Over and Over

Each New Day is a Gift from God - Over and Over

Each New Day He Lovingly Pursues Us – Over and Over

He created me to want him,

Whispering my name

Over and over.

And when I finally answered him,

Joy unspeakable and full of glory

Descended upon me

Over and over.

When in fear

Or anger

Or misunderstanding

I pushed him away,

He patiently pursued me

Over and over.

When I turned my ear to listen

To the words he was speaking to my heart,

I learned what grace really means

Over and over.

When the pain came

He whispered,

My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

Over and over.

Now, whispering his name,

I choose him

Over and over.

I am his,

And he is mine

Through faith and hope

Over and over


That glorious day

When eternity begins.


Feeling Weary?

Tired Woman

Every so often my passion for helping others just kind of sizzles out in an exhausted sigh.  It raises all sorts of uncomfortable questions at a time when my brain and body are begging for a break.  The questions, however, are necessary if I want to figure out why I’m feeling so tired.

Here’s my “go to” list of questions:  Am I happily serving others or am I doing some inner complaining?  Am I tired physically?  Spiritually?  Emotionally?  Is this burnout or a season of discouragement?  Do I base my serving others on the response I get short term?  Am I too results oriented?  That old buzz word, “co-dependent” flashes through my mind and I have to do a quick check to assess it.  Am I compulsively serving?  Is it feeding a need in me?   Exactly why am I serving others?  And what exactly have I been doing lately and is it stuff I’m really wired to do?

I went through this just a month ago.  It was the beginning of December. I groaned as I looked at my to do list.  I wanted to throw in the towel on everything, even the good stuff.  I didn’t have the energy or the desire to do any of it.   And I didn’t want to spend the energy going over all those questions, either.  Then I came across this.  Let me rephrase that.  Then I came across this, again:  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Funny how this verse keeps popping up in my life. I’m pretty sure I was in my twenties the first time I picked up this particular clue phone and it’s rung often since then.  It was time to answer it yet again.

It took a good two weeks to contemplate all the questions and figure out why I felt so weary.  Actually it wasn’t a what but rather a who. Someone who had reached out to me for help was being rather unkind. I realized I was looking at temporary results based on someone who had other issues in their life that weren’t about me at all. Though the issues affected our relationship, there was no need for me to take it personally.

I acknowledged my hurt feelings, prayed about the relationship and put the person and their issues in God’s hands. I forgave them, and was able to let it all go. The weariness went away.

Which brings me to today.  I just returned to Chicago from D.C. after spending time with my daughter’s family.  I was able to help out as they welcomed their latest, a healthy baby boy.  It was a gift to be invited into their home and their lives for the better part of two weeks.  I’m so proud of my daughter’s efforts as a military wife and mom to their three children. She continues to amaze me as I watch her bloom and grow.

My time there resurrected all kinds of memories of raising my own kids, and honestly, they were tough memories.  Life with kids is a constant ebb and flow of wills, spontaneous laughter, daily disasters and joyous milestones. There are tedious chores and tender feelings and lessons that are only learned the hard way.  That goes for parents and for kids.   And, I’m learning, for grandparents! But that’s another post…

I came home with a strange mixture of exhilaration and exhaustion.  I wasn’t quite sure what that was all about until I read my Bible this morning.  In Luke 8, verses 43-47, is the story of the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.  She touched the edge of the cloak Jesus was wearing and was instantly healed.  “Who touched me?” Jesus asked.  “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”  The woman, seeing she couldn’t go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and had been instantly healed.  Then Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace.”

I love this story for several reasons, the first being that Jesus persisted in wanting to see her, know her, hear her story.  He really cared about her. That’s love.  That is exactly what He has done for me.  He seeks me out.  He wants to hear directly from me what I’ve been going through.  And He heals my heart, over and over.  You know, I hope, that He cares exactly the same for you.  He wants to look in your eyes, know you and hear your story and pain and heal you and love you, over and over, again and again.

I also love that the woman shared the intimate details of her illness, regardless of the people around them.  She knew she could trust Him.  She was so grateful that she let nothing hold her back, not the crowd, not the social mores, nothing.  That is so inspiring.  But what struck me today was the power part, how power left Jesus.  I’ve always wondered about that.  How did He know power left him? (Power in this instance means inherent capacity to carry something out.)

