Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Start Afresh

As I sit at my desk and look over my mind's shoulder, I see a long train of events strewn out behind me. Some are bright with tears, others dimmed from remembrance. Some glow with warmth and love, and a few are chilly with an icy heartbreak.

But all of them share two things in common.

One is that they all happened to me.

The other is that they're all behind. Past. Done. Gone.

My eyes steal a glance forward.

Who knows where 2014 will take me?

When this new year comes to a close and I look back again, what kind of memories will I see littering the path behind me? What kind of new horizons will I be looking at?

Only time... And my Father... will tell.

The Year in Review

In January, February, half of March I was in Thailand, teaching English to Karen children, learning a strange language, eating hot chilis and riding on top of the Steck's station wagon. So much to miss...

In March, I flew my first international solo flight from Bangkok to Seattle, where I was reunited with family after almost 7 months. 

In April, I turned 20 years old on the same day that I gave my mission report. A friend surprised me by showing up that day as well. 

I got to see this sunset at Haystack Rock in April, too. 

 In May, I took a road trip with my brother and dad down to Redmond/Bend, Oregon area, helping a client to drive a plane to his new hangar. This was the first snow I'd seen since two Christmas's before.

We also welcomed Haley back from the Mission Experience in May. We were all just as excited as the little guy in the background.

May was also the Pathfinder Fair. 

In June, Haley and I made a trip to Walla Walla and spent some time with Emily Heagy before she left for Cambodia... 

...and right after that, we went to Young Disciple Ministries and volunteered for a week. 

We left straight from YD on a mission trip to Tok, Alaska, with Fountains of Life Ministries... 

...and got back in July, just in time for a rousing Inchelium reservation firework show. 

In July, I volunteered at Young Disciple Camp... 

...for week one... 

...And week two. 

Right as YD finished, the staff asked me to stay on to help finish some of their projects and God opened the doors for me to return as a graphic design intern. 

In August, I went on a hike with Jessica and Jenny and Brian, all the way to the top of Sherman Peak: my highest climb to date, I think. 

In August, Haley, Sabrina and I (with the help of many friends) put on a benefit concert to raise funds to go to Thailand... 

...and waded through a cold river in our spare time. 

A short time later, we also  gave an Alaska Mission report at the Castle Rock SDA church.

We also made some new friends in August: the Rittenour family stayed with us for almost a week, since Caleb was planning on coming to Thailand with us and he helped with the benefit concert we did at Castle Rock...

...I also drowned my phone in the ocean in August. Yes, that's what my dad is holding. 

In September, I moved back to YD. 

In October, Jessica, Kezzia and I went on a spur-of-the-moment backpacking trip and had an amazing time. 

In October Grandma Jo passed away, and I went home for her memorial, took Cortney with me, and had a beautiful 5 days home--even though we were missing Grandma. 

October also held a massive blessing from a friend back home. 

In November, I made the trip home for Thanksgiving and got a picture-perfect shot at 6 in the morning. 

In November, I went to the Zoolights with my family... 

...and paused mid-week to snap pictures of the ever-changing driveway... 

...and went to hear Handel's Messiah in an old Presbyterian church... 

...and celebrated getting another round of magazines off to press with a purple feast. 

In December, I went home for Christmas, had a beautiful time with family and dear friends, and yesterday I drove home, over icy-slick roads and arrived just in time to hold down the fort while everyone goes to GYC.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All except one

One touch away, and it popped onto my little phone screen.

I read.
I sat back.
And I thought. For a very, very, long time.

"As soldiers show their scars and talk of battles when they come at last to spend their old age in the country at home, so shall we in the dear land to which we are hastening, speak of the goodness and faithfulness of God who brought us through all the trails of the way. I would not like to stand in the white-robed host and hear it said, "These are they that came out of great tribulation: all except one." --C.H. Spurgeon

I don't like pain. I don't like struggles. Or hardships. Or heartbreaks.

To date, I've experienced all...and then some.

I've shrunk from pain all my life--and then, two years ago, a close friend told me to embrace my pain. I couldn't fathom it at the time, nor could I understand. But it's never left me. And when I read Spurgeon's comment on gaining Heaven as the only one who hadn't felt pain before, it suddenly clicked.

Just like exercise and discipline are what fit you for running the race, and ultimately receiving the prize, so hardships, heartbreaks, pain and trials are what fit you to live as a Christian in this world and gain Heaven at the last.

An embrace is an expression of endearment, acceptance, love, friendship.

Can you make friends with your hardships?
Love your pain?
Accept--with all its ugliness--your heartbreak?
Call your trials dear?

