Wednesday, December 9, 2015


When I was a little girl,  I suffered greatly from anxiety attacks.  Debilitating fear was never very far away from me.  Traveling in the car was my worst nightmare.  I have no idea why.  I think I dealt with claustrophobia as well.  I would dread a trip in the car for days.   I remember a time in my life when we traveled a lot.  I believe  we were touring the States a little bit while my father ministered in different churches.  We had a station wagon and it was long before the seat belt laws of today.  In fact, many a time, I rode in the back laying down.  But in this season,  there was no sleeping or even resting as I climbed back there.  My body was overwhelmed by anxiety.  I couldn't shake it.

 But I remember one key.  The only key.  Burying my face in the floor of the car, clutching anything so that my hand wouldn't shake so violently, I would lay.    As my body trembled and my hands shook,  I whispered a Name over and over and over again.




 That's when Jesus became more than a Word for me.  That's when he became more than a Name for my heart.  He personally became the person who would rescue me.  He became that anchor for my soul and that rock for my sanity.  And in those moments of terrifying anxiety, as I desperately repeated his name,  I would begin to feel the  soft, warm blanket of peace laying over me.  Slowly, my body would tremble less.  Gradually,  my hand would begin to stop shaking and eventually  it was just Jesus and I rolling down the highway in that station wagon.  It was his Name that shattered the hold of panic.  

Again,  when I was in the hospital with meningitis, there was a moment that I was terrified.  Looking  onto facebook, trying to distract myself,  I clicked on one of my memories of three years prior.  I had posted a song called,  "Steady My Heart."    It spoke deeply to me.  Sitting there, in that bed,  I cried - like I had cried when I first heard it.  There was a line that particularly struck me.  It read,  "I'm not going to worry.  I know that you've got me right in the palm of your hand."

You see,  things in my life had not changed.  Circumstances were still crazy around me and shadows loomed ahead that I did not know.  But in the midst of it,  Jesus was there, poised, able, willing to take me through whatever  the future held.  And when I could get a hold of that reality,   it broke the power of fear.

Whoever you are worried about, whatever you are worried about, whatever your financial situation,  your health situation,  he has you in the palm of his hand.  It doesn't always mean everything will turn out as you planned.  It doesn't always mean everything will be victorious or even successful in our eyes.  That's not reality - it wasn't in the Bible and it's not in today's world either.  What it means is that if we are in God's hand, if God sees us, if He understands, then we can make it through.  We can do it.  We are at peace. God's peace is simply more than perfect circumstances.  It carries us to the other side of treacherous seasons of life.  

  Look up at Him.  Reach up and grasp his big knarled, nail scarred hand and put one foot in front of the other until you reach the end of this part of the journey.  It will be okay with Him by your side.

Jesus said in the Bible, "My peace I leave with you.  Not as the world gives..."  What kind of peace does Jesus give?  He gives the kind of peace that doesn't make sense from a natural point of view.  The world around you can be crumbling.  The situation you are facing can be too large, too strong, and too overwhelming and Jesus reaches out to you - arms open wide -  with the gift of peace.

 So many times we try to find our peace elsewhere when we really need to cuddle up at Jesus' feet, stare hard into his adoring eyes and never look away..  That's all Jesus was talking about when he said he gives us peace "not as the world gives."

 We try to find a new hobby.  We go to the beach.   We leave our stressful friendships behind in search of peace.  Those things are good things and often ways that God uses to bring us to that place we need to be.  But let's not forget the true maker of peace; the true giver of peace.  He is the one who will bathe your spirit and your mind in that peace that doesn't even make sense in our natural mind.  That's how he was able to walk through His life on earth - knowing what his last day would bring.  That's how he was able to take those brave steps to the cross when he knew he was going to be persecuted and killed - because He Himself is peace.

His peace is like a fire dancing in the fireplace when your bones are achy cold.  His peace will carry your icy shivering heart to a warm safe place.  His peace comes in the midst of your struggles, in the middle of your pain,  during  those debilitating circumstances and provides water in the desert.

Peace comes from knowing that you don't know - but He does.

Monday, November 30, 2015


It was two years ago.

I gazed at the twinkling lights on my Christmas tree and with a sudden pang realized that it would be the first Christmas tree that Jer and I had ever ever had  that his Dad would not see. It was a strange thought that hit me out of nowhere. Not that our tree was much different than any of the other years - a couple more ornaments, but the same theme.

 It was a season of firsts; a season of finding our footing in the new “normal” of our lives. There was a big piece of the puzzle missing and we were discovering ways of moving forward. 

 It wasn’t just Dad’s death that Christmas. There were a million other difficult things happening in my life in that season. A mountain of worries and concerns and battles that I was fighting both personally and for others.  It was a tough time and one that I felt truly lonely in.

 Christmas is my favourite time of year by far. I LOVE Christmas shopping.   I love the lights, the bling, the beautiful Christmas paper, the colourful ribbons. My heart literally leaps as I round the corner near my mall because I KNOW there will be tons of beauty, smiling faces, laughing children.   Wild, chaotic, mesmerizing fun everywhere.

 But that Christmas, for a split second, I wondered if I was in the Christmas “spirit”. I wondered if I felt like celebrating. I was talking to someone who was going through some dark waters herself and she said, “I was going to put up my decorations and I just decided not to, because I wasn’t in the Christmas spirit.” I nodded in understanding and empathy. I wondered if I should convince her to put up some stuff around her house anyways - no matter what she was going through - but for what purpose? Her life was in a difficult season right then. Why can’t she just skip Christmas altogether this year and get to the part where she gets through this difficult season? I totally understood her pain.

But suddenly it hit me; something that I had forgotten just for a moment.   She needed to decorate. She needed to put stuff up around her house. She needed to celebrate. And I needed to too.

 Why? Because even though our lives were going through some painful times, even though our hearts felt like giant boulders stuck in our chest -  though it seemed hard to hang on to anything that will hold our souls - there is a reason that we celebrate Christmas season.    There is a reason that we do ALL of this.

Sometimes, in the busy-ness of the season and in the crazy adventures we find ourselves on, we forget.  Truly forget.   It's not about the lights, and the bling and the presents.   And it’s not because we need to get gifts or because we need a giant month long interruption in our lives. It’s not because we need to spend money that we don’t have.

 It’s because we need to remind our selves that no matter how hard life gets - we always have hope. That’s what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about hope. Christmas is about a Mom and Dad cradling a tiny baby in the crook of their arms - that came to earth to save the world. It is about a God who left a perfect world to step into a fallen world and give them hope. There is always hope because there is always God.

 That day I chose faith instead of fear. I chose hope instead of doubt. I chose beauty instead of ashes.

 This year, if it just seems too hard to get through the day; if the world around you seems hopeless, come a little closer. Close your weary eyes and picture a baby born for you. Picture an innocent baby that came into a guilty world to give you hope.

