Breathe in Fresh Spirit

I can’t help but grin at how God is playing this, working on me with such divine finesse.

After the service, I ask the gentleman, “How’s it going?”

He answers, I lean in hard, but I can’t discern his words. No teeth, combined with a muddled mind, makes him hard to understand.

I simply smile and say “Uh-huh” and “Yes” and “Wow” when each seems appropriate.

I interrupt to invite him to the hot meal prepared next door. But he keeps talking to the air. So I eventually slide out of his vision while he’s in mid-sentence, even though I feel guilty about it.

I take a big gulp of fresh air.

Even in the rain, maybe especially in the rain, it tastes delicious.

And I thank God.

For keeping his seat when I sit down beside him with my stink.

For pressing in closer instead.

For not waiting until I’m cleaned up and sanitized before he accepts my worship.

Oh, how he loves us.

Just as we are.

Three Questions

Here are our three questions of the day:

(1) Do you like intermissions/halftimes/time-outs? Or would you rather keep going straight through?

(2) When do you have to count to ten to keep it together?

(3) Have you had a pause lately, a holy moment of worship?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) Sometimes I’d rather skip the intermission and stay in the flow.

(2) When I feel disrespected is when I’m most likely to lose it. I should count to 100.

(3) Hearing a moving lyric while singing in the car has brought me to tears lately over the awesome love of God for me.

More here

  • Hit the Pause Button
    Does your wound need space to heal? Jesus invites us to hit the pause button. There is healing in the pause.
  • Stop the Rush
    Monastics have a practice called statio: stopping one thing before beginning another, rather than rushing from one task to the next. Take time to pause.
  • Don’t Try Harder
    “The essence of loving living as a follower of Jesus isn’t in trying harder but in enjoying more….Enjoyment empowers effort.” – Sam Storms

Get the whole Handmade series here

Handmade - Finding God in Your Story

revised from the archives

Pray to Do More Than Pray – Day 16 of Handmade


I’m currently reading A Prayer for Owen Meany.

I love my library copy. It’s soft and raggedy and well-used. Meaning, it’s been read again and again and again.

I’m on page 151.

I’m not sure yet what the title means. (No spoiler alerts, please.)

Pray to do more than pray

But this I know: we often pray FOR people.

  • For their health to improve.
  • For their challenges to be eased.
  • For their spiritual life to flourish.

Sometimes our prayers are substitutes for our guilt. Guilt about not taking action to help improve their health or ease their challenges or grow their faith.

But other times our prayers are all we have to give.

And they are enough.

Because God has all to give.

But if God decides that he wants to give us?

We pray for ourselves to do more than pray.

And pray so much that we are soft and raggedy and well-used. Meaning, we’ve been prayed into love again and again and again.

Three Questions

Our three questions of the day:

(1) As a child, did someone in your family pray before meals?

(2) What do you usually thank God for?

(3) Who are you praying for this week?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) As a child, it was always my dad that prayed aloud before meals. As an adult, Jeff does most of the meal-praying, but I do some, too.

(2) Family!

(3) For Morgan and Riley to stay healthy to come visit us this weekend. Very excited!

More here

Get the whole Handmade series here

Handmade - Finding God in Your Story

When You Get Your Grace – Day 15 of Handmade


Some things about God seem even more amazing than others.

One such thing to me?

Daily doses of grace.

A fresh supply arrives every single morning.

When You Get Grace

How does God remember to give us our daily dose every morning?

How can he never run out of mercy, when there are so many of us and there are so many days?

The only way I can explain it is that he is great and he is faithful.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Now is the right season for me to memorize Lamentations 3:21-26. (We’re learning it together at Do Not Depart. It’s not too late to join in. It’s easy.)

And today is the right morning to receive fresh mercies. (It’s always today.)

Three Questions

Here are our three questions of the day:

(1) What is a habit you try to do almost every single day?

(2) When during the year are you most stressed?

(3) When have you been especially thankful for God’s fresh grace?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) I *try* to meditate most every day. And do a Spanish lesson with Duolingo. And take a one-second video.

(2) The first two weeks of December stress me as I rack my brain to think of which gifts to buy everybody. I’d do it earlier but I don’t want to be stressed then either.

(3) I’ve received tons of fresh grace this year to travel back and forth so often to my daughter’s house to play with our grandbaby.

More here

Get the whole Handmade series here

Handmade - Finding God in Your Story