Friday, September 28, 2012


Recently I have been having some problems with my cell phone, everything from becoming searing hot in my hand to running out of power in only an hour.  After ignoring the alerts for some time, I visited the Verizon store, figuring that this phone was just wired with planned obsolescence in mind.  I almost expected to see an expiration date stamped inside, followed by the phrase: “time to buy a new phone.”

After toying around with my phone for about fifteen minutes, the technician finally stated that I probably just needed to delete some of the data on the phone.  “When was the last time you cleared out your texts?” he asked.  “These phones have limited storage capacity.  Clear out your messages, and it will be ok again.” 

I left the store, frustrated that the technician had not just waved a magic wand and made it better.  I wanted the problem resolved, but not at the point of personal repentance, so to speak.  Humbled, I reluctantly checked my texts.  Well, 470 messages from my oldest daughter since a year ago, including photos, equal numbers of texts from our other daughters, a whopping 786 from a close friend, and well, you get the picture.  I was carrying a lot of dead weight in my phone.  Nice stuff, but totally unnecessary.  Delete, delete, delete.

And when my life seems to go out of control, it is time to think about what I am dragging around that may be nostalgic or nice, but really weighs me down or trips me up like so many shoes left in the middle of the floor.  And then there is always that which is not so warm and fuzzy that I hoard, like unconfessed sin, fear, pride. and lies that I have chosen to believe, things that need forgiveness, and things too heavy for me alone – items that pile up like old catalogs in the corners of my heart, crowd out the good, distract me from what I really need to do.   Have I ignored the alerts and figured that is just how life is?  My soul gets overloaded and knocked off-balance by what I was never meant to carry. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Time to delete, forgive, deal with it, and let it go.  Jesus is the Savior who says, “Let Me carry it.  That is why I came.”


Jesus said:

Come to Me, all who labor

    and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.

                     Matthew 11.28

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Year of Never Before’s

Life is short.  And it is getting shorter.  I think about things like this on birthdays, long runs, and sometimes in the middle of Costco.  There is still a lot of stuff that I have not yet done, places I do not know, recipes waiting, adventures yet untouched, stories unwritten, poems floating around my brain, and a big universe out there.

And so, I am attempting “A Year of Never Before’s,” both everyday and enormous adventures not yet on my radar. or that which I have ignored because of a lack of ability or sheer fear of the unknown.  

One of our daughters asked me the other day if while they were growing up I cooked anything other than lasagna or macaroni and cheese.   Already since this summer, I have attempted at least one new recipe a week, some have elicited “wow’s”, and some won’t be gracing our table again.  But supper has become an adventure, and “what’s for supper?” is asked now in anticipation rather than boredom.  I have found the journey through the recipe almost as fun as the final result.  And believe it or not, it is often less time-consuming than last minute processed food.   A couple of weeks ago, I made my first loaves of artisan bread.  Last night I grilled marinated chicken breasts wearing little jackets of apple-smoked bacon and embraced with melted sharp cheddar.  Yum.  Leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  And if I keep this up, I better keep running marathons.

In the same vein of Never Before’s, last month I attended a writing workshop at a folk school tucked away in the North Carolina mountains, spending a few days writing with three deeply Southern and profoundly creative women who encouraged this crazy Northerner in their midst.  I came home refreshed and re-energized, my backpack and brain stuffed with writing ideas, words coming to the surface the entire 13 hour drive home.  That was a first, a totally out-of-my-comfort-zone experience for me, and a surprising delight.

Next month, I delve a little deeper into the Never Before’s.  While I have been hiking for several years, I have never backpacked overnight.  I don’t quite know what to expect, even how to wrap my brain around it, but it fits right into my year-- one weekend night under the stars with hopefully no spiders, rabid coyotes, or a downpour.  This Never Before may become a Never Again, but you never know.

I am again the shy curly-headed little girl who struggled even to go to nursery school.  And now, well, I quake to write these words:  it’s about time to enlarge my borders and push my everydays to encompass what is new to me.  This year, “Never Before” is no longer an excuse, but my challenge.

Let God work His mighty work, equipping me with strength for today and preparing me for that to come.

Stay tuned.


For I, the LORD your God,

hold your right hand;

it is I who say to you,

      Fear not,

      I will help you.

              Isaiah 41.13


Enlarge the place of your tent,

and let the curtains of your habitations

                 be stretched out;

hold not back,

lengthen your cords

     and strengthen your stakes.

