The Word Weaver
Deb Weaver ~ Communicating God's love, grace, & truth
by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 20th, 2016

She didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. 

During my college years, an acquaintance often plopped down next to me and spilled vivid details from the drama called her life.  I’d listen and respond compassionately.

After spraying all the colorful droplets, she’d shake her blond curls, smile and say, “That’s why I like talking to you, Deb; you’re always so steady.”

At the time, though she said, “… so steady,” and meant it kindly, this is what I heard: “You’re always so . . . borrrring.” 

In the years since, I’ve discovered that the phrase no longer stings. It evens rings true.  I am steady.  Boring even.  And I prefer it that way:
   
I am a rule-keeper (with the exceptions of frequent jaywalking and occasional speeding.) 

Curiosity has never even scratched me, let alone tried to kill me. I was not one of those kids who took things apart in order to figure out how or why they work; I merely appreciate that they do.

I hate getting lost.  I hate feeling lost. I hate not knowing what to do. Sometimes I long for my preadolescent wish of invisibility to come true.

Routines make me feel secure. I don’t experiment. When I find things I like, I stick with them faithfully: restaurant choices, menu items, book genres, beauty products, recipes, driving routes, or ice cream flavors. Day after day, the same things.  Happily.

I detest tense discussions. I’d rather listen than tell you my opinion. 

Messy overwhelms me.  Messy rooms.  Sticky conversations. Messy relationships.  (Don’t get the wrong idea—I’m certainly a mess in certain ways.  I just tend to sweep my issues into a tidy pile.  Looking in from the outside, things may appear neat and under control, but I’m often a tangled knot of insecurities, emotions, and uncertainty.)    

I like to color quietly inside the lines.  Preferably those within my box.

Left to my own devices, I’d lead a tragic, shrinking existence.  My world would consist of people who looked, talked, acted, and believed a lot like me.  Those who fit into my box.

This box is quiet and calm.  Manageable. Familiar. Easy.  I don’t have to stretch to understand a completely different point of view in my safe, little existence. 

But it’s lonely there too.  Predictable.  Yes, you could even say, boring.  (And if it’s too boring for my tastes, something is wrong!)

How grateful I am that God refuses to let me stay too comfortable there. 

Jesus is outside the box, and He calls me to follow Him daily.  And He instructs me to love others where they are—which is often outside the box as well.  He’s peeling back the flimsy walls I’ve erected around my life and introducing me to people with different beliefs, lifestyles, and opinions. 

He’s compelling me to love past barriers—deeply love despite the messiness of our differences.  Urging me to develop honest, reciprocal relationships with individuals.  Leading me to discover why He’s so crazy about them.

This transformation evolved over years as I studied God’s Word and prayed with compassion for others.  I began reaching out, listening to others’ perspectives, and sharing my thoughts with humility, openness, and trembling.

Then the lessons I was internalizing and beginning to practice in the world became intensely personal and essential to master within my own household.

Our then college-aged, precious daughter haltingly expressed her desire for women and her intention to pursue a homosexual relationship. The shock and our differences in beliefs first shook the foundations of our family, but we have discovered that it is possible to disagree deeply and still love completely.  To respect one another’s journeys. To delight in one another.

I’ve learned that it is not my job to change others—not even my own kids! Only Jesus Christ can transform lives.  But He calls me to love—in sincere actions and in words steeped in grace—because that is my job.

Here are the only parameters given:
  • Jesus’ command to love others as much as I love myself
  • His sacrificial example of passionately pursuing people in relationship and truth
  • God’s instruction to let my words be filled with grace and seasoned with love
That leaves extensive gray areas as I walk in the Spirit and amongst others.  I don’t always get it right. But I’m trying. And I’m stretching and growing.

Love is like paint.  You need to get close to the surface you want to paint.  Invest time. Patch hurt feelings. Ask questions.  Demonstrate care.  Listen.  Be honest and kind.  