 If you can only light a candle, do that. If you can only put some music on, do that. Find something to do to celebrate His hope. Because that is what it is all about...

He came for me.

He came for you. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wow! More Than 10 000 Views!!!

A Special Thank You Gift

I have been very excited this last week!! On my blog, I have reached over 10,000 views!! I so appreciate every view, every comment and every like on my journey as a writer. I wanted to thank each of you in a way that would bless you as if you have blessed me. I am giving away three original hand drawn doodle Christmas colouring sheets. Please use the form below and sign up for my newsletter and I will email them to you.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

On loving well...

I used to see only black and white.

I was that person that got mad at you if you didn’t treat me right going through the till.  I was the one that let you know swiftly if my coffee wasn’t hot enough.  I was that person who  honked at the cars that cut me off - not to let them know that I was there but to let them know that I was super angry at them.  In my mind, you were either right or wrong.  Lifestyles were either right or wrong.  It was black and white and I left no room for colour or for gray.

I am not the opposite of who I was - I will still send my coffee back if it’s too cold.  I will still ask the teller if I am inconveniencing her if she acts like I have interrupted her day. I am rarely embarrassed or hesitant to state my true feelings.  But these days,  I am more often asking strangers if they want prayer; if they know that Jesus loves them or if they need anything.  Now,  I find myself looking beyond their outward actions and looking deep within their heart, knowing that there is a person who goes through pain just like me.  There before me stands a person fighting for freedom in his/her life; struggling to stay above the water.  I am realizing more and more that people often carry heavy loads on their shoulders that they can’t possibly lay down at the door of their work.  Instead of a rebuke, they need an outstretched hand, they need a loving and kind word from a stranger.   A snide remark will stick arrows in their back for a week, while a beautiful gesture of love might possibly change their life.  

How interesting that Jesus actually came to earth to fulfill the law so that he could replace it with one word - love.   That’s not to say that he wanted us to run around killing each other in the name of freedom. He didn't take away boundaries or conscience.  But he taught us that we need to follow a path that is so much greater and at the same time, much much harder.   People that live in black and white think that love is a grand cop-out.   Sure, just love people.  But when you think about it, when you live by the principle of love, it’s much harder than following a set of rules and the results so much better.

Jesus left us with two commands.  Love God and love one another.  When we live by the higher law we are freer.  We have added color to our lives.  Life is not a simple answer.  Sometimes there aren’t any easy solutions. In my years of ministry and counseling, I have learned that often there aren’t hard and fast rules for a lot of things in this life.  Often, it’s hard to untangle the truth from the lie - the right from the wrong.   There are so many variables.   So instead of living in judgement, suddenly you realize that the better way is love.  The noble gesture is a soft hand on a tired shoulder.

All of us need to be loved.  All of us, no matter what age, race or religion need to feel important - we need to know that we matter deeply to the world around us.  

I love the story in the Bible of the woman caught in adultery.   The Pharisees brought the terrified woman before Jesus and told Him of her sin.  Clutching stones in their hands, they were waiting for the signal from Jesus to stone her.  It was simple to them.  This woman was a sinner - she was caught.  Stone her.   What Jesus did next is a mystery to this day.  As the crowd waited for his approval, silently He bent down in the dirt and began writing words on the ground.  Then He  looked up and simply said,  “Okay,  the person without any sin in their lives - YOU cast the first stone.”  No one could be that person because they all knew that they had sinned in their lifetime.   He then turned to the panic stricken lady who was looking on with awe in her eyes.   This is what he said,  “Go and sin no more.”  How could he say that so casually?  How could it be that easy for her to just go "and sin no more." Maybe she was in love with the man with whom she was committing adultery with.  Maybe it was an addiction to her.  There are so many things that we don't know about this story.    This is how He was able to say it with such confidence; such conviction.   Because instead of stones,  she had experienced love.  Instead of hate,  she was bathed in kindness.  Her very life was saved.   And because her very life was saved with love, her soul was saved.  She experienced the love of God and she was a different person.

Our love will change people.

When you go to the grocery store, look for people that need your love.  Keep your eyes and heart open for those that need to hear a kind word or receive a smile.

Jesus didn’t tell us to love people that believed the same as us.  He didn’t tell us to love in spite of... He didn’t tell us to love even though...

He simply told us to love people.  Simply love people no matter the race, no matter the religion, no matter the beliefs, and no matter the actions.


 That’s it.

Let's take a look at three ways to love well.  

1. Don't keep score.   Don't love only those people who can love you back.  Don't just love people to show them you are great - you are lovely.  Love them because they need to be loved, they want to be loved.  Even if they can't love you back.  Even if you love them in ways that are anonymous.   Love them.  Love someone for no reason.  Love someone who you will never ever see again.   Do it even if it doesn't make your name more popular; it doesn't bring anyone else into the church; it doesn't advertise ANYTHING at all - you are just showing genuine love to show love. 

2.   Love the way you want to be loved.  What is your love language?  On any given day, what would YOU want?  What would make your day?  Would it bless you if someone gave you a gift - just because...?  Then choose someone to give a gift to.  Would you love it if someone just came up to you and gave you a compliment;  told you how much they appreciate you?  Then do the same for someone.   Would it make your day if someone left a card for Starbucks under your windshield?  Then find someone who would love the same and do it for them.  Do you know what that does?  It heals you.  It refreshes you.  It uplifts you.  Because love doesn't only help the one who receives it, it helps the one who gives it as well.

3.  Give lavishly, wildly and generously out of your love bank today.   I had a pastor once who said it was always good to error on the side of grace.  I adopted that saying because I LOVE it.  But I want to take that a step further and say that you can never error on the side of love.    One of the things on my bucket list is to stand behind someone in the grocery store and step up and say,  "I want to buy her groceries."  I can't wait until one day I can do that.

I want to love with abandonment.   I want to see my waitresses through eyes of love.  I want to see my co-workers, my neighbors and those I meet,  through eyes of love.  I want to be motivated in my everyday life through eyes of love.   Because I know that one day 2000 years ago,  there was a Man who died for me.  His motivation was sincere, genuine, lovely and wild love.

Tomorrow, when you wake up in the morning,  choose to think this very question.  "Who can I love today?"  When you begin to wake up every morning with this thought,  it will change your life.

 I promise you.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Gift to Me

I was standing on the edge of a big decision and I wasn't sure if I was brave enough to jump off.  I deeply wanted to go to Taiwan and celebrate with the Church there but I was also terrified of the risk.  I was completely torn.  I had just spent two weeks in the hospital with meningitis.   The doctor that attended to me,  knew how badly I wanted to go to Taiwan but doubted that I would ever get there - not this time at least.  I could tell she felt sorry for me - was even trying to work it out for me but it seemed hopeless.  There were so many things to work out physically.

