Sunday, January 20, 2013

Not Forsaken

I hear my heart in raw emotion, ask in desperation a question that sounds almost brash, a question I know the answer to. But I just need to hear - hear with my ears, with my heart, the answer to it once again. 
"God," I say, forgetting for a minute what a privilege it is to even come this close, to address the King.
"God, do you know? Do you know what it is to feel alone?"
And then I see a Man on a cross.
Arms are wide open.
The dirt around is a mess. I sit in it, next to a crude hole they carved to put wood in.
Wood that holds my Savior.
And I hear Him. His voice is an invitation. It is tender.
He does. "I do."
"I felt what it is to be completely..."
My tears turn in an instant to tears of awe. From the same eyes, but flowing to a different dry dirt bed of my heart.

"I did feel it. Once.
So that you never, 
have to experience what it is 
to be truly alone."

And I am the woman in the dirt of the street, the Rabbi's dusty feet before me, finally - finally - giving me a reason to raise my eyes. "Where are your accusers?" They have left, but I am not alone.

And I am Jacob, pleading with everything in me, weeping with cries that the Angel not leave me bereft, not leave me alone without His touch. 

And I am Esther, surrounded by foreign people, without a clue in the world what will happen next, a faithful Friend pacing watchfully outside my window.

So if you, like me, only know the next step, remind your heart not to fear, because He cares for you. The whole road is not your job to plot. It is so tempting to grumble that you are the only one - the only one walking this particular way. But it's not true - you do not walk alone. Obey Him, walk with Him, and trust Him. He knows the rest, and tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Remember? He told you not to worry.

Think of how many, the great cloud, who have gotten to the end and sung: "Jesus led me all the way."

I will too.

[Mahalia Jackson, singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone.' One of my Dad's favorites.]

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Philos Sophie

I guess you might say I went back to college today.

Does a night class and a weekend class at a local community college count? I suppose it does.

On a fairly last minute whim (and as a result of my other class option getting canceled), I decided to take a Philosophy course that is required for graduation at the school where I plan on receiving my degree.

Philosophy. The word itself means "love of wisdom." How awesome is that?

I preached to my windshield the whole drive home. When I look at the class, I'm excited for myself. I take it as a personal challenge to search the Scriptures and learn from the Lord. When I look at my classmates, I'm burdened to pray. I can't imagine being presented this material without a firm believe in the God of all truth.

Back to "love of wisdom." I have to admit, I'm just a little giddy over thinking about how by that definition, Solomon, and Paul, and David in his pursuit of the love of the Lord were philosophers.

My professor told us today that the point of studying philosophy was to find out what we think, to find out who we are.

How very empty.

I want to go the way the men of old - my heritage in Christ - went. They had a revelation of truth, and loved that wisdom of God. They met a Man, in whom was hidden all the riches of wisdom and knowledge, and they loved Him.

I am so very thankful tonight for that which is. With Him is no variation or shadow due to change. His truth is just that - truth. It will not change. Man's puny opinions don't affect it or change it. A class puts a label of "ethics" or "morals" on something and misses the reality of it:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes...
{Psalm 19}

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Tomorrow I wake up to a new decade.

Most birthdays cause you to separate your life into years. The year I graduated high school, the year I went to college, the year I'll get married, and so on and so forth. But this time, this 2012, I can't get decade off my mind.

In a week I'm ducking back into school with a long-term goal that I expect to take up most of this next ten years. Perhaps this is what is making tomorrow feel so big. Or maybe 2 is just better than 1.

I feel as if I'm standing on a wide cliff, overlooking the largest expanse, wind whipping my hair back, with noise around and the quiet of God within. I couldn't tell you exactly what sits on that expanse, or which place I'll be one year...ten years from now.

The Lord has massaged my heart into this dreaming. Gently, bit by bit, he's drawn me a little farther, and a little farther, like a sheep learning a new path. Six months ago, ten years sounded like my whole life. Today, I see Jesus in a carpenter shop, spending his "twenties" in a small town with rough hands.

