I am standing in my bathroom getting ready for church like I do every Sunday, but today is not just every Sunday. Today is a “last” Sunday. It is the last Sunday Jon will be on staff at Westmore, what has been my home church. So, I am doing all of the “every Sunday” things, but I am accompanied by an old friend named “tears”.

I’m not crying because I have regrets or because I am sad about where we are going and I’m not crying because I am afraid (well…not that much anyway).

I am crying because I think some things deserve our tears.

I am crying because I believe in embracing change and transition…and grieving. I believe that we are blessed when we have something TO mourn.

I am crying because I think that healthy grieving is the only way truly to accept and embrace and walk into new seasons.

Apparently I like to talk about this a lot, too, because you can read more about my thoughts on this subject here, here, and here…just to name a few.

I am trying to decide when it is wise to apply the mascara when I decide to check my email. Just that moment an email from a new friend at our new church comes through. It simply acknowledges that she knows this day will probably be difficult and that she is praying for us.

I am mesmerized by her kindness and God’s timing and move on to check my Facebook messages. Yes, it is Sunday morning and I am totally checking Facebook! You know those friends suggestions Facebook makes? I see them that morning and know that every single suggestion is someone from Renovatus.

I almost chuckle at this point because it seems so like God (and so creepy of Facebook). “I’ve got you” He is saying. “You won’t fall between any cracks.”

In Hebrews chapter 11 the author describes, in what often is called the “hall of faith”, a list of individuals who “by faith…” lived stories worth telling, stories of men AND women that inspire us to live our own faith journeys. It really is a great chapter and I encourage you to read it again and again. This recap of our heroes and heroines of faith ends with this:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…


I am thankful for my cloud.


Jon and I are sitting in the courtyard of a local coffeeshop with a dear friend that we haven’t seen in a year. He literally has been in the trenches, across an ocean and back. We sit and talk and tell stories. He wants to know who, what, when…HOW? And, so do we. And, somewhere in the telling I am reminded of WHY…and WHO…who I am and who HE is.


I am thankful for my cloud.


I am sitting in a Japanese restaurant in California for the first time in ten years and while a culinary show is put on in front of me I am turned sideways in my chair drinking in conversation from a friend who has known me almost my entire marriage life. When my first baby wouldn’t latch on to nurse she dropped what she was doing with her own three daughters in an instant and drove across our California city to be there with me. Now I am the one getting fed and it is more than milk. Her wisdom, her unassuming dialogue, her sincere questions are meat to me and I feel my bones, the structure of my spiritual body gaining strength in mere minutes.


I am thankful for my cloud.


Shauna Niequist refers to a similar phenomenon as “her home team”  in her book, Bittersweet (highly recommend!) and she means the people who are closest to her, those that she knows will come to her in an instant. She says it is important to know who is on your “home team”.

I agree. I love that idea…AND I am not equating “cloud of witnesses” to my “team”. This is something different.

Clouds grow, move and change shape. They are difficult…impossible really…to grasp and contain.

They bring forth RAIN. Growth. Harvest.

The bible talks clouds in other places. In Exodus 40:34 we are told “then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

I’m going to reach here a bit and do some hermeneutical dancing. All of my theological, biblical studies friends can correct me later (Maybe privately please? Ha! Thanks!).

I know the cloud in Hebrews is referring to this “hall of faith” list of people in Hebrews, but I don’t think our hall of faith ends in this book of the bible.

I think we all have halls of faith running through our lives and we all have clouds of witnesses that appear on the horizon (1 Kings 18:44)…sometimes in the form of an email sent to us on a challenging morning.

Clouds that grow, move and change shape.

And, I wonder if those clouds of witnesses don’t fill up these old tabernacles, these old temples of Christ, these old bones with His glory and through their encouragement, through their RAIN we don’t GROW.

Like the cloud in Exodus, our cloud COVERS us. With His love and grace and a calling to BE who He is calling us to be. Who we KNOW we are in HIM.

I feel it. I feel my cloud. I feel the rain. I can sense His presence in the hall of faith I am walking continuously, day by day.

I felt it this week as I sat at a table of women from all over the country who serve in various churches. I felt encouraged and STRENGTHENED as I sat in THAT hall…breathing in the mist of THAT cloud.

I feel my cloud moving, changing shape…leading me to GROW.

I am thankful for my cloud.

YOU are part of someone’s cloud. You could be part of mine and not even know it.

I so want to be part of that cloud of witnesses. For you. For someone. Even as it changes and takes different shapes.

I pray we make space and room for the cloud to cover us…to cover each other, for the cloud to fill up these bodies, to seep into our tabernacles and fill space…hard to reach spaces…like only clouds can. To revive our BONES…the structure of our spiritual bodies and out of that revival GROWTH. Both individually and corporately.

I pray for HARVEST.