This is what Christianity is about, after all.

It's not so much the throne as it is the thorn.

There's always something new to learn, isn't there?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I will trust

"It is God's plan to give, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not otherwise bestow."
"Because if it be not worth the asking, it is held in little esteem by those who receive it."
"But are we not in danger of out-asking Him?"
"Nay. The fact that you receive a rich gift today is only the promise of a still richer gift tomorrow."
"Well, henceforth we shall be much more free in our askings."
"And in so doing, you will allow Him to be much more free in His givings."


Head in hands, heart lifted to Heaven. I surrender, I surrender...

Then that little dialogue from John Bunyan's immortal pilgrims comes to mind. And the heart wrenches a little more. Let go: I must, but how can I ask for it if I release...?

How indeed?

I don't understand. I just don't. 

But I will trust.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


The carpet plushes up around my bare feet as I run its rich length to the throne. In childlike fashion, I run to the open arms of the King, sitting alone in the throne room. His embrace seems to put all my broken pieces back together in a moment and I sit on His knee, unwilling to lose contact with Him.

I ask a few questions, but keep on talking. He listens, nods His head, and smiles. I keep looking away, out into the throne room, but always my gaze is drawn back to that face, that smile.

"Are you happy, Child?" His question penetrates deep into my heart.

I smile. "Oh yes. I'm happy--You've blessed me so much and put me in a place to grow and learn and be that I love."

His eyes cut deeper than His question. "Are you really happy?"

My smile fades. "Yes," I say again, though quieter now. "I am happy. But there are some things down inside that keep me from being completely happy."

"Tell Me. I want to know what those things are."

I name a few things, pausing longer on some than on others. Sometimes I smile while telling Him: and sometimes He comments or answers my questions.

"...and as much as I want Your will, I really would like to know," I finish, almost frowning, but still smiling.

He laughs. "I thought you liked surprises."

"I do, I do! But..."

He shakes His head now, still smiling. "No 'buts.' You'll like My surprise, when the time comes. Be patient..."

As the talking and occasional laughter dies down, I sense His eyes on me still. He knows. I haven't mentioned one thing--and that's because I'm not sure how to say it out loud. I fumble with my fingers, trying to pretend like I've exhausted my list of things, even though I know better.

"Did you forget something?" I can hear the smile in His voice, even though I also sense He's hurting with me.

I shake my head at first, but the feeling of that penetrating glance changes the direction of my nod halfway. "I don't want to talk about that, though..."

He puts His arms around me again. Tears escape and run down my cheeks, and then down the gentle, scarred hands that hold my face. A tear that isn't mine rolls down my face, too.

After a little while, He sighs. "You need to talk about it, Child. I'm listening."

I shake my head. "I don't even know how..." More tears.


One word, and it unleashes a floodgate of words that I didn't even know were there. At long last, the problem is in open air, in all its painful ugliness. What will He say?

Tears still bright in His eyes, He now smiles. "I know. I understand. But I've asked you to move on."

I nod, swallowing down a few tears. "I'm going to. I am moving on."

Now He shakes His head. "No... I don't think you really have yet. If you'd already moved on, you wouldn't still be angry. You must forgive."

Forgive. That word slices deep and in a moment, I know He's right. But I can't... It isn't deserved... It's not even Christian...

"Yes, you can." His voice breaks the silence again. "And no, it's not deserved, but that's the essence of forgiveness. And yes..." --He turns my face up to His-- "it's the most Christian thing in the world."

"Even like this? Even when...?" My eyes darken, I know.

"Even when those you love and have tried to save nail you to a cross and mock at you," He replies, quiet.

My eyes travel up to the tell-tale scars in His forehead. For the first time, I feel a breath--fresh air. I want it.

"I want to forgive, but I'm not sure how." I sigh. "This is too big to just say a simple 'I forgive you' and walk away."

He doesn't say anything for a long time, His eyes fixed on some place far distant, almost reliving something that happened long ago. When He does speak, I can feel His very blood dripping through my fingers. "I suffered, bled, and died, My Child. I gave everything I had, and more, so that the world could have a chance at life. In My death, I pardoned: and the essence of pardon is to release the offender from the consequences of their mistakes."

Like a blow in the face, I consider it. Release the offender from the consequences of their mistakes? 

He continues. "I can only forgive those who ask it of Me. And yet, in heart I've forgiven all that men have done to Me. Even so, someday, those who have not asked forgiveness and obtained it will face the consequences."