Love will dribble and splatter and feel out-of-control in the process.  But, in the end, love transforms.  Me.  You.  Everyone it touches.  
​Quite honestly, there are still moments when I panic, wiping off the drips of love and retreating with a jumbo-sized roll of tape to vainly try to re-erect my cardboard refuge.  But, deep down, I want to be where He is.  

I want to be a part of His sacred work of redemption in this weary world, don’t you?

Is it messy? Yes. Time-consuming? Absolutely. Hard? Beyond belief.  But also breathtaking.  And worth it.   

Ponder this privilege with me:  God has invited us to be a small part of His kaleidoscope of grace, mercy, and truth spun out of divine love and human willingness.  A brilliant blur of beauty.

Let’s say yes!

by The Word Weaver, Deb on December 23rd, 2015

​This time of year, thoughts of HOME overwhelm and carry me like the powerful, sweet scent of pie baking in the oven.

My Dad was a mechanic by profession, but a baker at heart.  After we’d left home, when we’d visit, he’d offer not just one kind of pie, but a counter-full of our favorites.  The fridge was stocked with delicacies and covered with our photos.  He planned activities and experiences for us to share; he made us laugh.  He gifted us with his yard sale finds and homemade crafts. We never left his house empty-handed.  He made us feel wanted and welcome.  He couldn’t help it.  Love oozed from him.

Don’t get the wrong idea about my Dad; he wasn’t a push-over.  He could be quite direct when he needed to be.  Even when he was correcting or teaching us, though, we knew that he loved us and wanted our best.  The sense of home and love that he instilled in us is one of my most treasured gifts.    
​​I’ve been thinking lately about how my Dad modeled the heart of God. You see, God’s desire is for us to be near Him.  He’s prepared a sacrificial feast of love, grace, and truth for us.  He’s given the best He has to offer—Himself, in the form of His Son, Jesus. 

He’s made room for us and set a place for us at the table.  Now, He’s standing at the door watching for us to draw near. 

Do you see Him?  He’s right here.  Waiting.  He’s waiting for us to come. 

At the edge of the yard, we hesitate and stutter out, “W-w-w-hat if I’ve screwed up?  I don’t have it all together.”

In pain and confusion, we cry, “I’ve made a mess of things. What if there’s no going back?” 

Then with our eyes fixed on our feet of clay, our hearts whisper, “What if I’ve disappointed Him?”

He knows us completely. He pierces us with a look of utter love and compassion radiating from His face and reaching for us.

He stands at the door, urging us to come in from the dark, cold outside.  “I love you.  I’m so glad you’ve come.  We’ll talk about all of that later. Let’s get you inside and let my love warm you.”

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t help myself.  I want—no, more than that—I need to be near Him.  He made room for me. 

So I limp inside, just as I am: sinful, half-blind, ragged, with nothing of lasting value to offer a holy God. I feel inadequate and unprepared. 

The Father assures me that there’s nothing I could have brought Him.  He’s just glad that I came Home.  With a grin, he reminds me that coming empty-handed is the only way to fully embrace Him back.  So I do.  We share a real, reviving hug.

Jesus came to make room. For me.  For you.  I just can’t get over it!

How do we know this is true?  Matthew 21 (The Message translation) tells the story of Jesus angrily overturning the tables of the money-changers and chasing them from the temple.  Verse 14 reveals, Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and He healed them.”

He came for the broken and the blind, the crushed and the crippled. 

He speaks lovingly to the weak and the worried, the disappointed and the defiant. 

He gathers us to Himself—the invisible and the ignored, the awed and the afraid, the insider and the outcast. 

He came to make room so that we could be near God and find healing in His presence.  He made room for me.  For you.

He stands, with open arms and nail-scarred hands, reaching for us. And He invites those of us who have entered to share His invitation. 

So that is what I am doing here—I’m praying that, like me, you will accept the Father’s invitation to come Home.  If you think there’s no room for you at the cross, in the pew, or at the table, look again.  

I’m scooting over and waving to you so that you know that there’s room for one more.  There is always room for you. 

