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Everyday life, Faith, Family, Todd


It had been months since I last sewed, and I wasn’t even sure I was going to remember how.

I lift the machine cover and stare at the buttons, trying to recall what they all mean. My face is splotchy from crying and my eyes are swollen and hot. I run my finger along the right side of the sewing machine and they remember instinctively where the power switch is. The lights flash on but I sit paralyzed.

Because it’s all a mess.

The whole thing.

I can’t hear him anymore and he can’t hear me. I’ll just sew…I think. And then I’ll feel like myself again. I wind white thread into the bobbin and I’m a little surprised at how easy it comes back to me.

I thought it would be harder.

Now that I have it threaded, I reach for the pieces of fabric I left sitting months ago.

Or was it more?

They still smell laundry-fresh and I wonder how that happens. I hold them up tentatively, trying to remember which is the front and which is the back. I slip three pins out and separate the material, but it’s not coming back to me. I should remember. I’m so sad I don’t.

It would have been beautiful if I had just paid attention when it was new, and now I’m left with the pieces.

I am like that, and I know it. I start things ambitiously and I believe I will finish them, but I usually don’t. I love the fresh journal, the creases in a new pattern, the way a book looks on my shelf. But then the pieces pile up and my heart breaks and I feel it all over again.

You’re a failure.

I reach for the pattern because I’m not going to leave it, along with all the other half-finished skirts and dresses in the third drawer down. It can still be right. She hasn’t grown out of it just yet, and if I concentrate she will have it before the summer sun comes up again.

There’s a knock at the door and I know why.

Because he is splotchy-red too and we’re both holding pieces.

“Can I come in?”

I nod, but don’t dare to speak because I don’t know what will fall out. My hands are busy and I like it better that way. I look down at what they are doing and I pretend to be indifferent. I’m not, and he knows it.

“Working on her dress?”

I nod again.

I can’t help but think it looks like a movie scene, with me fumbling my way and him fumbling his.

“I just felt like I needed to sew again.” It means more than needles, and he sees through my small talk.

There is silence while I unfold the paper carefully. It bends this way and that and if it isn’t done just right the whole thing will tear apart and then where will we be?

I realize I’m missing a piece, and I say so.

“So what do we do?” He asks.

And the naked truth is this.

I have no idea.

I tell him I have to cut a new one and he tells me he wants to help. It’s easier to do it myself, but that’s the problem. I’m stitching and mending and thinking I can do it all and I can’t. He doesn’t wait for an answer, but reaches for the fabric and takes it from me.

“It smells like laundry soap.” He whispers.

I don’t say a word, but I reach past him for the scissors, and show him what needs to be done. He smiles because he loves me when I create, and he wants to remember what it’s like to be in my world. It’s been a long time since I opened the door.

He learns quickly, and I smile because he is a grown man with a three day old beard and flannel pajamas, but he looks like a boy while he cuts.

Out of nowhere, I feel the sting of sadness.

“Have we made a mess of it?”

He doesn’t answer before the tears come. My hands go to my face to cover the hurt before he fully sees me, but I can’t. I never could.

I just wanted to sew, I think to myself.

But it wasn’t the fabric I loved.

It wasn’t even the finished product.

It was watching the needle and knowing that it was working all the time to mend, even as it pierced.

It looks like it’s dangerous, and as if it’s wounding. It tears through layers and even through skin. I’m convinced it will come away flawed and torn, and then I see the beauty of it all.

And the hum of the sewing machine reminds me again what it looks like to allow yourself to be wounded because you believe in what will one day come of it all.

And while the tears come fresh, he holds me, even with the scissors still in his hand, and he tells me he loves me and will fight for it to be beautiful again. I believe him and I cry because there aren’t words that say what I want them to.

There are only patterns and dreams, and the way he came to knock on the door because he loved me more than his own pride.

We stay up late. Too late, actually. And we laugh because we have all these babies that won’t wait for us to sleep in tomorrow, and it will be time to stitch some more.

The dial spins around and the motor is warm to the touch when we leave.

It’s good to remember.

I still haven’t finished the dress, because there was too much sadness in the memory of her. I had thought it might be good to give it to her sister, but the truth was it was better left undone.

