Category Archives: the seventh year

The Work of Our Hands

Today I have the privilege of creating words with my Creator over at The 7th Year blog. A few weeks ago, my mentor and friend, Alicia Chole, asked me a question. In The Work of Our Hands, I respond.

Both Alicia and I invite you to the table of grace today to add your voice to the conversation. While you’re there, you might take the time to explore The 7th Year, a 52-week, spiritual formation journey written by Alicia. Fuller still, “The 7th Year is a movement of souls who—weary of a spiritual diet of event-to-event experiences—are devoting a year of their lives to the intentional cultivation of life-long sustainable nearness with God.” (Alicia Chole, The 7th Year)

Click here to read more.

Peace for the journey,

the amazing grace of God’s people

“It’s the people . . . all about the people for me. They are where I find God.”

So I told my new friend from the 7th year, both of us participants in Alicia Chole’s Leadership Investment Intensive. Half-way between her house and mine rests Bellamy Manor and Gardens – a home with a 140 year history, beautifully restored and generously shared with patrons desiring a peaceful getaway. We were two of them, my friend and me. I can’t take credit for the idea; I can only take credit for taking her up on the idea. I’m so glad I did. In doing so, I didn’t just find another friend, I found Jesus . . . in her. A little peace for my journey.

Funny thing, this amazing grace. It stretches some 2000 years down through the landscape of history to unite the lives of those whose hearts are set on holy pilgrimage. My friend and I were strangers to one another prior to 2013, living differently and apart; yet because of that one single moment on a hillside named Calvary, we now live similarly and together, united under the single banner of grace. It doesn’t get more amazing than this.

Certainly, some people find God in the world around them. In a garden or on a seashore. In the mountains and in spring bloom. In the bumping of clouds up above and in the shafts of sunlight that intermittently break through. At a riverbank. In a field of red poppies. A soaring eagle overhead. A fragile chrysalis delicately dangling on tree limb.

A crackling fire.

An afternoon tea.

A room with a view.

All of these, noteworthy nods from God. But for me, these are not where I find him most available, most readily seen. For me, God is found in his people—the walking, living, breathing door-keepers of the kingdom. Those who make gracious entryways for others to step over the threshold from flesh to faith, from mystery to revelation. Those torchbearers who hold God’s light in their eyes and who cast the long shadow of grace onto all who risk standing in mercy’s pathway. They are the eternal pulse of Father God, and in their presence I am reminded that I am not alone. That I am not forgotten. That I am but one amidst a great cloud of witnesses whose knees bow only to the King and whose eyes are fixed on the unseen, counted, and generously collected treasures of the kingdom.

Sister pilgrims. Easter pilgrims. This is what we are. This is who we must be. This is how we should live. In doing so, the collective grace of Calvary continues to stretch outward and carries on the amazing work of the cross.

I’m so honored to have stood in my new friend’s shadow in recent days. She’s a beautiful release of God’s love in this world. I’m so honored to stand in yours as well, friends. You cast the long shadow of grace over my heart; you are where I find God.

Blessed walk to the cross and beyond this week. I’ll meet you on the road, just clear of the tomb. We are not a people without hope. Let us march on accordingly. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,


Lying Down . . .


I’m not a huge fan of the Academy Awards, not because I have anything against honoring quality art via the silver screen but mostly because of the seemingly endless parade of the self-impressed. Couple this with the fact that I haven’t seen ninety-nine percent of the movies up for awards, and well, let’s just say my interest peeks with the red carpet and its dazzling display of gowns.

I am, however, a fan of good words spoken at the right time. Certainly, movies are filled with many such moments, but when those moments happen off stage (when the actor removes the mask and throws the script to the sidelines in favor of real-life drama), I’m duly impressed by the dialogue. Such was the case with Daniel Day-Lewis following his 3rd Oscar win for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Backstage after his win, Daniel was asked regarding his plans for the future, about what character he might like to play next. His response immediately gripped my heart:

“I need to lie down for a couple of years. It’s really hard to imagine doing anything after this.” (see source)

He’s going to lie down. Take a lengthy sabbatical with his family on his fifty acre farm south of Dublin, Ireland. Work on other things, like perfecting his cobbling (shoe-making) abilities or learning the rural skill of stonemasonry. Just “happily working away at other things.” (see source) Daniel Day-Lewis is going to lie down for a season, away from the stage and the bright lights of the big city.

