Monday, March 2, 2015

At the sound...

"Lost are saved, find their way, at the sound of your great name
All condemned feel no shame, at the sound of your great name

Every fear has no place, at the sound of your great name
The enemy—he has to leave, at the sound of your great name

Worthy is the Lamb
That was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up 
and all the world will praise your great name

All the weak, find their strength, at the sound of your great name
Hungry souls receive grace, at the sound of your great name
The fatherless—they find their rest, at the sound of your great name
The sick are healed, and the dead are raised, at the sound of your great name"

Eyes closed, I see them. 
The fatherless. The motherless.
Big brown eyes that stare at me, 
brimming with tears and apprehension, 
Espresso skin that lightens in the palms,
upturned to ask the question...
"Are we seen?"

A statistic flashes through my mind, "11, 000 children orphaned by Ebola." 

I say another prayer for them with my eyes closed, hands raised, and heart soft on a Sunday morning in the auditorium. The song in the background proclaiming the truth I need to hear.

A few days prior I hosted a global prayer night, the third of its kind. And I keep waiting for the shine of these nights to wear off, for them to become a burden or a bore, but they just never do.

My heart begins to rattle in my chest a few days before we gather. A surge of excitement sends chills down my spine thinking about how we are engaging in work that will shake the gates of hell in another part of the world. 

I lose sleep preparing for it, thinking about it, praying it to fruition. And then comes the best part... we gather. And from different rooms in my house, all at once I hear the sounds of women's voices rising in unison, praying for people we have never even met.

And I can feel God's presence, and I can feel God's pleasure, because I know God loves a good women's get-together as much as we do.

Here are the facts, here's what we do:
We choose one global issue a month, ie. a country in need, a medical emergency, a terrorism spree... and we spend one night together, digging deep into the lives affected by the crisis. We learn their stories, their names, their struggles... and then? We pray for them.

So simple. So good.

Of course we make it fun, with indigenous food to snack on, documentaries and visual aids, interactive prayer activities, and fun swag to take home, because, as my sister likes to tell me, "You can hit them with the truth when they get there, but firsyou have to get them there."

I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing these nights are to my wander-lusting, Jesus-loving soul. 

The opportunity to come together and pray for other people in other places where life looks different then ours? The experience of connecting with non-profits both here and abroad that are making a tangible difference in the world? The privilege of bringing an offering to our Almighty God on behalf of those who are suffering?

Yes. Count me in.

(I will be posting details on the different topics and prayer night formats that we have used, in the coming days. If you have questions or want to host a similar night and are looking for resources, I would love to chat! email me at

Thursday, February 19, 2015

You're Invited...

Over the past year, we have held our breath and watched as the Ebola epidemic ravaged the fragile communities of West Africa. We have seen pictures, read stories, and heard repots of this deadly virus as it made its way to the headlines of newspapers across the globe.

And now statistics on the news and reports show that new cases of Ebola are declining, and fewer lives are lost each day. It appears that things are beginning to get better in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. 

But the fight is far from over. There are still many lives hanging in the balance, and these communities have so much healing to do in the coming months.

Let’s take some time out of our busy days and let’s intercede for those affected by the Ebola epidemic.

Let’s learn their stories, their names, their losses and their victories.

Let’s lift them up to God’s throne, and pray God’s spirit will move and redeem these precious ones.

Let’s ask for God to bring hope, healing, and life to these communities.

Let’s pray for the doctors, the nurses, the missionaries, and the governments who are working hard to restore homes and villages.

Let's gather and let’s Pray.

February 26th, 2015 at 7pm
In the home of Adriane Dimmitt

Email Adriane at for more information.

*Stay tuned for details on next month's prayer night, where we will be lifting up the lives of those  affected by acts of terrorism. We will be taking an inside look at Boko Haran, ISIS, and other groups of extremists, as we pray for the Lord to intercede in these challenging times. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I was thirteen. Sandaled feet slapping on cracked concrete floors. My knees felt the cool as I knelt and closed my eyes. Rain tapped on the tin roof of the three roomed church, as a movie played on a projector in the main “sanctuary”. It was in a foreign tongue, one that I wanted so badly to understand. It really didn’t matter though; the message of the film transcended the language barrier… it was about Jesus.

