Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Almost Tangible

Over the last several weeks I couldn’t help but notice how people have been functioning in a more frenzied state than one would normally see. Rushing here and there…trying to get the best deals…looking out for “number one” etc. Last week as I was starting to back out of my parking spot at the grocery store a car came speeding up the isle. I decided to stop and wait only to be greeted with her hands thrown up in the air as if I’d done something wrong. Once out of my spot I happened to be driving right behind this same lady only to see a sticker on the back of her car that ironically said “Be nice!”

Today though I went early to the grocery store to grab a few groceries and in spite of the pouring rain the atmosphere was completely changed. There were smiles on many faces….greetings as people passed each other in the isles….people wishing others “merry Christmas”… people urging other people to go in front of them to checkout, and even total strangers striking up conversations in the checkout line. The whole store was in a lighthearted mood. To be honest it was a very pleasant way to shop…such extreme kindness it was almost tangible.

Driving away from the store I felt such sadness. Why do so many people allow themselves to be overtaken with the false joy of this world?  How many of those people were so happy because they were thinking of the real reason for Christmas? Was I spreading the true meaning of Christmas to others? Am I taking time during this busy Christmas season to reflect on Christ’s birth? Let us pause and be filled with joy, a joy in thinking about the birth of our dear Lord and Savior.
Wishing you and your family a joy filled and blessed Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


We awoke Monday morning eager to begin our journey back home. It had been a nice visit to see my mother-in-law who had just turned 80. As we took family pictures there were two places that were empty…a father and brother; but still it was good to be together. Now it was time to leave. We quickly packed our suitcases, ate a quick breakfast and were off for the hour ride to the airport.

Picking up my phone I could see some weather warnings. Did I dare to look? Grand Rapids was under a weather advisory and wind warning. Flying is not my favorite thing to do but with winds gusting to 50mph I was really not looking forward to the flights home.

Soon we were boarded and ready to de-ice and take off. As we sat waiting on the runway the plane was rocking back and forth. A few minutes later we were speeding down the runway until finally we were off the ground. Immediately the turbulence began. The plane groaned and creaked as the wind was pressing it from all sides. It almost seemed hard to imagine that these planes can take so much stress against their frame. Sitting towards the back we could see the plane tilting and bouncing.

And then it happened. As if it were a shot from a gun we suddenly burst through the cloud layer. Instantly there was the most beautiful blue sky one could ever imagine and all was calm…so calm it was hard to imagine that we were actually flying.

In that moment words can hardly express the thoughts that went through my head. What a picture of life. So often full of turbulence…winds blowing against us from every side shaking our very being. Sometimes it seems a wonder that our bodies and being can withstand another trial and yet we are upheld.

But if only we could look at the big picture. Our turbulence will only last a few short years and then those who know the Lord will suddenly burst as it were through the clouds and all will be calm….amazingly calm, forever.

My thoughts immediately went to a dear little boy from our former congregation. He struggled every day for the few short years of his life and that very morning he took his last breath. As I sat gazing out at that amazingly clear blue sky I couldn’t help but wonder what it must be for him at those moments. Looking down I could see the thick layer of clouds covering the earth, knowing that the turbulence was there below, knowing that in a few minutes we would be entering it once again but not dear little Jacob…his struggles were over forever. Though so difficult being away from this dear family during their time of mourning this lesson from our flight with turbulence brought much comfort.

It turned into a blessed flight filled with sweet communion. Lord grant that I may look above life’s many “turbulences” to see that one day there will be a great calm…never to have to experience turbulence again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's in the Valleys I Grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It's then I have to remember
that it's in the valleys I grow

If I always stayed on the mountain top
and never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love
and would be living in vain

I have so much to learn
and my growth is very slow,
sometimes I need the mountain tops
But it's in the valleys I grow

I do not always understand,
why things happen as they do.
But I am very sure of one thing,
My Lord will see me through

My little valleys are nothing
when I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death,
His victory was Satan's loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
when I'm feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
that it's in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord.
and use my life each day
to share your love with others
and help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
for this one thing I know
the mountain tops are glorious
But it's in the valleys I grow.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


There are times in our lives that we stand back in amazement at the goodness of God which leads us to be very humbled and desirous to worship in adoration. Times when we seek God’s will and see doors opening in the direction we believe His will is leading…times when we see spiritual growth in our children…times when in spite of inconveniences we observe the absolute beautifulness of the snow surrounding us…and of course for me most recently being brought through another great trial which in my doctor’s words yesterday was a “horrible mess.”  I’m so thankful that my shoulder is healing in spite of the difficult pain which he said was because of all the bone work in addition to the rotator cuff and the fact that I cannot have narcotics. I’m so thankful that he had wisdom to think of giving me a shot in my shoulder yesterday to try to give some relief…thankful for the helping hands of our children as I cannot move my arm for at least another 4 weeks.

Yes I’m so thankful that as I lay awake this morning at 4:30am I was not groaning in pain as other mornings but had some sweet relief. It was so quiet and peaceful in this house…I could just sit (cannot lay yet) and lift up my soul in sweet overwhelming adoration and communion to my dear Maker in heaven…no surrounding noise…no interruptions…no phones…no work to be done…just me and Him.

I was so able to see His goodness as I watch my children go through great trials but yet through them seeing spiritual growth. As much as I hurt with them, never would I want one of those trials removed that brings spiritual gain. I saw a little glimpse of how our Father must feel…on the one hand suffering in our suffering and yet rejoicing when the trial has not been wasted but instead brings spiritual growth.

As I lay awake this morning I couldn’t but help realize how important it is that we do not "waste" our trials. It will take an entire eternity for us to truly see the goodness of God...goodness in every trial…in every cross providence…in every blessing…in every step or misstep of our day…in every temptation…in every goodness…eternity hardly seems long enough to sit at His feet humbly adoring this great good God whom we serve.

 In sweet communion, Lord, with Thee
 I constantly abide;
 My hand Thou holdest in Thy own
 To keep me near Thy side.

 Thy counsel through my earthly way
 Shall guide me and control,
 And then to glory afterward
 Thou wilt receive my soul.

 Whom have I, Lord, in heaven but Thee,
 To Whom my thoughts aspire?
 And, having Thee, on earth is nought
 That I can yet desire.

 Though flesh and heart should faint and fail,
 The Lord will ever be
 The strength and portion of my heart,
 My God eternally.

 To live apart from God is death,
 'Tis good His face to seek;
 My refuge is the living God,
 His praise I long to speak.