                         Isaiah 54.2

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whatever Your Hand Finds To Do

This is a little quote derived from an article that I wrote for a group called The High Calling.  Thought I would share it with you to encourage you in your work today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Walk Through The Park: Not What I Expected

We had set off that early spring day to hike a new trail, described in the guidebook as a meandering walk through old growth trees and woven with stream crossings.  The trail rose suddenly away from the road.  We were strangers trespassing through the wilderness, decorated by the hand of God Himself.  We trod silently on a carpeted path, so soft I wanted to take off my hiking shoes.  And soon, we came upon a creek rushing down the mountainside.  We picked our way across the first of eighteen streams.  Large moss-covered rocks lay haphazardly in its midst like wooden blocks scattered on a playroom floor, providing a perilous bridge.  Beyond the water, the trail picked up like the other side of a conversation.  It was not until we were well-committed on the route, that our way was unexpectedly blocked by an enormous tree, uprooted and long-dead, hanging at a crazy angle across our way.  Too wide to skirt around and too high to clamber over, we scooted underneath like children in a playground gymset.  We emerged to cross more wild water and upward on the trail, undaunted by our small detour.  But the straight-line winds of a winter storm had left behind even more trees fallen as if in battle, one after another.  We continued to climb over, under, and through the thicket around us, not knowing anything more to do, thinking all along that this particular impenetrable tangle had to be the worst, and it would get better after the next bend or over the ridge ahead of us.  After more than two hours of scrambling through what appeared to be an unmarked path through a disaster area, we reached the top of the trail.  We stopped for a snack of dried fruit and to quench our thirst from bottles of water that we had brought along. 

“I am glad THAT is over,” I finally said. “I didn’t know how much more of that I could take.”  I leaned on my hiking poles, and stated emphatically, “I will not pass that way again.”

And then without words, my husband just looked at me, and I realized with despair that the only way back to the car was the way we came.

The way down was reliving a bad dream. 

At the ranger station later that day, we notified the park officials about the condition of the trail.  No one had traversed that way for many months.  No one knew its need for repair.

A couple of weekends ago, under the clear blue skies of early fall, we sought a route to hike with our pregnant daughter and her husband.  We needed a short route as our time was limited.  We settled on a trail not too far away in order to maximize the time we had.  The trail rose quickly away from the road, a secret forest, carpeted and soft.  Sunlight cut sharply through the canopy of ancient trees, like a medieval vision from God.  A stream wandered its way alongside.  And quite suddenly in the midst of immense beauty, I realized that we had gone this way before.  This was that same trail of utter despair from a few springs ago.  And now, its beauty defied description, my words seemed flat and lifeless about that which was outrageous and wild, a picture of how the world was meant to be, an image of redemption, restoration and profound transformation engraved visibly before us. 

And I realized in that renaissance of splendor what God can do, not just with a forest, but in my life, beyond what I can ever imagine and in deeper dimensions than I can possibly comprehend.


Therefore, if any one is in Christ,

he is a new creation,

the old has passed away,

behold, the new has come.

                      2 Corinthians 5.17

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Different Me

I have been crucified with Christ;

it is no longer I who live,

     but Christ who lives in me;

and the life I now live in the flesh

I live by faith in the Son of God,

   who loved me and gave Himself for me.

                        Galatians 2.20


A number of years ago, I was memorizing two verses a week for a Bible study I was teaching.  For that certain morning, one of the verses we memorized and recited was Galatians 2.20.  But it turned out not just an exercise in memorization.  Hidden in my heart, God’s Word began changing me from the inside out.  My cell phone rang in the middle of the lesson.  I had to leave Bible study early because of a plumber who had suddenly shown up to complete some work left undone days ago.  As I drove home, I began to get a little irritated that I had to leave my meeting.  At the stoplight, God’s words rose to the surface of my irritation, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  Those words repeated themselves over and over in my thoughts as I drove…”but Christ who lives in me.”  And as a result, I did not just think differently about my encounter with the plumber, but I began to think Christianly.  I was able to take care of the situation with an entirely different mindset, one that was not mine.  It became not a confrontation, but a conversation.

The other day facing yet another awkward and stressful situation, I could feel anxiety rising within me, just thinking about what I needed to do.  But in my morning Bible reading, there were those same words again, “but Christ who lives in me.”  God once again caught my attention.  And I was able to look at my day with different eyes, different ears, and a different heart.  If Christ lives in me, nothing can be the same.  He transforms how I approach and handle everything I encounter, because He changes me.  He changes my heart, what I see, how I see it, what I think, why I think that way, how to think about a particular situation, what I hear, how I respond, what I love, how I love, and even my ability to love. 

