Thursday, September 3, 2020
Monday, August 24, 2020
The transformation is complete.
I knew I was about to be transformed, but I thought it would happen with intention and awareness.
Ever since I found out I would be a grandma, I knew my heart was turning to mush.
I anticipated the feelings of overwhelming love.
I thought the transformation would happen when I held my grandchild.
It didn’t take that long…
I sat at outdoor church with my friend, her baby, and three-year-old.
I held the baby and watched her daughter play.
Her daughter found a pile of that soft, cool dirt that feels so nice on your feet.
She’d taken her shoes off and was running her toes through that wonderful dirt.
I encouraged her, “Is it soft? Doesn’t dirt feel good on your feet?”
Her mother wasn’t happy.
I was a little surprised when her parents whisked her away to clean her feet and hands.
I wasn’t surprised they’d do that, but it didn’t occur to me in the moment.
Then she was back in the dirt again, and I smiled, then caught myself.
What am I doing?
They just cleaned her up!
It was at that moment, I realized.
The transformation is complete.
There is nothing a little one can do that isn’t adorable.
They’re precious - especially when they’re covered in dirt when they shouldn’t be.
I didn’t mind.
I’m not mom.
It was a little taste of grandma-life—a spectacular freedom—undeterred by time or decorum or rules imposed by parentals.
The house my kids grew up in, fraught with rules and schedules, and “no,” is now grandma’s house.
The land of “Yes.”
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Many years ago, something strange occurred in my neighborhood.
A minivan parked on my street and a woman sat in the weeds, staring into the field.
I noticed her as I took the kids to the bus stop.
She waved back and continued staring.
She was still there when I came home that afternoon.
The next day another lady parked her car on the street, sat in the weeds, and stared into the field. Curiosity overwhelmed me.
“Excuse me,” I ventured. “What are you doing?” As the words left my lips, they seemed a little abrupt, but I live in a small neighborhood in the country. It isn’t everyday strangers park their car on my street and sit outside in the rain and weeds, staring into a field.
“I’m trying to rescue that dog,” she whispered, pointing.
I hadn’t noticed the dog.
In the middle of the field, a filthy mutt stood alone—his ears and nose raised as he peered above the tall grass.
My kneejerk reaction was to climb through the barbed-wire fence and collect the dog so the lady could get on with her life. Two different women had spent two days waiting for the mutt to . As a busy mom of three teenagers, I couldn’t imagine spending day sitting in the weeds watching a dog, much less two.
Instead, I asked, “Is it your dog?”
“No.” The woman’s eyes didn’t leave the field.
“Whose dog is it?”
“We don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“The dog is timid and won’t allow anyone near. My friend rescues dogs, and we’re trying to gain his trust so we can give him a home.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. But this seemed a little over-the-top as dog rescues go.
The two women spent sitting by the side of the road, staring into the field, waiting. I didn’t bother them—they didn’t to be bothered. Their sole purpose was earning the trust of the dog. They had food, treats, and water. Sometimes I watched them from an upstairs window. The dog inched right next to them, eating from a dish of food. I saw them touch the dog and stroke his back. But even while they had hands on him, they didn’t force him into the car.
Honestly, I honored their patience but questioned their sanity. Who in their right mind would spend literally every hour of daylight for weeks on end to pursue a stray dog? Eventually, they all disappeared. I assumed the women succeeded.
I’d forgotten about the women and the dog until recently. They came to mind, and I chuckled about the seeming silliness of it. Then I heard a whisper…
God offered His take on the situation.
“You know, that’s what I do too.”
My inner chuckling abruptly stopped. I pondered what He meant. God sits in the weeds and waits for us?
Aaaah…yes, He does.
God waits for us to accept His gifts of love, grace, and forgiveness. He is kind. He does not grab us against our will. He is gentle and patient—offering exactly what we need, adoption into His family.
God loves us—he doesn’t leave any of us alone in the field of our unbelief. He wants everyone to have the choice to come to Him—to be rescued—or not. He waits in the weeds, the rain, the wind, in the stench of our filth, guilt, and shame. Do you see Him? Do you hear Him calling your name?
About a week later, the dog reappeared in the field and the ladies to the side of the road. This time, they disappeared after a couple of days. Perhaps the dog was testing them. Do you really want me? Are you really who you say you are? Do you really care about my life? The ladies’ persistence proved their love.
God’s Word says, thankfully, it doesn’t end there.
