Mother Revolutionaries

The world needs mothers. The world needs us to come find you in whatever your ache, and hold on to you in whatever you’re wrestling hard, and to believe in the imprint of something holy in you.

The world needs mothers to turn around and show you kids a revolutionary way.

The world needs Mother and Fathers, men and women, who live a revolutionary way to show you kids how to be an army of love warriors, who know your first tour of duty is always a tour of listening.

The only way to a sincerely God-obedient life — is to live a sincerely Listening Life.

A brave generation knows the best way to take a stand is to listen until we understand.

You need us mothers and fathers to quietly show you: There is more than doing what is good in your own eyes. There is being given eyes to see good beyond yourself so you can become more.

You need to know that when we were kids? We had tastes for deadly things; we collected our own poisonous seeds and we all drank down our own versions of poison berries. We all have a way of drinking down death, of picking up our own poisons.

But — we had kind mothers and fathers. We had mothers and fathers who sat and listened and loved us with our affinity for lesser things —- and gave us an appetite for far greater things. So we could live… so we could thrive and flourish and become the best versions we are called to be.

The world needs mothers who come for the kids being duped by drugs, the kids being hooked by hook-up culture, the kids being profaned by pornography, the kids being confused by conflicting voices.

And when you live unmasked, when you give words to whatever you’re wrestling, we will always call that what it is: Courageous. Comes from Cor. Means ‘heart’ in Latin. When you live with your heart on the outside, when you risk your whole heart — this is what makes you Courageous.

This is why every time you risk your heart — in telling your story, in sharing your struggles, in sacrificing yourself — we will always call you: Brave Heart.

Be brave and courageous and tell us your struggles. We will always listen to your courage. And we will love you through anything. Love does not always agree or affirm someone — but it is always sacrifices for someone.

This is what good mothering, what good parenting does: We don’t say, “Do whatever you want, just be you.” We say, “Become whatever is the best version of you — just be like Him.” We will lay down and sacrifice and serve you with our lives — so that you can have the best kind of life.

We will be the mothers and the fathers who are like Jesus, Jesus who reaches out to the woman caught in a mess: “I do not condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” (John 8)

We will be out on the street corners and on the corners of couches, living this for you.

This is the expansive embrace of Christianity: There is always first no condemnation — followed always by a movement into transformation.

The order of those two sentences is the essence of Christianity: No Condemnation. Come just as you are into Transformation.

Change the order of those two lines? And you lose the essence of Christianity…. you lose Christ.

We will sit with you and hold you in your courage — and we will stay with you always and we will sacrifice for you always and you must know this always, no. matter. what.

We all need mothers who love the largest and most revolutionary and say the wisest: Don’t simply follow your heart — but follow a Light so lovely that it will ignite your heart.

This will be road less travelled.

This will make all the difference.

Because you are not here to make an impression, you’re here to make a difference.

The world needs mothers who say: Press your ear up to the earth, and listen — listen to the hurting and the angry in our streets, the protesting and the broken around our corners, the different and the Other in our news stories, and let their breaking stories break you wide awake. Weep with the wounded. Carry a bottle with you and catch every tear you witness.

Bearing witness is how the world bears down and delivers change.

I don’t know, Beautiful Kid, but something tells that maybe no one knows it, or maybe they call it something else —

But I wonder if maybe everyone’s looking for a few lavishly gracious men and women to rise up and be like —- yeah, be like Jesus —- because the thing is:

Jesus’s company is always all inclusive.

The judger and the limper, the struggler and the Other, the finger-pointer and the Pharisee and the forgotten — everyone is welcome and Jesus’s expansive embrace excludes no one. No one.

And at the same time — Jesus’s kingdom is always all receptive.

The weary and the wayward and the worn out and the wounded who want to move from being only Company Keepers with Jesus to being heirs and Kingdom Dwellers in Jesus — must believe and receive.

Those who want to be Kingdom Dwellers are the ones who experience more than an embracing interaction with Jesus. They experience a liberating transaction with Jesus.

Company Keepers are satisfied simply perceiving Jesus’ love.