My operating system is no longer based on self, “but Christ who lives in me.”

It is not that I am focused on Him,

              but He changes my focus

                            by changing me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dog-eared Pages

"I knew from experience what to do when the demon of fear entered my heart.  He had called on me many a time during my imprisonment in Germany, and I would then begin to sing.  Singing always helps.  Try it for yourself some time;  fear and anxiety will vanish when you sing... But this time it was all to no avail... No, singing did not help me now.  Then I tried to dispel my fear by prayer, and I prayed.  But my prayer became a refrain... I kept on praying to dispel my fear, until suddenly and I do not know how the idea came to me, I began to pray for others.  I prayed for everyone who came into my thoughts, people with whom I had traveled, those who had been in prison with me, my school friends of years ago, I do not know how long I continued in prayer, but this I do know, my fear was gone.  Interceding for others had released myself."

                                      -- Corrie ten Boom
                                          Amazing Love
                                          pages 52-53

Monday, September 17, 2012

To Love, Honor and Cheer

Bridge to Bridge 2012 006

There was no posting on Nightly Tea yesterday.  I was not near a computer.  Indeed, I was not even near an internet signal, nor the range of a cell-phone tower.  I stood in the rain and the dense fog, waiting for my beloved to emerge through the mist at a finish line, the ending of a 102 mile cycling journey that scaled 9000 feet of elevation gain.  Yesterday, my husband and his brother Doug rode their bicycles uphill on this epic ride with about 400 other crazies through stinging rain and clouds so low they touched the earth.  For part of his journey, I waited under a red and black umbrella on the side of the road with my sister-in-law Cathy, rain running in little streams around the edge of our tiny refuge, its colors like a lighthouse to those who trudged by on two weary wheels.  Riders suddenly appeared out of a grey nothingness not more than twenty feet from where we stood, coming quickly into view and disappearing past us, like waking in the early morning light, the rough edges of a dream remembered and then forgotten.

Bill came into my life so many years ago “out of a clear blue sky,” to whisk me off my feet and marry me.  Yesterday, there was a foggy grey road before me, an indistinguishable shadow, and then not twenty feet away, a familiar jersey, and I knew it was him.  He needed one more bottle of Gatorade, a small packet of gooey energy stuff, and a good word.  “You’re doing it,” was all the time I had before he was off again, surging up the mountain, disappearing into the mist with sixteen uphill miles to go.

I jumped in the truck and headed for the finish line, hoping to beat him to it.  The road careened through unfamiliar terrain, and I hoped that I was going the right way through the foggy mountain wilderness.  I parked the truck in a field and took a shuttle bus to the top of Grandfather Mountain.  The last two miles were so steep that the bus gears groaned with the strain and cyclists had to weave back and forth across the road just to stay upright.  The fog was so dense that one could see the droplets in the air, the visibility so low that Bill said, he could hear the crowds but had no conception of how far away they were.  When he finally emerged out of the fog, the finish line was no more than a few dozen feet away, surrounded by a crowd of witnesses wildly clapping, clanging their cow bells in victory for men and women they didn’t even know.    “I had no idea how close I was,” Bill said, “and suddenly I was  there.”


Bridge to Bridge 2012 002


Bridge to Bridge 2012 007


When we married on that clear October day 32 years ago, we made vows to each other, promising to love, honor and cherish, in sickness and in health, in rain and fog and other crazy endeavors.  Those are profound threads that strengthen a marriage.  But there is another that through the years has made our bond strong:  cheering one another through those tough races of life, both literally and figuratively, being there for one another in our wild pursuits and our everyday toil, coming alongside, and verbally encouraging from the sidelines.  If you recall from my marathon last spring, Bill stood in a frigid rain handing me a Snickers and an encouraging word every six miles of my journey.  Relationships are nourished by how we cheer.  Not “I’m proud of you,” like you would tell your three-year-old when he awkwardly kicks a ball, but “I so respect you for what you are doing.”  Cheering is a verbal acknowledgement of love, a thread that keeps us going strong, a little encouragement that travels a long and winding road.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Before It Becomes A Chronic Condition… Oops! Too Late

I was drenched to the skin.  I could hear my race number keeping a wet fwap, fwap rhythm against my shirt.  My feet crunched on wet gravel as if trying to join in the beat.  It was late March, and I was far enough into this marathon, that I was questioning my sanity.  Near the twenty mile marker and the final turnaround on the trail, I noticed a strange sensation in my left ankle.  “Well, get in line,” I thought outloud.  That little twitch was the least of my problems.  I ached all over, and I had six miles of mud and cold rain to go.  I almost missed the finish line I was so much in a hurry to get into something warm and dry.  A few days later, I could still feel the tight spot near my ankle, but it didn’t appear to impede my running at all.   My stubbornness once again became the armchair physician saying cheerily: “Oh, it will go away on its own.”  That’s a familiar prescription I’ve eaten before.

