Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


“Insisting that God tell us why is a form of idolatry.  It is, in effect, saying He needs to explain himself so we can decide if we think He’s trustworthy, thus placing the answers above God Himself.  We have enough evidence of His goodness to trust without explanations.”

Boy, is that hard!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It Makes No Sense

Faith means believing in advance 
what will only make sense in reverse.

So many times we've started out on a journey that made no sense to anyone and sometimes not even to us.  But we followed His call and His path for us and trusted that it would all make sense.  One day.

After losing the twins and having another surgery that left me bed-ridden for 10 weeks, we felt God calling us to leave our beautiful 4 bedroom/3 bath home with a big yard and a swing set (that we finally owned and not rented!) and go to Chicago.  It seemed crazy and yet we had such a true sense of peace.  We stored half our belongings and moved the other half to a tiny two bedroom apartment in a northern Chicago suburb.  It felt like we had gone backwards.  We'd been married 10 years and we thought our "lean" years of small apartments and living grocery visit to grocery visit was over.  But God had different plans and we followed Him.  It made no sense.  

And then a few years later, it made no sense when He seemed to be telling me to leave my job in education (after 14 years in public school systems) and go work at a non-profit in downtown Chicago.  It made no sense.  

And then He moved us to California for more schooling (and more tuition debt)...2,000 miles from family.  It made no sense.  But we followed.  

I don't know where we'll end up next but we've promised Him that we'll go wherever He wants us. 

Peace is so much better than being comfortable. 

Even if it makes no sense.  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rejoice, Rejoice!

This song never fails to cheer me up.  You can't help but rejoice when you hear it.  I love modern hymns like this.  HAPPY EASTER!! Rejoice!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Daily Loss

I feel like most people know this and then I talk to someone about it and they're surprised by it and then say, "Oh, yeah, that makes sense".  The loss of a child or loss of the dream of a family with children never goes away. Because with each day, each moment, each holiday, each year...I think about how life would be different if Joseph and Hope had lived. I think about how old they would be. I think about traditions we would have created for each holiday. I think about how life would be different. I think about every milestone that comes in life - learning how to walk and talk, starting kindergarten, birthday parties, becoming a teenager, a first date, graduating from high school and on and on and on.  It doesn't end. At least once a day something happens and I wonder about that moment if they were still here. So while some might think that you can move on and get over it, you really can't. Because every day is a loss. It's not as sharp of a pain as it once was, but it's still a hole in our hearts and lives.

Joseph and Hope would be turning 13 years old today. I grieve what today might have been.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grace Grows Best in Winter

“Why God allows severe trials to enter the lives of His children, even to hedge them about, is one of the oldest questions in the universe; the problem of pain has engaged the finest and most devoted minds from time immemorial and has never yet been satisfactorily resolved.  We believe that one day our God will make plain to His children the inscrutability of His ways; that in that golden morning when we shall know as we are known, every question will be forever stilled, and we shall be eternally satisfied with His explanation.  Until then, we accept from His hand all that comes into our lives and seek to glorify Him in and through it.  The entire human race is subject to suffering – ‘the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world’; but only the Christian has hope of final answers to life’s mysteries.  How much easier to take our sorrows from the Father’s hand, knowing His presence with us now and having His promise of light ahead, than to suffer alone and in the dark! (1 Peter 5:9)".

From one of mom's favorite books...she's been gone 17 years today...I cannot believe it.  I often think about that moment when all her questions were forever stilled and when she was eternally satisfied with His explanation. One day I'll get that moment too! 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Satan wants you to feel so crushed over your loss that you’ll let go of your faith.  He wants you to doubt God’s love and faithfulness.  He wants you think nobody cares and that that your suffering will never go away.  He would like nothing better than to make you ineffective in every area.

Friday, August 1, 2014


The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked. And the guide said: "Yes, and the way is hard and you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."

But the young Mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years so she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the Mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come."

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the Mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there."

So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you."

And the Mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength."

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the Mother said: "Look up. Lift your eyes to the light."

And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness.

And that night the Mother said "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children GOD!"

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide.

And mother said: "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone and the children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates."

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: "We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence."
Your Mother is always with you. She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks, she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well.

Your Mother lives inside your laughter.
And she's crystallized in every teardrop. 
She's the place you came from, your first home;
And she's the map you follow with every step you take.

She's your first love and your first heartbreak,

and nothing on earth can separate you...