Kingdom Dwellers can’t resist opening their hearts and receiving His love.

And whoever receives Jesus and His finished work on the Cross, receives that Cross to do work in them.

Only those who are willing to let Jesus do battle with their old selves can enter the Kingdom of God.

So maybe that’s how all the kind revolutionaries live?

Just live out what all the courageous have discovered:

The Kingdom of God… “is more radically inclusive than any other philosophy or movement or religion or non-religion on earth. Absolutely every nation, tribe, and tongue is invited, welcomed, and will represented at the Table. And yet, no one comes to the Father except through Him.” [Scott Sauls]

That’s what Jesus — who is either a complete lunatic or completely Lord — said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father, but by Me.” Either that is the God-honest, iron clad Truth and Jesus is the only Way —- or Jesus is not a man to follow but a complete liar to completely dismiss.

So maybe —

Maybe now is the time for a whole lot of mothers and father, men and women, to not be afraid of living the humble brave way that makes your life into an pointing arrow — by the way we humbly sacrifice and serve:

Because who can forget the words of one bold atheist: “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all.

If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life … and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…

How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” [Penn Jillette, atheist]

How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible — and not tell them that?

So the world needs the mothers and the gentle and the kind and the humble and the generously giving to get down on their knees and love enough to say exactly just that– through their words and hearts and serving, sacrificing hands.

Success is showing up and kneeling down to serve.

That’s all, kids– lean in and hear it, don’t stop listening till you hear it: You were made for the place where your deep passion meets compassion, because therein lies your deep purpose. You were made for the place where your deep passion meets compassion, because therein lies your deep purpose.

Focus more on living Truth than pointing out error,
more on celebrating the beautiful than decrying all that’s broken —
more on being a servant than on being right.

Hear us: That doesn’t mean you ignore concerns— it means your ultimate focus is on the commendable.

We all need the tender mothers and fathers who don’t just say it, but dare to compassionately live it with this generation of kids:

Don’t bother being a megaphone — the world has so many of those we’re all growing deaf.

Just…. Be a Light so lovely. Be a Light so lovely that people are drawn to the Source and warmth of it.

The most conservative in believing should be the most liberal in loving — because the conservative are called to conserve the revolutionary ways of Jesus.

If you listen closely, if you come closer and listen — you can hear it, you can hear the soundless cries of a confused and hurting world.

And you can find the mothers who come after their children and whisper revolutionary things to them and hold them close —

so they feel the sure pulse of compassion.

So they hear the steady heartbeat of God.

– Ann Voskamp

 

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over …

– Isaiah 66:13 (NIV)

 

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her.

– Proverbs 31:10,11,26,28 (NIV)

 

Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.

– Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

 

Photo by Arik Stewart

The Pursuit

…the goodness and mercy of God isn’t just following after me placidly. The goodness and mercy of God pursues after me passionately…

God is so bent on blessing, He chases.

God’s not out to get you — He’s out to give to you.

And God’s blessings don’t pursue temporarily — but relentlessly.

It’s right there in His Word: His goodness and mercy pursue me not just some days — but all the days of my life.

When I’m in a wilderness, His mercy and goodness run after me.

When I’m hurting, His grace hunts for me.

When I’m plagued by problems, His goodness pursues me.

No matter where I go, He hasis two blessing men right there in hot pursuit: goodness and mercy, and no shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.

Even the discipline of the Lord can be a grace of the Lord and all the interruptions of a day can be the intercessions of Christ.

I whisper it to myself when it’s noon on the first day of the week and everything is closing in on me and I am already behind:

Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace.Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace.

And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus.

I can breathe deeper. I could smile. I don’t have to feel anything pressing on my chest — I could live relieved. Like I can re-live.

Because the real truth is: God wants to bless more than we want to be to be blessed. So why run from whatever God is giving? It’s only got to be for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory.

We don’t live in pursuit of a better life — it’s the blessed life that’s in pursuit of us.

It’s there on the counter, that open journal where I count gifts, and it may feel like I’m looking for goodness and mercy, but it’s grace and mercy that finds me.

No one chases grace — but grace chases everyone.

