Wednesday, December 10, 2014


by Heidi Reinecke

They say that winter in New Jersey is like revenge: best served cold, but occasionally so merciful it’s pitiful. The year of 1984 saw a winter on the pitiful side of things, in more than one way. But it was destined to be the most telling winter of my nearly thirty years.

That particular day, I drove down to “my” beach. I called it mine: was it? I’m sure the county would’ve disputed such a claim. Whenever life began to close in on me, I drove the three or four miles to that beach and paced up and down, letting the sights and sounds and smells soak into my soul; I’d inevitably go away feeling a little better.

I’d had a long week preceding. Boy scouts who wouldn’t listen, PTA meetings that dragged on with no purpose, kids that kept my poor wife, Peggy, running a mile a minute just to keep up; and, on top of all that, my mother.

My mother, next to my wife, was the dearest woman on earth to me. She had taught me, cared for me,  rooted for me, and encouraged me through the long years of college, playing baseball, and struggling to write. I had dedicated my last book, detailing the first all-Negro baseball team, to her.

A month before this, she called, asking if she could come spend a few days with us.

“Mom, you know you’re always welcome.” I smiled into the telephone. “But it’s not like you to leave your post just before the holidays. We always come up there, you know.” My mother still lived in the rambling farmhouse I’d grown up in, and Christmastime was a special time to celebrate and remember life as it had been back in the “good old days.”

“I know; I’m just so tired,” my mother sighed. “I think a few days over near the sea would do me some good.”

“Come, by all means; we’ll be waiting for you!”

However, when she arrived, it was plain to everyone she was far more than “just tired.” Something was desperately wrong, but she maintained she’d just been overdoing it. Even so, she began to get weaker and weaker.

I took to the beach that day in early November with this weight hanging over my head. I scuffed along the sand, not taking the time to even look at my surroundings; and that’s when I heard that voice.


I looked around, startled out of my morose reverie. Empty as the beach had seemed, it did hold one form of human life other than myself; a small, blonde-haired, blue eyed little girl. She sat on the ground, surrounded by unidentifiable piles of smoothed sand. She had a purple shovel in one hand.

I nodded, not feeling like talking, but unable to take my eyes off her delicate, fragile face.

“I’m building,” she said, gesturing to the piles of sand around her.

“So I see.” I finally found my tongue, though I didn’t really have much interest in the child. “What is it?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I just like the feel of the sand.” The little girl laughed, digging a small hole with her shovel and depositing her bare feet inside.

Struck with the impulse of the moment, I slipped my own shoes off and dug my toes into the sand. Cold as it was, it did feel nice.

The little girl looked up as a sandpiper scuttled along the beach. Her eyes widened as she watched the bird run along, pause, and then lift off and fly away with the wind.

“That’s a joy,” she said, pointing after the flying bird.

“A what?”

“A joy.”

“That was a sandpiper,” I replied, feeling that I ought to correct the poor thing’s misconception.

“No; my mama says that sandpipers bring joy,” the little girl persisted, dumping a shovel-full of sand on top of one of her piles and smoothing it down.

Another sandpiper flew by, and this time I watched it. Goodbye joy, I thought in gloomy silence. I turned to walk on.

“What’s your name?” A little voice stopped me from going much farther than half a step.


“Robert what?”


The little girl smiled, a smile sweeter and wider than any I’d ever seen. “I’m Wendy.” She pointed to herself with a dirty thumb. “I’m six years old.”

“Hi, Wendy.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

She giggled. “You’re funny.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Oh, you’re just funny.” She giggled again, and I didn’t press the issue. I didn’t feel particularly funny at the moment, but I laughed in spite of myself.

“I’ve got to be going,” I said, turning to walk back to my car.

“Come again, Mr. P!” she called after me. “We’ll have another happy day!”

A happy day? I thought as I got in my car. I stared out at the beach I’d just left; not at the sand, not at the waves, but at the curly, golden head bent over her building. Surprisingly, I did feel better. Something about Wendy had lifted my spirits. I drove home, determined to make the best of ever bad situation.

That night, I sat on the couch with my son, looking through a picture book. His favorite thing to do was grab a wild animals book with lots of pictures, drag it to the couch, and spend untold hours flipping the pages and asking what each animal was. Tonight he leaned over and pointed at a picture of a sandpiper. “Daddy, what’s that called?”

I smiled, my mind flitting back to the beach. I saw Wendy, and heard her say, “That’s a joy.”

“It’s a joy,” I said.

Piper looked up at me. “A joy?”

I laughed. “I heard someone once say that they bring us joy. They’re called sandpipers.”

Piper squealed with a sort of excitement. “A sandpiper, Daddy? That’s part of my name!”

“So it is.” I tweaked his nose. “If you went to the beach, you’d be a sand Piper too.”

“Does that mean I’m a joy, Daddy?” His big blue eyes turned on me.

I hugged him. “Yes, son. One of the best joys!”

He smiled, giggled, and turned to the next page.

The next few days began to build things on me, not unlike Wendy’s lumps of sand. On Tuesday, the boy scouts meeting felt disorganized and it seemed none of the boys wanted to follow instructions. I came home from it in a disagreeable mood.

The following day, another PTA meeting left me in a distemper. I took my frustration out on a nearby lamp-post when the meeting adjourned, much to the discomfort of my left foot.

The only bright side to anything was that my mother seemed to be getting better. She helped Peggy around the house, getting ready for the holidays, and played with the children. Occasionally, I saw a far-off, sad look in her eyes, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.

Finally, another boy scouts meeting in disarray drove me to the beach. I got out of the car, half-hoping and half-fearing to see Wendy. Sure enough, she sat in the sand again. I was tempted to walk the other direction, but decided against it. I was a grown man; I could surely walk past a child without stopping and losing my train of thought.

Chilly winds breezed off the Atlantic in small gusts. I took a deep breath of the salt-laden air, seeking for the serenity I knew I needed. As I came up to Wendy, she smiled. “Hello, Mr. P!”

I glanced her way, grunting.

“Do you want to play?” she asked.

I stopped. Play? Me, thirty years old and all the cares of the world on my shoulders, play with a six-year-old? “What do you have in mind?” I asked with no small amount of sarcasm.

My sarcastic tone was lost on her. “I don’t know; you pick!”