I folded it neatly and slipped it into her drawer, even as it was.

Not in this life, love…

Maybe one day I will take it out again and marvel at how it still smells like fresh life, even though it has been years since I saw it last.

Oh, how I miss her.

But there in front of me is the rest of it, and I so long to love it well.

I won’t forget the way we welcomed that midnight hour, crumpled on the floor in pajamas, laughing and crying because we didn’t know what else to do.

I have stopped resenting the third drawer down, because I believe that one day-

Well, I hope you know.

He’s going to make it beautiful again.

Todd, Uncategorized

The Story!!!

Words cannot begin to describe how excited I am to be on this side of a project I believe in SO deeply.

I have been hearing bits and pieces of it for months, and have been blown away as I have seen it come together. There was a vision for what it would be, and when the CD finally came in the mail I got all emotional because I sincerely believe that this project will change our experience of the Bible in a dramatic and beautiful way.

If you’re going to start with a book, you might call Max Lucado to write it (done) or maybe Randy Frazee (check).

Then, you’re going to want to get the best producer on the planet (Bernie Herms…check). And how about some killer music…let’s see if we can think up a couple artists…see if any of these ring a bell.

Mac Powell (Third Day), Leigh Nash, Natalie Grant, Mark Hall (Casting Crowns), Todd Smith, Amy Grant, Francesca Battistelli, Michael Tait, Lecrae, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, Darlene Zschech, Jeremy Camp, Brandon Heath, Matthew West, Mandisa…to name a few :) .

And if you could pick the best Christian songwriter you know…(come on, say NICHOLE NORDEMAN!!! that was the correct answer :) ) to write the lyrics to the stories that make up the Bible, wouldn’t that be amazing? well, CHECK that one too.

The Story Project is finally out in stores and is absolutely AMAZING. The London symphony plays as well, in case you wanted some great strings and stuff.

Seriously, y’all. I’m speechless over it. The idea behind the CD is that different people sing different character’s stories (Todd is Job) and the CD tells the story of Scripture from beginning to end.

This will also be a tour, where people who come can experience video (amazing video) telling the story as each artist sings.

There is so much more, and I would love for you to click here to be re-directed to their website. There are interviews with artists, tour dates and cities, and all kinds of cool things…I think you’re going to fall in love the way I have.

You can purchase the CD from iTunes by clicking here. You will NOT be disappointed!!!!

Tell everyone!!! The Story is here!!!!


Faith, Todd


I sat completely upright, eyes staring at him while I moved food around my plate nervously.

It was our first date and I had decided I was going to marry him. He ordered (delicious) soup for me and opened the car door when I got in and when I got out. I wanted to impress him but I choked on my words as I tried to come up with something less desperate than “Elope or have a wedding?”

Because that’s not always a good first date plan.

His eyes lit up as he shared a story he had heard about a little girl at church who had drawn a picture, and he just knew I would get a kick out of it as well.

“So, you know Lot’s wife?”

Clearly Lot was a friend I hadn’t met yet. I put on my best, “I’m sure I do. Give me a minute…” face and nodded for him to continue.

Was that the guy in Sunday school? Was he on the retreat? Lot. No, I would remember meeting a guy named Lot.

“Well her teacher tells her to draw a picture of what happened to Lot’s wife and she drew a salt shaker.”

He started laughing.

I laughed too, and shook my head side to side. Those crazy kids.

“Oh, that is great! How funny.” I bit my lip and tried to think of a good follow-up condiment story.


“So, Lot…” I just kind of threw it out there. I figured I would give him some room to fill me in on the backstory.

“Yeah, you know, from Genesis? The one who left Sodom and Gomorrah?”

Awesome. Thanks for clearing that up.

Note to self: find Precious Moments Bible that is somewhere in my apartment and find out who Sodom and Gomorrah are.

I nodded again, filling my mouth with pasta so I wouldn’t have to drop any more pearls of wisdom before the second date.

A few hours later I found my little Bible and hunted down this Lot guy. He’s umm, an interesting fellow, and reading about him next to images of Precious Moments figurines has got to be one of the strangest experiences a new believer can have. Seriously creeptastic.