Not time, not space ... not even death!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be Kind

I don't understand why people have to be mean. Why can't everyone talk calmly to one another and treat each other with kindness and love?  Yes, I disagree with a lot of people but being mean or rude to them does not prove my matter what it is!  BE KIND today. Please.

Friday, January 31, 2014

You are the best!

On January 31, 1997, Matthew and I were in Las Vegas for his work.  He would get up early and leave for a conference, and I would sleep in and join him later.  On January 31, he left me this note:

I looked it up and it said: "There are many good women, but you are the best!"  It made my heart flutter and it made me smile ear to ear.  I'm so incredibly thankful for him and his love.  And so glad that God knew I needed him.  That note now lives in my Bible holding the place of Proverbs 31:29.

(Also, let's take a minute to smile at the "beep me"...those were the days, right?)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Joy is Peace Dancing

Mom was faithful in writing daily journals with prayers, notes, prayer requests, daily schedules, favorite quotes, etc. This is the first page of one of Mom's journals. I love this. I found it at some point when reading through one of them. It made me feel connected to her. I love the imagery it creates for me. Maybe she did too.

Monday, July 29, 2013


With eager heart and will on fire,
I strove to win my great desire.
“Peace shall be mine,” I said; but life
Grew bitter in the barren strife.

My soul was weary, and my pride
Was wounded deep; to Heaven I cried,
“God grant me peace or I must die;”
The dumb stars glittered no reply.

Broken at last, I bowed my head,
Forgetting all myself, and said,
“Whatever comes, His will be done;”
And in that moment peace was won.
--Henry Van Dyke

One of my best friends sent me this poem
when we found out that Mom's cancer had returned.

And His will was done. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Redeeming My Past

Sometimes, God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past so it doesn't become their future.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Homeward Bound

Several years ago I learned about this song while reading a friend of a friend's blog who was going through a very difficult time in life.  I loved the song.  On days when I feel defeated and sad, I turn this song up LOUD!  It's such a great reminder.  Hallelujah!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Oh, Lord You're Beautiful

I've always loved the song, Oh Lord You're Beautiful.  It was written by Keith Green, and I remember in junior high reading about it in his book "No Compromise. The Life Story of Keith Green" and then getting his album on cassette (yes!).   It touched me way back then and still does.

This is a great version of the song.  Take a minute, close your eyes and listen.

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me, yeah

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me, oh Lord
Oh Lord, You're beautiful, yes You are, oh Lord
Oh Lord, oh Lord, You're beautiful, yes You are
Lord, You're beautiful

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Compliment

I received a compliment today from someone I admire and respect.  And I needed to hear this today: "You have the ability to make everything you touch beautiful."  It made me think of Mom.  I think I learned that from her because she had that gift.  I'm thankful she passed it on to me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ladies Don't Flop!

Another year has passed without Mom. I’m at the beach again remembering her. It seems to be the one place I feel truly peaceful and where I can focus on the important parts of life and not the hectic busy-ness of life.

We realized last night that I’ve lived 1/3 of my life without her now. Seems so strange and so odd. I often wonder what my life would be like or what I would be like if she was still around. I also often think about what parts of me are her and her influence. Of course, I know the obvious characteristics from her. But I often wonder about the more subtle ones that I wasn’t able to observe in my short time with her.

I remembered two things about Mom yesterday that made me laugh. I was reminded of the first one by my best friend. When we were in college she asked mom to pray for her because she wanted this guy to ask her on a date. Mom, being who she was, prayed faithfully for that to happen. Later when my friend told Mom that she was engaged to that guy, Mom said, “I prayed for a date with him NOT marriage!”. It reminded me of Mom’s sense of humor but also how if she was asked to pray for something, she would! And she’d pray until there was an answer! What an incredible example to have.

The other thing that I remembered today was how Mom used to say, “Ladies don’t flop!” It just makes me laugh when I think of that...I can hear her saying it so vividly. In high school I would always come home, throw my books in a chair and flop over the sofa. That always drove Mom nuts and she’d remind me, “Ladies don’t flop”. Mom was very prim and proper and I’m sure my often tomboy ways drove her crazy.

So she’s been gone 14 years. I wrote on FaceBook yesterday that I think about her a million times a day. I really do. They aren’t all sad thoughts, some are funny, some are questions and most are just daily memories that remind me how thankful I am for her and that I got to have her as my Mom!

