Dear Michael

Dear Michael,

Last night I saw God in you.

You didn’t know it – you were too busy teasing me, trying to make me guess what that gift is under the tree.

The one you wrapped up all nice with a bow while I was out, just because.

Because you know how much presents under the tree stir something in my heart like a little girl and the joy and smiles come so naturally with gifts…especially when they’re gifts from you.

And so you wrapped my Christmas present the day it came in the mail.

Because you couldn’t wait.

Christmas Present

And so when I came home late, tired from a full day, you held our cat and he bit your hand and you pointed to under the tree and there was the first gift of Christmas, wrapped carefully, just for me.

It looked so perfect under those Christmas tree lights.

You even agreed to take my picture with it…because you know that for me, it’s the First Gift of Christmas and worth celebrating with my tired, goofy grin from a long day.

But it’s not just about gifts, and you know that.

Because your love language is acts of service and so when I dropped your shirts off at the dry cleaning yesterday, I gave you a love letter.

And my love language is gifts and so when you wrapped that present up for me two and half weeks early and smiled that grin because you saw my own grin, you gave me a love letter, too.

But you reminded me of something.

We spent close to an hour laughing while we took turns wrangling Tuck and guessing about that gift.

I threw out every idea I could think it would be, and you just kept laughing because you knew I wouldn’t find out until Christmas, but it sure was funny watching me try.

And really, you didn’t know, but watching you watch me was the best part of it all.

You absolutely delighted in delighting me.

Your big smile and your kind eyes shining…watching your bride guess what gift she has coming…well, you radiated Jesus’s love.

I couldn’t help but think this morning how…if that’s how a mere man can feel, giving a gift, wrapping it up, waiting for the right moment to let his bride enjoy it…that must be a taste of what it looks like up in Heaven.

Our Perfect Father, lavishing good and perfect gifts on His people, the church…

…lavishing mercy and hope in the midst of our messes

…lavishing peace and joy in the midst of our chaos

…lavishing sunsets and bright grass and bare winter trees and warm water and colors and books and laughter and space heaters and picture frames and time to look upward & worship in the midst of our daily tasks

and all the while, I like to think, of our Perfect Father radiating perfect love, basking in the joy of watching us all enjoy His gifts…and even more, warming in delight as we recognize our gifts are from Him because He is good and perfect and because He loves us.

So Michael, last night, you showed me a glimpse of our Father’s love.

A small taste of Heaven’s smile.

An encouragement to delight in the Giver of good and perfect gifts.

A thought that perhaps…the gleam in your eye is a reflection, made in His image…of an even greater gleam in His eyes toward us.


your wife

p.s. – I’m about to wrap your present, too…so start guessing!

When you’re tired of performing for God

…because we weren’t made to perform for God. We aren’t wired for performance at all.

We’re made to enjoy God. To worship Him. To love Him.

To walk leisurely with Him in the garden in the cool of evening.

And yet, we find ourselves so often running hard in the opposite direction.


Instead of enjoying God’s love, we easily fall into the trap of earning God’s love.

Or doing the right thingperforming…to show Him how much we love Him.

Or to show Him…how good we are.


we just…


We keep trying, but…

…we mess up…

…we won’t ever live up to our own standards

…or to the imagined standards we think God holds us to.

And then, we feel…guilty.

Because we just…can’t…do it.

Because…how can you live up to standards that don’t really exist, anyway?

Let’s not be deceived, dear hearts.

There’s only one standard God holds us to.


My heart breathes and exhales and I close my eyes, and…Jesus.

What we could not do…what we cannot do…He did for us once and for all

…for every day…of our whole lives…we can’t mess up what He has done

…and Jesus has freed us from a life of failed performance and delivered us into a life of God With Us.



Since Jesus so freely gifted us with communion with God, who are we not to take it?

I’ve written a few words to help myself meander back into that garden place with God.

I have these words written on an index card to take with me anywhere and remind myself of my right standing before God, and I pray these words might help you find your way back to that garden place, too.

I will not feel guilty today. I am already perfect in God’s eyes. (2 Cor 5:21, Psalm 139:14) God leads with powerful love – not with guilt. I have nothing to fear, because God’s perfect love casts out all fear.(1 John 4:18) I will enjoy today as a gift from God, not as a maze I have to figure out. (1 Thes 5:18) God’s goodness and mercy follow me wherever I go (psalm 23:6), and I walk through this day under the banner of God’s perfect love & with the shield of faith, believing God’s Word. (Eph 6:16-17, Psalm 136, Romans 8:38-39, Psalm 103: 4,8,17, Romans 5:8, John 3:16, John 15:13)

Blessings to you, and may you enjoy Him & rest in His abundant love for you today!