What a wise choice.

I am challenged to follow his lead. Bright lights and big stages serve their purposes, but once the curtain goes down and the camera crew heads home, it’s time for a breather. Time to fuel up, rest up alongside the still waters where the only stage beneath my feet is carpeted with green pastures and the only light framing my steps radiates from the candle of the Shepherd.

My lengthy sabbatical with God to happily work away at other things.

Those things? Well, I don’t imagine it’s important to discuss them here. What is important is knowing that those things exist and that only by my lying down for a season will I be able to most happily, most agreeably engage with them. The good that grows in the pasture is not easily grown on the stage. Bright lights and big audiences—too much shine and too much recognition—dim the eyes and dull the senses, kind of like a blundering sheep in need of a wise Shepherd.

Life is changing for me . . . again. I must travel with the shifting wind, not against it. To fight my lying down is to relinquish the merry pleasures of rest. To linger on the stage after the curtain is drawn and the audience has departed is to stand alone and to feel lonely. But to leave with them? To trade in the stage for God’s greener pastures where dialogue is limited to just the Shepherd and me? Well I don’t suppose I’ve ever felt more enveloped in the fellowship of the Beloved.

I need to lie down for a while, friends. This doesn’t mean I won’t be here from time to time. Every sheep needs a flock, and you are mine. I simply need to give myself permission to happily work away at other things.

Soul things. Intimate things. God things.

Lying beside the still waters and on a blanket of green.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

Unparalleled Obedience

I’ve been reading Lynn Austin’s book series, Chronicles of the King. The first few books in this fictional series bring color and depth to the life of a real king—Hezekiah—who reigned over Judah from 716/15 – 687/86 B.C. Because of my love for “period pieces” and out of my love for the Bible, Ms. Austin’s books are a good fit for my heart, even though artistic licensing is at work. A little imagination from her pen spurs mine along, fostering my thinking about God, his people, and their constant struggle to understand him, honor him, and, ultimately, to obey him. It seems to me the Israelites were always stepping just outside the parameters of who God intended for them to be. No wonder my fascination; I see my story written in theirs.

Now, take these books, stand them alongside my journey with the 7th year and, then, prop them both up beside the current ministry road I’m traveling with my family. In doing so, one theme emerges for me. One phrase. One challenge. One certain and strong whisper from the Father’s heart into mine.

Unparalleled obedience.

This is what God expects of me in this season; not that he hasn’t expected it from me in my earlier seasons or that all of life shouldn’t be met with supreme allegiance to the King. But now, right now, is the time when I see this most clearly, feel this most deeply, and understand this most fully.

Now is the time to walk the hard road of unparalleled obedience. Now is NOT the time to monkey around with my faith or play Russian roulette with God’s grace. Now is NOT the time to chase fires (remember that story?); now is the time to stay on the path with no straying. There’s too much on the line, and God is closely watching my steps.

Accordingly, I must guard my heart so that God can most clearly guide my steps. Unparalleled obedience requires intentional focus—a willing yielding to what God says even when what God says feels restricting. A little restriction . . . a little “uncomfortable and inconvenient” is small surrender in comparison to what God wants to offer in exchange—his favor. His direction. His voice. God has a plan, and I don’t want to miss it because of my unwillingness to apply my heart, mind, and soul toward obedience.

So what does this look like for me? How will I go about guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus? Here’s my fix (simple in scope; harder in sequence):

Fix my heart on God’s heart.

Fix my mind on God’s Word.

Fix my soul on God’s forever.

However he loves, whatever he says, and wherever he lives, this is where I must reside if I want to walk in unparalleled obedience to my King. When the heart wanders, the mind strays, and the soul lingers within worldly boundaries not tempered by eternal realities, the only allegiance given is to the cravings of the flesh that will never finish me “holy” but, instead, wholly hamper me.

