Sunday, November 22, 2009

The gift

The label reads with childish scrawl, “For God.” The space following “From” remain blank, glaringly so. I do not sign my name. I can’t. I’m too ashamed. The paper is wrinkled, a humble presentation. I tried three times to get it right. Tears in the wrapping attest to the effort.

In the moment before I give the gift, I hesitate, reconsidering. It’s nothing really and he is after all God—but I so wanted something to give. I know he will not laugh at my gift, but will he like it? Will he want it?

It’s nothing really. Just my treasures. Nothing of value. A few hopes, some dreams. Worthless by man’s measure. My plans, my future. It’s not much to offer. It would be easier to keep it for myself. But I do not trust myself, and I have nothing else to give.

The hesitation ends.

The gift is given. One look at His face. I cannot regret the decision.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Carpe diem

Do you remember when you were required to have a detailed ten year plan of your life? Everyone would ask and your answer would somehow determine your value or future success, and subsequently, you watched your friends be divided into two groups: those who would be something in life and those who would not. I had the speech down. I could usually come up with a response that would satisfy most, maybe even inspire a few. But I hated giving it. Who was I to say where I would be in ten years? My desires would probably change in the next year or two. Most of my ten year goal would not happen. The rest I hoped wouldn't.

Categorize me in the group that didn't make it if you will, but for the record, I am content.

My life is made up of a job I don't love, but will do. I could do a lot worse, and there are days I genuinely feel I'm making a difference. The rest of my time is spent with a six year old who is quite possibly the most important thing in my life. I live with my sister, brother-in-law, and two beautiful nieces, six-years and four-months old. My parents live just down the road. My brother lives 3 hours north. He's one of those rare exceptions who will probably actually achieve his ten year and love it.

Is this the life imagined for my self when I was in college? Not even close. The only thing that has remained consitant about my life is the ever presence of God. There are things that I still want out of life. I won't be living here forever. I'll find a better job. But right now, I am happy. God is so good. I've decided I'm not going to wait for life to happen. This is my life. Right now, it's about living in the moment, making memories. If you've seen my facebook photo albums, you've seen record of those memories.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not ditching goals and planning. I'm embracing this mindset hopefully less in the irresponsible, faithless aspects and more in the choosing contentment and enjoyment areas. For now. this is my goal.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Greater is He

God breathed, and Satan coiled.
God spoke, and Satan deceived.
God was exalted and lifted up on high.
Satan exalted himself and tumbled low
God cursed Satan
Satan cursed man

In a darkest Africa, dark not from primitivism or from poverty, but from spiritual oppression, Satan held an African village in his clutches. The people worshiped him. They worshiped in fear and in pain, in self mutilation and physical sacrifice, clutching artifacts of rock and wood and bone. Their fear had made them crazed. Their faith had stripped all hope. Their religion was one of blood and death.

Then God intervened. With an all powerful hand, He touched their hearts. With an all knowing mind, he prepared their minds. And he sent in a messenger, one to preach the truth to the glory of God.

The people repented. That night, the death wail transformed into a song of praise. Men and women tore off the fetishes that had held them in bondage and thrust them into the fire. The air grew sticky and sweet from the scent of medicine bags ablaze. The darkness lifted.

The witchdoctor was furious. His livelihood was gone. He snuck onto the mission compound and cursed the missionary. He braided the leaves of a palm tree indicating the presence of the curse. When the missionary discovered it the following day, he climbed the tree and cut down the braided branches. He threw them in the garbage pit, covered them with gasoline, and set them on fire. All the while, the people screamed and wailed in fear.

That’s where the story ends in the telling but it has not ended. God was victorious in that small African village. And while He is victorious still today, indications of the presence of that curse have followed that missionary everywhere he has gone since.

There is no doubt that Satan is powerful. He is mightier than I. His deceptions are lies that I fall for time and time again. His tricks are clever. His servants have triumphed over Christians all throughout history from the first martyrs to the Christians who are still persecuted today (and not just outside American borders). And I am terrified of him. Praise God “greater is He that is in me.” God is more powerful than he, but I am not. I fear we often miss just how terrible our foe really is. We poke fun and laugh and minimize the adversary. But would you alone take on a roaring lion?

This is a sensitive topic in our circles. We are aware of spiritual warfare, but we don’t speak of it. Perhaps we fear we will sound charismatic. Perhaps we don’t want to encourage man’s twisted mind that actually seeks this kind of encounter or finds a thrill in it. I did not write this post to feed imaginations or for self praise but to share an account of just how powerful I have seen God. If we see Satan for how terribly powerful he truly is, how much more powerful must God be?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Really Knowing God

You don't really know God until God has been unkind to you. And you still don't really know Him when he's been unkind to you once or twice, but when He's been unkind to you three and four and even five times. That's when you begin to know God.

You really begin to know Him when you have done everything right and God doesn't intervene. I won't say fails to intervene because everyone knows that God doesn't fail. But when He refuses to intervene.

Anyone can say God is good when circumstances are good. But when you say God is good through tears--tears of saying God doesn't feel good. That's when you begin to know that God is good.

When you can no longer see the proof or the evidence of His goodness. When your ears are closed by pain and you can't hear His voice. That's when you begin to know God. That's when you begin to know that He is good, not because it makes sense, but because He is.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Impatient Rose

Once upon a time, within the stone wall of the castle keep, a garden blossomed into every color imaginable. Roses of yellow, etched in shades of red and gold competed with the sunrise for its glory. Deep reds, pure whites, gentle lavenders grew in abundance. Every shade of pink was present, from the soft pink of a kiss to the deep passion of fuchsia. Tiny forget-me-nots begged to be noticed peeking through a thin covering of green. Morning glories climbed the crevices of the stone wall, pointing their trumpets to the sun in jubilation.