Forgive, release from consequences... But then, if unrepentant, someday consequences? But still forgiven? How...?

He smiles. "You don't have to understand. Only trust."

I smile. "I trust You."

"Then forgive. Forgive as I've told you to: then, and only then, will you be able to move forward as I've planned."

A long, painful silence. He's waiting for my reply.

Crumbling resolve, shattering glass, crashing walls. "Help me..."

And so He does.

Once all the dust settles, He points my gaze out the window. "Now... move forward."

Who would've thought that forgiveness could hold so much?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Of darkness and the Light

"Oh, so you're not going?"

"No-o-o-o... I think I'm just going home. See you tomorrow!"

I edged toward the door of the multipurpose building, waving goodbye to my co-workers. Business meeting didn't appeal to me, seeing as how I had some things to do at home. I'd brought my car, anyway--my "Heidi-mobile" as Tony called it the other day.

As I stepped outside, it hit me: I had no flashlight, and I had to walk all the way from Sky Lodge out to the big YD sign, then turn and walk all the way down the long driveway to my the dark. I looked for a moon, but it hid its face. A few stars glittered, but they didn't shed any light on my feet.

When I was small, I was afraid of the dark. There are times when I like it, like during flashlight tag--but even today, being alone in the dark unnerves me just a little. Especially when it's so dark you can't see anything. And I literally couldn't see a thing.

I tried to visualize the road in my head, stepping with confidence. I probably looked like I knew what I was doing, but I couldn't see a thing. I felt silly as I walked past the little white car in the driveway, just getting ready to leave.

A few more steps and the headlights flipped on. Ah! I could see! I walked faster, trying to get as far as I could while I had some light. But soon enough, the car sped on past me and disappeared, leaving me in perfect blackness again.

I'd made it to the sign. But I still couldn't see. I shuffled my feet a little, trying to feel my way down the little slope in the road that I knew I would fall on if I wasn't careful. Bit by bit, I made it, and then kept walking.

A few more steps and I heard another car: Tony and co. came down the hill, headed for the business meeting. The silver van paused at the bottom of the road from the kitchen, and they must've wondered what I thought I was doing, marching away down the road without a light. The glow from their headlights got me safely another 20 feet before they, too, crunched away down the road and disappeared.

No more cars would be coming. I knew that. I walked ahead into the darkness, not being able to see my feet, not able to see anything...but wait!

Way down the road, I could see a light. The porch light on my office turns on when it gets dark, and I fixed my eyes on it. Now it didn't matter where my feet went: as long as I kept my eyes on that light, I knew I'd get there alright.

A few times my eyes strayed to the thick ebony shades along the invisible sides of the road, and my mind ran rampant with the thought of what could be out there... No, no. Eyes on the light, eyes on the light....

And suddenly, there I was. My car sat in the drive, the porch light cast a welcome pool of light all around and I stepped inside the office, the journey finished.

Profound? I think so.

Keep on walking, friend. It may be dark right now, but God always provides lights along the way--and a Light at the end that won't ever fade into the distance. Keep your eyes on the light.

When darkness wraps around me: 
shadows, darkness, night;
I'll step ahead in confidence,
my eyes upon the Light.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


"So how are you?" The chat message blinked onto my screen.

"Oh, it's been a regular Monday, even though it's Tuesday." I reply, typical to me. "But actually, it wasn't a bad day... And I'm genuinely happy. Like, really happy. And God is just so good. You know that?"

I didn't realize until I was chatting with my friend yesterday.

I really am happy. No, like, REALLY happy.

I have lots of reasons not to be.
Lots of things that I could worry, wonder, agonize, hurt about.

But amazingly enough, I go searching for those things and can't find very many of them.

I'm really happy.

It must be the Lord.
Because it certainly isn't me.

I just finished reading an inspiring post this morning. Hannah Rayne's post about handing over dreams, hopes--the sweetest desires we have--impressed me.

But more than that.

I sit and wonder...

Am I this happy: this genuinely happy: because finally, after the battle and blood... I've finally been able to hand my sweetest hopes to God and trust Him?

But how could that be? I didn't do anything enormous.
I didn't even realize it.
In fact, the only thing I've been doing is offering a feeble attempt and an earnest desire to God to surrender...


This is no bell pealing madly in some dusty corner of the universe. This is right next door. I know it.

Is it really supposed to be so simple?

My heart overflows.

Praise God...

I look over at the scarred hand that holds those fond hopes. And I smile.

I'm happy to leave them there until He's ready to hand them back, better than ever before.

