Wednesday, August 5, 2015


"I feel closer to God when I run." Eric Liddell (I think?)
When I was in high school (pre Christian days), I stopped listening to the radio. I've always had a hard time picking out the lyrics, anyways, but when I could figure out what they were saying...I wasn't too impressed. I began building my CD library of classical music. Music that makes you close your eyes and breathe deeply. Music that seeps I to your being with it's pain and anguish. Music that lifts you to soar among the clouds.
Obviously, music is my "running." I feel closer to God when I hear good music- with or without lyrics.
Finding a thing that brings me closer to God is vitally important. Taking the time to be close to Him refreshes my spirit. It brings a depth of peace and rest. A depth that lasts longer than a ten minute break to play on facebook or thirty minutes to watch a show. It's the depth of peace that transforms my heart into something that more resembles Him, something maybe even filled with love and joy and kindness. A depth that will get me through a crazy day, a frustrating day, or a monotonous day.
Music brings me closer to God. What's your thing?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What If

Most mornings I have the kids do a devotional. This looks different for each kid, and looks different daily, but the point is that they are learning how to connect with God on their own. Or maybe the point is that I get almost twenty whole minutes to read, myself. :)

Yesterday, one of my children read the story about Jesus healing a leper. He told the guy not to tell anyone, but he did, anyways. And board of people flocked to Jesus to follow Him.

Then my two standard questions, what does that mean? And what does that mean to you? (The first being content based the second more about application.)

So this guy was told not to tell. One thing. And he's walking around town seeing people, strangers maybe, and what does he do? He tells them! We decided that this guy was just too excited about what Jesus had done for him that he couldn't contain himself. It was flowing from his lips all the time.

And what did the people he spoke with do? Did they look at him like a crazy person? Did they tell at him or tell him to shut up? No and no. They went to see Jesus for themselves.

What if.
What if I was excited about Jesus?
What if the work that Jesus has done in my life couldn't be contained?
What if I couldn't help but speak of Him?
What if others went to see Jesus for themselves?

Much of what our current culture knows about Christians has to do with what we stand for, or more more accurately what we stand against. But what if. What if my words spoke more about the Jesus who has saved and redeemed me? What if I shared the stories of healing and grace? What if instead of telling others why they should become Christians, I simply shared why I am one?

What if people did the same thing that they did back then? What if they sought Jesus out for themselves? It's sort of an upside down evangelism. One where Jesus get credit and honor...and I get none.

I kind of have a feeling that's the way it's supposed to be.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Not Lost

Grandma Dora
Thirteen years ago I became a Hendrickson. And along with my husband, came a whole new family. And I have never been more blessed.

Christmas 2014
My introduction to Grandma Dora came before we were married at Easter dinner. I remember her strong hug, the hands rubbing up and down my back, and the whispered words in my ear, "we're so glad you're choosing him." It's a scene that was replayed out many times over the years. Always making me feel like she was the lucky one because I joined the family. When really, I have been substantially blessed to have been in this lady's presence. Back when she was still writing cards and letters, every single one of them included, "I've been talking to the Lord about you..." And I believe she was.

Grandma Dora with son #4 and son #3
Grandma Dora raised her four boys in the Iowa countryside. And the escapades we hear about today are hair curling. Four boys. But they all seemed to turn out well. ;) It cracks me up that she often refers to them by their number rather than their names! As the matriarch of the Hendrickson clan, Grandma Dora often referred to herself as the Queen Bee. 4 sons, 10 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great granddaughter (my count could be off). Beautiful people who love and serve the Lord in a variety of ways. Smart ones who are engineers and librarians. Creative types who are musical and artistic. Kind souls who are teachers and pastors. Brave ones who serve our country and many who travel the world. She leaves quite a legacy.

fall 2013
One legacy is as the Queen of Games. I remember Thanksgiving afternoons spent playing games. Grandma Dora would sit in her chair, asking a question here or there about how the game was played, then BAM! she'd win. Every. Time. Mostly we'd play 10,000 (a dice game), and when Grandma Dora was the score keeper, if you were having trouble getting on the board, she'd draw a worm for you. I'm not sure why a worm, that was before I joined the family. She'd add a smile, or legs as each turn came and went with no points. But usually, the worm did it and the game was on!

