Blue Like Jazz

Last night, on my way home from work I stopped at Kroger’s to pick up the ingredients for my husband’s favorite gourmet dinner. It was a special day, and I wanted to demonstrate my affections by cooking for him with the freshest ingredients. As I pulled into the lot, I winced in dismay at how crowded the place was. Maybe all the other wives were doing the same thing. Oh, no, thought I, they might be sold out of chicken wings and fries.

I needn’t have worried. The owners of all the cars were in the floral section. The place was teeming with men sporting pensive expressions and purchasing bouquets of roses. I smiled sympathetically at the poor souls who weren’t as savvy as my own guy. He picked up his bouquet from Kroger the night before.

Jeff truly appreciated his dinner of buffalo chicken wings and Ore Ida (extra crispy-I know what my man likes) fries. We say “I love you” in so many different ways, don’t we?

I’ve been listening to these amazing talks by Donald Miller. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, he is the author of Blue Like Jazz and other brilliant works in Christian literature. One of my Pastors gave me the CDs of these talks because she knows I love Don, as his friends and rabid fans (that’s what I am) call him, almost as much as she. Okay, not quite as much, since she says she is going to drive to Portland and stalk him until he agrees to marry her. I told her I would drive her and support her in this quest, so I could then invite them over for dinner and coffee and listen to him talk more intimately. (Don, if by some miracle you are reading this, she is a beautiful lady, inside and out—check her out here; and for heaven’s sake, come over for dinner!).

Anyway, one of the talks that he delivers is called Thirteen Shifts on a Paradigm, and it’s all about changing the way we think about our faith in order to reach people. One shift that Don talks about is realizing that people will not listen to God unless they believe that God loves them. He states, “One of the dominant questions of the human heart is, ‘Am I loveable, or am I likeable?’” He goes on to illustrate some of the ways that we, as Christians, have failed to communicate this valuable message to the world.

Don delivered a brilliant message. I love him. He always makes me want to do something crazy with my faith (if you don’t believe me, read this). But his question resounded true in my heart. I think he’s on to something. Without ever being fully cognizant of it, this is the question I have been asking all of my life. Aren’t we all asking this question? We’ve sought to resolve it in the world. We’ve filled our question with all the wrong answers; we’ve turned to chaff to secure our identity.

For so many years, I’ve walked around professing my faith. But these last couple weeks, as I turn to the past to find the answers to the future, I have run into some potholes in that image I’ve put forth. God has been dropping the bread crumbs, leading me gently one step at a time, always holding my hand.

He spoke to me through my father-in-law’s words the other night. I was railing on about a disappointment I had suffered in my eldest son.

“He needs to know there are consequences for these kinds of behaviors,” I blew on and on.

My father-in-law smiled softly and replied, “I don’t know, Laura. I had a lot of those consequences when I was a boy.”

“And it built your character! He needs some character-building,” I proceeded, walking right into it.

“Well, sometimes I’d rather not have had the building. It left a lot of emotional scars on me that I’d rather not have.”

That shut me up. My dad-in-law rarely speaks about his childhood. I know that there were a lot of painful circumstances that he overcame to become the man he is now. When he said those things to me, God flipped on a light switch.

I’ve been holding on to my emotional scars. I’ve been wearing them like a badge. Not before others, mind you, but in my own mind and heart. And most importantly, before God.

God wants to answer my question, Beloved. I hear Him proclaiming a resounding, “Yes!” Yes! I am loveable! You are loveable! And what’s more, you are loved. You are loved by a God so great that this world cannot contain Him. I cry as I write this, because, even though I have known this fact for many years…I never really knew how badly I needed to know it. My soul has longed for this answer; my heart has ached for it. I feel like I am holding up a sheet riddled with holes before my Lord, asking, “How can you love this? How can you love this damaged thing?” And He takes those hands of His, those hands that can do anything; and He fills my holes. He doesn’t just cover them over, Dear Ones. He makes them beautiful. For in those empty places He has weaved the lines of a story that will glorify Him.

You are loved. You are lovely. Thank you, Lord.


  1. says

    Laura, You write so beautifully. Oh what a profound thing you have discovered. He has always loved you, it is you who have struggled to embrace it and now you are.

    I am learning that what I believe about myself and tell myself is what I will live. If I tell myself I am loved, then I will live in that love. What I don’t give to myself I will never have to give to others. It is rocking my world. We have to go back and let God redeem the past, the lies, the agreements we made with the lies in order to move into the present of who He says we are now to Him. The thing is He never sees us in any way but the way He created us.
    It is we who have the poor eyesight. God is going after those places in my heart too. And as I said, it is rocking my world.

    I love Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. It is the only book I have read. I will have to check into his other ones.

    The thing that God keeps telling me is it is all about these two things. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, then love yourself so that you can love your neighbor.
    In order to love HIm, we first have to allow Him to love us. Once we receive that love it is then we can respond to it. When I love me, I will love others.
    How I love myself will affect how well I love others.
    It all makes sense to me now. All these years I have been trying to be good enough to love. It wasn’t Him who was not satisfied with who I was, it was ME!

    I am glad our paths have crossed. I love coming here and reading your journey!

    Many blessings,

  2. says

    Your father-in-law story really spoke to me. God is speaking to me of living out my identity as His beloved. It’s not what we have (impressive ministry); not what we do (like writing books or raising godly kids); not what others say about us either (longing for validation from what?) Love doesn’t come through contemplation but through transformation in ways I enter my suffering and surrender and relate to my husband and my children and my family. So what is love for me today? What does the abundant life really look like? Thanks for sharing Donald Miller and I have to go find those CD’s —

  3. says

    WOW -Laura. You have inspired me to think more deeply about what I hink about myself and my desires. I sort of don’t like going there, much. I,ve heard a lot of people talking abut BLUE LIKE JAZZ. NOw I will have to go out and make sure I readh it.

  4. says


    Thanks so much for stopping by The Point. I hope it blessed you in some way. I’ll have to check out Donal Miller. Thanks for the tip. Come back and visit again.


  5. says

    Laura, your words bless me so much. Thank you for stopping by.

    Yes, that difficult time just grew my love and respect for my husband even more.

    It’s amazing to look back and see those things that were unseen to the eye going on in the midst.

    You are a dear heart!

    I look forward to learning more about your life and sharing mine with you.


  6. says

    Hi friend! Girl, you won the book! See my post from Friday…and email me with an address to send your copy. Have you read anything by Paula before? You will love her. She’s a psychologist, too!

    BTW — I love Donald Miller as well. My hubby and I heard him speak at a conference in Atlanta a few years ago. Good stuff. Blue like Jazz is awesome. I see you and I are on the same page, once again. 🙂


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