Together, we may share a savory slice of heavenly grace. 
If this post resonates with your heart, would you please consider sharing it on your social media networks so that others may know of the Welcome that is found in Jesus Christ? Thank you.  Merry Christmas!

Convenient tweetables:

He's made room for us and set a place for us at the table.  Won't you come?  

God reminds me that coming empty-handed is the only way to fully embrace Him back.

Jesus stands, with open arms and nail-scarred hands, reaching for us. 

I limp inside, just as I am.  I feel inadequate and unprepared, but I am welcome--just as I am.
I'm linking with the following blogs this week:  Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart & Jennifer Dukes Lee's #Tell His Story.  Please be sure to click on the links to read their beautiful words and those of other lovely writer-encouragers.  

by The Word Weaver, Deb on November 20th, 2015

​One of my deepest, most insidious fears is that I might waste my life. What if I do a lot of good things but fail to accomplish the things God intends for me to do?

To counteract that fear this year, I chose LISTEN for My One Word. Eleven months into the calendar, I can assure you that it sounds easier than it actually is. 

First, it’s time-consuming and requires solitude and silence. Surrounding myself with constant noise is more comfortable than the silence that first assaults me in the void.  Still, it is essential to my soul’s well-being.  

Second, it requires humility. I must bow before the altar and sacrifice my selfish desires, scattered ideas, and prideful opinions in order for God to fill me with the humility necessary to truly hear.  Only then are the whispers of God’s thoughts able to penetrate the clanging of my own. It’s instinctual to go with my gut, relying upon myself, or to float from day to day than to hear and heed God Almighty.  To recognize His authority and to listen to Him first—purposefully, persistently, intently—is a humble act.

Third, in the quiet I must trust in the unseen, sovereign hand of my Savior.  When I don’t see a lit path or hear His clear voice, then I must trust that He is in control.  He will accomplish His purposes AS I seek and trust Him. Instead of letting my dreams and desires twist together with my fear until they rope me into the corner—instead of allowing them to shame me for being unproductive or unresponsive to the needs around me, I can rest in His sufficiency, His plan, His timing.  I do not need to be all things to all people.  That brings tremendous relief.

The most pressing directive I got from the Allume blogging conference was that I need to fall down on my face before the Lord—sometimes literally, but always figuratively.  Life originates on my knees.  I need to invest time loving Him and receiving His love, pressing in to perceive the Divine.

Sara Haggerty, author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, spoke profound truth that underscores what God has been teaching me.  She said:
​“When we bask in God’s pure love, we will see ourselves and other people differently. Don’t take your empty cup to people to have them tell you how valuable you are—who liked this post? Did this go viral?  Is my writing valuable? Am I valued?—Take it to God. He is the Only One who fully loves you. He is the Only One who fully sees your heart  . . . When we’re filled by God’s delight, we don’t need others to fill our cups. . . In private conversations, as you are tucked into His arms, He will whisper His love and His thoughts to you. . . We do horizontal relationships so well when our vertical relationship is rich and deep.”
I don’t know about you, but I can easily spend time in God’s Word with an eye on the clock and a foot out the door.  Checking my most important relationship off my list for the day and barely attending to what He’s said. 

Picture the God of the Universe—the One who created me and knows my every thought, need, and deed—beckoning me closer:
  • inviting me to splash around in the great rushing current of the Living Water
  • urging me to sink down into the soothing depths of His healing love
  • cleansing me with His lavish mercy
  • delighting me with His heavenly thoughts.  
​Amazingly, He does so.  Daily.  But instead of allowing the Spirit to saturate my soul, I ask for a quick sprinkle and lurch into my day

Then, because my soul is in desperate danger of dehydration, I repeatedly siphon encouragement and purpose from any puddles I find regardless of how dusty or muddy they may be. 

This is what that thirsty desert mirage looks like:  clicking and commenting on post after post or mindlessly binge-watching show after show because it’s easier than the tasks at hand. Begging for dribbles of others’ attention and validation. 

Always thirsting, never tasting.  Always pleading, never satisfied What a tragic waste! 

