We sang a song on Sunday, that I have continued to sing all week. It starts with a question or maybe a statement, depending on the heart. The words are perfect for this day, “How good is He.” Words about stars and salvation, forgiveness and second chance. I noticed no mention of our goodness, only His. That is what tops my thankful list this year and the rest comes easy.
A new song was just released that came out of grief. After reading the lyrics, I had the thought that there is nothing that splits a heart like sorrow. Loss has this way that breaks your heart wide open, but it also allows us to experience Jesus differently than before. How else would we ever know Him to be the healer of broken hearts and binder of wounds? To know about something is not the same as knowing it personally. With the holidays approaching, maybe you feel the losses, sorrow a bit more too. What if we allowed Him to be who He says He is? I picture Him walking through our wide open heart, slowly stitching and bandaging us up. The bleeding stops and we rest awhile. Then He reaches out His hand, that was once wounded too, and helps us to our feet. We don’t ever have to let go you know. We get back to living, mended and whole, with a soft heart. A heart that now has depths of compassion and love that were maybe shallow before the loss. Thanksgiving and generosity would flow and maybe peace would too. Now is the time for us to decide how we will walk out this season. What will we choose?
We celebrated our son turning eleven this weekend. He wanted to go to a movie and his favorite restaurant, so we did. He is one that does not ask for much and teaches me about living more simply. He thinks about things that I have never even considered, but wonder why not. He loves the night sky and wishes he did not have to go to sleep. His favorite color is blue and dresses accordingly. There is a quietness about him and could be easily overlooked. Sometimes it is the louder ones that demand more attention. He just has this underlying confidence that I envy. It is like he has always known his worth and that he is loved, so why try and earn it? Goodness, this kid is a gift and I am so thankful for him.
Happy Birthday, Eli. I love you. May you continue to grow more and more like Christ with each passing year.
Lately, I have been noticing the times in scripture where a closed door is mentioned. A door is closed when a miracle of oil multiplies for a widow and her two sons. Another time when Jesus is healing a little girl and people laughed at him. And then there is the instruction, when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6). All of these reminders encouraged me and I hope they do you. So many things happen behind the doors of our homes. Daily life is lived, hearts are tended, tears are shed and this is unseen by those on the outside, only the results. Perhaps you have seen miracles, been laughed at, felt minimized or spent time alone in prayer. None of this goes unnoticed by our Father. And if He says He will reward us, then we can trust Him.
Twenty one years ago we were entrusted with a rare treasure, our oldest daughter. We have watched her grow, laugh, cry and never give up. She has tried new things, some have worked and others have not. The perseverance this child has gained along the way is admirable. She laughs easy and lives free. Her Savior has captured her heart and the deep love she has for Him is evident. She enjoys reading His word and appreciates the beauty He created in nature. Hiking boots are her go-to shoe and she is always up for an adventure. Her latest one has taken her a thousand miles away, but love keeps us tied together. She is being celebrated well with family and friends, but we can hardly wait to have her home.
Maggie, you are precious, loved unconditionally and absolutely stunning. I am so thankful you are our daughter. Happy Birthday!
We recently celebrated twenty three years of marriage and the word partnership comes to mind. It is easier to partner with someone who loves you unconditionally, serves and honors you. That is not to say that we do not have struggles, but there is this underlying commitment and reliance on God that keeps us going. Something else that I have found to be vital in our relationship is humility. As I have witnessed this in my husband, I see this quiet, confident strength that makes me feel secure. I have watched this spill over into our children and they are different. He is available and pursues us in a way that enforces our identity as being dearly loved. God knew this is what I needed and gave far more than I ever dreamed in a partner. I pray we are given a hundred more years.
“Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” (Ephesians 3:17).
I learned today that the evergreen tree with the deepest root system is called the shepherd’s tree. It lives in the desert and maybe we feel that is our current location too. Life is not going as planned and we feel dry. We have a choice to search for life on the surface or to grow into God’s love during these times. The result is strength that is gained no other way. Our Good Shepherd knew all the days of our life before we had even lived one. He knew we would need strength, provided unconditional love and is our constant source. There are so many questions and unknowns, but He says that we can be “…like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:3). Sounds like we can be like an evergreen too.
A picture came to mind in regards to our kitchen table. My husband sits on one end, I sit on the other and children fill in on either side. This reminds me of two bookends, supporting the books in between. Each book holds an incredible adventure I want to be apart of. Some pages might read of joy and some are marked with sorrow. A chapter might surprise you at the strength that was gained and another have you laughing until you cry. No book is the same and I admire the creativity God used on each one. It takes time and grace to handle each one. What a gift we have been given with family.
Recently I talked with a customer who gave me a lesson on lighting. Filters make a huge difference and the wrong ones distort everything. I thought about this as I placed clothing in fitting rooms. As often my prayer, “Lord, may this person see themselves the way You see them.” We can have these distorted filters on our eyes and minds that blocks out all the beautiful and highlights imperfections. Who says they are imperfect anyways? Others are missing these filters and see themselves healthy and whole. In my experience these people are rare. What I have noticed is they spend more time inspecting the clothing and not their reflection. One dear lady and I moved into the natural light to determine the brightness of the yarn used to construct a sweater. Before leaving she reminded me to keep my eyes on Jesus and block out the noise of the world. We agreed that we had made a memory, for every time she wears the sweater she will be reminded of our conversation. Perhaps the noise is contributing to the filters we use. So my prayer for us is that we see ourselves and others in the light that filters through with unconditional love and acceptance today. What could be more beautiful?
We listened to an excellent sermon on marriage recently that focused on the role of a husband. The text was familiar, but I had missed an important piece. We went all the way back to the beginning with Adam and Eve. Did you know God allowed Adam to be the one that named Eve? He says it right after they had both eaten fruit from the tree. “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20). We see that husbands have been given an incredible opportunity to speak and affirm identity. They know us best and can see past our insecurities and baggage into our hearts. And the days when we forget, he can step in as a defender that reminds us of what is true. Other times he can act as protector. When the outside influencers hold up unrealistic measures and expectations, we are tempted to try harder by pushing past healthy boundaries. We end up exhausted, defeated and unable to care for the living. I do not know about you, but this made me extremely grateful to be loved and with even more appreciation for what I have received.