Tag Archives: righteousness


October is next week; the beginning of fall. It’s a season I do not relish. I don’t rejoice in what it is: brilliant colors, snuggling in sweaters, hot apple cider taking off the chill. I merely view it as the start of winter. And in doing so, I miss the best part of fall. Instead of enjoying its treasures, I make it into something it was never meant to be. White Birch in Front of Maple Trees

Last night, Richard and I talked over dinner. Dinners are tough for me; they zap me of my energy. Every day, day in and day out, all that preparing and work for something that is over in 30 minutes. When I’m by myself, I don’t mind having a sandwich for dinner. For a larger, more elaborate meal, I fail to see the creativity combined with the nourishment. The drudgery slows my heart and weighs me down.

I’ve tried this past month to make healthy meals, different meals, even some fun meals. I thought I was doing well. Then Richard complains. All the energy leaves me. His mother, for example, only went to the store once a week. She planned all her meals for the week ahead of time, got all her supplies in one trip and never had to go to the store in between. Why can’t I be more like his mother? The words chafe. I can’t be more like his mother because I’m not.

Why do we do that? Compare people to others; want them to be something they are not? I’m not sure, but I wish we’d stop it.

My sister is a Martha Stewart type. All the preparation, all the planning energizes her. Her meals aren’t like mine; they are lavish, orchestrated events. She tackles recipes that would leave me flattened. Why can’t you be more like her? I’ve heard it all my life.

Do we compare others because of something we are missing in ourselves? Not sure. But I have felt forced into a mold when all I wanted to be was free. I’ve felt beat up by images of what others want me to be. Not a better me, but a different me. A me I was never created to be. Rather I want to be winging my way, liberated and light, towards who I really am. I don’t want to be assessed. I want my words, ideas and dreams to bring pleasure to my Lord; not be tamed by some arbitrary human evaluation. I want to be appreciated for the best parts of myself.

We fracture community when we compare. We find the weak points in another and tear at them. Does that make us feel better about ourselves? Shouldn’t we just rejoice because we are together, that we are close? Can’t we use our communication, our words, to deepen intimacy?

I was never meant to be a weak imitation of someone else just as autumn was never meant to be the poor stepchild of winter. God is all over the details of my life. He smiles at the times when I am truly me. When I laugh at something no one feels is funny; when I cry because the sorrow cuts quick to the pain in my heart; when I give thanks for something deeply moving to me; those are the times God rejoices and says, “It is very good.” If you do one thing today, celebrate someone for the truly marvelous person God made them to be. Give the world that. Be the audacious, untamed someone who breaks out of the mold by giving others the courage to just be themselves.


Listen up, all you coffee drinkers and Starbucks devotees. This is probably the only time we’ll be talking about coffee on this site.   I never developed a taste for it and I probably never will.  Love the smell of it, though. 

My husband has a bad habit of leaving his used coffee grounds in the sink. Why he can’t put them in the trash is beyond me. One day, as I got ready to toss them into the garbage, I took a minute to ponder them. Do you feel ever feel used up liked old coffee grounds? Tired and past your prime.

I searched the Internet and found there are many ways to use old coffee grounds. Everything from exfoliant to hair conditioner, plant fertilizer to temporary tattoos. So even when we think we are used up, we’re not.

Think about Paul.  Prior to his conversion, he was dedicated to the persecution of the early followers of Christ. In his writings, he called himself the worst of all sinners. Despite this, once converted, he maintained a healthy identity in Christ. He did not wallow in his sins or let his guilt over them prevent him from doing God’s work. Paul knew Christ’s death set him free from all his sins and their condemnation. Something utterly amazing happened to Paul; he moved onward and didn’t stagnate because of his inner failings.  He asked for forgiveness from sin and moved his eyes toward one goal – becoming more like Jesus.

Looking at those used up coffee grounds in the sink, I was overwhelmed by God’s love. My identity in Christ is secure…even when life grinds me up, uses me up and spits me out.  Paul was not a spiritual anomaly. The freedom he found in Christ, the positive, uplifting, inspiring identity he found in our Savior, is ours, also. We only need to own our mistakes and move on.

Like old coffee grounds, there are a myriad ways God can use us, even when we think we’re not good enough to be used. So like Paul, let’s be quick to receive God’s grace so guilt won’t paralyze us. Let’s make room in our hearts and souls for the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit to fill every inch of our heart and soul. May the only things we wallow in be His light and His love.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2.

Holy Moments

It was an unusual assignment to say the least. Write a blog entry celebrating the life of a long time church volunteer. While unusual, how difficult could it be? Which is what I always say when I’m scared to death to write what I have been assigned.

Could I pull poignant words together to sum up the character of a man I’d never met in 500 words or less? Add to that the pressure of invading upon the family’s grief to acquire necessary data, insecurities about my writing began to show.

But in the end, the writing was easy, not because I’ve honed my craft, but because the subject’s life captivated me.

Bob was a teacher and counselor in the education system for many years.  But after he retired, he wanted to remain active. In his 70’s he discovered a new side of himself. He crafting crosses out of nails, screws and, for the sports fans, golf tees.  Even when the disease that finally took his life was ravaging his body, late into the night you’d still find Bob making these little crosses.

The work was a labor of love for him as the nails signified the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross. But they became something else. A changed life starts with a defining moment. Those little crosses were used by God and Bob to influence individuals in the most important decision they’d ever make.

Someone would compliment Bob on the cross he wore, and boom!  They received not only a cross of their own for Bob kept dozens in his pockets; they also heard a compelling personal account of how the redeeming work done on the cross saved Bob and could save them. As I wrote about how Bob changed the eternity of so many, I wondered if he ever questioned why God chose to use him in the first place.

It’s not dramatic to create crosses out of nails, but it is cathartic to know God meets us in our brokenness to transform lives. Even as he was close to death, Bob was still creating – still trying to find ways to inspire men and women, students and adults to surrender their lives to Jesus. What an unspeakable privilege Bob received from God!

Bob and I have one thing in common – we try to reach the word for Christ through a creative process. And while saddened because we’d never discuss it in this realm, I rejoice there are others who spread the Christ’s love.

True contentment is found only at the foot of the cross. It is joy unspeakable.