Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Lineage of Grace

I had the great joy of writing and participating in the Ladies' Christmas Brunch dramatic presentation at our church this year.  The theme of the morning was "Chosen and Redeemed."  The drama was entitled "A Lineage of Grace" and it told the stories of four unlikely women who have a part in Jesus' lineage: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary.  

Tamar: The Forgotten One

My husband was wicked,
So horribly so,
That God struck him dead,
Leaving me all alone.

According to customs
And laws of the Jews,
His brother should take me,
But instead, he abused

And refused
to give me a child to call mine,
No son to continue
The family line.

When Judah, his father,
Learned of his sin,
He assured me he’d make
things right once again.

He promised another
Son of his own
To take on the duty
In time when he’d grown.

I waited and waited
For what he said he would do.
But with another promise broken
I knew I was through.

Through with the lies,
Through with the pain,
Through with the waiting,
Through with the games.

So I acted a whore
And covered my face
For I knew that Judah
Loved the thrill of the chase.

He approached me
And offered a deal for the task.
I asked for his ring and his cord
And his staff.

You see, I became pregnant
After the deed,
And these objects would prove
That the son was his seed.

Or sons, I should say,
for there was not one but two.
I finally had
The sons I was due.

Looking back on my story,
I’m ashamed of my plans.
For taking the matter
Into my hands.

Desperate, I did
Some things I regret
But God, in his mercy,
Did not forget

His daughter.

For from one of those seeds,
Came redemption from sin.
Now Jesus, the savior,
Is one of my kin.

Rahab: The Harlot

I, too, sold my body
To men for a price
I considered my sin
A necessary vice.

So I wasn’t surprised
When two men came at night.
But instead of “the usual”
They asked if I might

Help them.
You see, they were Israelite spies.
Their leader had sent them
To town in disguise.

The King found out
And sent troops to my door.
He had heard they were hiding
In the house of the whore.

But I had heard of their God
And fear melted my heart.
I knew he was real,
And I couldn’t take part

In helping the king
To kill these two spies,
So I told them they’d left
And misled them with lies.

In the meantime, the men
Were on top of my roof.
So I asked for assurance
Of safety, for proof

That my family would be spared
When they seized our land
That none of my own
would die at their hand.

A life for a life,
they gave me their pledge
And a cord
to hang out my window ledge.

This cord of scarlet
Indeed kept us alive.
They came in and conquered,
But my family survived.

And what’s more,
They took us in as their own,
Not leaving us to face
a new world all alone.

As for me, I was rescued
In more ways than one.
God graciously gave me
A husband and son.

Once called the “harlot”
I have a new name.
Daughter of God,
Forgiven, no shame.

From my line, God would send
One more scarlet red cord
The man you call Jesus,
The man I call “Lord.”

Ruth: The Widow

I was a widow.
My husband had died,
Along with his father
And brothers beside.

With no man to marry
Or give me an heir,
My mother-in-law thought
It would only be fair

To release me
And send me on my own way,
But instead of departing
I decided to stay.

“Your people, my people,
Your God, now my Lord.
I will go where you go
And board where you board.”

So we set off for Bethlehem
A small little town
The harvest had started
Barley cut down.

We arrived and I gleaned
In the field of a man
Named Boaz, a member
Of my late husband’s clan.

Boaz, the son
of the harlot redeemed.
His mother once shameful,
Her son now esteemed.

Boaz gave in abundance,
Supplied every need.
He protected and blessed us,
A refuge indeed.

Naomi, my mother in-law,
Advised me to go
And ask for redemption
So that he might bestow

A blessing far greater
than barley or wheat,
So I heeded her counsel
and laid at his feet.

I asked for redemption,
A new kind of life,
That he take me, redeem me,
And make me his wife.

So he went to the elders
Who sat at the gate,
And asked for permission
To buy our estate.

He paid for the land,
Purchased me as his own.
I was no longer forsaken,
No longer alone.

We, too, had a son
Named Obed, and he
Was the father of Jesse
And from his family tree

Would come Great King David,
Then the greatest of kings,
King Jesus, Redeemer,
Of whom my soul sings,

“Bless the Lord, for he
Has not left me this day
Without a redeemer.
He has shown me the way!”