Thank you, Hannah, for putting things in perspective.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Those Times

There are those times. You know?

Times when everything is right, but it doesn't feel that way. When that one, nagging, tiny (but large), and very heavy detail is...missing.

Often you don't know what it is.
Often, if you do know, you couldn't articulate it.
Even oftener, when you do know, you don't have the heart to tell a soul.

You feel like you're going to burst or implode.
Speed up way too fast or slow down way too much.
Eat too much or too little.

Balance seems unattainable.
Equilibrium a dream.
And sanity? We won't even mention that.

There are those times. You know?


As my fingers type the words, I'm revealing in clandestine way what's going on inside of me. 

The heaviness in you I seem to know so much about? I'm feeling it. 
The sadness you can't explain--and yet, how does that girl know what I can't explain? I'm there.
That unattainbly, unexplainably, unretainably and unbelievably strange...time. And here it is, at least half in words. Your eyes rivet to the screen. How does she know that?


I'm here. I'm there. 

What I tell you about yourself I only know because I'm that way too.


Keys clatter. Eyes scan. Head turns. 

And I sigh. For about the thousandth time today.

Yes, I can explain it. 
And no, I can't.

It's one of those times. And as I write about it, my heart gets heavier and heavier, shrinking beneath a weight, half nameless and half not. Clatter, clatter, clack. Type, type, type...

I'm revealing my class trick. My secret. How I know "everything." 

And as I type those words... "I'm here. I'm there."....

From somewhere I hear it.


An echo. I'm here. I'm there.

My eyes shift to the ceiling of the office. My heart stills a moment. 

And, with a half-smile inside, I nod. Yes, You are. You surely know all about it. 

But it's not quiet yet. More than just know... I feel it too. 

Flicker of doubt. How? How can You feel this empty ache, when it's probably my just reward? When I've brought it all on myself, when almost all hope is gone, when I see no way to...?

Moment of truth. Because I love you, anyway.

You love me anyway...


There are those times. You know?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Seek to be found

It speaks. Fills. Warms.

Music is a language that some speak fluently.

I don't speak it fluently.

But I hear it fluently.

I'll be plodding along through life, minding my own business, and all of a sudden, there's a song. Not just any song, either. One that has fingers, breath, life, a heart, emotion. One that takes those airy, invisible fingers and reaches right down into my heart and clutches at me in rapture. What can I do but listen?

I don't go looking for the ones like that. They find me.

My own musings of life and love have brought me to similar conclusions.

The blessings God has for me. They'll find me.

"Seek and ye shall find..."

Yes, I know.

But I think He meant "seek ME and ye shall find..."

And then, He will bring, give, bless just like He wants to.

I guess what He's asking me to do is to seek to be found.

I'm still listening to these songs on repeat. The awe hasn't worn away yet. And I didn't go looking for them. They found me.

I'll remember that.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Because I can.
Because He asked.
Because those around me have encouraged me.
Because He's promised.
Because His Word is still true.
Because He still works.
Because He is in the business of making miracles.
Because I know.
Because it's time.
Because I am His.
Because He's bought me.
Because I'm His child, His daughter.
Because I care.
Because He cares.
Because I want...
Because He wants...
Because it's for the best.
Because He's assured me it's for the best.
Because His pen isn't finished writing.
Because I'm a work in progress.
Because His heart is more interested in me than I am in me.


Because of all of this.




I can wait.
I can learn.
I can grow.
I can be patient.
I can become like Him.
I can be a light, right now, where I am.
I can be.

And, most tellingly, I can trust.


Well, because.

And that's all the reason I need.

Monday, October 21, 2013

On the waves

The sun beat down on us while we climbed: some of us in high heels and dresses, others in cowboy boots and hats, still other in jeans and tennis shoes. The rock wall was an obstacle, yes, but we needed to get to the top. I was impressed with my family's dedication to climbing those boulders, though most of them didn't come dressed for the task.

We sat on the top together in the sunshine, listening to the roar of the ocean. My aunt read a poem, a few words were shared, and then the packages came out. Small, brown paper parcels that contained a heavy rock and the dust of what had once been a loved and loving mother and grandmother.

One by one, her children hurled the paper sacks into the churning waves; five of them, one for each child, though one of the sons wasn't there. The blood red flowers sailed through the air, attached to the parcels and all of it disappeared beneath the blue-green foam.

Tears blurred my eyes. I choked. I couldn't move. And that's when I saw it.

Out on the waves, a red flower floated, a serene spot of color on the green water. From the dark depths it had sprung to float, unconcerned about waves or rocks.