“How about charades?” I almost rolled my eyes, imagining myself running up and down the beach, flapping like a fool, and Wendy squealing, “You’re a joy!”

Wendy laughed, bringing me back to reality. “I don’t know what charades are.”

That was a mercy. “Let’s just walk, then.”

Wendy picked herself up off the ground and skipped along beside me down the beach.

I looked down at the child at my side. Her skin looked almost transparent, her hair so light and thin. “Where do you live?” I asked.

Wendy pointed over to a row of summer cottages, mostly empty. “Over there.”

I frowned. Strange. “Where do you go to school?”

“I don’t go to school.” Wendy’s voice dropped a pitch. “Mommy says we’re on vacation. I love the beach.”

I didn’t reply; in fact, my mind was trying to come up with a plausible reason for a child and her mother to be staying in a summer cottage on the Jersey Shore in November. Wendy chattered along, I only half-listening. Then she paused and I jerked my attention to her. “What was that?”

“I asked if you have a family.”

“Yes. I have a wife and two kids.”

“What are your kids names?” Wendy skipped a little hop.

“Riley and Piper.”

Wendy stopped dead in her tracks. “Piper?”

I nodded, remembering the incident with my son and the picture book last week. Wendy thought long and hard for a moment. “Is it a girl?”

“No, he’s a boy.”

Again, Wendy thought. Then she smiled, resumed her little hopping, and said, “He must be a joy, too.”

A few more yards down the beach, Wendy said, “I like you, Mr. P.”

“Thanks,” I replied, half-heartedly. “I like you, too.”

I decided to turn around about now, and Wendy skipped along beside me. But before we were quite halfway back, she slowed down and began to walk. Soon her breath came raggedly. I looked down at her. “You alright?”

She nodded. “I’m just tired. I’ll sit here and play.” She dropped down to the sand and began to dig about with her fingers.

I continued walking, but she called after me, “It was a happy day, wasn’t it?”

I stopped, looked back at her. She wasn’t paying much attention to me now, so I called, “Yes, it was.” Then I continued on down the beach.

These little meetings on the beach sort of got to be a habit. Every few days or so, I’d go down and there Wendy would sit. Sometimes she’d walk with me, sometimes I’d sit with her. She always chattered away for an hour or so before getting very quiet, taking deep breaths as though exhausted. I’d excuse myself then, having received my “pick-me-up” and go home feeling refreshed.

Two days after meeting Wendy again at the beach, I came home from a PTA meeting exhausted and out of patience for anything. I slammed the car door getting out, slammed the door to the house going in. I threw my coat in the hall closet, kicked my shoes off and continued on towards the den. But I suddenly paused at the kitchen door to listen.

The house was dead quiet. No sounds of happy feet running, no music playing, nothing. I entered the kitchen, looking around for Peggy; and that’s when I saw the note on the kitchen table.

“Dear Robert,

We’ve gone to the hospital. Your mother collapsed this afternoon and we can’t wake her up. Come meet us.


My world began to crumble in on itself. I tore that note to shreds, raced back to the car, managing to grab coat and shoes once again. I slammed doors again, too; but this time for a different reason.

After getting stuck in traffic for a half hour, I arrived at the hospital, ready to tear everyone to pieces that stood in my way. I made my way to the front desk and asked for “Susan Peterson.” They directed me to the fifth floor, room 202.

At the door of room 202, I met the doctor. He shook my hand. “You must be Robert.”

“Yes, I am. What’s going on, doctor?”

The doctor sighed. “Mr. Peterson, I don’t know how to tell you this. Your mother is dying.”

I just stared at him. He continued. “We’re not really sure why, but it seems like everything inside her is failing. Has she ever had heart trouble?”

My mind raced back to once, as a boy, when I’d come in and found my mother crumpled on the floor beside the table. I’d raced to her, crying, trying to help her up. I managed to get her in a chair and she smiled, putting her hand over her heart. “A glass of water, Bobby-boy.”

I rushed to get it. “Mama, what’s wrong?” I sobbed.

She shook her head, managed a smile and downed the water. “I just have a weak heart, that’s all. I’ll be alright in a moment or two.”

Back in the present, I nodded. “Yes; she has.”

The doctor nodded. “I suspected so. It’s plain given out on her, Mr. Peterson. I don’t think she’ll last a week.”

My knuckles turned white. “Is my wife…?”

“In with your mother.” The doctor pushed the door open for me. “Go on in. There will be nurses checking on her around the clock, and I’ll be in every seven hours to see how she is.”

“Thank you.”

I moved like a robot as I entered that room. Mechanical steps took me to my mother’s bedside, where she seemed to be sleeping. The heart monitor pulsed with far fewer and slower beats than it ought to.

Peggy sat on a chair next to Mom, holding her hand with one hand, and Riley with the other. Piper sat, curled up on the window bench, quietly crying.

I went to Piper, picking him up and holding him. Piper clung to me, searching my face. “Daddy, oh Daddy! Have you brought a joy? We need one.”

Tears forced their way out of my eyes. I held Piper close. “No, son. There isn’t any joy today.”

Piper sank into my arms in despair and wept.

For the next three weeks, we kept vigil in the hospital room. Mother never woke up. The slow beating of her heart got slower, and finally one Wednesday morning, I glanced up and watched it get smaller and smaller…and then turn into a straight line.

I managed to compose myself for the funeral. Piper wouldn’t be comforted, but continued to ask everyone he met if they had a joy. Nobody knew what he meant.

After we buried Mom in the old cemetery and I had seen to as much of business as I could, I left my disconsolate family and raced to the beach, desperate for the sea. I didn’t want to see Wendy; and yet, something told me she would be there.

She was. Sitting in the sand just like the first time I saw her. I glanced at the house she’d pointed out so many weeks ago. I almost marched myself right up there and asked her mother to keep the child at home. Instead, I turned and began walking down the beach the other way, pretending to have not seen the girl in the sand.

However, after a few moments, I heard the pounding of little feet behind me. “Mr. P! Mr. P!”

I stopped as Wendy caught up with me. “Look, I think I’d rather take a walk by myself today.” My words came out harsher than I intended them to.

Wendy looked like I’d just announced I was going to the moon. “Why?”