But that little nagging pain didn’t disappear so magically.  As spring passed into summer, I tried stretches I found on the internet.  No change.  I tried wearing different shoes.  No perceivable difference.  I refrained from running for two weeks.  When I started running again, not only did the twitch in my ankle return, it was now accompanied by its first cousin, a sharp pain in my hip.  The summer was almost over.  The problem wasn’t going anywhere, and neither was I.

I broke down and made an appointment with the doctor.  “I don’t want this to become a chronic condition,” I explained to my husband, realizing immediately that after six months, it already was.

The diagnosis was not a stress fracture, but just a case of tendonitis.  The doctor gave me a list of simple exercises to do.  I was in and out of his office in less than 30 minutes.  Humbly at home, I began the exercises, one of which made me look like a flamingo, balancing on the injured leg, eyes open and then eyes closed (not as easy as it sounds).  This is ridiculous.  But within TWO days, the twitch was almost gone.  I couldn’t believe it.  After just a couple of weeks of the exercises, the pain had completely departed.

How many times have I rehearsed this same scenario?  Glitches don’t go away on their own.  I should write that in CAPITAL LETTERS with permanent marker on my brain. 

But sometimes physical injuries are not as chronic as relational twinges.  A stretched leg muscle is not quite as deadly as unresolved guilt, or anger, or marital issues, or communication problems with your kids or parents or siblings.  And that little twinge, well, that is God’s way of letting us know that something is out of balance vertically (with Him) or horizontally (with all those around us).  And as time ticks away, a problem easily evolves into a PROBLEM, a chronic condition that is much harder to admit and deal with.  Relational glitches don’t go away on their own.  Days become months.  Months become years.  We play “chicken” with our relationships, waiting for the now rock-hard problem to spontaneously dissolve or for the OTHER person to pick up the phone.  And that little harsh word long ago, those hurt feelings are etched into our being, things that should never have become a handicap, a chronic illness never intended.  Figure it out.  Get help.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  That is why God gave us grace to forgive and be forgiven, to let go of the bitterness, tear up the debt, and let the relationship mend.

I swallowed my pride as I stood like a flamingo, regretting that I didn’t seek a resolution months ago.   

The first step in healing is being willing to do what it takes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Enormity is No Problem

You multiply when I cannot even add.

You magnify while I have no vision.

You reach whom I cannot.

You touch where I am unable.

You heal what is beyond comprehension.

You redeem the scars of depravity.

You restore what is shattered.

My impossible

          is Your victory, O LORD.


Now to Him

who is able to do far more abundantly

than all that we ask

               or imagine,

according to the power at work within us,

to Him be the glory…

                           Ephesians 3. 20-21

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

It was a crisp blue day that all of us remember, an ordinary school day in early September, that we will never forget.  I had just returned from a six-mile run, the first time that I ever wondered about possibly running a marathon someday.  I ran early as soon as the girls left for school.  And then, I hunkered down to get some editing and writing done.  The phone rang.  It was my mother.  “Where’s Bill?”  she asked frantically.  “In Des Moines on business,” I said.  “Why?”

“Just turn on your television!”  And with that, she hung up the phone.

Eleven years ago.  9/11.  It was an ordinary school day that changed our lives.

When the tragedy was unfolding, there were those heroes who rose to the occasion, helping their co-workers, sacrificing their lives for utter strangers, and providing help.  There was not time to prepare for action.  It was time to move.  This was for what they had been equipped.  Some of them just didn’t realize it.

On an airplane over Pennsylvania, a group of passengers also discovered what was going on.  They rushed the hijackers in the cockpit, fully knowing the logical outcome, to save those they did not even know.  “Let’s roll,” Todd Beamer said without hesitation.  Just months later, his widow Lisa wrote:  “Todd built his life on a firm foundation so that when the storm came on September 11 he didn’t have to check the blueprints to see if everything he had built his life on was going to stand.  He knew.”

Six days after the plane crash, Lisa visited the site in Shanksville, Pa.  In her book Let’s Roll, she wrote: “Todd isn’t here!” I said as much to myself as anyone else who might be listening.  I knew at that moment, without a doubt, that everything Todd and I believed and lived for was true.”

