Monday, July 25, 2011


Round two of camping this summer is underway. We have divided our family into 3 teams and pretty much everything is a competition throughout the week. Two nights ago we joined a bingo game that the KOA staff put on. I am apparently a Bingo rookie. I bought 3 sets of two- game cards, 3 daubers and we gathered by teams around a Costco table. The first two games were filled with anticipation as we each were determined that we could somehow be luckier than the other 2 teams. But very soon it became apparent that no one at our table was going to win...ever. Our problem was not between family members but with the roomful of other bingo-players. I believe every single one of them had purchased the FOUR-game cards (giving them a huge advantage on every single round). As the realization settled over our table that our odds of winning were extremely slim, I watched shoulders slump and heard sighs escape. We played out the other ten games with as much good-attitude as we could muster. But most of the enjoyment, anticipation and pleasure of the game had evaporated with our hope...Aren't we the same in this life? If I had no hope that God will make all things right in the end then I would despair of going through the daily motions. If there is no hope that I can change those areas that I have been struggling with, that the people I love can beat their demons then my emotional shoulders slump and my spirit sighs. Without hope what's the point?! How thankful I am that I can trust in a God who does rescue, who does restore, who does rebuild! I can live this life with the pleasure of anticipation. It's like having a billion-game card! And I like those odds.

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27;13

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who Do You Suppose Is Gonna Clean THAT Up?

I seem to learn things when I am out running and walking (maybe that's an indication that I need to work harder so I'm not so easily distracted) But last week I discovered something not-so-pleasant. It was a pile of throw-up. Yep. A big, disgusting, chunky pile of vomit. (I was thoughtful enough not to take or post a picture of it) It was gross, as you might imagine and I managed to avoid it successfully. But as I strode on, I began to wonder, "Who cleans that up?" It was on the edge of the sidewalk so no street sweeper would get to it. I don't think there is a city sidewalk clean up crew. It was on a corner lot and not in front of the house so it could go completely unnoticed by the residents. So whose job is it? I doubt the person who deposited it there is planning on returning to scoop it up...
Then my heart asked the question, who cleans up after me? Who removes the stench when I've thrown up all over someone else? I mean, I try to go back and apologize and re-build relationships when I am aware I have caused pain. But who does the deeper sanitizing work? Who has healed the pain in the wake of my disobedience and rebellion? Who has removed the stench of impatience and selfishness that I have left on my children over the years? What about the messes we leave behind because we are too hurt or too drunk or too short-sighted to even know we left them? Jesus does. He heals, He restores, He cleanses. And how thankful I am He does. I don't have the power or insight to do that level of clean up but I have faith and hope that He does.
The pile was still there today. It is drying up and changing consistency but it remains. I thought about how I could clean it up. I occasionally pick up trash as I walk. You know, a stray Starbucks cup or a fairly innocuous looking napkin. But vomit? I have my limits! And I hear God ask, "Do you have your limits in relationships as well?" Am I satisfied with helping my friends through a difficult time but if things get really messy do I back off? Am I afraid to assist God in His clean-up work if the person has too much stench from their past? Or am I willing to face their pain and mine and roll up my sleeves? Do I trust that the His blood has sanitized the places in my life soiled by my own sins and those committed against me? Surely God has what we need to do some deep cleaning!

"Purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean; Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blessings in the Dirt

I occasionally attempt to run for exercise. I went out yesterday, not expecting too much. I met those exact expectations; I was able to keep a decent pace for several minutes but then I lapsed into a semi-ambitious walk. I was weary, a bit discouraged, and kept my head down. Funny thing though, while focused on the ground an odd pink-peach little turtle caught my eye (turned out to be part of an earring). I picked it up and continued on. Not twenty steps later a second "treasure" appeared: A cheap faux jeweled ring. They rode in my pocket for the rest of the way home. Silly little trinkets that they are, they still reminded me of how often God meets me where I am. How many times I am walking this life with my eyes on the ground, weary, out of ideas, too tired too try any more. And how thankful I am that God doesn't always require my eyes to be lifted up to see His blessings. He is so gracious to send me tokens of His love just where I am looking. And when I see them, I remember I am not walking this journey alone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Popcorn and Halos

I went to a movie outside at the park in our little town green square here in Windsor last week. It was a beautiful evening, the moon was gorgeous and full and the movie had only been running a few minutes when we found our way to a nice patch of grass with only a partially obstructed view. (I think one must have to arrive on time for the good seats. My kids don't know what good seats are so please don't tell them.) It was just Trevor and I and I have since determined that a date with a ten year old is a one of life's sweetest things. As we began to settle in, Trevor asked if he could go check on getting some popcorn. It was dark and there were a lot of people but I decided he was old enough to take this journey on his own. So I gave him a twenty dollar bill and instructions to get the proper change and come directly back. He was a gone a long time. Too long. I fretted and strained to catch a glimpse of him, thought through how in the world I would ever find him should he get lost, and just when I was about to call home for reinforcements, he reappeared...with his arms very full. He came bearing gifts: three bags of popcorn and two long glow sticks, which we proceeded to make into multi-colored halos. He had taken from the abundance I had given him and offered back to me treasures he had found. I did not need them but his thoughtfulness and desire to please me sure warmed my heart... How I long for the gifts I offer to my Heavenly Father to bring Him the same joy. I can only give back time, energy, financial resources, grace and forgiveness that He has poured out so abundantly upon me. I only have something to offer because my Father gave me everything. I think He reaches down, accepts them as treasures, and smiles.

