Movin’ On

July 13, 2015


Since 2008, I’ve been posting on this blog, but today I invite you as I take this blog on a bit of a new journey.  Not only is Rough Hewn moving to it’s own new grown-up address, but it’s also going to narrow it’s focus a bit to a passion that has grown in my heart over the last couple years – that women come to not only love and trust the word of God, but also grow to be more keenly aware of the conversation He is having with each of us, wherever we find ourselves. In all the nooks and crannies of life.

I long for his truth and power to fill up my thirsty and malnourished heart and pray that this next season for Rough Hewn blog is an encouragement to many.



March 10, 2014


Rejoice. It’s Lent. This is when the poor, old, bumbling church courageously reminds us of the joy of letting go of our illusions about ourselves. We offer our lives not to a God with high standards of conduct, but to a God who loves us as we are and forgives the worst in us.” — Will Willimon


Brave Lighter Satisfied


February 13, 2014

Leah Dankertson, Dankertson, roughhewn, rough hewn, leah d

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”– Psalms 118:6

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” — Isaiah 26:3


Pilot Me

January 1, 2014

Leah Dankertson, roughhewn, rough hewn, Dankertson

“O Love Beyond Compare,
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.

Leah Dankertson, roughhewn, rough hewn, Dankertson

Thy goodness has been with me during another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.

Leah Dankertson, roughhewn, rough hewn, Dankertson

Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With thee as the blessed Pilot of my future
as of my past.”

Valley of Vision



December 24, 2013



Jeremiah 23: 5-6; Isaiah 32:1-2; Psalm 93; Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 19:6-8

“Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king.  Every statesman trembled before his power, no one dared breath a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden who lived in a poor village in his kingdom. How could he declare his love for her?


In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace, and crowned her head with jewels, and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist. No one dared resist him. But would she love him? She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at this side? How could he know for sure? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too, would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a love, equal.  The king and she, a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them – for it is only in love that the unequal can be make equal.


The king, convinced he could not elevate the maiden without crushing her freedom, resolved to descend to her. Clothed as a beggar he approached her cottage with a worn cloak fluttering loose about him. This was not just a disguise – the king took on a totally new identity. He had renounced his throne to declare his love and to win hers.”
— Soren Kierkegaard, “The King & the Maiden”


As this Advent series comes to a close, I am mindful of the question that has persistently pressed itself upon my heart each day as I have prepared these posts – “Leah, are you willing to surrender it all to the Lord?”  All my illusions of control, my health, my work, my hopes for marriage, my thoughts, my expectations and hopes, my fears, my perceptions, my timidity, my excuses….all of it. He is King. He reigns. Not only that but he is a good King who reigns perfectly – and he calls me, and you to trust him with it all.  Today and tomorrow, thank Jesus for coming to win you back. Ask him to show you the areas of your life and heart that are rightfully His that he wants you to surrender to Him. Ask him to grow your trust in his rule over your life.


 Beautiful Mystery by Josh White

Merry Christmas!!



December 23, 2013



Psalms 49:7-15, Matthew 20:28

“Jesus didn’t have to die despite God’s love; he had to die because of God’s love. And it had to be this way because all life-changing love is substitutionary sacrifice.


Think about it. If you love a person whose life is all put together and has no major needs, it costs you nothing. It’s delightful…But if you ever try to love somebody who has needs, someone who is in trouble or who is persecuted or emotionally wounded, it’s going to cost you. You can’t love them without taking  a hit yourself. A transfer of some kind is required, so that somehow their troubles, their problems, transfer to you.