A few weeks after the disaster as I was reading My Utmost for His Highest, a devotional book from the early 1900s, I flipped back to the entry for September 11.  The passage started with:  “Ministering as Opportunity Surrounds Us.  This does not mean selecting our surroundings, it means being very selectly God’s in any haphazard surroundings which He engineers for us.”  I thought of Todd Beamer and others who God had strategically placed that day. 

And then, I was startled by the timeliness of the last sentence:  “If we do not do the running steadily in the little ways, we shall do nothing in the crisis.”

I know enough about running marathons to know that it is gradual intentional training that gets one to the finish line, not an occasional  sprint, but running the long hard distance  when the weather is far from ideal and the pavement is endless and lonely.  In life, it is the little decisions and daily situations that build up character, those times when no one is around, those times when we must make a hard choice.  It is in the dailyness of life that our relationship with God is deepened, the dailyness that equips us for the crises of life.  Daily Bible reading and prayer strengthen one’s spiritual muscles.  We cannot know how  - or when - God will use us, but we can be assured that He will. 


Despise not

    the day of small things.

                Zechariah 4.10

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dog-Eared Pages

To run the best race you can, to give it everything that is in you, and win -- that is glorious.

To run the race, to give your best and lose  --that’s painful.

But it is not failure.

Failure is refusing to run the race at all.

                  --John Ortberg

                    If You Want To Walk On Water,

                    You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat

                    p. 147

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Bread Also Rises

It was only after we returned from our honeymoon 32 years ago, that I realized I may actually need to learn to cook. 

My husband, on the other hand, was already a whiz in the kitchen.  When he was eight, he was the oldest of six children, and so, learning to cook was just part of being in his family, along with troubleshooting engine problems, changing the oil in the car, installing new brakes, and rewiring every appliance in the house.  My mother-in-law remembers vividly my husband at age FIVE pushing a chair up to the stove and preparing grilled cheese sandwiches for his siblings.  Every chore and household activity in that family transcended age or gender.  All four boys are skilled gourmet cooks to this day, even at times still out-doing each other, competing with incredible cuisine.

But I came from a family of cans and boxes.  In the 1950s, when prepared foods suddenly became the rage, my domestically-challenged mother became a true believer in all that was processed and could be heated on the stovetop.  Cooking, and any other domestic pursuit, was only a secondary consideration to my parents.  In their eyes it was relegated to the same substandard level as playing board games, a waste of valuable time, when you could be conquering a challenging passage in a Mozart sonata or inventing something world-shaking in a laboratory.  As I grew up in an era before the term “fast food” was even invented, Chef Boyardee and Betty Crocker were like family members in our kitchen.  “Just add water” was about as difficult as a meal required.  And you wouldn’t believe how many ways a can of Cream of Mushroom soup could be used.

And so, I began my marriage with a wild culinary adventure, starting first by utilizing Bisquick in everything from appetizers to homemade pizza.  I actually now enjoy the challenge of a new recipe (see my previous posts on French cooking).  Grasping a new cookbook the other day, a gift from one of my daughters, I attempted to make a loaf of artisan bread, which has eluded all my previous attempts at baking.  The resulting dough looked like something that emerged out of a swamp, but I followed through and hoped for supernatural intervention.  I was like a little kid, looking in the oven window, watching it carefully as the timer ticked down.  The aroma transformed the kitchen into a French bakery.  It even looked like a boule from a patisserie.  But when we sought to slice it, Bill needed his chain saw.  It was dense and so heavy I could have used it for a door stop, not quite what I had in mind.  In his always-present graciousness, Bill suggested that it would make great toast in the morning.

So faced yet again with defeat, yesterday I tried again.  I followed the recipe step by step, making sure my measurements were accurate.  I even carried my little kitchen timer with me like I was pacing a marathon runner, marking the rising time to the minute.  When the oven was ready, in my excitement I forgot to slash the top like a real artisan loaf, but I hoped for baking mercies on that account.  I couldn’t even watch.  When the timer beeped, I placed the rotund brown loaf on a cooling rack.  To my delight, the bread rose to the occasion.  And the loaf stared at me the rest of the afternoon like a Christmas present waiting to be unwrapped.

That evening for supper, we sliced the bread for sandwiches.  And this child who grew up on tasteless Wonder bread made an endearing loaf, crunchy and French.  “This,” my husband said, “is really good bread.”  A pathetic victory, perhaps in your eyes, but for me, well, I can’t wait to do it again.