I imagine Him abiding. Working hard. Having the hope. Filled with joy, knowing that His Father works all things together for the good of the one He has called to His purpose.

Vingt. Viente. Venti. Twenty.

Good morning, Twenties. May you be filled with the zeal of the Lord, the knowledge of His will, the love of God, and the patience of Christ.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Consider the Lilies

Alright, this is going to sound strange, so I'm going to come right out and say it.

I realized yesterday morning that I have been envious of flowers.

Goodness gracious me. You'll only read that sort of thing here.

Yesterday was a holiday, in case you forgot to celebrate. I celebrated by sleeping in (woohoo), drinking Kona Vanilla Macadamia Nut coffee (woohoo), and sitting in a sunny kitchen with my Bible and my journal. I think I've explained this phenomenon before, but it's quite a special occasion when I simply sit with my journal and write down my thoughts. I have a need for speed (goodness gracious me - that's my new saying, can you tell? - if that isn't the truth) and the fact that my brain goes faster than my hand can scroll frustrates me. Thus the plight of a journal that contains about 10% of the material it's meant to.

I sat, captured by Psalm 63.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
And my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
When I remember you upon my bed,
And meditate on you in the watches of the night;
For you have been my help,
And in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
Your right hand upholds me.
"My soul will be satisfied." There it was, plain and simple. Satisfaction. In the midst of work, and swirl, and fatigue, and a special Get-Better diet, and friends moving away, and "What is my destiny?" questions: my soul will be satisfied. That was worth pulling out the journal.

Then, when I pulled out the journal, I wrote more than that. I started jotting down the little things about my morning, things to notice, things to remember and be thankful for. Cream in my coffee, and the prospect of a quiet afternoon at a coffee shop, and a small victory over offense. Then, out of nowhere:
"Why do I not have the patience for gardening?"
Gardening? Through the French doors to our back deck, I could see our neighbor-boy, who helps us plant and take care of the beauty we have little-to-no knowledge of what to do with. He was planting a row of garden, and I realized that I don't envy him at all. In fact, I have absolutely no idea how he enjoys doing that.

{Christina is staring at her computer right now in disbelief. For the record, Christina, I love your roses.}

What a horrid thing to say: "I dislike gardening." Literally, stand me next to a patch of ground and ask me about it, and I want nothing more than to go for a run, a sprint even, right then and there. See, I told you this was going to sound strange. But it was real, oh so real.

How could a girl possibly find herself sitting in a sunny kitchen, looking out at petite impatiens, and overflowing pots of white gold, and the crown of them all: orange, trumpeting calla lilies, and think to herself that she is envious of flowers?

Flowers do nothing. Maybe this is not news to you. They get to be beautiful, and adored, and enjoyed, and they put not even a miniscule amount of effort into it. Completely and totally, they are cared for. Whether by your watering hand, or by the Lord pouring sweet drops of life on them, they are given life and they display it beautifully.

I felt the whisper: "Consider the lilies." The pages fell to Matthew 6, and the brims of my eyes had liquid company.

"And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" {ESV - Matthew 6}
In the past week, I have been feeling the pull to sit and love, and be loved. One of the most frustrating parts of being sick is that I want to go so very badly. We've discussed this, I have a need for speed. I want to move to Southeast Asia, and travel to Vermont, and drive down the street to play with my nephews, but some nights I just can't. It is hard for me to sit, and believe that Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me so. Not because I earned it. He just loves me. And if I spend this season recovering, and enjoying the love of the Lord, and loving Him back, that is successful.

Back to the flowers and my kitchen: I hope I'm not the only one who seems to get revelation while writing. Having had such experience, I did what any slightly-tech-connected 21st century young adult would do. I pulled up twitter. Out typed: "Consider the lilies, how He takes great care for them." Next? What comes next? Still sitting in my bright red chair, a bit of coffee left to get cold: "Consider the lilies of His heart, how He takes great care of them."