There are a lot of wounded people out there. They are emotionally sinking, they’re hurting, and they desperately need to be loved. And when they are with you, you want to look at your watch and make a graceful exit, because listening to them with all their problems can be grueling. It can be exhausting to be a friend to an emotionally damaged person. The only way they’re going to start filling up emotionally is if somebody loves them, and the only way to love is to let yourself be emotionally drained. Some of your fullness is going to have to go into them, and you have to empty out to some degree. If you hold on to your emotional comfort and simply avoid those people, they will sink. The only way to love them is through substitutionary sacrifice…


Therefore it makes sense that a God who is more loving than you and I, a God who comes into the world to deal with the ultimate evil, the ultimate sin, would have to make a substitutionary sacrifice. Even we flawed human beings know that you can’t just overlook evil. It can’t be dealt with, removed, or healed just by saying, “Forget it.” It must be paid for, and dealing with it is costly. How much more should we expect that God could not just shrug off evil? The debt had to be paid. But he was so incredibly loving that he was willing to die in order to do it himself…”
–Timothy Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus






December 22, 2013



Exodus 2: 23-25,  Psalm 18:19, Psalm 118:8-9, Romans 7:24, Romans 9:3-26


None is righteous, no not one.
No one understands
no one seeks God
All turned aside, worthless they have become
no one does good, not even one.

Their throat is an open grave,
they use their tongues to disobey
the venom of asps is on their lips.
Their mouth curses with bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood
ruin and misery in the paths are done.
The way of peace they have not known;
no fear of God within their bones.


The righteousness of God manifested;
law and prophets bear witness to it.
Through faith in Christ those who believe
with no distinction are set free.
Propitiation by His Blood
and rescued from the sinful flood.
Righteousness shown at present time
Justifier of those with faith in Thine.

Tyler Johnson



Rescue  by Tyler Johnson

So honored to have original poetry and music from my dear friend Tyler this morning. Photos by Eric Dankertson



December 20, 2013



Matthew 2:9-11; Matthew 26:6-12; James 1:17

“Pleasures are shafts of glory as it strikes our sensibility….I have tried…to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration. I don’t mean simply by giving thanks for it. One must of course give thanks, but I meant something different…Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun….If this is Hedonism, it is also a somewhat arduous discipline. But it is worth some labour” – C.S. Lewis (via John Piper)



What is costly to you?  Maybe it’s not a physical object but a hope or expectation you have for yourself or someone else.  Bring that to Jesus today, just like the three men from the East or the woman who adorned Jesus’ feet with costly perfume. Reflect on the good gifts he has given you this past year.



Star of Wonder by JJ Heller

 Justice Delivers Its Death by Sufjan Stevens



December 18, 2013

Leah Dankertson, Rough Hewn, roughhewn, advent


Isaiah 42:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5

Winter reveals. It exposes.

Leaves fall and there is nothing left to conceal. We get to see the inner workings of all the trees we share space with.  Things so rare and precious during the covered months are suddenly revealed and set on display – nests of all shapes and sizes.

And somehow this seeming barrenness always gives me a deep sense of the new. Things to come – knowing that one must shed their clothes in order to try on new ones. So the trees around us whirl and churn inside, being changed from the inside out.

Leah Dankertson, Rough Hewn, roughhewn, advent

I’m always dazzled by a spotted birds nest in a tree.  But the other day I was stopped dead in my tracks by something I had never see before – a hornets nest as large as a summer watermelon in the very center of a tree along my path. Instead of wonder, I was caught off guard by a feeling of fear.  I knew that I had nothing to be frightened of, it’s winter and this nest has been long dormant, but I couldn’t shake this strange feeling of being decieved. I had walked by this tree for months and months without knowing what was hiding inside – wild and dangerous it had been safely sheltered, but in the exposing light of winter it could hide no longer.

It makes me think of my own hornets nest of a heart. Roiling and broiling inside with all kinds of emotions, worries, anxieties, bitterness, sin….  I try my best to hide it, but it’s there – fearsome to behold sometimes. But instead of recoiling in shock and fear, Jesus sees my exposed hornets nest and says he’ll do me one better. “How about a different kind of nest.  How about a home for me?”

