Sunday, July 31, 2011


Did you ever think about the kinds of waiting we experience?

Waiting for something to arrive in the mail
Waiting at railroad crossings in our midwestern town--numerous times per day
Waiting to hear back from someone whom you are expecting an answer from
Waiting in line at the Post Office or BMV
Waiting at an appointment
Waiting for something dreaded to be over
Waiting for finances to do a project around the house
Waiting for finances to buy an item you want or need
Waiting to see an anemic character quality, get strengthened
Waiting to get healed, whether spiritually, emotionally or physically
Waiting for an adult child to get from dependence to independence to a comfortable friendship
Waiting to hear from God
Waiting to see God act in answer to a prayer

Which do you find the hardest to do? I was finding comfort in the passage from Isaiah 40 one day this week.
"They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings like an eagle; they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint." 

I am waiting, right now, on a relationship. Waiting for someone to respond to me. Every time I call and no return call comes or a text is ignored I feel the anquish of expectations dashed. Then I struggle with how much to keep trying or just let it go completely.  I've gone too far before and pushed too hard.  I believe I am to let go and let God work it out, trusting in His goodness and timing. But it is so hard!! Could it be that God is working out an idol in my heart? In Peacemaker training I've learned that our good desires can become monster wants that cause us to makes demands on others when we don't get what we want.

Anyway, I am finding sweet comfort in waiting on the Lord.  This passage from Isaiah, as well as other Scriptures,  promise me good things if I wait: strength, mounting up, no weariness, and no fainting.  I will not be disappointed in Him and no "suffering" will be wasted. And in the meantime, I get to be changed for the better, as Patience does her perfect work in me.

So while waiting is difficult, I think I'd rather be in waiting on the Lover -of -My- Soul than some of the other waits I have to endure. Waiting on and for people can bring disappointment and great expense,  frustration, rejection, and loss. And I've let others down many times when they've waited on me. It's just our human way. 

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for always being  faithful and trustworthy and generous in giving me what I need most. Help me to wait on you!

There's a song I used to sing with my kids that goes like this:
Be patient,
Be patient,
Don't be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient you only start to worry.
Remember, remember
That God is patient, too
And think about the times that others have to wait for you!

May you be comforted today in waiting on the Lord.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Dog Day of Summer

We lounged lazily on the back porch of the lake house our friends had rented.  The brief get-away from home was a welcome change of pace.

During the conversation I noticed movement on a property further down the lake front.  A body raced from the off shore back yard, continued across the narrow plank of the pier and sailed a short trajectory over the water before making a splash landing.  Seconds later, a head popped to the surface of the water and bobbed slowly back to shore where the whole performance was repeated, as we all watched with delight.  From our far off spectatoring, we surmised our entertainer to be a Golden Retriever.  There didn’t appear to be anyone cheering the dog on or even another audience besides us.  It was simply a hot dog day of summer and a good way to cool off.

There was One other watching; taking pleasure in the scene.  The same One who sees every sparrow that falls and pronounces his creation "good".  Ps. 104:24-26 Msg says,
"What a wildly wonderful world, God!
      You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
      made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
   Oh, look—the deep, wide sea,
      brimming with fish past counting,
      sardines and sharks and salmon.
   Ships plow those waters,
      and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them."

And Zephaniah 3:17
"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

We serve him, sacrifice for him and labor together with him. In these vacationing months of summer, let's recreate and play for him, too. He's watching with pleasure the way you enjoy his creation, the way you laugh in happiness and maybe, he's even romping with you.

"Here comes that dog again! Watch!"
"Ready, set, jump!"
"Let's give him a 10 on that one," my husband says with a grin.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

At Home Here or There

I'm home again. There were 5 days of sleeping in another bed not my own and the morning routine of keeping small travel toiletries corralled and balanced on the back of the john in a counterless bathroom. But the inconveniences were completely overshadowed by the wonderful visit with my granddaughters and son. Josh and I meshed our skills in the kitchen as he grilled and cooked, and I baked the desserts of his choice from the repertoire of family recipes. Jill and Elle, the grands,  are now old enough to help in the preparation and how fun to see these tried and true concoctions created by the hands of a new generation!

Our few short days together were filled with shopping and playing games, swimming and a birthday party, and some good catch -up chats.  I'm thankful for these gatherings and know God is working in all of our hearts to keep us connected to him and each other.

I came home to a cheery bouquet of flowers my husband set on the kitchen counter for my arrival.  He had stayed home this time, and it was good to get back together. 

As I unpacked my bags,  conflicting emotions roiled around the edges of my heart--

joy in the memories,
sadness in missing the  faces I'd been touching and kissing,
readiness to return to routine,
not certain I wanted to reenter the normal just yet,
happy to be with my hubby,
nudging to give it all to my Father and let him sort it out

--and I knew peace would eventually come as I delighted in the family ties I was privileged to be immersed in, close at hand or afar in a distant state.