My heart raced as I thought of what the small structure once was. With a dilapidated car two feet from the door, and a cinderblock outhouse with a broken toilet parallel, this place held it’s secrets.

It was once a sanctuary for broken sinners to find rest and relief from a weary world… a brothel and a bar.

It is now a sanctuary for broken sinners to find rest and relief from a weary world… a place of worship to the Living God.

Purposes similar, and yet there is an incomparable difference between the life this building once led, and the legacy it was now living. Walls that once held the weight of atrocity, despair, and depravity, were whitewashed in the sweet blood of Christ, given a new name, new purpose, new identity… REDEEMED.

I met the man who owned the property, once the town drunk. Story was that he met Jesus and overturned the merchant’s tables just like Jesus in the temple. His transformation from “Chief of Sinners” to “Child of God” was so radical, that many came to faith from his testimony.

And there we were a few years later, a small group of privileged youth from America, hoping to “bless” this small congregation. Patching cracks and cleaning cobwebs, then inviting children to come hear about the Jesus that transforms.

The Jesus that takes broken people and broken buildings, and broken purposes and makes them new… REDEEMED.

And there I was, cold knees on the concrete, praying the rain away so that the sounds of the film could be heard over the deafening roar of the storm. Overwhelmed with my own inadequacy and His perfect, complete competency.

My heart still races at the memory of that night, that week, that year. The week I fell in love with people who looked and lived so differently than I did. The year I fell in love with the God who redeems and invites us to participate in His plans.

Here I sit, fourteen years later, marveling at the ways God waters soul seeds planted years before. The way He can resurface memories and moments and miracles that haven’t been thought of in ages.

He is busy gardening, pruning and prodding, nourishing with sunshine and water.

This year He has given plans, blueprints of sorts, for what to do with these things I love…

People living half a world away,

Places cracked and bulging with the weight of sin they carry,

And a God who love, love, loves to REDEEM.


I’ll be sharing more about what myself and others are doing with all of this soon… so excited at the vision God has given!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuning In

Two feet from where I sit, she does the familiar dance with her infant that I have seen (and done) dozens of times before. Picking her up, setting her down, bouncing her on her hip, placing her in her lap… scooping purees into her open mouth, catching the drips that fall.

I see no man at her side so I presume she is alone. She looks tired, bone-weary, capable none the less. Can she tell? Does she know she’s doing great?

She seems distracted, like she has her hands full, and my normal response would be to give her space. But what if she doesn’t know? What if she thinks she is doing it all wrong?

Someone should tell her.

“How old is she?” I ask.

“Nine months,” Her tired eyes meet mine.

“How do you feel?” I venture.

“Suicidal?” She nervously laughs.

“Not really.” She adds, eyes darting, uncertain if I was safe enough for that confession.

“It’s so hard, isn’t it?” I offer.

“Very,” she sighs, shoulders dropping in relief.

I continue to ask, she continues to answer, each response less guarded, filling more space than the last. She tells me of the high points, the moments of sheer joy since welcoming her daughter into the world. She tells me her plans and dreams and I feel the weight of responsibility that comes with each word shared.

I lean in to a conversation I could have easily avoided. I could have looked “busy” checking emails on my phone, or turned my head in my husband’s direction to catch earfuls of his conversation with a friend.

But God’s spirit is at work, tuning me in, slowing me down, giving me a desire to see, to hear, to engage the people around me.

It is not always easy. It requires concentration that I often lack. It requires words that I sometimes run out of. It requires love that is not my own.

It is not always easy, but when I listen, it is always worth it.

She lingers close by as we say our goodbyes to the familiar faces at the party we are attending. I turn around and give her a hug, say how nice it is to meet her. She holds up her finger as her baby curls her fist around it and she moves it back and forth, a goodbye wave.

I draw close and say, “Hang in there, you are doing great.” And I hope the words lodge deep. We part ways and I wonder if our paths will cross again.

Days later she comes to my mind and I pray for her… once a stranger, now a friend.  