Every day, the royal gardener came and tended the plants. He offered water, trimmed and pruned where needed. And sometimes he sang. Always, he sang about the sun. And when the flowers heard his voice, they raised their heads a little higher sharing the warm rays of the sun.

But in one corner of the garden, a rose had not bloomed. Half hidden by leaves, camouflaged in a green cocoon, the tiny bud waited to be seen. If only the gardener would notice me, thought the little flower as she looked with envy at the other roses on her vine. If only he could help me shed this confining cocoon, then I could be all that I was meant to be.

The gardener did come. He gave water; he trimmed and pruned; he pointed the little bud toward the sun, but the little bud would not open. The little bud showed no color. Ashamed, she hid her face from the sun.

A few more days passed, and still the rose had not opened. She tried. She tried hold her breath till she was nearly purple, but the leaves of her enclosure held fast. She tried stretching and straining and wiggling with all her might. Nothing. So as always, ashamed that the sun would notice she hadn’t bloomed, she hid her face under the leaves. She would not look at the sun.

I can’t do it, the rose cried that night. I just can’t change. And as she fell asleep looking at the other roses in full bloom, she made a plan. I will ask the gardener for help. Then together, we can separate these leaves. And finally I’ll see the color I know is in me somewhere. Finally, I’ll be able to look at the sun without shame.

And so she did. In the morning she made her request. It was humbling to admit she couldn’t do it on her own. The little bud felt as if the thorns on her vine were piercing through to her heart. The gardener will understand. She was certain. Surely, he would help her. And then he would sing about the sun as he always did.

But the gardener refused.
“What?!” asked the little rose in confusion. “Why won’t you help me? Can’s you see I can’t do this on my own?”
The gardener smiled. “Of course you can’t. You weren’t meant to.”
Anger flared in the little rose.
But the gardener continued, “I can’t change you from the a bud to rose any more than you can. If I were to pull apart those leaves, I would tear your petals. You would be small and fragile. You would never grow, and you would soon die.”
Tears filled in the eyes of the tiny rose. It was hopeless.
The gardener smiled, “Only the sun will make you what He intended for you to be. I can water. I can trim and prune. I can point you in the right direction, but only the sun will change you.

And so the gardener did. He watered; he trimmed; he pruned; he pointed the little flower toward the sun. But that was all he did. Soon, the little rose began to bloom. She wasn’t beautiful yet. She wasn’t in full bloom. But slowly she was changing.

Everything Pink

Check out the new new blog on my blog list. "Everythink Pink" is for my niece who insists that pink is the best color despite me tellling her that pink is gross and yucky. She'll be six soon. Check out what she has to say.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Here it is again--the start of yet another post that will be saved to my drafts and never actually published to my blog. It's just not what it used to be. My writing has changed and the content and words I'm seeking remain just beyond my reach. Fear of my small readership prevents my from using this surface as my drawing board. And so I add the aimless thoughts to my growing repertoire of unfinished drafts. Bits and fragments fill the notebooks I still keep, but even they end mid thought with portions scribbled out in frustration.

I cringe when I look over more recent passages on my blog. The words that used to come so easy are labored over and unsatisfying when finished. I despise the gaps between postings knowing the times I habitually prepared to write then slammed shut the laptop on a white screen.

It's after 1:00am and I know sleep will still be awhile in coming. I've already updated on Hulu's most recent of House, Bones, and The Office. Tomorrow will begin early with 18 preschoolers, who have alternatives views on discipline and so I know I need to sleep. But a blank page was mocking me and so I had to try...

It's late. I'm not quite sure why I'm moving the curser towards the Publish Post.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter. Traditions and Tragedies

Something new: I wanted to go Easter Caroling this year. It didn't work out. I'll try again next year.

A few years ago, I found a green egg in one of my grandmother's african violets--a real egg, mind you. I actually remember putting it there. Scary thing is, I haven't done an egg hunt there since I was a kid. Guess they don't start smelling till they're cracked.

This is the first year in a while having an Easter with a kid around. So I was pretty excited about hiding the eggs--all 95 of them. I had 40 boiled and 55 plastic. Valinda suggested I write a list of where I was hiding all the eggs at least for the real eggs. Now my sister and I are very different. Valinda is one who writes lists and rough drafts for her lists and somewhere on her rough draft she writes "rewrite list." Naturally, I respect her organization, but I like short cuts. I wasn't going to write a list. I would remember. I had a pretty good memory.

I've been out of school for a little while and unfortunatly memory of intelligence and actual intelligence are two different things. I should have made a list.

We found 54 plastic eggs and 37 real eggs. I should have made a list
I did recall my best hid eggs. One locked in my lock box designed to look like a Standard English Dictionary. The other buried under my potted braided palm.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


You know you've moved too many times when...
  • the scent of cardboard causes an instant escape mechanism response: turn, scream, run
  • half the boxes in the basement are still packed from the last move
  • you know the difference between packing tape and storage tape
  • you own a tape gun
  • you're the only one who can make your dishes fit in the original box they came in
  • you still have the box they came in
  • you don't hire movers because you know you can do the job better
  • you've learned to pack in small boxes
  • you've decided your next vehicle will be a pickup because it will make your next move easier
  • most the things you own are travel size
  • you know you can wait till the last minute to start packing and it will still get done...somehow

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Christmas, New Year, presents, programs, lit trees, Luke 2 readings, family, shopping, decorations, cookies, long lost relatives, laughter. It's been a good holiday. I can't wait till next year.