I shaded my eyes, focusing on the flower. And then I saw another...and another...and another...

Four of the five flowers had conquered the darkness and come to the light. Only one was never seen again.

Perhaps its not a prophecy...But perhaps it was a small foreshadowing that 4 out of 5 of those precious babies my grandmother loved so well will conquer the deep darkness of life and spring forth to float on the sea of life, basking in the warmth of Christ's love.

I pray so.

Grandma deserves to be greeted by as many as can meet her on that day.

I've seen more than my share of the darkness of this world recently. I'm ready to be done with it all. No, the end is not yet because we aren't doing the job we need to. But it's coming very soon.

I'm tired of the darkness. Tired of the churning waves. Tired of the consuming cares and sick ploys of a force darker than the darkest night.

And from that tiredness springs the request: please don't sink in the darkness. You were not meant for the sandy bottom.

You were meant to float on the waves.

Join me?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Please hang on....

"The ruler of this world cometh and hath nothing in me."

Time is wrapping up. So, so quickly.

The shaking is happening right now. As we speak. As you read. It's coming--these are only the first breezes.

Are you ready to see friends, loved ones, family, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, pastors, depart from the faith that they once knew and loved?

Are you ready to have these same people turn on you and accuse you for disturbing the peace?

Are you ready to have these same people try you in court and condemn you to death?

I'm not either. My heart cries at such a thought.

But it's coming.

And sooner than we think, it will be here.

Oh, reader.... PLEASE. Please hang on. Hang on for all you're worth. Don't be shaken out.


Please hang onto Him.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Picture Album

4:50. The alarm went off, and I dragged out of bed. In an attempt to wake myself up good so I could help Kezzia and Jessica clean the house, I popped open my Facebook app on my phone.

Right at the top.

Larry Reinecke: "Ronni's mom passed away early this morning after a 5 year slide into dementia. She will be missed."

No. It didn't register. Not for about 30 seconds.

And then. The tears came.

This is the grandma that held me as a little girl, a baby, a teenager.
The grandma that travelled miles and miles to see us when we lived in Redmond.
The grandma that spanked me.
The grandma who fed me junk food and watched movies with me.
The grandma who walked around in jeans and a T-shirt and couldnt've been happier to do so.
The grandma who'd live with us for nearly 3 years.
The grandma who'd recognized I visited her in the nursing home and her mind was already gone.

And now.... she was gone.

I've been trying not to cry all morning. A few times it's gotten the better of me... Like when I looked at my picture album.

I have a picture album at home. Probably hundreds of pictures in it: the symbol of a load of time and a load of love from this grandmother I was now struggling to say goodbye to. She put it together so I could remember my life---little did she know that she put it together so I could remember her.

I finished going through that album, sitting on my bed this morning. And it was too much. I hugged it and cried.

I'm not ready for her to go....

But that's the way it is so often in life. Someone comes...stays...and we're often not ready to see them go when it's time.

It was time.

She was ready.

I wasn't.

Oh, I knew it was imminent. I knew it was coming. We all did.

I still wasn't ready.

Goodbye grandma.... I've loved you so much, and always will. Thank you for the picture album. I'll keep those memories sacred til Jesus comes to wake you up.......

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Therefore, I will wait...

We prayed. We opened our Bibles. We read.

Jeremiah 14--we've been reading through Jeremiah for morning worship at home, and this was only the next installment in the story of denouncing and chastisement for the Jews.

A profound installment.

The whole chapter talks about the things going to come upon the Jews: famine, sword, trouble. Jeremiah cries out, "But God! The prophets are telling us that You have said there would be no sword or famine at all, but that we would enjoy peace!"

God must've shaken His head. "No, Jeremiah." He sighs. "I didn't breathe a word of any such thing to them. They're lying to you and to Israel. For this, they will be punished with the very thing that they have said the land would be without."

In short, it's not a very pleasant chapter...

...until the end.

Jeremiah at last cries, in the voice of a thousand souls: "Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul loathed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!" 

A cry of pain. Pain for the people. Pain for the pain. 

And then... "We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us."

We have sinned. We have done horrible wrongs against You and each other. But please...please... Don't forsake us. Remember? You promised... Please...

It's easy to hear the tears here.

He continues. "Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art thou not he, O Lord our God?"

Where else are we to turn if You forsake us? There is no one else that can supply our needs and wants like You can... No one.

And then Jeremiah does the unthinkable. Almost unthinkable. With the confidence of a trusting child: "Therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things."