The clock was ticking and I still didn’t know if I was even able to go or not.  I wouldn’t even think about going without getting the okay from my family doctor,  my heart doctor, my rhinologist and my gynecologist (much was going on that could have led me right back to the ER so I needed her okay for sure.)   My last doctor to give me the okay was my gynecologist and it was looking like she was the most important one for me.  I was excited the day I was to visit her.  I needed to let everyone know whether I was going or not.

 Twenty minutes before I was to have an appointment,  I got a phone call telling me that she couldn’t make her appointments that day.  I had to reschedule which put me only two weeks away from the trip I had already purchased long before I got meningitis.   I was annoyed, but what can one do?  Nothing.  It seemed to take forever to get to the second appointment and then I got the phone call again - she had to go in to emergency surgery.    I had to reschedule.  Again.   I was starting to get panicky - I was beyond the annoyed part.  I still didn’t know what decision I was going to make even if everyone DID say that I could go!!

Knowing whether it was even a possibility was the first step to even making the decision.

Finally,  I got to my appointment a week and a half before my scheduled date to leave the country.  I sat there in her office.   I actually thought that she was going to tell me that I needed an emergency hysterectomy. Instead, she said that with the latest health issues that propped up, she wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole unless she knew she absolutely HAD to.


 I asked her about going to Taiwan and she didn’t understand why I wouldn’t go.  It was that simple.  But with my complications, what if I bleed and end up back in emergency?  That was my complicated question.    She didn’t really have an answer for that but still didn’t think it warranted me to do anything less than live my life normally like I would if nothing was wrong. 

It was pretty simple.  She was giving me the okay. 

I left the office that day with a spring in my step - but with an incredible weight on my shoulders.  It was easy for her to say that I should still live my life normally but the fact of the matter was, she could not guarantee that I wouldn’t end up back in emergency.  I was an unusual case.  She wasn’t sure what my body was doing.  That wasn’t great insurance for me.    There was so much about this trip that was nebulous - a bit like a flimsy piece of golden material swaying in the warm breeze or gusty wind.  It wasn’t concrete at all.  I like concrete; especially when it comes to my health.

I knew I needed to give Jeremy an answer.  There was only 10 days left.  My job needed to know and Taiwan needed to know.  I prayed about it for a day and talked to my family.  My family knew how much I have invested in Taiwan, both in going and in blessing my husband to spend so much time there.  They knew my love for Taiwan.  They said go. 

I decided to go.  The minute, I made the decision, I was literally panic-stricken.   I had pockets of excitement but mainly I was working with some serious questions in my spirit.  What if I got halfway around the world and my health started doing crazy things?  There were many scenarios that danced in my head.   I only had ten days to get ready for a last minute international trip.  I had to get some things ready at work and get a lot ready at home.  It was a crazy week.


The Sunday after I made the decision and just a week before I was to board that plane,  I stood in my Church and asked God for peace.  Our worship leader started leading a song that hit me in the gut.  The chorus was “I’m no longer a slave to fear.  I am a child of God.”  I raised my hands as I sung the song and let the peace wash over me - from the top of my head to the tip of my toes - over and over again.  I felt like I had taken a shower in grace after the meeting.  It was exactly what my soul needed.  Peace had overwhelmed my spirit.  It was a spiritual meeting with God.  For the first time since I had made that decision,  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was a good one.

But as fear is what it is,  the next day when I woke up,  I felt a knawing again at the corners of my heart.  I battled it.  I talked to God a lot and asked him to confirm that I was supposed to go.  Again.

Immediately, he brought a story to my mind from the bible.  It was the story of Peter.   Peter was in the boat and as he stood looking out over the oceans suddenly he saw a figure of a man or ghost walking on the water.  He didn’t really know what it was.  It terrified him and intrigued him at the same time.  Immediately, he wondered if it was Jesus.  He said,  “Jesus if that is you - tell me to come to you.”  I am sure that Peter did not think Jesus would say come even if it was him.  Only Jesus could walk on water.  But Peter was eager.  He was one of those guys who wanted to please,  wanted to experience life with everything he had.   He gave life 110 per cent.  Sometimes, he said silly things and this was one of those times.  I wonder if he thought Jesus would just sort of rebuke him and say just wait for me to get there.  Why was Peter so anxious to meet him?  Why couldn’t he just wait.   Because with all that was within Peter,  he wanted to see Jesus.  That was his life's passion.  He was willing to risk anything - even death in order to be with Jesus.

Jesus said,  “Come.” and Peter knew it was him.  He knew that this was Jesus who held out his arms to him - it was not a ghost and nothing - not even a vast ocean or the waves that were bigger than the boat was going to stop him from meeting with the one that he loved most. 

He climbed out of the boat.  I am sure his legs were wobbling.  It was exhilirating and terrifying at the same time.    As Peter stepped out of that boat,  he was taking the biggest faith step that he had ever taken.  He was leaving the boat that  was so comfortable to him.  He was leaving the familiarity of the friends, and the safety that the boat represented.  He was leaving it all behind in order to walk on water - something that humans can’t do.

  This is what I felt the Lord saying to me.  I was leaving everything familiar to me.  I was leaving the hospital that had kept me alive in the summer.  I was leaving the doctors who knew my case inside and out and I was leaving family.   I was leaving it all to follow Jesus and Jesus was asking me to make that faith step.  It was such revelation to me that I knew the Lord would be with me.

The next day at our little Christian school, we had Bible time with all the students.  The young man got up and said, “I want to tell you a little story.  His name was Peter and he walked on water...”   

Two weeks later, as I stood in a group of two thousand people crammed into the Banner Church - others pressing to get into the shut doors,  I stood with my hands raised I realized that that day was a significant day.

 Some people never get to see the fruit of their labour.  Some people spend hours, weeks, years working, striving, pushing toward certain goals,  toward breakthrough in something and often people never see the outcome of all that hard work; they never see it come dancing fully alive before their eyes.

  That day, I saw it.

 I saw the fruit of leaving my kids, many years in a row to go to Taiwan.  I saw the fruit of kissing my husband good bye even when it felt better to keep him home.  Through pregnancy, through treacherous teen years, through difficult toddler years - saying good bye and giving my husband the blessing to go - knowing that God would take care of me.  I saw the pay-off of hours of prayers and tears and love poured out to a Church that was our home when we were in Taiwan.    As I stood there,  I realized that the Lord was giving me this - all the sacrifice of all those years wrapped up in a big red bow and handing it back to me.  It felt freeing.  It felt right and  itt felt humbling.

Standing there,  arms open wide,  heart full to the brim,  I knew that even though I didn't have a lot of money, I was a very rich lady indeed. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

When the Son Sets You Free...

 "I have lost almost 40 pounds,"  I said triumphantly.