**I took this photo this morning as the sun was rising.  That's Catalina Island in the distance.  It was a beautiful, beautiful, sunrise.**

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I love the song, Known, by Audrey Assad.  I’m so thankful that my Savior truly knows me.  

Savior, you have known me as I am. 
Healer, you have known me as I was, as I will be. 
In the morning, in the evening, You have known me.

When I can’t explain my innermost thoughts and when I don’t have the energy to give back-story to my life, He has known me through it all.  And that brings me peace, comfort and JOY!

You can hear and read it here.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I know I've been absent for a while.  I've learned you sometimes have to be flexible and go with the flow. It's a busy time and while I do have thoughts spinning around in my head, they often only get as far as a jotted note on my dresser, a digital note in Evernote or an email I send myself.  So those are all piling up and need to be recorded here.  My goal is to do that. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Heidelberg One

I recently read Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World by Richard Mouw.   It was an interesting book and I enjoyed it.  He spent much of the book talking about the Heidelberg Catechism.  If you're unfamiliar, the Heidelberg Catechism is a Protestant confessional document taking the form of a series of questions and answers, for use in teaching Reformed Christian doctrine. The catechism was divided into fifty-two sections so that one could be explained in preaching each Sunday of the year.  It had actually been a while since I read the very first question and answer of this document.

The last few months have been peppered with deaths in the lives of many friends.  They've been in mourning and I my heart aches with them.  It's sad to see so many friends in pain and overcome with grief.  I wish that grief was not a part of this fallen world, but it is and there's nothing we can do to change that.  But in this season of death, this brings me comfort.  (Green text is my emphasis.)

Question 1.
What is thy only comfort in life and death?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a)
am not my own, (b)
but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c)
who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d)
and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e)
and so preserves me (f)
that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g)
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h)
and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i)
and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)

(a) Rom.14:7,8. (b) 1 Cor.6:19. (c) 1 Cor.3:23; Tit.2:14. (d) 1
Pet.1:18,19; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:2,12. (e) Heb.2:14; 1 John 3:8; John
8:34-36. (f) John 6:39; John 10:28; 2 Thess.3:3; 1 Pet.1:5. (g)
Matt.10:29-31; Luke 21:18. (h) Rom.8:28. (i) 2 Cor.1:20-22; 2 Cor.5:5;
Eph.1:13,14; Rom.8:16. (j) Rom.8:14; 1 John 3:3.

In Memory of:
Winston's Sister
Karen's Dad
Maria's Husband
Jan's Husband
Mailee's Friend
Sean's Mom and Dad
Nancy's Cousin
Molly's Friend

**This is a shot I took from my best friend's porch in Louisiana.  I LOVED watching sunsets there!**

Friday, January 28, 2011

How Deep The Father's Love

I took the day off today to remember Mom and our twins. This is the day, January 28 (1998), that Mom left this world of pain and entered into eternal peace and happiness with her Saviour...or as she always called it "Glory"! I started this practice on the first anniversary of her death as I traveled to Alabama to visit the cemetery where she is buried. As we've moved around the country, I often don't get back to Alabama, but I find somewhere close by to retreat.  I continued to do it each year because it was always so healing for me.  I was quite angry with God and the unfairness of life, so I had a lot to get out. It became a great gauge for me to see where I've been and track my personal, emotional and spiritual growth. "Bitterness comes when we use grief or anger as an excuse not to grow". I believe it's important to to be alone with God, to process, to remember and read about (if you journal) His faithfulness through the years.  This is how we grow!

So this is my 13th year to take a personal retreat. I usually don't have trouble relaxing and settling into a rhythm but today I was unusually scattered and unfocused. I couldn't concentrate on anything. I couldn't come up with scripture to quote. And I couldn't even enjoy the Pacific Ocean that lay out in front of me . . . and I LOVE the water and beach. So I just began to pray . . . praying that the Lord would calm my restlessness so that I could concentrate on the "task" at hand. Nothing. So I decided to put down my books, journals, pens, and highlighters and just walk the beach. I noticed that as I walked I kept my eyes on the ground in front of me . . . never looking up. To be fair, I was looking at all the really cool rocks and seashells.  I began this internal dialogue about how silly it is to have such an amazing panoramic view in front of me of the Pacific Ocean and I'm not even looking at it. So I looked up. I stared at the vast expanse of the ocean in front of me. And this song came into my head.  Click the link to listen as you read the words below:

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Music has always moved me. And this song in my head overwhelmed me. His love overwhelmed me.  I no longer felt restless or unfocused.  I just needed to look up at the view in front of me and the love of my great big God!