You're the One who's in control. You are organizing everything. Therefore, we will wait for You to deliver us in Your own good time; after all, You're the One who's allowing it.

This defies logic. Defies brain power, even.

He has allowed it.

Therefore, I will wait.


Sunday, September 22, 2013


Kezzia plopped onto the couch. I huddled deeper into my blanket. She read, I listened.

"Seeming desertion is the furnace, heated 7 times, to try our faith."

Stop. Right there.

I don't want to be deserted. Abandoned. Alone. I hate being alone.

And yet, I'm being told it will happen. I know it DOES happen. And it hurts. No. Stop. I don't like this...


"Seeming." Therefore, it's not actual.

"Try." Therefore, not cruelty. A test.

"Faith." Therefore, not man... But God.

Therefore, it's okay.

After all, His wasn't seeming: it was actual. It wasn't just a test: it was death. And it wasn't just God: it was man, the devil, the demons, the weight of a race of sinners.

And yet, it was okay.

His was substance that mine might be a shadow.

Therefore, my furnace becomes His glory.

My pain, His triumph.

My heartbreak, His healing.

My life... His reward.


Not actual.

Never... No, never...alone.

In the ways of David

It was like an alarm clock next to your ear at 4:50 in the morning, when you've been so used to getting up somewhere significantly after sunrise and shortly before noon. All of a sudden, and there he was. On the throne. And, the Bible adds, he "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left."

And this wasn't just an inheritance thing. The king before had been wicked: so wicked, in fact, that "his servants conspired against him and slew him in his own house." After that, the people placed his brother on the throne.

Its the brother who's in charge now. The one who's walking after the ways of David.

And he's only 8 years old.

The Bible further records that "in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father:" and not only that but "in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem."

At 16, he committed himself fully to the Lord.

At 20, he began to purge Judah of their idolatry.

At 26, he oversaw the rebuilding and repairing of the ruined house of God.

At 26, he also reinstituted the keeping of the Passover, something that hadn't truly been done in years. The Bible says that "there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet."

Thats a strong statement. Samuel has been dead for YEARS.

He walked in the ways of David. He loved the Lord. He obeyed the commandments and inspired thousands of Jews to do the same.

Josiah reigned for 31 years in Jerusalem. And when he died, at 39, from a wound gained in battle, Judah mourned his loss.

One little boy...

Became one young man...

Who changed EVERYTHING.

I think its safe to say that if you "walk in the ways of David," God can...and WILL... use you to change everything, too.

Monday, September 16, 2013

When hope shouts

This is what I live for.

These moments are more than precious, more than beautiful, more than...more.

I live for these.

Arms fling wide, wind rushes by, exhilaration like nothing you've felt before: this. This.

I could fly on the wind that rushes past.

When hope shouts, when blind eyes see...

There is nothing, no nothing, that God cannot accomplish.

When Blind Eyes See

Eyes shut tight
Block out light
I'm happy where I am.
Refuse to see
Fight being free
Dont listen, dont understand

When blind eyes see
the mystery
When doubting cripples dance
When deaf ears open
Hearts are hoping
Brave souls take their stance
When fighting turns to trusting,
When fears and fainting flee
Its a miracle of grace
When blind eyes see

Pain my friend
Down I wend
I cannot see the light
It wasnt me,
will not see
No rescue: I will fight

When blind eyes see
the mystery
When doubting cripples dance
When deaf ears open
Hearts are hoping
Brave souls take their stance
When fighting turns to trusting,
When fears and fainting flee
Its a miracle of grace
When blind eyes see

But then a shudder,
Chains break free
A rescue mission come
For me

Blinking, bright
Stunning light
How could I be so blind?
Rising song
Praising long
Truth in the light I find

When blind eyes see
the mystery
When doubting cripples dance
When deaf ears open
Hearts are hoping
Brave souls take their stance
When fighting turns to trusting,
When fears and fainting flee
Its a miracle of grace
When blind eyes see

Monday, September 9, 2013

Not what I asked for...

This isn't what he'd wanted: darkness, cold stone, chains on his ankles...and the rumble of a score of ravenous animals lurking in the shadows.

He had every reason on earth to doubt God. The edict of days before, that no one was to pray to any god save the king himself, the penalty being death at the mouth of the lion: why, Lord? He had served God in this, the land of Israel's captivity; and faithfully, at that. And true, God had raised him up to second in command over all the kingdom. But...why?

Every day, faithfully, he had opened his window. Every day, three times, he knelt with his face toward his homeland and prayed. 2 Chronicles tells us why: perhaps you've always thought it was because of the various calls to worship that used to issue from the temple; or maybe simply for the sake of praying with his mind fixed on God, rather than facing anything in Persia. But the real reason behind his place of prayer is much deeper.