All the emotion pent up and shoved down for the last three and a half weeks burst forth. “My mother died! She’s dead! Gone! I just buried her yesterday!”

Wendy’s eyes fell. “This is a bad day,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Yes,” I continued, voice louder and more cutting than it ought to have been. “So was yesterday, and the day before, and the week before—oh, just go away, kid.” I turned away, tears running down my cheeks.

Wendy’s little voice stole across to me. “Did it hurt?”

“Did what hurt?” I flung the question over my shoulder, not daring to face her with tears still fresh on my cheeks.

“When she died.” Wendy’s voice sounded very, very small.

I whirled around to face her. “What do you mean, did it hurt? Of course it hurt!” I snapped. I couldn’t see farther than the end of my own nose, and assumed she meant if it had hurt me.

Wendy’s eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t take anymore and strode off down the beach, leaving her where she stood.

It was late that night when I returned to the car, exhausted from my long walk. My emotions had spent themselves; now I only felt defeated and helpless. I got into my car, and sat there, thinking back to the tears in Wendy’s eyes. I rubbed my forehead. That really wasn’t any way to speak to a six-year-old. I shook my head.

I looked over towards the row of summer cottages. All the lights were out. I pulled out of the lot and drove away.

On my way, I pulled over to let an ambulance by. It screamed on past, headed for the hospital I’d been almost living in for the past month. I watched the flashing lights disappear, thinking about the sandpipers at the beach, and my Piper at home, who still asked me every day if I had a joy. I had a sudden urge to follow the ambulance, to see who was inside. But I put it out of my mind, pulled back on the road, and went home instead.

Several days later, after the details of my mother’s will had been taken care of, I drove myself to the beach. Piper begged to come along, but I told him, “Not today. I have something I need to do.”

I got out of the car and scanned the beach for Wendy. For the first time, she wasn’t there. A light rain drizzled on the sand, and I thought perhaps the weather kept her indoors. Ashamed of my behavior from a few days prior, I went up to the cottage and knocked on the door.

A soft footstep sounded inside, and a young lady opened the door. She was probably in her thirties, pretty face, blonde hair. She forced a smile. “What can I do for you?”

“I’m Robert Peterson, ma’am.” I cleared my throat. “I’m the one who’s been walking with your daughter on the beach. I see she’s not out today and I wanted to say something to her.”

The lady closed her eyes a moment, then opened them and pulled the door open wider. “Please come in, Mr. Peterson. Wendy spoke of you so much.”

I came inside, looking around at the simple furnishings. The mother showed me to a seat. “I’m afraid I allowed Wendy to bother you, Mr. Peterson. Forgive me if she was a nuisance.”

“Not at all!” A nuisance? Wendy? I suppose I had treated her like a nuisance at times, but she was anything but! “She’s a delightful child. I’ve come to the beach more often just to spend time with her. I saw her a few days ago, and I’m afraid I spoke too harshly to her; you see, my mother just passed away quite suddenly and I wasn’t in full command of myself. I’d like to apologize to her, if I may.”

Wendy’s mother bit her lip. “Mr. Peterson, Wendy died three days ago.”

The color and light went out of that room. I sat back in my chair, stunned. Only now did I notice the black clothes the young woman wore, and the neatly stacked pile of toys in the corner.

“What happened?” I finally managed to gasp.

“She had leukemia; didn’t she tell you? I thought surely she had.” Wendy’s mother sat down herself now, swallowing a few tears. “We found out about three months ago that she was in the advanced stages of it, and the doctors prognosis was six weeks. When Wendy asked to come to the beach, I couldn’t say no. My husband and I have been separated since Wendy was three; but he was equally concerned and rented the cottage here for us.”

She took a deep breath, then went on. “Once we came, she seemed to get so much better. She sat on the beach almost all day long, playing in the sand. She started actually running here and there, and skipping. She couldn’t do it beforehand at all: it took all of her energy just to walk anywhere. She was almost her old self again, and almost everyday told me that it was a happy day. At a check-up several weeks ago, one of the doctor’s told me privately that it was possible for a child to beat even advanced leukemia. I cherished that hope. But then, three days ago, she came in looking very sad. She didn’t tell me anything more than today was a bad day.”

I cringed. I knew what had made it a bad day; and suddenly, the flashing lights of the ambulance returned into my mind. I saw myself sitting beside the road, even thinking about following the ambulance on a whim.

Wendy’s mother paused. “That night, she started crying and choking, gasping for breath. I called 911, and they rushed us to the hospital, but Wendy died within an hour of arrival. We’ve buried her in the local cemetery, as close to the ocean as we could. I’m sorry.”

I dropped my head into my hands. Wendy, gone. Dead. Buried. Tears dropped onto the carpet. “I’m so sorry,”I whispered. “I’m so sorry. Forgive me.”

Wendy’s mother dried her tears. “Wendy left you something, Mr. Peterson. I’ll go and get it, if I can find it again. Can you wait a moment?”

I nodded.

The young lady disappeared, and I shuddered with remorse. I now knew why, on our long walks, she had been gasping for breath before the end. I now knew why she would chatter for an hour, then stop as if she couldn’t talk any more. I now knew how much it had cost her to run after me three days before; and I knew, in abject horror, that it was my lack of control that had caused the last day of that precious girl’s life to end as a bad day.

Wendy’s mother returned, holding a crumpled envelope. “She was holding this, Mr. Peterson, when I found her gasping that last night.” She held it out to me.

I took it. The front had a bold “Mr. P” on it, in childish letters. I opened it and pulled out a folded piece of paper. On the inside of the paper was a bright crayon drawing: a blue ocean, yellow sand, and a small brown bird. Underneath, in printed, tilting letters, were the words, “A sandpiper to bring you joy.”

When I returned home, Peggy met me in the entry. “What took so long?” she asked.

I held out the envelope. “Peggy, I’ve been such a selfish fool.”

It took a little while to tell the story, but when I finished, Peggy had tears in her own eyes. She hugged me tightly, and then, Piper appeared in the hallway. I noticed him and knelt on the floor. “Piper, come look at this.”

Piper came down and stood in front of me. I handed him the picture.

“What’s this?” he asked, running his fingers over the thick crayon strokes.

“It’s a sandpiper,” I replied, smiling through my tears.

