Monthly Archives: June 2014


It is tough for me to get lost. I know part of it is an inbred sense of direction, but there is something else. I pay attention. I look for the landmarks – the street signs, the buildings alongside the road, the curve of the highway. Even with a GPS in my car, I never use it more than once to get to the same destination. And I don’t even use it on the way home. I might not be able to tell you the names of the streets I took, but I always find my way home.

I believe as a child of God the only way to spend your life is to pay attention to the world. It’s fallen; it’s imperfect. There are parts of it that are downright ugly. But even in the ugliest, slimiest, most putrid smelling place, there is God. He showers His miracles everywhere on this earth.

He doesn’t put up a sign to say, “Watch this.” I believe that would take away the joy of us finding them. But every morning, He whispers to us, “Pay attention and prepare to be amazed.”

The cynical side of our nature, of the world, wants to speak always of the darkness of our world, the harshness, the hurt of living. It is a shattered world. In its brokenness, in its shadows, the world also reveals the most profound imagination of our Creator.

It is easy for us to only see the dark, but we are children of the Light. That means we should seek the Light in everything. It’s easy when we are youngsters. We find joy in the silliest things. Remember water sprinklers, catching snowflakes on your tongue, freezing Kool-Aid in ice trays, looking for out of state license plates on a long road trip?

Then we grow into adulthood and we lose a part of ourselves. We lose the extraordinary in the ordinary. It becomes too easy to exist rather than to live fully, freely, openly. But God is still whispering over our days, “Pay attention and prepare to be amazed.”

watermelonGod’s lovesong is all about us as we walk through life. See the color of your coworker’s eyes. Hear the melody of the cars on the road. Taste the sweetness of watermelon. Look around you, for you are surrounded each and every day by His loving creativity.

Pay attention to the wind in the dark, the trees slapping against the house, the dog barking in the distance. Pay attention to the world, both the prickly wrong parts of it and the exquisitely beautiful parts of it. Drink it all in until you see His love peeking through both the darkest storms and the delicate glow of morning’s light. If you stare at it long enough, you’ll develop a longing for Home – the place where you will be welcome by God.

Today, feel His nearness; His relevance to you. If you watch the landmarks our Creator has so graciously put along our path, your heart will break with a longing for Home. Watch the landmarks that gently lead you to the One who is devoted to you. In His love, you’ll find your way Home.

Pay attention and be amazed!


pile-of-lettersI have a gift, or so I have been told. Mine is to encourage and uplift people through cards and letters – the written word. Not a text or an email, not ethereal words on a screen. But something tangible; something you can hold in your hand, read and re-read to your heart’s content. Something stable, permanent…a message so timeless you can save it to bring out on days when you need a reminder someone cares. I don’t think of this letter writing as much of a gift since I’ve been doing it almost my entire life. Little did I know that what I started doing in grammar school would become a signature talent.

The moment I discovered this gift is still crystal clear. I was probably eleven at the time and I felt this energy inside of me bursting forth. The understanding of knowing I was beloved by God was growing – beating strong in my heart. Since God is love, I desperately wanted to share His love with someone. But not to just anyone; no, my message had to touch a heart that was broken, because even though I was young, I’d experienced the sorrow of the brokenhearted. With childlike innocence, I wanted someone else to know, like I was just beginning to realize, that God loves unconditionally, that our value is measured solely by Him and not how the world may treat us.

And so on that summer’s day, I gathered some stationery, sat on the picnic bench on our patio and wrote a letter to a soldier fighting half a world away in the jungle, far from family and friends, who needed someone to shout over the bullets, “You are beloved of God. He sees you. You are not alone. He is love, so every day you are surrounded by Love.”

When we become a Christian, each of us is given a spiritual gift. It may be creative like mine, or a teaching gift, maybe shepherding one. We dishonor God when we fail to utilize those gifts, to sharpen them by pouring them out to His children.

Sometimes the pain in my life rose to the point where putting pen to paper became difficult; when I bitterly thought I needed the words more than the recipient of my message. But I learned during those dark times that God uses our pain and our brokenness to rescue others and in the process, Heaven bends down and gently, tenderly rescues us.

Whatever your gifts are, God placed them in you so you would experience God’s unlimited goodness. His unending love encourages you to give away every bit of what you have received. When you do, He will give you more…infinitely more. Ephesians 3:20 says, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (NIV)

I’ve learned when I’m discouraged and afraid, when I who loves words finds the pain so sharp the words don’t come; if I remain obedient to Him and use my gift, He multiplies my attempts and fills me with more hope. Hear it from me, one whose heart has known the agony of brokenness: if I do not ignore His gift, He will always fill me with His goodness when I use it.

If your pain is stopping you from using your gift, embrace your brokenness. Let it make you brave. There isn’t a loss on earth that can ever rob you of the riches our Lord has saved for you in Him. Then, in faith, in obedience, step out and use your gift. Honor the giver by sharpening and sharing it. Pour it out on the world and experience Him filling you up again with His love.

Stuffed Animals

I was a different child. As a toddler, instead of a stuffed animal or a doll, I carried around a stuffed clown. My favorite toy as a youngster was a dump truck. I still remember its red cabin and green bed and how I loved to push it around our family room.

german-shepherd-plush-stuffed-animal-generalThe old adage says confession is good for your soul, so I must admit, as an adult, I love stuffed animals. Even though I don’t own many, each one is a treasure. I purchase them to remind me of the pleasant days of childhood. Those times I felt loved, nourished, cherished. Those extraordinary days when I was poured into by my parents; when my biggest concern was what I would wear. They point the way to carefree memories of playing in the sprinkler, tobogganing down a snowy hill or enjoying a popsicle on a hot summer’s day.

But there is another, more perfect reason, I own several of them – they remind me I am a child. Oh, not in the sense of reassuring my inner child. No, they help me remember that in the midst of some truly adult worries, I am God’s child. In both the heartbreaks and the glorious triumphs of life, I need that message spoken to me often.

God replaces my concerns with His love. He brings grace to those parts of me where I feel shame. God gives me hope when the world offers harshness. He invites me into a relationship – a miraculous, grace-filled friendship – where I am completely accepted. Not for anything I’ve ever done or will ever do, but simply because I’m His child. His love is a gift offered by hands cut open by nails and a body stilled by death on the cross.

I need to hear that message more often than I care to admit because the day-to-day battles of life drain me. And then I center my gaze on one of my little animals and it reminds me, I’m not going into battle alone. The God who spoke the universe into being is going with me. The God who image002never loses, who has never been defeated, is beside me. That changes everything.

So while my stuffed animals may seem a bit childish, they remind me I am the child of a Father who says, “I love you.”

And with those precious words, I rejoice knowing my heart is safe with Him.