Then I thought to myself: Wait a minute, is that even Biblical?

Hallelujah for Tim Reimherr, because my next thought was a song: "I am the rose, I am the lily..." Well, it must be Biblical.

Sure enough, "He grazes among the lilies." Me. You. We have a caretaker, an overseer, a provider.

As sentimental as it sounds, you and I are "lilies" before the eyes of the Lord. Delicate creations that He takes personal responsibility for "clothing." Think the clothes of joy, the clothes of salvation, the clothes of strength...

So if you're like me, struggling to simply live the truth that the greatest of these is love...

consider the lilies.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blessed is He whose Help is the Lord.

What a journey this is. What a journey.

Yesterday, I drove up and down my favorite Kansas City street, one lined with overhanging trees and not guarded by quite so fierce a speed limit. Suddenly in a different world, my thoughts wander to a conclusion: "Pain doesn't kill you. When you lean upon the Lord..."

Christina and I text back and forth through our week, finding comfort that we're not the only one learning what it means to press on toward the goal, through underbrush of trials, and despite the pain, and past the bog of doubt. He who promised is faithful...

And I sometimes sit in a room full of people and feel like I'm the only one, until the whisper of the Holy Spirit: "I am here. I am here, and I know."

Then suddenly, there's a phone call and I hear that a dear friend's world has been ripped in two, and my pain seems so small, but I still believe it's true for the both of us: "Pain doesn't kill you. When you lean upon the Lord..."

Sometimes there's a shame in admitting to being in pain. It's easy to believe the lie that you're a failure at victorious living, simply for the fighting to keep your eyes wide open, turned toward the Bright and Morning Star.

But the fight...the fight does not make you a failure. The trial is a learning process, the trial cannot be wished away, the existence of trial is thoroughly Biblical.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds."
"Though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials..."
"For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."

It is not about the pain, but it is about the hope. The Hope who is alive. The Hope to whom I lift my eyes, my Help. Always a Rock, strong on my behalf. He nevers fails, He is ever strong.

I am thankful. Thankful, for He is teaching me to lean upon Him. Lean hard, friends. Lean completely.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


***I was thinking this morning about how writing in my journal could possibly be the best way to chronicle what the Lord has taught me through this time; what if lovely blog-readers don't want to hear all about being sick? But alas, I was made for speed, and while I love keeping a journal - the look of pages filled with writing and memories of the sweet touch of the Lord - the fact that my hand can't loop letters as fast as my brain thinks of words constantly frustrates me. Typing lets my fingers fly. I suppose a balance between the two is not so bad, eh?***

Imagine floating with ocean on every side. You know you want to get to the far-off island, the sandy shore, but you have no paddle, and you know you can't swim all that way. All you can see is water, all around you. The temptation is to succumb to hopelessness, to the fear that because you cannot pull yourself, you shall never arrive. Wind is beginning to blow the blanket around you into hills then mountains of rushing energy.

And then, in a moment, you realize that you are not on the flimsy raft you thought was your seat. All of a sudden, you don't need a paddle. No, no. You're on a sturdy craft, with sureness in its path, leaving loneliness in its wake. There is a Man in the stern, with His arms outstretched, and you hear Him say, "Peace, be still..." and you know. You know. This is not only your journey, it is His, and He is the great Navigator.

I remember the moment, laying in my bed, and all of a sudden knowing I had a choice about what to believe. I am made to tell the ends of the earth about the glory of the Son of God, but right now it's hard to walk down the stairs - how will I get to the nations?