Piper stared long and hard at the paper. Then his eyes lit up. “It’s a joy, Daddy! You found a joy!”

When we visited my mother’s grave the following afternoon, Piper clutched the picture to him. He knelt beside the headstone and put his hand on it. “Grandma,” he said, as if she really were there, “Daddy found a joy. I wanted to show you.”

Peggy and I smiled at each other. Then I noticed the headstone next to my mother’s. It looked new, like my mother’s. It was shiny marble, like my mother’s. On it were the following words: “Wendy Armstrong, 1978—1984. She was a joy.”

I knelt beside the little grave and put a handful of flowers I’d brought for my mother on it. Piper noticed me. “Whose grave is that, Daddy?” he asked.

“This,” I said, putting my hand on the headstone, “was a joy.”

In the study of a large farmhouse in Pennsylvania hangs a small frame. Inside is a child’s drawing: a blue ocean, yellow sand, and a small brown bird. Underneath, in printed, tilting letters, are the words, “A sandpiper to bring you joy.” 

Note: I read this story in an email forward years ago. The man, Robert Peterson, passed away in 2006. He was a writer who grew up in Pennsylvania. Some details in the story have been left out or modified or added, simply because the story in the email forward was very bare. The point is not to make a 100% accurate biography of Robert Peterson, but to tell a story of love and real joy. I hope it touches your heart as it has mine.

Monday, September 29, 2014


It was probably a Sunday. Typical, quiet.

While fixing my hair in the bathroom, something got bumped. And before I could even think, the little teacup on the counter plummeted for the floor and shattered.

I tried to tell myself it wasn't a big deal as I picked the pieces up. After all, it's just a cup. Sure, it was special: my grandma gave it to me. It's an April mug, kind of like a collector's one. I'd been using it for drinking water and I liked that.

I picked up the pieces, trying hard not to feel utterly broken myself. I couldn't bear to throw it away. So I wrapped the five large pieces in some cloth and stowed it away in a bottom drawer. I didn't know what to do with it just yet, but maybe someday I'd figure out how to put it back together.


Yesterday was a Sunday. Typical, quiet.

Jessica whirled through her room, organizing and putting things away. I decided now was a good time to go and sort out all the various treasures I owned, as well.

It didn't take me long to make a huge mess of the once-immaculate room. I spent my day fixing pencils, throwing out dead pens, and organizing all my craft supplies. And that's when, in the bottom drawer of my desk, I happened upon some pieces of cloth wrapped around something broken.

On the floor beside me sat a large bottle of Tacky Glue. 

I wanted that cup back together. So I pulled it out and gently unwrapped the pieces. They were sharp; the little shards pulled at my skin when I wasn't careful. The exposed porcelain was rough and uneven. But I soon discovered that all the pieces would go back together, and that the cup would be entire, except for one hole where the impact had been made.

A few hours and some painstaking effort later, I cradled the cup in my hands. I smiled. The cracks still showed, and the little hole wasn't going to go away, but it was together again.

Still, down inside, I felt a bit disappointed. 

I'll never be able to use this again. Ever. It's just going to sit on my shelf and collect dust. What's the use?

And that's when I realized.

Really, this cup was never made to be a drinking vessel. It broke because I was making it do something it was never made to do. 

And now that it had shattered, and been glued back together, it could fulfill the real purpose it's maker had intended for it.

The cup's still sitting on my shelf. 

And somewhere down inside, I wonder how many other things in my life have been broken just because I was trying to use them in a way they never were meant to be used. 

I wonder if, perhaps, some things have broken just so He can put them back together again. A little differently. Bearing the scars of what went before--oh, but that only makes it more beautiful. Because the scar is a reminder of how merciful He is.

Dreams. Friendships. A heart. 

Scarred. But reminders of the mercy.

And, by such a token, more precious than if they had never shattered in the beginning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Only If

I don't understand.
I'm frustrated: not with You, see; with myself.
I'm confused.
But most of all, I'm afraid.

I've been trying, but it obviously hasn't been enough.
I've been looking, but it must not have been in the right place.
I've been desiring and even asking...and surely You've been hearing; but if that's the case, why have I not been getting my answers? Why the confusion, the frustration, the lack of understanding?

Why the fear, even now?

And why the sudden barrage? I'm not angry, not upset with anyone but myself. I don't understand. I'm confused. And do I have to mention the fear again?

What are You doing?

In my head I know, but my heart seems to have different ideas. I have a hard time really believing.

I see so many others talking about You; how beautiful life is, how free one feels when the bars snap and the chains rattle useless to the ground. But, as much as I've thought I knew what that feels like, I don't. It's only been my overactive imagination again.

I don't understand.
I'm frustrated.
I'm confused.
I'm in pain, in tears.
And I'm very...very...afraid.

But I'm willing.
And I'm ready.

But only if You promise to walk with me, to show me what I need to do; only if You promise to show me who You really are and bring me to a deeper knowledge of You; only if You promise to lead me and teach me how to really live a full life, free from these bars, these chains, this past of haunting darkness that I've been pretending is light. Without all of that, I'm not going anywhere.

I promise.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Burning Beauty

"And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of (a rich robe) a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty."

That's what it's like without Him.

With Him? A whole different story.

"Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."

Because when something in your life is burning instead of beautiful, He just sort of makes beauty out of the ashes. That's all.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Berry-picking with Jesus

Tiny child, tall adult.

Long, dusty road. Hot sun. Blue sky.

Two empty buckets.

Just off, and the little one says, "I forgot my visor. It's bright."

A pause. "Should we go back and get it? You might want it," the leader asks.

"No, let's not."

So they continue.

Halfway to the destination, we hear it. "I'm tired now. Are we there yet?"

"No, not yet. You can do it."

Energy bounds forth again; but saps like an ebbing tide. Soon, the little hand clasps the large one, and even drags.

"Why are we going so far? I see berries right there."

"We're going to go to the end of the road and then work back. That'll be easier."

"I'm tired. Can you carry me?"

"Will you get on my back?"

"No, I don't want to."

"Yes, yes; that will be easiest. Come now."

The little one climbs aboard and the dusty minutes tick by again. Little head slumps against strong shoulders.

"Here we are. Jump down."

All the energy bubbles forth again. To the bushes.

Some minutes later, the little voice calls out. "I'm so hot. I want to go back."