– Ann Voskamp

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

– Psalm 23:6 (ESV)

 

Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.

– Psalm 23:6 (AMP)

 

Certainly Your faithful protection and loving provision will pursue me where I go, always, everywhere. I will always be with the Eternal, in Your house forever.

– Psalm 23:6 (VOICE)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

Dark to Light

What is your Dark?

 

What eats at you

grieves you

overwhelms you

discourages you

tears at you?

 

Bring that dark

and expose it to Light

 

Lay it down

before He who illuminates

even the deepest black

 

Bask in the light

of who He is

and the glory of His Words

 

He can

and He will

bring light

to your Dark

 

Let Him

be Him

for You

– Susie Stewart

 

Only words of Light can drive out worlds of dark.
Only deeds of Light can drive out depths of dark.
Only lives of Light can drive out lies of dark.

Darkness can never travel as fast as Light. No matter how bad things get, no matter how black the dark seeps in, no matter the depths of the night — the dark can never travel as fast as Light. The Light is always there first, waiting to shatter the dark.

You can always hold His Word like a ball of light right there your hand, right up there next to your warming heart.

You can always count on it: Jesus is bendable Light, warmth around every unexpected corner.

– Ann Voskamp

 

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

– John 8:12 (NLT)

 

A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched.

– John 1:5 (VOICE)

 

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

– Ephesians 5:8 (NLT)  

 

The deepest darkness of all is separation from God because of sin.  You are in need of a savior and He will be that for you.  Accept Him today as the only One able to cleanse you of ALL unrighteousness.  His light will penetrate your darkness and change your life!  Only let Him in.  Humble yourself and accept His free gift of salvation.   ~Susie

 

Photo by Arik Stewart

Wait & Hope

Waiting is hard for me.  It’s not my forte.  I like to get things done quickly.  Boom.  Done.  My writing, too, is usually short and to the point.

But the Lord has called on me to wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.  This is often His way.

I find myself wanting to sprint out ahead of God.  To take things into my own hands.  He lovingly grabs ahold of my “suspenders” from the back and places me behind His lead.  He is my teacher.  And on Him, I need to wait.  He sees eternally into the future.  And His wisdom is beyond my comprehension.

Waiting and trusting and hoping –  all wrapped up in the package of obedience. To this, He has called me.

– Susie Stewart

 

But as for me, I will look expectantly for the Lord and with confidence in Him I will keep watch; I will wait [with confident expectation] for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

– Micah 7:7 (AMP)

 

Like the faith diggers do every day. We bury our swollen prayers in Him who’s raised from the tomb.

We lay our hope, full and tender, into the depths of Him and wait in hope for God to resurrect something good.

Good always necessitates long waiting.

Every tulip only blossoms after cold months of winter wait. Every human ever unfurled into existence through nine long months of the womb waiting. And the only kingdom that will last for eternity still waits, this millennia-long, unwavering-hope for return of its King. Instead of chafing, we accept that waiting is a strand in the DNA of the Body of Christ.

That this waiting on God is the very real work of the people of God.

– Ann Voskamp

 

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

– Psalm 27:13,14 (NIV)

 

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you His love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.

– Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

 

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

– Lamentations 3:25,26 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Love Does Not Envy

Love does not envy…

– 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)

 

Envying someone else’s life doesn’t make your life better like actually enjoying your own does.

– Ann Voskamp

 

It is a very human trait in us to feel that another’s advancement is in some way a blow to ourselves. It is equally a human trait to feel that another’s downfall and disgrace in some way adds a bit of luster to our own crowns. Of course, nothing could be more utterly false.

-Clovis G. Chappell

 

In some dispositions there is such an envious kind of pride that they cannot endure that any but themselves should be set forth for excellent; so that when they hear one justly praised, they will either seek to dismount his virtues, or, if they be like a clear light, they will stab him with a “but” of detraction.

-Owen Felltham

 

The cure for the sin of envy and jealousy is to find our contentment in God.

-Jerry Bridges

 

Whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble and do all sorts of cruel things.

– James 3:16 (CEV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart