Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rattling Bones

How does one say, "fender bender" in French?

We'll just consider it a special Halloween treat. Or is a trick? All I know is my car is crumpled and my skeleton is shaken.

Chandler was in the car with me for this special event, and let's just say he's popping the Advil right along with me.  David (my hero) has already dealt with the insurance company. 

Pray for our sore backs and for the poor little old lady that hit me. I think her car got the worst of it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Body of Christ

In essentials unity.
In non-essentials liberty.
In all things charity. 

I'm a denominational mutt. I've been Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Non-denominational, and Pentecostal. During college, I had a stint at the Episcopal church, but went to Sunday evening services at a wild Charismatic church. And no, I don't have commitment issues. My family moved a bit while I was growing up, and my parents just looked for a local Bible-believing church and put down roots. Then in college I got engaged to a Lutheran boy with Pentecostal tendencies who was directing a children's choir in an Episcopal church. I guess he's a mutt, too. 

And after tasting the many expressions of Christian faith, I am overwhelmed with LOVE for the whole body of Christ--in all its shapes and colors. 

I love liturgy, and my heart swells when I sing, "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! Alleluia." before the reading of the Gospel in the Lutheran church. I cherish the rich heritage and I embrace the old green prayer book with great respect.

I remember with joy my formative years in the Presbyterian church. I am the sole person in my family that has only been baptized by sprinkling. I was seven years old and convinced that I wanted to make a public profession of faith. And though most of the churches I have attended since that time baptize by immersion, I've never felt the need to do it again. If its good enough for the Presbyterians, its good enough for me.

And how the Baptists love to sing those mighty old hymns! By the age of 12 I had memorized all 4 verses to most of the hymns in the red book, and I could play many of them on the piano. Whole sermons are put to music, and the beauty and truth of those words still resonate in my heart. 

The church our boys grew up in is Foursquare, and self-described as "mildly Pentecostal." That is to say, our church believes in the use of all the gifts of the Spirit, but they rarely practice the gifts in the Sunday services. You know, things are done in an "orderly" fashion, as the apostle Paul suggests. 

But in each of these churches, the Gospel is preached. The Bible is recognized as the inspired Word of God. Jesus is worshiped. Truth  is taught. Love and grace abound. Which is why I grew up believing that the Body of Christ is a wonderful thing! Like a quilt, rich in textures and colors, it is the different fabrics that makes it beautiful. If all the patches were identical, it would be a pretty boring quilt. And I believe with all my heart that no one denomination could possibly express the fullness of Christ on its own! We need each other in order to show the world the glory and greatness of our King.  

But today I am saddened as I read Twitter feeds where two prominent American Christian leaders are setting up camps to oppose each other--over non-essentials. People, this breaks my heart! What does this say to a world that desperately needs to know that there IS a Savior? What does this say about the transformational power of the Gospel? What about, "They will know we are Christians by our love?"

My dear brothers and sisters, will you join me in praying for the American Church? Pray for unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and charity in all things! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

GEM France Retreat

Ahhh, the joy of being in the Alps! And not just because my hair behaves perfectly in the dry mountain air. No, our time away was fun-filled and inspirational to boot. We are blessed to be a part of an amazing group of GEM missionaries and the few times a year that we all get to together are always rich.


At the camp, we are spoiled by good food--that we don't have to plan or make or clean up! We are also spoiled by field leaders who raise special funds for the retreat so that it barely costs anything for our entire family to go! But best of all, the GEM France retreat is always a safe place. Some of our colleagues are going through rough times with ministry or family. When we get together, they can share from their hearts, be refreshed, and find encouragement. Others come with great joy and enthusiasm for how God is working among and through them. These people bring energy and hope into the mix. Some come weary; they find rest. Some come thirsty; they are quenched. Some come  reluctantly; even they leave with unexpected blessings.

This  time I was especially blessed by my GEM family because they gave Graham the opportunity to lead worship for the first time in his life. He's helped us lead in the past, but this time he was the boss. He selected the music, called the rehearsals, and did all the praying and talking. Graham is a gifted musician and a natural leader, but he still felt nervous and really wanted to do well. I am so thankful for how our teammates welcomed and blessed his efforts. Some are, you know, not exactly Spring Chickens. Yet, they sang Skillet and Jesus Culture and Flyleaf music as if they loved it. They worshiped, whether or not they liked the genre. And yes, I was very proud. Graham trusted in the Lord's leading, stepped out in faith, and saw God work through him. 

Here's a sign that we've been in France for a while: we went to the Alps and didn't bother to take a single photo! All photos used here were taken by a new teammate, Jordan Egli. He's an awesome photographer. Thanks, Jordan!

Friday, October 18, 2013

10 Totally Trivial Tidbits

  1. This past week was  packed with training people! David helped to train 4 gifted, bright, passionate young French evangelists in the fine arts of hermeneutics and homelitics. I trained 3 brilliant, inspired, faithful young women to teach our new Sunday School curriculum. Last night, tired but deeply satisfied, David and I shared a long embrace. Wrapped in the arms of my beloved I said, "We live a weird life. Twenty years ago, did you ever imagine that we'd one day be training Christian leaders in France?" He shook his head and added, "In French! We did it in French." Yep. I'm amazed. 
  2. I'm really liking purple these days. I bought purple place mats for the dining room, a purple binder for the Sunday School curriculum, and a purple sweater for my fall wardrobe. Strange. Does that make me an old lady?
  3. I just finished knitting a scarf for David and I just started knitting a scarf for myself. I am simply giddy about the yarn I found for my scarf! It's not purple. But the ladies in my knitting group, who are eager to see me progress in my knitting abilities said, "You need to knit something besides scarves!" The thing is, I am in the middle of knitting a cardigan as well, but I started to feel a bit overwhelmed by that project, so I'm taking a little break and knitting scarves--with really great (non-purple) yarn.
  4. I love my iPad, except for the auto-correct feature. After having several auto-correct mishaps during a recent Facebook chat, I typed, "I hate auto-correct!" But it auto-corrected that to "I hate colorectal!" Now tell me, how do explain that one?
  5. I'm reading the most wonderful book right now, called "Une soupe aux herbes sauvages." It's a memoir written by a woman who grew up in rural France during the early 1900s. Man, it was a hard life! Yet, there are moments of joy and tenderness. I'm also reading a religious history of France, a book about an American who renovates a house in France, a book about mentoring, and a book about miracles, healing, and deliverance ministries. Clearly, I am lacking in the fiction realm. Please let me know if you've read any great fiction lately--I'm downright desperate for a good novel! (BTW, David and the boys are still bothered by my tendency to be in the midst of reading several books at once, but I like it! Variety is the spice of life. Do you read just one book at a time?)
  6. A friend of mine found canned jalapenos in France, which is, you know, really cool! And rare! Knowing that I'm a big fan, she bought me several cans. They are SO good. But there is an oddity. When I open the can, there is a layer of carrots on top. Yes, there are carrots in the jalapenos. Why?
  7. God has been speaking to me lately about compassion. I don't really understand compassion, but the Gospels record numerous instances when Jesus was moved to action because He had compassion. He willingly entered into other people's pain. When I see suffering, I want to run as fast as I can in the other direction--I have no compassion, thus my response to suffering is unloving. But lately God has made it impossible for me to run, and consequently, a tiny spark of compassion has been ignited in my heart. I'd kind of like to snuff it out, but I suspect God has a different plan. A better plan. I'm going to try to trust Him. But between you and me, it's kind of freaking me out.
  8. Today we had our first parent-teacher conferences of the school year. According to all of his professors, Chandler is "presque parfait !" Almost perfect. Like I needed them to tell me that. 
  9. We leave this afternoon for our annual GEM France conference in the alps. Graham will be leading worship this year, and the rest of  the Williamson family is his back-up band. He's put a great deal of planning into it, and we've had two good rehearsals. Its pretty awesome to watch my boys take the lead in some of this stuff. Awesome and fun. And sometimes hilarious.  Spoiler alert: We may be doing a rendition of "Religious Man" from Nacho Libre. Bring your sombreros! 
  10. I did a new Pilates video this week, and let's just say that I am the most uncoordinated human being on the face of the earth. I was literally tied up in knots. On the bright side, I was appropriately sore in all the right places, so I might have done it correctly!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Void

During a rainstorm a certain 17 year old said, "There's nothing to eat."

