Wednesday, January 23, 2013


This morning I pulled out an old devotional journal from my desk, and tucked inside the back was a letter you’d sent me a couple of years ago. In it you started with 1 Peter 5:6-10.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Those verses and your transparency spoke to me of surrender, the topic of your letter. Surrender is so hard for me. Even knowing what I’m to surrender to can be hard. And discerning the difference between surrender and giving up—for me they seem muddled at times—and I feel that I swing back and forth like the foolish person spoken of in James 1.

Your reflections Sunday on Mark’s sermon also has a haunting connection—the struggles of doubting God as a good God. All the “why?” questions drift through the recesses of my brain—wondering, wondering of the ways of such a powerful and incomprehensible God.

And yet God is good. The blue sky above, the rolling tides, even the ingenuity of man, and the smile of a sick child staring up into your face—all, all shout God is good! God is good!

When David flees for his life and Absalom proclaims himself king, David’s response was simply, “I am ready; let him [God] do to me whatever seems good to him.” Ready for what? In David’s mind, it was likely death, considering the typical fate of deposed kings of that time, but he was ready—ready for whatever.

He was surrendered.

Hanging onto faith can be such a daily thing, and the arrows of Satan can feel as close as the enemy taking up residence in our house. Maybe surrender is hard because of the difference between knowing God is good and feeling God is good.

Lord, let us see the evidences of your glory—the wonders that shout, “God is good. God is good, always.” To such a God we can surrender each day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I got a splinter in my finger at my Mom’s last week. It was just little. I couldn’t really see it, didn’t have a needle to get it out, and decided to just let it work its way out. Splinters will do that they say—just work themselves out if you wait.

Every once and a while, I could feel the hurt. After all, it was in the pad of my middle finger, on my right hand.

Then, today I was wiping out the shelves downstairs where the boxes store the Christmas decorations. One thing I want to do this year is clean out all those shelves…a whole wall of shelves.

And, as I pressed into the cloth to clean, it just kept hurting—that little splinter.

After a couple of shelves, I walked right over to the sewing table and hunted up a needle, put on the glasses I always leave there, and began picking at that splinter.

And as I picked, it reminded me that sometimes hurts just keep hurting—just like this splinter, every time we press into it. Even a little hurt can turn into a big pain.

Why do we wait so long to take the hurt out? Sometimes, we feel it, but it’s just so hard to see. Sometimes, we wait—hoping it’ll just go away. Then we press against it, and it hurts. And even now that it’s gone, I sometimes wonder, “Is it all gone? Did I get all the hurt out?” Sometimes, I think it hurts. I think it’s still there. But it isn’t.
Hurt—and pain. And as I run my nail over it, I’m assured it really is gone—all of it. I just keep telling myself—it really is all gone.

Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.

Sometimes, I just need to run a nail over it—to make sure it’s really all gone. I find that in Scripture. I find that in prayer. I find it in Mark’s sermons each week. Jesus is the only One who can remove the splinters of the soul—because splinters of the soul aren’t ever going to work themselves out, not ever.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I like visiting this house. Stefanie decorates in vibrant colors, and children’s recent handiwork is displayed here and there. At this holiday season, ornaments and snowflakes drop from the ceiling in the entry. Woolen stockings dangle from the bay window. But what I like best is that her Master’s diploma hangs in the kitchen.

Once that little baby is birthed, wrapped in a warm blanket, and focuses intently on his mother’s face, a woman’s world is changed forever…or at least it should be. Oh, there are still other things to do, things to clean, things to maintain. Some desires are pursued and some shelved for a while or forever. A woman’s heart shifts from inward and faces outward in a way it never quite has before.

And, not always because we want it to. For who would desire sleepless nights over a sick child, a challenging teen, a struggling 
adult? Yet, we do it just the same.

Nine-year-old Breck sat at the breakfast table, swirling his cereal around in his bowl and informed me that his parents were teaching him “re-spons-i-BIL-ity.” 

Encouraging, I said, “That’s good. Because everyone needs to learn to be responsible.” 

“But, Granny, sometimes I don’t like it!”

Maybe that’s what responsibility is. Maybe it’s doing what’s right when right is what we’d rather not. And though there are lots of things we love about motherhood (it’s often great free entertainment), there are many years that we often set aside ourselves. Maybe every woman should just hang her diploma in the kitchen.