"But we just got here. We can keep picking."

"I'm getting sunburned."

"No, I don't think so. It's hot, but you haven't been out long enough to burn."

"Yes, I feel like I'm burning. Please let's go back. I'm done."

"Not yet."


"Are you picking berries?"


"Why don't I see any in your bucket?"


"Your berries you're picking. Where are they going?"

"I don't know," the purple-stained lips reply.


"I need to go to the bathroom. Let's go back."

"Are we finished?"

"I'm tired."

And yet, the leader picks on, mostly filling the bucket before turning toward home. The little one is sent ahead, alone, while the leader picks some more, all the while keeping a close eye on the tiny feet and tired arms. Finally, in a few quick steps, the gap closes and the hands join, and they go on.

Tiny child. Tall adult.

Long, dusty road. Hot sun. Blue sky.

One empty bucket. One full bucket.

And the announcement upon return? "I went berry-picking with Heidi!"

Or, even more tellingly, "I've been berry-picking with Jesus!"

How much I have to learn..........

Photo is not mine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


After reading 4 chapters into Ecclesiastes, I conclude that Solomon had a one track mind. Everything is vanity--in other words, alone, all is futile.

But amid his comments about the futility of life, he loudly proclaims something I hadn't noticed before, though I had read it many times. 

"There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brotehr: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

"Two are better than one; becasue they have a good reward for their laour. For is they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Eccl. 4:8-12).

I've read the second paragraph a number of times. But I'd never noticed that it was preceded by the description of a man who lives solely unto himself.

He gets up everyday, works himself to death, is never satisfied with what he has and thus works harder. But for what? He has no children, therefore no wife. He has no brothers, sisters, friends, that he cares for. He only lives to himself.

I have heard it before: "no man is an island." We all somehow contribute to someone else, whether bad or good. Is Solomon saying this isn't true? Not exactly.

What he is saying is that you can live to yourself, but you'll be miserable.

Two. Better than one. And why?

You can help each other up.
There is warmth, of heart and life. (Notice that the man living to himself doesn't have that. He's cold, cold of heart and mind.)
If one tries something funny, two will withstand.
In short, when there are two, you are ideally unselfish. There is love. (And for those of you who think I'm preaching heresy, a two is not necessarily a 'couple.' This goes for you and whomever else might be around you.)

But, we're human. I've seen plenty of 'twos' who were horribly selfish. How is this supposed to work?

Solomon wasn't quite finished. He goes on to add, 'And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

Three? It's sounding like two on their own won't quite get all the way to that unselfishness bit. But add a Third, and suddenly, you're there.

It's not difficult to see what Solomon is saying.

One, to himself? Miserable.
Two, on their own? Better.
But welcome that heavenly Third? Best.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Captive to Calling

It's coming. They're coming. It's here.

And I get excited, as usual. For 8 years now, I've been getting excited.

However, I once was not excited.


2007: I stepped out of the car that summer, scared stiff and looking the part. I didn't really want to be here. I mean, honestly, these people were weird. I didn't know them, had never seen them, but I'd read that handbook--probably 25 times or more. I just knew I was staring boot camp in the face; complete with wearing a skirt all day, every day, for an entire week. I was convinced this was a kamikaze mission.

2008: A little less harsh, a little more open, but still afraid. Excited now. Hoping for the best...and remember the amazing, overwhelming wash of Christ I'd received the year before. I'm in a unit with who this year? And she's my counselor? Why in the world am I taking Literature Evangelism? Can I dare to open myself up?

2009: A friend in tow. More excitement. More open. More of a smile. Still fearing. Breathing deeply that camp smell. Shivering from anticipation. Looking at LE again. Something feels a little different...but what?

2010: Bounce out of the car. Exuberance, but you wouldn't know if you looked at me. Still locked up, but bubbling over inside. Skirts all day? No problem. Even more of a smile. Two weeks this year. Literature evangelist again. Applying for the Mission Experience. Yes, I like it...I love it. Home away from home.

2011: Early arrival. Counselor. Nervous, still silent, but changed, greatly changed. Girls, schedules, procedures and responsibility. Staggering proposal of internship. Inner wings wanting to stretch....

2012: No arrival this year. I've been here since September. Excitement building, but sitting in the office most of the day. Watching the activity from the outside. Dissatisfied, even almost unhappy, and yet, almost... Almost there...

2013: First time as staff. Proofreading, photography, and any number of odd jobs. Song in heart, smile on face, such a different drum beating inside. Happier, more open, more satisfied, more...

2014: No arrival again. No departure when all's over. Eagerly anticipating others arrival. Satisfied. A little shy and quiet, but no longer closed, no chains, no prison, no bars. Happy.

And, most of all, waiting to see who's going to be freed this year.

I can trace who I now am back to a hot summer in July, 8 years ago, when a 14 year old captive set foot on a little campus in the sticks of Washington. God, through Young Disciple, has made the difference in my life. It's taken a captive and taken her to a calling.

Every once in awhile, I see counselors run past the window. And I smile. I wonder whose life-journey is going to begin here this year...

Monday, June 16, 2014

He waits.

When I open curtains in the morning, I request a special message. Just for me. Just for what I'm going through right at that moment.

And once I've picked up my Bible, I always find it. Without fail.

Yesterday, I did just that. A turmoil of emotion and questions roiling in my mind like a restless sea, I searched. I was directed to the multitude of verses in the Bible with the word "wait" in them.

45 minutes later, I'd been copying them all down and hadn't finished.

I needed it. Right then. And I praised God for coming through with His special message for me.

This morning, when I pulled the curtains open, I asked again for another message.

Funny how today's message was almost the same as yesterday's.

Countless times in the Bible, we are counseled to wait.

They that wait on the Lord shall have renewed strength.
I waited patiently (note, patiently) and He heard me.
I wait for Him, because He is my hope.
Stand still and see the salvation of God.
Wait. Wait. Wait.

And then we have this.

"And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of (justice): blessed are all they that wait for Him" (Isaiah 30:18).

Hold the show. Isaiah just told me God Himself is waiting. And not just arbitrarily: He's waiting so He can be gracious to me. So that His name will be exalted.

And by waiting while He waits, I am blessed. He is blessed.

So if things are taking longer than I want them to... If answers seem long in coming... I can relax.

