Slow of Heart

When it comes to movement, I am generally not a slow person. Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I intentionally must alter my steps to decelerate when walking with a group of people. I frequently must pause for automatic doors to open. And apparently, I appear to be in a hurry even when simply moving at my normal stride, a fact attested to by the Walmart greeter who has dubbed me “Speedy.”

But when it comes to the things of God, such is not the case.  In truth, I can be a bit of a spiritual dawdler.

When I bumped up against the following admonishment of Jesus spoken to the two men on their way to Emmaus in Luke 24:25, I knew I could claim this statement as my own: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken . . . ” (emphasis mine)

How similar I am to these two bewildered disciples.

Slow to believe, yet still wanting Jesus to linger long.

Puzzled by His true identity, yet knowing there is something about His presence that makes my heart burn within me and long to hear more of what He has to say.

Not fully comprehending His teachings or His ways, but desiring He remains with me nonetheless.

I am thankful my Savior knows who He is even when I don’t recognize Him.

Even when I struggle to believe and am slow in coming to terms with His unconventional ways.

I am grateful Jesus is content to walk alongside me in my foolishness.

That He is not put off by my ignorance and unbelief.

That He chooses to abide with me.

Patiently sharing His presence.

Gently teaching me.

Instructing me in things of His nature so I can make it more fully my own.

Opening my eyes, blink by blink, to the riches of His kingdom.

Extending His purposes for me to pick up and claim.

Showing tidbits of Himself, glimpse after glimpse, until I grasp His truth with wonder and thankfulness.

Yes, I am slow of heart to believe.

I am also wholly loved by a patient Teacher who knows the worst of me yet is still determined to embrace the best.

Here in my smallness,

I am found.

I am called.

I am loved.

By a Savior who is alive and well.


God incarnate come to earth.

Willing to linger with the likes of me.

Slow of heart though I may be.

© 2017


Banished by Grace

To have the knowledge of good and evil without the perfect judgment of a wise and all-knowing God is a dangerous thing.

To attempt to understand the truth of sin and of righteousness without the flawless mind of the Creator can lead to irrational and insufficient declarations of good and bad.

It’s no wonder God banished Adam and Eve from the garden once they had sampled the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. To live in this muddled state of confusion forever would have been a disastrous story, indeed.

This is why a Savior was necessary — to repeal and to revoke the license of evil and to free us from an eternity of its presence hovering near.

Only a perfect God can sort through this delicate balance of good and evil perfectly.

Only a perfect Savior can ransom the souls of imperfect men perfectly.

This is why I now view Adam and Eve’s banishment from Eden as an act of grace instead of an angry response from a frustrated Creator.

As I ponder the mercy extended alongside this exile, I can’t help but wonder how many other acts of grace have been granted me in this life. Acts of grace which I have mistakenly viewed as Father’s disappointment, or as disapproval, or as let downs seen as unanswered prayers.

Like Adam and Eve, my understanding is skewed from Father’s complete wisdom. That is why His grace poured out sometimes appears as neglect toward my desires when, in truth, that is never the case.

No matter how often I am tempted to believe otherwise, I am not left on my own. My Father notices every detail of the whole of creation, including each nuance of my seemingly insignificant life.

Not one breath is taken without His awareness.

Not one thought skips across my mind without capturing His attention.

And whether I believe it or not, not one prayer goes unanswered.

It’s just that sometimes the answer is simply grace.

A grace all too often misinterpreted by my faltering faith grasping for miracles of a different form.

While I still may wonder at the perfectness of a paradise with so many opportunities for human error, today I choose to see banishment as a blessing.

Some of my dreams banished . . .  for a better way.

Some longings displaced . . . for a higher purpose.

Some prayers left hanging . . .

Because grace has come.

Sometimes in disguise, but always present.

And always, always framed with Father’s perfect love.

Simply for the Joy of It

The other evening, I was playing with my two-year-old grandson. What began as a simple “twirl” in my arms in his front yard, soon found us “flying circles” around the house together. I lost count of the number of times I extended my arms and “flew” across the grass, following energetic, little boy legs amidst full-out giggles and silly remarks. We swooped and scurried, circling trees and fire pits along the way, only to come back to the front of the house where Reuben would look at me before breathlessly saying, “Let’s do that again!” And with the resolve of a completely smitten grandma, I’d join him for yet another “flight.”

This game continued for what must have been at least fifty trips around the house, but I seriously would have gone fifty more with that little fellla if time permitted. Although assured by his mother and others that I could stop at any moment, that I needn’t feel obligated to continue the game any longer than I desired, the fact is I desired to continue it as long as my grandson did. I would even sometimes purposefully stop at the front of the house, simply for the joy of having Reuben pause to look back at me and say, “Grandma, let’s do that again!” Although others may have thought our game exhausting, at that moment there was nothing bringing me greater joy than knowing I was bringing joy to my grandson simply by sharing in his adventures.