“Yes, please,” I say. Make me new.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

Isaiah 43:19


“He who is our very life came down and took our death upon himself. He slew our death by his abundant life and summoned us in a voice of thunder to return to him in his hidden place, that place from which he set out to come to us when first he entered the Virgin’s womb. There our human creature, mortal flesh, was wedded to him that it might not remain mortal for ever; and from there he came forth like a bridegroom from his nuptial chamber, leaping with joy like a giant to run his course. Impatient of delay he ran, shouting by his words, his deeds, his death and his life, his descent to hell and his ascension to heaven, shouting his demand that we return to him. Then he withdrew from our sight, so that we might return to our own hearts and find him there. He withdrew, yet look, here he is. It is not his will to remain with us, yet he has not abandoned us either; for he has gone back to that place which he never left, because the world was made through him, and though he was in this world he had made he came into it to save sinners.

Saint Augustine, The Confessions, Bk iv



 Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella by Joy Williams of the Civil Wars




December 17, 2013

Leah Dankertson, Rough Hewn, roughhewn, advent


Luke 2:7, 19, 22-38

Lift up your heads, eternal gates, Alleluia!
See how the King of glory waits, Alleluia!
The Lord of Hosts in drawing near,
the Savior of the world is here, Alleluia!
But not in arms or battle dress, Alleluia!
God comes, a child, amidst distress, Alleluia!
No mighty armies shield the way,
only course linen, wool, and hay, Alleluia!
God brings a new face to the brave, Alleluia!
God redefines who best can save, Alleluia!
Not those whose power relies on threat,
terror or torture, destruction or debt, Alleluia!
God’s matchless and majestic strength, Alleluia!
In all its height, depth, breadth, and length, Alleluia!
Now is revealed, its power to prove,
by Christ protesting, “God is love,” Alleluia!

John Bell, Iona Community



Venus by Sleeping At Last



December 16, 2013

Luz Bratcher, Rough Hewn, Advent


Luke 2:11, Ephesians 1:7-10


“Savior of the Nations, Come”

The words are by St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan (339-397 AD), translated into German
by Martin Luther in 1523, and then from Ger­man to En­glish by Will­iam M. Rey­nolds in
1851. The music comes from Jo­hann Wal­ther (Wit­ten­berg, Ger­ma­ny, 1524), while the
har­mo­ny was scored by Jo­hann S. Bach.

Savior of the nations, come;
Virgin’s Son, here make Thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.

Not by human flesh and blood;
By the Spirit of our God
Was the Word of God made flesh,
Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.

Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
Of the virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
Still to be in heaven enthroned.

From the Father forth He came
And returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell
High the song of triumph swell!

Thou, the Father’s only Son,
Hast over sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
When shall we its glories see?
Brightly doth Thy manger shine,
Glorious is its light divine.

Let not sin o’ercloud this light;
Ever be our faith thus bright.
Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.


“In the Christian story God descends to reascend.

He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.”

— C.S. Lewis



If you are anything like me – you might find yourself avoiding things that are hard or complicated (finances, relationships, hard or even possibly life-giving conversations, work, your passions…the dishes).  In these things we avoid, there is fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of vulnerability, fear of discomfort.  What might you be avoiding in your life or relationships right now?  Bring those to Jesus today, thanking him for the reality that when it was perfectly fine for him to avoid us – he came TO us. He faced vulnerability, discomfort, and our messiness straight-on in the Cross. This is love.


Christmas in the Room by Sufjan Stevens

Photos by Luz Bratcher.



December 14, 2013

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent


Luke 2:8-20, 1 Chronicles 16:8-36, Psalm 8, Psalm 24:8-10, Isaiah 6:1-8, John 17:1-5, Romans 4:20-21, Ephesians 3:20-21

“Our God shall come,” it says in a psalm for Advent, “and shall not keep silence; there shall go before him a consuming fire, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred up round about him.” It is the shock I remember. Not only does something come if you wait, but it pours over you like a waterfall, like a tidal wave. You wait in all naturalness without expectation or hope, emptied, translucent, and that which comes rocks and topples you; it will shear, loose, launch, winnow, grind.”
— “Northing” in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine,
The night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen
From out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need,
Our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break,
For the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent


The Diamond (Son Lux Remix) by My Brightest Diamond

Photos by Jenny Linquist