Monday, June 29, 2009


Today's been a day of inner turmoil and wrestling, and I am weary. But the struggle is over, the fear is finally gone and I'm left with peace.

This journey of trusting God is not easy. Especially when I've spent most of my life afraid. I have legitimate reasons for my fears. People don't become afraid just for the heck of it. There's usually something that causes fear or mistrust.

I used to believe that God got angry or frustrated with me when I couldn't trust Him. How could I not trust Him -- He died for me! Needless to say, that didn't help any. Because then I not only felt just as mistrustful, but ashamed as well.

Thankfully, that has been changing. I've seen enough of God's heart in the last few years that I trust Him to be okay with it when I don't trust Him. He understands why I'm afraid and He knows what He's going to do about it.

Gentleness disarms me.

When I finally stopped pacing and became still enough to look into those eyes of love, I saw such gentleness and truth, and the cold fear began to melt away. Nothing has changed in my circumstances, the challenges remain. But He is here with me, and I am trusting.

"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Girl Time

This weekend my son is away at his very first middle school retreat. I'm sure he's having the time of his life!

Meanwhile, my daughter and I are spending our time doing girly things. Last night, I introduced her to "The Sound of Music". It was so much fun watching it together. I haven't seen that movie since I was in my teens. (Is it my imagination or has Captain Von Trapp gotten better looking in the past 20 years? I used to think he was so OLD -- way too old for romance. Ha! What did I know?)

This evening, we packed a picnic supper and drove out to the beach with the windows down and the radio up. The beach was practically deserted. We walked along the shore collecting seashells and singing "My Favorite Things."

There were so many shells, thousands of them. It struck me that each one used to house a tiny life perfectly formed by the Creator. So many little creatures who lived out their days unseen and unknown except by One who delights in them. And yet how much more does He delight in us, we who are His "Favorite Things? "

As darkness crept in, together we sat eating our sandwiches, listening to the steady pound of the waves. Then we packed up our treasures of shells and drove home in the deepening night -- a perfect ending to a special day.

"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zeph. 3:17

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Glass Doors

I sat in my living room this morning, sipping coffee and looking out sliding glass doors at my backyard alive with life. Bees gathering their morning quota of pollen from tiny white flowers, yellow butterflies dancing on the hillside and playful lizards chasing each other across the patio.

My attention was caught by a tiny chameleon clinging to the partly open screen door. I've never seen one so small. He was cute as he hung there gazing around, enjoying his lofty position.

Then I saw him peering intently at the glass door. He seemed to be noticing the inside of the house. You could almost see the wheels turning in that little brain. He decided to jump inside. I watched as he crouched and then took a flying leap, hit the glass door and bounced to the ground, stunned.

Quickly gathering the tattered remnants of his dignity, he came back to the door, peering in, nose to the glass. I waited to see if he would make a second attempt. Although he jumped back onto the screen, and kept looking inside, he kept his distance, seeming content to remain outside where he belongs.

You know how much God enjoys drawing our attention to everyday things and then using them to speak truth to our hearts? He did that this morning with me.

I was unaware of this, but I've been like that little chameleon. I see where I want to be, I see the things I want and long for. But God has a glass door in the way. He has put these limitations in place. As long as I keep striving towards my heart's desire, I keep hitting that glass door and only get bruised and frustrated in the process.

But like He showed me this morning, there's a whole world waiting here for me to explore and enjoy. It's time to turn away from that closed door and begin to live. One day, He may quietly open the door and invite me inside. Until then, I will trust Him for the future and be content.

"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you."
Psalm 116:7

Sunday, June 21, 2009


To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"True surrender is not an easy out, calling it quits early in the game. This kind of surrender comes only after the night of wrestling. It comes only after we open our hearts to care deeply. Then we choose to surrender, or give over, our deepest desires to God. And with them we give over our hearts, our deepest selves. The freedom and beauty and rest that follow are among the greatest of all surprises"
- John Eldredge

"You have made known to me the path of life, You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. " Psalm 16:11

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cooking 101

One of our goals as a family this summer is for my kids to learn to cook. We've already ventured into the culinary world with things like pancakes, french toast and mac 'n cheese (if that counts.) But my kids want to broaden their horizons a little. So the other day, my daughter and I made biscuits. Actually, she made them and I supervised and helped out as needed.