So a certain mom, keenly aware that he would too-soon leave the nest, set out to resolve the problem.

And while she stirred, the boy made music. 
And her tears fell like the rain.
How would she ever let him go?
"Slow down!" she cried, wishing time had ears to hear.
But her pleas were pointless.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 

And in no time at all, warm cookies filled the void in the 17 year old stomach.
But what would fill the void in the mama's heart?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today I was thinking about Aimée, my precious god-daughter. Don't let that sweet face fool you, she's only smiling because I had raisins. Mostly she screams when I hold her. Which is fine, because I love her just the same.

She doesn't like me yet, and while I hope that she one day grows to like me, my feelings for her will never change. I love her.

She doesn't know that I've bought her a special bracelet. It's too big for her now, but it will be waiting for her once she grows into it. I hope she likes it. But if she doesn't, that's okay. She can reject all the gifts I give to her, and it won't change my love for her one bit.

I don't know if Aimée will prefer ballet or football, but whichever she likes, I'll like it too. I'll cheer her on even if she's lousy, because my love for her isn't based on her abilities.

I don't know if Aimée will like dolls or legos, but whichever she likes, I'll like too. I'll play with her as much as she'll let me, because I just look forward to spending time with her.

Aimée doesn't have to do anything great or be anything important for me to love her. I just love her.

I delight in watching her. I long for her smile. I weep for her tears. I love to caress her soft head, to squeeze her fat feet, and to hear her say "uh-oh!" I don't even mind changing her dirty diapers.

And as I was thinking about this little girl who really does not have a clue who I am, this sweet baby girl that wants nothing to do with me just yet, God spoke to my heart.

I love you like that, only better.
You don't have to do anything great or be anything important for me to love you.
You have no idea of the gifts I am storing up for you.
I delight in watching you.
I long for your smile.
I weep for your tears.
I don't even mind cleaning up your messes. I died for those messes.
I just love you.

Inconceivable! How can God love me so completely, so deeply, so perfectly? I'm a mess, yet He loves me. And just like Aimée can't begin to understand my love for her, I can't begin to understand God's love for me. I look for raisins from His almighty hand and contend myself with passing fancies rather than rest secure in the love of the one who holds me. 

Today I want to stop squirming in His arms and choose to trust in His goodness. He loves me!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Constant Stream of Company

For the first time in about 87 months, we have a week with no guests scheduled to eat or sleep at our house. Now I'm not saying that I don't like visitors. Au contraire. Je les adore ! (I love them!)

Nevertheless, I'm taking full advantage of the break:

I actually left the guest bed UNmade for three whole nights. Just because I could.

I haven't cooked a square meal or set the table all week. (David and Graham are in the States, and Chandler and I are subsisting on three main food groups: Magnum Bars, popcorn and cheese.)

I showered for a full 30 minutes this morning because I wasn't at all worried about saving hot water for anyone else.

I left dishes in the sink over night because I wasn't even close to running out of clean glasses.

During the day I actually stop and listen to the silence in my house. I thank God that I don't have to make conversation with anyone. Even my prayers are wordless.

 On Saturday, I swear, I did not get out of my jammies.

I am SO SO SO blessed by all the wonderful people who have come to visit us.

But I am also blessed by a few quiet days chez Williamson. Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Called Out

Have you ever had someone speak convicting truth into you heart?  The kind of truth that wakes you up? The kind of truth that calls you out? The kind of truth that makes you both deeply sorry and profoundly hopeful? The kind of truth that Jesus uses to change you from the inside out?

Let me ask you this: What if that truth came from your son or daughter?

Would you be angry or honored?

I was honored.

Still, it was hard to hear. Even harder to admit that it was true. I wanted to justify my actions, I itched to defend myself. Instead, I acknowledged that my son was right. I apologized. I asked for forgiveness. I accepted forgiveness (that one was strangely difficult!). And I chose to believe that grace is greater than all my parenting mistakes.

Proverbs 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." In other words, when those who love me tell me something that hurts, it's usually for my own good.

I am so thankful for a son who dared say some hard things so that I could grow.

Jesus, change me to be more like you through the revelation of this truth!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


On Sunday David had the privilege of baptizing two guys that he has been discipling. You don't need to understand French to enjoy this wonderful event.