This whole scenario got me pondering how easily I can be deceived into thinking my antics exhaust my heavenly Father. From an outsider’s point of view, God most certainly must grow weary by the simpleness of my life. I mean seriously, He who created the ends of the universe and everything in between lowers Himself to become a faithful Companion in my everyday life? How simplistic I must be in comparison to Him! At my most complex and highest-functioning moments, I remain akin to a unicellular fungus in comparison to the Most High, and even that is likely rewarding me more credit than I deserve. Shouldn’t God be above consorting with the likes of me?

It’s easy for me to be tricked into believing He is merely “tolerating” my presence if I forget one simple truth: My Father God delights in me.

Oh, He may not always approve of my actions, but His love for me never decreases even when I’m in the full-fledged throes of a childish tantrum.

He may want more and better for me than my selfish choices afford, but God never once falters in loving me.


Without limits.

And with great delight.

When I look at the much smaller scale of my love for my grandson, I can only surmise it to be a pittance when compared to God’s perfect love for me. Though others may have wearied in following a little boy in circles time and again, I wanted nothing more than to continue the play as long as his heart desired. In truth, I would have remained on the journey with Reuben for as long as his little legs allowed, and then I would have carried him in circles if He had asked. Simply for the joy it brought him . . . and me.

When I’m struggling to believe God is tireless in His care and love toward me, I need only read the following words from Matthew 7:11: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

My grandson Reuben has my heart, and he didn’t do one thing to earn it. He has my heart simply because He is my grandson. And if I, being a sinful and selfish person, know how to give good things to him . . . well, then why is it so hard for me to believe my heavenly Father wouldn’t do more than the same for me?

Although I am fully aware I can be exhausting to some folks, fortunately God is not on that list. My Father not only loves me, He delights in me and enjoys spending time with me . . .  even when it’s as simplistic as running loop after loop in the same pattern, over and over and over.

And you know what? I’ll bet God even pauses at times, just so He can capture my attention and hear me speak the words, “Hey Dad, let’s do that again!”

© 2017

Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat!

Following You isn’t that strenuous, as long as You don’t ask me to step out of the boat.
But You do.
(from A Heart Exposed by Steven James)

It’s true.

You are a God who sets my feet in broad places, then continues to extend the boundaries as You push me beyond human logic, tempting me to trust You with my mustard seed-sized faith.

Your conduct is baffling. Nonsensical even, as You make mud pies from saliva and serve up a slice of sight to blind eyes.

Your forthright approach taunts folks with tales of “sleeping” daughters You raise from the dead.

You instruct people to leave Your presence, daring them to believe for a healing to come “along the way.”

You command tombs to be opened and call forth dead men, reuniting family and friends.

You drive demons into pigs, setting crazed men free and whole.

Blind men wash in pools of water and receive their sight.

Proud lepers dunk in dirty rivers to have their skin made clean and soft.

You clear a temple with a whip, overturning tables and religious expectations as You invite children to sing the wonders of Your praises.

Former prostitutes and pagans support Your ministry.

Simple fishermen and scorned tax collectors are gathered to become the leaders of Your Church.

What is the point of these strange tactics?

Why must faith give birth alongside the stench of stable’s manure and mix with blood running down Calvary’s crossbeams?

Why are places like this the places where miracles are found?

Why can’t You take a safer route, a more practical approach to Christian living?

Why can’t You be content to let Your children simply enjoy the boat ride?

And why, oh why, do I struggle so against the wonders of Your ways?

With pharisaical heart, I ponder Your offer, then turn again toward the known and familiar, clinging futilely to religion without power.

And all the while, Your voice keeps calling me to step out of the boat . . .

But I prefer to let the waves rock me to sleep as I close my eyes and dream of miracles.




Make This Rescued Life a Song

Sovereign Savior,
You pursue me with relentless love,
determined to make something beautiful from this ash heap.
I bow in humble gratefulness,
thankful You can make sense of me when my thoughts are swirling
and my words tongue-tied.
When I don’t understand the twistings of my soul,
You are there untangling me.
Steadying my heart with reminders of grace given,
renewing my hope for today with memories from past deliverance.
Your goodness is present through it all.

Faith in You provides a continual knowing,
meeting each nuance of my being
without surprise or regret.
You are familiar with all my ways,
reaching to the deepest recesses of my soul,
grasping the very essence of me wrapped securely in You.
Your hand of blessing rests upon my head,
calming me and calling me
to look to You and live according to my namesake.

I spill out the brokenness of my life before You,
and watch in awe as the jumbled puzzle
is mysteriously and masterfully arranged by Your hand.
Piece by piece,
You insist on making all things new.
Redeeming the worst of me.
Reclaiming this wreckage of wayward heart.
Repurposing the very struggles Satan meant for my destruction.
Bringing forth victory in the wastelands of my faltering.
Carrying me through the severest of storms.