Rolling out the dough was a challenge, but my little baker did great!

Fresh homemade biscuits hot from the oven! Yum!
They were delicious with some butter and cherry preserves.

We've also checked out a cookbook for kids from the library and have been eagerly browsing the recipes trying to decide which ones we'll try first. Yesterday, we had strawberry-orange yogurt popsicles. Perfect for a hot summer's day. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you, He rises to show you compassion." Isaiah 30:18

Sometimes the things that impact us deeply are the most difficult to put into words.

This morning I read that verse. As I pondered it, I realized that I don't know what it looks like for God to show me compassion. They say that a father reve
als God the Father to his kids, for better or worse -- that's the picture of the Father they end up with. I don't ever remember my dad showing me compassion. Even though I've always known he loved me, I don't have a visual picture of my father being compassionate to me.

I wrestled with this verse. In honesty with God,
I told Him I can't relate. I believe these words are true, but I just don't know what it looks like. So I asked Him to show me.

Some hours later, I got this picture in an email from a friend. As soon as I saw this soldier holding this little girl, I realized what I was seeing. God is showing me what compassion is in such an amazingly vivid way.

I'm like that little girl. I've been through some heavy battles and I'm just as scared and hurt and weary as she is. And God cradles me in His lap and aches with me. He knows that I have nothing and I just need to be held in tenderness and loved.

Today I caught a glimpse of what compassion is like. My Daddy has compassion for me.

"The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made." Psalm 145:8.9

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


"The thing we look at is the thing we see." - Hannah Whitall Smith

In the busyness of the past week, my gaze has gradually become filled with lesser things. There is nothing inherently wrong with these things -- they are all worthy objects of attention. But inside, in my soul, this distracted gaze began to produce a restless emptiness and disastrous introspection until I found myself sinking in discouragement and doubt.

In kindness, the Lord spoke into my internal chaos with the gentle reminder that I wasn't looking at Him. Such simple truth, yet so profound! As long as He alone fills my gaze, my heart is at rest in quiet trust. Everything else falls into place.

"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD, and to seek him in his temple." Psalm 27:4

Thursday, June 11, 2009

1000 Gifts

I've been inspired by Ann at Holy Experience to join the Gratitude Community of 1000 Gifts. (Thanks, Ann!)

I am thankful for . . .

1) good morning hugs from sleepy-eyed darlings

2) playful green lizards amusing me with their antics on the back patio, reminding me of the gift of fun

3) pure, clean water readily available any time I'm thirsty

4) treasures of writings from long-ago saints

5) the company of good friends

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1,2

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


When I was a child, my family lived on the Guaviare River in Colombia. El Rio Guaviare is a wide, muddy, lazy river that snakes through the heart of the rainforest. I doubt it could be considered a dangerous river unless you happen to fall in. (The piranha, stingrays, anacondas, caimans and various other wildlife would present a few dangers.) But even in rainy season, when the river swells to flood stage, the current is relatively slow and there aren't any rapids, making it easy to canoe. It's my kind of river.

It's my kind of life.

But God is inviting me to join Him on another river, another kind of life. His river is more like the Colorado with its hidden boulders, turbulent whitewater, dangerous currents -- the kind of river only someone a little insane would dream of canoeing.

This is where the wildness of God collides with His tenderness. Can I trust Him? Will He really keep me safe no matter what happens?

I'm sitting here in His canoe, still tied up at dock, drifting slightly in the current but not going anywhere. I look at Him and He grins at me. He knows the dilemma I'm in and can appreciate the struggle. He waits for my answer.