"We love each other because he loved us first." I John 4:19

Thursday, June 9, 2011


If I am sleeping soundly in my cozy sleeping bag she should know better. She has been my sister a very long time after all. I should get up and look at this? It might be blog worthy? (I am going to suggest that she create her own blog about things God reveals about Himself before 9 am) I tried to say no thank you but an older sister apparently holds a mystical power over the younger, so I stepped out of the tent and looked. Footprints. All over our cooking table. Small. Muddy. And they told a story. They told where the creature had been, what he had been up to, and perhaps most importantly, who/what he is. Let me mention here that I am often fearful to write these things publicly about God. They are personal, sometimes silly, certainly pathetically limited by my inability to paint even a fractional picture of a glorious and holy God. Please take that into consideration if you chance upon these postings. If you want a true and accurate and inspired story about Jesus then you have to look at His footprints. Where do I find them? In the Bible. When I open it I see the stories of where Jesus was going, what He was doing and best of all, Who He is. His direction, purpose, and identity are all imprinted on those pages. It is quite astounding really, the very footprints of God, muddy, human and perfect. Get up and look!

"but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Child's Play

I should tell you that it wasn't actually me who saw Jesus on the playground. It was my sister, Marilyn. And it happened several years ago while we were camping in the Santa Cruz area. Since I am currently sitting in my tent within a pine-cone's throw away from that exact playground, I thought I would attempt to revisit that story...On that day, Marilyn returned to our campsite and related this account after observing a man and his son interacting ; the boy played and the dad watched. The boy tried much on his own. He climbed, he ran, he jumped, he dug in the sand...It was fun. The father was near and the boy was feeling confident and secure. That is until he found himself out of his comfort zone. He went higher on the structure than he had before. His limbs could not reach the ground and the jump seemed frightening and unsafe. He began to talk about it, to grumble, and finally to call out to his father. When he did, the father simply asked, "What is it you want me to do for you, son?". The boy declared his predicament (although the dad surely was already aware of it) and the father had the strength and knowledge to effortlessly rescue the helpless lad...So Marilyn and I, being the odd sort we are, saw the reflection of our own Heavenly Father in the moment. How near He always is to us. How he enjoys watching us play and learn and stretch ourselves. And how, when we lack the courage and the strength to jump we need only to call to Him. While He certainly could act without us ever asking, He seems to desire the asking itself. Perhaps it is the acknowledgment of our dependence on Him, or perhaps just His desire to interact with those He loves and has compassion on. I do not mean to imply that He will give us our every whim, if only we make the request. But undoubtedly He does not desire us fall headlong or remain paralyzed by fear. So cry to Him. He is very near and He can effortlessly lift you to safety. Do you hear Him asking "What is it you want me to do for you, child?"

"Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" Matt. 7:9-11

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pop the Hood

I rescued someone today. It was a typical Wednesday late afternoon moment. You know, the kind where I arrived 12 minutes late to pick up Trevor from soccer practice. The good thing about this, I thought, was that Trevor would be ready to go, waiting by the curb and I wouldn't have to leave the safe haven of my Yukon. He wasn't. So I found a treasured parking spot, sighed and stepped out to locate him. Just as I eyed him (still taking shots on goal as if in the middle of a self-appointed drill) a fellow soccer mom approached me. Did I have battery cables? Yes. AND a nifty little portable battery charger. I worked with her for 15 minutes or so. I figured it out. How to get the hood open. The placement of the batteries. Where to put the cables. She was able to turn the motor over and off she went. I don't know how she found herself in such a predicament. I don't know if it had happened before. I don't know if she will need assistance in the future. And since I have found myself in the same power-less situation, I could by no means judge her. All I could do was offer my limited knowledge and basic resources to help her immediate need. And that was enough... I have to trust that God will give each of us exactly what we need to address the spiritual needs of those He brings our way. We will have enough knowledge to answer the question that is posed (even if the answer is partial). Enough encouragement to bandage a bleeding wound. Enough silence to hear the whole story that needs to be told. It will not be enough to secure their eternity or repair all the damage from the past. But it will be enough for the moment.

And I am thankful for the rescuers God sends my way when I am broken down :)

"Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God" 2 Cor. 3:5