 My heart doctor just looked at me. I thought he would be thrilled.  Instead, he totally ignored me.  For a second I wondered if he even believed me.  Maybe he thought I was embellishing the fact.  (Mind you, I DID lose twenty of those pounds with my "meningitis diet", which is by the way not endorsed by doctors and certainly not recommended by me.)

He just kept talking about how I needed to lose weight.  "Even twenty or thirty pounds would help a lot."  He said it so flippantly - like every pound didn't cost me sweat, blood, tears, and more tears.  "Skinny mini, like me,"  I heard him say.  Then he laughed, amused at his own joke.  He  laughed like it didn't take months to shed every pound and weeks to gain it all back.

I felt disheartened for a second and then I realized that he was right.  I really wanted a pat on the back for the weight that I had already lost but the truth is,  I can't go on living at this rate either.  He was trying to push me forward - encourage me to keep pressing on - in a "skinny, eccentric doctor" sort of way.

The other day, I was talking to God about losing weight as I often do.  The difficulty, the frustration - all of that. I realize that it's a journey.  But sometimes,  it's a very hard journey.

 I was impressed with a Scripture that I thought, you as my readers, would like to hear as well.  It's in John 8:36 and it says,  "When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed."

I LOVE that!

 Do you have an addiction to food?  I know that I do.  Do you reach for the chocolate when you are depressed?  I know that I do!  Do you choose food to feed your soul when you should be choosing other things?  I do that as well.

For me, it may be food.  For you, it may be alcohol, or video games or sleep - whatever you are addicted to as a way to dull the pain that life sometimes brings.  

The point is, Jesus wants to set us free.  It says right there in the Bible - if He sets you free, then friend you ARE FREE!!!!  No more addictions, no more pain associated with food, no more imbalance when it comes to food.   It's time to invite,  Jesus the healer of our whole bodies,  into that part of our lives.  He wants to heal you from the inside out.  He desires our freedom - body, mind and spirit.

We can do this!!

Monday, November 2, 2015



“Do you deal with anxiety?”  The nurse asked me sharply.  Did I hear a hint of judgement in her voice?

I looked at her through half closed drugged eyes.  “Yes.”  was all I could say.

I turned and looked out the window.   My blood pressure was rapidly climbing a steep and dangerous hill, my heart rate was going through the roof,  they were talking about an emergency hysterectomy - all of which was totally unrelated to the illness of MENINGITIS that brought me to the hospital in the first place.

I guess that that was not enough to feel anxious,  I thought sarcastically as I looked at her.  I was too weak to say it to her.

“Just try to relax.”   She said as she hooked me up to some more antibiotics.  “Oh, " I thought,  "Yes, I could do that.  Completely forgot about THAT option.”  The thought danced through my head as I smiled weakly.

She wasn’t being mean.  She was a woman who had never experienced anything that I was experiencing at that moment.  That’s all.

I had been at home and trying to push thoughts of meningitis out of my head as my neck began its incline -  pounding and pounding more furiously.  Surely I wouldn’t have meningitis again.  I just had it three years ago.   I shook my head.  NO,  I was just nervous about it.  I asked Jeremy for a Tylenol 3 and kept doodling in my notebook as a way to distract my run away terrifying thoughts.

It was a beautiful day.  Warm,  no wind.  Simply lovely outside as we sat on our deck.  The Tylenol with codeine took the edge off of my headache.  Slightly at least.   We set up a table and started to play a game we like to play - Settlers of Catan.  

The pain came back with more intensity than before and it was only an hour after I had had my medicine.  I couldn’t take any more medicine at this point.
I kept playing the game.  I tried to convince myself that there was nothing to worry about - it would blow over.  Tomorrow would be a better day.   I was fast losing my argument.

I went inside to lay on the couch.  I put something under my neck as I laid my head on the arm of the  cool couch, pressing hard to take the pressure off just above the neck.  I hated laying like this because it reminded me of the last time I had meningitis.  Such awful memories.  I tried laying another way but this was the best way.  It took a little bit of the pressure pressure pressure that I was feeling.  Oh so much PRESSURE and pain.

The next time I had Tylenol, it didn’t touch the pain that was escalating.  It didn’t even take the edge off.    I was concerned.  Jeremy asked if he should plan to take me in to the hospital.  I didn’t know.  Darn,  I hate this.  The wondering, the fear, the complete and overwhelming pain.  I didn’t want to revisit this season of my life EVER.  EVER.

Surely surely if I just laid down again, if I just calmed myself down.

 Then it happened.

 The sick sick feeling in my stomach -the knowing that I was going to throw up.  I grabbed a bucket.  Yes, I needed to go in.  NOW.  It would only get worse and when you know you have meningitis then you know you only have a short window before this horrible disease could become your worst nightmare.   My son and his girlfriend were there so they could watch my youngest son, as Jer brought me to the ER.

Because this wasn’t the first time I had meningitis,  they took me right in.  They wheeled me to a tiny room.  As I lay there in the hospital bed with people working around me,  I couldn't stop the spinning of the room.  It spun faster and faster and faster until I threw up -again and again and again.  I couldn't stop throwing up and I felt like I was dying.  I wondered if I had gotten there too late.   They couldn’t give me anything for nausea or pain until the doctor saw me about four hours later.  Four hours later I was hooked up to pain medicines and nausea and a bunch of things for my heart and blood pressure.  I had nurses around me constantly attending to me.   They were as concerned about my heart as they were about my meningitis.  They seemed to be focusing on both - equally.

 After a couple of days of being in the hospital,  there was an issue with my uterus doing some crazy things and I was losing a lot of blood.   The doctor came in and told me she was considering a blood transfusion because my iron was so low and I was very critically anemic.  One morning,  I was visited by the on call doctor several times.  I was visited by my heart doc, my neurologist and they wanted to hook me up with a gynecologist.   

I was petrified.  It felt like I was stuck in a hopeless situation - like I was swimming with hungry sharks and at any second one was going to devour me for his snack.  There was nowhere to turn that was safe.  I sat there on my bed and thought ironically that  my life’s message was hope and here I found myself in this dark hole of endless hopelessness.    Nothing at that moment felt like it was going right.

 Then the Lord very clearly spoke to my spirit.  He said,  “Do you trust me?”  I answered honestly.  I answer the Lord honestly because he knows my thoughts anyways.  I simply said,  “I really really don’t know.  I don’t know if I can trust you.  And I am really scared.”  I didn’t feel his anger.  I didn’t feel his indignation.  I just felt honestly scared.