Thank you, Father, for moments of sharing life with those I love and see too little. Thank you for ways to stay connected and your ties that bind us together.  You said you would come and take us to live with you forever and you said you love us and will make your home with us now. That's way bigger than travel -sized promises; that's to be at home with you always!

Here's one of those favorite family recipes made on day three of my visit.  It's  only- four-ingredient- formula makes it quick and easy to prepare.

Soda Cracker Candy

1/2 c. butter                                             1c. chocolate chips
1 c. brown sugar                                      Saltine crackers (Josh wanted Ritz this time)

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.  Grease the foil. Lay crackers side by side in sheet.  Combine brown sugar and margarine in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and boil 2  and 1/2 mins. Pour over crackers. Bake 3-5 mins. at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crackers evenly.  In a minute or so the chips will be melted and gooey. Smooth over the top with a knife.  Set in the refrigerator to cool until the top is hardened. Peel away the foil and break into pieces.

This reminds me of an English toffee with a salty twist from the crackers. Warning: these will be hard to resist!

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Getting the Scoop

Extra, extra, read all about it!

So we pick up the paper, scan the headlines and probe the articles that capture our curiosity.  Then what? Do we ever think about our response to what we read? Was I angered, saddened, gleeful, judgemental? Maybe thankful? Comforted? God knows the news before it happens, but just imagine him reading the newspaper.  What emotions would be evoked in his heart?

I discovered a verse in Ezekiel this week that gives me a hint of what he might be feeling.

"Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?" declares the Sovereign Lord.  Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"  Ezekiel 18:23.

God is not a furious punisher who gleefully wipes out everyone who opposes him.  He wants people to turn to him, to discover life with him.  The verses are interrogatory. Even the answer to the first question is a question! says, 'question  means to challenge the accuracy, probity, or propriety of; interrogate  means to examine closely, aggressively, or formally by posing a series of questions to '.  God wants to challenge us to know this truth about himself.   

This is a God who is awesome in his power and his love.  His justice and mercy can't be separated. Those who see tradgedy and atrocities as his wrath and judgement poured out, may conclude that the God of the Old Testament is too harsh.  He's certainly not people-friendly and therefore, only to be feared, not embraced as Father God.  Yet, here, deep in a prophetic tome of judgement, God bares his heart . Hardened hearts and the unrepentant must be chastened, but God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Thank you, Father, for revealing yourself as a God who is merciful and longs for reconciliation. Now work in me that same heart of desire for the wicked to turn from their ways. Where I am smug in my righteousness, forgive me. Where I wish evil for evil, help me instead, to grieve for the hearts of people you have created and love.  Help me to share the way to eternal life so more will know how to turn from the way that leads to destruction, and turn to you.

I've heard of someone who prays for community and country as they read the paper.  Sounds like a wonderful habit!

Friday, July 1, 2011

We remember you!

Ever since high school he knew an ominous kidney disease lay dormant in his body. However, with no symptoms and plenty of youthful optimism, college life was good. I met him in college.  We were in love and our friendship was blossoming.  I remember the night he called to disclose his medical diagnosis.  He wanted to know, would this alter my decision to continue the romance which seemed destined for marriage? The prognosis for degeneration was a future far from the present.  The carefreeness of being twenty- something had me believing we could beat the odds. And we knew our God was still very capable of mircles of healing.

Not until a toddler and an infant later in our 8 year marriage did slight symptoms show up.  We adjusted and altered our life-style as needed and hoped for the best, relying on God's grace for the journey ahead. As the disease became more invasive Joe began dialysis treatment and was eventually added to the kidney donor list at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. Life expectancy and quality of life after transplant was very promising.

Almost a year after starting dialysis, other unrelated symptoms developed.  A month later he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and 29 days after that,  Joe, at age 42, died and entered eternity with Jesus who he loved and anticipated meeting face to face.

I was privileged to share life with this wonderful man for a short time.  This past Wednesday marked 19 years since his death.  Today, I am remembering and honoring a man who loved and served well.
-- loved God and his family
--obtained a graduate degree in Social Work at 31 years of age
--served as an elder and four years as assistant pastor at our church
--full of wisdom and a sought after counselor
--loved people
--overcame a rather severe speech impediment
--had no fear of death because he knew his God

Our three grown  children are trophy's of God's grace.  They have struggled and sorrowed and still bear the loss, but the Father of the fatherless has been faithful. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and have overcome the fear of evil and am convinced that my God is with me. One of my life's verses is Psalm 46:1. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. There were difficult and lonely days, but He never let go of me. Grace for unthinkable trouble can't be imagined ahead, but when faced with walking through the valley, God's grace is reality. You can count on it.

I am grateful to be married now to another wonderful man who has expanded my family to five children and at last count, 9 grandchildren.

What Joe taught our family by example and word will always be a part of who we are. We remember you today!