**If you don't know this "modern" hymn, you should check it out.  There are many versions, but I prefer Selah's rendition.  You can download the Selah version on iTunes.**

**I took these sunset photos tonight.**

Monday, January 10, 2011

So Many Tears Today

You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them. 

Psalm 56:8

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy!

You may be familiar with "Welcome to Holland" an essay written by Emily Perl Kingsley about having a child with a disability. I received a copy when I was teaching and it is often given to new parents of children with special-needs. But when I read it, it also fit quite well with my experiences of infertility and living as a family of two.  We are daily learning how to live in Holland instead of Italy.  The loss of all our dreams of going to Italy is difficult.  But we've slowly learned that Holland can be great too!

The essay is a metaphor about the excitement for a vacation to Italy that becomes a disappointment when the plane lands instead in Holland.  This is the part I often quote:
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Here's the full version:
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, Gondolas. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After several months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland!” “Holland?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy. I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place. So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around. You begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. And Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ephesians 3:14-21

People often ask what my favorite Bible verse is.  When I was younger, I always wondered how anyone could have a favorite verse.  There were so many from which to choose!  But I suppose that as you journey through life, you have experiences and patterns that make certain verses more meaningful to you.  And I love that different passages mean different things to every person . . . we're all different.  So this is a passage that touched me in a very special way 17 years ago and it continues to minister to me along the way.  I love it! 

I love this version of it especially . . . the New Living Translation.  I love the mental pictures it creates.  And I love "that Christ will be more and more AT HOME in your heart".  Love the "at home"!  I love that the love of Christ "is SO GREAT you will never fully understand it"!  So true.  And "he is able to accomplish INFINITELY MORE than we would ever DARE to ask or hope." He does more for us, more than we could ever imagine!  I could expound on this for pages, but maybe that will be for a later post.

When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart as you trust in him.

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.
**This is a photo I took in Orange Beach, Alabama from one of our favorite condos.  The spot down there by the rocks is where Paul (Matthew's brother) and Allysia Eppinette were married.  I've visited this beach for almost 36 years now.**

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Laughter Through Tears

In the midst of this turmoil that I wrestle with in my heart and mind, while I am still waiting for answers to my questions, while I still don't understand why, while I continue to quake under this refining process, help me not to cause another to stumble.  Help me to reach out through my pain to comfort someone going through a similar experience.  And hardest of all, Lord (because it reminds me that you haven't chosen this miracle for me yet), help me to rejoice with someone who has just been given the miracle of a baby.  Also, please help me to react with love when others say things that are hurtful about this, my SOFTEST SPOT.
This quote from Debra Bridwell's book The Ache for A Child was given to me in the beginning of our infertility journey.  A new friend wrote it in a greeting card.  I can't explain why it meant so much.

Maybe it was because I barely knew her and yet she was reaching out to me.  Maybe it was because it was my first exposure to a book about infertility.  Maybe it was because she didn't write any of those silly platitudes that people often say at those times.  Maybe because it was honest, "I can't promise to understand ALL your feelings because everyone's journey is different.  But I am a good listener."

Maybe it was because it was in a funny card and laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.  The front had a picture of a woman holding a beautiful snow globe and it said, "Here's a helpful technique for managing stress during difficult times:  First, get one of those glass snow-domes with a happy little snowman and an idyllic, peaceful winter scene . . . (open the card) next, get a HAMMER!"

It made me laugh and it made me cry.  And I really do cherish those moments.  So I put the card in my Bible and have read it millions of times.  I had no idea at that time what a journey it was going to be!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Digging Ditches Part 2

"Thus saith the Lord: Make this valley full of ditches."
2 Kings 3: 16

**Excerpts from Digging Ditches by Helen Roseveare.  For background see my last post.**

The Lord started to re-focus my heart from the ever-deep desire to live on the mountain-tops, to the realization that God's work is mostly done in the valleys.

So the next stage of my life's journey was established on that promise.  That it might not be easy, that there will be heartaches and deep problems on route, I was well aware.  He did not promise me a bed of roses without thorns.  But He did promise me that others would be blessed if I would obey and trust Him.

