Be Ready For A Cross

Green and Pink Photo Digital Brutalism Travel Influencer Youtube Thumbnail Set.jpg

“Each day of your life, be ready for a cross.”
- Walter Burghardt

I cannot get that admonishment out of my head today. There is something about it that speaks to me with great intention.

Each day of my life, specifically today, I need to be ready for a cross. I am not always sure what that cross will be each day, but I do want to be ready for it. I want to know that I will be so ready for it that I would take it up and enter into it.

Will it be to choose the seat of less honor at a table of honor? Will it be in the form of turning the other cheek? Will it look like loving the overlooked and cast aside? Will it look like giving away what little I have in order to actually give my all? Will it look like standing up for the one everyone else is against?

I have no idea what cross awaits me today. I have no idea what cross I am to take up today, but I do know the call on my day to be ready. It is the same call I had yesterday, and I suspect the same call on my tomorrow and all the rest of my tomorrows.

Faulted Cries

When I think of my approach to God in my times of trouble, I am generally aware how much of my trouble I brought on myself. Sure, I am aware sometimes my troubles come upon me from other people or by effect of living in a broken system called humanity where evil things happen.

But there are more often times I have got myself into trouble and my own predicaments. There are also times when I find my heart and self venturing out too far and end up stuck in any number of troublesome situations where I am afraid, hurting, or in danger.

In those moments I resist the urge to cry out to God because I know I got myself into this trouble. I made my own choices and got myself into these traps, and dangerous painful things. I deserve this, right? So I choose not to call out to God in the trouble I brought on myself.

Then I listen to the heart of a father within myself. If my daughters had ventured too far by their own poor choices to end up in a scary or painful situation, I hope they would still cry out for me. Wouldn’t I still respond to them when they cried out to me even though they got themselves into these messes?

Wouldn’t I still hear their cries of fear, hurt, and pain, even though they are to blame for getting themselves into these moments and circumstances?

Of course I would! Because I have the heart of a father who loves his children. I will never stop hearing their cries and responding, even though they get themselves into some of these troubles.

Walk by Lightening

Sometimes seeking and walking with God is like trying to stay on a path only by the light of lightening strikes.

Call on him while you can. Seek him diligently while he is tangible, because there may be a time to follow when He is more difficult to notice or recognize.

In those moments of difficult darkness, remember, lightening WILL strike again.
It always does.

The Look of Jesus

The look of Jesus in the gospels

changed people's hearts.

If Jesus were to walk our world today

what would He look at first?

I wonder if the first to attract His notice

would be any overwhelming goodness.

Good-hearted people can see goodness everywhere,

evil-hearted people see evil,

we truly see in others

a reflection of ourselves.

Jesus unearths and uncovers

the love, honesty, and goodness

hiding in each person

who attracts His look.

He looks at the prostitute,

and I try to look at here like He does

to discover what He sees in her.

I watch Him look at the despised tax-collector

at the adulterous woman...

at the criminal on the cross beside Him...

I am trying to learn the art of looking.

When Jesus looks where I see malice

He sees ignorance.

At the moment of His own death

I watch Him lower his gaze to His false convictors

beyond their malice,

and He says, "Forgive them, they don't know what they're doing"

What can I learn about the art of looking?

When I walk about my day

and meet a stranger

or walk into a group,

how much goodness can I see

in each person?

I imagine Jesus beside me

teaching me to look in new ways,

to make allowance,

to search for ignorance,

and find good.

Then I expose myself

to the loving look of Jesus.

When my heart looks into the eyes of Jesus,

I am in awe of the goodness He detects in me.

I am quicker to blame myself

for ALL the wrong I do and have done

He stubbornly refuses to condemn me.

I cannot handle it, at first

It is too forgiving

and in my self-hatred, I cannot see

what His loving look sees.

But I am aware I must sustain His look

if I really want to learn to look at others

the way He looks at me.

Lazy Day

What is my favorite way to spend a lazy day?

I can only recall a time when days were allowed to be lazy. It was nearly a work of art to establish a day for being lazy. It was before lazy days were miracles you never expect or count on to materialize. There was a day when lazy was allowed, but miracles are not always allowed in our way of life.

Today I cannot imagine one lazy day; I can barely imagine a couple lazy hours. Our days are full of responsibility and expectations. The days are full of tasks and dependability. Lazy times require a lot of room that no longer exists.