*Linking this post to a blog by Lori Harris, a woman whose words always inspire me to live with intention and love... Click here to see read other stories of women who are learning to do the same.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

On Grief & Gratitude

Coming out of the grocery store a few days before Thanksgiving, I saw an old Buick sedan pull in a few spaces down. The driver, barely visible over the steering wheel, was a little old man with a patchwork flat cap and worn button down. His companion emerged from the car a few seconds before him, quickly working his way around to the drivers side to assist if needed. He was a young man, well dressed but casual, probably in his early twenties.

I watched the two interact for a minute, caught up in the subtle dance between characters. The older, acting strong and willful, the younger, quiet, attentive, respectful. He stole glances at his grandfather every few steps. 

A lump formed in my throat.

Before the two had made it very far, a middle-age couple came through the sliding glass doors, bags in hands. A few feet from the pair I had been watching, the woman stops and exclaims, “Hello Shorty!” to the old man.

He looks confused, eyes straining, weakness wearing through. His grandson looked at him lovingly, willing him to remember her name. After a second had passed, the young man gently prompted, “Grandpa, you remember Jane, right?”…

“Oh yes, of course,” the man responds, immediately followed with the question, “How are your folks, Janie?”

I broke my gaze as the lump in my throat gave way to tears and I drove away.

The familiarity of the scene tugged at my heart, and two thoughts surfaced:

That used to be me.

He is going to be wrecked when his grandfather goes.

How do I know? Because I was wrecked a few short months ago.

My days of chauffeuring to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, and the pharmacy had declined in recent years, but the affection I had for my grandma was every bit as fierce as the love I saw in the young man’s face that day.

Although nearly 5 months has passed since her departure from this world, thoughts of her still linger daily.  This grief thing sits in soul and forms lumps in my throat when I wish it wouldn’t.  My life and the way I view the world around me is through a cracked and broken lens right now whether I want it or not.

Because I miss her, and memories of her show up everywhere.

A wispy head of white hair on a bicycle in my neighborhood.

A frail old man at the grocery store with his grandson.

Her purple knit hat at the Christmas tree farm, now perched on my mom’s head.

The small wire twist -ties she saved from every produce bag, carefully wrapped around old strands of Christmas lights at the bottom of the box.

The old familiar rasp in her voice, the gentle sarcasm, the playful humor in an old family video.

These things slay me in the best possible way. They bring tears to my eyes, and comfort to my heart all at once.  They catch me off guard on good days and bad, and I have to be careful to make room for them… to lean in to the pain, to not will or wish it away, to not talk myself out of grieving.

Because it is only in feeling these unwanted emotions, that I can treasure the gratitude that emerges on the other side.                       

Thanksgiving day reminded me that there is so much sweetness in this bitterness, so much grace in this suffering. I held hands when we prayed with another white-haired woman, a grandmother whose family I had the privilege of marrying into. One of the precious few older ones left in my life. And as she prayed a sweet prayer of thanksgiving over the 26 of us present, I knew this truth: that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, that He is faithful.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
         Because the LORD has anointed me
         To bring good news to the afflicted;
         He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
         To proclaim liberty to captives
         And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
         And the day of vengeance of our God;
         To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
         Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
         The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
         The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
         So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
         The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:1-3

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Conversations on Heaven...

Hunter: Mommy, can I go to heaven and see grandma and Jesus?

Me: Of course babe, someday you will be able to.

Hunter: We gonna climb a ladder to get there?

Me: Nope, you won't have to climb a ladder to get there...

Hunter: We just gonna take the van?

Me: umm, I don't think we will have to even ride in the van...

Hunter: Then we are walking to heaven?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

5 Lifesaving Tools for Parenting Toddlers...

I knew my world was different 2.5 seconds after she left my womb. A little lady with a big personality had arrived in my orderly, convenient life and suddenly things didn't seem so orderly, and life wasn't so convenient anymore.

A little over a year later and I am still learning the ropes on this ride called "parenting". My little "angel" is 16 months old and her older brother is almost three. Our days follow the familiar pendulum swing of delight and disaster, as they do for so many other families with strong-spirited children.

In the words of Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, in her book Raising Your Spirited Child,  

"It's difficult to describe what it is like to be the parent of a spirited child. The answer keeps changing; depending on the day, even the moment. How does one describe the experience of sliding from joy to exasperation in seconds, ten times a day? How does one explain the "sense" at eight in the morning that this will be a good day or a dreadful one?"