I’m grateful God is patient and loves me so.  He is the answer to my greatest fear.  He is the Source of all life and offers Himself in abundance. He desires to transform my life with His words, His direction, and His presence. 

Writing, influencing, and relationships are not my greatest focuses.  The Lord is my one true priority.  And when I grasp the hem of Jesus’ robe and refuse to let go until I hear His voice: the words will get written, the messages will be spoken, and the relationships will be enriched. God will accomplish His sacred Kingdom purposes from the rich well of His love for me. 

Perhaps you understand and can relate.  Perhaps you'll join me in confession and prayer?

God Immanuel—"God With Us"—You took our sin and reconciled us to the heavenly Father; therefore, we’re not sentenced to live numb, darkened, fearful, or isolated lives.  That is Good News! 

Please forgive me. I have tossed the crumbs of my time and attention heavenward while I’ve been consumed by my desires and captivated by lesser things.  Please spark my calloused heart back to life.

Your Word tells us that perfect love casts out all fear. You are that Perfect Love. And it is when I am completely saturated in Your love, truth, and presence that life overflows. May I listen in gratitude, wonder, and anticipation as You continue to speak.

May I live awash in Your love. Amen.

by The Word Weaver, Deb on October 6th, 2015

The thoughts of some people stretch my soul in all the best ways.  Erika Morrison, The Life Artist, is one of these people who challenge me to lean in and listen with everything that I am. Today, as she launches her new book, I've invited her to speak to you at The Word Weaver. I hope you'll welcome her warmly.
​The cardinals make it look so easy. The honeybees make it look so easy. The catfish and the black crow, the dairy cow and the cactus plant, all make being created appear effortless. They arise from the earth, do their beautiful, exclusive thing and die having fulfilled their fate.

None of nature seems to struggle to know who they are or what to do with themselves.
But humanity is the exception to nature’s rule because we’re individualized within our breed. 
We’re told by our mamas and mentors that--like snowflakes--no two of us are the same and that we each have a special purpose and part to play within the great Body of God.

(If your mama never told you this, consider yourself informed: YOU--your original cells and skin-print, guts and ingenuity--will never ever incarnate again. Do you believe it?)
 
​So we struggle and seek and bald our knees asking variations of discovery-type questions (Who am I? Why am I here?) and if we’re semi-smart and moderately equipped we pay attention just enough to wake up piecemeal over years to the knowledge of our vital, indigenous selves.

And yet . . . even for all our wrestling and wondering, there are certain, abundant factors stacked against our waking up. We feel and fight the low ceiling of man made definitions, systems and institutions; we fight status quo, culture conformity, herd mentalities and more often than not, “The original shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out of all our other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.” ~Frederick Buechner

So, let me ask you. Do you know something--anything--of your true, original, shimmering self?

I don’t mean: Coffee Drinker, Jesus Lover, Crossfitter, Writer, Wife, Mama.

Those are your interests and investments.

I do mean: Who are you undressed and naked of the things that tell you who you are?

Who are you before you became a Jesus lover or mother or husband?

Who are you without your church, your hobbies, your performances and projects?

I’m not talking about your confidence in saying, “I am a child of God”, either. What I am asking a quarter-dozen different ways is this: within the framework of being a child of God, what part of God do you represent? Do you know where you begin and where you end? Do you know the here-to-here of your uniqueness? Do you know, as John Duns Scotus puts it, your unusual, individual “thisness”?

I can’t resolve this question for you, I can only ask you if you’re interested. (Are you interested?)

I can only tell you that it is a good and right investment to spend the energy and time to learn who you are with nothing barnacled to your body, to learn what it is you bleed. Because you were enough on the day of your birth when you came to us stripped and slippery and squeezing absolutely nothing but your God-given glow.

And who you were on that born-day is also who you are now, but since you’ve been living on this planet long enough to learn how to read this article, then it follows that you’ve also lived here long enough to collect a few layers of horsefeathers and hogwash.

So, yet again, I’m inquiring: What is it that you see before the full-length bathroom mirror after you’ve divested of clothes and masks and hats and accessories and roles and beliefs and missions and persuaders and pressures--until you’re down to just your peeled nature, minus all the addons mixed in with your molecules?

