Monday, December 21, 2009

Looking Through Feathers

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust."

He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge; (Psalm 91:1-2, 4)

I love the imagery used by the psalmist: we are hiding beneath the wings of God, finding shelter, safety and comfort.

It seems likely to me that Jesus had this psalm in mind when he spoke of his heart's desire for Jerusalem:

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed  to  gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."

Lord, I am willing--gather me under your wings. I want to view life through feathers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Smile of a Child

King of the Wild Frontier, scaler of the swing set, and muser with a downward gaze...  In this second grade picture of me, coonskin cap and all (if you were born after 1960, don't even ask), I am so unaware of the camera. In those days we had little sense of the paparazzi's presence. We didn't pose when the camera came out; we kept on doing whatever we were doing and just slowed down a bit.

I would like to think that we cusp-of-the-boomer kids did not think we were the center of the universe...but I know it is not true. But because of a simpler, advertising-"deprived" life style, we did have a wonderful opportunity to just be children. That was pretty cool.

I once wrote a poem that included these lines:

I smiled
a quiet smile...
a thankful smile.
The smile of a child.

When I saw this MonaLisaesque smile on my rounded baby face, it make me think of these words. And made me long for the inner innocence that renders such a smile...the smile of a child.

"Unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." (Jesus)

This little me-girl speaks a message to my heart that spans a fifty-four-year bridge of time. Like a time capsule I just opened.

"When you grow up, don't let anything take away your childlike heart."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Undivided Heart

Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.

An undivided heart. A heart not going in many different directions. A heart focused on God and his will for my matter what else is going on. How I want that kind of heart! Don't you?

Going into the busyness and distractions of December, I need to hear the simple truth of David's psalm.

Just to think of an undivided heart causes me to feel more peaceful. To take a deep breath. To remember to rely on God...not on myself. To seek to bring glory to God...not to myself.

The undivided heart is set free to "fear [God's] name." Not to be shivering in dread, but to affirm the power and majesty and sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty.

Just as a mother gently cups the face of her distracted child with her hands and turns it to focus on hers as she gives direction, so God says, "Look at me. I love you. I want your life to be full and fulfilled. Have an undivided heart. Do not be distracted by all that must be done. Be still and know that I am God."

O Lord, give me an undivided heart.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't Freeze-Frame

Here is a short entry in the My Bucket of Sand book called "Don't Freeze-Frame."


The other day I was looking at a picture of my husband taken about five years ago in a park. My eyes were drawn to the background where I saw a child wearing blue jeans and a red shirt. He was running—frozen in the posture of pumped arms and legs.

Though he was moving quickly, though he had assumed many different poses within a few seconds’ time, in this photograph he will always be in this position—trapped—captured—no escape—freeze-framed.

Though he will change clothes many times in his life, in this photograph he will always wear blue jeans and a red shirt—trapped—captured—no escape—freeze-framed.

With each other, we can freeze-frame a hurtful action, a senseless statement, a stupid idea. Then forever in our minds, this is who that person is. He or she is characterized by the snapshot of that moment.

And yet there are so many more moments in a person’s life that define them fully. Millions of frames in the moving picture of their grace-filled, imperfect life—times of great sacrifice and love, times of noble deeds and insightful comments, times of deep faith and strong conviction.

I don’t want to be freeze-framed in anyone’s mind. And I don’t want to freeze-frame anyone else. Sometimes we don’t even know we have done it—that we have judged someone on the basis of frozen evidence.

I am so grateful that God does not freeze-frame me when I am being prideful, or when I am being selfish or jealous. Through the grace of Jesus, he lets the picture keep moving and forgives me as I go. I am never trapped or captured in my sin.

Let’s not freeze-frame each other. Let’s start the action and let people move on in our minds—let them continue to grow, mature, change…and be forgiven.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Treat Each Other As Treasure

Tom and I shared with our family group on the topic "Joy on the Journey of Marriage," as a continuation of the theme I recently talked to the women in the Greater Nashville Church about. One of the main points was to treat each other as treasure.

The quality of your journey is dependent upon the quality of your marriage. The quality of your marriage is dependent upon the way you treat each other.

All of us have flaws. If we gave you time to sit down and write out the flaws of your spouse, no one would have much trouble completing this assignment...unfortunately. But the truth is that each of us also has good points and strengths. We can decide which of these we will focus on with our spouse: his or her flaws OR his or her strengths.

Everyone wants to be affirmed and appreciated. We are just born that way. Jesus very clearly told us to treat all people as we would want them to treat us. How much more should we be practicing this in our marriages?

The more you treat your spouse as a treasure, the more secure and loved and accepted he or she will feel...and the more he or she will act like the treasure that they are.

You are linked with your spouse for life in this joint journey. How much better it is to treat each other with kindness and respect. This goes a long way to make the journey more that just something to be will make it a joy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Bucket of Sand

My new book, My Bucket of Sand, will be released around November 30. The book has 40 short chapters with each presenting a word picture, an analogy, or an insight to help us appreciate our relationship with God. It is my hope, that you, the readers, will also share what God is teaching you. You can preorder the book at

The following blog entry is the introductory chapter of the book:

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand. (Psalm 139:17–18)

The thoughts of God are vast, uncountable, infinitely far reaching. As the Psalmist says, they outnumber the grains of sand. Have you ever tried to count teeny, tiny grains of sand?

God is gracious. He shares his thoughts with us. His people. His children. The citizens of his kingdom.

He who forms the mountains,
creates the wind,
and reveals his thoughts to man,
he who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads the high places of the earth--
the LORD God Almighty is his name. (Amos 4:13)

Through his indwelling Spirit, the Lord God Almighty opens up to us his heart, his mind, his plans, his dreams. And he doesn’t view it as casting his pearls to the pigs. How loving of him. How trusting of him. How amazing of him.

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"—
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:9–13)

Are we grasping this? No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit. And then…we have received the Spirit who is from God. So the Spirit, who lives inside us, reveals the thoughts of God to us. He is the only one who knows them, and he is commissioned to share them.

When I consider the thoughts of God…those uncountable grains of sand, I feel like a barefoot child walking on the beach with the shoreline stretching as far as I can see. I am carrying a small bucket with me that is full of sand. The sand is in my bucket, but it isn’t mine; it comes from the boundless store that is all around me.

Any thoughts that are true are first his thoughts. The sand in my bucket is his sand. In this book I am sharing with you some of the sand God has graciously put in my bucket.