As I sat there to process it all my chest started hurting.  Not a lot but just a little.   I rubbed my back and chest a little.  I tried to forget about it.  Really I had pain everywhere.  Meningitis kicks you in the butt without all the other stuff that was happening in my body.   But the pain wouldn’t go away.  It wasn’t sharp - it was more like pressure pain.  I called the nurse and casually told her.  When you are in the hospital and they are worried about your heart,  there is no CASUALLY telling ANYONE that your heart is  hurting.   I was briskly wheeled down to the Cat Scan room where they did a Cat Scan of my lungs.  I was sure everything was okay.  I even felt a little bit embarrassed about the whole thing - I was just being silly and over aware of everything that was happening in my body.  As soon as I got wheeled back to the room a nurse rushed in and said that I had to have an emergency ultrasound on my legs.  She seemed nervous - this wasn’t routine.  Something about blood clots and where did they come from?  Panic gripped me with a strong and cruel grasp.  Things were spinning out of control. 

It felt like the world was closing in on me.  I was terrified.  More terrified than I have ever been.  It felt like the life was being choked out of me.  Everywhere I turned there was something to be afraid of.  And it wasn’t just little things - each one was life threatening.  Each thing could claim my life.  When the nurse left me alone, I wasn’t sure if I could make it another minute.  I looked up to the sky and said,  “yes, I trust you God because I just need to right now. I trust you. ”  I said that physically, but spiritually and emotionally it felt like I fell into his arms.  I needed Him more than anything. 

 Immediately, when I said that I felt my world expanding,  My breaths came in big refreshing gulps and it was as if a warm blanket of peace settled over me.  Nothing had changed.  Everything was still critical, but I had decided to trust Jesus through it all.

 In that very moment, I realized something.  Trust is not putting your hand in God’s and believing that everything will turn out all right. Trust is not KNOWING that you are going to be successful and free of pain and sickness.  Because in reality there is pain and sickness;  and Jesus never promised that we would be exempt from these things.  Trust is putting your tiny hand in God’s strong, mighty one and saying,  “I know that you can walk me through whatever lies before me in the big black hole of unknowing.”  Trust is a decision and trust is completely spiritual and utterly supernatural.

That day, I was changed.

Friday, July 31, 2015


Have you ever been on a diet and you were so good and you didn’t stray and you didn’t do bad - you made all the right decisions and ate all the right things and then one day… one day something happened?  You don’t really know what it was because you were doing so good - you were behaving so well  but this day was different.  You saw that bit of ice-cream or you saw that cookie and you thought that maybe you could do it.  Maybe it would be okay just to take a bit and then you could go right back on your diet.  And you would have been right.  You could take a little bite and you could go right back on your diet and REALLY it would be okay.   I don’t like to call it a diet because it shouldn’t be called a diet.  It should be called a lifestyle of eating healthy.  But I digress.

You reach out for the cookie or the ice-cream or whatever it may be.  You notice that your hands are trembling a bit.  You notice that your body feels a little uncomfortable.  You have done so good so far and you don’t want to blow it.  Slowly you reach out.  Slowly you grasp that thing that you want to consume.  So many mixed feelings.  So many emotions.

  And then it happens.  You put it in your mouth, you chew,  you swallow and...nothing happens.  The policeman doesn’t come out and grab you by the scruff of the neck and take you off to jail.   Lightening doesn’t come from the sky in billowing shrieks and strike you unconscious.   You don’t get ill and feel like your stomach is going to explode like a million little marbles in a paper bag made too small.  In fact nothing at all happens.

You were so focused for so long.  You were so careful for so long.  You  made all the right decisions and didn’t sway and didn’t get off the beaten path that somehow you thought that one small bite would be destructive to you in some way.  And suddenly there is a freedom that you have not felt in a long time.  Suddenly you know that you can eat and you won’t go to jail.  Suddenly you experience the freedom of being able to eat what you want to eat, when you want to eat because you are an adult and you are the master of your own body and it feels like you can  breathe again.  Suddenly…

You see, this would be okay if it was a calculated bite of food or you didn't continue to reach for the  box of twinkles.  I am not advocating living in a straight jacket or never eating unhealthy things you love again.  Food was meant to be loved and enjoyed.  In the confounds of discipline.

I have felt this before.  I have felt the freedom of being so disciplined and so careful and when I finally throw all caution to the wind,  it feels as if I have found some new found freedom and I love it.

Until that new found freedom gives me twenty more pounds around the waist and sends me searching for clothes that actually look good on me.   It’s an odd thing - this thing we call life.  Sometimes what we feel is freedom, sometimes what we call our right or our license is really that actual thing that puts us in bondage.  It’s a fine line really and we have to always have our eyes open to what we are sensing, what we are feeling and what licenses we are taking.   Sometimes what you deem as freedom is not really freedom at all and suddenly you realize 10, 20 or 30 pounds later that it was actually those actions,  those " freedoms" that were putting you in bondage again.  You feel completely wrapped up head to toe in the bondage of food again (or whatever holds you captive.)

 True freedom  comes only in finding that discipline of life.  Freedom comes in understanding the dance between what is real freedom and what is a lie - what is counterfeit. There are all sorts of counterfeit freedoms around you in this world.  Freedom to cheat on your spouse, freedom to cheat on your taxes, freedom to live unencumbered by what anyone thinks and before you know it, you can’t breathe, you can’t move, you can’t live because the very thing you thought was freeing you was actually sucking the life out of you slowly like a a python slowly sucks the life out of his prey.

Be very careful what you deem as freedom.  Be very careful of those fluttery feelings that come from being disciplined for so long and then taking a liberty in something.  Keep yourself in check and you will be okay. 

What we don’t always understand is that freedom doesn’t come free.  The very word freedom deems a sort of free life; a life completely absent of cares and worries and disciplines and  careful consideration.  But quite the opposite is real freedom.   Real freedom comes at a great cost and that cost is being intentional, being careful and calculated.  We work for freedom.  We strive for freedom.  We push for freedom; all words that seem opposite of what the words insinuates.  But without working for it you are left with nothing but the fake fleeting face of freedom.   Everything beautiful costs something.  Everything worth having in life, takes time and effort and so much work.

 Freedom will cost us a lot.

But the cost, my friend, is so worth it. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sandwiches are okay

Have you ever sat in a room full of ladies that were on a diet?   Everyone around you in the office is munching on various green leaves or some other form of rabbit food.  Slowly, almost timidly - hoping no one is looking your way - you slide out your....SANDWICH!!  G A S P!  She is eating bread?!?!  Doesn't she know that bread has carbs in it?  Doesn't she know that bread will make her fat?  Doesn't she know that if she WANTS to lose weight, then she can't eat that?!?!

Or maybe you DID bring the green leafy goodness and you left the bread  to consume in the privacy of your own home.  You open the lid of your salad and "feel the gaze" turning towards your salad.  Where is the MEAT?  No wonder she is 432 pounds.  (I am not FYI.)   She doesn't eat enough protein!!!