God proved His love when He sent His Son to die on a cross. He took the penalty for our sin, and all of our shame onto Himself.
On Easter morning, He conquered death and rose from the grave.
Jesus offers us the gift of eternal life. All we have to do is accept it.
We aren’t so different from that dog—we’ve all been a little lost, dirty, hungry, and skeptical. We all need to be rescued. This Easter, as we celebrate mostly alone, know that you are alone. God is reaching His hand to you. The weeds may be tall, but we only have the length of our one precious life to trust Him. Will you?
May you grasp how
Monday, August 26, 2019
She arrived at the grange hall at precisely six o’clock, dressed in her Sunday best.
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
The other day, I copied this verse:
Hebrews 12:13...make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
It spoke to me.
I wasn't sure why.
I use a study bible, but there were no notes on that verse.
Plenty on the verses before and after, but that verse floated in mystery.
After reading it five or six times, I moved on.
But I pondered it that day and the next.
I recently wrote a new little prologue for my novel.
Two pages of fun before the first chapter of the book.
I liked it, but something was missing.
How do I make it fit...make it comfortable?
I prayed about it.
Lord, I know this is right, but it seems out of place just sitting there before the first chapter.
It's a whisper of hope.
My readers need it before diving in.
As I prayed, it hit me...
Start with scripture.
But what verse?
I thought about it.
And then I remembered the verse that jumped off the page.
They jumped and jumped, and I couldn't figure out why.
Now I knew.
My main character has been hurt.
She is nurturing bitterness as a prized possession.
But what does Hebrews 12:13 say?
"Make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather healed."
Knock me down with a feather.
She wants to be healed, but it's become comfortable to hold on to the hurt.
Ouch. Been there, done that.
Will she move to the straight path so what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather healed? You'll have to read the book.
Maybe, just maybe it'll be published one day!
Saturday, June 22, 2019
The striving has to do with forgiveness...
Nurturing bitterness as a prized possession.
We do that.
We protect our hurts.
They're real, after all.
No one would argue they're not
But it doesn't help us to do that.
It stops us.
We cease to move forward and wear ourselves out in the deep mud of striving.
Forgiveness is a thread running through all of our stories.
We've all been hurt.
People are like that.
We hurt each other.
But we hurt ourselves by striving.
I write to tell stories of God's grace,
But as I write, I learn.
I learn about forgiveness when my character forgives someone who's not apologizing.
I feel the burden lift as the words flow onto the page.
She's finally free.
And I ponder...
Am I free?
Forgiveness is the key to unlocking peace that passes all understanding.
Yet we think we're comfortable clinging to our hurts.
We don't know what's possible.
We haven't tasted freedom.
If we don't forgive others, God will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14,15)
If for no other reason...
But there is more to it.
Prying satan's claws off a stronghold.
The lightness of liberty.
Are you clinging to hurt?
Are you tired?
Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10
Let it go and know that He knows.
He saw it all.
And He doesn't want you to carry it any more.
Take His freedom.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Worship time is one of my favorite parts of the church service.
My hands don't reach for the sky when my heart overflows.
I might clap, but only if someone else claps first.
Singing is something I do rather quietly...I think...I hope...
I don't want anyone else to hear me.
I might sway a bit or close my eyes in worship but that's as crazy as I get.
I have a hang-up.
Sometimes I want to raise my hands.
But, I don't.
Partly because I've been annoyed by flamboyant worshippers...
People who disregard personal space and stick their arms in front of others as they reach for the heavens.
And partly because flamboyant worship can be deceptive...and that's all I'll say about that.
(I'm being real here.)
And...I know me.
I don't want to be fake - to raise my hands to appear to be worshipping when my heart isn't in it.
(I might have done that once or twice.)
And I don't trust myself to mean it when I'm in a crowd of my friends and acquaintances.
Just being honest.
But I do have a no-holds-barred cathedral.
No one else is there, yet people are all around.
It's just me, God and whatever worship song is playing.
In my car.
Not every time I'm in my car, but sometimes.
I don't doubt my heart when no one will know and no one but God sees.
I turn up the radio and belt out my praise.
I raise my hand...only one, because Jesus won't LITERALLY take the wheel.
I stop singing at stoplights if it's a crowded intersection.
Then, when the light turns green,
And sing some more...
I don't think I'm the only one.
Is your car a cathedral?
Monday, May 20, 2019
Coffee with Gentlemen (The time I had coffee with scientists and confounded them with a 5-letter word.)
