Wednesday, February 14, 2018


For years now I have been trying to make a living through contract work and I fear I am not up to the task. It is not because I don’t have the skills, but rather because I don’t have the thick skin necessary to survive. 

I have been blessed to work with many good people. I have met many servants of God who labor to put on great conferences. I treasure the words of encouragement from audience members, my students, and from those who have read my work. I try to focus on this evidence that God has a plan for the work He sets before me and that He brings that plan to fulfillment.

Yet, the sinner in me, the part of me that doubts, has not seemed to develop that necessary thick skin. I cannot count the number of institutions that have treated me poorly. I have had contracts cancelled without warning, contracted work changed in mid-stream, expectations of free work, contracts that are all law and no grace, and a horrible lack of any kind of communication that seems to come with the expectation that I can read minds. These actions often come after I am told that my work is valued.

A contract worker is easy to blame, easy to gossip about, and easy to dismiss because there will be no awkward moments in the break room. Besides we cannot be very good at what we do if we are willing to do it for so little pay. We are granted little worth. 

Yet, what is my worth in this world? Why do I tie it to compensation, accomplishments, or the way I am treated? 

A few weeks ago we sang a beautiful song in church called “My Worth is Not in What I Own.”  I have the video bookmarked and I listen to the song nearly every day. Like a child asking for the same book to be read over and over, again, I have more to learn.
(c) 2014 Getty Music Publishing and Make Way Music

My worth is not in what I own; my place in this world does not matter.
My worth is not in what I accomplish; anything I accomplish is God’s work, not mine.

My worth is not in who I vote for; my identity is found in my God-given faith.

My worth is not in my social media posts; my actions speak louder than my words and only God can cause a heart to change.

My worth is not in how I am treated; my sins tell me what treatment I deserve.

Ash Wednesday is a good day for me to set aside my pouting and my doubt. Here, God teaches me an important lesson about my worth. He reminds me that I am not worthy of the love He showers on me. I am not worthy of what Christ has done for me. I do not need a thick skin; I need a tender heart that seeks God’s mercy. 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed - my ransom paid
At the cross

And He does indeed shower me with mercy. Christ has taken on my unworthiness and replaced it with healing and peace.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed, Isaiah 53:3-5

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

More than a Rescue

So this happened.

My mom and my sister ended up on the local nightly news.

No danger of it being a perp walk, but it was documenting a walk of a different kind.

Several months ago, my mom fell. She is an 83 year old with fairly severe osteoporosis and her doctor determined the spinal fracture would not likely heal. He predicted she would go to rehab and not return to her assisted living facility. He was, in essence, sentencing her to a wheelchair.

My sister stepped out of her caregiver role and took on the role of advocate. She works at a hospital and spoke with doctors there to be sure that the diagnosis was correct.

Turns out it wasn’t. A new test was performed, a new surgical procedure was scheduled and the result is my mom’s pain is gone and she is once again able to walk. The more she moves, the longer she is likely to live. She has been given a new lease on life. She does not have a bad primary care doctor; he just didn’t have any other options for her. She needed an advocate who could search for that option.

I am happy to say that I am one older sister who now must admit she is glad her little sister has stubborn tenacity.

As I am reading through the Old Testament I am reminded of the stubborn tenacity that God has for us. Just like the Israelites wandering in the desert, I walk through daily miracles of modern-day-manna and still turn to God with a whining tone that betrays a lack of trust.

In spite of this, God displays a stubborn tenacity to advocate for me. He cares for me. He loves me unconditionally. He creates a plan for my life and for my salvation that is more than what I can imagine, more than what I can hope for, and certainly more than what I deserve.

My mother’s spinal procedure rescued her from pain, but it did more than that. It also restored her ability to walk which likely lengthened her life.

God is our healer, but He is so much more than that. The God who advocates for us sees beyond the need to rescue and sees our desperate need for redemption.

Think of God’s blessings to the Israelites even after their repeated rebellion:

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you: the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

God’s desire is to both rescue us from the slavery of our sin and to redeem us as His own children:

You have led in your steadfast love the people you have redeemed: You have guided them by Your strength to Your holy abode. Exodus 15:13