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Showing posts from April, 2012

Hope Questions

Eileen Sommi, an encouraging friend and wonderful writer, recently composed a month-long devotional specifically for our church body.  I’m running a little behind (okay, more like sixteen days behind), but for good reason, I think:  I’m stuck on a question from Day One.  It is turning out to be a very important question.
The entry is based on the account of Moses sending a dozen leaders to scope out Canaan, a land God has already vowed that Moses and his followers will inhabit.  You’ve heard of it I’m sure:  the Promised Land. (Scary/funny sidebar:  I’m baffled by how it is that in over four decades I’ve managed to completely miss the significance of that title.  Go figure.)
It’s strange enough that God’s people can’t simply waltz in and take possession of what they’ve been promised.  For some reason, though, they'll have to fight for it.  And, according to the leaders who report back to Moses and the others, it’s going to be quite the battle.  If I were the Israelites, I’d be a lit…

Together

A comfortable chair.  A cool drink.   
Time, space, quiet—all reserved for conversation. 
And, of course, friends.  The ones who ask questions my heart longs to answer.
“How is your week?”
Comparing crazy springtime schedules.  
Laughter at the barely-surviving.
Celebrating the sometimes-thriving.  
 “How is your family?”
A glimpse of maturity in a ten-year-old’s talk.
A glimmer of God-hunger in an almost-middle-schooler.
A son’s frustration after an at-bat gone south.
A daughter’s question that would tug at any mother’s heart.
A spouse in a season of mostly-happy exhaustion, pouring out his very  life for others.  For us.
Moments to rejoice over, to be sad about, to gather strength for.

Shared.

“How are you?”
Words, fast at first, then slowing, mixed with pauses for deep, keeping-composure breaths.
Long pause. 
“How can I pray?”
Heart-mending miracle of another’s words articulating what can’t quite be said.
These are the questions.  These are the responses.
This is where hands can stop and heart can spea…

Redbuds

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{First:  Sheppard Tucker captured the amazing image you see here.  Thank you, sweet Sheppard!!} 


When my heart is almost saturated with February’s cold and damp, I remember, and begin my watch.
Soon they make their springtime entrance, taking my breath away. Scrawny branches, previously brown and bare, show tiny pink-violet buds peeking out into chilly air.  Nearly imperceptible at first, their color becomes a glorious magenta shout reverberating against the piercingly blue late-March sky.  

One glimpse of these blossoms speaks straight to my soul.  They tell of transformation.  Of possibilities.  Of rebirth.  Of breath-stealing splendor springing from what just yesterday looked little more than barren.


Reawakened by this burst of beauty, this blessed reminder, my heart sings their song, rejoicing in the fresh Word that is spring.

Then, almost as quickly as it came, the color is gone. Startling red-purple blossoms turn to quieter green.  Foliage whispers, leaves rustling in the sun-warmed …

Hope Resurrected

Ever since I became a mother, holidays make me nervous.  Oh, the pressure of making it special.  Of seeing my family smile.  Of fulfilling an expectation that may (or may not) have been mentioned.
I have good reason to be anxious:  there have been a few flops.  When that happens, it really stinks.  For the one who’s disappointed, and for me.
Of course, my kids are so resilient . . . . they bounce back in a matter of minutes.
Me?  Not so much.
Each and every one of those little special-occasion-missteps reminds me of one of my favorite fears:  it’s the “I’m-not-such-a-great-mom-and-my-kids-are-eventually-gonna-wish-they-were-born-to-someone-else” fear.  
Maybe you don’t suffer from this particular phobia.  But I’m inclined to feel its grip from time to time.  And trust me: it ain’t pretty.
When I make mistakes on the job, my colleagues probably aren’t all that surprised.  Neither are my friends, my family members, or my husband:  they’re all pretty well-acquainted with my shortcomings.  I’v…

Saturday

“Waiting, waiting for something to happen . . . .”
Many years ago, I wrote this to describe my own unmet longing. 
The wait was for a spiritual experience I’d heard about from so many.  That moment when they’d recognized, without a doubt, God’s presence.  A moment transformed from defeat to victory, from pain to joy, from shame to forgiveness.  A moment accompanied by the overwhelming, even palpable sense (“I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt”) of His presence, His activity, His being “for” them.  A life-changing, pivotal moment after which a life was never the same. 
A moment that served as proof-positive of the Divine existence, of the Father’s love, of His gracious, merciful, undeserved approval. 
A moment I still wonder whether I await, twenty years later.
I’ve known the symptoms:  The knot in the pit of my stomach.  The overwhelming sense of His nearness.  A flash of unexpected insight.  A “word.”  Chillbumps. Tears.  Elation. 
Sooner or later, though, the symptoms subside.  The…

Friday's Miracle

Light

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Light.
Sometimes I don’t get as much as I want.
As much as I think I need.
Often I walk this dusty, winding, pebble and rock-strewn path during nighttime hours.  When I do, the moon-and-star-glow coming from the navy-blue sky illuminates, but only a little bit.   
My eyes see outlines, shadows against the horizon's darker background, and I’m not confident of what they are.   
My vision is limited.  
The darkness seems big.  Bigger than the moon.  Bigger than the stars.  Bigger than me.
But the lamp at my feet is enough for at least the next step.  Or two. 
And that is enough light for now.