The truth and the life
Was born in a crèche
In the city of Bethlehem.
Flesh of my flesh.

Mary: The Virgin

A young, humble girl,
A virgin, engaged, 
In an instant, my life
Would forever be changed.

“Greetings!” said Gabriel.
“Do not be afraid!
You’ve found favor with God,
Do not be dismayed.”

“Behold, you’ll conceive in your womb
And give birth
To the Son of the most high,
Who’ll reign o’er the earth.”

The spirit would come,
Overshadowing me.
The power of the most High
Would cause it to be.
Still, my heart pounded
right out of my chest.
Of all women, why
Was I chosen and blessed?

How could it be
That I was the one
Chosen for this,
To bear God’s own son?

He looked on his servant
Of humble estate.
Exalting the lowly
To bear one who is great.

He’s shown strength with his arm
And has scattered the proud.
He has brought down the mighty
The humble, endowed.
The hungry he fed,
The rich sent away.
He’s remembered his people
Though we’ve oft gone astray.

Oh merciful God,
Great things you have done.
My spirit rejoices
in Jesus, my son!

Redeemed by the son,
I was chosen to raise.
Chosen, redeemed
To God be all praise!


A prostitute.



None worthy of choosing

Yet now, we’re esteemed

As mothers of Jesus

The great high king

We were chosen


Now this song, we will sing…

"It’s Not that I Chose You"

Verse 1

It’s not that I chose you,
for Lord that could not be.
My heart would still refuse you, except that you chose me.
From the sin that stained me,
you washed me through and through
and to this end ordained me,
that I should live for you.


Hallelujah, I’m forgiven,
Christ’s victory is mine
Sin no more enslaves me
for now I am your child
Hallelujah, I am free now,
free to live a life,
A life that longs to please you,
you alone to glorify.

Verse 2 

You called me out of darkness
and into glorious light.
Set apart for You Lord,
my blindness turned to sight.
I live each day by faith now, 
standing on Your grace,
Holding fast the promise,
that Jesus blood can save!

Words by Ben Hacker and Josiah Conder, Music by Ben and Nicky Hacker © 2007


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why I write...

There are certain things that make me feel close to my dad...

Like when I fill a plate with pickles, salami, blackberries and cheese and call it a gourmet meal. 

Or get a big whiff of leather.

Or crank my music and dance around in the living room with my son.  

Or find a good look-a-like (bonus points for a good look-a-like combo).

Or help the needy.

Or watch Sneakers...too many secrets.

Just a few things that remind me that I'm "Bob's daughter" or--as my mom used to joke--"Roberta."

But there's one thing I do that not only makes me feel close to biological dad, but to my heavenly father as well.  

I write.

My dad is a gifted writer.  Witty, pithy, punny.  I am grateful to have inherited a bit of his humor and natural rhythm.  

But my father above...well, gifted is an understatement.   He's been on the New York Times bestseller list since before it was even a thing.   He holds the record for number of books sold.  His words have been called "life-saving" by millions.  He's the real deal.

And I'm his daughter.

I write because he wrote me first, and writing helps me get to know him better.  It's how I think, create, discover, process, communicate.  

I started this blogging journey with no end game in sight.  I wasn't sure what I wanted...recognition, riches, a place to be heard?

But now I realize that I write because it makes me feel close to my father.  Period.  And if others can somehow benefit from what comes out on paper (or screen), then all glory to him.

Yes, I currently have a blog following of a whopping 23 subscribers (shout out to all!).  And my words are hardly life-changing, let alone life-saving.  But when I write, I am reminded that I am his adopted daughter...his "Roberta."  His Chelsea.

His daughter redeemed.

So, when or if you stop by for a visit, you can expect to find...

A singer who sometimes sings off-pitch.  

A writer who can't always find the right words.

An introvert with hermit tendencies.

A homemaker with a sink full of dirty dishes.

A daughter redeemed and daily refined.


Special thanks to Dinosaur Stew for the awesome new design!  

Friday, November 22, 2013

We thank God in our remembrance of you...

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now."

Philippians 1:3

A few years ago, Dan and I made, what we both agree was, one of the most difficult decisions of our married life...the decision to leave our local church.