Today I finally got it.  I gladly served my daughter and her family, but in giving to her, it took from me.  I was tired.  The same goes for my situation back in December. Giving takes from us and gives to others. In the process we lose power. We get tired. We feel worn out. And that’s okay. That’s what giving does when it comes from the heart. That’s what love is, that’s what love does.

But there’s more. After Jesus healed that woman, He continued on that day and raised a little girl from the dead. Just a few paragraphs later He sent out His disciples and “gave them power {that same kind of inherent power – ability} and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  He told them, “Take nothing for the journey — no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt…”

Our ability to move forward comes as He provides.  We just have to show up. Say yes. Here I am. Send me. Which is what I did with my daughter. I showed up, not sure exactly what I could do that would help the most. Turns out it wasn’t the cleaning or watching the kids or any of the things I intentionally did that helped the most. It was who I am, the way I’m just wired to be a calming influence that meant the most to her. That, I can tell you with the utmost truth, is not something I can do on my own. That is simply a gift God has given me. He gave me that to give to her. He knew what she needed. Seeing that happen brought tears to my eyes.  Though I doubted my ability to be enough for her, God made me enough.  Showing up, giving, may come with a cost to us. But the most meaningful gift to others is Jesus shining through us.  Knowing that is both rewarding and exhilarating.

I had to smile as this all began to fit together when I read those verses today.  God began preparing me for my trip a month ago when I had absolutely no energy to serve anyone. He knew what was ahead and what I was meant to do.  Once again, He has my back, just like He has your back right now. He keeps preparing us, encouraging us, and giving us what we need to do the work before us. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a really good verse:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

Coffee and Pie

CoffeePieBibleBlogPhotoThe year is 1964. I’m four years old. My older siblings are in school and I’m home alone with my mom. She fills the aluminum coffeepot with water and Eight O’clock coffee kept in a Tupperware container. She lights the stove, washes the breakfast dishes and quickly tidies the house. The women start arriving, having walked no more than a block to get to our brown brick home.  One carries an infant, the rest come carrying various types of Bibles.  Within moments the small house is full of chatter, the coffee is percolating, and chairs are scraping across the linoleum as the women gather around the table.

For one hour the women listen as my mom reads and teaches from her worn black Bible. I hear the name “Jesus” several times.  They eagerly ask questions. They search the words in their Bibles as if they are more important than the homemade pie on the table. How I wish I could join them. But I’m too little to read and I don’t have a Bible.  I interrupt my mother, ask her for one.  She sends me up to the attic to find an ancient Bible and I find it easily among the bookshelves, it seems to be waiting for me. I return with it and stand outside their circle, Bible open, looking hard at the red and black letters, willing myself to make sense of them.  I cannot.

They share grownup stories in excited tones, stories I’m too young to understand.  Wistfully, I look around the circle.  The infant nurses at her mother’s bare breast.  The women laugh, grow sad, and laugh some more.  They drink the coffee, eat the pie and ask my mother to teach them how to make pie dough.  They pray and then chairs scrape and it’s time to go, children will be home from school for lunch.  My mother is smiling happily, content as she promises the recipe and sees them to the door.  My world is good and secure and all it needs to be.

It’s 1984.  I have two daughters and am pregnant with my third child.  We have moved into a house in a neighborhood that is full of families.  But I know none of them.  I feel like I’m the only woman home during the day, and it’s true, most women are at work.  I try the old adage “to make a friend be a friend”, but nothing comes of it.  I make plenty of pies, my mother taught me well, but there are no friends with whom to share them.

I see, at 24, that change is constant.  I look at my marriage and see how hasty it was, how quickly I threw away innocence and truth in search of love.  I gained love and marriage but what did I lose?  I can see at last how critical sound choices are, what my parent’s divorce in 1967 cost all of us and now my oldest is four and what stability will I give her?  I get down on my knees and ask forgiveness for all the selfish mistakes I’ve made in recent years.  I pray that my daughters will know the security of truth, that they too will hear the name Jesus spoken at the kitchen table, that they will see the need for vulnerability, for honesty, and I promise to give them Bibles with words that may be difficult to understand at first but will eventually point them to truth and never, ever change.  I pray for strength then, and wisdom, to give my children all the good that my mother gave me and then some, to point them to the forgiveness of Jesus and to God’s unconditional love.

When I stand up and wipe away my tears, I take stock of myself.  I am aware that while nothing has changed externally, somehow, by this simple act of faith, it is well with my soul.   The external losses, the gains and pains of love, they fade in the light of this peace.  Suddenly, my world is good and secure and all it needs to be, once more.