I have tried so many ways to find order and balance and sanity in toddlerhood, ways to come out at the end of each day unscathed. Some things have worked well and others have not. The last few weeks have produced a few gems of knowledge that have been so successful in managing our days, I could not help but record them here... as a reminder to myself and as a help to the other mommas out there raising unpredictable children.

Here they are:

1) Lingering Longer: Remembering The Power of Touch

I know psychologists, teachers, and health care professionals have long emphasized the importance of physical touch to a developing child. I understood that. What I didn't realize until recently is that some kids have a very high threshold for physical contact and that this need can be met! I bemoaned to friends and family for the first few months of my daughters life, "she just needs way more physical contact then I can give her in one day! Her love tank is never full!"

Then I realized I just wasn't filling her tank in the right way. Yes, she needed alot of physical touch, but it was not beyond what I could provide for her. This was a thrilling revelation for me since I had resigned myself to thinking she would be unsatisfied for years to come. How do I do it differently now?

I have begun to build "snuggle time" into our days and allow my daughter to decide when she is recharged and ready to leave my embrace. This means that when she wakes up, instead of carting her to the changing table and setting her down to change her diaper, something that would typically begin the first tantrum of the day, I head right to the rocking chair where we chat, sing, and rock until she wiggles free from my arms and onto the floor. It also means when I am washing dishes or making dinner and she is wailing and clinging to my legs, instead of dragging her around the kitchen like a sailor with a peg-leg, I stop and take five minutes and sit to snuggle with her.

This doesn't just mean making my lap available, it means holding her tightly. She needs the reassurance and security that comes from a snug fit in my arms. Nine times out of ten she will soon decide to get up and go find something else to do, leaving me to finish making dinner. She is full and affirmed, and I am calm and not exasperated.

We now take time to "snuggle" almost every hour of the day... when putting shoes and socks on, when getting into her chair for lunch, when getting ready to leave the house for errands. I also take an extra minute or two to massage her legs after most diaper changes, using slow, deliberate movements, calming her always racing heart and steadying her gaze. She loves it and responds with smiles and giggles rather then the all-to-familiar writhing around that used to define diaper changes.

It seems tedious and time-consuming to build "snuggle time" into your day, but it has proven to save us both time and emotions in the long run. Our days go more smoothly and are filled with more love and contentment when we take time to touch.

Side note: My daughters need for physical contact lead me to discover that she is a very sensory-oriented child. What I thought was just habitual messy eating was actually her taking hold of an opportunity to feel and manipulate different textures and compositions. All of the toys in our home were very hard: books, puzzles, wooden fruit, trucks, etc. what the girl really needed was some playdough! She loves the sensory experience of playing with something soft and moldable, and I love that she is satisfied for 30-minute stretches while I get laundry folded!

2. Smooth Transitions: Preparing Them For Change

My son is a classic introvert, not shy, but comfortable alone. He needs space and time to process change, whether it is simply getting dressed for the day or preparing to go to the store or to a friend’s house. In recent months I have often found myself rushing around, in a hurry to get to wherever we needed to go. I spent days frustrated and disgruntled with my seemingly uncooperative son. He dawdled when he needed to hustle, and got angry when I announced exciting plans for the day. I was befuddled until I realized the error of our days. He needed ample time to prepare himself for what was next. Even exciting plans or routine tasks were overwhelming to him when he was not prepared.

I started building alone time into his days and informing him the day before and then again hours before if we were going to be doing something that was outside of our normal routine. I also fought the urge to hurry him and traded the frantic ten minutes that used to lead up to our departure for a more peaceful twenty minutes, using gentle reminders and directions instead. Sure, we sometimes showed up 5 minutes late to our destination, but we were all happy to be there when we arrived!

3. Telling vs. Tugging: Using Words to Shape Behavior

For as physical as our daughter is at times, she is just as independent and hands-off when she wants to be. The mere weight of my index finger in her belt loop holding her steady when she insists on standing in her highchair can set her off screeching in anger. If she wants to do something herself, she is hell-bent on completing her task, mama look out.