The moral of these stories?  Do what's best for you and for your lifestyle.   I think the important thing is  to understand who you are and what you can do to KEEP it off forever.   Losing weight and staying fit and healthy will always be a battle between carrots and turtle cheesecake.   There will always be war and some days and seasons will be easier than others.  But realize this - once you fight the addiction of food, that battle will never be far way from you.   Once you can realize that, you can slide in  for the long haul and understand that this is a journey and not so much just about the destination of "goal weight."

For me,  I have decided that I am simply going to exercise more and eat less.  The reason that I am doing this is because I feel like I can do that forever.   If I choose something that I can't stick with forever,  then I am setting myself up for failure and tears over pounds coming back far too quickly and easily.   I already run the risk of crashing - but if I take bread  (or another food group) out of the equation and decide that's how I am going to lose weight, the risk is higher.   I want to minimalize my risk.    I want to make it as easy as possible for me to keep that weight off and keep myself healthy because lets' face it,  I really like easy.  I like easy much more than difficult.

But if you are up for a certain diet,  a certain fad,  I have known lots of people that have gone that route and have been super successful.   I have known people that have had operations and it's worked for them, big time.

Again, the idea is this: to know YOU;  to know YOUR body; to know the way YOU tick.    And then stick to it.  Make a decision and stick to it.   Don't get pulled into the latest fad or the latest book or the latest shake JUST because everyone else is doing it.  Do it because its right for YOU.    The reason anything works really is because we are just aware (no matter what kind of system that we are on) of what we are consuming and we are intentionally doing something different to get different results in our body.  What you choose to do in order to see those same results (health and weight loss) is entirely up to you.  Be comfortable with what you choose.

Once you have decided what you are going to do, you can hold your head high when you unearth your sandwich from your lunch kit or bring your salad with only a few scrapings of humble and measly tuna fish .  You can smile knowing that you are within your calorie range, or your point range or your nutrition range and you have a plan.  You have a goal and you are sticking to it.

Thai Lettuce Wraps

I fried onion and garlic and then two chicken breasts.  Then I grated carrots and added finely chopped cabbage to the chicken.  I fried them until they were very soft.  (My throat has been hurting and I have been having problems with my jaw so I wanted something soft.)  I then added a sauce that consisted of peanut butter, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and crushed red peppers.   I also added cilantro and let that simmer until it was even more soft.  We scooped it up into big leaves of romaine lettuce and it was yum!! 


Monday, July 13, 2015

On closets and simplicity

 A few months ago,  I cleaned out my entrance way closet.  It was so cluttered and so messy, I couldn't fit my coats in there anymore.  I couldn't shut the door and I was always mortified when company needed to get in there.

When I cleaned it, it felt wonderful.   It felt like a piece of peace right there in my entrance way.  It was completely refreshing and absolutely freeing to all of us.

I think our lives are like that sometimes.  

Once in a while we need to take a good hard look at our lives and see what is working and see what is not.  Sometimes we have to weed out the things that aren't useful and that make our lives messy.  This is where the tricky part comes in.  Often we have to determine what that is.  We have to decide if it should still be in there but better organized.   Sometimes what worked in the beginning just doesn't work now.  You have to decide that.  You have to decide what will bring peace to your closet and to your life.

Do you have bitterness
?  Get rid of that.  It will only be clutter for you.

Do you entertain jealousy?  Throw that away.  There isn't any room in your closet for that.

Are you too busy?  Do you equate busyness with acceptance;  being crazy busy with being important?   Remember your kids don't need you to save the world.  They need you to be there for them.  Present and in the moment - in their moments.  Don't buy into the lie that the busier you are, the better your life is or the more loved or in demand you are.  

Are you leaving room for harmful relationships?  Sometimes when you have harmful relationships,  you leave no room for the good ones.  It's like the coat that hangs in your closet that is too big or too small or too something but you leave it there because you think that one day you can fix it.  Get rid of it.  Make room for the coats that fit you. 

Just because you can stuff it all in and close the door doesn't mean you can do it well.  It doesn't mean it looks pretty.

I want my life to be like that entrance way closet is now.  When I walk in the door,  I look to my right and take in a big gulp of peace.  It feels like I can breathe better when I see order.   I want people to look at me and feel the same way.  I want people to look at me and see peace.   I want to look at me and see peace. 

Take a look at your life now.  What are some things you need to toss out in order to restore peace?

Monday, May 25, 2015


This time of year is undeniably my favorite time of year (until I get to Christmastime.)  This is the season when the whole world around awakens from the winter,  pushes up from the ground and yells in unison,  "I can do it.  I can be beautiful.  I can be strong.  I can LIVE!"

As I was walking around Henderson Lake the other day I saw the usual people.  There are the runners you can tell hit the gym in the wintertime but are busting out into the wide open spaces to enjoy their runs.  There are the amblers who  just enjoy snapping pictures of beauty all around them with their iPhones (that would be me) and there are the serious photographers out there armed with their 20 foot long lenses and their tripods in hopes of capturing the perfect National Geographic photo.   The sweethearts are sauntering down the lane hand in hand gazing at each other with a "this will last forever" star in their eyes.  At the same there is the sweet older couple: she with a carved cane in her hand and he with pure white thinning hair,  talking quietly to each as they hobble gingerly down the uneven terrain.  Still others have parked themselves on benches scattered here and there,  relaxing with a good book in their hands and wide rimmed hats on their heads to shield them from the bright sun.

My life message is hope.  My passion is hope.  Everything about this season screams hope - the land, the flowers and our hearts as we crawl out of our four stuffy walls to enjoy the sunshine that God has given us after such a long and sometimes cruel winter. 

This day, walking around the pristine lake,  with the birds overhead and the geese paddling close by in the water,  I celebrate hope again. 

  Happy springtime everyone!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Butterfly Wings

My nine year old son said it and it gripped me.  I couldn't let it go.

He came home from the school the other day with a gift that he had made for Mother’s Day.  It was a really sweet gift.  It was a small canvas painted orange because it is my favorite color.  On the canvas were several butterflies that were punched out from a hole punch. It was punched from paper that Sean had  also painted.  It was a beautiful piece of artwork that I am so excited to display on my walls.

Then he said it. 

He pointed to a butterfly that had blunt wings instead of pointed and rounded wings like all the others.  He said sweetly,  “Mom,  I had to hide this from the teacher because if she would have seen it, she would have had me throw it away because it’s not like the others.  But Mom,  I didn’t want to throw it away because it’s a rare butterfly.  I knew you would see that too - and we don’t throw away rare butterflies!”  he exclaimed, his eyes shining proudly. 

 I looked at him.  He got it.  Life - in a nutshell - he got it.  Don’t throw away the butterfly because it doesn’t look exactly like all the others. 

He wasn’t ashamed of it.  He didn’t hide the blunt wings under another butterfly.  He didn’t put it on the bottom out of the way.  He put it right on the top in the center!  It was a treasured butterfly to him. 