So I was to learn to go deeper down to "dig ditches" that were often unseen and unrecognized by others, but which God promised to fill with blessing for others.  My first instinct was "Okay, God, I'll dig you a Suez Canal!" but that was not what he asked for!  My Lord wanted just daily small obediences; He wanted me to do whatever needed to be done next without needing to be thanked or recognized, without a pedestal or a halo.

"You dig that ditch daily and I will fill it daily!"

He wants me to dig ditches, hundreds of little, often unconnected, ditches. Preaching, teaching, visiting, sharing, chatting, being available without seeing any special blessing, these were the ditches I dug.

I was not being asked to dig a Suez Canal, just a multitude of small ditches, each one individually important.

The digging might well involve blistered hands and a sore heart.

Was God asking me to live a day at a time, and do each small task as it arose without asking for one long-term goal?  Ditches?  It's not what we trained for!  We have no proper tools!  It's beneath our dignity!  Of course, without the ditches, the water God wanted to send would have been wasted.  The ditches were essential to contain the promised blessing.

And another ditch was dug and another blessing poured out by our gracious God.

And I must keep on digging ditches until my valley is full - without regrets, without looking backwards, (nor to be planning endlessly for tomorrow and the what-might-be of the future) but rather with joy and expectation waiting for the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Digging Ditches Part 1

I've mentioned in my last post that I have two favorite books.  I talked about Disappointment with God here.  My other favorite book is Digging Ditches by Helen Roseveare.  Dr. Helen Roseveare was a missionary to the Congo from 1953 to 1973.  In 1964 she was taken prisoner by rebel forces and she remained a prisoner for five months, enduring beatings and rapings. She left the Congo and headed back to England after her release but returned to the Congo in 1966 to assist in the rebuilding of the nation. She helped establish a new medical school and hospital (the other hospitals that she built were destroyed) and served there until she left in 1973.  

She wrote Digging Ditches later in life (subtitled: The Latest Chapter of An Inspirational Life) after her earlier "mountain top experiences" as she was trying to figure out what the next "big" thing God had for her.  As a result of an illness of her own, she was asked to take a leave of absence of sorts from full-time missionary work; thus, leaving her in a position to seek God’s will for her life. In her pursuit, she landed on 2 Kings 3:16. God gives us valleys and we are to dig ditches. This book is about those ditches that she must dig, while holding onto His promises to fill them, even if she never sees how.

What hit me about this book is the realization that every life isn't filled with these continual really big moments or accomplishments that receive fame, thanks, or praise.  Millions of Christians live their life day to day digging ditches, trusting that they will be filled with life-giving water.  There was a time when I was always trying to find that big thing that God wanted me to do, this major accomplishment that God created me for.  But what if there's isn't this huge event or moment that He has planned for me?  What if I'm suppose to bring glory to God in all the seemingly mundane things I do on a daily basis?  What if it's about talking to people and sharing life with friends?  What if it's about comforting someone when they hurt?  What if it's about doing my job with a smile because someone walking in the door needs one?  And what if I never see or hear about the results of my obedience?

Monday, April 12, 2010


C.S. Lewis writes:
Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.
I praise the Lord that I am no longer at this point in my life.  But I remember for many years this is how I felt.  Not only did I always think about my pain, but I thought about the fact that I was always in pain.  It was mentally exhausting.  If you are walking the path with someone who is in pain right now, I hope this gives you new insight and little more compassion.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

But It's Not Fair!

Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey is one of my two favorite books. I could read it over and over and over again. And I think the entire book is worth quoting. But this is the part I've been reading lately. It's about fairness. Fairness is very important to me. And I often hear myself saying, "But that's just not fair". For years I cried out to God, "God, you're not being fair. This isn't fair!". These excerpts have meant a lot to me through the years.
I challenge you to go home and read again the story of Jesus. Was life ‘fair’ to him? For me, the cross demolished for all time the basic assumption that life will be fair!

Jesus offered no immunity, no way out of the unfairness, but rather a way through it to the other side.