I don’t imagine I’ve ever been more seriously inclined toward godly obedience. I do imagine God thinking it’s about time.

How about you? Is God calling you to an unparalleled obedience in this season—a time of walking the straight line of faith? No chasing a distant fire but, instead, staying firmly on the God-ordained path in front of you and making sure that any misstep is quickly confessed and corrected so that you don’t forgo the next glory God has in store for you?

I do believe that an unparalleled obedience to God and his rule is a requirement for a growing faith. I also believe that we sometimes don’t take it as seriously as we should. Casual obedience fosters casual faith—a sloppy belief system that cripples us instead of equipping us. Too much of that kind of monkeying around and we’ll find ourselves outside of Canaan and on the road toward captivity.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live free. Funny thing . . . to live there, I must live an unparalleled obedience to the King, chained to his heart, his Word, and his forever. However he loves. Whatever he says. Wherever he lives. Here is where I will wait. The next move belongs to God, and my eyes are fixed in anticipation of his glorious revelation. Greater still, my will is ready to obey.

Indeed, I think it’s about time. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

PS: For a free, Kindle download of the first book in Lynn Austins’ series, Gods and Kings, click here!

my 7th year with God . . .


The 7th year.

It already means so very much to me, this intentional 52-week journey I’m taking with Alicia Chole as my mentor. I’m not always able or willing to put words to this adventure which (in a short time) has become so very precious to me—my season of rest with God. Holy ground; sacred stirrings; truth revealed, in this . . .

My 7th year.

Why has it taken me so long to arrive here? To give my soul room enough for pause and reflection and to allow all that has been my journey up to this point and all that will be my story in coming days to merge as one at this place, this field—this deliberate rest where I can finally begin to see, to breathe, to be? Why, indeed!

This is a time of trust for me, not that all of my other times didn’t qualify. But, perhaps, more than all of those past seasons of faith, this is the one time when I might be able to trust fully in the unseen hands and plans of the Father. To expect him for the seeds not yet planted and the harvest not yet sown, believing that they are there, simmering in the heart of God waiting, waiting, waiting . . .

With the 7th year.

God waiting with me, not apart from me. And therein, the soil of my soul is tilled with possibility. What might be birthed from what has been? This is a worthy pondering, one that I’m able to sit with as I give myself permission to live with God’s 7th year. When we give the 7th year its due, we receive its intended witness. Until then, we’re just playing games with God’s instructions.


“The Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai, … ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six year prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.’”(Lev. 25:1-4)


As I look upon the seemingly barren landscape in front me and as I consider the overly cluttered field behind me, I cannot help but wonder what will grow here in this next year as I become more committed, more intentional about who gets to walk upon this sacred ground and what is planted therein.

I can make that choice. I get to choose who and what has access to this little patch of land beneath my heart.

God, help me to make wise choices. God, keep me from over-cluttering. God, uproot the unlovely, the brokenness, and the thorns. God, refresh this heartland with the water of your Word and with the tears of your mercy. God, open up my eyes to see what you see, and blind my eyes to that which is better left hidden. God, throw out your grace before me; blanket this barren field with the seeds of your eternal love so that everywhere I step, every move I make is immersed in your heavenly devotion toward me. God, enable me to take hold of that which I’ve yet to grasp, and strengthen my resolve for the hard work of rest.

The 7th year.

My 7th year with God.

It’s going to be something. It’s already been something. And to think, I have eleven months to go. What might God do with my next eleven months? I haven’t a clue, but I’m ready to rest my way to them and through them. Indeed, it’s going to be something! As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

PS: If you’d like to learn more about how you might be a part of the 7th Year – 52 week e-journey, click here. Your 52 week journey can begin at any time during the year. Why not consider grabbing a few friends and walking it out together? In addition to the 7th year, I’m also participating in Alicia’s Leadership Investment Intensive/Mentoring. You can find out about it by clicking here!

error: Content is protected !!