It reminded me of a workshop I went to the other day.  I came away from that evening with a thought from the main speaker that captured my heart.  So many times we look at certain students and we wonder how we can fix them.  In actuality we don’t need to fix them at all.  We need to see the beauty, the uniqueness and the rarity of their beautiful souls.  We need to grab ahold of their strengths and capitalize on them.  Our goal isn’t to change them,  to make them look like all the other humans -  like cookie cutter people.  Our job is to spur them on into greatness.  It’s not about fixing them.  It’s  completely about accepting them right where they are at.  It’s about seeing their strength and their uniqueness.  It’s not about clipping their wings so that they match the others.  We don’t need to match.  We need to live our own story and let others live theirs.  We need to let them be great in their own greatness and not measure greatness by our standard.

We were never meant to be a clone or a replica of the person next to us.   We were meant to be deeply and completely ourselves - wildly and weirdly different and unique and messy and perfect in every way.  We are all broken in some way or another - all of us show our brokenness in different ways.  All of us are accepted by the Beloved - by Jesus.  Jesus didn't tell us that he would love us when we healed ourselves.  He told us that he would love us no matter what and it's in the love that the healing comes. 

Those of us who work with people on a regular basis - let's not look at the ones with different wings and wonder how we can hide them or change them.  Let our questions be different.  Let's ask ourselves how we can love them where they are at, believe in them genuinely  and help them to live and tell their story well.   Let them have a voice.  Let them see their importance in their world.  We need their voice.  We need their story and their magic.

I once heard someone say that they hated potential.  I remember it clearly - I snickered and wholeheartedly agreed.   I understand what he meant - that sometimes potential was another way of saying that they just weren't measuring up to what they could be doing in life; that they were sitting on their butts while they could be leading something great; or being someone grande.  He was really talking about potential wasted.  I got it then.  But I don't agree anymore.  I love potential.  Because  potential means greatness.   Potential means hope.  It is our job as caregivers, as nurturers, to tap into that potential.   To lead them to the vast wide field of potential and let them see with their own eyes what they can do and what they can accomplish with their own voice; it's our job to give them hope.  It's not our job to lead them to the "good little boy" next to them and ask them to be like him.  The picture is so much bigger; so much wider than that. 

Pastors, Teachers, Parents,  don't try to fix the butterflies that don't have wings like the others.   
Don’t try to change them. 
Don’t try to make them conform. 

Do love them. 
Do be proud of them.  
Do see their beauty. 

Please, please, please don’t throw away the butterfly with the straight wings.

 It’s rare.

 We need it’s beauty.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Be Brave

There was a woman in the Bible. 

She was terrified.  

She was filled with shame and remorse. 

But still she found herself being brave. 

 You could feel the pulse of the unspoken terror as she faltered into the room full of judgmental people; full of people ready to mock  and demean her.  The stale air was stifling with anger and scorn directed solely at her.   She tried not to listen to the hushed whispers of ridicule. She hid her eyes at the faces of disapproving people.  But she felt it.  She felt it in every fibre of her being as she found herself collapsing at the feet of Jesus and began washing his feet with her costly perfume.  Because it was there that she knew she would find freedom.  It was at the feet of Jesus she would find healing for her very soul.  Being brave, she could muster - if she knew that there was freedom at the end of that pain-filled and humiliating journey.  It was a moment in time, where a woman deemed to be filthy, deemed to be wrong and reprobate of morals collided with the greatest Man of all history.  There was nothing that could happen but a miracle.
It was a brave moment for a young boy to timidly walk up to a man called Andrew and cautiously, with trembling hands,  lift up his tiny lunch; to let them have it to feed whoever they deemed necessary.  I wonder what Andrew did?  Did he laugh or did he politely take the lunch knowing that it was nothing - just a small lunch.    The very act of bravery that turned a few loaves into a feast, an ordinary day into a miracle and a little boy into a history maker.  What a full heart he must have had that day when he skipped back home.  His little lunch fed 5000 people!!
For some of us,  being brave is just getting out of bed in the morning; just showing up with a smile on our face; putting one step in front of the other even though it seems you are walking through mollases.   For some, it means grabbing onto our next grand adventure;  or stepping into that destiny that's been before you all along.  For others, it may be staying in a marriage that you know you are supposed to fight for or making amends with a person with whom a relationship was long ago, grieved.
I don't know what being brave for you today is.   I don't know what it looks like in your life.  But this is what I do know.  I know that you can do it.

 In John 16:33, Jesus says,  "Take heart for I have overcome the world."   If you look at the whole chapter,  you will find that being brave to the disciples meant that they might die for the cause of their faith.  It meant that they would tell people about Jesus, they would live for Him even in the very face of grave danger.   That's what bravery was to the disciples after Jesus left this earth.  But Jesus told them that it was okay because He would give their souls peace and that the very world was in God's hands.
  What does this mean to us?  It means that we have to shift our prospective a little.  It means we have to realize that there is a bigger picture that  we don't see but that God sees it and that's good enough. 

 It means that even in the midst of being afraid God will blanket our souls with his peace. 

 Being brave doesn't mean not ever being scared.  Absolutely not - that's not bravery at all.  It means being so scared you can't move.  It means that the world stops around you but you will yourself to inch forward even if in slow motion.  Sometimes it means being terrified but making that decision to do it anyhow; to face it anyhow; to be that person you want to become.  That's bravery.  Doing it anyhow. 

Your life may begin the day you choose to be brave.

Friday, March 6, 2015


                   There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

                    Proverbs 23:18

Friday, February 13, 2015

Begin Again

I had a beautiful painting in mind.  Beautiful, wild, swirly, moving colours with two words on the
painting.  Begin Again.  I will still do it.  But not before I write this blog post.

A few years ago - well quite a few now,  I got serious.  I got serious about losing weight.  I joined weight watchers.  I rallied the troops around me so that I would have a large support group.  And I went after it with all that I had - 120%!!  I saw the pounds fall off.  Looking back on it now,  it didn’t even seem that hard.   I am sure that it was at the time.  I don’t remember plateaus.  I don’t remember discouragement.  I just remember that I lost weight.  And I felt amazing at the end of that journey.  I looked amazing too.

Then, guess what happened?!  Yep, you are right.  I gained it ALL back and then some more.  I have spent many a minute, kicking myself for making the wrong choices over and over again until I saw the weight come back on.  All that hard work.  It’s not hard to fall back into those patterns.  It’s not hard to take leaps back when you have taken steps forward.   Those grooves are ingrained in your journey - like deep, familiar ruts.   It’s easy to slide back into those old grooves when you haven’t quite created the new ones as deep.

A few weeks ago, my son just went in to his room and he yelled,  “oh my goodness, that looks awesome!!”   We had spent the afternoon cleaning it and organizing it.  He loves it when it looks like that.  But he doesn’t always make the choices in order to bring the peace and order to his room - even though he knows that he likes it so much!!  As an adult,  I know the things that give me peace, the things that I enjoy, but I don't always make the right choices to get me to that spot.