God will sometimes seem unfair from the perspective of a person trapped in time. Only at the end of time, after we have attained God’s level of viewing, after every evil has been punished or forgiven, every illness healed, and the entire universe restored, only then will fairness reign.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

At All Costs

To be commanded to love God at all costs, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness – especially in the wilderness – you shall love Him.
- Frederick Buechner from Secrets from the Dark: A Life in Sermons.
In 1997 driving across the Jimmie Davis Bridge on my way to work, I was struck by this.  Not just struck.  I was moved, I was touched.  I was overwhelmed with the understanding of how and why I could have pure joy and love for my heavenly Father when my mother was 12 hours away dying a painful death.  I can't explain it.  I can't put words to it.  But this chapter in Buechner's book comes so close.
It was there, in that wilderness, that for the first time in my life I caught sight of something of what it must be like to love God truly.  It was only a glimpse, but it was like stumbling on fresh water in the desert, like remembering something so huge and extraordinary that my memory had been unable to contain it."  "I did not love God, God knows, because I was some sort of saint or hero.  I did not love Him because I suddenly saw the light (there was almost no light at all) or because I hoped by loving him to persuade him to heal the young woman I loved.  I LOVED HIM BECAUSE I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF.  I loved him because the one who commands us to love is the one who also empowers us to love, as there in the wilderness of that dark and terrible time I was, through no doing of my own, empowered to love him at least a little, at least enough to survive.  And in the midst of it, these small things happened that were as big as heaven and earth because through them a hope beyond hopelessness happened.
There are a few moments in time that I remember so vividly...the sounds, the sights, the smell, the feeling.  This moment on that bridge is one of those for me.

(You should read this whole book or at least all of Chapter 14.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Joseph and Hope

Our twins, Joseph and Hope, would have turned 8 years old today if they had made it into this world.

From a book I read on their first birthday:
My baby’s life was not long enough to have any pictures to carry in my billfold, but was long enough to fill my heart with wonderful memories. I was never hurt by my child’s rebellion, was never embarrassed by my child’s actions, and I never had to discipline him. This was my child who brought me only joy all the days of his life. Thank you, God, for that kind of child; it was a gift only you could give.
And from a letter I wrote them:
The amount of joy you brought us in such a short time is amazing. I do not regret loving you as much as I did. And I am so thankful that I did not spend my pregnancy dreading the worse or worrying that something would happen to you. If I had, I would have not been able to feel the joy that I did. I do not regret that you existed because even with the immense pain we felt in losing you, at least we knew and loved you for a while. I hope that you could feel and know our love for you.
Joseph and Hope are experiencing more joy, more contentment, more happiness, and more satisfaction and love than this world could every have given them. My babies will never experience the emotional heartache of suffering, or the physical pain of sickness and injury in this imperfect world. They are enjoying in totality the wonderful presence of God in a very perfect heaven.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thoughts from a Hike

Today I spent the day hiking to a waterfall, communing with God and remembering Mom…she left us 12 years ago today. As I hiked, a number of thoughts came to mind comparing hiking to life. If I were good at this sort of thing, I could take these thoughts and turn them into something profound about this journey we call life. But I'm not good with metaphors or analogies or illustrations...see, I don't even know what they're called! But I'm going to put my list here and let you make your own connections.
  • If you start out thinking you won’t get wet or muddy, you’re wrong.
  • Sometimes you step on a rock that is very unsteady.
  • Crossing seems to be easier if you go fast…slowing down to contemplate makes your feet slip more.
  • Using a hiking stick to help balance makes all the difference.
  • You keep thinking this would be so much easier with a companion. It’s nice to have someone by your side through the rough waters.
  • A pack on your back can get very heavy. Sometimes you wish you could just throw if off.
  • When you come to a crossing that you can’t figure out, sometimes it helps to sit up on a rock and read and wait for someone else to come along. You watch them cross and if they have difficulty, you wait for someone else. After you’ve watched a few people cross, it’s easier to see the best way.
  • It’s possible to drop something more valuable (camera) while trying to grab something less valuable (water bottle).
  • The first obstacle you encountered seems so small when you return from the rest of the journey.
  • The trek back is so much easier, maybe because you are more confident having made it all the way up.
**The waterfall picture above is one I took today.  It was beautiful!**

Friday, January 22, 2010


I often mention that I am not a writer. I often find it difficult to put words together that truly express what I'm feeling. So throughout life I have been drawn to authors and people who can take thoughts, express them in words and convey the feeling.

My Dad is one of those. I've been aware from a young age that Dad could put words together in sermons and prayers that communicate effectively, that others can easily relate to, that "touch" people. I recall that often he would finish praying and I would think "that's exactly what I want to say but couldn't figure out how to say it" or "that's exactly what I'm feeling". I'm so thankful for him and that I get to have him as my Dad!