In the midst of sickness, it is so tempting to believe that maybe this is what you are, this will define you. I have had so many conversations with people who have been through chronic illness; to be perfectly honest, that theme of "One day, I just couldn't get out of bed" is my worst fear, even though over the past week or two I have noticed a significant difference in the way I feel. The past few days, I've rolled out of bed, walked to the bathroom, and breathed a sigh of thankfulness that I was able to get up. When my days began being defined by how out of breath I get walking up the stairs, tunnel vision started to set in.

Praise God, His light breaks through. In my heart, these five months have turned from a battle with illness to a battle for my calling, my destiny. Will I be like Abraham, who did not consider his body, which was good as dead (and my goodness, that's a worse situation than I'm in!) but held fast to the promise of God? Do I truly believe that it is God, the KING, who has declared me to be a healer in His power and a messenger? And if God is truly the one who has said it, is it not unchangeable, firm, an unwavering promise? It is impossible for God to lie. What measly little virus can get in the way of the everlasting word of God?

As it turned out, this battle with unbelief began before I got sick, but the physical struggle brought the internal one into the light. I had begun to believe I was "just" a girl, "just" an employee, "just" a story. In the swirl of busyness, I forgot the goal I was working towards, the high calling being spoken from heaven. God has been lifting my eyes to see that I cannot forget, I cannot be satisfied with something less than His fullness.

So I stand, and I know that I don't have to swim to my calling, but I have to believe. Belief. Oh, my friends, unbelief is a liar, a thief. Do not let it steal from you - whatever it is whispering to you, do not put your trust in anything other than the faithfulness of God. If He has said you are Esther, or Abraham, or Joseph, then you are. No matter what the sickness, what the past, what the brokenness.

No sickness can change the unchangeable word of God. No hardship can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, my Lord.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I've mulled over, written and re-written in my head, and tried to make a verbal outline of this post to my sister. At this point I say: let's just jump in and see what happens.

God is close.

One of the most poignant struggles of being physically sick is that of loneliness, at least for me. The simple fact that you are the only person experiencing what is going on in your body is hard enough. I mean, it's obvious, but think about it: you're the only one who knows how you feel. Other people have experienced the same virus and have a similar experience, but day in-day out, I am the only one who knows exactly how I feel.

Actually, that's not true. Herein lies the beauty.

There is no one closer to you than the Holy Spirit. I don't understand, how is it He can be in and through and around me? He fills the spaces in my heart I didn't even know were there and soaks the places I did. He knows my thoughts before I think them, my words before I speak them, and He knows. He knows. He actually knows how I feel.

There is this deep desire in us to walk with someone. Through excitement, through adventures, through pain, through sickness...we want a companion. I'll be honest: now would be an awesome time for a knight in shining armor. I have friends where that is part of their story - in sickness, even specifically with Mono, the Lord used the experience to create an opening for someone to be strong on their behalf, or just sit with them in the long days of fatigue.

There were days I wish I could be carried downstairs because it was hard to walk, but do you know what? I have noticed in this season that the fire of physical trial strips a sort of veil from the Scriptures you didn't even realize was there. All of a sudden you realize: they are very, very practical. One of the most beautiful parts of the Word is how there can be so many layers to one sentence, one passage. Try reading this verse practically:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

There may not have been physical hands lifting me or a tangible arm to lean on, but I tell you: there have been moments where the presence of the Lord physically making my body move has been so real that He may as well have been standing right there.

No matter how close a friend, or a man, could get; no matter how much they care, how much they want to know how I'm doing, they could not come this close. A husband could see me wake in the morning and kneel next to my bed begging for strength for that day, but he could not provide it.

The Most Faithful, the Most High, the Creator of the ends of the earth and of the intricate cells of my body, He has given power to this faint one and increased strength when I literally have no might. I still look for the day when I will run and not be weary, or take a walk and not be faint, but that day is coming, for it is written.

God desires to walk with us. Immanuel, God with us, that is who Jesus is.

Come and walk with me, Jesus.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Schoolroom

I never, ever expected to find myself in the classroom of illness.