With that said, I did find it pretty interesting. The gist of it is that Abraham is trying to save Sodom (Sodom and Gomorrah are places, not people. Also good to know for date number two) and kind of negotiates with God about it. This deserves a whole post of it’s own, but let’s come back to that some other day. Anyway, he works out a plan with God that if there are 10 righteous men in Sodom, God will not destroy it. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and God sends two angels to warn Abraham and his nephew Lot to get out of town before this happens. Lot tries to warn his sons-in-law but they thought he was joking and apparently didn’t listen. It says in Genesis 19:16 that Lot hesitated, so the angels grabbed his and his wife’s hands and led them out of the city.

As soon as they were safe, the angels said to them, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” Lot tells them he wants to go to another town instead. And guess what? It isn’t in the mountains, it’s in the plains. God wants Lot to go to one place, and he believes his idea is better than God’s. I read this and shake my head because that just sounds silly to me.

Well, as silly as it can sound to someone who does the same almost every day of her life.

So Lot and his bride head towards Zoar (which was called Bela before this incident), and as they do, Lot’s wife makes a critical mistake.

She looks back.

She looks at back at the city filled with sin and wickedness, and as she pauses, God turns her into a pillar of salt (the salt shaker thing is way funnier now).

We don’t ever learn her name, but her legacy is one of looking back. She has been rescued from death, from sin and depravity, and there is something that still haunts her enough to stop moving toward whatever is ahead.

Did she want to see if it would really be ruined? Maybe she wanted to see her things one more time. Was she longing for a person? Reflecting on the life she wanted to keep living?

I don’t know, but I do know this.

God has been gracious with me for many years in my turning back. A glimpse of what could have been, a temptation that makes me question my faith. An earth-shattering loss that beckons me to believe that the mountain is too far and the valley will be just fine.

I have wandered to the closest city while I know He desires for me to climb, and I have settled there for longer than I care to remember. I have failed Him many times over, head and heart turned, and yet He urges me never to settle. I don’t know what you are walking away from tonight, but as I have been praying about what to write the Lord has put this message on my heart so clearly that I had to share it. I want you to know I am praying for you as I write-asking the Lord to remind you tonight that there is a reason you have left that life behind.

It has been swallowed by grace, friend. And you need not miss what He has for you by believing there is something worth going back for. Leave it be. The Lord has told you where to go and it’s time to walk. Eyes straight ahead, tangled in the spectacular love of a Savior Who wants nothing less for you than the summit. And as you stare at what might have been, you are immobilized, unable to bring Him the glory He deserves. And also, He might make you salt. Just saying.

It has been almost exactly ten years from the night I went out with Todd for the first time. October will mark a decade of falling in love with the man who has given me five daughters and many, many more dates. No matter how many times we sit together over a meal, I will never forget the first one. The heart-fluttering, life-altering, dream-come-true night when I learned about a woman who loved in the wrong direction.

I still get confused about Bible references. I am the farthest thing from a Bible scholar that could be possible. I can’t tell you the Hebrew and Greek roots of words, nor every battle of the Bible or city mentioned in scripture. What I do feel confident saying is actually pretty simple.

He is Who He says He is, and He is whispering tonight if you care to listen…

“Flee, love. Flee and never look back…”

Selah, Todd

Winners and a Great Song :)

Click on over to my other site to see if you won!!! And if you didn’t, you can still use the code “markedbylove” to get 15% off your order until the 26th…here’s the link :)

I just mentioned on Twitter that Selah was nominated for some Dove Awards today…so proud. I thought I would post this video on here in case you haven’t seen it. It is definitely one of my favorite Selah songs ever. They should be playing it on the radio now…if you haven’t heard it it’s probably just not added yet (and hopefully will be!!!). I have gotten SO many emails about this song…the lyrics have helped me through more rough nights than I can count. I hope it ministers to you today…

Many of you have written me about this song and how the words have spoken to you. Please know if there is something in your life that feels “unredeemed,” I am praying for you now and would love to know your story. Feel free to leave it in the comments so we can all pray together for you, or, email me if you don’t feel comfortable sharing publicly.

Love, appreciation and prayers,