One of my 5 year old students had a problem with me. She told me so in her own 5 year old way: “Miss marlie!! you are not my big sister anymore!! and you’re not coming to my birthday party!” She had a real short nap and was in a terrible mood all afternoon.  When she’s tired she gets really angry and if another kid even looks at her she’ll start yelling.  After several of her meltdowns, I finally managed to get all the kiddos outside for afternoon playtime. She was having NONE OF IT. No balls, no fun games of tag, no pretending to be a princess (her favorite thing). Nope, she was mad. She said “Miss marlie, I’m so upset with you!” There’s two big flat rocks in the yard, and so I invited her to sit on one of the big rocks to talk with me.  So, we go to our rock, our ‘meeting place’ and I ask her why. “Why are you upset with me, friend?” Again, she’s 5 and sans nap so I didn’t get any useful information out of her just that I had done everything wrong and I was not her sister anymore. I sat there with her and just listened to her vent.  Her tired, tear stained eyes looked up at me and I said “I am so sorry you are upset. I hear you. I am sorry you have had a tough time this afternoon.” A few deep breaths later, she looked at me and said “Sister, I love you.” 5 year olds don’t stay mad for long, do they?

It would have been so easy to just dismiss her and her feelings, tell her to move on and get over it. It’s easy to not care, to try and control her reactions and keep her from inconveniencing me and MY PLANS for the day.  I mean I’m a good 2 decades older than her so I know way more and have a better perspective on what’s true, right? She just doesn’t get it. So why even bother to address her?

Because God has initiated a relationship with me. (We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19)  In Isaiah it says “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord“Though your sins are like scarlet  I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” 

God me with you. he invites you to meet with Him. Instead of a flat field, there’s a hill, and instead of a rock There’s a Cross. That’s our meeting place with God.  A place where God took our sin, our mistakes, our failures, guilt and shame and put them on His son.  God sees you, your pain, your hurts and He doesn’t dismiss them. I struggled so long with believing that God didn’t care about me because He’s SO BIG AND why would he care about something as insignificant as my problems?  But He does care! And He invites us to bring our cares to Him! (1 peter 5:7) He sees you, cares for you and wants to meet with you daily. None of what that kiddo said to me changed how Much I cared for her.  The same is true of God, he can handle your emotions your doubts fears and pain.

There’s a deep desire in all of us to be invited, to be included, to be the recipients of grand initiation. Well, friends, the God of the Universe wants you to Come.

Sit with Him, join Him on the rock.





Quiet time is hard

The Silence is uncomfortable
i fidget, I shift
Because sitting still is unbearable
Doing nothing, saying nothing.
I Feel exposed, naked.
Shame, fear, desperation soon follow.
What do I bring to the table?
Absolutely nothing but my mess.
Like the house guest who trashes the place,
Why haven’t you asked me to leave yet?
I have nothing to offer except selfishness, pride
and the attitude that somehow I contributed to my salvation
“Of course God loves me, I am a lovable person.”
But deep down, I know the truth.
I’ve heard my own thoughts, much like nails on a chalkboard,
they burn my own ears.
You’ve heard them all, you know every disturbing, hateful and ugly thought
Yet. You love me.
A day full of greatness does not earn any bonus points, nor does a day full of failures deduct points from  the “God’s love for me” score. That score was settled long before I was born. You loved me before I took my first breath and will love me 1,000,00 years beyond my death.
I say this to myself and I desperately want it to sink in.  However, there’s no silver bullet, magic phrase, or life changing conference that will put an end to all this doubt. What’s the point of faith if there’s no doubt? So each day I pray, Lord reveal your love towards me and allow me to reflect your love to those around me.


That’s from my journal a few weeks ago. It’s so hard to sit still before God, I feel like I have to be doing something, saying something, or having some emotional response to Him. I want so badly to just be able to rest in His love for me, but that takes a lot of trust. Trust that He loves me even though I bring nothing to the table. It makes me think about my cat. I’m happy to just spend time with her. She doesn’t fetch, offer any ounce of protection, she doesn’t do much except spend time with me and that’s all I want. I want her to sit with me, and sleep with me and follow me around the house. I love her to pieces and I greet her joyfully everytime I see her. It’s hard for me to grasp that God delights in me spending time with Him like I enjoy spending time with my cat. Which is why I think quiet times are so hard. Instead of viewing it as Father, Daughter time, I view it as an ex convict meeting with a probation officer.  The good news is God’s love for me and for us is not based on whether or not we can grasp it. I was talking to a friend yesterday, and we came to a good conclusion that if we could understand everything about God then we wouldn’t worship Him. My kiddos in preschool class don’t know everything about the world, and they mess up a lot, and they say mean things and spit and hit and are rude to those around them. But, I still love them and care for them. All in all, it’s going to be a journey. Like in any relationship, I’ll grow to learn more about God and how He cares for me as I get older. Looking back over the year, He has done so much! I am excited to grow more, to learn more and hopefully to rest better in His presence.


Preschool stories: Spilled Milk and Frozen

I never really understood the whole “No use crying over spilled milk” thing until yesterday. It was the last day of school and the kiddos (3-6 years old) were eating their pizza at lunch. Our youngest girl some how knocked her cup of milk on the floor. Her eyes welled up with tears, she looked at the puddle of milk, then at me, then at the puddle and back at me. Her shoulders began to shake and the shrieks of devastation soon followed. In her eyes, it was the end of the world. That was only the beginning of the tears. During nap time, she woke up and started screaming for her mom. I went over to her began to pat on her on the back, and whisper “it’s okay…shhhhh….it’s okay.” She screamed louder. MOMMY. I WANT MY MOMMMM. I WANT MY MOMMY. MOMMMMM. Sobs. then she screamed even louder. I WANT MY MOMMMMM. MOMMY. I learned a tactic from another teacher when a similar situation was occurring, I tried mirroring the little girl, helping her know i heard her and understood. “I hear you. I hear that you want your mom.” But that did not work and  it became clear she was not going to listen to my words.

The lead teacher and I exchanged glances and kind of shrugged shoulders. She tried a few things as well. Distraction, a glass of water, a book. Nothing worked. The girl had been sick the last few days and this was her first day back in awhile. My lead teacher said “today was a different schedule than usual, and probably hasn’t helped her anxiety from being away from mom.” . It was so easy to put this girl in a box and label it “loud child, defiant, just ignore.” When she said the word anxiety, I instantly thought of myself. When I’m anxious, hearing “calm down, you’re okay.” doesn’t help. Listening to music helps me. We had tried everything to help her, or so I thought, I went to her nap roll and started singing songs from Frozen quietly. Her loud sobs turned into quiet whimpers. Then when I ran out of lyrics from Frozen I started singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little star. Her breathing returned to normal, she was quiet.  she fell back asleep. I took a huge breath of relief.

It’s easy and tempting to group kids into a different category from myself. I am, after all, 17-20 years older than all of them. However, their younger age doesn’t make them any less human than me. As the little girl cried for her mom,  I remembered the time I was in a hotel in the middle of England with no wifi, and no cell service homesick as ever and crying because i wanted to talk to my mom (as a 21 year old!) I put on my favorite music and told myself I’d be home soon enough.  I’m learning that kids are people too: tiny, smelly, loud, fun, annoying, innocent, but people nonetheless.