"If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;

Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;

If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:

Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee" (2 Chron. 6:36-39).

Solomon pronounced the blessing on the temple, the brand new house of God. And Daniel surely knew the whole prayer, possibly even by heart. In praying toward Jerusalem, he was, in effect, requesting that God bring them back. Save them. Restore them. Heal their land.

Instead, he was thrown in a lion's den.

Rarely has a prayer been more apparently rudely dashed and disappointed.

And yet, in the morning, Daniel could still say, "MY God has saved me."

It wasn't what I asked for...

And yet it was God's will.

And in the end, the story is more beautiful than if the lion's den had never happened.

So too will mine.

So too will yours.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Storm

A tiny boat, tossed by the waves. Cruel water, frigid winds: the lapping of icy death at the bow. Oars straining, necks craning, salt water fresh on the cheeks. Wood splintering, shouts arising, hope fleeing, tears shed.

To this my Jesus awakes.

And all He does is stand on His feet and calmly say, "Peace."


Quiet. Calm. Rest. Relief. Thrill. Joy. Peace.

And the waters, not a moment before dashing about and threatening life, now lie still as a mirror, reflecting the starry sky, the path of a luminous moon...

And something more.

The face of Jesus.

Only in stillness can our hearts reflect.

And only in reflecting will we be saved.

*credits of original thought to Hannah Rayne

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Sinner

I walk around the corner, eyes tracing the grooves in the paved stones. Brow bent down, tears stain the cheek: I've done it again.

I glance up at the massive wooden door in front of me, closed. A tremor of fear runs through me. So often have I seen this door, closed, and yet run through in expectant joy. So many other times I've come through it in shrinking, only to find that once again, I'm welcome. Forgiven.

But what about this time?

Hand reaches for the knob, shaking. Fingers touch brass and the automatic reflex is to jerk away. Will I truly be welcomed and forgiven one more time? Suppose I'm sent out; rejected; abandoned? After all, it was deliberate.

A moment's silence, heart pounding in the stillness. Anguish wrenches the soul, but still it's impossible to resist. The hand reaches for the door knob again while the legs grow weaker still. Will He forgive more time?

The door creaks on its hinges and then flies open. Knees hit the plush red carpet leading to the throne and face buries in stained hands. Sobs rend the air inside the throne room, and only the heart's whisper can be heard. Please forgive me... Oh, please forgive me. 

A rustle of garments, the soft tread of sandalled feet on the carpet... and then a strong hand on the bowed sinner's shoulder, my shoulder. The other hand reaches under my chin and lifts my face up to His. And I see that smile, that same, beautiful smile. "Wherefore dost thou fear, O thou of little faith?"

More tears, which drip down the strong lines of the scarred hand which holds my face. "It was deliberate... I ignored Your call to me. I..."

"If you confess your sins, I am faithful and just to forgive... and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness." The smile is still there.

"Even though I chose...?"

"If thou canst believe..."

I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.

The shaking sinner falls into the arms of love. Forgiveness again...and again. Even in the face of deliberate transgression. The throne room is nothing to fear--for my Father loves me.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

God's Spotlight

Last week was insane. And that's all there is to it.

I've been a staff member at YD camp this year, loving it and struggling at the same time. A swollen hand, an accidental ibuprofen overdose, a camper taken in to see a doctor at the hospital (no, nothing serious: just a check)... All has combined to make a wonderful, but trying, experience.

I think I know why, too. This year, before coming to YD, I really saw the amount of good I could do here, if the Lord was working in me. I felt the weight of that responsibility... and I prayed earnestly before coming that I would be a light.

Obviously, someone wasn't happy with that.

But Someone else was. And He's been carrying me through, one step at a time.

There's days when I faint and fall at His feet in tears. I can't do this anymore! 

But those are the days when He smiles. Oh yes: through Me, you can. On your feet, brave soldier... 

I love my God.

And He loves me.

I know He loves me because there are times when He speaks to me in the midst of trials. Times when His voice is light a patch of sunlight in a darkened forest. Times when my deepest distress... becomes His greatest lesson.


It was one of those nights when everything weighs on you. Perhaps you've lived through a few of those. The kind when even the fresh air seems suffocating and relieving at the same time. 

No, there wasn't a whole lot wrong. I was healthy (finally), working for God... But discouraged in many ways. I scribbled in my journal that night, detailing my feelings and thoughts in a frustrated way. When I laid down the pen and placed head on pillow, that feeling of silent, unblinking despair still hung about the corners of my cabin.