You are my Champion.
Savior Extraordinaire of my past.
Friend and faithful Companion for today.
Keeper of my future and my forever.
May this rescued life pour forth love songs to You,
singing the sweet melody of redemption from beginning to end.



To Set the World Aright

Jesus’ disciples went out and “turned the world upside down” in order to set the world aright. But all the orthodox folks of the day stared at them with consternation and frustration, and perhaps a healthy dose of fear, as they faced off with men whose faith proved to be unstoppable.

Some things never change.

Today, we still face off with the ways of God, scratching our heads in bewilderment as we try to make sense of a kingdom so backward to our way of life.

God’s kingdom winds through a maze of oxymoron-ish twists as it calls us to lay down our life in order to live it to the full. With baffling truths, we are challenged to experience things in a manner that runs counter-culture to the world in which we live.

It is better to give than to get.
Humility is where true power lies.
Persecution brings favor and blessing.
The greatest fulfillment is found when you give up your own desires.
A willingness to surrender everything reaps the largest of rewards.
Our strength is greatest when Another bears the load.
And grace is found along a bloody trail leading through suffering and death.

No wonder we humans are confounded by Spirit rules.

In a show of sovereign strength, Jesus lays down His life for His enemies. God in flesh, overcoming flesh to declare the splendor of Spirit reign. The ultimate upset as mercy triumphs over judgment in the blackest of human souls, and Spirit descends to take up residence within the likes of you and me.

Spilled blood becomes the bedrock of heavenly kingdom as Majestic King rises with healing in His hands, embracing all who dare to believe in this love amazing and full.

With human mind, I cannot grasp the why’s and how’s of Savior’s ways, and yet I trust in them. After all,

If I could wrap my mind around you, then I know you would most certainly be too small to wrap new life around me. (excerpt from Steven James’s A Heart Exposed)

And so I continue to cling to what I cannot fathom and simply say “yes” to the wonder of it all. Come, Lord Jesus, and set my world aright . . . even if it means You must first turn some things upside down in me.


An Unalterable Truth

Given the present turmoil of our society, truth seems ambiguous. A floundering concept too shifting to readily grasp, let alone hold onto, as it slips through groping fingers like grains of sand. Solid as granite one minute, then morphing to vapor once a person attempts to take a stand upon it. But the catchword of this falsity is found in those five little letters that spell out “seems.”

Like it or not, the reality of truth is set in just that . . . the reality of truth, regardless of how things “seem.”

No matter the temptation to believe otherwise, truth is certain. Unalterable. Unthreatened by the changing tides of political correctness which could mean one thing today and another tomorrow.

Truth stands even when things my eyes behold make me wonder if it hasn’t upped and packed its bags, moved on to greener pastures — pastures mysteriously devoid of the manure of the masses. At least that’s what I would do. Pack up and move to a place where all is sunshine and rainbows without the acid rain of a world replete with sin’s toxic fallout.

But, thankfully, truth chooses to stay. Standing secure, day after day. Unaffected by the changes occurring all around it. No matter that I am.

Truth continues through the messy and the undefinable. Boldly taking its stance when I’m filled with more questions than answers. Daring me to believe its rightness even when it must go to war with my emotions. Because, let’s face it, truth doesn’t always match up with one’s feelings. But thankfully, it is tenacious enough to withstand them. And to conquer them, albeit sometimes with what appears to be agonizing slowness, as it confronts and overcomes fallacy after fallacy with its relentlessness.

Though life is fleeting, I live with a truth that is timeless. Wrapped in the blood-drenched package of Calvary’s sacrifice, purchased with pierced hands and wounded back of a Savior determined to thrust me from harm’s reach at the expense of His own. A sprawling truth stretching across continents, reaching deep into the worst of cultures, into the blackest of human souls, and extinguishing darkness with the torch of grace. Illuminating the hearts of sinner after sinner and calling them into the light as saints.





Perhaps most astounding of all is the keeping power truth exerts, despite our best efforts to discard it.

Truth holds steady when everything within and without trembles and quakes. In this place of too much and not enough. In the quiet and the clamor. Through the calm or the chaotic. When faced with too many options and not enough filling.

With every cry of “Who am I?” the world is hungering for one answer . . . Truth.

My own cries join with the masses as I continue to pen question after question. Tentatively wondering when the answers will come, and if I will recognize them when they do.

Yet still trusting enough to voice them.

Trusting Father hears when my heart is prone to doubt.

Resting in the calm assurance that He has not turned His back on a world that has seemingly turned its own on Him.

I wonder.

I pray.

I trust.

I choose.

Hanging my hopes beside a crown of thorns.

Waiting in the shadow of Cross beams for a glimpse of resurrection’s final dawn.

I side myself with truth and stand with lifted eyes.