Double Dora! 2010
I don't think Grandma Dora ever had a visit with anyone where a dozen photos weren't taken to commemorate the event. She loved spending time with people. Starting with a hug and ending with a hug. And music. When she was moved from her Iowa apartment to a nursing home in Nebraska, it seemed that her biggest concern was who was going to take over playing the organ at church! We tried to visit every month or two, joining her for lunch, bringing puppets to enact the Christmas story, sharing stories and hugs.

spring 2011
Grandma Dora is two months shy of 100. In the last year or so, her strength was fading. At Thanksgiving, she was having a hard time remembering the children's names, but Christmas brought some perkiness back. It seemed like making it through the spring and summer wasn't a stretch after all. We hadn't seen her in few months, so we headed up for a visit on mother's Day. I'm so glad we did. We had a nice visit. She seemed weak, but alert, pleased for our visit, glad for the hugs from the kids. When it was my turn for my good-bye hug, I leaned over her chair gave her as big a squeeze as I could without being able to reach behind her, I said, "we love you very much" and gave her a kiss. Her body has continued to fade, and she passed away this morning. I'm not going to say, "we lost her," because we didn't...

I know where she is now. She's talking with the Lord about us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Ten and a half years ago I found out I was pregnant.

And I sat on the floor and cried.

That made the guilt for what was to come that much worse.

You see, we had a baby. Barely six months old. My husband had lost his job the week before he was born. I probably had post-partum depression, too. I was not ready for another baby. Especially since my current baby would only be thirteen months old when this one arrived. I'm not sure what made me take the test, but there it was sitting on the counter. And I was overwhelmed.

We spent the week thinking and praying. Honestly...coming to terms with the next change in our life. And that's when the spotting started. I did what I was supposed to do. I called my doctor. I laid down. I rested.

But all it took was one trip to the bathroom.

And I sat on the floor and cried.

The rest of the week is a blur of pain, tears, trips to the hospital and clinic and rationalizing. Trying to understand why God would give us a baby, only to take it away again.

It didn't take long to get pregnant again, and again, and again, and again. We ended up with five kids. And not a lot of time to think about the one we lost. I'm not even sure how many people we've talked to about that baby. But last week I did. I shared my story with some other moms. I did think about that baby. The one that I never got to hold. And I let the pain of it touch me, for the first time since it happened.

And I have a song for that.

God created. He had no intentions for anyone to die. That's why it hurts us so much when someone does. Why it just about kills us when it's a child, even one yet unborn. It's ok to feel it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

for my past and for my future

A day or so ago, a friend on facebook posed the question:
"If you could go back and give a younger you just a few words of advice, what would it be?"

There's a song about that. (Dear Younger Me). And even though I've heard that song a number of times, and I read his post yesterday, and it jumped to the top of my newsfeed again today...I didn't really have an answer. Just more questions. How much of a younger me? Me at six years old? Me at fifteen years old? Me at twenty-five years old? 

So anyways, I really wanted to have an answer to what advice I would give a younger me, but I didn't really have anything.

There's a song I've heard on the radio a few times, and I've wanted to try to find it and share it. So, I spent some time this morning listening to music. I love doing that! And I found this song. Listen to this song. 

This isn't the song I was looking for, but this is the song God had for me this morning. As tears sneaked past my eyes, I thought, "yes, this is what I would tell myself, this is a Truth that is True through any time of life, and gives hope for the future."

And then my thoughts spiraled and spun in a way that they sometimes do. Landing on a brand new thought that explodes in a moment of beauty. A crystal clear glimpse of something moving and profound. What if my future self was passing this song to a younger me, and that younger me is the me that is right now? Right now, I am the younger me.

I don't know what the future holds. I don't know what kind of trials and pain and joy and sorrow and brightness and dark valley are coming my way. But if this is advice I would give to a younger me, I'm going to take it in right now as a favor to the older me. 

God is faithful, He is capable. He is unchanging. I am forgiven. I will receive grace. He is with me. He will complete the work in me. He is a finisher. 