Will I leave the shore and launch out with Him on this wild adventure? The water is calm here but I can hear the roar of rapids in the distance. It's going to be scary. There are so many unknowns, so many dangers. I won't be in control.

My heart hesitates, undecided.

He leans forward and whispers, "Dear heart, I made this river. I know every rock, every eddy, every rapid. I keep you safe, you will not drown. I know when to take you out of your comfort zone into the raging waters, and when to steer you aside to the quiet places for rest. I will overcome your fears with My strength. Will you trust Me?"

Monday, June 8, 2009

Through 11 year old eyes

I love this photo. My son took it earlier today.

He was bored so I sent him outside with the camera. Here's what else he came back with:

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I've been offline for a few days -- internet problems. It's made me aware of how attached I've become. (I refuse to use the word "addicted.")

It's easy to forget how dependent we are on something until we don't have it. Check the weather? Can't. Look up that recipe? Can't. What's the capital of Gambia? Not a clue.

And then there's the whole people connection thing. Suddenly I had so many emails I wanted to write, people I wanted to catch up with, facebook, blogging -- yeah, not happening! When I called my ISP, they promised a guy would come out Sunday afternoon.

In the meantime, my kids and I spent a quiet, rainy weekend playing games, building a fort in the living room, watching movies from the library. It was fun. And while there were a few wistful glances cast in the direction of the computer, it didn't take long for me to find something else to do.

The tech guy showed up today right on time, spent a few minutes fiddling around with things and said I was good to go. I gave him a hug, thanked him profusely and waved like crazy till his truck was out of sight. (Okay, so I didn't hug him or wave. But I think he could tell I was deeply grateful.)

It's wonderful to be connected to the world again. Strange though, now that I'm back online, I find I really h
ave nothing much to say.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Small Joys

A friend of ours took my son fishing a few weeks ago. Although at the time he didn't catch anything, he loved it! Thanks to our generous friend, my son now has his own fishing rod and tackle box .

Last week, we went to a park nearby for a picnic supper and for my son to try out his new fishing rod in the lake. Unfortunately, a storm blew up and he only got a few casts in before we had to dash for shelter.

Ever since then, he's been begging me to take him to the lake again but it hasn't worked out. Finally, the other day I suggested he fish in the creek that runs by our house, and he could cut up a tilapia fillet for bait.

He was not five minutes out fishing in the creek when I heard the doorbell ring. There he stood proudly holding his first catch ever -- a small catfish. His sister and I were very impressed.

Now he can't wait to get home from school so he can go fish the creek some more. He's caught 6 fish in the last 2 days. (Apparently, the local fish love tilapia.) So far, everything has been too small to eat. (Although, I could cut them all up and make fish stew like we did in the village. Not a bad idea!)

It made me think. In the ordinariness of our lives, it can be those simple things close to us that give us the greatest joy if we only have the eyes to see.

"For You make me glad by Your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of Your hands." Psalm 92:4

Monday, June 1, 2009


There are times when God seems to carve out a space for Himself in the busyness of the day. He pulls us aside for something different -- something special He wants to do or say.

This morning, He patiently overcame all the pressures of my to do list with His whisper, "Come, be with Me."

So I went, (not very graciously, I'm afraid.) He waited till my mind was finally quiet enough and then asked me to draw a picture of how I see myself. Hmmn, interesting request.

I grabbed some paper and my daughter's crayon box and began to draw. It's funny how, when you pick up a crayon, things inside that you haven't looked at in a while begin to come out. I won't share my drawing. It's a little sad.

But when I was done, He asked me to get another paper and draw how He sees me. I looked in the box, grabbed a crayon and began to color. One after another, color after color, with each new shade, He told me what it meant. I wrote the meaning on the back.

This is the picture.

I won't tell what He said -- it's too intimate. But as I colored and God whispered the meanings, some hurts that were hidden deep within, were touched with love and healed. Oh, the amazing beauty and tenderness of God! More than we can ever imagine.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61:1