I've always been resilient. Always. It seems that maybe part of this whole journey has been to free me from an overabundance of self-confidence of the prideful sort. Maybe, I'm meant to sing a song like Paul's:
For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself...But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
This classroom has held many varied lessons.

Like the arithmetic dividend that Me minus Great Works for God still equals His unfailing, unequivocal love.

Like the vocabulary list, where the meaning of "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day" is learned through daily, practical prayer.

Like the history books, where you can read of Abraham and Paul and Esther and the myriads of others - all those great men and women of faith - who have done this before. Every one, they have all done this.

And the most vibrant lesson? The one that happens moment by moment, whispered prayer by whispered prayer? That of the Teacher. That He is more than a teacher, that these are more than lessons on a page. That He is life to my bones, and companion in my sufferings. Or, more accurately, I am a companion in His, and He has already bought the victory.

Friday, February 25, 2011



Fields with Jesus. Forever.

Red telephone booths in Trafalgar Square.

Une conversation entière en Français, dans la France du sud.

Visit an underground church.

Picking those babies up out of their Romanian cribs and holding them, just holding them.

Tell those Sudanese babies that His Name is Jesus, and He loves them with everything He has.

See someone raised from the dead.

Singing my newborn a song for the very first time.

Play Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu.

Medical school.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Fold that Throw

I was about to start this post by saying that it is 10:10pm, but then the clock turned to 10:11pm. 10:11 is a whole level of cool lower, but I suppose I'm telling you anyways, aren't I?

This reminds me of the fact that my darling niece's clock is broken. BROKEN. It was with great heartbreak that we found this fact out today. Glorie is one of those good kids, the ones who stay in their bed until "seven zero zero." Today her quiet rest was under command to last until "three one five." When she didn't come down at 3:15, my sister went up to check on her and found a teary-eyed punkin' laying on her tummy, little pink alarm clock pulled to just in front of her face, staring. She looked up and moaned: "It's taking so long." The time read 12:33, and had read that same thing for what I assume was the longest quiet rest in the history of forever to that little brain. One Two Three Three! Oh, the injustice of it all.

I didn't make my bed today, and when it was time to get back in it, I found that it just wouldn't do. I quickly assessed the [messy] situation and decided that if I pulled the covers up, then turned them down properly, I would feel much more relaxed upon entry. As I tossed the excess throw aside and moved the computer, a thought came to me: I will never be able to do this to a man once I'm married.

"Honey, can you get up? I need to make the bed."

I just have this feeling he'd say no. Just plain no. And then I have to submit, because that's what wives do, right?

Sigh. This is neither bad news nor good news, I'm just saying that I probably won't be able to do ridiculous things like make a bed at bedtime for no apparent reason at all, because...well, because it's ridiculous.

But I did it anyways, and I'm much more comfortable, thank you very much.


On a health note, things are looking up! I've been waiting for a feeling, the one where it feels like spring deep on the inside, like things are coming alive after a long sleep, and it started yesterday. Actually, Mr. Falkner* prayed for me on Saturday and Sunday I woke up with a definite change in the way I felt. The overarching heavy feeling in my muscles had faded, so I suppose the healing process has been happening for a while! The Lord's touch is so sweet.

I spent the first part of the week completely content sitting in bed, getting up very minimally - such as when my stomach was about to eat itself for need of a cheese stick, that sort of thing. It wasn't even that I felt so overwhelmingly tired or unable to move, but just that I had no need to move, which is strange for me. But yesterday I sat up, downstairs, out of my pajamas (for they needed a wash) and watched a dreamy white landscape form outside. The light pouring through the windows felt like just a sign of what was beginning to go on inside. Yesterday it felt like the Lord was tenderly knitting me back together.

This morning I actually left the house (to go to my sister's house for there were warm cookies awaiting me), wearing jeans. I deserve a trophy. Nevermind I got tired putting on the jeans and laid back on the bed for half an hour waiting for a ride around the corner. It was a success all the same! Tomorrow, I may get visitors. And Jackson's chocolate chip cookies. Yay for me!