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Sixteen Easters ago,
Our yard was abuzz with eight kids hunting Easter eggs.
It was a beautiful day.
The adults watched and basked in the sun, talking, laughing and enjoying the day.
Then it happened...
A low hum on the horizon.
We looked around, nothing.
The hum grew louder and then the cloud appeared.
A dark mass of bees, like an airborne amoeba slowly moving through the air.
We gathered the kids on the other side of the yard.
It was amazing.
Scary and amazing.
We'd never seen a swarm of bees before.
Then they stopped...in a tree in the yard.
A living, humming blob of bees.
We called a bee wrangler.
He was THRILLED to help us on Easter Sunday.
No, really, he was.
Free bees? He was here in a heartbeat.
We spent our Easter Sunday watching a beekeeper do his work.
It was so interesting.
When he was done, he took his box of bees and went home.
A couple of months later my doorbell rang.
The beekeeper stood on my porch with a jar of honey.
Honey from "our" bees.
I tell this story because I don't want to forget it.
Also, you never know what a day might bring.
This Easter Sunday, keep your eyes and ears open.
Something amazing might be humming on the horizon!
He is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!
Saturday, April 6, 2019
I volunteered (or was I voluntold?) to chaperone at the Youth Group lock-in...an all-night-long party.
On its face, being locked into a church with 50 (yes, 50) teenagers, and staying up all night (translation: do not sleep under any circumstances) to ensure their safety and welfare, sounded a lot like torture.
But I did it anyway.
(This is where I admit that sometimes I volunteer to do things I don't want to do, because deep down, I still struggle with the misconception that I must earn God's favor. For the record, that's a bunch of bunk.)
My attitude wasn't great when I agreed to volunteer a few weeks ago (I might have whined), but as the day approached, my excitement grew...
Not about the stay-up-all-night part, but about the getting-to-know-the-kids part.
So I ordered a quad latte and showed up.
- They're magicians. 17 pizzas disappeared in a matter of minutes.
- They are 50 different stories...interesting, funny, sad, inspiring, hopeful stories.
- Many kids are seeking family (they may not put it that way), because they don't have a stable one. They're looking for a place to belong...to be accepted.
- It's so cool to see 50 kids paying attention...listening intently to the message.
- It's utter JOY to know students were impacted by the message...that it begged more conversation.
- Even shy/insecure/quiet kids will stand up in front of 49 of their peers and SING! (I would NEVER have done that at their age.)
- They're BRAVE. (See #6.)
- They're supportive of each other. They cheer for each other. (See #6 & #7)
- They're HILARIOUS. Oh man. So many kinds of hilarious. One kid took it upon himself to hide water bottles in the most clever places all over the church. Why? Because all night long, every time we found one above a doorframe or in a high windowsill, we laughed. Genius.
- They like to talk to adults (to older adults with gray hair even). Did I, when I was their age? I don't think I did. I don't actually remember adults reaching out to talk to me (it was a different time). And, since I'm on the subject, teens are FUN to talk to. They're interesting, open, curious and kind. They answered my questions...and truth be told, I can be nosy.
- They want someone to be interested in them. (See #10.)
- Some kids do not need caffeine...period...cartwheels at 3am, running at full speed through the church at 4am...I'd like a teaspoon of what they're having, please.
- There are EXCELLENT student leaders in the TGW youth group.
- It is VERY satisfying to be included in their world...in their games.
- It is even MORE satisfying to be sneeringly accused of murder and killed as a result of their utter disdain of your deception while playing their game.
- But it is the MOST satisfying to get away with murder(s), after playing many rounds of Mafia BEFORE being killed.
- It's fun to watch kids include each other, get to know each other and enjoy each other's company hour after hour.
- Sitting makes one tired. Standing or walking or talking helps one stay awake (caffeine at 3:30am doesn't hurt either).
- The dedication of the youth staff is inspiring. They care deeply about the kids. They love them utterly. TGW youth are so very blessed!
- It is BEAUTIFUL to watch kids (who haven't slept) happily clean a great big church after having messy fun all night.
- Laughter makes time go by faster. It was the fastest awake-all-night of my life
- I take great pride in the fact that I did not so much "power nap" for 5 minutes, yet young whippersnappers curled up as early as 1am because they just couldn't stay awake...you snooze you lose. ;)
- My "wall" is 5am. Good to know because I would do this again. I'd stay up all night all over again. They're so worth it.
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