He's waiting. To be gracious. To be exalted.

So that I might be blessed.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

To forgiveness.

"A righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth again."

I stare at my hands. How many times must I walk through this vale of regret, of shame? When I know what the Lord has bidden me, only for my good? When I know? Why must a moment of unpreparedness find me off-guard and level me to the ground?

I dare not raise my eyes. I feel empty: empty of any good thing. Unworthy to stand in the sight of a Holy God. And with it comes that old voice...

"You can't come to Him now..."
"You ignored His caution...."
"You slighted His Spirit..."
"It may already be too late..."
"What if forgiveness is not extended...?"

These thoughts, along with a hundred others, pummelling into my sorrowful heart the shame, the ignominy; words like "unpardonable sin," "fallen again," and "you'll never learn" run riot.

In my heart I know. I know my Savior loves me, though I have failed Him again.

But suppose the time for mercy is past?

The thought crosses my mind as I sit, half-whispering, half-attempting to shut out the voice of doubt and despair: my Bible sits beside me. It's a rare occurance to have it with me at the office. But there it sits.

In my reading of other inspiration, I've not picked it up in awhile. And so I do now, trembling in my heart. I request with earnestness for a promise: shame in my heart, I request that the Make of my soul show me something to quiet the voice of doubt, that voice that persists in telling me that forgiveness is not to be found this time.

Isaiah speaks. God speaks.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength...Let him take hold of My strength, that He may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me....By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be cleansed."

The iniquity cleansed. I began to pray.

I requested peace--and He promised: if I will keep my mind fixed on Him.

But with it, I must also trust: and so I asked for trust.

With trusting, He promised He has everlasting strength.

I asked for strength, and He said, "Take hold of My strength...and you shall make peace with Me."

Peace. To trust. To strength. To peace.

To forgiveness.

Wonderful, merciful Savior.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Little feet thump through the grass. The small jacket brushes with the weeds, gathering raindrops. A little voice chatters on. And then, there is silence, as little fingers reach out in wonder to touch.

What so captivates a child that those tiny fingers are compelled to reach out from itself and touch?

It is a flower.
A leaf.
A cat.
A friendly hand.

It could be anything.

But it doesn't always stay like that. Those little fingers reach for bad things sometimes. And, as the child grows up, they begin to learn that some things will hurt if they touch them. Hot things, sharp things, biting things. Things that bring tears.

And so we cease to touch for fear of pain.

My own hands have touched a great deal of painful things. For years, the child locked inside had ceased to reach forward, for fear of the pain. I've reached forward and trembled as I've done so, fearing.

But this I have learned.

Whenever I stretch out my hands to touch something or someone else in pain, I am never sorry.
When I take hold of a promise, I never regret it.
And, when I reach out to touch things merely in wonder, like a little child, I find a beauty in life unbegotten in any other way.

You never know what a simple touch can do.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Never give up

Sabbath afternoon, I sat curled up on our king-size reclining chair near the big window in the living room. I had my quilt on top of me: the one my Grandma made me when I was 6 or 7: and I felt drowsy. In fact, I dozed for a little bit, whilst thinking of life and the Lord.

Aroused from listlessness, I happened to look up and out the window... and that's when I saw the spider web.

Okay, I take it back. I didn't see the web. The fine strands hung transparent in front of the glass (the inside of the glass, mind you). But I did see the little bug struggling in the effective snare.

He twisted and turned, tried to spread his wings. To no avail. The sticky threads of death had glued him to their silken embrace.

The misfortune of the little bug wasn't the only thing that caught my attention. The fat, ugly spider that had just appeared from within the window frame, silhouetted against the glass, also had a fair portion of it.

I don't like spiders. Never have, and I'm not sure why. So, some may call me biased, but there was something extra sinister about watching the little bug struggle, and the big spider motionless on the trap he had created, waiting for who knows what.

After a few painful moments, the spider inched forward, a few jerky steps at a time. Closing in on the victim. Was the little beetle aware he was being preyed on? Was his heart (do beetles have hearts?) racing with the pulse of fear, the adrenaline of the pursued?

Perhaps I identify a little too much with beetles. Oh well.

Now the spider hung right beneath the little bug. And it lunged.

I watched with some amount of sorrow, the spider sit and enjoy its feast. Appearing to take deep drafts of a sickly liquid, it grasped the little beetle in two "hands" for a time, and then left it and crawled away. The little beetle, once full of life, hung suspended in the web that had been its undoing. I looked away.

Don't ask me why I happened to glance back at the window a few minutes later. I had to squint when I did. With these glasses on my face, sometimes my eyes play tricks on me: and I was certain that was the case now, because it looked for all the world like that little beetle was moving. I looked away again.

Another few minutes, another glance at the window... And there struggled the beetle again, legs contending with the sticky mass of web, trying to free itself. How is this possible? "What do you think you're doing?" I asked the little survivor. "You're supposed to be dead!"

He struggled and struggled... and then came the spider again. The same, agonizing advance; the same attack; the same scene all over again. The assailant left the little victim suspended on the threads again, motionless.

And, to my utter amazement, the little bug once again moved, struggled, yearned to be free. He kept fighting.

In a simple story of hunger, of the struggle for life, I see so much. Most tellingly, myself.

How often am I trapped?
Sucked dry, or so it seems?
Left for dead?

It happens over and over and I cry. I want the ordeal over. I want to be free.

But I get tired. The battle goes on. The struggle increases with the passing of time. And I weaken.

Is it even possible to continue to fight?

If a tiny little beetle can.

So can I.

And so can you.

(Sympathy aroused, I got a spoon and rescued the little beetle from the web. He went to live happily ever after in the great out of doors. Think of an object lesson for that, if you can....)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spend (and be spent)

I sat down at my desk and pulled the large sketchbook over. The day before I had sketched a couple of line drawings for the magazine next quarter, and I now had a few pages of "nonsense:" scribbles that I'd done to try and get it right. I decided to erase the nonsense so I could make profitable use of those pages.

I started with an eraser. Perfectly smooth end, rounded, firm: you know, the kind of eraser everyone likes. 

 I had 2 kinds of lines to erase. Some were light and would come off easy...

But I had some others that I had scribbled with a bit more zeal. They were dark. Like, really dark.