The next morning dawned brighter, as mornings always do. I showered and pulled out my new EGW devotional book, From the Heart. I opened to the date's thought. I blinked at the title and then bowed my head to pray first.

Lord, I want You to speak to me. From what I can see, this entry is about reverencing You, and I think I'm fairly reverent already. No, I'm no perfect--but I don't see how this could apply to me. Nevertheless, bless me in a special way...

I read. I closed the book. I thought. 

It was about Moses, more specifically about giving true reverence to God. It was a good thought... But I felt like it was incomplete. Something at my shoulder was urging me to reach out and pick up my beloved little pocket Bible and search for something.

I failed to bring a concordance this year. So I flipped to the meager one at the back of my Bible and began looking for words that were parallel to reverence. 

The only one similar I found was respect. And only one verse in the 4 given talked about respecting God. So, I looked it up.

It was in Isaiah 17, a good verse, but still nothing had bitten my nose. I squinted at the cross-references and began to flip to them. Each one, good... 

That's when I came to the last cross-reference of the only verse I could find referenced that talked about respecting or reverencing God. That was the one: the beam of light.

"Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me" (Micah 7:7, italics supplied).

I wrote this in my journal:

It seems that part of respecting God--reverence--is trust Him implicitly. Knowing that He will accomplish everything on time and in time; knowing that He will hear my prayers and answer in the best way possible. Apparently, waiting is a part of reverence.

I want to reverence God. By reverencing Him, I show Him I love Him. And by waiting, I reverence Him. Therefore, by waiting and trusting, I am showing God I love Him.... If I want to love God, to reverence Him, I must trust His plan and wait for that plan to unfold.

Needless to say, it flew in the face of the previous night's despair. Light filled the forest and shone brightly upon sweet truth I'd failed to see in my despair. 

I'm swallowed by this feeling of littleness...

That He can take a shadow and turn it to a song...
That He rewrites the melody when all the tunes go wrong...
That He can take a flightless bird and teach it how to fly...
That He can put a rainbow center-stage in stormy sky.

I'm convinced. God has a huge spotlight up in Heaven somewhere. And it's on mornings when we need it most that He shines it on exactly what we need to hear.

Praise God.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Colors of God's Heart

It’s hard to believe that we’re only one day out from Inchelium, as I write.

The reality of it is that I’m reeling. From a load of information learned, from a piece of God’s heart revealed, from a treasure trove of beauty observed.

I’ve said it more than once in the last few days: This is the craziest trip I have ever been on in my two decades of life.

But I also add: I’ve never learned so much in such a short amount of time before. Ever.

Perhaps that’s what humans need more: These moments of intense, power-packed, overwhelming learning. I know I needed it.

You’re never done learning.

I’ve got a whirlwind ahead of me. Summer camp in a week, then fundraising for Thailand, then going to Thailand, and all the busyness that will entail. God’s got me booked until next March.

what next?

I shrug. Smile.

As long as I learn…
As long as I’m working…
As long as He’s with me…

But wait.

Do I know that He’ll be with me?

Yes. I do.

How do I know?

A promise.


I huddled in the bus, next to the window, sweatshirt hood pulled down over my eyes. I traced the passing landscape in weariness. No place to stay so far—and we’d tried three places. No one wanted us to stay there.

I stared at the sky. Lord, if only I could know You’re still there. That I’m not as alone as I feel. That You’re interested in what’s happening. That You’re with me…

I smiled, a little sadly. I saw a rainbow earlier. It was so beautiful. If only I could see a rainbow again. It is a promise, after all…

I blinked. Within seconds of my inaudible wish, a small rainbow appeared right where I was looking. Small, but bright, it defied my loneliness and spoke volumes. Ask, and it shall be given thee…

Tears filled my eyes and spilled down my cheeks as I watched that small rainbow grow bigger, brighter, glorious and still more glorious—and then it faded from view and I was staring at an empty, cloudy sky again.

“If we ask anything, according to His will, He heareth us.”

He heard me.

And He answered.

“I promise I’m here.
I promise I’m watching over you.
I promise I’m working—in you and for you.
I promise you’re never alone.
I promise…”

“I love you.”

Heart lifts.

My God loves me.

Enough to tell me so…

Through a rainbow in a stormy sky.

I've seen glimpses of God's heart before...

But I guess I never knew it had an array of colors quite like that.

“Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares… His heart is touched with my grief…When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares…”