When we decided to leave, we decided to do so quickly, quietly, and graciously, so as not to cause any undue pain to our dear ones. But in choosing to go about it this way, we never really had the chance to say proper thank you's or goodbyes...and it's about time we did. We hold that church body in such high regard. We love the pastors and the congregation very much, and we are oh-so-thankful for the time God gave us there.

So thank you, dear brothers and sisters at Lakeview Church, for partnering in the gospel with us from the first day until now.  

For years (sixteen to be exact), you prayed for a dear woman to have a second child. And when she became pregnant at forty years old, you rejoiced with her. You threw her (another) baby shower, and made a cute little patchwork quilt to welcome her bundle of joy. You witnessed her and her husband dedicate their baby boy to the Lord on a cold December morning. You prayed that he would grow to know Christ as his savior and committed yourselves to helping his parents raise him in the ways of the Lord.

You changed his diapers, told him bible stories, and most importantly, showed him Christ. You taught him, encouraged him, trained him, loved him.

Thank you.

Then along came a girl from the church down the road. You welcomed her (and her family) with open arms. You fostered in her a love for God's word. You challenged her thinking, mentored her, and oh yes, you loved her too.

Thank you.

The boy asked the girl to marry him, the girl said yes, and you helped them prepare for marriage. You showered them, counseled them, discipled them...and even opened your basements and pole barns to them! You are some of the most generous people they've ever known.

Thank you.

After they were married, they were hit with some tough trials. Trials that you wouldn't wish upon any newlyweds. And you bore with them. You prayed with them, cried with them, loved them through the storm. It wasn't easy, but you were faithful.

Thank you.

And when they felt God calling them away from you, to someplace didn't disown them. You loved them, blessed them, told them they were missed. And they loved you for it.

Thank you.

And when the boy's father passed away unexpectedly the week before his first son was to be born, you treated him like your own. Grieving with him, consoling him, and again, loving him with the love of Christ. Your love and care touched him (and his family) more than you'll ever know.

Thank you.

And when the boy and his wife stood in front of their new church body and dedicated their son to the Lord, they knew that it wasn't just one church body that would pray for his salvation, but two. Their little boy had an extended church family that would pray for him to know Christ just as they had prayed for his daddy almost thirty years ago. They loved him too.

Thank you.

Lakeview Church, you are dear to us and we thank God in every remembrance of you. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your partnership.  Thank you for your love.  

The fact is, there is no proper goodbye because you will always be family.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Letter to my Son

My dear sweet son,

What an absolute joy it is to welcome you into the world today! There are so many people who have been praying and patiently waiting for this day—most of all your mom and dad—and our prayers have been answered.

William, you are a precious gift from God. We are so grateful that He has entrusted you to us, and we are committed to loving you and raising you in the ways of the Lord—not through our own love and strength, but according to the gospel at work within us through the love and power of Christ.

Our greatest prayer is that one day you will come to know and love and treasure our great Savior, Jesus. Your father and I have known Jesus from a very young age, but as we waited for you, we came to know him even more intimately. We learned first-hand the breadth and length and height and depth of his love for us as he comforted and loved us through our struggle with infertility (Eph 3:18-19). We came to know his perfect peace as we awaited your first ultrasound (Is. 26:3). We experienced his faithfulness again and again each time we heard your heartbeat (1 Cor. 1:9). Most importantly, God reminded us that “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…(he) is good to all and his mercy is over all that he has made” (Ps. 45:8-9). He is a God who gives good gifts—the best of all, the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

And so, as Psalm 45 instructs us, your father and I commend God’s works to you, dear son. We declare his mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of His majesty and on His wondrous works, we will continue to meditate. We will speak to you day and night of the might of God’s awesome deeds and will declare his greatness in our home. We will put forth the fame of his abundant goodness and you can bet we will sing aloud of his righteousness. We love to sing in this family—in case you didn’t know that already!

We love you sweet William, but from this day forth, we want you to know that Jesus loves you more. Our love will at times fail you. We are sinners who love imperfectly. But God’s love is never-failing, unconditional, and perfect. He loves you more, William. He loves you most. And we are so thankful for his love towards you!

Welcome to our family, sweet boy. Our God is so good.