I set to work with the eraser. I found it to be pretty simple; after all, the lines were coming off. But I had to push awful hard sometimes... and my eraser started leaving pieces of itself all over the paper that seemed to get in the way and make the job even harder.

When I finished, my perfect eraser was no longer perfect. It was no longer smooth and nicely rounded on the ends. And it had lost lots of pieces of itself that I had littered all over the desk, the mousepad, the keyboard.

And, too, even though I had given it my best--even though I had pushed as hard as I could without completely destroying my paper, it had some leftover lines on it. Scars, if you will.

However, when you looked at the big picture, it was useful again. It was clean. Because of the eraser.

We daily make a mess of our lives. We scribble and scratch, trying to "get it just right," and in the process, we ruin many days, months, years of our lives. Left to our own devices, we'd be sketchbooks full of nothing but deep stains, dark scratched lines, and vain scribbles.

But. A long time ago. There was an Artist who wanted to make use of you, of me. And He took His perfect Eraser and laid the smooth edge to our rough, ruined surfaces...and began to erase.

It took a long time.

And when He finished, that perfect Eraser was no longer be perfect. It was marred. It left pieces of itself all over my pages, having spent itself that I might be clean. Whole. Useful. And that's when the Artist took up the pencil and began to create a masterpiece.

There are days when I snatch the pencil and scribble away. I make a mess again. But when I see the mess, my heart melts and I return the pencil to His hand, He smiles and picks up the Eraser again. And after some work, I'm clean all over again. And He keeps working.

That Eraser is spent a little more every time I make a mess, that I might be better.

And here I am, selfish, mercenary little heart hoarding like a miser blessings for myself.

I have been ashamed, looking back recently, at the selfishness of my own behavior; and in turn, have been humbled by the selflessness of some who have seen me at my best and worst.

I want to be an eraser.

To spend.
And be spent.
That someone else might be better.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Raindrops spattered the windshield. Lively chatter emanated from the front seat. And I looked out the window, staring at the overcast sky, thinking about what I was heading out to do.

A long time ago, when I was younger and lankier, I used to run. I ran in school, during P.E. time, and I had chopped my mile time down to about 7.4 at my best. However, that was...a long time ago.

Starting running again within the last couple months has been a challenge. I stand at the start point, staring at the concrete circle called Buttercup Lane and think about how many times I have to go around before I'm done. How fast can I go tonight?

I've been working on my mile time. But after signing up for Bloomsday, in May, I decided it was probably time for me to work on my distance, not so much my speed. More ostrich than cheetah. Or tortoise than hare, as the case may be.

We quit running out at Buttercup a few runs ago, mostly because running 10 circles or more around that silly loop gets monotonous after awhile. We graduated to running down the road.

All of this flitted through my mind as I stared out at the overcast sky and heard some comment about "wet rats" coming from the front seat. I knew I'd be wet when I was done. I also imagined I'd be dead.

New running shoes hit the pavement. Arms swung in anticipation. And when the timer on Kezzia's phone proclaimed, "Beginning workout," the steady pound of foot on asphalt accompanied me down the road.

We got the end of the pavement, almost a mile in itself, and turned around. About that time, my companions stopped for a breath. Stopping would be my undoing, so I didn't.

The distance between me and the parked car lessened, one step at a time. The image grew from fuzzy to sharp and soon I reached the door. To keep running, I had to go around the car a couple of times to get my outer jacket inside and the door shut again.

Fire burned in my legs, a heaviness in my chest. But something goaded me on. C'mon, you can make it to the top of that hill. Okay, seriously, why not to that driveway right down there? And how about we just make it the bottom of that hill? See, it wasn't so long after all. Hey, how about all the way to the highway?

I didn't go all the way to the highway. Fun does come to an end at some point. I stopped at 2.3 miles and as I walked, I felt like I was floating along, making no effort at all.

Jessica and Kezzia came down the hill and ran to where I had stopped. Ahead of them, I paused along the road and waited.

In the breathless silence, I closed my eyes and lifted my face to the rain. Raindrops lightly kissed my cheeks and forehead, birds sang tunes all around me, and a satisfying burn enveloped everything in me. And that's when it dawned.

A race. Run with patience. Obtaining reward at the end.

It's a long way. But not so long after all.
It burns. But it's a satisfying burn.
Ir rains. But there's a specialness to having your face wet with Heaven's tears of joy.

Run the race with patience.
And let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.


One of the best feelings on earth.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I had no idea

I had no idea.

I knew it'd been there all the time, waiting for me to discover it.

In fact, I only saw it because more of the devil's dirt got cleared from my eyes.

But I had no idea how hard it would be.

To select all those familiar tunes and hit delete.
To look the other way.
To not click on the YouTube icon.
To take less at a meal.
To turn instantly from temptation and sing in your mind.
To choose to be a more worthy steward of God's resources.
To surrender. Like, really.

I had no idea.

I had no idea how hard the devil would hit me with guilt.
How many old mistakes he would bring up on my mind's silverscreen.
How many whispered doubts.
How many excuses.
How many times pride would be stirred up.
How hard he would fight.


I had no idea how simple this could be.
I had no idea how liberating surrender is.
I had no idea how amazing it feels to leave excess alone.
To keep my mind stayed on Him.
To trust Him even with the tiniest, silliest things in my heart.
To give Him reserves.

I had no idea.

I had no idea how hard He would fight for me.
I had no idea how strong His arm could be.
How strong His love.
How far He would go to rescue me from myself.
How much power He wants to give me.

I had no idea.

I have a long ways to go.

In fact, I feel a little bit like, now at 21, He's starting all over on me.

But no. He's been working for years. He hasn't given up.
And yet, He's not finished with me yet.

His work is only begun.

I had no idea.

Praise God.

Friday, March 28, 2014

In, not Of

I dressed this morning with thought in mind that I'm going to be riding in the car and then running around town this afternoon. For whatever reason, my blue and white shoes were laying in the middle of my floor. Town + blue and white shoes = do-able. I pulled them on.

Kezzia made comment of my sanguine socks over breakfast. I just laughed at her.

However, when I got to work and stepped out of the car, the minute my foot touched the ground I cringed. Because our landscaping around here has been professionally done by rain and melting snow. And all it really is is mud.