God redeems our shortcomings, multiplies our hard work in all things, and equips us for the next challenge in our journey.  He uses even what seems insignificant for His glory.  Even that we cannot yet see.  Even what seems of little account as making a loaf of bread.


Fear not, for I am with you,

be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you,

I will help you,

I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.

                                          Isaiah 40.10

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mud and the Art of Lawn Maintenance

Long, long ago in a kingdom far away in rural Tennessee, we moved into a house so new, it still smelled like freshly-sawn wood.  And the yard…well, the yard wasn’t yet.  The house appeared to be an island floating on a bare and uneven terrain of dirt, weeds and construction debris.  The builder assured us, no problem, she would send out a guy to clean up and seed the area around the house.  “You are just going to have to keep sprinklers going, if the lawn is going to take root,” she admonished us.  Before the grass guy appeared, we were called out of town to attend the funeral of Bill’s grandmother, driving two days through a blizzard with our almost-two-year-old daughter strapped for twelve hours in her car seat.  And I was at that time “great with child” with our second baby.

When we returned, sure enough, straw covered our yard.  It was my job, between unpacking boxes, to move the sprinklers every couple of hours.  All day, every day,  I wobbled along with my huge growing belly, my feet squishing through the mud up to my ankles.  I was motivated, knowing the southern summer heat was coming (and so was this baby) and that we had a small window of time to get this grass growing and established.  One week went by.  “Give it time,” Bill told me.  I kept the sprinklers moving like I was playing a huge game of checkers.  Two weeks, and still not a blade.  “It’ll come,” said my patient husband.  I intensified my efforts.  My worn-out running shoes were now encased in thick layers of red Tennessee clay, and they stood in the garage like mud-covered puppies waiting to be walked every two hours.

After three weeks, still nothing appeared but a few weeds standing vulnerable and bewildered like lost tourists.  Bill called the grass guy to find out what we were doing wrong.  “Oh!”  he exclaimed. “As a matter of fact,” he chuckled.  “You know what?  I totally forgot to put in the seed before the hay was scattered.  My mistake.  I’ll be back out next week.”

I was watering MUD for three weeks?!?  There was no fruit from my labors because there was no seed to start with.  I didn’t see any change.  That should have told me something.

Jesus spoke in words that common people could understand.  He illustrated profound spiritual truths by using visuals such as water, sheep, fruit, and even types of soil.  “The seed is the Word of God,”  Jesus explained (Luke 8.11).  It is how we grow.  There are no roots and no fruit, if first the seed is not planted and nurtured.  The Word is what transforms the landscape of our lives, what roots us spiritually, and in turn, bears fruit to bless the lives of others. 

I cannot create transformation, but I can incorporate God’s Word in my life, reading each morning or evening, musing on what I have read, and taking a verse with me into my day.  And through it, God changes me. 

As your autumn begins to fill up with new urgencies, do not neglect to seed your life daily with that which bears spiritual fruit.  You will never know how radically different your life can be, nor how profoundly it will impact everyone around you.  God’s Word transforms you inside and out.


And as for that in the good soil,

they are those who hearing the Word,

hold it fast

in an honest and good heart,

and bring forth fruit with patience.

                               Luke 8.15


The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the Word of our God will stand forever.

                                Isaiah 40.8

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

…And Anything Else

I was reading a children’s devotional book to my two-year-old granddaughter one afternoon this summer, when suddenly I had to hop up to save her fast and mischievous little brother and my kitchen from destruction.  She followed me into the kitchen, still looking at the pages and “reading” out loud.  “And thank You, God, for mommy and daddy.”  She paused to turn a page.  “And thank You, God, for my little brutha.”  Turned another page. 

“And thank You, God, for anything else.”

I love the heart of trust that God has granted to this little one.  She has no question in her heart that God is good and gracious and holds her in the palm of His hand.  She knows that life is so much bigger than she is, that she is sometimes too short to know what is going on, and that there are reasons for things (“but why, gramma?” she says a hundred and thirty times a day).

I look at her and listen to her and God reminds me Whose child I am.

Thank you, God, for what you are doing, for what I cannot understand, and what I can’t even see…  and anything else.


He does great things which we cannot comprehend.

                                              Job 37.5

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How Change Happens

Molded by the world,

or molded by the Word.


Do not be conformed to this world

but be transformed

by the renewal of your mind,

that you may prove

what is the will of God,

what is good

        and acceptable

        and perfect.

                     Romans 12.2