God in a life

"Mom, tell me about the time when..." 

How often I've heard this from my daughter in her growing-up years, and how many times I asked that of my own mom. We all love a true story, don't we? 

Blogging is such a great medium for sharing the immediacy of our lives--what we did today, what we're thinking about, etc.  It's gives readers a sense of real-time connection with the writer, instead of the distance we feel with articles or books, for example. 

I like that, but sometimes I wonder about the larger context of those writers' lives. Where did they grow up? What was their family like? Each of us has a story, one that made us who we are, a story that God Himself wrote with love and design. Fascinating, inspiring, no two alike. 

So I've decided that from time to time I'll share something here of my own story. It's good for me to remember the great goodness of the Lord in every step of my life, good to give Him the credit for a faithfulness that I don't deserve. Maybe something in my story will encourage you in yours. 


God came on the scene very early in my life. My parents were church-going Christians, and Sundays found us dressed in our pretty dresses and off to church and Sunday School. I must have known about Jesus from my earliest days, but it wasn't until one night when I was five years old that I really met Him. 

My parents, little sister and I were sitting in the living room watching a Billy Graham crusade on our black-and-white TV. He was talking about sin, and said something to the effect that sin gave us a black heart. Jesus came and died for our sins so that we could have our hearts washed clean, forgiven and made new, with the gift of life in heaven forever with Him. 

He was talking to me. I was struck to the core. Crawling up on the sofa next to my dad, I said, "Daddy, I have a black heart!" 

He didn't laugh or make light of my earnest conviction. Gently he reviewed what we'd just heard Mr. Graham say about salvation and my need to deal with my now-understood sin issue. Jesus loved me. Jesus died for me.  "Would you like to ask Jesus into your heart right now?" he asked.

I nodded eagerly, and together we knelt down beside the sofa. He led me in the sinner's prayer, and to my five-year-old understanding, I got up knowing that I was a Christian, now with a clean, white heart. 

No one can tell me that salvation can't be authentic in young children.  Even though I recommitted my life to Christ years later, I knew without a shadow of a doubt from that moment by the sofa that I belonged to Jesus. I carried with me all my childhood years an inner knowing that He was in me and with me. 

Thank you, Billy Graham, for your faithful preaching.  Thank you, Daddy, for showing me the way--both then and ever after--how to trust Jesus with my life. And thank You, dear Lord, for sending loving and faithful people into my life to show me Your way! 


An inspiring read

I love history…and I love biographies. So it has been a treat to begin this year with a daily devotional that brings them both together, The One Year Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten.

Each day’s reading takes me to some spot on the 2,000-year timeline since the Church began, and ties that day’s date to a significant event in Christian history. While mostly narrative, I think the authors do a good job of balancing historical context and personal story.

I like that though the book covers many of the better-know figures of Christian history (Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, etc.), there are many I’ve never heard of. For example, today’s reading (January 23), tells of Lott Carey, a black slave in 1780 Virginia who became a Christian, was able to purchase his freedom, and on this date in 1821, sailed to Liberia as the first black missionary to Africa.

I don’t know about you, but I find it so moving to read stories like this about real people. It’s wonderful to step back and get a glimpse of the big picture of God’s plan at work through the ages. Their example of faith and perseverance in the face of deep trials and difficulties is so inspiring. I’m challenged afresh to walk faithfully before Him in my own generation!


New Year's resolutions, rethought

As a new year begins, I'm always eager to set goals and make plans--it's very exciting to have a fresh action list that will aim my efforts and keep me on track.

Normally, I start by journaling in a sort of free-write style about the past year--reviewing high points & praises, failures, patterns, observations, needs. I like to do this with a free journaling program I downloaded on my computer, which allows me both the privacy I want and the speed to really get my thoughts out there.

Then from that I come up with an action list and goals for the coming year. I print out a final copy and keep in my calendar notebook so that I can refer to it often. The whole process works well and gives me a clear sense of purpose and direction.

However, I think this year will be a bit different. Less detailed, with more focus on the inner issues of my heart.

If I've learned anything from this very challenging and busy year, it's been that God wants me to follow His plan for my days, not mine. (New thought, huh?) The key word here is f-l-e-x-i-b-l-e. Time and again, I have mapped out my day and gotten rolling, only to have it completely change by mid-morning. (For we Type A's, this is, um, particularly challenging.) My very lists become a source of frustration because I am constantly faced with what I'm not accomplishing!

I'll admit right here that I'm not good at this! God has not always had my best cooperation, sadly. But the pattern that has emerged is unmistakable. He wants me to:
Trust Him with all my heart, not lean on my own understanding; acknowledge Him in all my ways...and He will direct my paths.    ~ Proverbs 3:5, 6  (my paraphrase)

That "direct my paths"...do you know what the word direct means in the original Hebrew? It's fabulous. The word is yashar and it means "to make straight, right, upright, pleasing, and good." 

So if (when) I let Him take all my 'stuff,' He promises to make my days straight and right and good!

That is my prayer and plan for 2015. I'm trying to "let go and let God." The days where I have successfully done this (with my mind and heart) have been the best ones; somehow the important stuff gets done, and I'm learning to rethink my priorities in light of what are obviously His.

May He yashar your paths this year as well!


A quick catch-up

January...2015. I can hardly believe how the months fly by! 

Yes, and in case you're counting, it's been months since I've posted here. My apologies, dear reader. I have missed my blog world and keeping up with the friends I have made here. I have written dozens of posts in my mind, but they just haven't made it to the keyboard. I hit the ground running in the morning and find it hard to get past the day's to-do list to do the 'fun' stuff.  However...one of my resolutions for the new year is to get back to blogging--I'll do my best to make it so!

I have rarely had a year in my life as busy and full-to-the-brim as the one just past. The short list includes:

  • a short vacation to California to meet some of our wonderful blog-world friends
  • finishing thirteen years of homeschooling and getting all my ducks in a row to get our daughter Leesie graduated
  • a trip back to Colorado for her to graduate with her lifelong friends, for us to see friends
  • a wonderful two-weeks' visit here by precious Colorado friends
  • dozens of family events
  • helping Leesie get her driver's license and first car
  • helping her get started in college
  • lots of cooking, hospitality, and family care of one sort or another

The past few months have brought quite a change to our family, the one homeschoolers can hardly envision will ever happen--we finished homeschooling! A funny, empty feeling, especially when you have only one student. However, I hardly had time to process the end of that chapter of my life as I was racing headlong into the next. And I need not have worried about what the next step would be for Leesie (which I did!)--God had a marvelous plan that has unfolded right before our eyes.

She realized last summer that graphic design was her real love, so she started a program in the fall at a local junior college. And right on the heels of that, by a miraculous connection only the Lord could have arranged, she was offered a graphic design internship at a local historical museum. What a perfect match! We think it will soon be a paid position, and she's loving it. As her boss has told her, she's learning things about the graphic design world and marketing that she wouldn't learn in school. We're just thrilled and once again, amazed at our good God.

The Lord's message to me in 2014 was "just trust Me." I struggled so often to stay in that place of peace, but little by little I'm learning anew that I really can trust Him to work out the complexities and needs of my life. So I begin 2015 with a renewed confidence that, in spite of the challenges and unknowns of the year before me, I will see that He went before and planned it all out.

I hope this new year will bring you a fresh awareness of the love and goodness of Jesus!