Mud + blue and white shoes = ...WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I've gone back and forth between the office about twice today. Muddy, potentially slippery slopes in between. Up and down.

Guess what? My shoes are still white.

I began to think about that a little more as I walked to and fro. Just because of my footwear, I chose every step carefully. I walked ahead, not pausing, but every place I put my foot was chosen beforehand. I walked lightly, unwilling to sink. Unwilling to stop for very long. Unwilling to get the slightest spot on those shoes.

I'll admit, I chuckled. "Why don't I always walk like this? Just because I have on shoes that are okay if they get a little muddy."

That's when it hit me. My white shoes....a white robe. The muddy ground...a sinful earth...

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, keep himself unspotted from the world" (James. 1:27).
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (1 John 2:15).
"I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil" (John 17:15).

On the mud. Not in the mud.
In the world. Not of the world.

The second revelation came from a post online. A quote from inspired writings about the devil. He wants our worship. But he doesn't try to get it from us like he did from Jesus. He doesn't blatantly ask for it. Instead, he gives us "gifts."

The devil is more determined to get me down than I could imagine.
His all-absorbing interest is how to ruin my life.
He just wants me dead.

But how often do I willingly accept the gifts he places in my path for my ruin?

How often do I, like the fated traveler in the old story, have compassion on a serpent and pick up and place it against my heart--only to be bitten in the end?

I look at this world and see something frightening. Everything that he can, he's using against me. In every way possible.


But. I don't have to be overcome. I don't have to go down. I don't have to get muddy. I don't have to...

Because 2000 years ago, the Son of David crushed the serpent's head. The bite to His heel didn't remain. He is now the Supreme Ruler.

And He calls me, "My Child."

This morning I got a wake up call. Two of them.

It's time to stop picking up the devil's serpents.
It's also time to clean my shoes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Time and again over the past week or three, I've opened Blogger and clicked on the "Create Post" button.

And time and again, I always stare at the empty space...and close the tab.

There's things I want to say.
But I have reasons not to.

There's things I could say.
But I decide they aren't necessary.

There's things that maybe I should say.
But I don't.

So, instead, I sit back and watch.

I watch one friend arrive in a foreign country and immerse herself in culture, in people, in living love.
I watch another return from a different field and berate herself for adapting so easily again to the American way of life--vow to return.
I watch one lead young people to the foot of the cross while accomplishing scholastic feats I would never dare.
I watch some speak words of hope, of challenge, of binding the wounds--and, in turn, see the countless numbers responding like parched souls in a desert.
I watch some give their very lives for the cause of Christ.
I watch some discovering who they are.
I watch others stretching their wings, gaining long-lost confidence.
I watch some grieve.
I watch some rejoice.
I watch some triumph.
Others find peace.
Others lend a helping hand.

As I see what those around me, around the world, are doing, it silences me.

I look within, at my own little life, in my own little corner, touching few with the ripples my pebble creates; and I feel as though I'm missing out on something special.

I'm busy. I'm working. I'm learning, growing, laughing, loving... but....

I feel empty.

I feel as if my own selfish interests have been swallowing up my joy, piece by piece.

So I watch in silence.

To all of you whose lives I've been privileged to watch, keep up the good work. You are inspiring weighty pondering.

And, when you think of it, say a prayer for those who are simply watching.

It could mean the difference in eternity.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Last Step

"It is the last step that wins; and there is no place in the pilgrim's progress where so many dangers lurk as the region that lies hard by the portals of the Celestial City....It is when Heaven's heights are full in view that hell's gate is most persistent and full of deadly peril."

Driving through the silent night, we talked. Our thoughts tended to martyrs, Christians who gave up their lives for the love of their Lord. We talked about the many who have gone before us--those many who would've given ANYTHING to live in the day we do--and how nothing daunted them. 

And we talked about what's coming. How the horrors of the past are but hollow when compared with the future. 

She said it. "But you know, pain only can get so bad. There's a point that it just can't hurt any more than it already is."

I didn't find myself convinced. My pain threshold is low: and my natural self quivers at the word martyr. I said as much, but my chauffeur only said that that may be our lot. And God would see us through if it was.

It was after that that something impressed me to start reading through the Great Controversy in my quiet time in the morning.

As I've walked next to Wycliffe, denounced pomp and apostasy with Huss, and walked toward the stake with Jerome, I've begun to slowly realize that she's right.

On top of that, I've begun to question my love for my Savior. Am I willing--no, not willing, eager--to lay down my life? Do I love Him that much?

The Desire of Ages is next on the reading list. I think I need to know Him more.

It is the last step that wins. 

And if you take that last step in flames--or pain--what difference? 

You just have to take the step. 

And a step only lasts as long as a step can. Because there are more steps to come.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Climb. Forever climb.

And, seemingly, forever fail.

The summit stands unattained, out of reach. Every time I'm beaten back. Every time I give up and return to base camp. Every. Single. Time.

I want the top. I want it. I want that freedom.

But, trudging back into camp for another time of defeat, I break down in tears. I can't do it... I just can't.

That's right.

The Voice is so near, yet so soft. I look around through tear-blurred vision. I catch sight of Someone standing there, but I take Him to be another mountaineer.

He continues. You can't. You can't do it. YOU never will.

He wipes away my tears. You can't. But...oh... I can.

I've yet to touch the summit.

But because I can't... He'll make sure that I do.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Unconventional Childhood

I've been digging lately. Not in the traditional sense; as in, dirt. More like a very unconventional sense; as in, the past.

I've discovered that there was something I had a long time ago that I don't anymore. I'm not sure what it is, really.

But suddenly, as I hear these songs that I grew up with; as I see the pictures; and too, as I'm feeling the unique pressures that being 20 holds... I want it back. The innocence, the laughter, the sweetness and magic of my childhood.

Jesus said that we were to be like little children if we wanted to come at Heaven. Heaven is my ultimate goal--but in my walk of life, He moves me further away from conventional childhood every day. And in some ways, that's okay.

But I'm beginning to see more and more that He wants to kindle an unconventional childhood in me: an everlasting, childlike trust, sweetness, innocence and dependence on Him. I'm learning; albeit, a bit slowly.

I miss the little girl.

But I'm praying for the day when she will be a woman after God's own heart.

In an unconventional sort of way.