(You may have noticed that both of these songs are from the same album. So was the song I was actually looking for. I think I recommend this album!) 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Growing Up Is Hard To Do (For Mama)

When I had smaller children, and only smaller children, people would look at me, half smile and say something like, "enjoy this time, they grow up so fast." I appreciate the gentleness in the little old ladies voices, the urgency to make the most of where we were at, I heard the hint of regret...but that didn't keep me from wanting to punch them.

And then it happened. My baby grew up.

We went from this...squalling child who smelled perpetually like sour milk...

To this...a grinning eleven year old who smells perpetually like stinky boy...

I blinked.

He's still a goofy, wild, childish boy who sneaks ice cream. But there are glimpses of the mature, responsible man he's becoming.

A couple of weeks ago he and I spent a week at Boy Scout Camp. It was a beautiful week. I learned a lot about knot tying and fire making...he did, too :) One activity he participated in was the Penguin Club. they met at the lake at 6 AM, and got in up to their shoulders for fifteen minutes. Doing that four out of the five days meant you earned a patch. None of the other boys went with him, so I got the pleasure of calling into his tent at 5:30, and walking him down to the lake. It wasn't too bad. We got to experience great mornings like this one. Yes, it was cold. Yes, that's the moon. But he did it. He got up at the sound of my voice, got himself ready for the day and made the plunge into the chilly lake for four straight days.

But I wasn't sure about that last day. The night before we had a late night and just when he was getting ready to head to his tent (about 10:45) they pulled out the s'mores. So back he came. I reminded him of the penguin club, told him if he wouldn't wake up when I called for him, it would not be my fault he didn't make it to his fourth day. And then I said no more. "This will be a learning experience," I thought. And I was the one who learned just who grown up and sweet my baby boy had become. He ate his s'more, I was chatting with other parents/leaders and he quietly came up beside me. "Mama, I'm going to bed now. This is for you." And he handed me one of the rectangles from his s'more. He had saved it to share with me. I got a little teary eyed.

There are days I wonder about this job we're doing as parents. Days I blow it and lose my temper, days I just don't care if they play on the ipad or watch movies all day. Days that I feel like we're doing everything wrong and screwing these kids up.

And then there are days that I believe that God is in control. That He loves them more than I do and will do anything for them. Days that I truly believe that because of Him and His love and grace they are firmly in His hand and will turn out ok. Days like the above that give me hope for the future and show me that they're already turning out just fine.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Reason to Rest

This morning a post came across my facebook newsfeed. It was an encouragement to spend my Sunday resting. It was a decent article about not giving all of myself away. Especially as a mom. With a house. With homeschooling. With little kids. It sucks all of the energy right out of me.

But I read that post through a filter. One that says, "You need to refill yourself so you can keep going." and keep giving. and keep doing.

And I'm sort of done with that.

I mean, I'm not done with giving myself for others. I'm done with the focus of my life being on what I can do.

The focus seems to be on getting something done and getting filled up so that the doing can continue. Stopping is seen as a negative because nothing is accomplished when you're not moving.

I want a new filter. One that says, "Fill yourself up on your relationship with Christ, and offer to others out of the overflow."

The focus is on having a strong relationship with Jesus. Being filled simply for the sake of living from a whole heart. Having an abundant life right here and now (John 10:10). There is value in pursuing a relationship with Jesus without having any agenda or expectations attached to it.

What if, what if when I do that- when I'm filled, living from a whole heart, experiencing an abundant life- what if from that place, I can offer something of myself, something of my Lord, to other people?

I think everyone would agree, there's value in resting. In taking time to fill up. Do I want the focus of my relationship with Jesus to be what I can take from Him to get something accomplished? Or do I want the focus of my relationship with Jesus to be a beautiful, dynamic, whole-hearted love affair that is valued for what it is?

I guess the difference I'm seeing is "Fill me up, Jesus, so I can go accomplish more." versus "Fill me up, Jesus, because I love you so much."

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 
~Exodus 20:9-10

Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. 
~Exodus 31:14

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him 
~Psalm 62:5

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
~Matt 11:28-29