About a year before my father in law died,  I started again.  I was determined to be healthy.  I have all the right reasons.  I have a family I want to grow old with - really old.  I even started a group on facebook that was great.  It was not only motivating to me - it was motivating to others as well.  I did well.  I saw weight come off.  This time it was slower and it was harder and I saw more plateaus.    Slowly but surely I saw weight come off and I felt healthier. 

When my father in law, got ill, I laid down all my work outs that I was doing.    I was obsessed with working out and being healthy and eating right.  For a season, it was okay to lay it down.  Hours by his bed, meals at the hospital, meals provided by amazing friends and heart family.  I needed to put it on a back burner for awhile while I shifted my priorities.  It was the right thing to do.  What I didn’t need to do is to turn to food after my father in law died; to turn  to those familiar thoughts of food that have been so much a part of my life; to let food comfort my soul.  That’s where I went wrong.   I see it now, but not before I gained most of my weight that I worked so very hard to take off.

Now I could hurl insults at me.  I could be ashamed.  I could be mean to myself and hate myself for the decisions that I have made in these last years.  I could berate myself.  I could even give up altogether.  All of those things are tempting things to do.  But I realize that they wouldn’t be helpful things to do.  They wouldn’t give life to my soul or health to my body.  So this is what I am choosing to do.

I am choosing to Begin Again. I am choosing to start all over again, with the same resolve, with the same determination, with the same gusto that I had those other times.  

Life is like that.   Life is full of mistakes and failures and stopping and quitting and then beginning again.   Life is full of hard places and soft places.  I like the successes so much more than the failures.   I like the strength so very much more than the weakness. But that is not reality.  Life is both. 

Will I fail again?  Will I make two giant leaps backwards again?  Will I derail again?   I hope not.  But if I do,  I will pick myself up,  dust myself off, and I will begin again.  Until one day I can say,  “I did it.”

This is where you come in.  The most successful endeavours are done with a support group, with vulnerability and accountability.   That means that I need you.  Will you join me on this journey?  I plan to post every Friday and call it Freedom Friday on my blog.   It will be really simple.  I will post tips and ideas and thoughts that have helped me along the way.  I will post menus and recipes that I have found helpful.  And (God forbid) if I get discouraged with my journey,  I will post that too.  What I am asking you to do is the same.  Post your thoughts and your ideas and your discouragements and your encouragements.  I would love to hear how others are coming into more health in 2015.

 Are you in???  Good.  Together we can become healthier - one decision, one habit and one day at a time.   Let's do this!

Monday, February 9, 2015


I always choose a new word for myself as a new year approaches.  I usually think about it and pray about it and decide what this year is going to look like for me and what this year is going to mean in my life.  This year I felt like my word should be 'miracles'.  I have been mulling over this word for a month now.   Every where I turn I find something to do with miracles and a stirring in my spirit which means, simply,  that I chose the right word for my life in this year.

The other night I went to a worship service with our church and I began to think of a man in the Bible.  He was a blind man.  He wanted to be healed and so he stood in front of the only One he knew could do so.    Very gently but intentionally Jesus bent down and took dirt in His hands and mixed it with His spit and smushed it in the man's eyes.    The man didn't move.  He stood there and let Jesus do this bizarre thing to him.  I don't know what Jesus was really doing.  I don't know why he chose to put mud in this man's eyes.   And he didn't explain it as you would suppose - He just did it.  Then he told the man to wash in the pool of Siloam.  So,  off he went to do exactly as Jesus had instructed him.  In the end, the man was totally healed.  So you can imagine, that he wouldn't have for even a second regretted that he let Jesus do what ever he did - however odd that it seemed.

 There was another man in the Bible.   His name was Zacheuus.  He wasn't a well liked man because he was a tax collector and well known for cheating people out of a lot of money.   But this particular day,  Jesus was coming to his town and Zaccheus wanted to see him.  He wanted to see what this fuss was all about.  He just wanted to observe this Man who healed and spoke in strange parables and had such power over crowds.  He just wanted a glimpse of Him.  Most of us know this story well.  He was a small man and he knew that he wouldn't be able to push to the front of the crowd very easily.  People wouldn't let him in because, as we remember, people didn't care much for him.  Before he even got to where Jesus was, he had devised a plan.  He knew just what he was going to do.  He would climb a sycamore tree!!  Above everyone, he would be able to see Jesus.  He would be able to see what was happening in the crowd below.

It was working well until Jesus saw him!  Imagine how horrified he would have felt as Jesus began slowly walking up to his tree and gazing up at him.  What would He do?  What would He say?  Surely,  he  KNEW everything about him.  Zaccheus could sense that the minute Jesus started staring into his eyes.  I imagine that he wanted to run.  I imagine that he wanted to climb down the tree and get out of there at lightening speed.  He felt as though he had been caught.  But he was paralyzed.  He couldn't move a muscle as the power of His stare gripped his very soul.   He hung onto the tree branch, hanging on for dear life.  And then Jesus spoke.  And in one sentence, one paragraph, one moment,  his life was changed forever.  Jesus wanted to come to his house.  Jesus didn't hate him.  Jesus didn't shun him.  Jesus wanted to be with him.

 Zacchaeus woke up like any other day.  He got ready for the day like any other day.   He had one interruption to his day and that was to climb a tree to see a Man who was changing the world as he knew it.  It wasn't going to be a huge deal.  He was just going to take a peek at this guy and then go about his daily business.  Little did he know that that he would be climbing down the tree a different man than when he climbed up.   Little did he know that the very act of climbing that tree, that day would culminate in a miracle for his life.  Zacchaeus repented of his wayward ways,  Jesus saved him, Zacchaeus gave back all the money that he had cheated people out of, and he was a different man.  Completely reinvented.  What would have happened had Zacchaeus decided against climbing that tree?  What would have happened had he decided that he just had too much to do and besides climbing a tree to see Jesus was just too beneath him?  Only little kids climbed trees.  It was embarrassing.  It was humbling.  It was downright crazy.   But on the other side of that crazy act;  on the other side of the unconventional thing to do - was his miracle.  It was that thing that turned his life upside down.

I look through the Bible and there are many times  where Jesus reaches out his hands and the miracles flow.  Then there are many times that he required the recipient to do something - and sometimes something even strange.   But on the other side of the obedience was always a miracle; a life changed.

My question for  you today is -  what is your sycamore tree?  What is that thing that he is asking you to do?  He may simply be asking you to take a leap of faith and follow him  - believe in him wholeheartedly.  He may be nudging you to do something  you have known for a long time.   Or he may be asking you to do something that you think is bizarre.   Whatever he is asking you to do whether it is big or small, listen to him.  Your miracle may be waiting for you on the other side of that sycamore tree.