From a very young age, I began keeping journals, but most often not with my own writings but with scripture, poems, prayers and quotes that touched me, that moved me, that struck a chord deep in my heart. (I have an art project I did as a child from a poem I copied from Highlights Magazine about a teddy bear. And I still have a few pages from notebooks that have sappy adolescent poems from Seventeen Magazine!)  

I'll spare you the teddy bear and sappy poems, but I will often put some other journal entries here . . . 1) because I've been reading and re-reading some of them for many, many years and they continue to mean something to me and 2) because they are usually a good launching point for me to expand on some of my own thoughts.

I hope you'll find some you can relate to also.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are there really that many?

In the grand scheme of things I live a pretty sheltered life. My circles have always involved friends from work, church, Christian small groups, college friends, a few professional organizations and neighbors. So while my circle of people aren't overwhelmed with the horrific and traumatic aspects of life, they all still have pain. Are there really that many different hurts for these groups of people to which we should be sensitive? I didn't really think so (as shared in the last post) but let's make a list:
(There are a lot of varieties and differences in sensitivities so I'm listing many separately that might often be grouped together.  For example, the way women and men deal with a particular situation can be vastly different.)

Wives going through infertility treatments
Husbands going through infertility treatments
Couples who miscarry
Wives who miscarry
Couples who have a still-born
Wives who have a still-born
Couples who can't have children (all treatments are finished and will not have biological children)
Husbands who can't have children (all treatments are finished and will not have biological children)
Wives who can't have children (all treatments are finished and will not have biological children)
Parents of couples who cannot have children (would-be grandparents)
Single men who want to find a wife and be married
Single women who want to find a man and be married
Couples who have special needs children
Couples who have terminally ill or very sick children
Women who have had an abortion
Men whose partner had an abortion
Men and women whose mother or father died when they were younger
Men and women whose mother of father died when they were older
Men and Women who were abused as a child
Men and women of divorced parents
Men and women whose parents, siblings, or family are not believers
Men whose wife cheated on him
Women whose husband cheated on her
Divorced Men
Divorced Women
Men fired from a job
Women fired from a job
Men who can't find a job
Women who can't find a job
Men with terminally ill parents
Women with terminally ill parents
Men whose father never showed them love
Men whose mother never showed them love
Women whose father never showed them love
Women whose mother never showed them love
Couples waiting through the adoption process
Husbands who abuse drugs or alcohol
Wives who abuse drugs or alcohol
Men and Women who are terminally ill
Men and Women who have chronic physical pain

And that's barely touching the surface! Put yourself in any one of these situations and you can understand how so many people are often hurt by our words, conversations and actions.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We all have pain...

I remember the moment in time when I realized this. I was having a pity party for myself and thinking how unfair it was that I had to bear this pain and others didn't. Then my husband pointed out to me that everyone has pain. It just doesn't look like my pain. But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt as much. I, of course, shot back, "Oh yeah, tell me examples." As he began to go through a list of friends and the pain they each bear, it hit me. Wow! Yep. We all have pain. (It seems so simple now, but at the time, it was quite a light bulb!) You may not know or understand my pain, but you probably have a pain that I can't relate to either.

It was at that moment that I prayed that throughout life that I would be sensitive to the hurt of others, that I would figure out what that pain is and try my best to relate to it and validate their feelings. I recall all the times of sitting in a group and feeling like no one cared that certain topics and conversations were tough. I prayed that I would be the person in the group who might sense the sticky-ness of situations and either change the subject or start up another side conversation to divert attention. I also began to notice other people who would do the same thing, whether intentionally or just because it's part of their personality. I am always drawn to those people and appreciate them and their sensitivity so much. And I'm so thankful for those people that the Lord has put in my path throughout the years who have diverted conversations on my behalf.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

You have to start somewhere...

It's quite overwhelming to start this process and this blog. I have so many thoughts and history swarming in my head. I've written them in various places throughout life . . . another blog, emails, journals, websites, etc.  But I know it will be good to get them out in one place. Maybe not always in a logical order, but I'm fine with that. And maybe it will be a healing process as well. And maybe it will help me figure out where I can go from here. Because I honestly don't know. I do know that despite moments of sadness which I've accepted will always be a part of my life, I'm overall very happy and content where God has me now. I think back to rougher times and am in awe that I am able to write that last sentence. Praise the Lord!