Do you see somebody who was made with passion, on purpose, in earnest; fearfully and wonderfully, by a Maker with a brow bent in the center, two careful hands, a stitching kit and divine kiss?

Can you catch between your fingers even the tiniest fragment of self-knowledge, roll it around and put a word to it?

Your identity is a living organism and literally wishes to unfurl and spread from your center and who will care and who will lecture if you wander around a little bit every day to look for the unique shine of your own soul?

One of the central endeavors of the human experience is to consciously discover the intimacies of who we already are. As in: life is not about building an alternate name for ourselves; it’s about discovering the name we already have.

Will you, _______, rise from your own sacred ash?

Because the rest of us cannot afford to lose the length of your limbs or the cadence of your light or the rhythm of your ideas or the harmony of your creative force. The way you sway and smile, the awkward this and that and the other thing you do.

These are the days for opening our two clumsy hands before the wideness of life and the allure of a God who stops and starts our hearts. These are the days for rubbing our two imperfect sticks together so we can kindle another feeble, holy light from the deep within--each of us alone and also for each other.

There is no resolution to this quest; the only destination is the process. But I hope there’s a small spark here that will leave you wanting, that will leave you with a blue-fire lined in your spine, that will inspire a cellular, metamorphic process in you; an odyssey of the soul unique to you and your individual history, organisms, and experiences.

There is maybe a fine line between being lethargic about learning ourselves and not being self-obsessive and with that tension in mind, how do we begin (or continue) the process of unearthing and remembering the truth of our intrinsic selves?

Bandersnatch: An Invitation to Explore Your Unconventional Soul was written because sometimes we all need a little hand-holding and butt-nudging in our process; someone or something to come alongside us while we pick up our threads of soul discovery and travel from one dot and tittle to the next.

We are the Kingdom people and learning your own fingerprint is something of what it means for the Kingdom to come in response to an earth which groans forth it’s rolling desire for the great interlocking circle of contribution to reveal the luminous and loving Body of Christ and slowly, seriously--like it’s our destiny--set the world to rights.

Kingdom come. Which is to say: YOU, [be]come and carve your glorious, powerful, heaven-appointed meaning into the sides of rocks and communities and cities and skies.

* * * * *

Without being formulaic and without offering one-size-fits-all “how-to” steps, Bandersnatch is support material for your soul odyssey; a kind of field guide designed to come alongside the moment of your unfurling.
 
Come with me? And I will go with you and if you’re interested, you can order  wherever books or ebooks are sold.
 

All my love,
Erika Morrison
 
 
For a peek into Erika's new book, click here ​to see the trailer.

by The Word Weaver, Deb on August 29th, 2015

​Do you ever spend time with someone whose mannerisms, words, and spirit calm and inspire you?  You breathe easier and more deeply.  And you walk away with hope and a heart for more of the holy in life. 

Emily P. Freeman is one of those kinds of people.  Though I’ve only met and spoken to her briefly—and she’s just as gracious and sweet as I imagined—I’ve spent hours and hours with Emily’s words and with her heart while reading her books over the years.  She's real.  She lives deeply.

In Simply Tuesday, Emily admits, “In many ways, I’m still coming to accept my Emily-ness, my own way of being in the world, my own okay-ness in the presence of God and others.” 

Me too!  See?  She gets me.  And I’m grateful.

When I read Grace for the Good Girl and A Million Little Ways, I gulped down her words as voraciously as I underlined them.  This time, as I read her latest book, Simply Tuesday, I bit off small pieces and chewed them slowly, thoughtfully.  I wanted to taste each concept and allow it to sink deeply into my marrow.  Her thoughts were rich and meaty with wisdom and seasoned with humor and personal anecdotes.  She served them up in a vulnerable, gentle honesty.  


Simply Tuesday ~ Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World beckons us to step off the train of hustle to live in the moment. 