I felt paralyzed to know how to handle these fits of rage that would often come at the least convenient times, i.e. standing in the cart while grocery shopping, climbing on the railing while out to eat, riding on top of her stroller while walking downtown. I would try picking her up, pushing her back into her seat, letting her walk, and disciplining her, none of which satisfied her desire to control her own actions.

I realized that my responses to her were reactive, not proactive. Here's what I mean: Her fury only increased when I countered the very thing she wanted to accomplish, and she resented my guiding hands. In those moments, me touching her was like kerosene on a candle. What I finally found to work is reasoning with her and asking her to do what I requested, novel idea right?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the stress of the moment, we don't think to explain ourselves to a pint-size person who probably wouldn't understand how inappropriately they were acting anyway, right? Wrong. So many times I was just as hell-bent as she was in stopping the behavior, that I didn't take the time to explain consequences to her and give firm commands without lifting a finger. The difference this has made is remarkable. I will say "please sit back down in your highchair" four thousand times if it means that we can avoid engaging in a physical and emotional war that leaves us both exhausted.

Just a disclaimer: I am not suggesting removing all discipline and consequences when your child acts out or acts unbecomingly, I have just found that if I remove my emotional reaction from the equation and verbalize my thoughts, I help us both to move away from an inflammatory interaction, instead of heightening the intensity.

4. Giving Time: Expecting Obedience "When You Are Ready"

This is a little controversial, I'll just be honest. I grew up with the understanding that obedience to your parents should be immediate, complete, and without questions. I still ascribe to this reasoning primarily. That being said, I am sharing what works in our household, and I am just going to be honest.

When I ask my son to do something and he is non-compliant I react in one of two ways. If the non-compliance is defiance, rebellion, or challenging to my authority I move forward with disciplinary measures. If the non-compliance is because he is genuinely distracted or completing a task that is important in his mind, and not harmful in mine, I allow him to finish and tell him that my request is still standing and needs to be completed "when you are ready".

I do this not because I want to teach delayed obedience or disobedience, but because there are such varying degrees of offenses a child can commit that I really want to major on the majors and minor on the minors. I want him to learn the life skills of managing his time well, thinking through upcoming tasks, and how to reason with others. If I do not engage in this dialogue with him or give time and grace for his mind to process, I am not allowing room for these skills to develop.

It is actually amazing to see how quickly he responds to my requests when I give him the space he needs to choose the right thing. (This is directly correlated to the smooth transitions I wrote about above)

5. Prayer: With Them and For Them

This is really the key to it all, a vital source of wisdom and discernment in our lives.

When all is going well in your home: pray, when all is failing: pray.

Two things happen when I pray with my children for our day. The first and most important is that we invite God into our day, we invoke His presence, we ask Him to go before us. We ask for His joy, His help, His self-control, and His love to define us as we interact with one another. He really does intervene and fill our home when we ask Him. He gives patience and grace to me and gives kindness and joy to the kids.

The second thing that happens when we pray together, is that they hear what I am praying for and believe it to be possible. They hear me pray for good things, for the fruit of the spirit, and they want those things to be true. Our prayers are quiet expectations whispered to their souls, setting the tone and the bar for how we interact. They see the fervency and faith with which I pray and it bolsters their confidence in who God is and how much He cares about us. These are things I desperately want them to discover, and what better way than by praying together!

Of course the other important key is to pray for them. Not just out loud when they are listening, but in all the millions of moments in between. When rocking them, changing them, brushing their teeth, making breakfast, and filling the tub... I pray and He works.

These are just a few ideas of what has worked in our family... things that wave made the climate of our home warmer, more grace-filled, more peaceful. Whether they will work for others in exactly the same way, I cannot be certain, but my prayer is that the outcome will be the same... families that aren't just surviving toddlerhood, but instead, thriving in the midst of it!

I have seen a change in both my heart and my children’s temperaments as I deal more graciously with them, not ignoring the need for discipline, but balancing it with an understanding of who they are as individuals and the capacity that they have to learn and grow in different ways.

Godspeed to you all as you raise your children, friends… may God grant you the grace and wisdom needed to navigate this most challenging task!