If I had even a day, I would steal it away like a grimy criminal. It would have to be under the blanket of night after my children were asleep. I would need an alibi for why I even deserved that lazy time. The law of responsibility would be breathing down my neck while I tried to get away with theivery. An outright criminal, I tell you!

Standing Up When Wrong Goes Down

Michael and I entered the apartment complex to meet up with the girls, but the windows were down, and we could hear him screaming. Twice her size, he was hovering over her with his body and voice. It all made us turn away from our destination and drive slowly until he went to grab her shoulders. So we sped up and came to a halt, catching them in our headlights.


You can only scream anything to stop something from happening; even if it is only "Hey!"

We both leapt out and told him he needed to leave now, and we would not be leaving until we saw him drive away. 

She stayed small for her own good, and he began to shrink a bit as well until he disappeared with his tail lights. 

Standing up FOR someone else is easier WITH someone else. Also, not really thinking about it through helps.


I do not want to get stuck on the broken things of the past, but instead keep my eyes open to the new things God is trying to unfold for me now.

I will miss it if I am only looking backwards. Things are bing done around me and ahead of me, but I am missing every one of them because I am walking backwards.

God can make a way where there WAS no way, but I will miss it every time I am focused on the way it always WAS.

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder the things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
now it will spring forth;
will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, 
rivers in the desert."
     - Isaiah 43:18-19

Stopped Praying

Something was said by a former student of mine. "One day I just stopped praying, but God never stopped speaking to me." I have been fascinated with that statement all morning. She mentioned a removal of herself from "what I was socialized to be."

If we have grown up even a bit in or around the Church, there are practices taught to be utilized and enacted in particular ways. I am not sure that this is how we are meant to live. God has made each one of us a particular way with very colorful wiring, and we cannot expect to relate to or hear from God in the exact same way as every other person.

It is very possible for me to hear and know the heart of God at the core of who I am when I allow myself the freedom to hear from God from that place instead of the rigid expectations of how certain people have heard from Him in the past.

As long as I am giving good check to those things I believe I am hearing from God. I want to be more focused on listening to Him than I am on the pathways or practices I have been taught along the way.

Those things I believe I am hearing from God still need to be checked against His Word and His Body (fellow believers) to be sure my heart is not deceiving itself and calling it God's voice, but there is still a far greater freedom in that than the socialized ways I have been taught for years in the Church.

Yes, there was a moment when I stopped making prayer closets, creating calendared "quiet times". There was a moment I stopped praying, but the more entangled I become with the heart of Jesus, I realize He never stops speaking to me. 

[never]Forsaken in the Drudgery

There is a promise God makes in Hebrews. He says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." (13:5) I have read that promise a bit differently today.

Most of the time, I have found that promise speak very clearly to me in times of trouble and struggle. There have been moments when loneliness comes in the form of a difficult situation I have faced, wondering if I really am alone in this. In those moments, I have been encouraged to know God has not abandoned me.

But today, this promise speaks to an entirely different loneliness I have found from time to time--the travail of day to day living.

There is a loneliness that settles in for us in the days that blend together in a boring gray. The routine becomes monotony, and the days are all the same. In those times my heart can be bogged and sandbagged. These are not days of difficulty, because even difficult times engage the heart and mind. These are not days of beautiful and spectacular memories. These are just days like one Counting Crows lyric:

"Today was just a day fading into another
And that can't be what a life is for." (Amy Hit The Atmosphere)

These times become very lonely spots, and then comes this promise of God to break down the loneliness of our own drudgery:

"I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

Even in your normal every day, I am here. I am present. I still come after you and pursue you. I have never left you. I have never and will never abandon you.

There is a strength that comes to the heart in the moments you can praise, sing, and remember this fact. No matter how monotonous and gray my day to day seems, God is still near to me.

Sea Glass Conversations [a poem]


Along the crook of where ocean meets land
I find myself walking over sea glass;
treasured gems in reverse,
not found in nature and refined by man
   but having been discarded by man
   has been refined by nature

I pick up a piece and ask it a number of questions.

What onslaughts have you withstood
to become so smooth and beautiful?

How many times did you wonder
if all the ocean's tumbling was worth
this beauty you could not have seen
   along the way?

Where did you gather strength
to endure years pitched about
   after being pitched out?

What does the voice of God sound like...

when it bores through self-hatred
and burnishes your broken edges?

How did you stay strong without fracture?
How did you patiently await the vision
   of what you would become?

I slip the gem into my pocket
and I can hear it look me in the heart to say,
"I have al the same questions for you?"