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Showing posts from November, 2010

Influence

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It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).


"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV


I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

Chasing Rainbows

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"When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds," Genesis 9:14 NLT
God delights in putting examples all around us that can speak to us if we're listening.  Last week I drove all over an unfamiliar neighborhood, possibly even breaking a few traffic rules to find a spot where I could capture this breathtaking rainbow!

There is no . . .
height without depth, dawn without dark, found without lost, reunion without parting victory without defeat, rainbow without storm.
We would never know how high the mountaintop is unless we had been to the valley.  Our hearts would not thrill to the first rays of sunrise without experiencing the long dark night.  If we had never known the panic of a missing child (even if only for a moment), we would not know the utter euphoric relief of the moment of finding that lost little one.  Without the ominous black-clouded drama of the storm played out in a wild sky, we wouldn't know how much the rainbow's promise means.
When …

When Thanksgiving Goes Missing

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"God is sometimes the strength of His people, when He is not their song"
IVP NT Commentary on Psalm 118
Have you ever been there--are you there now--where God is holding you together, but your heart just cannot find a song?  You want to sing, but you don't have the spiritual breath it takes to run the notes through your vocal chords.  You WANT to be thankful--but REALLY thankful, not just listing gratitude because you're SUPPOSED TO and you know you SHOULD be thankful for so many things.  Underneath the debris of current hardships, you are actually thankful for these things but you can hardly find them in the clutter of your messy emotions.  You're fighting the cloying fumes of fear that everything you're thankful for today might be gone tomorrow because you're thinking of things you've already lost.

Uh-huh . . . me too.

So where do you run to find the real from-the-inside-out kind of gratitude that makes Thanksgiving spring out of you like a song?

Will…

From Among the Thorns

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Voices lifted in praise, a soaring song swells through the gathered worshipers. Everything is beautifully prepared for filling the sanctuary with joy.
Why is it then, that so many faces wear such pained expressions?
True enough, some people are bringing praise in spite of tremendous pain in their lives. I have been there myself, and know that sometimes the only praise we can bring is saturated with tears and laced with pain. That is perfectly legitimate and understandable--these offerings are immeasurably precious to God.  It is not to this situation I am directing my thoughts.
So here's what I've noticed--I have been in churches all my life, and there is a common phenomenon that has me puzzled.  Some people, and sometimes even whole churches, get into a habit of acting as though the facial expression most indicative of spirituality is somber, serious, on-the-verge-of-tears and twisted into a mask of pain. These sorrowful expressions can be about as pleasant and inviting as th…

Chew, Test, Pray

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I would like to think that peer pressure only afflicts teenagers.

But it doesn't.

It jumps up and grabs my heels every once in awhile and afflicts a decidedly post-teen me.  It clings with a tenacity that surprises me, and I find myself fighting to regain my equilibrium.  I stop and look at it to see what is trying to make me move in a direction of it's own choosing.  More surprise!  The peer pressure is emanating from the voices of other Christians I admire.

I have been reading words and hearing admonitions written and spoken by people I truly follow as they follow Jesus; words full of truth and light and . . . Him.  'Yes!' I think, 'I agree with much of their thinking . . . So why do I feel so uneasy? Is this disconcerted feeling a good thing, or not?' This time I think not.

Then comes the questioning, wondering if I'm on the wrong side of what they are saying.  Wait . . . conviction is a disconcerting feeling . . . is that what this is?  That's not …

Daddy Painted the Doors Red

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Up and down the neatly laid out streets of our little Iowa town were big old wonderful houses that stood stately and dignified  where they'd stood for decades.
Almost all of them were white.
Ours was white too, until . . .
Daddy painted the front door bright red!
What did people think, I wonder?  These tried and true traditional Iowans--what did they make of the young basketball coach and his strange door-painting ideas!?  Didn't he know the rules?  Was he a rebel?  Red wasn't even one of the school colors!  What did it mean???
To him it meant "pizzazz!"  After all it was his favorite color!!  It was vivid and bright and positive--all things that he is.  The red door was his way of making it OUR house, distinct and memorable.  Painting the door red was the smile he put on our house to match the one he always wears!
I was 5 and I was delighted!  How deliciously scandalous it felt to have that flashy red door on our big white house!  It was outside the box, made from a…

Daughters of Eve

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Weighed in the balance and found wanting . . . found wanting . . . found wanting . . . Wow! Who turned up the reverb?  :)
This is the loop that plays and plays and plays in my mind as I look across the scales of perfectionism at that ideal me over there on the other side.  Why can't I be like her, like the me I want to be?!!
SLIM, ATHLETIC, HEALTHY AND IN SHAPE BEAUTIFUL FACE, HAIR, MAKEUP, CLOTHES ALWAYS ON TIME, NEVER FORGETS PRIORITIZES PERFECTLY, NEVER PROCRASTINATES ALWAYS PREPARED, EVEN FOR THE UNEXPECTED ALWAYS KNOWS WHAT TO SAY ALWAYS LIVES UP TO HER POTENTIAL OVERCOMES OBSTACLES AS THOUGH THERE WEREN'T ANY ACHIEVES EVERY GOAL, ACCOMPLISHES EVERY DREAM ALWAYS HAS MEALS READY, GOURMET AND ON TIME AMAZINGLY TALENTED WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, TOO HUMBLE TO THINK SO WRITES BOOKS THAT CHANGE LIVES SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSWOMAN WITH SIX-FIGURE PROFITS HAS A SPOTLESS HOUSE, LAUNDRY ALWAYS DONE NEVER HAS ANYTHING TO BE SORRY FOR NEVER INCONVENIENCES ANYONE, NEVER LETS ANYONE DOWN PERFECTLY EXUDES THE FRU…

What To Do With a Whirlwind

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"Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
   your lightning lit up the world;
   the earth trembled and quaked."  
Psalm 77:18 NIV

That sounds terrifying!!  With a storm like that I think I would want to run for cover and find a place to get out of the wild winds!  Run!  Escape!  Get away!!!

The very next words are these:

"Your path led through the sea,
   your way through the mighty waters,
   though your footprints were not seen."
Psalm 77:19 NIV

The storm the psalmist was describing in verse 18 was the storm God stirred up to open the Red Sea to deliver His people to freedom!  In spite of all that blustering going on, when the people of God saw His storm blowing up a rescue for them, they must have jumped for joy and leaped into action, flags flying, banners raised, excited to walk through on dry ground, following those unseen footprints!!  

What about the pursuing Egyptians?  What was in that storm for them?  When proud Pharaoh ordered his troops to pursue the escaping …