Tuesday, February 19, 2008

.you can have all this world, but give me Jesus.

i have this small group of girls - 8 of them in all, they are amazing. they come from lives completely alternative to my own. according to the world i know and love, they have it rough. they live in rough neighborhoods where my blood pressure rises out of fear when i drive them home. they live in homes where peace is not commonly felt or known. many of them are raised by only one parent or the other, rarely both. they live the antithesis of what my life was at 16 years old - and they live it with courage and strength. they made a choice to love and follow Jesus this past summer and are truly learning what that means on tuesday afternoons at our house - and they do this alone, most often with parents who are ridiculously non-supportive. they are my heroes.

this is who they are - this is all they know and they'll say, "i don't really have that many bad days, i have a great life." but about 30 minutes into digging into the word and inevitably digging into our lives, because that's what Jesus is good at - they break. it's typical to have tears and we embrace them, we walk through them, we grieve their lives and we try to let Healing offer hope for tomorrow. these days, tuesdays are my favorite days - they are the days where i most see Jesus at work.

today, one of my girls asked me a really raw question - she said, "Bree, do you ever get sick of parents telling you they don't want their kids over at your house or getting kicked off high school campuses because they don't want you to talk to us about Jesus?" and i said no. i said no because when you live a life of ministry, this is what you can expect - that the world will neither appreciate nor be excited about what you're doing because they won't understand. and i said no because this is what i was created for - because if myself and my co-leader, katie weren't pursuing this, these girls would not be sitting in my living room talking about Jesus on tuesday afternoons. and i deserve none of the credit for my lack of consistency and lack of preparedness - none. He is just stinkin' faithful, day after day.

a friend of mine articulates it well in saying, "Who would enter heaven clean, manicured and adorned with the world's riches? The notion is complete insanity. We were made to enter heaven bloody and broken. Like we just got down off a cross."

i want that - i want the blood and brokenness, the highest highs and the lowest lows - bring it and let me settle for nothing less in this life.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

.oh thank heaven.

oh thank heaven... for little girls. i had the absolute privilege of hanging out with two of the world's cutest little girls and their mommies today. charlie rose, my step-cousin and anna jean, my dear friend's daughter.

i captured a few sweet moments with these girls on balboa peninsula and in getting home and looking at the pictures saw how perfect their skin is, how unprocessed their feathery hair is, how innocent their cries are - just how untainted they are at one year old.

so today, i thank heaven for charlie and anna, for the friendship of their mommies and for their beautiful grins and honest straight faces. i was blessed by the day and will continue to live it through these pictures.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

.my father's laughter.

today, at wells fargo in my little town, i heard my father. i heard my father in rare form, a form that is usually reserved for fun parties, vacations or when my 2 year old niece does something hysterical.

i was walking out of the bank and off to the left, i heard the laughter of two middle aged men, a gut laughter. one of them sounded identical to my father and in that moment, my heart jumped. i think not only because it sounded like my daddy's laugh, but because that kind of laugh in his life is pretty rare. between balancing growing businesses, helping my brothers succeed in their businesses, building a new house and trying to help run a ministry in mexico, that gut laughter from my middle aged dad is a delicacy.

over christmas it happened... my two year old niece was taking imaginary bugs out of her hair and then she pulled "really stinky" imaginary bugs out of her armpits and we all gut laughed. all 8 of us adults sitting at the table. that was the last time i heard my dad's joy truly exuding from him. it is beautiful and magical.

so today, when i heard the laughter of those two men outside, i exited the building, glanced in their direction and a big smile crossed my face because of my dad, 2000 miles away. today that was my gift - the gift of my daddy's laugh, here in my back yard. thank you, abba.

Monday, February 4, 2008

.the smell of winter.

tonight, as i was walking out to my car after playing an intense, victorious game of city league volleyball - i smelled winter. it really may have been the first time this year that i've smelled winter in orange county. so often, it smells like exhaust-created smog or sweet summertime or salty ocean air, but tonight it was good old fashioned winter. it was texas in december with chimney smoke and crisp, cool air. it was both refreshing and intense.

it took me back to my childhood home where my dad would light the fire place with REAL wooden logs, my mom would let us drink hot chocolate with marshmallows and and stay up late and my brothers and i would embrace winter and actually pretend like we wanted to be around each other! it's pretty rare to get to embrace winter around here, but i was grateful for the 48 degrees tonight - that is winter where i now live.

this is home. the people i come home to each night and hang out with on the weekends are "family." they're as family to me as my own flesh and blood family is and i couldn't be more grateful. i am content. i am content with 48 degree winter nights, content with the roots i've put down in this place, content with all that surrounds me. it is well with my soul.