Let It Go (Lent)

I think this season of Lent is going to look like a lot of different things for me. I shared how some people give up things during Lent and how we can lean into more of a life with Jesus. ( read Lent – Letting Go and Leaning In ) I don’t have a specific thing that I’m giving up (seriously, not coffee), but I am working on the letting go pieces.

I’m ready to let go of some things in my life. Both physical things and old ideas. Sometimes I think we need to clear out space in our lives, mentally and physically, to be prepared for the good and the new that is to come.

These last days of winter are perfect for this. These days when I feel overwhelmed and just need a bright spot of sun. Days when I feel exhausted and look for that ray of hope.

Spring always comes. Every year it comes. The grass will be green again, the flowers will bloom, and the sun will feel amazing on my skin. The hope is just on the horizon.

Time to let go, time to clear out, time to prepare for the spring in life.

I recently saw a picture of what letting go can look like over Lent. Instead of abstaining from sweets for the period, spend 40 days purging. Clean out the junk, the clutter. Donate your unused stuff to a charity, to someone whom it will bless.

So, that’s what I’m doing.empty closet

Getting rid of the stuff.

Getting rid of the old ideas attached to the stuff.

Some of it’s easy to toss.

Some of the stuff is tough though.

It’s attached to a lot of memories.

While I know the things don’t contain the person or event and I don’t need to keep the things, those memories are flooding me tonight. Some memories of people and things and events that will never be again. And some things I had hopes for, that aren’t reality today. But cleaning out this closet needs to happen. Releasing some of these memories is hard, but I trust it’s what I need to do.

I’m sitting here with a scarf wrapped around me that I wore in Israel. It reminds me of my sweet friend Annette, who took her life last summer. I just folded another scarf that belonged to my grandma. I’m not ready to let it go yet, even though in a few days it will be three years since we let her go.

I found a bag I brought gifts from Mexico home in and I’m reminded of the one who blew me off and never got their gift. I tossed an old tank top that someone bought me as a matchy-matchy silly gift. I didn’t even realize I still had it at the bottom of a basket. And the hats collecting dust on my bookshelf? Safari in the basement, I’ve never worn you again. Stupid cowboy hat from even stupider person? Why are you still here?

I still have the personalized duffel bags from when I taught preschool, well over ten years ago. I so appreciated them at the time. Those were also some of the hardest days of my life at the end of my marriage. Why do I still have those bittersweet reminders?

I feel myself getting angry. And sad. And worn out. And frustrated. And wondering what to do with all this emotion.

And then a breath of fresh air arrives in the lyrics of a song. (btw, He talks to me all the time in music)

“Every day is a start of something beautiful”

There it is.

The reminder of my word for the year: Beauty.

Let it go, Nancy. Keep the sweet, beautiful memories. Let go of the bad ones. You’ve already learned your lessons from them. Remember the lessons. They’re part of who you are, but they are not your full story. Keep letting go of the stuff. Keep making space for the good and the new that is coming. Keep leaning in for more. Keep seeing the beauty and joy around you.

Tomorrow is a fresh new day and a start to something beautiful.


God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!       Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)


One Word for 2017

wood-cube-abc-cube-letters-48898Intentional joy that leads to a deep confidence.


Just one word.

Those were my words over the last several years. They have helped define me and focus me, moving me forward. There were tough times along the way and these words served as reminders and motivators. I wrote about last year’s word here: Just One Word

It’s amazing how much one little word can shape and change a person. Honestly, towards the end of the year I almost forgot what my word was. Then I thought maybe I had completely failed. Forgetting my word. Nope, change that negative self-talk. Stand tall. Be strong. Be confident.

Yep, there it is.

As I look back over my year of confidence, I see how I have grown more confident and sure of myself. Someone even commented on it last September. I only see them a few times a year, but they commented that I just seemed more sure of myself. More confident. More at peace. Yep. I feel it.

There were several situations that helped grow me over the past year. They weren’t all easy. Most were pretty difficult or took a lot of intention. Some were just moments of pure joy, just resting in the experience at hand. Oh. There are those words from previous years, still serving me and carrying me forward.

Realizing how much these words have defined me made me excited to hear from God about this year’s word. He’s the one that selects it. He’s the one who desires It for me. So I’ve talked to Him about it. I’ve waited. I’ve watched. I didn’t really understand it at first, but it’s making more sense. And just as I initially didn’t think I had grown in confidence much, I know this word will be developed over the year. That’s so exciting!