Racing and striving starves the soul.  There’s another choice.  We can learn to sit and be satisfied by God.
​This was harder to digest because it is counter-cultural.  I’m addicted to Do! Do! Do! Go! Go! Go! I’m constantly in motion, failing to stop and savor, celebrate or ponder.  Rarely asking if I’m moving in the right direction.  Bullied and bossed by the to-do list and expectations (of others, but mostly of myself).  "Driven by fear rather than led by love."  Falling into bed exhausted and never feeling like I measure up or accomplish what I should.  Sound familiar?

I’m inviting you to a beautiful banquet.  Let me take you by the hand and sit next to you there. I promise the feast will be satiating and soul-savory. Sometimes it will be difficult to digest, but the time spent chewing and swallowing will be worth it. 

In this book Emily shares of the drama of being nineteen.  I smiled as it reminded me of my own such drama at that age.  I remember crying to my roommate at the time, “Oh, I just want to be deep.  But I’m only a teacup instead of an ocean.” 

Feel free to roll your eyes and giggle a little.  It amuses me, too, but I remember the real angst of that moment. 

Now I’m satisfied being an imperfect, tiny teacup.  Small, yes.  But I’m discovering that that’s just fine.  You see, a teacup is quickly depleted.  It needs frequent refilling.  And my perfect, heavenly Father delights in this task.
​With Emily’s encouragement and the Holy Spirit’s help, I’m grasping that something small in the hands of our big God is beautiful. 
**********************

“We don’t have to fear this small way.  We don’t have to worry that embracing smallness will shrink our impact. Small was Jesus’s whole life—how he came, how he lived, how he died, even to whom he revealed himself once he rose again. 

Small is the position of my soul, the posture by which I approach others, God, and myself. When I’m small, I know I can’t control opinions, manipulate outcomes, or force my agenda on others. When I’m small, I can move into the world confident as the person I most deeply am because I know I don’t move into the world alone.

If this is true, then small is my new free . . .

We may make a distinction between the good kind of small and the bad kind of small, but the truth is there is no difference. In all our small ways, it is Christ who makes it possible for us to move through our lives, believing and trusting he is establishing his kingdom-sized purposes within and around us.”


*******************
​My dearest friend, Aimee, encouraged me recently in regard to something I’d written.  She said, “Deb, don’t you ever forget what an absolute gift your writing is.”  

When she said that, I kind of shrugged (which she couldn’t have seen since we were speaking on the phone, yet somehow she knew), for then she continued, “I imagine in the world of bloggers, it’s sometimes easier to value others’ words above your own.  You have access to so many writers and you’re regularly reading the cream of the crop.  It would be easy to think ‘why bother?’ ”

That is true.  It is tempting to discount my words because they feel small, insignificant, and seem to drop at my feet rather than reach many open hearts.  Others can and do say similar things better. 

But my small voice and my individual story matter. And God can and does use my small words no matter where they’re spoken.  God can be trusted with the hearts upon which they fall.

Emily concurs, “I have a vision of people who embrace the significance of our small words, knowing that whether they’re spoken into microphones or near microwaves, they are all sacred when said in the power of the Spirit.”  

Yes, please!
​Oh, her words speak sacred truth into my life.  I could include many more of them here, but if I shared every part that touched me or that I underlined, this post would be a book. Namely, a book called Simply Tuesday.  (And, I think that’s considered plagiarism!)  Instead, let me entice you to pick up Emily P. Freeman's Simply Tuesday ~ Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World and savor it yourself.    

Emily would never consider herself this, but I see her as a modern-day prophet.  God speaks truth through her.  That rare voice in the wilderness pointing the way to the Savior.  That single sign pointing us in the opposite direction we’re traveling.  A quiet, insistent truth-teller inviting us closer to Christ.  Expressing complex truths in winsome, simple ways. 

No, Emily wouldn’t call herself a prophet.  She’d describe herself more of a fellow journeyer who invites others to sit on the bench and share life.  I like that better anyway.  As we experience life together, I’m leaning in, listening softly.  Join us?
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Copyright 2015 Deb Weaver, The Word Weaver