*edited to add: I have to name-drop, because everyone who knows Mr. Falkner read that, sat back, let out a deep sigh of joy and had this sort of wonderful calm feeling that happens when one meets a real-deal father in the Lord. :)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Giving It All

I've been reading a novel by Randy Alcorn called Safely Home. To say it's a page turner is an understatement - I think I read 200 pages in 36 hours. It's set mostly in China, with many of the main characters being part of the underground church there.

Reading this book has moved my heart so much to pray for the persecuted church.
"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body." ~Hebrews 13:3 (ESV)
I really think we are called to practically pray for the persecuted church, and to pray for them often.

This morning Dave Sliker tweeted a question: If you could only take 6 chapters of the Bible with you to prison, which six would you take? This question caught my heart, my attention. It is wonderful to love, and by the grace of God, I love these words of life. It took me a few minutes to figure out my answer, but as I picked my supposed six (Ephesians 1&2, 2 Corinthians 4&5, John 15&16), I began to agree with my sister's response to the question: "I just couldn't do it, I think I would die." It feels traumatizing to even think of only having such a small portion of the living Word of God, but I couldn't help but think of our brothers and sisters all across the world who have never had a Bible, who have ever only read a few chapters of it. Lord, break in.

Amy wrote a book about a 3rd century martyr, Perpetua, and every time I have read it (because, oh yes, I have read it several times :) I am forced to ask myself the question: "Am I ready for that? Am I ready to die for the sake of my King?" The answer is usually a peace, the reality that should the Lord ask that of me, He will be there to help my feet walk the road, help my heart sing in the process, there to welcome me home.

The fact that we live in a free country in February of 2011 does not exempt us from preparing our hearts, or asking ourselves: where is my home, who is my King, and do I long for him above anything and everything else?

Monday, January 31, 2011


The whole world is bracing for the storm of the century. I read an NPR...

Hold it right there. I have a question, concerning the use of "a" and "an." I was a good little 3rd grader; I learned that "a" goes before a consonant and "an" goes before a vowel, but what about when you are writing letters, such an "NPR" or "LOL" or "AYKM" (AreYouKiddingMe was very present in our recent holiday celebrations, thanks to my ever-articulate sister-in-law Dorothy)? "NPR" sounds like it begins with a vowel, so it seems like sacrilege to leave a naked "a" in front of it. Oh help. Sister-in-law Dorothy would probably advise me to consult Grammar Girl on the subject. If reading Grammar Girl could make my vocabulary as effervescent as Dorothy's, I would read it all day long, but alas, I fear that it is a gift straight from heaven. I digress.
So I was reading an article on NPR (haha, outsmarted it!) about the fear of the storm, and called down to Amy from snug in my bed:

"Amy, they are really saying we should get ready for the storm! Do we need to do anything?"

A fascinating conversation followed about whether we have enough matches and why our water heater will work but our furnace won't, should our electricity go out. I doubt, but Amy's usually right, so I submit.

Oh please, let our electricity be preserved.

Amy suggested we pull a "Bear Grylls" by making a fire. I introduced her to Man vs. Wild yesterday via Netflix, and I think she's hooked.

Speaking of Netflix, with two weeks of laying in bed and laying on the couch and laying in the chair in front of the fire looming before me, I signed up for the free trial of Netflix. One of the great triumphs in my search of the Netflix vaults was finding that Man vs. Wild is indeed available for viewing. WIN! Watch out, though. Any mention of a movie, and I go to look it up on Netflix. "The Way Back" which a random facebook friend referenced last night, is not able to be watched instantly. I have no idea what that movie's about, and I probably won't ever find out now.

To sum up this post, I will say: there is one thing that a blizzard does not adversely affect, nay perhaps even enhances. That one thing is bedrest. Selah.