While I loved the joy and still look for it, I feel so much more centered. So while joy feels more exuberant and lively, my word this year feels more settled and strong. Just a deep seated confidence that reflects in my world around me. I want to continue to experience this new space of joy in a different way. I want to continue to experience life fully. I want to experience the absolute beauty of life in the mundane, in the challenges, in the daily living of this one life I have been given. There it is.


I want to see the beauty all around me.

I want to see the beauty in the journey He has brought me on; through the struggles and
the joy, through the complete dependence on the one who has created me. I want to see the beauty in the painful and hard spaces. I know it’s there too. I want to see beauty in the dreams He has given me and the beauty as I work to bring them to reality.

I want to get out and see the beauty of His creations, from the mountains and streams to the oceans and deserts. I want to notice the little flowers that grow out of hard spaces and I want to experience the beautiful laughs and smiles of treasured friends. And I want to help my kids find the beauty around them too.

I also want to see beauty in the waiting, in the stillness, in the pause. Sometimes I know I have to sit still and just take in my surroundings. I want to see the beauty in this space too, no longer feeling the anxiety that used to mark my life. I want to see the beauty in all of it and I don’t want to miss a thing as He creates and moves through me.

2017, I’m setting my intentions, collecting the beautiful moments, and preparing for the next steps in the journey. I don’t want to miss the beauty of this life as I live with intention, joy, and confidence.

Wow. He’s still that good.



I am the WORST of Sinners

I am the worst of sinners. I am no better than anyone. Yeah yeah, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. I’ve been there. I’ve been in it. I’ve rolled in the nastiness. The deep, dark pit of grossness. Left to my own nature, my flesh is ugly. UGLY.

It’s so easy to get caught in the shame of this. The Holy Spirit says, “whoa, that’s not who you are. That’s not your identity.” And it feels like the weight of the world is crushing down on me. The weight of God. I disappointed Him again. And I knew better. Yet here I stand, covered in gross sin.


Then God looks at me. “That’s not who I made you to be. I’m having a hard time recognizing you right now”.

And I want so desperately to shed all of this mud. But the more I try, the more there is. Some have said sin is like carrying around a dead corpse. Think about it. Life is found in God. And if I’m standing here apart from Him, that’s living in death. Choosing to sin, intentionally or not, I’m picking up dead, rotting pieces and carrying them around.   Tucking them in my belt, shoving them up my sleeve, carrying them on my shoulder. It’s stinky. It’s smelly. It’s gross. And I don’t want this anymore. But I can’t get rid of it. And I don’t know how.

Then, the Holy Spirit reminds me. He gently lifts my chin, whispers in my ear, and He holds my hand. And He says, “come, baby girl, let’s go talk to Jesus.”

I want to!! And I’m afraid. What will I say? How will I explain? Again, Jesus. I know better. I know better. I can’t. What. Will. I. Say.

And the Holy Spirit is still there, right behind me, in my smelliness, holding me up, and He whispers, “I’m already telling Jesus about it. I know you don’t even know what to say and I am right here with you. I’m giving you the words. I’ve been deposited in you and I’m not leaving you until we’re back with Father God.”

With those words I turn and run to Jesus. I run. I don’t slow down. And I fall to His feet, my mess and all, tears running down my face, and I tell Him all about it. I sob and I tell Him all about my ugliness. I tell Him all of it. I’m broken and dirty and I don’t know how to fix this.

Then, the most amazing thing. Jesus lifts me up. “This isn’t yours to carry anymore. This isn’t yours to hold onto. Daughter, I’ve already taken the punishment for this. It’s done. It’s over. Let’s clean you up, let’s heal these wounds, let’s restore these scars.” And he begins to gently clean me. He frees me from the ugly sin. He detaches it from me and makes me clean and new. And He gives me a new white dress to wear.

Jesus says, “Okay, you’re ready, let’s go see Papa God.” I stand tall. With a huge smile on my face. I’m dancing on my way to see Abba Father. I’m twirling with joy in my new white dress. Yes, this is the freedom I was meant to live in. This is the freedom God created me to live in. I love running to see my Creator and for Him to see His creation.

God smiles at me, Jesus giggles over me, and the Holy Spirit rejoices in me. And Father God scoops me up and sits me in His lap. “Daughter, I made you to know me. I love you, your are mine. And you are beautiful.”